Leadership – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
04.04.2020

Leadership

Defending the leadership of Donald Trump has become a cottage industry, Mayors and governors, businessmen and ministers, ordinary men and women are willing to risk their lives, the lives of their family, friends and neighbors, all prop up the pretense that Donald Trump is faultless.

What a ridiculous sham.

Shame on anyone who even whispers that T-Rump should not be held accountable for his gross ineptitude, his complete inability to comprehend the scope of the problem we are facing, which begins with him and his ignorance.

One hundred thousand American’s or more will die from the COVID-19 coronavirus.

When we look back on this period of time we will see that the majority of those deaths could have been avoided through good crisis management, with proper preparedness, and temperant leadership.

I am reminded of what Senior Chief Fitzgivens said to me when I was a young HN (Hospitalman) in the Navy.

Remember the five P’s: proper planning prevents poor performance.

I regret that not even a little bit of that wisdom is being employed now.

Last night the CDC made a recommendation that all American’s wear a face mask of some kind when they leave the house, and Donald Trump got up right after this and said that this was a voluntary recommendation, not a requirement and that he would not be doing it.

We need to do this.

He didn’t need to say anything about his intentions, he could have just let the recommendation stand, but the president is too stupid to do even that little bit.

Donald Trump and his malfeasant administration represents an existential threat to the United states of America.

He needs to be removed from office, the longer he remains in that position the more American’s will die.

Somebody needs to lead.

Listen – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
03.29.2020

Listen
My sensei always use to tell that we have to be rich enough to pay attention.

Pay attention to what is going on around us, look beyond the tip of your nose. Listen to the warning we are being given, comply with the safety measures that are being recommended.

The sooner we all get on the same page, acting in concert with one another the sooner we get through this mess.

Be mindful, the risks you take go far beyond yourself and your family, the COVID-19 virus, if you come in contact with it, will spread out from you, well beyond your sphere of influence.

Limit your exposure, practice social and physical distancing. Do it for your sake, and for the sake of your family, yes do it for those reasons, but do it for everyone else’s families as well, do it for the doctors and nurses and emergency workers who are risking their lives for our sake.

They are heroes, honor their sacrifice.

Listen, and don’t listen.

Don’t listen to the selfish voices around you, correct those , do it gently, but correct those who complain about their need to be with people, to run around the lake, to have a drink with a friend, because they do not want to stay secluded.

You are not being asked to risk your life, to take up arms and go to war, you are only being asked to spend a couple of weeks, or so with yourself.

You can do this, and the sooner we all do it together the sooner we get through this and the sooner life will return to something we recognize as normal.

Do not listen to the conspiracy theorists trying to distract you with their colorful ideas about who dunnit and why, those people are not trying to help you adjust to the circumstances or see our way through it.

Listen to the doctors, listen to the scientists, listen to the men and women in the hospitals, do not listen to the politicians, the media pundits, or the televangelists, trying to make a dollar off your suffering.

Stay at Home – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
03.20.2020

Stay at Home

I had to do some work today.

I am grateful that I still have some work to do.

It will come to an end in a couple of days and then I will be twiddling my thumbs along with everyone else.

My work took me into Linden Hills, and I drove around The Lake, Bde Maka Ska on my way home.

I was stunned by the long line of cars at the stop light, the foot traffic in Linden Hills, the crowds of people walking around the Lake, as with the jammed-up traffic all up and down 36th Street.

I understand that it is kind of a nice day, and a lot of people are feeling exhausted simply because they have been cooped up.

Seriously though, I have to wonder how many people are paying attention to the news. Who is listening to the recommendation on social distancing?

Is anyone paying attention to the fact that New York, California and Illinois, have put mandatory shelter in place orders into effect?

Why wait for the numbers here to get as bad as they are getting in other parts of the country, why not just stay home if you don’t have a reason to be out?

Just take a little bit of boredom and frustration for the team.

All of you people who were out walking with their families around the lake, is it just that you can’t imagine that something terrible could befall you or someone you love?

This virus is worse than a honey badger, and it just doesn’t give a f*** about you, or anyone.

Stay at home.

