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PatrickforO

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Hometown: Not disclosed
Home country: USA
Current location: Not disclosed
Member since: Mon Apr 28, 2014, 06:28 PM
Number of posts: 9,511

About Me

Counselor, economist and public servant.

Journal Archives

Interesting. Now, I like a mixed socialist and free market, a la northern

Europe.

I suppose philosophically (or ideologically) you could call me a Social Democrat. Or, a Democratic Socialist.

Ah, but the question you raise is whether Social Security can fairly be called a 'socialist' program. While my answer is clearly 'yes,' it seems best to bring in a third party.

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/retirement/122916/are-social-security-benefits-form-socialism.asp. After defining a bunch of terms, they make the following conclusion:

Nevertheless, because the American government plays such a dominant role in the U.S. Social Security system – deciding how much and when employees and employers pay into the system, how much individuals receive in benefits when they get them, and preventing almost everyone from opting out – it seems fair to call the Social Security program a form of socialism.


So there you have it. Funny the Republicans are vowing this country will 'never go socialist.'

But don't worry. This country is no longer a republic, and may only loosely be called a 'democracy.' No, what we have now is a fascist oligarchy, where a very few people own most of the wealth, and the politicians are owned by PAC money, lobbies and corporations. They have no political courage because they are on the gravy train. Most are so afraid of not being reelected they won't lift a finger to enact legislation that actually makes our lives better.

Instead, we get a giant tax cut for billionaires and corporations, as if they didn't already have enough, that has essentially gutted our treasury and will ultimately force massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare, all safety net programs, basically all non-military discretionary spending.

And, we have a rather sinister administration in power that is very much like an old mafiosi caporegime. Donald is the Don, Eric and Don Jr. are Fredo and Santino, Ivanka is Connie, and Jared Kushner is Carlo Rossi. But they are small potatoes. They report to bigger bosses, Russian oligarchs.

Then we have Pence and the holy-rollers, who would impose a 'christian' Sharia law upon us, while still letting the oligarchs have our treasury - as long as abortion is illegal, they are fine with that.

Finally, there is a pretty large group, mostly in the Tea Party and Trumpers, who genuinely believe that there is nothing worth saving about the republic that is the United States in specific and western democracies in general. This group is purposely and purposefully tearing down our institutions - consider the gutting of the EPA, the criticisms of the press, Betsy DeVos sabotaging the student loan forgiveness program, Trump publicly disagreeing numerous times with national security leaders. This is a purposeful wrecking of our republic - an effort to tear the whole thing down.

So, about half of our party is quaking like jelly at the prospect of being labeled 'socialist,' and the other half is saying, "Whatever you might call it, we need a green new deal now, healthcare, expanded Social Security and debt-free college."

We are in for, I think, a time of upheaval. The only ones who can possibly save this republic from being torn apart, and its pieces handed to international oligarchs while we ourselves are made into wage slaves, and then real slaves, is the new kids in Congress. The ones like AOC, Omar and Tlaib, who are speaking truth to power because they don't care if they are one-term Representatives - they want to wake up the people to what's going on and give us back our power.

By way of prognosticating, IF, and it is a big IF, we discover how powerful we the people really are, stop being afraid of these greed-heads and band together to make some real reforms, we might well save those things that are worth saving, and make those things better that need improvement.

But, no, I won't split hairs with you on whether or not Social Security and Medicare are forms of socialism or not. I don't care. What I care about is having more say in policies that affect me. I'm sick of my tax money being routed to corporate profits or billionaires instead of being used for programs that help me, my children and my grandchildren. Medicare for all Americans, a Green New Deal. Expanded Social Security. Infrastructure programs so that we can rebuild/upgrade as part of the Green New Deal. Heavily subsidized childcare, early childhood education, a K-12 system that's the envy of the world, and debt-free college and graduate school.

And to make all this possible, let us pull out the root cause of the evil that besets us: the primacy of the shareholder doctrine. If corporations want to do business here, we need to force them to change their charters - put workers on their Boards of Directors, and consider the welfare of workers, consumers and the environment equally with shareholder profits.

My...wasn't that the verbal gush? It is how I feel though, after 60 years of working my ass off in this capitalist utopia and getting nickel and dimed so much day after day, year after year, that I have less purchasing power now than I did back in the 90s. That isn't good enough. We are better than that.

I'm impatient too.

I want change now.

We race with time, a species of lemmings running at breakneck speed toward extinction.

How much longer can we afford to play a 'long game?' Do you wonder?

Yes, the GOP still controls the Senate and the White House. But it isn't really the GOP any more, you know? It is little more than a criminal gang, controlled by bigger bosses. It is the party of Trump. Its rank and file have forgotten how to be Americans, and instead put party first, and that party is corporate-owned, beholden to oligarchs, a tool of billionaires.

