We the People or What is a Progressive

(This article was originally published on realprogressivesusa.com)

The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We all are familiar with the opening three words of the US Constitution, “We the People”.  It is from the preamble, written to introduce the purpose of the Constitution. The body of the Constitution describes the structure of the government.  These are two discrete functions and all too often, the Supreme Court neglects to examine if a law that qualifies as Constitutional when it adheres to the structural description also satisfies the purpose.  In fact, the preamble has never been applied by the Supreme Court in any ruling, and has been mentioned very infrequently.  Reading it, the intention of the preamble is pretty clear, it is America’s mission statement.  It stands separate from the details of the Constitution and establishes a set of standards for the United States.  For example, the Patriot Act passed after 9/11 obviously provides for the common defense (sic), but it does not secure Liberty.  Is that direct violation of the preamble instructions enough to declare the law unconstitutional?

There is a majority on the Supreme Court who claim to be Originalists.  Their guideline for determining if a law is Constitutional is grounded in establishing what the framers meant when they wrote whatever clause or clauses gave Congress the authority to pass the law.  The preamble makes it apparent that the founders were well aware that conditions would change over time. It is rather unlikely they believed why they wrote each clause would determine future Supreme Court decisions.  The very words they chose to place immediately after “We the people”nullifies the idea that the document is intended to remain static, and closed to interpretation to fit the times.

“In Order to form a more perfect Union”. Go, ahead, back up your eyes and read it again.  Prior to the US Constitution, the 13 colonies formed a Confederation in 1777, under a document called The Articles of Confederation.  After the Revolution, there was unrest across the country due to shortcomings in the Article’s design.  The central government was extremely weak, with the power to mint coins, but not to tax.  US currency effectively remained worthless and all business transactions used local currencies issued by the states and banks.  In the North there were local militias taking up arms against the individual states and the central government.  In the South, slaves were escaping in the desire to reach a state that had little or no slavery.  James Madison called for a convention in order to revise the Articles.  They met in 1787 in Philadelphia. Instead of fixing what was broken, they created the present Constitution.  The only reference to the document they intended to make better and ended up replacing was referenced as a “perfect union”.  The wording was used to sell the Constitution.  Even though the Articles were “perfect”, the new Constitution would be “more perfect”.  A deliberate choice of an impossible phrase, but heavy with meaning.

Under the Articles of Confederation, the self-declared independent colonies fought a war against the most powerful military in the world; they also made a treaty with France to improve their chances of victory. And, they won the war under the Articles and signed a peace treaty with England.  There was justification in saying The Articles operated perfectly.  But as a peacetime independent nation, it’s weaknesses became evident.  Unpaid debts or debt paid in worthless money, escaped slaves, the Whiskey Rebellion and finally just prior to the convention Shay’s Rebellion, made it evident that the country was in chaos. More perfection was the necessary cure.

The framers who met in Convention faced the reality that what was perfect only 10 years prior was no longer perfect.  With that realization, not only did they recognize that over time circumstances change, but they also made certain to embed change into the new Constitution.  They wrote in three ways to amend the Constitution. That fact alone is a recognition that meanings and usefulness change over time.  Further proof of this recognition is that in the first 20 years after the first 10 amendments were passed – itself a recognition that the more perfect document itself, could be made more perfect – there were multiple changes made to Presidential elections and how Senators are chosen.  On the difficult issue of slavery, the framers inserted an end to the slave trade into the Constitution.  An indication that they recognized that slavery was not going to remain forever.

The people that sat and sweated during the summer of 1787 recognized that circumstances would change.  The Originalists on our current Supreme Court do not recognize the lesson, pointed out by the framers themselves in the preamble, that as circumstances change so does the purpose of individual clauses in the Constitution.  To account for change they created the preamble as the standard by which laws are made and judged.  Instead of attempting to divine what the framers meant back when the US was predominately an agricultural nation. Or before communications even indicated the possibility of happening instantaneously worldwide, before medicine had fully elevated itself from the belief that all disease was carried in the blood and sickness could be cured by bloodletting, and before anyone dreamed that a single weapon could wipe out dozens of lives in a mere moment.  If Originalists follow the declared intentions of the framers provided in the preamble, they would recognize that their responsibility is to continually make the union more perfect. They would make certain that there is justice for all, and people should expect to have a comfortable life with little to fear.  America should strive to be a nation safe from any enemies but also provide that the welfare of all be assured. Lastly, the US should do nothing that would jeopardize Liberty in the United States for Posterity.  So, when anyone asks “what is a Progressive”? – Tell them it is the preamble to the US Constitution.

