Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The New GOP

Eli,

Many #neverTrump'ers have made statements similar to this:

Trump’s various rants, by contrast, do not amount to policies. They are ignorant tone poems, bad haikus, streams of words whose content has no real meaning. They’re not positions available either to the GOP or Democrats, because they do not contain a vision of the future over which those parties can fight.
I disagree. Trump has policies, and those policies are what has propelled him to the Republican nomination. He wants to build a wall (restrict immigration), he wants to punish China and Mexico and Japan (restrict trade) and he wants to protect us from the Islamic State (restrict civil liberties). These position have resonated with the GOP voter.

So much ink has been spilled trying to identify who is responsible for Trump. Isn't that an easy one to answer? The Republican voter, of course.

Bill

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

There Goes the Theory That Trump Only Appeals to White Trailer Park Trash in the South

Eli,

The NY Times wants us to believe #BabyTrump's support is mostly from trailer parks. Always seemed to be too easy and convenient a conclusion to me.

So how is it #BabyTrump's biggest victory to date, in terms of percentage vote won, is New York? It looks like Connecticut will also be a big percentage win for that whining, bloviating, mendacious ignoramus, #BabyTrump.

I'm just disgusted with the whole thing now. Republicans decided immigration and Islamic Terrorism were the be-all and end-all issues and they attracted, then embraced, a demagogue that repeated back to them what they wanted to hear.

They got what they demanded. I'll have no part of it. A pox on the Republicans.

Bill

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Why I'm Not Feeling the Bern

Bill

From the comments section of David Brooks column today

A. Stanton

Dallas, TX 7 hours ago
I and millions of other Americans mailed off far too much money to the federal government this past week. Here is our
story.

To us it is completely understandable that people with little or no money who frequently pay little or no taxes -- like many of Bernie’s supporters -- would be in favor of higher taxes on rich and middle income people. Why wouldn’t they be? Somebody has to pay for the schools, roads, bridges, medical care and other government services they utilize, and it clearly cannot be them.

The thing about Bernie Sander’s democratic-socialist vision for America that for us is so dismaying is sheer dishonesty of it. When he talks about free college educations, free health care and forgiveness of college loans, he is talking about free for the kids on the stage who are yelling his name, but not free for the 55 percent of the American people who pay income taxes and with those taxes are buying America’s bread and putting It on the table for everyone.

Bernie’s slogan is “A Future To Believe In.” An honest one would be “This is a Stickup. Hand Over Your Money.”

Amen to that

Eli

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

It's Dismaying to Me That All the Candidates Are Talking About Things I Don't Give a Crap About.

Eli,

I don't care about immigration. Free trade is good, not bad. Radical Jihadism is not an existential threat to our life. Raising the minimum wage kills jobs. Citizen's United has been proven irrelevant by Jeb Bush and Bernie. The Koch Brothers, Millionaires and Billionaires don't bother me. Wall Street does not control America.  Mexicans, Muslims, China, and corporate greed is not destroying my way of life.

It really doesn't matter to me who wins this damn election because all of the candidates are focusing on things I don't give a crap about or they are completely wrong.

On the positive side of life, my daughter and I are reading Macbeth together.

Bill

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Secret of American Politics: Rally the largest possible number of voters to oppose the smallest and vaguest of enemies.

Eli,

From Walter McDougall's "Throes of Democracy,"

Americans, Tocqueville remarked, are naturally suspicious of others’ success. To attribute their rise to superior virtue demeans the self. Hence those left behind in a freewheeling, free-market democracy tend to assume the rich and mighty became rich and mighty through subterfuge, corruption, or favoritism. And if this were so, then the fact that such men had the power to constrain liberty and limit opportunity for the common man was simply unbearable. The real or imagined contrast between the myth of equality and the very unequal outcome of free competition in an era of blistering change was a torment to many Americans.
McDougal was writing about Jacksonian America but much of the issues faced almost 200 years ago are the same we argue about today.

By instinct or accident Jackson discovered the secret of American politics, which is to rally the largest possible number of voters to oppose the smallest and vaguest of enemies. Leaders of the Democratic party caught the drift and rode it for thirty years, using rhetoric that damned corruption, corrupt bargains, conspiracies, “monster” banks, “satanic” mills, monopolies, aristocrats, usurpers, speculators, stockjobbers, abolitionists, and meddling self-righteous reformers who meant to “enslave,” “shackle,” “enchain,” or “fetter” the naturally free and equal American workers and farmers.
Can you hear Sanders and Trump in there? Sanders warns us of Citizen's United, Wall Street, the Koch Brothers and millionaires and billionaires. Trump sees Muslims, China, Japan, Mexico as threats. Both are deathly opposed to free trade. All of these are looking to enslave us.

