Running for the Republicans

So yesterday I posited the idea of running for the Democrats as a non-Democrat, and not in the Bernie Sanders kind of why.  I can’t say I’d do the same for the Republicans, at least not at this time.  The first reason is that the Democratic party has, at least locally, accepted the notion that they are a party in disarray.  They know this.  Second, I can get behind a lot of their social programs without accepting their economic ones.  The Republican party?  Yeah, not so much, and it might be because I came from them originally.  I’ve found I disagree with many of their social stances, and I’m opposed to their attempts to push the Christian religion as the basis for our government and policy decisions.  On paper, I agree with many of their stated goals, at least as far as limited government and fiscal spending go, but in reality I have found that they have no desire to actually abide by those ideals.  It’s not a sales thing, or a presentation of the platform, it’s that in many ways, they are actively working against their stated principles.  To me that’s a longer row to hoe.  I also think that, as a party, they are still unaware of just how broken they are – Even as they laud their victories in the last election, they fail to see that many of those victories were on the back of Trump’s platform, which ironically, was similar to President Obama’s.  Change.  The people aren’t happy with the status quo and they’re looking for options.

I don’t think politics will ever change, but it could be an interesting political landscape in the next few years.

What are we fighting for?

Editor’s Note:  I wrote this back about 3 months or so, ago.  I was going to add a paragraph or two about my Dad, which I might do as an extended piece, but I thought I would get it posted now, as it has spent far too much time on my “To Do” list.

 

 

As the debate about health care continues, with President Trump and many of his supporters leading the way to repeal the ACA despite the lack of a real plan of action to replace or repair what is left, I find myself considering what it is we hope to accomplish with our country, our government.  What do we consider important at the national level, as a nation?  To what use do we put that blunt instrument that is our federal government?  That our government has grown large and unwieldy, straining under its own massive weight is no surprise to us.  We know it is fat, and growing larger.  We know that is too large, too heavy to support.  The Fed has grown in size and weight, but accomplishes less and less despite its increase in size and resources.  Both corporations and private citizens have attached themselves to that bloated mass, feeding off its excess like a tick to a mangy dog.  And those very fat, very happy ticks, they don’t want anything to change with their host.  No, even if the overall health and state of the union should falter, do not change anything lest their meal ticket become endangered.

This piece isn’t an analysis of the government, however.  It isn’t here to discuss the wasted resources and corporate whore mongering that goes on in our nation’s capital.  This essay is here to ask a basic question of ourselves.  What is it do we want our government to do for us?  What freedom and pursuit of happiness are we defending with our military?  What justice do we purport to provide to those of our nation that are too broke to pursue our self-evident truths?  In a nation as rich as ours, in a land as large as ours, truly our government should be responsible for very few things at the Federal level.  It is rarely the best tool for the job.  Help keep the common law consistent.  Help keep our perspective on infrastructure.  Facilitate communication among the States and their people as a whole, these things a Federal Government can do.  I would suggest to you that central to all of these things is the People.  Whatsoever our government does, it should be in the most benefit to her people, to the support of the pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness.  But what good is life, if we cannot enjoy it?  What good is liberty, if we cannot live it.  How can we have happiness if we are not healthy enough to pursue it?  People are the life’s blood of this country, the means be which everything is accomplished.  If our People are not healthy, how can our nation succeed?  We can educate ourselves, feed ourselves, defend ourselves- but only if we are healthy enough to do so.  In the past, collectively we have agreed that things like education, warfare, defense and trade are things we should spend our wealth on.  They are things that we considered integral to our nation, enough so to put into the Federal Government’s hands.  Why then, do we not consider our health such an asset, one worthy of our collective effort?  What else is worth fighting for if we don’t have our health?

 

And your new Democratic candidate is… Not a Democrat

Dear God, help us!

Heh.  Still between that article, and another one I read but cannot find, the Montana Democrats are in need of a few good candidates.  Perhaps I should throw my hat into the ring as the kind of candidate they need.  You see, I’m not a Democrat.  I’m not a Republican any more, either.  The Democrats have a tough go of it here in Montana – their social platform actually benefits a lot of the state, but they have no concept on how to market it.  On the economic side, well, Democrats suck.  We might identify, economically, as a state/nation of have nots, but even though the idea of sticking it to the man is appealing to many, even more of us want to be well off.  Sure those guys oppressing us are rich, but we wanna be rich too.  Taxing the rich isn’t something a lot of Montanan’s get behind, I think because many people identify wealth with hard work.  And while that isn’t as accurate as it used to be, we’re not really ready to throw that association out, not around here.  And truthfully, we shouldn’t.  Whether Democrats like it or not, the wealthy already foot the bill for the majority of our expenses- taxing them more just because we feel they can afford it is not a policy we should ever agree to.