State of Emergency – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
03.14.2020

State of Emergency
I hope that in the days ahead people will settle down into their normal routine; none of our helped by panic shopping and hoarding.

This includes the panic shoppers and hoarders.

When we place the extra burden on the supply chain by stocking up, not for the days and weeks ahead but for months and months, we run the risk of putting everything out of balance. If everyone did as the panic shoppers are doing all of the stores would be empty everywhere, and no one would have the right supply of all the things they need in the normal course of their lives.

Following the advice of the CDC, means living your life with a relative degree of normality. We may not be going to events with large groups of people, we may be telecommuting if the work we do allows for it, but we can still go to the store.

We should practice good hygiene and “social-distancing.”

All of us should stop talking about COVID-19 like we know what it is, where it came from, how it spreads, or what the danger is.

Drop the conspiracy theories, and let the scientists speak.

Please stop listening to Donald Trump, any politician, pundit, or infotainment host who deviates from what the science is telling us.

Just stop listening to them and stop repeating the ridiculous things they are saying.

Everything will get sorted out, what COVID-19 is, how we can stop it, and what policy failures led us to the place that we are will all become clear in hindsight.

Momentum Shift – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
03.07.2020

Momentum Shift

And so it happened, the momentum in the race for the Democratic Party’s nominee for President has shifted.

It is important to note that the shift is not hypothetical, it is marked by the fact that primaries and caucuses have been held and the people have come out to vote. The field has winnowed and we are down to a two person race.

There are many people who cast this race in terms of so-called “progressive wing” and the so-called “corporate wing” of the Democratic Party. Please be aware that while Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have many different policy proscription for what ails America, they have much more in common with each other, and their values are far more closely aligned with the values of the average American than the vacuous and amoral menace, that confused and cowardly villain who is currently operating a criminal regime out of the oval office.

There are many of my friends who are upset about what took place in the primaries over the last week, suggesting that the elites in the democratic party rigged the vote against Bernie’ no they didn’t. The voters voted, and the votes that were cast came from a demographic sampling that represents America, and the Democratic Party.

One condescending friend of mine, a middle-aged, middle-class European American had the nerve to suggest that the Presidential race has come down to two white-racist-septugenarians, and he was angry about it. Never mind the fact that African Americans voted overwhelmingly for Joe Biden. My out-of-touch white friend thinks he knows a thing or two about racism, and about what is good for people of color, and he wants everyone else to think that people of color don’t know what is good for themselves, and thought hat person is a friend of mine, I think the sentiment is disgusting. He and all the other Bernie supporters need to just settle down and check their own implicit bias at the door.

Be mindful, the race is far from over. The momentum has shifted, but only enough to make it a contest. The next few weeks might show us that the shift in momentum represent ted a C change, but we are not there yet.

Both candidates, and everyone who follows them should stay positive, spend their time and energy articulating the values of the Democratic Party, move forward, and not succumb to the kind of internal feuding that the Trump campaign and Russia are fueling.

That should both stay in the race until it mathematically impossible for them to win, and then the certain loser should drop out, endorse the other, and work not just for their election, but work tirelessly for democratic candidates up and down the line, in both local and national races.

I have this last thing to say to my progressive friends.

The progressive platform they are dreaming of and working toward is a grass roots movement. Grass roots movements do not typically work through the implementation of executive action at the top. They work from the ground up, and if we want the Green New Deal, Single Payer Health Care, College Financing Reform etc…we are going to need Senators and Representatives in Congress to author and sponsor and pass that legislation.

If you want Constitutional Amendments, you need to have super majorities everywhere, not just in Federal Offices, but in State Houses and Governor’s Mansions all across the country.

If we refuse to stand together, then we will fall apart.

Trump’s Indifference is Evil – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
02.29.2020

Trump’s Indifference is Evil

I do not use the word evil lightly, in fact I rarely use it at all, because most of the crimes people commit against each other, happen because someone is not in their right frame of mind.

What T-Rump has been doing, and what his son has been saying, what the other sycophants around have been repeating is being done willfully, not from a place of ignorance, they are sewing confusion, spreading lies, and people will lose their life because of it.

Donald Trump is scared to death of being held accountable for the recent collapse in the stock market, and to a lesser degree he fears being charged with responsibility for the spread of the coronavirus.