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April 21 Federal Job Guarantee & Modern Money Theory

 This is the handout notes for a presentation made  by the Modern Money Policy group in Salem, MA  April 21, 2018

Presentation Overview

  • We will be introducing two economic concepts:
    • A Federal Job Guarantee (FJG)
    • Modern Money Theory (MMT)
  • FJG:
    • The larger portion of the presentation.
    • What it is, how it works, and why it is necessary.
  • MMT:
    • Modern Money Theory describes the funding mechanism that makes the Federal Job Guarantee possible.
    • Understanding MMT is essential when advocating for and implementing progressive policies.
    • It provides the answer to the inevitable “How are you going to pay for it?” question.

Questions Will be Answered After the Presentation

 

 

!

 

Federal Job Guarantee

Voluntary – Nobody is Required to Apply

  • Anyone without a job can apply and get a job full time or part time.
  • Jobs will be real, productive jobs.
  • The program is federally financed, locally run.

All FJG Jobs Are Paid $15/Hour

  • Every job has full benefits
    • Healthcare
    • Family leave
    • Retirement savings
    • Vacation
    • Childcare
  • Examples of FJG jobs:
    • In abandoned or areas of high industrial pollution, jobs can be created to restore the natural environment.
    • Setup and run public gardens in urban food “deserts.”
    • Create, protect, and expand networks of public trails.
    • Create public art including performances.
    • Assist public schools to help teachers and lessen their work loads.

▪ This is just one example where people can use their existing skills to learn about other careers.

 

  • Jobs that are not part of the FJG:
    • Private sector employers, in general, cannot submit requests for FJG employees.
    • Public sector jobs being performed by competitively hired persons cannot be replaced by FJG employees.

▪ Some FJG jobs may prove themselves as critical and in that case the jobs will move into the job market.

  • Work that does not produce something of value to the local community.

The FJG Sets the Minimum Wage

  • Current proposals are to start at $15 / hour with 100% paid for benefits.
  • Creates a competitive market for labor.
  • Universal Basic Income (UBI) does not enhance labor’s market position or add to the commonwealth.
  • Employers must meet or beat the FJG package.

All Economies Are Cyclical—An FJG Can Prevent a Downturn from Becoming a Serious Recession

  • Once the mechanism is in place to provide jobs, the impact of jobs lost is minimized.
  • Benefits are preserved.
  • Can be used to acquire new skills or keep existing skills sharp.
  • Unemployed people are at a disadvantage when private sector jobs return.

▪ Private sector employers tend to want to hire people who are already employed in another job over someone who is unemployed.

Lessens the Negative Social Impact of Joblessness

  • Universal Basic Income (UBI) cannot, by definition, do this.
  • Individuals are less likely to commit crimes when jobs are readily available.
  • Suicide risks increase among the unemployed.
  • Social benefits of working.
  • Does not force unemployed to take a job – respects individual preferences.

The FJG Serves as an Auto Pilot to Control Inflation

  • The Fed has a mandate to maintain unemployment at the lowest level that does not generate inflation.
  • With an FJG, employment is always at its highest level.
  • By adjusting the FJG base wage periodically based on productivity and actual living costs, it will not generate inflation.
  • Each time the wage is adjusted up, a small short one-time jump in prices may occur. Inflation is a steady increase in prices.

Anyone Can Still Use All the Existing Supports that Currently Exist

  • Food stamps, unemployment compensation, housing, and heating assistance, for example.
  • Most of those on the FJG may not qualify for some supports, but depending on their personal circumstances they may.
  • It is expected that shortly after a FJG is fully implemented, expenditures on safety net programs at all levels of government will begin to lessen.
  • There are no income requirements to enter the FJG program, anyone can apply.

The FJG is Fully Funded by the Federal Government, but is Managed at the Local Level

  • Current unemployment centers can become a full service employment center.
  • When someone becomes unemployed, they go to their local employment center where they can select a FJG that suits their skills.

