blueollie

Do the Republicans continue to threat the needle?

I am struck by something: Medicaid is very important in West Virginia: percentage wise, they have the highest reliance on Medicaid/CHIP in the nation (29 percent, versus 20 percent nationally, or 19 in Illinois).

Trumpcare would some of its worst effects there.

And yet, West Virginia gives Trump the highest approval ratings in the nation: 60 percent! (as opposed to below 40 percent elsewhere)

So, of course, that is where he went for a rally yesterday. Go figure.

That is a fine needle to thread, isn’t it? At the heart of the GOP agenda is “tax cuts for the financially elite”; you might say that attempts to reform the ACA were “ok, you need to die earlier so the wealthiest can have bigger tax cuts”. I doubt that is the message that they deliver to states like West Virginia.

So…they peddle false promises (“coal is coming back”) and hatred of…well, people like me (“it is those liberals getting in the way of America being Great Again”)

Will this continue to work? In some states, I am sure that it will.

I suppose that some are fine with being pissed on so long as they are praised in the process?

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August 4, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Depressing state of politics

Ok, it is no secret that I never considered Donald Trump to be suitable POTUS material. Enough of my countrymen disagreed enough for him to squeak by in the Electoral College though he lost the popular vote by about 3,000,000 votes (and if you start complaining that is a fake statistic because of “illegals voting”, you are too stupid to be reading my blog, so just get lost right now).

Now our rough, tough, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN president is…whining?

Pathetic. But it probably plays to his hard core supporters because, well, many of them are also whiny little victims. A great explanation is here: (and he uses a King Solomon story to help make his point)

Upshot: remember those pitiful “what has happened to my country” whines when President Obama was in office? (if you want to be nauseated, watch at 1:15)

They had an idea of what their country was like (no, it never was that way), and they had a skilled con man running to saying “he would make it great again” by…well, sticking it to the liberals. Sure the real agenda is the same as it always was (tax cuts for the wealthiest among us), and they sold it to the base by, well, attacking people like me.

So that brings me to the Democrats.

And I’ll say it: as evil as I think the elite Republican mission is (the tax cuts for the wealthy above all else), they are better politicians than we are. And their “message to the base” is an easier sale; all one has to do is to cherry pick a few ridiculous college campus incidents to get people fired up about how ridiculous liberals are (like this one)

(for the record: there are crackpot professors…but it has gotten so ridiculous that people who have never set foot in a college classroom see fit to tell me what goes on in colleges and how *I* brainwash students into not working hard, hating American, etc.)

So, what are Democrats about? We are supposed to be about a society that works for all, including the less talented, the disabled, the poor, the sick, those born into tough circumstances, etc.

And guess what? That is a tough sell. The Republicans glorify the rich…and well, most all of us want to be rich, or at least moderately comfortable.

Who wants to be poor, sick, laid off, mentally ill, or disabled?

We Democrats talk about safety nets (e. g. Medicaid) and minimum wages. BUT FEW WANT TO HAVE TO USE SAFETY NETS, TO BE ON MEDICAID OR TO WORK FOR MINIMUM WAGE. These policy issues are tough to rally around and those who would benefit the most vote at low rates. (directly, anyway; the economy does benefit from safety net programs). “The poor” is not that big of a voting block and much of the “working class” really isn’t poor.

Yes, there are people who will never grow much past a minimum wage job and Democratic policies might help them, but no one wants to face up to the fact that they are doomed to be stuck on that rung for life.

And so we get critiques of how well the Democrats are doing (and yes, “pathetic” is accurate). Oh, true, we did win the popular vote in 6 of the last 7 Presidential elections (2004 was the exception) but the EC hurt us in 2000 and really hurt us in 2016.

So we try to critique ourselves, and get, well, pathetic articles like this one. Example:

When the poll came out saying that “Democrats stand for nothing more than opposing” Trump, I thought to myself, ‘If only that were true!’” But they can’t even do that well. When House Democratic Caucus chairman Joe Crowley was asked by the Associated Press just what his party’s core message was, he “hesitated” and then said, “That message is being worked on.”