He is indifferent to the suffering of his fellow Americas, he does not care if they get sick and die, he only cares about whether or not it makes him look bad, if it puts a spotlight on his incompetence and this is truly evil.

Donald trump Jr. came out and said that Democrats want millions of Americans to fall just in order to hurt his daddy.

T-Rump’s chief of staff Mick Mulvaney called the media coverage of this public health crises a hoax, and he blamed the fact that T-Rump didn’t act faster on the impeachments proceedings that took place last month.

T-Rump himself has begun to call the looming crises a hoax, and then he passed the buck for managing it to his Vice President Pence, because the president doesn’t want to be bothered with the details.

He doesn’t want the Center For Disease Control to manage it, he doesn’t want doctors and scientists to tell the American people the truth, or to order that measures be taken that T-Rump believes will disrupt trade, disrupt the markets, and reflect badly on himself.

He has been told that his measures are not only inadequate, but counterproductive, the poor choices his administration has made of led to spreading the disease, not stopping it, and he does not care if people die.

Donald Trump is evil, his indifference is evil.

He must be removed from office.

The Left is Not Extreme – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
02.22.2020

The Left is Not Extreme

If you listen to the right-wing politicians and pundits spout their invectives against the policies of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and their supporters who number in the tens of millions you would come away thinking that the progressive wing of the Democratic party are raving lunatics.

Even some of those people who are contending for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president from time to time slip into this irrational fervor.

Universal Healthcare, otherwise known as single-payer or Medicare for all, this is not a radical idea.

Free college or trade school tuition, this is not a radical idea.

Forgiving people their student debt this is not a radical idea.

We have to be careful not to get swept up into heated arguments with those who oppose these policies, because these are not radical positions, and we are not extremists for wanting to see them enacted. Democrats in particular need to hold the line against other democrats who are made nervous by these policy proscriptions, we have to normalize them, and this should not be too difficult because they are normal policies.

Universal Healthcare: There are eighteen countries that offer true universal health coverage: Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

These so-called “first world” countries are all our allies and our biggest trading partners, if they can do it so can we. They have figured out the problem. They all have different systems tailored to the individual needs of their societies. They are leading the way, and it is long past time we figured this out for ourselves.

What is extreme is to promote the belief that universal healthcare is not doable by the United States, that is the extreme position. The we can’t do it position is the position that flies in the face of so-called “American exceptionalism.”

We need to confront the naysayers with the truth, and just tell them to relax. We believe in America, we can do this.

Free universal college tuition is less common than universal healthcare but there are seven industrialized countries that offer this to their citizens: Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, and France, Ireland and Australia. If America is going to continue to promote itself as first among equals in the so-called free world, it is time that we move past the nay-sayers, and hold fast to the position that America can do, because America can do anything.

These countries have different ways of funding these programs, but here is how Australia does it.
If you are accepted to a college or university, and you complete your degree program, and you subsequently become employed in a job where you earn more than 50k per year, then you are subject to a tax that funds the entire program.

If you do not complete your degree, or do not become gainfully employed, or if your circumstances change and you lose your earning power due to some unforeseen circumstance than this tax does not apply to you.

If you go to college, and your degree pays off, if you are earning well then you pay in.

This is simple, it is not radical, this should be easy to normalize.

Some people balk at the idea of forgiving the current load of student debt, they get really incensed by it, as if this proposal involves some kind of crime.

The current load of student debt is 1.5 trillion dollars.

The 2017 Trump tax-cuts cost the country 1.9 trillion dollars.

The second round of proposed Trump tax-cuts are projected to cost the country another 1.4 trillion.

The difference between the tax-cuts proposed by the Republican party and the proposal to eliminate student debt is this.

The tax cuts benefit the wealthiest Americans, allowing them to keep more of their money, without requiring them to put it back into the economy, the stimulative effect to the economy is negligible.

The 1.5 trillion dollars in student debt, is held by Americans who are solidly in the middle class, from the working poor to the upper-middle range. Almost forty-five million Americans are carrying student debt. The average monthly student loan payment (which includes principle and interest) is $393 dollar.

