Next Democratic Nominee For President Needs to Be a Mayor

Posted on November 16, 2016

Here are a couple to quick steps to return the Democratic Party to power. First put the Electoral College out of business through the already partially passed interstate compact. Secondly, we need to work on the Gerrymandering that dilutes the power of urban voters.

It’s a simple fact that in the last election according to political theorist Benjamin Barber:

there is still one major institution they overwhelmingly control: cities. Of the 20 biggest US cities, only Fort Worth (Texas), San Diego (California), and Jacksonville (Florida) have Republican mayors. Across the whole US, the more densely inhabited the area was in the 2016 presidential election, the more likely it was to vote Democrat.

What’s more, Barber goes on to say:

“the one institution today that still works, where government functions, where trust levels are double the levels of other institutions,”

He makes a compelling case in his book, If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities.

If Democratic politics is centered in the Polis, maybe it’s time we need a re-think of all party institutions and re-center the focus there.

How different would things have been if Sec. Clinton had focused on the the economy and needs of our cities? How different can it be going forward if we look to America’s mayors and actually find the best of the best to run in 2016?

Mayor of San Antonio, Ivy Taylor

Mayor of San Antonio, Ivy Taylor

New Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner

New Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner

Mayor of New York, Bill di Blasio

Mayor of New York, Bill di Blasio

We Can Fix the Electoral College Starting Today

Posted on November 10, 2016

Considering that here in the 21st century fully 40% of our elections have been decided by the electoral college, not the popular vote, America need to do more than just think about the electoral college.

What most people don’t know, is that there is already a mechanism in-place to by-pass the electoral college. The National Popular Vote Bill has moved its way through the states. I have already been ratified by 11 jurisdictions totaling 165 of the electoral votes needed.

How does it work? Once enough states sign on to the bill to reach 270, the Bill kicks-in and all of the Electoral College votes for those states go to the National Popular vote winner.

Many of the additional states can be added either through the legislature, or through the ballot box (through the referendum process).

For more information about this movement, visit NationalPopularVote.com

The Democratic Establishment Has Failed: No, We Don’t Have to Cooperate

Posted on November 10, 2016

Democracy does not demand that you cooperate with the victor, especially when the victor wins through a negative feedback loop of racism, misogyny and xenophobia powered by the mainstream media and the Clinton team’s own tactics. In fact Democracy demands we resist anti-democratic, authoritarian, and fascist impulses of the incoming regime. Democracy demands we dismantle the archaic electoral college that has thwarted the people’s will and erased their votes 40% of the time in the 21st century.

Democracy and the Democratic demands that we don’t become Vichy Democrats.

How Clinton’s Own Negative Ads and No Focused Positive Message Sunk the Clinton Campaign

Posted on November 10, 2016

We kept hearing it every day, Michelle Obama’s refrain from her DNC Speech where she said, “When they go low, we go high.” Unfortunately for the country that refrain was never really true. When the history written about the election of 2016 it will be the salient fact that Hillary Clinton’s campaign spent an overwhelming percentage of their resources trying to define Trump’s character through negative ads.

The ads in and of themselves were not bad. If anything, they were highly effective… trained targeted and polled precisely. The campaign was clearly able to define Trump as unfit for the presidency. What the Clinton campaign should have known and anticipate were the coordinated efforts by the Trump campaign, the RNC, and various PACs to depress voter turnout among key democratic demographics. The only way Trump could eke out a victory was to depress the democratic vote and vastly raise the red vote out of rural America. Trump and co. can pat themselves on the back for mission accomplished. At the end of the day fewer Americans voted in any election since 2004 and 2000. Something like 45.6% of all registered voters sat it out. The question is, why. The Trump campaign’s operation was only part of keeping the turnout low. The other support came from the Clinton campaign itself.

Even if true, week after week of negative message caused a large part of the electorate to disengage. Hacking and FBI meddling magnified the negativity even further. However, at the end of the day, it was the hundreds of millions that were spent on anti-Trump ads that did in the Clinton campaign. Extra noise in a cacophonous and poisonous environment drove voters away. This left the hardened-core of each party to vote and those who were voting who basically didn’t give a damn about Trump’s character.

But why, in the end, didn’t Trump’s character matter to them? His clear focus on core issues kept them aboard no matter what.

