Friday, March 16, 2012

GOP Nomination

If this year's primary season has taught us anything, it's that polls mean nothing, predictions mean nothing, and that first impressions and gut instincts are going to be wrong. We started with a field of 9, with Mitt Romney as "Mr. Inevitable" (though I personally never bought that, or at the least, thought he'd cruise to the nomination). As candidates were crossed off the list, a very interesting thing happened; Mitt's chance of winning the nomination did the opposite of what they should have: they diminished, and I believe, this trend will continue all the way to Tampa.

There are a number of reasons for this. Most prominently, Mitt Romney is seen by many in the GOP as a fraud. He governed Massachusetts as a VERY moderate Republican, which was clearly demonstrated by his pro-choice position, Romneycare (which I think he should proudly defend) and his defending of gay rights in that state. As a presidential candidate, however, he is, well, whatever the party needs him to be, and that's the wrench in his campaign gears. His second biggest problem is that he just simply can't connect with people, and this is obvious with revelations that his friends own football and NASCAR teams. Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post summed Mitt up better than anyone else, stating "Romney looks like he is on safari in his own country." While Romney will most likely go to the convention with the most delegates, I do not think he will go to the convention with *enough* delegates, and this is where the race gets oh so fun to watch.

Rick Santorum is Mitt's biggest threat (it still sounds unbelievable, but it's true). Santorum has a strength that Romney doesn't; who Rick Santorum was yesterday, is who he is today, and is who he will be tomorrow. There is no uncertainty about what Santorum believes in. This his biggest strength... love him or hate him, he is 100% authentic, and because of this, people trust him. Santorum's second-biggest strength is his ability to connect with people. He grew up in rural PA in a steel manufacturing town, so his ability to reach blue-collar conservatives is quite apparent. It is for these reasons, I believe, that Santorum will go to the convention having won more individual votes (and thus a greater number of states), but like Romney, not enough delegates to secure the nomination. This is where I believe Newt Gingrich will play a key role.

Despite calls for him to drop out, I believe that Newt staying in the race is actually a good thing for Rick Santorum, and a disaster for Mitt Romney. Newt Gingrich is shrewd, big-headed, and extremely politically smart. He is staying in the race to prevent conservatives from voting for Romney. Even though he hasn't a chance of winning the nomination, the few hundred delegates he will amass could make him a kingmaker at the convention. If the final delegate count is close between Romney and Santorum, it could be Newt and his delegates that make all the difference... and somehow, I don't see him pledging them to Romney. Gingrich will unite the conservative Republican base around Rick Santorum, thus making him the nominee. This is, of course, only one possible scenario. If Gingrich drops out within the next month, however, I think Rick Santorum will seal the nomination on his own (even if it's only by a couple delegates).

There is, of course, another, albeit remote possibility, and this is the scenario that scares the bejesus out of Republicans... and that is a brokered convention. Three candidates, a split delegate tally, and no one figure to unify the party. We've seen this before in 1964 with the GOP and with the Dems in 1968. In both cases, the "nominee apparent" was replaced with a someone new, albeit both lost the elections by a landslide. So, suppose the 2012 GOP convention in Tampa is brokered, and there is no nominee. The party would come to the realization that the GOP doesn't want Romney, and that the conservative base is still divided. This could open the door for someone new. Who, you may ask? We can eliminate Christie, Bush and Daniels. They are far too moderate and level-headed for the current Republican electorate. Ryan or Rubio would need to be vetted, and there wouldn't be enough time, so we can count them out.

They need a familiar face, someone around whom the conservative base would unquestionably rally, someone with star power and someone with passion. They need someone who has been running for president without formally running for president. That person is Sarah Palin. I know, it sounds crazy. But Palin has said she is "open to accepting the GOP nomination" at a brokered convention, she has endorsed Newt Gingrich (which means she supports a brokered convention), and most of all, she is an ambitious, power-hungry person, who will do anything she can to remain in the spotlight and advance her brand. She still has plenty of support among the GOP base, and she continues to portray herself as the best "anti-Obama conservative" out there. As far-fetched as it sounds, and given the unpredictability of this race, it could potentially happen, and what a show it would be.