 

  • Local charities, government agencies and non-profits can all submit lists of jobs that the FJG can fill:
    • The lists are reviewed, and then sent for approval to make sure the jobs are meaningful and do not replace existing jobs.
    • Jobs will be local to the workers and will allow them to participate and help generate private sector jobs.
    • Studies have shown that for most people the paycheck is not the primary reason for seeking a job. The social aspects and feeling of self-worth are rated higher.
    • Providing jobs for anyone that wants one is the primary purpose of the FJG. There are multiple incidental societal advantages:

▪ Less crime

▪ Less drug addiction

▪ Less suicides

 

FJG Impact on the Federal Budget

  • As noted, one impact is that existing programs for assisting unemployed will continue but will see less usage. Those funds can be redirected to a FJG program.
  • State and local programs will also have less “customers,” freeing up funds for their needs.
  • Since FJG workers will protect a down economy from a major recession, private sector jobs will likely return quicker, reducing the spending on the FJG program.
  • The FJG must be fully federally funded. States do not have the capacity during downturns to increase funding, while the federal government is not restricted at any time from increasing funding as needed.

Modern Money Theory

MMT alters the purpose of a federal budget from restricting expenditures to making priorities.

It raises the ceiling of what can be done, allowing moral choices to drive the process and sends austerity to the dustbin of history

 

 

 

Modern Money Theory

Gold Standard

  • Use ended in the US in 1971; the rest of the world followed shortly thereafter.
  • US began issuing Fiat money.
  • The US is Monetarily sovereign.

Describing MMT – Modern Money Theory

  • MMT is a description of how fiscal policy operates without a Gold Standard.
  • It is NOT Modern – It is NOT a Theory.
  • Federal government is the issuer or creator of all US Currency whenever it spends.
  • Everyone else including all other levels of government, banks, people, businesses and foreign entities are users.
  • Provides a job guarantee to smooth economic swings.

Taxes

  • Primary purpose is to create value for the US dollar.
  • Other functions:
  • Discourages social negatives
  • Reduce Income inequality
  • Controls the $$ supply
  • Slows inflation

 

 

Constraints on Money Creation

  • Full Employment
  • Resources such as land, raw materials, energy, knowledge, and infrastructure are unable to meet demand.

MMT and Mainstream Economists

  • US cannot go broke:
  • Greenspan
  • Krugman
  • Stiglitz

MMT Heterodox Economists

  • Leading Advocates:
  • Stephanie Kelton
  • Warren Mosler
  • William Mitchell
  • William Black
  • D. Alt
  • James Galbraith
  • Randall Wray

MMT and the Progressive agenda

  • Why Progressives should embrace MMT:
  • Eliminates the “how do we pay for it” argument
  • MMT is agnostic when it comes to political philosophy
  • Provides a common economic platform and disrupts stale mainstream thought.

Future Plans for MMT Advocates

  • Ongoing meetings to introduce activists to MMT and related policy initiatives.
  • Modern Money Policy – discussion groups.

 Questions?

 

 

Contact Me:

  • Messenger on Facebook – Brad Sandler
  • DM on Twitter – Sandler_Brad
  • Email – sandler@comcast.net
  • Facebook Group – Modern Money Policy

 

 

 

 

 

Resources for More Information

http://neweconomicperspectives.org

The go to place for all matters MMT. Archive of articles and blogs by numerous MMT proponents.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLrOKbhEhdY A video detailing what MMT is NOT

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d57M6ATPZIE Stephanie Kelton’s Angry Birds Presentation

https://moslereconomics.com/wp-content/powerpoints/7DIF.pdf

A free PDF version of Warren Mosler’s 7 Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy (When you open the link, you may need to scroll down to see the text.)

https://www.pavlina-tcherneva.net/job-guarantee

A collection of videos and writings by Paulina Tcherneva on the Federal Job Guarantee

https://modernmoneybasics.com/facts/

An overview topic by topic on all the major ideas associated with MMT

http://www.modern moneynetwork.org

Brings accurate and accessible knowledge of monetary and financial systems to the broader public.


 

elliswinningham.net

Always informative, Winningham uses simple language to make learning MMT easy.

Real Progressives Group on Facebook

Multiple FB groups touching on all facets of MMT at all levels of knowledge

https://www.facebook.com/groups/MMTforRP/ Modern Monetary Theory for Real Progressives

Modern Money Policy on Facebook

The Eastern MA based group doing this presentation

http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/pn_18_2.pdf

The written source of the proposal discussed in the presentation

https://www.pavlina-tcherneva.net/job-guarantee-faq

Recently created online FAQ put together by one of the authors of the above FJG proposal

New Hampshire Modern Money Group (MMT) on Facebook

A group from our Northern neighbor

In Order to form a more perfect Union

As we can tell by the terrible choices that President Trump has made even just recently, it is obvious just how little he understands economics, business, social norms, international diplomacy, and anything else that has to do with being a chief executive of any organization. The question must be asked, should he be fired? And that begs the question, would Hillary Clinton have done better?