It was as tone deaf (but honest) an answer as when Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum – as sycophantic a representative of the Democratic party in the punditocracy as there is – wrote about how people would have to be “crazy” not to “have a reflective disgust” of people who are homeless and mentally ill.

Considering homeless people are also disproportionately black, LGBT, disabled and, of course, poor, Drum managed to reveal the disdain the liberal elite has of wide swaths of Americans.

Uh, I think the latter is just reality. Most people do have at least an internal “yuck” reaction to many of the homeless and mentally ill.

My response is that we need to use our morals and intellect to work past that “yuck” response ..and to realize that our discomfort might be born from fear that we are just a single (or a few) unlucky incidents from being just like that homeless or mentally ill person.

Example: what if I sustain a head injury that harms my ability to even do math, much less teach and research it? Oh sure, there is enough in the bank to have the home free and clear (and pay taxes) but what about that income? I have disability insurance, but times would get tougher, very quickly.

Nevertheless, articles such as the one I quoted attempt to throw cold water on what I think are needed, frank discussions.

And there is the old “Bernie would have won” bullshit. Yes, I am aware of the polls that showed him beating Trump head to head by bigger margins than Clinton was leading by..but you don’t think that the Trump analytics team would have absolutely vaporized Sanders? Please.

And some are saying he is the 2020 front runner? Oh, spare me. Oh yes, Hillary Clinton is not a great campaigner and I think that she is done, just as Al Gore was in 2000. But Bernie Sanders? Nope.

Oh well, this is why I haven’t written much about politics this year. I consider Trump to be dangerously incompetent and temperamentally unsuited for the job. But I consider my party to be politically incompetent.
In short, the Republicans can win elections but cannot govern; the Democrats can govern but suck at elections.

And yes, I think that the extreme political skill (and policy chops) of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama hid many of our party’s weaknesses. How many of these “purple unicorns” (blessed with show business AND policy skills like Pres. C and Pres. O) do we have?

It is just too depressing right now.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, economy, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

Are you angry? So what?

I keep seeing this as a theme: Trump says something stupid and Mitch McConnell tries to get a vote on a truly dreadful bill, and people get ANGRY. But so what?

I think that Trump speaks very clearly here:

Yes, on occasion, a Lindsey Graham might stroke his chin and say he is “troubled”…but ultimately he votes for the Trump policy in question.

Yes, there are protests ..

But that isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. How much power do these people have? And those who might feel compassion for them are already NOT voting for members of Congress that back this dreadful “wealthcare bill” (yes, the ACA has problems, but an upper end tax cut won’t fix them).

This strikes me as a situation similar to that of airline customer service. Yes, the airlines don’t care because, well, they don’t have to. Each airline has more or less a monopoly on certain routes, so if you are going to fly…well, you basically HAVE to fly them. (this is one reason I want high speed rail…for competition )

So what are we to do? I really don’t know, but here are my “off the cuff” ideas:

In the short term, how do we pressure the Republicans when we basically have zero leverage (Trump supporters won’t change their minds and Big Money is indifferent to the rest of us)

1. Target the most vulnerable Republicans (as we are doing in the Senate); the ones who will need votes beyond the Republican base.
2. Pressure big business. If we find some billionaire threatening to withhold campaign funds unless the Republicans fall into line, find their biggest investments and boycott them. Our money, put together collectively, does have some clout.

In the long term, we need to win back at least one chamber of Congress and win the 2020 Presidential election.

And even here, I’ve seen two different paths discussed.

1. Seek to win back that small percentage of Trump voters who voted for Obama in 2012. Though there aren’t that many of them, there were just enough of them to tip the scales in 2016.

See this thread:

or

2. Forget about them and focus about exciting our own people and getting them to show up.

Now how do we excite the base? Here is where the “Bernie” vs. “Hillary” war continues to rage.

July 3, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans, social/political | | Leave a comment

Why Trump gets away with it: hatred of liberals.

Yes, once again, Trump was tweeting stupid, disgusting things.

And yes, Sarah Sanders Huckabee defended Trump doing so.