Heard of 'iron triangles?' The Panama Papers? We've been the victims since the days of Nixon of the most massive transfer of wealth in the history of humankind. Away from the many and to the few.

Rank and file, theirs and ours, have been played like so many violins with the age-old 'divide and conquer' strategy. Works every time.

Sometimes at night, I lay awake and wonder what will come. Will we ever grow up as a species and begin planning around human need and not human greed? Will we learn to plan generations ahead to preserve and replenish our earth? Or will we, like the lemmings, run headlong to our deaths over the cliff of capitalism and crash to a bloody death on the teeth of oligarchs?

How can this be?

OK, we don't know WHEN Mueller will release his report - not yet. And we're told that the GOP will do their level best to suppress it completely, contending that to publish would broach national security.

And, we have the Democrats, who are fighting the good fight, to release it to the public insofar as that is possible without broaching national security.

And NOW...


Wait for it....


Barnes and Noble is allowing people to pre-order, and it is supposed to be out on the 26th of this month.

So...what's wrong with this picture? They want to charge $10.95 or some such, with forward by Alan Dershowitz.

Here's the link. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/mueller+report?_requestid=635245

So, is this the butt-ugly end of capitalism or what? I don't know about you, but I'm pretty disgusted.

Some background on Joe Biden.

I knew some of this, but not all. Certainly the bankruptcy law of 2005 is odious and has enslaved millions of our children and grandchildren to massive student loans.

I also did not like Biden's performance in the Anita Hill hearings.

Hear is a Huffpo article that gives more history. In fact it goes clear back in time. It is quite interesting, but maybe take it with a grain of salt and do some independent research.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/joe-biden-2020_n_5c796502e4b087c2f295ba31

Be warned - it is a rather negative article. Here is an excerpt. Note that a) I'm still neutral, though I favor Warren, b) Biden would be exponentially better than Trump, and c) it's awfully early in the game still.

As Democratic voters begin to consider who to make their standard-bearer in the 2020 election, Joe Biden has held an early, commanding lead in the polls, fueled by the belief that he’s the best Democrat to take on Donald Trump. The former vice president spent the closing weeks of the 2018 midterms in what Politico called a “working class whisperer tour” to the midwestern states that Trump carried. Emphasizing his Scranton, Pennsylvania, roots, Biden styled himself in stop after stop as “Middle-Class Joe,” savoring praise from fellow Democrats as the “kind of guy you could have a beer with.”

This version of “folksy Joe” even touted himself as “labor from belt buckle to shoe buckle.” There’s only one problem with this carefully cultivated image: Joe Biden’s entire career.

In more than four decades of public service, Biden has enthusiastically championed policies favored by financial elites, forging alliances with Wall Street and the political right to notch legislative victories that ran counter to the populist ideas that now animate his party. If he declares for the presidency, Biden will face a Democratic electorate that has moved on from his brand of politics.

Well, Hickenlooper is now officially in the 2020 race.

From the Hill:

Hickenlooper launches 2020 presidential campaign

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/432424-hickenlooper-launches-2020-presidential-campaign

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) on Monday announced he is running for president in 2020.

“I’m running for president because we need dreamers in Washington but we also need to get things done,” Hickenlooper said in a campaign video.

“I’ve proven again and again I can bring people together to produce the progressive change Washington has failed to deliver,” he added.


Oh...and this is CLASSIC:

Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens said in a statement that Hickenlooper "is the latest tax-and-spend liberal to join the race."


LOL, if 'tax-and-spend liberal' is the best they can do, the GOP is about to become the next dodo bird. To my mind, it is better to be a tax-and-spend liberal than it is to be a cut-taxes-and-run-up-huge-debt republican.

Let me try and explain it in a way that cracks open the myths surrounding

the NPV compact.

From my perspective, we've had three presidential elections stolen since the year 2000. Three. This last one, Clinton had 2.9 million more votes than Trump. 2.9 million. Yet, due to the electoral college system, Russian hackers were able to help Trump win by 25-35K votes in key districts in a couple of swing states. And because of that, he won the Electoral College vote, but not the people's vote.

This is an explanation from the official site, which I encourage you to visit. Here is the link to that site: https://www.nationalpopularvote.com/answering-myths

As a Coloradan, I supported this effort.

Now, before the excerpt, let me say one more thing: you can tell a tree by its fruit. The Democrats are generally FOR this because electing a president based on the national popular vote is more, well, democratic than relying on an antiquated group of people using a system designed to prop up slave states. The people against NPV? You guessed it. Nearly ALL Republicans.

The small states (the 13 states with only three or four electoral votes) are the most disadvantaged and ignored group of states under the current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes. The reason is that political power in presidential elections comes from being a closely divided battleground state, and almost all of the small states are noncompetitive states in presidential elections.