If your metric is can she perform the duties of the President of the United States without exposing her own incompetence at nearly all the same measurements that Trump has exposed? The answer is yes, of course. For many that is sufficient. And she most certainly has an understanding of social norms, there would not be any 5 am rambling nonsensical tweets to entertain and frighten us. Hillary Clinton is much too disciplined and calculating for that. Again, for many that is sufficient. And after close to a year, can we say that Donald Trump’s presidency has failed at moving the country to a more egalitarian and productive society? Absolutely. And if Hillary Clinton had won, is there any chance she would have succeeded with those goals? Legislatively, not a prayer of any success. We have already seen how the Republicans react to a mostly moderate black man’s agenda, is there any evidence that a woman would be treated any better? None.

In the international arena, her past history as Secretary of State gives us a glimpse into how she would run international policy. Simply put, her policy would align a lot closer to the McCain / Graham view than Trump’s. Of course, Trump runs US foreign policy almost exactly like Rufus T Firefly ran Freedonia’s foreign policy; no comfort there. Economic policy which is a large piece of what happens in a country includes fiscal policy, tax policy, government management of how the economy operates including the government funding of education, health care, retirement, banking, infrastructure development, anti-trust enforcement, environmental issues, public spaces, and many more. Clinton would have made appointments to head the agencies that manage all these areas that are much more appropriate than the appointments made by Trump. There are two caveats to this observation, Clinton would not get the best people available to head these agencies due to inevitable Republican obstructionism, and her favored appointments would all, to a person, represent neo-liberal economic policy. In other words the same policy initiated under Reagan, slightly made more compassionate under Bill Clinton so that Democrats could adopt it and so on. The history of neo-liberal economics is a slide that over it’s nearly 40 year lifespan has expanded the wealth of large corporations, very rich individuals, and created ever wider income inequality. Clinton, during her campaign never disavowed her allegiance to the continuation of neo-liberal economics. Trump, is most certainly worse. His appointments are almost entirely unqualified for their positions, often they are the antithesis of the selection that should be made. Trump too, has not disavowed an allegiance to neo-liberal economics. In continuing a failed economic explanation and putting incompetent persons in charge, he has exposed the weaknesses of the policy, himself, and Republicans.

If you have read along this far, then permit me to point out the reasons I did not vote for Clinton (or Trump for that matter) since all the items I listed above were essentially expected before the election. I feel this is important because as I have listed Clinton would have been a better President based on optics. But not based on the impact of her policy choices, except of course, in the area of understanding social norms and utilizing rhetoric considered appropriate for a President. In order to reverse the decline of American shared wealth I cannot abide a President that will not run on a platform that continues the neo-liberal economy and also supports the neo-con international agenda. No matter who, no matter what the optics, it is a continuous slide downhill with history’s dustbin at the bottom of the slide.

Here are a few things the Democrats have done since Trump’s election that convinces me even more that unconsciously America made the only choice it had available to save itself from the dustbin.

Once Trump was elected the Democrats called themselves “The Resistance” implying that the party and it’s followers would actively do anything legally allowed to prevent Trump (and by extension, the Republicans) from implementing their agenda. Recall, it was the Democrats that ran all of their campaigns as a plebiscite on Trump and the Republicans, essentially in place of advocating any full throated policy, and never addressing the concerns of a large portion of their presumed base – Progressives.

The Democrats in their role as “The Resistance” rolled over and allowed Trump to put in place people clearly not qualified for their job. The Democrats allowed Trump and the Republicans to expand military spending after publicly stating how much they distrusted Trump’s foreign policy. The Democrats failed to back candidates that ran against Republicans in special elections that would not swear allegiance to neo-liberal economics. Democrats stood mute and voted no on a bill for tax reform that was not ready for a vote. It had hand scribbled notes on the margins, there was not enough time for anyone to read the bill before deciding their vote, voting no instead of abstain was capitulation and allowed Republicans to claim victory while demeaning the tradition of deliberation and debate on critical policy. Democratic leadership has stated that impeachment is currently off the table, a statement a Congressperson should never utter. Impeachment is a tool that the founders gave to Congress so that a President cannot overstep his bounds or prove incapable of performing the job of president, as defined solely by Congress. After the election, Democrats chose not to challenge vote totals in very close states. Utter capitulation. There is no resistance from the establishment Democrats, and there is no sign that any is forthcoming.

I could go further and discuss how Democrats took Progressive voters for granted. Instead I will wrap up this rant.