So that’s where I come in.  Let’s get back to the basics of streamlining our government.  Less at the Federal level, more at the State.  Let’s invest in our infrastructure – our people, and we’ll sell it as good for business, good for the environment and good for the profits of everyone.  Well, almost everyone.  🙂  Let’s move from the extremes of both parties and find some ground that actually lets us accomplish some work in our country.

It’s all fun and games.

I had to post this here, it just seemed too fun not to.  Monopoly has a reputation as a wrecker of friendships and families, a wasteland of destruction for relationships.  I cannot really recall having that experience, but I didn’t play it a great deal after about age 10.  In the scenario below, if you follow the link, you’ll find something where I would quite happily sit back and watch while munching on a bag of chips.  It certainly would beat the Oscars or Academy Awards for me.  You see terms like Socialism and Communism bandied about a lot right now. but honestly, they’re largely being used incorrectly with their implied associations.  Opponents to the ACA and similar programs yell, “Socialism!” while ignoring how our government and tax structure work, but what I think they’re really recalling to mind, if they are truly recalling anything, is a weird fusion of Stalin/Marx/Hitler’s Germany as well as probably a few others thrown into the mix with a slight hint of Mccarthyism to flavor the stew.  I’m not sure Marx or Engels would have recognized what passes for the idea of Socialism/Communism here in the US.  But I digress, enjoy the comic and the anarchy that follows.

http://existentialcomics.com/comic/159

A take on the healthcare plan

Economix had a fun tear down of the current plan put forth by the President and the GOP to replace the current ACA.  The author’s politics run counter to Trump’s and the far right, but he does a pretty good job of keeping it real from an economic standpoint.  He also points out that one of the big issues of repealing the ACA is how much of it was based on Republican ideas.  If you’re protesting your own ideas, your alternative options tend be even more limited and extreme.

One of the things he briefly touches on, but doesn’t really address, is that success is sometimes measured by how we failed less than previously.  Specifically I am speaking about the rise of costs and premiums, which continued to rise at rapid rates during the ACA, with many traditionally conservative states seeing the largest increases.  The success is that some of the increases were less than the increases seeing prior to the ACA.  That kind of measuring for success works in the short term, but if you’re measuring against a flood, either do something different or build a boat…
Another thing the author glosses over is the use of subsidies.  Although he points out that the Feds will subsidize the premium for the States, which he uses as an argument for why some states should have adopted the ACA, he ignores their premise for why they might have rejected it in the first place – It doesn’t matter whether the Federal government or the State government subsidizes the premium, it’s still a redistribution of wealth.  If you’re opposing the ACA, or any similar plan, because of your opposition to Taxation, any argument involving subsidies is going to fall flat.

Take the analysis for what it is, a visual breakdown of the shortcomings of the current and proposed plans, as well as a bit of insight as to why things might not be working as they could.  It’s a fun read and he lists his references, so if you disagree with a particular point, you can at least see what he based his argument on.

Accidental Success

I think this current administration may end up one of the more successful ones in history. Not because of great leadership, Trump is a lousy leader. And not because of his deft skills, I think he’s proving rather unqualified, so far.

No, it’s going to be great by accident, as a by product of him being himself. I may be wrong, President Trump has shown a penchant for learning on the job- right before he goes and shoots himself in the foot, but I digress.

One of the reasons I say this is President Trump’s relationship with the media, or lack there of. He has managed to insult and alienate most legitimate news sources, angering them and forcing them on the defensive. The media has enjoyed a fairly easy relationship with most recent presidents. They were courted, treated nicely. Trump has provided a rather rude awakening for them, and this is a very good thing. Surrounded by plenty of web sites willing to print false news to either benefit or disparage the current president and gain those oh so precious page views, the Press is now forced to go on the offensive, rooting out every story and making sure they have the facts right the first time. President Trump is under the magnifying lens of a group that hasn’t had to work very hard in generations – but they still remember how to do their jobs.

Snoop on them as they would snoop on us

http://lastbestnews.com/site/2017/01/prairie-lights-putting-the-public-in-public-records/

Ed writes on something that should be a non-issue, but very clearly is not.  Here in the Big City, the local rag has done battle many times with the Powers That Be to gain access to records that are open to us by the mandate of the People.  Time and time again they have gone to court, time and time again the P.T.B. lose, yet they continue to gird their loins for battle.  Windmills, it seems, are not as puissant as they used to be.

The government surrounds itself in secrecy, sequestering itself behind closed doors and ramparts of red tape and ingenue, as if the People should believe their protestations of innocence and benevolent action.  It’s not conspiracy if we’re doing it for the good of the people!  The funny thing about the business of negotiation, especially as it pertains to government, is that little secrecy is needed.  Our aims are clear, 1)To benefit ourselves first  2)To grow the strength and wealth of our nation 3)To advance our beliefs in the rest of world.  The particulars might not be shared at the first meeting, but the gist will always be known.  When we deal in secret, as we did with the TPP, we can no longer assure that our government is advancing the aims of her People.