The small states are not ignored because of their low population, but because they are not closely divided battleground states. The 12 small non-battleground states have about the same population (12 million) as the closely divided battleground state of Ohio. The 12 small states have 40 electoral votes—more than twice Ohio’s 18 electoral votes. However, Ohio received 73 of 253 post-convention campaign events in 2012, while the 12 small non-battleground states received none.

The current state-by-state winner-take-all system actually shifts power from voters in the small and medium-sized states to voters in a handful of big states that happen to be closely divided battleground states in presidential elections.

The fact that the small states are disadvantaged by the current state-by-state winner-take-all system has long been recognized by prominent officials from those states. In 1966, Delaware led a group of 12 predominantly small states in suing New York (then a closely divided battleground state) in the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to get state winner-take-all statutes declared unconstitutional.

Under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system, a vote for President in Wyoming is equal to a vote in California—both are politically irrelevant.

America Needs Radical Solutions

This guy, Juan Williams, is an analyst for Fox, but I thought, even though he IS a Fox guy, I'd share this with you all because it seems even some of the Republicans are repudiating Trump's misbegotten policies. Here's an excerpt, after which he goes into actual poll numbers indicating Americans DO want socialism in the form of healthcare, and they DO want a Green New Deal. By large margins.

Last week, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that a record 7 million Americans are three months or more behind on their car loan payments. Last year, the Federal Reserve reported that 40 percent of Americans can’t cover an unexpected expense of $400. Then there’s the pressure on families from student loans and credit card accounts. In 2018, total student loan debt was $1.5 trillion and growing. And the credit card debt collectively owed by Americans in 2018 surpassed $1 trillion. An alarming number of accounts are delinquent. Maybe that’s why retail sales had a big drop in December.

Trump backers, also open your eyes to a new study from a University of California at Berkeley economist, Gabriel Zucman. It shows that the 400 richest Americans (.00025 percent of our population) now own more wealth than the 150 million poorest Americans (60 percent of the population).

So while President Trump is pledging “America will never be a socialist country,” a lot of Americans are looking for any policy that will help them pay the bills in a time of stagnant wages and high income inequality. Trump and McConnell have no ideas for dealing with income inequality. Their tax cut put more money in the pockets of the rich and corporations. That is not working for the middle-class.


https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/430427-juan-williams-america-needs-radical-solutions

See, I think this is a big irony, you know? That we are trying to put forward policies that will actually preserve and strengthen this nation, while the Trumpies and the 'freedom holy-roller caucus' is trying to tear what we have down, put us into chaos and have us emerge as a theocracy ruled by a bunch of billionaire parasite oligarchs. Funny how Juan and some of the other Republicans see this.

They are still enemies to good policy - don't get me wrong, but Juan seems to 'get' what is wrong with the fundamentals of our economy.

Poll: Just 13 percent want 'Medicare for all' if it means end of private insurance: from The Hill.

Follow the link, read the thing, and then I'll furnish a more appropriate headline.

https://thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/428958-poll-voters-want-the-government-to-provide-healthcare-for

Funny how the media, which is corporate owned, really doesn't report the truth, does it?

Let me furnish another, more accurate headline:

71% of Americans want some form Medicare for all.


So, what's the deal? Why the faux controversy? Simple: higher ad revenue. By the way, The Hill is actually a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc., which is owned by Capitol Hill Publishing, Chairman James A. Finkelstein. Now, apparently Finkelstein owns a limited partnership, non-publicly held, that invests in media. Here's more:

James A. Finkelstein is Founding Partner in Pluribus Capital Management LLC Mr. Finkelstein was one of the founding partners of Avista Capital Partners in 2005. Mr. Finkelstein is an experienced leader in the media industry and focuses on private equity investments in the field. He formally served as Chairman of DLJMB Global Media Partners through June 30, 2005. For 19 years, he served as President and CEO of the National Law Publishing Company (presently American Law Media). Mr. Finkelstein received a B.A. Degree from New York University. He also has an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Hofstra University. Mr. Finkelstein currently serves as Chairman of the Boards of InvestorPlace Media, Thompson Publishing Group, and News Communications, the Publisher of The Hill and Marquis Who’s who. He also serves as a Director of Star Tribune and WideOpenWest. Mr. Finkelstein has previously provided consulting services with respect to investments for DB Capital and Veronis Suhler Stevenson. He formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Legal Aid Society and on The New York University Faculty of Arts and Sciences Board of Overseers.

So there you have it. Capitalism at its best.

My wife and I spent some time talking about Ralph Northam this morning.

We are both white, in that late fifties-early sixties age band.

I've been reading a lot of posts by African Americans that are helping me understand the feelings around this photo, chosen by Northam for insertion into his college yearbook.

I think you're right, here Mineral. I have no business sticking up for Northam because he posed for that picture in the first place, chose it to be in his yearbook, then just forgot about it. He did not bring it up, confess to it, apologize for it until he was caught. It is possible for me to understand the feeling of betrayal that members of the black community now feel for this guy.

