blueollie

What some Trump haters don’t get (a great Trump ad…really!)

This only takes 2:30 or so to watch. But watch it: I could easily see a Democrat running this ad:

Up to now (at least in recent memory), the standard Republican response to companies leaving is “we have to lower their taxes even more (to even lower than you pay!) to persuade them to stay!”. Here, Donald Trump is offering a different solution; one that will have much better impact on the voting public.

Now COULD a President Trump actually do this? Well, that is another matter. But this is NOT something one usually hears from a Republican front-runner.

Anyway, those who think that Trump’s only appeal is to nostalgia, xenophobia and bigotry are wrong; there is a strong economic populist to his message.

April 14, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics | , | Leave a comment

Reform Republicans and the Democratic primary

Reform Republicans: Paul Krugman recommended Ross Douthat’s rebuke to a column which argued that the Republcians ought to resist reforms that might make them more palatible to the working class.

Krugman writes:

After all, what is the modern GOP? A simple model that accounts for just about everything you see is that it’s an engine designed to harness white resentment on behalf of higher incomes for the donor class.

What we call the Republican establishment is really a network of organizations that represent donor interests because they’re supported by donor money. These organizations impose ideological purity with a combination of carrots and sticks: assured support for politicians and pundits who toe the line, sanctions against anyone who veers from orthodoxy — excommunication if you’re an independent thinking pundit, a primary challenge from the Club for Growth if you’re an imperfectly reliable politician.

To a very casual observer, it may look as if this movement infrastructure engages in actual policy analysis and discussion, but that’s only a show put on for the media. Can you even imagine being unsure how a Heritage Foundation study on any significant issue will come out? The truth is that the right’s policy ideas haven’t changed in decades. Paul Ryan’s innovative idea on Medicare — let’s replace it with vouchers! — is the same proposal Newt Gingrich offered in 1995.

So why are we seeing a crackup of this system now? It’s not because events have called the orthodoxy into question; that has never mattered in the past. On the contrary, failed predictions have never caused even the slightest change in claims: the same people who predicted that Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax hike would kill jobs and that Obamacare would be an economic disaster are making confident predictions about the salutary effects of tax cuts now.

The problem, instead, seems to be demography — an increasingly diverse population means that the party needs to go beyond white resentment, but the resentful whites are having none of it. Oh, and the base never cared about the ideology.

Krugman does take shots at the Democrats, but at least the Democrats acknowledge that we really are a lose confederation of interest groups, and the various interest groups ARE interested in serious policy analysis, at least as far as it concerns the group in question.

Read Douthat’s article; at least the snark is amusing:

What it says is that the Journal has its eyes on the real enemy here. Say what you will about Trump’s protectionist “Bush lied, people died” white identity politics, at least he didn’t endorse a larger child tax credit:

Democrats Yeah, we are seeing an insane “Bernie or bust” faction among some of the liberals. And let’s face reality: he might well win Wisconsin but his path to winning a majority of pledged delegates is very, very narrow.

April 1, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics | , | Leave a comment

Parties choosing their candidates: does NOT have to be a democratic process

Workout notes: weights, swimming (1800 yards)
weights: 5 x 10 pull ups, (ok), rotator cuff
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 10 x 170 (better)
incline: 10 x 135
military (dumbbell), 2 sets of 12 x 50 (seated, supported), 10 x 40 standing
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 each arm.
yoga headstand (ok)
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts

swim: 500 free, 10 x (25 stroke, 25 free) (side, side, fly, back)
8 x 100 (2 x (100 free, 100 pull, 100 free, 100 fins)

Body weight: 186 (Chinese buffet last night)

Interesting note: back in 1982, when I weighed just under 190 pounds, I did 10 reps with 185. Now, at slightly lighter body weight, 10 with 170, so I lost a little in terms of reps. But my max has taken a much bigger hit; it has gone from 250 (in 1982) to 200-205 (now). My lifetime max is 310, but that is at a bodyweight of about 230 (45 pounds heavier than I am now).