You might be saying to yourself, if you’re inclined to speak aloud while reading a blog, “But TSW, the veritable Danny DeVito of online writers, what about terrorism and military secrets and FUD, oh my?!”  Well, what about it?  Do the world governments not know that we spy on them?  Do terrorists and various sundry despots not know that we are coming for them?  Will McDonalds ever reveal what the Hell is in their McRib?  Only the last can be answered in the negative.  We can have operational security and accountability without giving our hand away during play, but at the end of the governmental poker game, the People must demand to see the hands and count the cards, and the number had best be 54. We play with the Jokers, you see…

Play that funky music white boy- Kareem on Trump

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote a nice essay on Trump, which I think illustrates both his popularity and the frustration many feel right now.  I think it’s a much better expression of what I wrote the other day.

For all of that, my biggest takeaway wasn’t something profound, just humorous.  He calls Trump the Manilli Vanilli of politics.  That made me smile.

The Donald

I’m glad he’s running.  There, I said it.  Anyone that knows me will probably raise an eyebrow, or two, depending on whether they can do that Spock thing, or not, but hear me out.  We’ve been stuck in a political rut for quite awhile.  We have a basic two party system that hasn’t fundamentally changed in quite some time.  It’s been 20+ years since the last independent made much of a splash at the national level.  I miss that guy, big ears and all.  Similar to now, it’s a big personality guy who has enough money that he doesn’t have to beg for it in order to run a campaign.  Similar to now, you have a GOP that’s used to running on rails, same party platform, same old message.  Then, as now, you have a guy who says he doesn’t want to do things like they’ve always been done.  And, unlike Ralph Nader, or the Tea Party, he’s got enough personality and visibility to capture the attention of the mainstream.  And that’s where the easy similarities end.

You see, unlike the amicable Texan, I can’t stand Trump.   He’s not making noise for change, he’s making noise to make change- as in dollar bills.  It’s profitable to have media attention and Congressional connections.  As the saying goes, if you can’t beat him, join him, and you can bet that in the hearts of many GOP leaders, there’s a plan to make nice with Trump if he comes out on top.  Trump will be smiling like the cat who ate the canary.  But that’s not why I’m glad he’s running.  No, what I like about Trump running is this- He’s holding up a mirror for all of us to look into. Admittedly, it’s a bit hard since Trump’s head-and that hair!- is in the way, but there’s still plenty of room to see our reflection, and it isn’t pretty.  A guy who has little understanding of government administration, foreign policy and relations and no political experience, is leading the polls in the GOP race right now.  He has no problem being sexist, racist or fascist and a surprising amount of people don’t mind it, either.  He’s different than the others on the right.  Sure he’s conceited, a liar and a misogynist, but I said he was different.  He’s also brash, outspoken, and about as non-traditionally conservative as his opponents are run of the mill.  He’s everything they’re not, even if what he is, is poison.  And many of us like it.

So there’s that mirror again, and we’re staring into, seeing the Donald stare back.  How far have we fallen away from our leadership when we start to accept any port in the storm?  How badly has the GOP bungled things that their conservative members identify with the Tea Party and the more moderate members are eyeballing Trump with more than a little interest?  When the main point among the GOP candidates running for President as that they’re not Obama, there might be a serious identity crisis going on.  If the only way you can define yourself is by what you’re not, then how do you expect to lead and exhort others?  Now that the mirror is up and we’re seeing our fears, our frustrations, and all those little ugly bits being reflected, it may be a good time for some housecleaning and accounting – politically and spiritually speaking.

On a lighter note, do you know how you can tell the difference between a pinko commie socialist liberal in Congress and a Republican?  What they spend our money on.

Jade(d) Texas

So, it’s now a week or so into Operation Jade Helm.  For those of you at home who have not been watching Fox News, Operation Jade Helm is covert exercise disguised as a very public training operation located in the southern states.  It’s purpose, so we’re given to understand by certain conservative and ultra-conservative outlets is to take over Texas, implementing some sort of martial law in an attempt to…well, that’s where it gets kind of confusing.  Texas is already part of the union.  Already pays taxes.  Has contributed plenty of members to the armed services and has a couple of resident Presidents.  Umm… Yes, apparently Texas needs a good martial lawing and our military is just the sort to do it!

I am sure in the coming weeks, as cartographers rush to update their maps to show Texas as an occupied territory and the direct to video movie showing the courage of the Texan resistance against the morally corrupt government oppressors is released, we shall have time to rue our naivete in thinking that our government would never dare to commit to a military operation against its own citizens.

Until then, I guess I shall wait and continue to be warned.  I wonder if there is some sort of 7th Day Adventists type club for conspiracy theorists…