Americans spend 17.5 billion dollars per month servicing their student loan debt. If those revenues were freed up to be used by middle class Americans, it would go directly into the economy. It would be the biggest single economic stimulus for our economy that you could possibly imagine.

This is not radical; it is sound economic policy.

The left is not extreme, we just make sense.

Keep it Positive – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
02.15.2020

Keep it Positive

This has been a dismaying week in politics for me as a Democrat.

As the political contest has gotten real, and because support for the field of candidates is split three to five ways, things are getting ugly.

It can’t go on like this or there is no chance we will achieve anything resembling unity in the months ahead.

There is a good chance that at least a third of democrat voters are going to feel like the nominee of the party does not represent them, if they refuse to support that person, for whatever reason, because he or she is a democratic-socialist, or because he or she raises money from super-pacs, because he or she might be worth a billion dollars or more, because she is a woman or he is gay, because they are too young or too old, or Jewish or whatever, then we will have ceded the field, and engineered our own defeat.

For all of us out hear in the audience, now is the time to listen, and if you are going to speak up, so it to demand that the candidates, all of them, remain positive.

Admonish your friends if you hear or see them running down the candidates they do not prefer. There is no place for this. It is not the time to be pandering to those people who love to put forward the notion that democrats and republicans are all the same, we are not.

That kind of false equivalency is poison, and the more often it is repeated, the more people believe it, and the more likely it is that the orange menace will be reelected.

Do not play into it.

Keep it positive.

Why I am Supporting Bernie Sanders – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
02.08.2020

Why I am Supporting Bernie Sanders

With all of our eyes on the presidential campaign, and the nominating process in the Democratic Party, with all of the interested parties taking up positions and staking out ground in loosely organized “caucuses,” such as the so-called “progressive-caucus,” we have to be mindful of the fact that there is a lot more at stake in 2020 than the presidency.

We need a Democratic president to sign Democratic bills into law, but if we seriously hope to get any of our bills to the signing desk, we need to keep control of the House of Representatives, we need to increase the majority of the democratic caucus in the House and we need to take control of the Senate, we need to send Mitch McConnel packing.

This is why it matters who we pick for our standard bearer.

Even if we lost the presidency, taking control of the Senate would put more power behind progressive causes and give us more effective oversight over the executive branch. We need a candidate who can generate that enthusiasm and get people to the polls, and we need to stick together.

It is not just the presidency that is on the line in this election, it is Congress, and it is not just the 2020 Congress that is on the line, it is the make up of Congress for the next five elections.

The most important thing the legislature will do in the next congress is redistricting, following the apportionment of Congressional seats after the census. If we are serious about pursuing our progressive agenda for the long term, we must control this process. If we want the government to respond to the will of the majority on any number of things: from taxation to gun control, from executive oversight to a woman’s right to choose, from criminal justice reform to the War Powers Act, from…you name the issue, if we want to be governed by the will of the majority we must control this process.

The apportionment of electoral college votes follows the apportionment of congressional districts. We cannot eliminate the electoral college unless we are able to pass constitutional amendments, I will address these numerical challenges shortly.

If we want to see more equitable representation of the majority in the electoral college right now then we must control congressional apportionment and redistricting. If we have simple majorities in congress, and a democratic president who is willing to act, we can make the apportionment process fairer. Even if we don’t have a president willing to change the apportionment laws in US Code Title 2, simple majorities in congress will help us to create congressional districts that represent the people on a more equitable basis.

Keep this in mind, until we get the number of votes in congress, in the House and the Senate, and in State Houses across the country, unless we get a sufficient number of Governors and a President willing to pass a constitutional amendment there won’t be any constitutional amendments and the struggle for justice and equality will have to take place through the legislative process.

There are two ways to amend the constitution: the process either requires that two thirds of the members of both houses of congress vote to approve it, and then it must be ratified by two thirds of the states, or that two thirds of the states call for a constitutional assembly to amend the constitution in which proposed amendments must be ratified by three fourths of the states.

