Propose Don’t Oppose

BRADFROMSALEM

Republicans, free of any serious opposition, have revealed their unverified template to reinvigorate the American economy, dissolve government’s role in any matter not connected to protecting the US from foreign entities real or imagined, and enhance government’s role in enforcing moral choices connected in any manner to sexual or other personal activities.

That’s a large agenda, and to be fair, not all Republicans are on board with every line item in the two major proposals, Mr. Ryan’s Health Care bill and Mr. Trump’s Budget proposal. The party as a whole, however, will define these two critical items with next to no alternatives coming from the Democrats in office. Democrats will pushback against the Republican plans and instead of responding to criticisms of the ACA, most elected Democrats respond entirely by defending the ACA, when all the solutions to the problems with the ACA can be corrected. It is called Medicare for All. The Republican idea that a budget and any legislative proposals reduce annual deficits is universally accepted as the “gold standard” of economic virtue and that guarantee to growing the American economy is never opposed by elected Democrats. This leaves little room for proposed legislation such as infrastructure growth, free higher education and expanded Social Security, all items that will grow the economy organically based on historically verifiable precedent.

The Republican assumptions cannot be accepted by anyone that is opposed to their vision of America. The debate can no longer be about presumed truths, presumed enmities (that include both Russia and China), who talks to who or any metric that is not measured against doing what is moral and right. Amorality has become America’s real enemy and both party’s establishment fully endorses and legislates on amoral standards. Changing the paradigm will break down the political monopoly trust that is stagnating the US. Yes, Trump has got to go, because doing so will start to establish that the American people are ready for the change to a moral standard; a goal much, much larger than firing a single incompetent President.

THE PEOPLE MUST FIRE TRUMP

Trump’s removal from office will not come from Congress or the VP.
It can only happen if we demand Trump be removed.

BRADFROMSALEM

I am going to be blunt, very blunt. Donald Trump must be impeached, or removed from office since he is unable to capably perform the job of President of the United States. This removal must come from the American electorate waking up to the realization that the CIA manipulations about Russia are not happening to remove Trump, but instead to prove to him that he must comply and take a hard stand against Russia. What is being called the deep state is rumored to be behind this. I don’t think the deep state has the single mindedness to pull that off. Instead its an operation being run by the long state. The outline of US foreign and domestic policy that continues to operate in the same mode of a continuous Cold War, with some Warm Wars to give us false heroes, and a whole lot of distractions.

So why is it so important to remove Donald Trump? First, he is truly not capable of performing the job. Second, he most certainly has committed various acts worthy of impeachment, but nearly every President has; especially since the inception of the Cold War. Third, the American people have already lost confidence that their vote counts, their complaints listened to, or their needs met. And that is the most important reason Trump must be removed. Removing Trump must come not from some Congressional inquiry, or a CIA manufactured smoking gun, it must come from the American people. Demanding government accountability and pushing the government to act in ways to benefit the needs of every American, reacting to public demands openly and honestly, and lining up at the polls on election day in numbers unheard of in the last 60 years. And Trump has unleashed, inadvertently, the outrage to make that happen. And to ensure it carries forward into the 2018 elections, the people have to demand a change in leadership. People are outraged that America has become the most xenophobic nation on Earth. Promises made by candidate Trump are being rolled back, the swamp was drained of the alligators only to be replaced by bigger meaner alligators, there has been no action on creating American jobs, the press is being ridiculed, secret meetings take place lowering the confidence that Mr. Trump is acting fully on the behalf of all Americans, health care replacement is nothing more than a tax giveaway to the rich while exhuming and attaching to it every bad Republican health care idea. I can go on to include discussion regarding his mental state, lack of attention to any detail, his entire administration’s obtuseness on implementing or even talking about any remedy to climate disruption and of course The Wall. I am not saying that policy wise he is any worse than his predecessors, but they were all politically savvy enough to add the poison slowly so we wouldn’t recognize how we were all being sold out to the oligarchy. I am saying that enough American people that can now see what has been happening because Trump chooses to do it in front of everyone, are ready to demand an end. With Trump we can all taste the poison and the opportunity to (re?)gain control of our government, our foreign policy, and our economy can be jump started by The People demanding that Donald Trump be removed from office.

The false hope being spread that he will be caught up in some Russian scandal, is just that. False hope. The long state needs a useful fool, too many people are beginning to catch on. The hard part is to help the people who found comfort in voting for Trump as a means to influence change that for change to happen, he has to go. And the same goes for those still loyal to the Democratic establishment, they have to give up their reliance on the Russia story giving them what they want.