The Clinton campaign learned absolutely no lessons from Bernie Sanders and his supporters. They had a platform and policies that were Progressive, but little else. A prime example was her VP choice. In the end, it was absolutely clear Kaine gave Clinton no boost at all. Hell, she even came close to losing his home state of Virginia. He served only as an empty vessel for whatever her campaign poured in. While not a bad human being, he added nothing to the ticket. She missed a huge opportunity in that choice to send a message to the party base about the core issues that she supports. There were plenty of popular progressive (hell, would even Sanders have said, no?) What her team never did was distill those issues such as income inequality, healthcare, equal rights, civil rights, and education into a clear focused message (not just pages and policyspeak). Her team did not understand the difference between policy on paper, or a website and a message. Check my website is not a message. Meanwhile Trump was busy projecting core message (not policy specifics), Clinton was attacking character almost exclusively and rarely even talked about policy, never delivering a forceful progressive agenda.

The Clinton campaign helped suppress the vote. Time to own it and learn the lesson. The message is absolutely and always as important as the messenger.

2015-03-04t192827z685286087waseb34140k01rtrmadp3usa-politics-clinton-subpoenas

Things Lost in the Trump Fire

Posted on November 09, 2016

As a guide to my friends and family, I am have compiled a list of things lost in the 2016 election. Feel free to add to the horror in your own mind. This list is only complete as my sleep deprived mind can manage at the moment.

1. Supreme Court for a Generation (20-25yrs. folks).
2. Affordable Care Act- gone in the few months and replaced with TrumpNoCare. Try to make those payments now! Oh, that’s if you can even get insurance due to pre-existing conditions.
3. Social Security- they can do anything they want to this folks…
4. Medicare- ditto, anything they want… even eliminate.
5. Right to Choose- banned, or partially banned by throwing it back to the States.
6. Civil Rights- Voting Rights Act was already gutted. If you are a minority in America, you have just been rendered a second-class citizen again. We are about to erase the legal progress back to about 1960.
7. LGBT rights- going, going, gone.
8. Civil Liberties- Trump already talked about gutting the 1st Amendment. 4th Amendment has been under assault already for a generation. The 2nd only exists for these people.
9. Economy- remember the last time there was significant protectionism and tariffs in this country? It’s a good thing you don’t because it was prelude to the crash in 1929.
10. Foreign Affairs- Well Raytheon and the Defense contractors will be booming. I guess we can all apply there once the economy tanks.
11. College Financial Aid- loans and grants gutted, hello tax credits (which will do no good if you are poor).
12. Immigration- Illegals removed starting with those currently in detention. Executive orders will be reversed. Border militarized… hundreds of thousands of families with US citizen children will be torn apart full stop.
13. Global Warming Crisis- What crisis! Drill baby, drill…

This is the list if everything goes nicely. Not only that, Trump and the Republicans will work to push through this agenda immediately. Refer back to the kitchen sink approach used by George W. Bush ca. 2001 on… An everything all the time approach leaves a fractured opposition to any single component of their project. Trump and many of his people are authoritarians… even fascists. That’s the scariest part the main stream media never talked about. Welcome to America’s first authoritarian regime. The resistance starts today.

7052745813_8688050759_z

The Dog Whistle of Law and Order

Posted on July 13, 2016

I just wanted to rant a little about how the Main Stream Media has ignored the racial dog whistle of Donald Trump resurrecting Nixon’s old slogan of ‘the law and order candidate’. It’s time to remember the context of 1968 when law and order meant silencing the Civil Rights movement and putting down the anti-war movement. Let’s not forget that. What’s more, the media needs to begin reporting it as to what it really means: it’s a racial dog whistle calling for the silencing of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Do your job, media!

Red State Roads

Posted on July 03, 2016

Just drive around the country these days and I challenge you not to notice one simple fact: the redder the state, the worse the roads. Everywhere the right-wing has taken over in this country you find crumbling roads and bridges.

The Sit-In Continues in DC

Posted on June 23, 2016

THE BIG IDEA: Paul Ryan calls it “a publicly stunt.” That may be true. But it is proving to be a darn effective one.

Republicans, unsure about how to deal with a sit-in that started on the House floor yesterday at 11:30 a.m., tried to talk over Democrats and hold routine votes. Then, around 3:30 a.m., they adjourned the chamber until after July Fourth – two days earlier than planned. In so doing, they’ve guaranteed that the debate about gun control will roil the congressional recess and remain a dominant storyline for the next two weeks.