Now, yes, Mitch McConnell might have enjoyed the cover to try to get to “an agreement on principle” to a still toxic health care…er…”wealthcare” deal.

But yes, Trump’s conduct is disgusting, and even many conservatives agree. Trump does this all of the time. But they defend it because:

Yep…he is their son-of-a-bitch. And they despise us and everything we stand for.

The elite Republicans (Ryan, McConnell, Graham, McCain, Priebus, Pence) all stand to gain something; here is a nice list as to what each might gain.

And so it goes.

June 29, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans | | 2 Comments

They don’t even try to hide it

Yes, the vote on the toxic Senate version of “Trumpcare” has been delayed. Of course, this bill fixes NONE of the problems with the ACA but instead cuts taxes on the wealthy. I am not sure how cutting Medicaid (on a percapita basis) and giving the wealthy a tax cut on investment income is supposed to be good for anyone except those who need it the least.

And yes, Big Money is pissed; they don’t even try to hide their contempt for the rest of us. But have the Republicans become so terrible that even they have to take a step back?

I honestly don’t know.

Right now, the Republicans say (with varying degrees of exaggeration) that the ACA needs improving. I agree with that. But their solution: kick people off of Medicaid and give tax cuts to the rich? Oh my goodness…

Can’t Mitch McConnell, for once in his life, say “no” to Big Money?

Workout notes: weights plus an easy 2 mile walk.

weights: rotator cuff, hip hikes, toe raises, pull ups (5 sets of 10, went well), incline: 10 x 135, 5 x 160, 7 x 150, military: 15 x 55 seated, supported (dumbbells), 10 x 45 standing, 10 x 90 (each arm) machine, rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55 each arm, 10 x 110 machine.

Of note: when I was doing my 15 x 55 while seated, I noticed the pressure I put on my seat. I had 110 extra pounds..and that is more or less how it used to feel to sit when I was at my fattest.

June 28, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics, walking, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Did Trump outsmart Obama?

I read this article about how the Obama administration handled the Russian meddling in our election issue. Here is the Washington Post article on the subject.

The upshot: Obama found out, told the Russians to “cut it out”, they didn’t and the Obama administration responded weakly. Reason: remember Trump babbling about the “election being rigged” and the threats that he might not accept the results if he lost?

That put Obama between a rock and a hard place. If he went public, the Republicans would accuse him of “rigging the election” for Hillary; remember that one of the things that the Russians did was to spread false stories. But if he responded weakly…well, you see what happened.

So, he figured that Clinton would win anyway..and she didn’t (sort of).

Now Trump is crowing.

Now, in public, Trump denied that Russia was behind the hacking. But what if he knew that Russia was behind it (or even actively colluded, though we don’t have solid evidence of that as yet) and he judged that Obama’s sense of fairness (not wanting to appear to tip the election toward Clinton, which could have backfired) would make Obama respond weakly?

It could be that we got played.

June 25, 2017 Posted by | 2016, politics, republicans | , , | Leave a comment

Democrats: offer a “yea” vote on AHCA if they remove the tax cuts

Let’s be blunt: the AHCA (aka “Turtlecare”, “Cheetocare”) is nothing more than a repeal of the high end tax hikes on the well-to-do. Period. The rest is to make reconciliation work.

So, let the Democrats in the Senate offer to back the Senate version if The Turtle takes out those tax cuts.

Play chicken with ’em.

Note: I hate The Turtle (aka Sen. McConnell) but he is a sharp politician; evidently he set it up so that wavering Republican Senators can get political cover by suggesting small (but inconsequential) amendments.

June 22, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics | , , | Leave a comment

Oh boy…dark days ahead

Tomorrow, Georgia 6’th Congressional District will vote on a replacement for Tom Price’s old seat. He won 62-38 in 2016, but resigned to take a post in the Trump administration. Though Trump narrowly won the district 48-47, this seat was considered safe..until..recent events.