What we have now is a President who is supporting idiotic international agendas and a few sane ones too. His economic agenda is everything the Republicans have dreamed about, since daddy Bush’s lips were found to be lying lips. But the Republicans have been clamoring for these policies, insisting it will jump start our economy, and Trump insisted he alone could shut down our enemies (real or perceived). I guess we will find out about the economic policy. It is obvious that the Democrats half assed economic policy was not doing anything for us, let’s see what Republican economic policy does. Sliding down into a dustbin at a slower speed is not going to help anyone.

This is democracy. A flawed system on its best days. On its worst days, all the parts fail and we end up with candidates unworthy of representing us. The election of 2016 was possibly the worst day in American history, but it did not happen without cause. Both candidates for president and nearly most candidates for office across the country were the result of years of political malfeasance and willful neglect of two of the Constitution’s guiding principles as stated in the preamble. To provide for the General Welfare and to create a more perfect Union. When only the admonition followed is to provide for safety and ignore all the other is to force all of us into fearing for our safety, worried about our own welfare, and ready to rip up the very document that asks us to strive for perfection – a plea to keep making improvements from our founders who knew their document was anything but perfect.

Thomas Jefferson famously wrote that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” We have an opportunity to refresh the tree with metaphorical blood, and that can only happen if we stop allowing establishment politics, Democrats and Republicans, to define the limits of our choices. Part of the American experiment has failed. I contend that failure is attributable to our two party “system” and we should dismantle it, impeach Trump on grounds of incompetence and force other politicians to resign that are not capable of doing their job according to the Constitution’s “Mission Statement”.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”

You Can’t Always Get What You Want – A Story About Ranked Choice Voting

Consider the times you have gone to the voting booth and the feeling of dread that you have sensed for the previous couple of months leading up to the election makes you wonder why you even bother. For many the dread of picking between two evils, or at best voting against the worse choice, is justification to stay home, and not bother.
But on top of the lack of candidates that even closely resemble your values, there is the election process itself. Republicans claim there are millions and millions of people voting illegally, and they usually vote for Democrats. The Democrats point to laws passed mainly by Republicans that are sold to the public as a fix for those people who allegedly voted illegally. These laws require a list of particulars for each citizen to show as proof of their right to vote. The result is that many legitimate voters, mostly minorities, the elderly, and the poor are denied their right to vote, and illegal voters are never actually found.
Democrats on the other hand have made sure their candidates are vetted by the party as being consistent with the Party’s objectives of resolving most policy issues with public/private partnerships, so that partnership can be used in order to raise money for campaigns and keep out any candidate that questions the party agenda. The result are few candidates that serve up any new ideas. Both Democrats and Republicans are now built upon the same foundation of deference to the private sector that was put in place during the Reagan administration and reinforced during Bill Clinton’s term.
What has happened is that Democrats tend to minimize the variety of candidates while Republicans minimize the number of voters, especially historically Democratic voters. This dynamic has reduced the choices of ideas and candidates. This contributes mightily to the dread that Elections bring to American voters, and added to their well founded belief that their vote matters very little, if at all.
But, unfortunately there is more that is restricting the quantity of democracy (if that is such a thing) here in the US. The United States does not have a trustworthy system of vote counting. There are few laws enforcing strict validation of voting counts and only a handful of jurisdictions require post election audits. Making remedies harder to implement, the courts have generally opted to recuse themselves from litigation on election issues deferring to the legislature for resolution.  In general courts have served mostly to reinforce the existing two party system that has evolved into a political monopoly trust.
The Democrats and the Republicans have monopolized to the tune of well over 90% of all office holders belong to one of them. They compete for your vote, but only against each other, their competition stops when it appears there is anyone challenging their monopoly. That is the definition of a monopoly trust, and it violates the law; additionally a two party system, is in no manner based upon anything in the Constitution. But it is so embedded into our conscious that nearly all political discussion revolves around Democrat vs. Republican, every single party that is not the Democratic or Republican party is lumped into a single 3rd Party. Without going down the political party rabbit hole, leave it to note that this forced choice is also a large contributor to voter dread.
A frequently noted remedy for many of these issues is to implement a voting process called Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). It also is frequently referred to as Instant Run-off voting. The following points summarize what I have learned about RCV.
HOW RCV WORKS
  • Each ballot allows a voter to vote for potentially every candidate ranked by the voters preference.
  • If no one achieves a majority of votes on the first counting of all #1 choices, then the votes are tallied again. Only anyone who voted for the last place finisher has his #2 choice counted. If a voter chose only one candidate, then their ballot is no longer part of the process.
  • The recounting continues until a single candidate achieves 50% +1 votes. That person is then declared the winner.
  • Each city or town can make their own rules regarding how many choices a voter actually has. But minimums are defined.
  • In most jurisdictions that have implemented RCV, Primary elections are eliminated.
GENERAL ISSUES WITH RCV
  • Does not resolve the problems with vote counting, and in fact it’s complexity amplifies those problems.
  • Election fraud becomes harder to determine, easier to implement, and mistakes are much more likely to occur.
  • The proposed MA RCV does not address party control of the election process. If implemented statewide, the Democrats and Republicans will likely use their large base in order to crowd out other parties, in the same manner that monopolies crowd out competition.
  • RCV works best only when all candidates are viable. Since it usually eliminates Primaries elections which are in place to filter out the candidates that are not viable, it is possible that a poor candidate could win, especially when there is large field of candidates.