Primary elections I’ve heard some complain about the primary process (be it a vote, or a caucus, or the existence of “super delegates”) “not being democratic”.

Political Parties have no legal requirement to choose their candidate in a democratic way; the party gets to make the rules. In fact, the binding primary election is a relatively recent innovation.

Of course, the public is free to reject the party’s nominee, so there is that.

But the rank-and-file have no inherent “right” to choose the candidate for a party, though the rules of the modern Republican and Democratic parties give the public at least some say in the process.

March 23, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Trump rolls in South Carolina; Clinton holds off a tough Sanders surge in Nevada

Well, it was smiles for me in the political arena too. Hillary Clinton held off a tough challenge from Bernie Sanders to win the Nevada Caucuses 52.7 to 47.2 and Donald Trump rolled to an easy 33-22-21 win over Rubio and Cruz.

And poor Jeb Bush: is out. I never dreamed he would bomb out so badly. The “top 2” (Bush and Walker) really proved to be weak candidates. Here are some Bush lowlights.

February 21, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans | , , , , | Leave a comment

Jeb Bush getting desperate?

I viewed Jeb Bush as a sort of “the adult in the room” candidate.

But, look at a recent tweet:

jebtweet

Yes, it is genuine.

As far as the Republican race: yes, the establishment Republicans are cherry picking the results that they like:

trumpleads

(from here)

Guess which poll they focus on?

February 18, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans | , , | Leave a comment

Fireworks from the Republican Debate (South Carolina)

Deportment? Audience being respectful? Well, just watch some of these moments.

Rubio calls Cruz a liar.

Trump vs. Bush I: Middle East

Trump vs. Bush II: Iraq and 9/11

Yes, President George W. Bush did NOT keep us safe and it is high time people faced that fact. Maybe President Bush got too much blame for not stopping 9/11. But we did get attacked and if you use “he kept us safe”, then President Barack Obama has been far superior.

Trump calls Cruz a liar.

If you have enough time, check out Fact Check on this debate.

February 14, 2016 Posted by | politics, republicans, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

GOP Debate (South Carolina): disgusting

I grew up holding this view of Republicans: I though of them as people that I disagreed with. But they were proud of their educations. They always called for proper deportment and sober behavior in public.

What I saw tonight: Trump and Bush issuing sharp insults. Rubio and Cruz trading insults. People also used the word “lies” and “liar”.

The audience cheered, booed, howled, jeered and were so loud at times that the candidates had to raise their voices to speak over them.

Of course, the first questions were about the Supreme Court and they were all about saying that the Senate should not allow an appointment. But then…

Wow. Example.

Biggest: Trump flatly said that the Iraq invasion was a Big Fat Mistake based on LIES and attacked the idea that “Bush kept us safe” by pointing out that 9/11 came under Bush’s watch. That is obvious but often not said.

Did Trump implode? (the audience was packed with Trump haters). Or did he solidify his credentials as the “anti-establishment” candidate?

I really have no idea.

But I hope that the Democrats keep replaying this…because it was disgusting…candidates AND audience.

February 14, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republican party, republicans, republicans politics | , | Leave a comment

So, what is going to happen in Iowa tomorrow?

Five Thirty Eight: gives Clinton about an 73-78 percent chance. Think of it as a good NBA player taking a free shot.

But caucus states are hard to predict; Sam Wang weighs in.

What about the Republicans? If you wondered why their debates sound like “I’m gonna kick the ass of ISIS” over and over again, it is because Republicans value “perceived strength”. It is interesting reading..and it is hard for me to not feel contempt when I read the write ups on the individuals.

I’ll close with what Paul Krugman says (and he admits that this is just personal opinion)

The appeal of the Sanders campaign, at least to people I know, is that it brings a sense of possibility. For those who were joyful and uplifted on inauguration day 2009, the years that followed have been a vast letdown: American politics got even uglier, policy progress always fell short of dreams. Now comes Sanders — very different in personal style from Obama 2008, but again someone who seems different and offers the hope of transformation. And some people really want to hear that message, and don’t want to hear that they’re being unrealistic.