Democrats continue to occupy the House floor this morning. About two dozen stayed through the night… SOURCE

Where is Kenya’s Potholes and Police Candidate?

Posted on February 20, 2013

As it appears that I will be hanging out in Kenya during the elections, I have decided to begin a series of posts with my thoughts on and ideas about what is going-on during this year’s Presidential elections.

One thing I have discovered recently is just how long-running Kenya’s big issues are.  I am currently finishing reading the book Lost Lion of Empire by Edward Paice.   The book tells the improbable story of one of the British pioneers of Kenya, Ewart Grogan.  While his story is fascinating, the biggest things that struck me are how the problems of Colonial period are still the biggest problems in Kenya today:

  • ineffective, if not incompetent governance
  • corruption at all levels
  • ongoing fighting over the unequal distribution of land and resources
  • the politics of ethnic division
  • lack of proper policing and security

All of the above problems only served to concentrate even more power in the hands of the elites during the Colonial period– a fact that Grogan took advantage off.  Today, it is still the wealthy and political classes that take advantage of those factors.

Today, when I look at all the candidates, all all see are huge (largely meaningless manifestos) replete with images of high-speed trains and skyscrapers.  With the word JOBS written all over the country in BOLD print, you have to be sure that somewhere on election day there will be some poor soul on election day that gets to the ballot and asks, “Where is JOBS? I don’t see his name here on the ballot.”  And you know what, that simple person will actually be right.  The programs on offer only serve to reinforce those key problems that have plagued Kenya.

That’s the negative.  What I see (hey, we Americans are optimists) is that there is a huge opening for someone who can offer real-world solutions… not pie in the sky.

What am I talking about?  It’s quite simple… begin with things that are doable.  I think there is a huge opening for a candidate who can forcefully layout a clear plan to do some easy things that would make a huge difference.  As a modest proposal, just let me present two.

  1. Clean-up Kenya’s roads.  Eliminate potholes and insure that proper infrastructure is in-place for Kenya’s transportation needs.  The economic (and even job) knock-on effects will be profound and long-lasting.  The President that eliminates Kenya’s potholes and traffic jams will become a hero!
  2. Fix the police and security.  It’s not rocket science.  Hire the right people and the right amount for the size of the population.  This also includes being active, if not proactive when a crisis occurs like the Tana Delta.  Where has Kibaki and the military been on this issue?  AWOL mostly… severe threats to law and order have to be met with police and military force in a decisive manner.  For example, why hasn’t there been a declaration and enforcement of martial law in the Tana region.  Security threats to the state should not be swept under the table.  While the Tana conflict IS about resources, it is also about a rise of religious extremism and  separatism in Kenya’s coastal communities.  Facts like those cannot be ignored and those people posing direct threats to the state need to face the consequences of their actions.

Fixing just those two things will bring a big boost to Kenya’s economy and whoever pursues such a policy would easily win a second term.

Why am I sure it will never happen?  The people who benefit are the people of the country, not the elites… there you go.

 

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Founding Fathers and the Bill of Rights: The Inside Story and Why Your Gun Nut Friends Need to STFU About the 2nd Amendment

Posted on December 15, 2012

One of the more aggravating arguments that NRA, gun nutters love to use is the argument of original intent when it comes to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

 

I specifically want to key-in on a particular letter that Madison wrote to Jefferson during the debates over the Bill of Rights:

Here is Madison writing about the creation of the Bill of Rights… “…Supposing a bill of rights to be proper the articles which ought to compose it, admit of much discussion. I am inclined to think that absolute restrictions in cases that are doubtful, or where emergencies may overrule them, ought to be avoided. The restrictions however strongly marked on paper will never be regarded when opposed to the decided sense of the public…”

Read more: http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com/james-madison-letter-to-thomas-jefferson-october-17-1788.html#ixzz2E5sN2g26

 

The implications are pretty clear here. The will of the people has a definite role to play as opposed to the absolutist view of  the Second Amendment.  Like the 1st Amendment then, the Bill of Rights offers broad protection, but NOT absolute blanket protection of gun rights.

It is time for Americans to realize that a debate about gun control is not a zero sum game (no matter what the NRA is spouting these days).  It is time to have a serious discussion about whether anyone actually needs to own high-powered semi-automatic weapons and large magazines whether the NRA and/or America’s gun nuts like it or not.