Monday, December 4, 2017

Here's where I turn on my Liberal friends (kinda)

OK, this may not be a popular post. Maybe there are a number of people who agree and have just not said so. I recently read an article where at least one Congresswoman agrees.

Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Cal) told multiple media outlets that it was time for Pelosi to step down and that the House of Representatives needed to "pass the torch".

It is time for both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to step down. There are a number of reasons that I ignored before this week, so I would not have have written this earlier. But it has become clear now.

For a time now I have wondered why there were no leaders in the Democratic Party (or the 'Independent Party' if you believe in Bernie Sanders) who don't qualify for the Denny's Senior Discount? Along that line, how come I can't name 10 legitimate candidates on the Democratic side for 2020 despite the chance of running against President *.

I think one reason is there are very few upcoming young Congress People who are considered qualified. They aren't doing things that are bring them much public credit. I think this is because there is a strangle-hold of credit and work by the "older" members of Congress. Some of this is understandable, if you've been there longer and fought more battles, you should get more limelight.

But I don't think this is a case of Representative Pelosi and Senator Schumer are finally getting their due like some of the other older legislators. The two bring plenty of negative attention with them.  Schumer, despite being related to a professional comedian, tells the worst jokes ever. This wouldn't be a problem, except they actually get in the way of his communication and render him unable to "sound-bite" his policy ideas.

And Pelosi is a legendary fundraiser, to the point that it has solidified her power despite the Democrats losing control of the House twice while she was leader. But that money has not turned into more Democratic Congress People or passed legislation from the Democrats. Not to mention the fact that Pelosi, through no fault of her own, has become a symbol that makes conservative donors send piles of money to the Republicans.

But to me, these weren't large problems that should have removed them from leadership. And then the Republican Tax Plan came along. It was easy enough to oppose: lower taxes for the rich, less money for children's healthcare, massive unpopularity in national polls, the fact it was written (in ink apparently) in secret at the last minute, and that it will add $1 trillion to the deficit Republicans used to hate. That's a lot to attack if for, without getting into the details of S corporation pass-throughs or the idea that even Republicans were worried it would kill economic growth, like it did in Kansas!

Only there was no real fight from Pelosi or Schumer. They spoke out against the bill, but they were not our front helping mobilize thousands of Americans who were already protesting it, no legislative maneuvering, not even stroking the President's ego to get him to undermine the bill like he did with the Obamacare repeal. Nothing.

Why no outrage? There wasn't a political cost to Pelosi and Schumer, numbers of people on both parties didn't like the bill. How hard would it to have been to peel off a could of Senators or pass a poison pill in the House? But nothing.

It has been suggested that the tax bill's beneficiaries were the same companies in California and Wall Street that had been giving to Pelosi and Schumer for years. If we are grown-up's we know that's the way politics works, even if we believe we're on the "good" side.

And some have argued the two were saving their ammunition for the budget extension fight this month where the government has to ask for more money to keep going. But Pelosi and Schumer already have a lock on that, a shutdown hurts the Republicans because they are in charge. And the GOP is scared that President * might abandon them and not take any blame for a shutdown. Sure, Democrats want a solution to the problem of children who entered without permission with their parents (DACA), but many Republicans want that too.

So the only conclusion one can come to is that Pelosi and Schumer either didn't want to fight the tax plan or didn't know how to. And if they were waiting for a Democratic majority in 2018, making kids go without vital aid programs to win elections is exactly the sort of thing Republicans are starting to do.

Thus, for the sake of the Democratic Party, winning elections in 2018, and stopping President * in 2020, there must be new, younger leadership with new ideas in Congress!!

Unless Biden decides to run. Just kidding.....

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Thanksgiving- 2017

Just a few thoughts on Thanksgiving because I KNOW that not many bloggers have talked about it in the last few days. Sorry, I don't have any cute pictures or funny stories to tell.

Running up to the holiday, I read a number of articles talking about how one should by no means discuss politics at Thanksgiving dinner with family members they know don't agree with their views. And usually I try to stick with that rule. I don't discuss politics or religion with anyone who has a sharp instrument, like a barber or an aunt cutting a turkey. So I took my few minutes when I first woke up to list some of the things I am thankful I have in my life and left it at that.