Monday, January 30, 2012

GOP Primary Race

Are Republicans serious? Is the race for the GOP nomination really between a guy who has made a career out of running for president and a guy who has made a career out of being an asshole? Sadly, the answer is yes, and even more pathetically, neither of them have anything resembling a coherent plan to move this country forward (as they say, they want to 'take the country back'). Let's review a few of my favorite GOP talking points.

1) "Tax cuts stimulate job growth." Tax cuts do not, can not, and have not ever created jobs. Ever. The idea that a company will miraculously start hiring people because their tax rates have been reduced is asinine. If Republicans really believed in "free market Capitalism," they would understand that it's demand, not tax rates, that gives companies incentives to hire people. Furthermore, corporations use our roads and emergency services, as well as relying on our education system to create a strong work force. The idea that corporations should be exempt from taxes is as un-American and unfair as it gets.

2) "We can't raise taxes on the job creators." This one always makes me laugh. Again, if Republicans really understood how jobs are actually created in this country, they would know that most jobs are created by small businesses, which in turn are, by overwhelming majority, owned by people who are not millionaires or billionaires. Therefore, the claim that raising taxes on the very highest income brackets will somehow stifle job growth is false. One need look no further than the Clinton and Eisenhower eras to see that higher taxes actually promote job growth. The ONLY reason Republicans want tax cuts is for themselves.

3) "Regulations hurt job growth." First of all, no they don't. Second of all, Capitalism has to have rules. We've seen and are still suffering from the deregulation of our financial system.

4) "The federal government has grown too big under Obama." In reality, President Obama has shrunk the federal work force, consolidated regulations (and has now begun to consolidate government agencies to make them more efficient)and reduced the strain on our military. Under President Bush, with legislation such as the Patriot Act, Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind and two wars, the federal government grew exponentially. President Obama has offered massive spending cuts, and the GOP has turned him down at every corner. See, the biggest problem with the economic plans of the Republican party is that they are completely devoid of any mathematical reality. Cutting taxes and spending will not resolve our national deficit (although the GOP has never cared about that, thanks Gipper), nor will they help pay down our national debt. Doth the GOP deflect much?

5) "Traditional marriage is between one man and one woman." Actually, it isn't. Historically, marriage has been the ownership of women by men, who often had either multiple wives or one wife and numerous concubines, mistresses and the like. Under "traditional" (i.e. Biblical) marriage, women were considered property and were commanded to be stoned for such egregious things such as not being a virgin at the time of marriage.

6) "Abortion is murder." No it isn't. It's a medical procedure, and the decision to have one is best left between doctors and patients.

7) "Climate change is a hoax." Anyone who believes this is either a) completely devoid of all physical senses, b) living on another planet and not paying attention, or c) both. Basic chemistry: increased CO2 in the atmosphere traps more solar heat. This thermal variation will causes changes in our climate. Try this at home: seal your garage, and leave your car on for a week. Try to breathe, and notice how the environment has changed. Now, imagine that on a global scale.

8) "Poor people are lazy. They are freeloaders mooching off hard-working Americans." Funny, I seem to think a billionaire hedge-fund manager who makes money off money, contributes nothing to society, gets free tax cuts and takes vacations all year is lazier than a single mom who works 3 jobs to support her kid.

The bottom line - we need to demand that the Republican party return to its Lincoln-esque foundations. The current crop of candidates, nationwide, is eerily reminiscent of 1930's Germany; extreme nationalism, constant scapegoating, and persistent fear-mongering. We must not allow these tenets to govern our great country.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Occupy Movement and 2012

In hundreds of cities across the country, thousands of people are protesting. While every individual may have their own reason for participating, one underlying message is clear: our politics are bought and sold by and to the highest bidders, and people are sick of it. I believe that supporting this message can be a winning strategy for President Obama and other Democrats in 2012.

Despite the uptick in his approval numbers and his growing grassroots support, President Obama faces a tough reelection fight next year. I believe I know how he can win, by a massive margin, by fighting for a single issue... getting private/corporate money out of politics. By now we all know that politicians, regardless of political party, are characterized as corrupt, owned and only interested in serving corporate campaign donors. President Obama has the opportunity, I believe, to turn the Occupy message into victory next year.