The Democrat Jon Ossoff got more votes than anyone else in the primary, but narrowly missed the 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff. So now he is locked in a tight battle with Karen Handel with the polls being so close. Ossoff did have a 7 point lead in one of them, but most have been 0-2 points with Ossoff leading; the latest had Handel up by 2 (but the day before, Ossoff was up by 1 and 2 points).

In other words: toss up.

And in the Senate, Mitch “the Turtle” McConnell won’t let anyone outside of his narrow circle see the Senate’s bill, and he will force a quick vote on it.

My guess is that he wants to avoid public scrutiny AND to keep Trump out of the loop. And if it fails..well, he wants to move on to tax cuts.

I think that is the way to read this: whatever gets them to tax cuts the quickest…that is, tax cuts for the wealthiest among us.

I am not sure how much he will put into the health care bill itself.

Workout notes Bonus walk with Barbara after weights (2 miles)

rotator cuff, hip hikes, calf raises
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (ok)
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 190, 8 x 170
incline: 10 x 135
military: seated, 15 x 55, then 10 x 45, 10 x 40
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55, 10 x 60
yoga: abs, 1-2 sun salutes, headstand (good?), plank for 2:30

I saw Barbara on the way home and so walked a leisurely 2 miles with her.

Note: I am getting the old “piriformis tingles” again; brought on by the onset of longer, faster walks, I think.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Disgusting…

I got a late start (but sleep!) and walked 10K: 19 minutes warm up, 4.2 miles (10 laps of W. Peoria, doing parking lot intervals; about 3 on, 2-2:30 off), a bit less than I mile back.

27:29/26:12; I was 5:3x for the first 4 laps and mostly 5:1x for the next 6; one 5:20 (lap 9) and 5:04 (lap 10). But the heat and humidity was revolting.

Speaking of revolting: Will Bunch as an interesting op-ed. It is worth reading: it is about the marriage of Donald Trumps authoritarianism with general GOP greed (cut taxes on the rich at all costs).

I highly recommend reading the article. It is genius, really.

Trump: needs adoration. He gets it this way: to his lesser educated base, he promised to make “America Great Again” (say, post WW II) by making things “like they were”. His base gets this in return: liberals are infuriated by the things Trump says and what he pushes for. Hey, if the “libtards” are upset, he must be doing something right, correct?

The wealthy base: gets promises of tax cuts. That is what the modern GOP is really about, though the sell hatred of the liberals to their lesser educated base. And it is an easy sell; vocal, unreasonable liberals are easy to find.

So, the poorer Republicans lose Medicaid and the “lower to middle of the middle class” ones are no closer to seeing the return of good paying middle class jobs (think: automation, plus the loss of union power), but the GOP gets away with it by pointing out that we are sticking up for Loretta’s right to use the women’s bathroom.

We suck as politicians and the GOP base gets conned over and over again.

June 13, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, walking | | Leave a comment

Giving Trump supporters some credit

I watched the climate change stuff with interest. Yes, Trump pulled us out of it. But as President Obama and others pointed out:

1. Businesses and energy firms have already made some good advances…and we won’t retreat from those and
2. Other countries can make the agreement stronger because they won’t have to water it down just for us; they will be taking the lead.

So, the planet might not be hurt as badly as our world leadership, and ironically, our businesses.

Yes, withdrawing from the agreement wasn’t really popular anywhere, but this is not something that most people feel intensely about; it is not a big emotional hot-button issue for most.

Now about those Trump supporters: some on the left seemed to think that Hillary Clinton was “just as bad” as Trump, or “worse”. Some even said that openly…”what is the difference>?”

Evidently, millions and millions of Trump supporters COULD tell the difference, and here we are. So in that sense, the Trump supporters are smarter than the super hard core Bernie bots (the ones who didn’t switch to Clinton for the general) and the Stein voters.

And so, I feel so embarrassed for our country…but am realistic enough to recognize that the buffoonery that we are displaying to the world accurately reflects large swaths of our population:

the Trump supporters who will do just about anything “because the liberals hate it” and those who put up with Trump’s incompetence because they think that they can grow even richer via deregulation and tax cuts.

June 1, 2017 Posted by | Republican, republicans, social/political | | Leave a comment