A SOLUTION – That addresses what is wrong with our Election Process

  • All Ballots must be counted both mechanically and by hand. Any significant deviations triggers an automatic recount. The mechanical software code and database must be made available to the public.
  • All ballots and machines must be audited before a vote is certified. At least 20% of the vote must be subject to a forensic audit.
  • Voter registration is automatic at age 18. On Election day polls must be open for at least 36 hours and is a holiday. No early voting, except for absentee ballots.
  • Only one ballot for primary elections. You may vote for up to three candidates for each seat being voted for during the Primary. These are NOT ranked votes, all votes have equal weight.
  • All offices have two possible votes in addition to the candidates.
    • “None of the above” (NOTA) and “Abstain”
    • If NOTA wins, then the election must be held over with all new candidates. Abstain, reduces the actual number of votes needed for victory. Voting for either of these two is void if a vote for anyone is also made.
  • The Primary winners are chosen by taking 1/3 of the total voters for all candidates (less any abstains) and awarding a position on the general election ballot for every candidate starting from the candidate with the largest number of votes until the 1/3 of the total voters are tallied.
  • The General election also has the NOTA and abstain options, but a voter can only choose up to two candidates to vote for.
    • The same rules apply as in a Primary, but the winner must receive over votes of over 50% of the voters, excluding abstains. If no one has over 50% of the voters then another election is held and with only the candidates that were in to top 50% of all votes. The winner is determined by a plurality.  In any General election where NOTA wins, then a new election is held with an entire slate of new candidates.

Venn

When trying to describe my political orientation I have morphed through many descriptions. Some have been decided by the state of my own beliefs, other times I have tried using terms that describe what political party I most associate with. I have toyed with using what is in vogue for most people that I politically agree with, and with using what most aptly describes my leanings.

My grandfather was involved with Boston city politics, becoming a campaign manager for a long time City Councillor. That meant he was a Democrat. It was from my mother’s side that I inherited the Democrat bent. My father was a cynic who rarely voted. He never subscribed to any party because he believed they were “all a bunch of crooks”. From my father, I inherited cynicism; which rested dormant in my mind until world events pushed me to recognize in an abstract way my father was right. All politicians are a bunch of crooks. Not because they necessarily stole from public coffers, but because most put the comfort of the wealthy before that of the voters. Oddly, as my own cynicism began to blossom during my later teen years and the Vietnam War through the Reagan administration, his lessened as he began to dutifully believe the President was justified to do whatever was needed because he knew things we didn’t. For a while I considered myself a Democrat.

In fact, I am still registered as a Democrat. But I cannot participate in their party activities. I’m still invited to their get-togethers, but I cannot find the space in my life to go. I am not #Demexit. I am #NoMorePoliticalParties.

My wife was brought up in an Italian Catholic home, but their religion was belonging to the Democratic Party. She has never wavered from that. She did try a few religions before settling on becoming a Jew. So a nice Italian Catholic Democrat girl, became a Jewish Democrat. Those are the Venn Diagram she individually lives in.

As I noted over the years I modeled my descriptions along more esoteric terms. Lately I have bundled them all together into a long stream such as “Progressive, Liberal, Left Wing, Bleeding heart, Social Democrat. I intentionally leave out the Liberal Libertarian part that was actually a moniker I used online for a while. Inevitably people would accuse me or tell me that if I used Libertarian in my self description that regardless of any modifier I use (such as Liberal!) then I am a Libertarian and are therefore required to follow the Libertarian agenda. I realized that thinking was true across the political spectrum when I stated opposition to early voting and was rebuked by someone telling me that “Democrats are in favor of early voting”. Perhaps I am not a Democrat? Is autonomy dead? Do most people actually look to political parties to tell them what to believe? Current events tell me this is so, more now, I think, than ever.