Put Congress on Obamacare

BRADFROMSALEM

Was it Monday or Tuesday that Speaker Ryan released the years in the making, simmered over a low flame fueled by the heat of Republican passion to create the best Health Care plan ever. Apparently, their passion wasn’t quite hot enough, even after 6? years on the stove. What they came up with is an uncooked mess of leftover ideas seasoned by some of the ACA’s key provisions. But worst of all, instead of health care the plate served by Ryan was just another poorly camouflaged tax break for the rich. Just another day at the wonderful Café Republican, whatever they put on the menu, ain’t really there.

Now for my rant. Ever since the Republicans served up their tax plan and called it a Health Care plan, I keep seeing one meme over and over and for good measure over again. They all boil down to “Demand (via useless and ignored online petition) that we get the same Healthcare plan that Congress gets”. And now it’s time for a little story. Back during battles over the ACA, Republican Senator Grassley proposed an amendment that he was certain would be a poison pill for Democrats. The pill required that every member of Congress and their staff, would be required to obtain their Health Insurance on the exchanges. You know, the exchanges that individuals use to select their Health Insurance from. The exchanges that are the primary mechanism by which the ACA makes it easier to sell individual plans at a much lower than cost than before. Unless you got insurance from an employer, you had to buy insurance on your own and it was very, very expensive. The Democrats, for once displayed some backbone and left the amendment in. Now Congress and their staff has to buy their insurance just like everyone else that uses Obamacare. Sure, since they have an employer, the Federal government kicks in a chunk. But I recall that was exactly what my employer did, and most people I know that worked for larger companies or socially responsible smaller ones. By the way their staffers are not paid very much, not more than 50K.  Congresspersons and their staff do not get a special health insurance plan, they get Obamacare.

Why does this irrelevant meme irk me? It’s a waste of anger. Don’t be angry AT your congressperson. Demand they support single payer, which is the only proposal that fixes all of the deficiencies with the ACA. Insisting that Congress and their staff not get an insurance plan similar to the same one that any other person at the same pay level in the private sector gets will just harden Republican and many Democrats resolve to not listen to what or why you are so hard headed about Single Payer.

Be positive, not negative, vindictive or punishing. Push actual change, not reactionary solutions. Please, I only want comments that agree with me. I really don’t need to hear how corrupt politicians are. Let’s start, right now, expecting more from them. We still have enough of a democracy remaining that there is hope. And opportunity for great change, and some opportunities may come from unexpected sources.

Deep State – sounds ominous

BRADFROMSALEM

The deep state is in revolt! The deep state is controlling everything. Elections don’t matter, even the President is vulnerable to the deep state. Deep State. DEEP STATE. DEEP STATE. At what point did you get scared? No, Perhaps two more iterations. DEEP STATE. DEEP STATE.

I give up, if you are not terrified by now, then perhaps you are familiar with what makes up the deep state.

Contrary to much of the fear whistles being blown about our friends working for the deep state, by and large they are people just like you and me. II bet the majority of people do, and many of those people are the dreaded DEEP STATE. Whoops, I mean deep state. Especially if they have any sort of decision authority. Yes your next door neighbor that manages the local Agriculture Department office is part of that deep state that operates inside the grey and beige corridors of Federal office buildings, immune to elections, Presidential authority and the will of the people making decisions about the lives of everyday Americans. And while her garden is lovely, her kids pretty normal, and she even invites you to her cookout every summer, will you ever look at her the same?

Of course you will, and you should. She is just an everyday American working a job, but with a special added responsibility. She has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and defend America from enemies foreign AND domestic. That’s right, the lady next door that runs a small office for the Agriculture Department has taken an oath that actually allows her to interpret the Constitution of the United States! Is that as friggin’ democratic as you can get? The fears that you hear about the deep state acting on their own to stall or even block Mr. Trump’s agenda is part of the design that created the Civil Service which is a large portion of the deep state. So while most of the deep state consists of average Americans doing the best they can at jobs that are mostly thankless and often reviled, there is also the deep state permanent government employees such as the CIA, the FBI and the other 15 spy agencies not to mention other parts of the Defense Department, State Department, and Treasury Department. These people include many, many people with as wide a range of viewpoints as you will find in any other large enterprise. The deep state is not a group of people with similar outlooks and agendas. And many of the ones in the agencies I noted can and do have an impact on serious and dangerous and controversial issues affecting everyone in the nation and potentially the entire world. But, there is one thing they all have in common with our neighbor who runs a small office for the Agriculture Department; they have all taken that same oath to uphold the Constitution. Even the ones with guns. Sure many will abuse their power, but if a large number perceive that the President of the United States is a threat to the security of the United States isn’t their first responsibility to protect the nation against such a domestic threat. And, if the method chosen is to leak information to the press about activities that shows evidence of incompetence are they not fulfilling their oath?