First, he needs to hold a press conference announcing that his campaign will no longer be accepting donations from businesses/corporations or from anonymous donors, and that he wants to run a campaign that is built on the support of the American people. Not only will this energize the Democratic base, but it will also make many voters feel like their voice once again matters. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, it will make the Republican nominee look like candidate for the private sector and not for the general population. President Obama should also tell the American people to FIRE any member of Congress that does not follow his example of running a clean, transparent campaign, funded solely by the American people. He needs to say the following, "America, your Congress is bought. I will no longer attempt to work with a Congress that has no interest in serving the interests of 'we the people.' Next year, I need your help to clean house, to eliminate the corruption that has so crippled our political system. We need fresh, new, honest faces in Congress. This is your time to make a difference. Demand that your Congressperson and Senator to get money out of politics, or you will fire them."

Next, the President needs to announce that he will be returning any contributions he received from businesses/corporations, and that any donations he received from anonymous donors will be donated to charity(s). This move would uphold his credibility and instill voter confidence not only in his campaign, but in the next 4 years of his administration.

These protests epitomize the growing discontent with our political system, and the movement is only going to keep getting bigger. President Obama has the chance to legitimize this cause, and in doing so, increase his support as a man of the people. He needs to embrace this cause, politicize the message, and run with it. If he does this, he will win, and win big.

Imagine it... two presidential contenders, one of whom is funded by Wall St, and the other who is funded solely by voters, regardless of party affiliation. A clear distinction would be drawn between the two candidates; the Republican nominee seeks to represent the interests of big business, and President Obama seeks to lead the American people. This message would resonate across party lines, and across the entire country. This would be a winning strategy. He has the chance to end the feeling of disenfranchisement that many voters are feeling. He could easily reach his $1B goal by doing this, and he would ensure a massive victory in 2012. We want our government back. We want our voices to matter.

Please sign my petition to get this message to the President.

Obama 2012.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Myth Busting

Yesterday, the United States Senate voted down the American Jobs Act. By doing so, 1.9 million Americans were denied a job. This is unpatriotic. This is un-American. This is morally bankrupt. This is wrong. How does House Majority Leader Eric Cantor respond? Does he have a jobs plan? Of course not, he just smirks and calls for a Thursday vote on an anti-abortion bill that the House has ALREADY PASSED. Republicans have, without question, demonstrated that they do not give a good god damn about jobs, nor about the American people. Polls demonstrate overwhelming support for President Obama's policies, yet despite this reality, Republicans continue to spew their usual rhetoric: cut taxes on the "job creators" and eliminate regulation(s). Let's briefly analyze these points (actually this is where I dismantle the entire Republican ideology in two paragraphs).

Tax cuts for corporations and millionaires/billionaires do not create jobs. They never have, and they never will. Why? Because people don't create jobs. Demand for products or services creates jobs. This is the fundamental aspect of our free market system. The claim that the extra money millionaires/corporations pocket from tax cuts will be recirculated into creating new jobs is false. Employers will not hire workers if there is no demand for what they are selling. This is simple economics and common sense. Cutting taxes will not create jobs. That said, what WILL create jobs? Well, if you ask business leaders, as Obama did the other day, they were unanimous in their response: investing in infrastructure. Infrastructure jobs are immediate, and will get those workers spending money on products and services, thus increasing demand and opening up the market for... NEW JOBS!!! Of course, Republicans ignore this, despite being "pro-business." How else can we create jobs? Research, development and innovation, which are priorities that our country has abandoned (excluding our miltary, but good luck seeing that technology being used to actually benefit society). How else can we create jobs? We need to invest in quality, public education. We need to create a strong work force, rather than a society of consumer drones. Yes, that means education reform, and yes, that means more spending, and yes, that means tax increases on the wealthiest Americans. It's the right thing to do and Democrats need to follow Presiden't Obama's example and hammer that message across the country. Tax cuts: MYTH BUSTED.