But of course, at the dinner for my mother's side of the family politics came up. This usually isn't a big deal because even though I hold degrees in Political Science and History, my aunts and uncles still see me as a 10 year old boy, so I don't have to field many tough questions. But this year, I had a long discussion with one of my uncles who is much more conservative that I am. OK, much, much more conservative than I am. What was interesting though, was the amount of things we tried to agree on. Partly, this was due to the fact that we spent very little time talking about the President and his antics. I have the feeling that many members of my family voted for him, so we normally start from an "agree to disagree" stance that would make me look like a traitor to many of the liberals in the county. But I came to see that as the point. My discussion with my uncle didn't leave either one of us with an enlightened political point of view. Nor was there a choir of angels showing us the "real" truth with what is wrong with America. What our talk did do is two things: it left us in some agreement with what the priorities in America should be (without many solutions) clear to everyone but still aren't happening. But more importantly it left me with the feeling that people still can have a civil discourse about politics in America; specifically when they care about the what the other person thinks.

I am very guilty of buying too much into the media notions that the nation is more radically divided now than ever before and the polls that show the "middle of the road" is gone. And it is clear that the government is at a standstill because of these divides. I am certainly not dancing past these problems!

But now I have to wonder if this dramatic conclusion is more a product of the 24 hour media cycle and the extremes of both sides in America than what is going on with the majority of people, especially in the "fly-over" states that "mysteriously" voted heavily for the President. There are protests and yelling and calls for accountability that are good and probably way over due for this nation. But there are also people, who have vast differences about the President and his actions, but agree on what they want done in America. It seems to me that the people who voted for Trump aren't too much different than those who voted for Sanders or stayed home. There is (what is left) of a middle class in America that are made up of people who are worried and angry. They feel like they don't have the economic opportunities they should have and that their parents had. Their wages aren't going up. Wall Street and the rich 1% are doing great, but most of us aren't seeing that money. To paraphrase Big Dan in O Brother Where Art Thou, these are times of "woe and want". Additionally as minorities gain a voice in the national discourse, the dominate class and race feels that they are going to lose their voice. This is a trend that has existed in American politics since the beginning. And it is something I want to talk about in more depth about on this page in the future.

So Thanksgiving left me thankful for getting to see family and the desserts they are able to produce as usual. But it also made me more hopeful, if only a little. Not in a pie in the sky, end of a Disney movie way. I really didn't need that much right now. I just needed to see people who thought they couldn't even talk to people of the "other side" give it a try because they cared about each other and remembered that the person they were talking to loved America as much as they do. As long as they stand up for the national anthem. Just kidding, I don't think I'm ready to talk to my family about that yet!!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

First Post

What does this have to do with you?

I decided to start doing a blog for a number of different reasons. First, I found out it was 2017 and the technology exists for anyone (and I am certainly one of those anyone's) to write a blog.

Second, my opinions are extremely important as you can probably tell from my Facebook page. OK, really only in my mind! But I thought it might be good to explain why I have some of my opinions, if that is even possible.

This brings me to my third reason for blogging. My interests and reading tend toward politics and history. But I of course enjoy talking about films, television,  and the media in general. To the great surprise of many of my friends, I even follow sports. Some sports. Sometimes.  So I'm hoping through writing about some of these things that may be relevant to today's issues it might make us all think more about our beliefs.

Another reason is that I need some extra special practice on my writing! So you readers (I hope I have readers) are my test samples. I thought that sounded better than "Guinea pigs".

I guess the final reason is that I am also hoping to get friends and family who would like to write articles or reviews or whatever to have a place to do that. I'm not being generous so much as trying to take the heat off myself. And get some free content!

The rules. I am a liberal in most things and I invite conversation on political issues. But I'm hoping to make this blog less about what (or who) I don't agree with and more about why. Probably most importantly to me is not putting political content up, anyone can do that. I want to have some history and some of the things I've been reading lately.  That said, if I start moving off into frequent rants, I do want feedback on it, with little or no guarantee I will listen.

Which brings me to another rule if you can really say this forum has rules. I'm probably as thin skinned as our President. So I would appreciate civil discourse, especially in comments. I'm hoping to get better about taking criticism as I go.

And I promise my bliss won't just be essays like this. I'm going to put in pictures and links when I figure out how to do that.

The Management