Democrats invited any voter with a grievance to assume he had been cheated, thwarted, exploited by powerful men who rigged the game in their favor. They apotheosized all that was natural, simple, and intuitive, implying that complex institutions of all sorts were artificial, oppressive, and undemocratic. Jacksonians wanted to rise in the hectic, industrializing market economy, yet at the same time flee from the impersonal human relationships it required. Their world was a volatile mix of aspiration and fear.
The more things change.....State's rights, internal improvements (infrastructure), federal power, racism, immigration, monetary policy, free trade, tariffs, isolationism, imperialism are just as relevant today as they were in FDR's, Wilson's, Lincoln's, Jackson's and Washington's times.

I liked Lindsey Graham much better after listening to his interview on David Axelrod's podcast, The Axe Files. But at the end he and Axelrod lamented the changes in the Republican Party. The typical stuff: Reagan couldn't get nominated today. Not your father's Republican Party. The normal blather.

What they are missing, I think, is parties have always changed, and should change. Do we really want a party to not respond to changing times and preferences? When I hear the Republican and Democratic parties have changed, I think to myself, "I sure hope so."

I think of the parties testing, then embracing which side of state's rights, internal improvements (infrastructure), federal power, racism, immigration, monetary policy, free trade, tariffs, isolationism, imperialism they will be on so we have Democrats and Republicans on both sides of these issues over the course of history. It's not your father's Republican/Democratic party.

25 years ago the Democrats didn't just embrace NAFTA, they fought for it. They fought for deregulation and welfare reform and declared the era of big government is over. I doubt Bill Clinton could be nominated in today's Democratic party.

When the Republicans were mostly free trade I was mostly Republican. At some  point, and I don't exactly know when, immigration became the hill the Republicans decided to die on. And now it seems the Know Nothing wing of the Republican party has become ascendant with Trump, overwhelming the free-traders, evangelicals, limited government, interventionist wings.

Like I said, parties change, and they should. But that doesn't mean I personally have to like the changes, or accept them. Both parties seem to be rushing to embrace the worst policies they can as long as they rally the largest possible number of voters to oppose the smallest and vaguest of enemies. And I'm not going to support a party that wants to embrace an anti-immigrant, nationalist, protectionist, thinly-veiled racist platform.

Bill




Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sanders and Clinton Plan to Tax the Middle Class

Eli,


Clinton and Sanders answered a question about hydraulic fracturing at the debate in Flint last week.


Clinton gave a long answer when asked if she supports fracking:

"I don't support it when any locality or any state is against it, number one. I don't support it when the release of methane or contamination of water is present. I don't support it, number three, unless we can require that anybody who fracks has to tell us exactly what chemicals they are using.

"Right now, there are places where fracking is going on that are not sufficiently regulated. So first, we've got to regulate everything that is currently underway, and we have to have a system in place that prevents further fracking unless conditions like the ones that I just mentioned are met. By the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place," she said.

Sanders had a quick, sharp response:

"My answer is a lot shorter. No, I do not support fracking," he said.

Sanders said he talks to scientists who tell him that "fracking is doing terrible things to water systems all over this country."
Sanders is the Democrat's Trump, just making shit up. One can't find terrible things in water systems in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, North Dakota, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Ohio due to fracturing.

The Energy Information Administration has an interesting article on fracturing today.

Even though hydraulic fracturing has been in use for more than six decades, it has only recently been used to produce a significant portion of crude oil in the United States. This technique, often used in combination with horizontal drilling, has allowed the United States to increase its oil production faster than at any time in its history. Based on the most recent available data from states, EIA estimates that oil production from hydraulically fractured wells now makes up about half of total U.S. crude oil production.





 The US consumes about 19 million barrels per day. Clinton and Sanders want to eliminate 5 million produced in the US. Oil prices would go up. Gas prices would go up. Our dependence on foreign oil would go up (which some people, not me, care about).

That's a tax on the middle class, but one that results in  decreased government revenue. Unfortunately, this isn't the worse idea they have suggested.

Bill

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Give me power so I can go after them

Eli,

Around 11:45 of this press conference Rubio talks of the message voters are hearing from Trump:

You are working as hard as you can and you can’t make ends meet and along comes a presidential candidate and says to you:, “You know why your life is hard? Because, fill in the blank, somebody, someone, some country, they’re the reasons for it. Give me power so I can go after them.”
 He's right, and he's right to be frustrated by the appeal of Trump. What worries me even more is that it is the exact same message from the Democrats, except they use different boogeymen. For Trump its China, Mexico, Japan and Muslims. For Clinton and Sanders, it's Wall Street, the Koch Brothers, Citizen's United and free trade.

All three are so fundamentally wrong. Sanders is Trump without the violence and racism. Clinton is Sanders without the morality.

We are doomed.

Bill