Watch the news, read the paper and everything is characterized into one single grouping for Liberals. Liberals believe Russia hacked the election, they tell us. Conservative voters believe that Trump will bring good business sense into managing US economic issues. None of that makes any sense. Russia did not hack the election, Trump has no business sense at all. I’m a Liberal and I know Conservatives that don’t believe Trump would know how to run a lemonade stand.

In reality, we are all defined by the Venn Diagrams that describe each of us. The media, in a day when there is time to tell the story that is real are supposed to be cynics, instead they are toadies of the lowest sort. I have noted some of the Venn circles that I find myself in, I bet almost every person that reads this shares at least one circle with me. That cannot be covered in today’s political party setup.

From here on I will call myself a #TrueLiberal. Anyone can use the nomenclature, it’s only purpose is to separate those of us that want to disassociate themselves from the any of the established Political parties.

What’s So Funny About Peace, Love & Understanding

I just cannot believe how many people I am supposed to hate.

I’m a Progressive, proud Liberal, All American Bleeding Heart, a Socialist too albeit one that favors Free Enterprise Capitalism and disdains Free Market Capitalism, occasionally I can be a (Liberal) Libertarian. I also favor Democracy over any other form of governance, but I recognize it’s limitations.

I am supposed to hate all Republicans, except the Libertarians.  It would be presumed that I hate Donald Trump, perhaps John McCain but probably not until the next time he votes for another war. Some, perhaps many might believe that I adore Hillary Clinton, after all I am a member of the Democratic Party. That belief would be false, I’m a Berniecrat, but I don’t hate Hillary, I don’t hate John McCain, Donald Trump, or all Republicans.

Some of the harshest language that I hear comes from fellow Berniecrats. Many of them now hate Senator Sanders, along with Debbie Wasserman Shultz, John Podesta, Elizabeth Warren, and countless others that our Main Stream Media have dubbed Progressives. The online crowd I run with has a list a mile long and only a handful squeak by the tighter and tighter reins of the so-called alt-Left on who to love ad who to hate. And they are right, politicians like Senators Warren and Booker are not currently the aspirational Progressive voices this country desperately requires and is, in fact, yearning for.

Enough with hate. Because someone gave money to Hillary Clinton’s campaign means I should hate them. Because Hillary and company stole the primary from Bernie, is not reason enough to hate viscerally anyone.

Hate is a very strong and powerful word.

Using things or ideas of such power requires restraint. Hate the outcomes of their actions, not the actor. As an example lets look at John McCain. I “hate” that he advocates for policies of military aggression. I do not hate John McCain. I “hate” that John McCain is still in the Senate. I do not hate John McCain.  The same can be said for Hillary, Trump, the Koch Brothers, George Soros and countless, dizzying others.

A Rabbi taught that we should love others as we would love our brother or sister. That teaching of having goodwill toward each other, is not about any religion, instead it is about dispensing with personal vindictiveness, replacing it with a bias toward understanding. Think about ISIS, nearly all Progressives recognize their anger is fed by the actions of Western nations. We need to treat our political opponents the way we would like the US to treat ISIS. With respect.

I know and acknowledge that treating the DNC and Nancy Pelosi with respect is very hard when they are working so very hard at marginalizing the Progressives by using the name for themselves and otherwise ignoring us. We are being disappeared, like in Stalin’s Soviet Union and in Orwell’s 1984.

This is a callout to Progressives. Stop hating. It is making me nauseous.  Thank You.

Won’t Get Fooled Again

BRADFROMSALEM

The other day I heard a rerun of the tail end of the May 5 Stephanie Miller program still touting the wonderfulness of all things Hillary. I find her hard to take anymore. Then, later that same day Bill Maher demonstrated for all to see and hear, how very wrong he and the establishment Democrat’s analysis of why Hillary Clinton lost to the only candidate in the entire 18 (or was it 19?) field of Republican candidates for President that she had a chance of beating. But the star of the “Still with Her” of the Democratic establishment supporters defending Hillary’s loss as not HER fault, was Hillary herself.