Eliminating regulations is the other Republican talking point which makes no sense, at all, in any plane of reality. One need not look back further than the 2007/2008 financial collapse to see not only the result of a lack in regulation, but lax regulation enforcement as well. Republicans, when asked which regulations they would like to repeal, generally say they want to end the EPA (I personally like clean air and water) and end the Department of Education. They are never able to cite specific regulations, because, it's an empty talking point. You know what happens when regulations are repealed? The current financial mess: the death of 29 miners in West Virginia (Massey Energy CEO Blankenship should be in prison); commercial airlines neglect their aircraft, compromising customer and environment safety; cars get recalled and lose efficiency (although the market is demanding more efficient cars, so maybe that's an exception). These are just a few examples. Interestingly, if regulations are followed, they can actually HELP businesses, as fewer screw ups, deaths, injuries and bad press can INCREASE consumer confidence, and, as a result, demand can increase... wait a minute... demand creates jobs!!! Sorry GOP, but corporations can not self-regulate. Regulations keep consumers safe, they keep workers safe and they hold those responsible for the actions of their business(es) accountable for wrong-doing. As for the government's role, regulations need to be enforced, and violations need to be corrected, in EVERY industry. The reason no one has been held accountable for the financial crisis is because there were no regulations in place that would HOLD anyone accountable. This is wrong. So, logically, following regulations can help businesses. Eliminating regulation: MYTH BUSTED.

People, take to the streets. Blog. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Call your Representatives and Senators. This country has been brought to its knees from 30 years of right-wing policy. It's time for progressive, liberal ideas and progressive, liberal leadership. It's what America wants, and it's what America needs.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Crunch Time

I am not advocating a national default. I am not advocating chaos, pandemonium or economic damage. I am advocating that those whom we elected to represent us in government not sell out our ideals to appease the obstructionism of the GOP/TP. I have emailed Representative Rangel to not sell out our Progressive ideals for the sake of appeasing the lunatic right wing in our government. I urge everyone to contact their representatives and plead with them to stand their ground and not give in to Republican BS any longer. President Obama has gone too far... please urge Congress to not follow this.

If we default, as a nation, it will due to the Republicans creating this crisis, and the blame will be theirs and theirs alone. The debt ceiling bill is 1 sentence long. The GOP raised it 8 times under GWB without hesitation. This battle is about bringing down President Obama, as Republicans have said time and time again.

Democrats: stand your ground, and STOP giving into unreasonable, stupid and ignorant Republican demands.
Republicans: start listening to the American people, put politics aside, and start governing. Where are the jobs you promised? When will the tax cuts start creating jobs, as you so vehemently claim they do? Why do you have such a deep-seeded hatred for this president? Why do you want to continue to cut education while giving tax cuts to the wealthiest people (news flash: that's welfare)? Why do you continue to wage war against the working class in this country? GROW UP.
President Obama: do not sell out the Progressive principles because of which you were elected. Do not give in to Boehner or McConnell. They are making the choice t drive the economy into the ground. Please, sir, do not alienate those who put your into office. Your country and, subsequently, your second term depends on it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rome is Crumbling

$2 Trillion in crumbling infrastructure. 3 wars. $14.3 Trillion in debt. A maxed out credit limit. Divided government. Democrats who care about the welfare of everyone. Republicans who only care about tax cuts to the richest individuals and corporations. The cost of living is going up. Wages are static. Unemployment is increasing, not because of Obama, but because companies are refusing to hire new workers.

We are on the verge of an unprecedented crisis in America. We are 3 weeks away from, for the first time in our nation's history, failing to pay our nation's debts. The repercussions of a default would be catastrophic, and global. The dollar would collapse, and because it is the world's reserve currency, economies of many countries would take a huge hit. While we have had to raise the debt ceiling in the past, we have never faced this level of debt before, especially when combined with an economic crisis that was 8 years in the making. Democrats believe that closing tax loopholes in order to generate revenue is necessary, Republicans would rather see a default than agree with Obama... on anything. Social Security can not, and should not be cut. It is not an entitlement, but rather a benefit program that working people pay into over their entire working lives. The same applies to Medicare. These programs are not the source of our deficit and debts. The main causes of the mess we are in are the wars Bush started (which Obama put on the books so we could pay for them), and the tax cuts that Bush initiated (which Obama continued).