They thought he was truly on the side of racial and social justice, and they thought they were electing someone who would fight for the rights of all people in VA, and for an even playing field, voter rights and all the rest. Then...this came out.

I guess for me it would be like being married to someone, loving them, then finding out that in their younger days they did something horrible that is profoundly offensive. Will it ever be the same? No. Can it be saved? A marriage, maybe. But years to build back that trust. For a governor? Maybe not.

I just asked a question on another thread about why so many on here dislike Tulsi Gabbard so much, and maybe I'm seeing that, too.

You know, when I was a kid, I naively believed that we were the good guys - that was before I really thought about our genocide against Native Americans and our enslavement and subsequent entrenched racism. Our foreign policy - the 'dirty war.' Vietnam. We lost our fucking heroes, Mineral. We did.

But, that is no excuse not to TRY to actually BE the good people now. No excuse not to TRY and make this country a real light on the hill, where people can come and find social, economic and environmental justice and opportunity to get ahead with hard work.

So, yeah, we've got to come to terms with the bad in order to embrace the good without soiling everything we touch. And our people do need to follow a higher standard.

Cory Booker on the issues.

I like to research candidates, and have already made a post on Kamala Harris, whom I also like, and who is a strong candidate in her own right.

Now that Cory Booker has announced, here is my initial workup on him.

Background: Booker was born to parents active in the Civil Rights movement, went to Stanford and Yale Law School. He definitely has the brains for the job. If you read his bio at https://www.biography.com/people/cory-booker-20967497, you’ll see that Booker has some really good qualities. He doesn’t give up, he’s resourceful, and he has courage. By courage, I mean both physical AND political. He fixed the structural budget deficit in Newark with a property tax increase, and we’re going to have, at the very least, to reverse the giant fiscally irresponsible 2017 GOP tax cut for billionaires and corporations.

Also, as an economist, I really like someone who actually UNDERSTANDS a structural budget. That’s a really good thing that we did not enjoy under Republican leadership.

http://www.ontheissues.org/Cory_Booker.htm
He’s fine on abortion, gun control, crime and the environment. After reading his quotes, I’m convinced he would be a strong advocate for social and environmental justice. Especially encouraging is his belief the US needs to be a leader in mitigating climate change. Recently he’s come out in favor of a Green New Deal, which I believe is an absolute MUST for any successful Democratic presidential candidate.

On foreign policy, Booker is smart enough to come up to speed quickly, and his quotes seem to present a sane approach – a balance between not keeping our heads in the sand, but not always feeling we need to be the global police officer.

As late as 2017, Booker is on record as saying, “Ok to consider single-payer, but I'm not behind it.” However, he is a strong supporter of fixing Obamacare, and certainly fixing the GOP sabotage would make the ACA nearly universal. This might not be enough in today’s Democratic party, though. Speaking for myself only, I want Medicare for all Americans because I believe in taking the profit motive out of healthcare because it conflicts with the interests of patients.

https://votesmart.org/candidate/political-courage-test/76151/cory-booker/
Nothing really new here. There is a bit of concern that he might be ‘too corporate’ or perhaps ‘too Wall Street.’ I wonder how he feels about Elizabeth Warren’s Accountable Capitalism Act, which would change the face of capitalism by expanding fiduciary responsibility beyond shareholder earnings to include the welfare of workers, consumers and the environment. This would solve a huge number of problems. Of course, Wall Street greed-lizards are saying it will (gasp!) RUIN capitalism, but here’s a nice Forbes editorial about how it would actually help this country get stronger and rebuild its middle class: https://www.forbes.com/sites/rhockett/2018/08/21/senator-warrens-ben-franklin-capitalism/#7aed66ff66cf

Open Secrets shows that Booker’s fundraising is good. He does spend his money, and has less on hand than Harris, whom I reported on earlier. That 12% of his donations are from small individual donors is a bit low, and again, may open him to criticism about being excessively beholden to Wall Street. https://www.opensecrets.org/members-of-congress/summary?cid=N00035267&cycle=2018

Still, Booker has said he won’t take corporate PAC money, which is a bit meaningless because PACs can only donate a max of $5K to an individual candidate. The game is the game, though, and PACS do buy advertising as they wish, and support whomever they wish. It is unwise to punish any candidate for capitalizing on Citizens United to the degree they can.

In balance, I like Booker. I believe he’d be a very strong candidate, a good president and is a decent human being that we can all admire. I especially liked that he released documents during the Kavanaugh hearings. That took guts and moral conviction.

My conclusion is that Cory Booker is a very solid candidate that could well win the general election. If he is our nominee we could be proud as a party to support him. The same, of course, can be said for Harris. They are both good candidates.
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