But there’s something else, which I keep encountering, and which I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice: even among progressives, the two-decade-plus smear campaign against the Clintons has had its effect. I keep being told about terrible things the Clintons did that never actually happened, but were carefully fomented right-wing legends — except I’m hearing them from people on the left. The sense that where there’s smoke there must be fire — when the reality was nothing but Richard Mellon Scaife with a smoke machine — is very much out there, still. […]

On the other hand, that history is, I think, one factor behind a phenomenon we saw in 2008 and will see again this year: there’s a lot more passionate support for Clinton than either Sanders supporters or the news media imagine. There are a lot of Democrats who see her as someone who has been subjected to character assassination, to vicious attacks, on a scale few women and no men in politics have ever encountered — yet she’s still standing, still capable of remarkable grace under fire. If you didn’t see something heroic about her performance in the Benghazi hearing, you’re missing something essential.

And Clinton’s dogged realism, while it doesn’t inspire the same kind of uplift as Sanders’s promise of change, can be inspiring in its own way.

Emphasis mine. I support Clinton for a couple of reasons: one is her intelligence and knowledge of the issues, and the other is her realism. We can’t afford those who peddle fantasy.

February 1, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans | , , , | Leave a comment

Trump and Sanders Supporters..

Why is Trump doing so well, at least in the polls? I still think that this is one of the best explanations (though it is a few months old). And here is one by David Axelrod that complements that:

Today, after seven eventful years, attitudes toward President Obama will shape the selection of his successor.

The Republican base is infuriated by Mr. Obama’s activist view of government and progressive initiatives, from health care reform to immigration, gay rights to climate change.

Beyond specific issues, however, many Republicans view dimly the very qualities that played so well for Mr. Obama in 2008. Deliberation is seen as hesitancy; patience as weakness. His call for tolerance and passionate embrace of America’s growing diversity inflame many in the Republican base, who view with suspicion and anger the rapidly changing demographics of America. The president’s emphasis on diplomacy is viewed as appeasement.
So who among the Republicans is more the antithesis of Mr. Obama than the trash-talking, authoritarian, give-no-quarter Mr. Trump?
His bombast allows no room for nuance or complexity. He proudly extols his intolerance as an assault against “political correctness,” and he vows to bring the world to heel, from Mexico to China to Syria and Iraq.

Mr. Trump has found an audience with Americans disgruntled by the rapid, disorderly change they associate with national decline and their own uncertain prospects. Policies be damned, who better to set things right than the defiant strong man who promises by sheer force of will to make America great again?

Yes, we can? Hell, no!

Just leave it to me, Mr. Trump says. Yes, I can!

Hey, though I am a liberal, even I get tired of nattering sanctimonious social justice warriors running around with their clipboards saying “it is ok to say THIS but not THAT”. So, having someone say: “oh, STFU; I am rich and I don’t care what you think” is a bit refreshing.

And no, I don’t want him anywhere near the nuclear codes, ok?:-)

And now we turn to the Democrats. Some supporters of Senator Sanders are going nuts, attacking people who support Sec. Clinton. Paul Krugman has a few things to say:

Greg Sargent notes that President Obama, in his interview with Glenn Thrush of Politico, essentially supports the Hillary Clinton theory of change over the Bernie Sanders theory:

I think that what Hillary presents is a recognition that translating values into governance and delivering the goods is ultimately the job of politics, making a real-life difference to people in their day-to-day lives. I don’t want to exaggerate those differences, though, because Hillary is really idealistic and progressive. You’d have to be to be in, you know, the position she’s in now, having fought all the battles she’s fought and, you know, taken so many, you know, slings and arrows from the other side.

He could be wrong, of course. But if you’re a progressive who not only supports Sanders but is furious with anyone skeptical about his insurgency, someone who considers Mike Konczal a minion and me a corrupt crook, you might want to ask why Barack Obama is saying essentially the same things as the progressive Bernie skeptics. And you might want to think hard about why you’re not just sure that you’re right, but sure that anyone who disagrees must be evil.