The first thing we need to do is once and for all end all 3 wars we are in. No draw-downs, no periodization of troop withdrawal, but a complete exit from Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Second, we need to close at least half of our overseas military bases, most of which do not benefit the security of this country or any other. In other words, the empire needs to recede. The next thing we need to do, is close all corporate tax loopholes. All of them. We need to incentivize job creation in the private sector, and penalize outsourcing and meaningless layoffs. There are 3 million available jobs in this country, and we need to create incentive for companies to fill those positions. We need to reinvest in our infrastructure. Not only would this create innumerable jobs, but it would strengthen our national security. We need to invest in education, and NOT fire teachers, firefighters and cops.

If the debt ceiling is not raised, the USA will not be able to pay its debts and the world economy will suffer. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar. The dollar is the world's reserve currency, and dozens of countries have financial interests in our country (including China, which owns 7% of the US). A default would send shockwaves through the global economy.

Republicans are holding this country and, in some respects, the world economy, hostage. If they cared about our country, they would not be putting up such a stink. The GOP raised the debt ceiling 7 times under Bush II. This is 100% about hatred for Obama and as McConnell says, "making him a one term president." President Obama has compromised, sacrificed and tried to give Republicans what they want in this debt deal, and still, the GOP refuses to cooperate. Instead, they storm out of meetings like angry toddlers. The notion that tax increases kill jobs is complete nonsense, and history has proven that. Reagan raised taxes, and it created jobs. Clinton raised taxes, and it created jobs. What does NOT create jobs is slashing tax rates for billionaires, who just hoard the wealth. The GOP lives in a fantasty world, and it's destroying this country. Not a single idea put forth by the GOP combats our national debt and our budget deficit, in fact, their plans to cut taxes and end Medicare would add $7T in debt. When are people going to wake up and stop voting for these crooks (probably never, so long as they keep pandering to a religious, scared, ignorant base)?

The bottom line is that the GOP is willing to tank the economy in order to screw Obama. It won't work. The American people will be well aware of who caused their Social Security, Veteran's Benefits, Medicare, IRS Refunds and other checks to stop coming. The American people will know whom to blame when interest rates skyrocket. The American people will know whom to blame when the dollar becomes worthless... and it sure won't be Obama.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Just A Thought...

How do we fix our economic situation? (Note: I will be writing a seperate entry regarding the debt ceiling and jobs).

What we REALLY need to do is completely do away with our debt-based economic model. We need a resource-based economy, one that thrives on innovation, invention, and people working for the betterment of everyone. The advent of technology makes this 100% possible. We have to change our way of thinking, and I think we will, and I think it's already happening.

Our system is not sustainable. The reason regulation won't fix anything is because it's too late. It's like installing seatbelts into a car that's already had an accident. The design itself needs to be changed. I'm not suggesting we all go back to being farmers, but what we need to do is the following:

1) Reform our education system into one that teaches applicable skills not only for personal survival and prosperity, but also for societal benefit (such as what Finland does... our test-based rote system is incredibly stupid).
2) We need an economic model that is not based on making obscene profits, or gambling on budled mortgages, but rather on what people can contribute to society. This means innovation, invention and technological development.
3) We need a health care system whose sole purpose is to cure disease. Treatments hinder research for cures, because treatments are what drives profits. Cures are bad business. We need a health care system that focuses on preventative medicine. This goes back to education, which should also include how to live a healthy, sustainable life.
4) We need to do away with agri-biz. Local food production, I believe, is what will sustain us after the collapse of Capitalism (mainly caused by what we've done to Capitalism), which, to all of you deniers, IS going to happen. Please reference how Cuba thrived after the fall of the USSR. It's fascinating.
5) This is absolutely critical. We have to find a source of energy that is not a fossil fuel. This means natural, clean, sustainable energy, be it from the Sun, wind, ocean or geothermal sources.
6) We need to reinvest in infrastructure. We need high speed electric rail connecting our cities.

This is just a thought.