People talk about passing constitutional amendments all the time, but this is a very difficult process and if want to see it happen, to do this we would need:

1. 290 votes in the House of Representatives, the house is currently divided 233D to 197R, there is one independent (who typically votes with the republicans, and there are four seats currently vacant.
2. 67 votes in the Senate, the Senate is currently divided between the democratic and republican caucuses 53R to 47D (this includes independents who caucus with the party most closely aligned to their values) with a tying vote going to the republican voce president.
3. 34 States to ratify, State governments are currently divided between democrats and republicans 26R to 24D, while their legislatures are divided 67R to 37D

These numbers represent the numerical hurdles the people would have to cross in order to affect enduring changes to the structure of our democracy. We cannot pin our hopes on this, it is pie in the sky thinking.

If we intend to do this then we are back to where we began this essay, the absolute need to control the redistricting process after the census, we must have a willingness to change congressional apportionment if we win both chambers of congress and the presidency in November.

We must elect a president who is willing to sign into law enforceable provisions to restrain presidential power, to enforce the authority of congress to engage in oversight, and to reshape the federal judiciary including the addition of justices to the Supreme Court.

We are in a precarious time, and we must hold together, we cannot attack each other with broad labels intended to vilify one another, we cannot afford to pit so-called democratic socialists against so-called corporate democrats, so-called liberal progressives against so-called pragmatic progressives. There is too much at stake to allow ourselves to be divided this way.

We have to resist it.

I know a lot of people who like to pretend that both parties are the same, and they may have a point, but here is the truth: it is not the parties that are the same, the Democratic party and the Republican Party have radically different platforms.

It is the politicians who are the same, because it is the nature of these politicians, regardless of what side of the political spectrum they are on, it is in their nature to be feckless, cowardly, deceptive, ego-maniacs those are the unifying characteristics of all politicians.

This is not to say that they completely unreliable, that they do not love their families, or that they are all wicked people, but it is to recognize that the power of high office attracts the highly corruptible.

There are two tasks in front of us right now, as voters who care about our liberal and progressive causes, as people who ant to see the Voting Rights Act reinstated and expanded, who want to see structural changes to our representative democracy that takes big money out of politics and returns power to the people, who want to see a woman’s right to equal pay, equal treatment under the law and the right of self-determination to be protected, who want to enforce the separation between Church and State, if we want to curb the rise of white nationalists and domestic terrorists; the first thing we have to do is hold together through the next nine months, and we have to bring more people into the voting process, we have to these things thoughtfully, carefully and deliberately, even if the party does not nominate the candidate we prefer.

With that being said, when I look at the field of candidates running for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, when I look at the size and strength of their respective coalition’s, when I weigh them against each other, I have to conclude that our best bet is to support the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, not because I support all of his ideas, though I am in favor of most of them, it is because he is steady, his support is steady, his message is good, his vision is good for America, and if we all get behind him we will win.

Take Out the Trash – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
01.25.2020

Take Out the Trash

You heard the impeachment managers from the House of Representatives, it is time for the Senate to do their work and clean out the oval office.

Donald J. Trump must go!

Sadly it is not likely to happen. The GOP has turned into a cult of personality, it is not the Grand Old Party anymore, it is now the Great Oligarchichal Party of America, completely unmoored from its founding as the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower.

It has become the party of anti-intellectual no-nothings, totally corrupt, self-dealing self-serving garbage, and we have to throw the bums out.

We all know that the republicans in the Senate are faithless, craven cowards. They have abandoned their oath of office, which they never meant to uphold, and they are planning to sell out the constitution for their personal short term political gain.

We must hold them accountable. If they are unwilling to hold Donald trump accountable, the rest of must hold them all accountable, take our country back, and uphold the rule of law.

This means we have to stick together.

We have to stay unified, all the way through the campaign season which is now in full swing.

We have to get behind and stay behind the candidate who captures the momentum, we have to stop letting our idealism get in the way of progress.

Let the republicans have their moment over the next few days, because it is their moment, and there is nothing we can do about it. Let them have it, they can stew in their garbage until the next election when we clear them all out in a clean sweep.

Remember people, this election year is a census year, and whoever control congress controls redistricting, if we let that slip away we give up the whole game for the next ten years.

Trump is getting to be acquitted, not in the interest of justice, but because fifty four Republican Senators are not able to bear witness to Trump’s corruption through the filters they have set up to blind themselves to their own.