What are they supposed to do? Sit quietly while someone that up close may be demonstrably incapable of handling all aspects of such a critical job. They cannot go up the chain because the top of the administrative chain is the danger. It’s not as if big huge government secrets are being revealed. The worst was that it was leaked that Flynn spoke to the Russian ambassador. It happens every time a new guy takes over as President, and it ain’t even illegal. So far, the deep state is doing their job, fulfilling the oath that each and every one took. This is how our democratic government is supposed to work. Certainly, there is opportunity for abuse, but we have laws against that and the elected state is not afraid to use those laws against the deep state, just ask Edward Snowden.

End Free Markets – But Keep Capitalism

BRADFROMSALEM

 

Ask just about anyone, Hell ask yourself, what kind of an economic system does the US operate under? Most will proudly puff out their chests and proclaim we live in Capitalist nation! Others, those that have a more Libertarian bent will tell you Free Market, maybe including Capitalism and a scowl or two noting that it would be a Free Market if the damn Socialists would just get out of the way. A minority, but a growing minority, would identify the US as a mixed economy of Socialism and Capitalism. Not much mention of a Free Market from that group. And then there are the fringe players, most notably those that call the US a Socialist country, and that’s why nobody got a job.

 

It all gets complicated when you have mix and match economies all operating under one roof, but that is exactly what is happening in the US, and it is the misconceptions and conflations that both confuse people and moreover leads to many people making bad choices. For example, a lot of people conflate Free Markets with both Capitalism and Democracy. Each of those are actually separate attributes of a nation. Free Markets and Capitalism are two economic attributes, and Democracy is a political attribute. A nation does not need to have Free Markets for Capitalism or vice versa, and neither automatically makes a nation a Democracy. In a similar vein Socialism is also an economic attribute and does not exclude Democracy as a political form. Democracy is simply a means of governing by consent of the people.

 

The only point of confusion to clear up now, is the difference between Free Markets and Capitalism. Capitalism is ownership by individuals or groups of individuals of any enterprise. Note, not necessarily all enterprises, just any. Free Markets, on the other hand are an attribute of an economy that does not deal with ownership per se, but instead establishes that enterprises require minimum oversight and are Free to operate in the Marketplace based almost solely on supply and demand. This may occur regardless of who owns the enterprises, in fact a Free Market economy left unchecked will lead a robust Capitalist economy into ownership almost exclusively by an oligarch, which in medieval times were called royalty. In more recent terms, in order to become an owner you must be invited.

 

Socialism is the other end of the spectrum from Capitalism, whereby ownership is by the people and in a Democracy it is much more natural fit. However, as we all know such a means of operating an economy defeats the risk taking that Capitalism without Free Markets encourages. Free Markets in Capitalism amplifies all the weakness of Socialism. But Socialism is very good at doing the necessary work to maintain the Commons, a critical component of any society. The Commons are for example, the air, waterways, roads, communications technology, schools, police, military, public parks, recreation facilities, libraries and even health care. There are more, but those are a good sample.

 

That leaves the rest beyond the Commons to Capitalism, but Free Markets does not bring out the best aspects of Capitalism. That is where Free Enterprise enters the picture. Now many do think that Free Enterprise and Free Markets are one and the same, but in fact their function is much different. Free Enterprise is a means to restrain Capitalism from its tendency to revert to medieval economies. It places a premium on making sure that any enterprise, Capitalist or Socialist, are subject to the same rules. Thereby forcing Socialized enterprises to compete for talent and ideas equally. But more critically, it is the Free Enterprise economic attribute that prevents monopolies and trusts to gather up a controlling share of the market place. It makes sure that ownership is based on your ideas and ability to gather backers that allow an enterprise to enter the market place. In many ways, it operates by Socializing Capitalism and encourages Democratic institutions to establish the rules and apply them equally to all enterprises.

 

Look at what has happened for the last 40 years in America, everywhere Free Enterprise is weakened and eliminated, and the call is for Free Markets to operate as the guiding light for our economy. Free Markets are destroying both Capitalism and Democracy, while wiping out Socialism. There are models to take as templates for the future, I am in favor of Democratic Socialism operating under a mixed economy of Socialism and Capitalism guide by Free Enterprise.

Progressive Policy Defined

BRADFROMSALEM

The components of a Progressive policy is unclear. How is it different from Liberal policy, or is it just an alternative name? It is both. Progressive policy is long term policy, while Liberal are the immediate policy. Progressive is larger in scope and is less forgiving of compromising on principles. Liberal is practical, Progressive is aspirational.

I have defined Progressive as being the sum of 3 non negotiable components. In order for a public policy to be Progressive it must be morally based, compatible with the principles of Democratic Socialism, and finally must seek out peaceful solutions as a primary objective.