I think it was on a Thursday that Clinton addressed her loss, admitting she made mistakes. But what Clinton went on to say after her mea culpa, demonstrates precisely why she lost, when her intention was to explain it. If Clinton stopped at saying she made mistakes, it would have been a tiny step toward understanding both why Progressives rejected her and why the Reagan Democrats voted for Trump. But instead, not being able to keep her trap shut (I sympathize with her on this disability, I have been known to toss politest to the wind myself, to my own detriment. However I have never run for president.) Hillary goes on to minimize and even trivialize her mistakes by noting that nobody runs a perfect campaign. No shit, (S)Herlock Clinton. Without stretching out to rebut the further points she made, none of which actually mattered, such as Comey’s now revealed reason during the day prior to her speech, for sending a letter to Congress about reopening the Clinton server investigation or the release by Wiki Leaks of the DNC emails. A reason that as Comey explained made some sense. I still think there is more to the story, but none of that is the reason I am writing this post.

In all of these diatribes about how, in the words of Clinton, on Oct 27, she was winning. And that was an actual juvenile whine by a person that her supporters had ardently claimed to be the most qualified person to ever seek the office of President of The United States, explains why she may have had the best resume, but as it turns out still was not qualified for the job. And to any Hillary sycophants, like Stephanie Miller, drooling into their microphones at the thought of a Hillary Clinton Presidency, and now drooling about Clinton joining the “resistance” that just jumps their heart rates right into the danger zone, I just have to say.. Fool.me once, shame on me, Try to fool me twice… I Won’t Get Fooled Again. Yes, paraphrasing W’s really jumbled thoughts now passes for cleverness.

Hillary and her resistance crew. Yes, Hillary, by claiming she is part of the waste of time anti-Trump resistance has become its titular leader. When I heard Miller on the radio jumping for joy, that Clinton claimed to be part of the resistance and she was about to embark on creating a new political organization, recruiting board members and raising funds told me all I needed to know. In Clinton world, and with the resistance groupies it is still about money. The lessons of 2016 and how she stole money from local candidates, and outspent Trump, and that she spent all of it on telling everyone how horrible Trump would be is totally lost on her and her followers. That includes opinion makers such as Bill Maher and Stephanie Miller; who both seemed to bother to actually think things through when it came to Bush. And here, finally is my point. It ain’t my freaking fault that Donald Trump was elected President. Because that was the point of Maher’s rant. It was unsaid by Hillary, but you could feel it. By what rubric did I “owe” my vote to Hillary Clinton?

See, that is what people mean when they complain about how many votes Jill Stein got, and that if Stein’s votes all went to Hillary, then it would be “Madame President” instead of “Madman President”. Sorry, that argument holds no water. I owed her my vote because she ran with a “D” after her name? I did not hear or see Hillary Clinton come to me and tell me why I should vote for her. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment paid lip service to the movement instigated by Bernie Sanders, and expected us to fear Trump and fall in line. My vote costs a lot more than that. A lot. She could have won me over, and by extension millions of more Progressive Americans. She could have won. Hillary was quoted in the forthcoming book “Shattered” which is about her campaign, where she noted that she has no idea what is going on with the American electorate. That statement says it all. Trump does have at least a gut feeling of what is happening, and being a con artist salesman that is how he ran his campaign and now his administration. But a person’s whose profession is politician that does not know the pulse of the nation, cannot possibly be president. We have won, because Trump can be manipulated by the masses. He is like the creatures that often show up in Star Trek and other Sci-Fi movies and literature. Those monsters feed off of some chosen emotion, usually anger or hate, Trump feeds on his ego and the main staple of his diet is making the sale. Joining with Trump supporters, gently welcoming them to our ranks, will eventually bring Trump himself to the political table with something we want him to sell us. Political affiliations don’t matter anymore.

So, Hillary people, please just forget the idea that most Progressives did not vote for Hillary because she did not pass a “purity” test. That is just a continuance of the condescension spoken out loud by Hillary supporters since the day Sanders announced. We did not vote for Hillary for two important reasons. I’ll wait a second here, for Hillary people to get pen and paper. _____________________________________________ Ok. Progressive did not vote for Hillary because she marginalized Progressives, and that includes treating us with contempt, especially when she called herself a Progressive. And second because she won the nomination via cheating. We are damn certain that her campaign managed the DNC leaders and there is sufficient evidence to justify an investigation into the actual Primary voting. And she expected us to vote for her because her opponent sucks? This was not a matter of the lesser of two evils. It was a matter of no more evil. A conservative friend noted that during the Primary, when he marked his ballot for Sanders, how wonderful it felt to vote FOR someone. The Identity politics of gender, party, and resume was where Clinton got the vast majority of her votes. Almost nobody voted for HER. And that is why she lost.