Now to be fair, those who accuse Clinton supporters of being delusional right wingers or pawns of the oligarchy are often not the sharpest nor the most successful people out there, so one must consider the source.

There is nothing wrong with supporting Senator Sanders. But at times, things have gotten ridiculous.

January 26, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans | , , , , | 1 Comment

Sanders and Trump

Yes, Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump and that might well make a difference. This is part of the politics of resentment and Palin’s supporters can relate to the resentment that Trump is preaching:

Since Donald Trump entered the race, one opponent after another has attacked him as not a real conservative. They’ve been right, too! And the same could have been said about Sarah Palin in 2008. Palin knew little and cared less about most of the issues that excited conservative activists and media. She owed her then-sky-high poll numbers in Alaska to an increase in taxes on oil production that she used to fund a $1,200 per person one-time cash payout—a pretty radical deviation from the economic ideology of the Wall Street Journal and the American Enterprise Institute. What defined her was an identity as a “real American”—and her conviction that she was slighted and insulted and persecuted because of this identity.

That’s exactly the same feeling to which Donald Trump speaks, and which has buoyed his campaign. When he’s president, he tells voters, department stores will say “Merry Christmas” again in their advertisements. Probably most of his listeners would know, if they considered it, that the president of the United States does not determine the ad copy for Walmart and Nordstrom’s. They still appreciate the thought: He’s one of us—and he’s standing up for us against all of them—at a time when we feel weak and poor and beleaguered, and they seem more numerous, more dangerous, and more aggressive.

Of course the writer of the above is using the old “not a real conservative” charge. But this is what they’ve been peddling:

My colleague David Brooks issues an anguished plea for the Republican establishment to get its act together. I feel his pain. But I really wonder when he says this:

There’s a silent majority of hopeful, practical, programmatic Republicans.

Not according to the polls: the average of recent polls shows Trump, Cruz, and Carson with the support of roughly two-thirds of likely Republican primary voters, while all the establishment candidates combined draw barely 20 percent. And do we really imagine that any significant fraction of the overwhelmingly dominant blowhard bloc consists of moderate voters who just don’t realize what they would be getting from Trump or Cruz?

Also worth bearing in mind are the kinds of things even establishment candidates say these days. Not one has anything positive to say about what looks increasingly like highly successful diplomacy in the Persian Gulf. And Marco Rubio, the establishment’s last best hope, says he bought a gun to defend his family from ISIS.

The point is that this primary doesn’t look like an aberration, in which the GOP majority is losing its way; it looks like an outbreak of honesty, with the GOP majority finally going for candidates saying what it always believed.

Be careful what you court.

And now to the Democrats: many love Bernie Sanders because he speaks loudly on the issues that many of us are concerned about. But what ARE this plans anyway?

On finance: Sanders has made restoring Glass-Steagal and breaking up the big banks the be-all and end-all of his program. That sounds good, but it’s nowhere near solving the real problems. The core of what went wrong in 2008 was the rise of shadow banking; too big to fail was at best marginal, and as Mike Konczal notes, pushing the big banks out of shadow banking, on its own, could make the problem worse by causing the risky stuff to “migrate elsewhere, often to places where there is less regulatory infrastructure.”

On health care: leave on one side the virtual impossibility of achieving single-payer. Beyond the politics, the Sanders “plan” isn’t just lacking in detail; as Ezra Klein notes, it both promises more comprehensive coverage than Medicare or for that matter single-payer systems in other countries, and assumes huge cost savings that are at best unlikely given that kind of generosity. This lets Sanders claim that he could make it work with much lower middle-class taxes than would probably be needed in practice.

To be harsh but accurate: the Sanders health plan looks a little bit like a standard Republican tax-cut plan, which relies on fantasies about huge supply-side effects to make the numbers supposedly add up. Only a little bit: after all, this is a plan seeking to provide health care, not lavish windfalls on the rich — and single-payer really does save money, whereas there’s no evidence that tax cuts deliver growth. Still, it’s not the kind of brave truth-telling the Sanders campaign pitch might have led you to expect.

Yep.

January 20, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, politics, republicans | , , , | Leave a comment

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