Public policy in the US is any law legally enacted, Executive Order issued, or regulation published. For any policy to be considered morally based it must adhere to what is often called by Christians the Golden Rule; “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”. This is but one version of the Golden Rule which is a consistent teaching of all religions and other moral structures. A policy is moral when it applies to all equally and any that are affected would apply the same benefits to their fellows and those that are not affected would want the policy to apply to themselves.

When a policy is morally based it already contains a critical component of a true Democratic Socialist society. Democratic Socialism is already consistent with the US Constitution in the clauses regarding eminent domain, the postal services, and interstate commerce; as well as the preamble’s commitment to “the general welfare”. Democratic Socialism also does not prohibit Free Enterprise or fair and open elections. Any policy that restricts government’s ability to act for the general welfare, restrict Free Enterprise, prevent or hinder fair and open elections, are not Progressive policies. To clarify, Free Enterprise differs from Free Markets by some critical criteria, which is that Free Enterprise promotes open markets for competition of any business that does not impinge on the General Welfare. Free Markets on the other hand promotes less regulation over the markets and prefers the market to provide all services even those that affect the General Welfare. Free Market capitalism is not compatible with Democratic Socialism, Free Enterprise as I have defined it is compatible.

Lastly, seeking peaceful solutions is worthy not only in international relations but also with domestic problems as well. Internationally, entering into discussions over differences with the stated and demonstrated intention of a peaceful resolution makes a solution much more likely. A show of force by the US is totally unnecessary, the world is well aware of America’s firepower, there is no need to flaunt it. Domestically, the threat of prison and other harsh punishments that do not fit the crime are not only immoral (see above) but pits citizen’s against each other and diverts precious resources of people, land, and facilities from being into uses that enrich the entire country.

Progressive Policy = Moral + Democratic Socialism + Peace

Within that short formula is not a rigid one size fits all, but instead a means of determining where compromise can be made, and a wide range of viable positive policies can be derived.

Resistance means we already lost – Win instead

 

BRADFROMSALEM

There are some very serious problems with the “Resistance”.  There are millions that join and protest, but there are thousands of louder, more persistent voices that denigrate the so-called “Resistance” because they disagree with the founders of the movement.  People that financed and made speeches at the kick-off event; The Million Women March. Remember, Planned Parenthood was begun by a racist. I, do have doubts about the movement known as the “Resistance” but that due to the implications of it’s name.

The word “Resistance” politically reminds me mostly of the French Resistance during WWII. I’m sure the founders of today’s movement are well aware of the connection. But the word also connotes that your side has lost as in the case of France; Germany had conquered France.  We, here in America have not lost. Sure, the chaos of the new administration and its disregard for studied decisions and actions, along with the longstanding Republican Conservatives disregard for acknowledging that immoral and amoral choices eventually leads to negative results.  Democrats have also long surrendered their claim to morality as well. The reason we have not lost, is that we still have the ballot box. Yes, it has been corrupted by both Democrats and Republicans. The process for candidates to gain access to even appear on a ballot is fraught with hoops and gotcha’s, then to gain traction among the voting public (only 60% of possible voters!!) has even more hurdles. But, in spite of the problems of ballot access for candidates, there is also the issues of access to voters to exercise their right to vote. Nonetheless, while voting is not an accurate representation of the government that the American public desires and needs, all the effort undertaken to control the vote shows that voting does indeed count.

For over a half century most polling shows that more Liberal policies (FDR Liberals) are more popular and war is not tolerated when it lasts more than a year or two. And yet, the only longstanding political party to ascribe to both of these positions is the Green party And both Democrats and Republicans eschew FDR Democratic Socialism and Carter’s anti-war stand. But, should the citizenry actually demand that their Congressional Representatives and Senators support Progressive policies of Morality, Democratic Socialism, and Peace First then they will respond. Slowly, at first; especially among Republicans that make no pretense of adhering to the Progressive principles I outlined, but they still fear the ballot.  Why have so many Democrats abandoned their principles and allowed Republican style legislation like Obamacare? They fear a more Liberal approach to healthcare would damage their chances of winning reelection. This mindset, while not reflected in polls of the public, is repeated to them over and over by the media.

We don’t need to resist as much as we need to enlist as much help as possible in pushing a Progressive agenda. That means not just non Progressive legislators, but everyday people as well. Because someone still supports Hillary, don’t antagonize, just ask for their support. Antagonizing potential allies whose main difference boils down to their believing that Progressive goals are unattainable is just weakening the likelihood of proving them wrong. Last of all, every time you contact a legislator, it is implied that their getting your vote in the next election is based on how they respond to your input. And voting still matters. Show up for demonstrations, proclaim your disagreement with current policy, but endorse real change; be not only for change, be explicit what you want changed and how it will work.

 

Progressives = Morality, Democratic Socialism, and Peace