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The Rational Progressive is a publication focused on progressive news and issues. Focused forward and focused on the facts, we avoid demons and demagogues.



by James Andre

  • The fight against the Right is over. The Left lost.

    The Guardian just out with a story connecting Trump's Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Billionaire Robert Mercer, and the Brexit campaign that is severing England from the EU. This is a frightening, but not surprising, story that adds to a growing list of facts that demonstrate the existence and operation of a shrinking number of geopolitical players whose power is growing… Read more… 

  • Trump raised more money from small donors than Clinton and Sanders combined. America has a problem.

      The Campaign Finance Institute just released an analysis of FEC filings for the 2016 election. You may remember Bernie Sanders bragging about the money he was raking in from small donors at an average of $27 each. Well, Hillary Clinton beat him in small donations. And Trump beat them both - combined. Not only did Trump raise more small… Read more… 

  • Think About This – Monday 8/8/16

    Here are a few things to think about this week when you are talking politics and policy: • The world grows more peaceful and prosperous everyday. Violence and warfare have been declining since World War II. • Respect for civil and human rights in the U.S. is growing greater every day. More police are wearing cameras, and more are being… Read more… 

  • Haters, Whine All You Want. Hillary’s Nomination Is Unprecedented.

    I just wanted to write a quick note to Hillary supporters with some info for when you hear haters complaining that Hillary is not the first woman to run for president. That is true, however:   • The Clinton campaign is not making that claim. Maybe some in the media have. • Hillary is the first woman to win the… Read more… 


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Progressivism

Progressivism is not an ideology at all, but an attitude towards the world of politics that is far less black-and-white than conservatism or liberalism, breaking free from the false and divisive dichotomy of liberal vs. conservative that has dominated American politics for too long.

Progressives aren't simply liberals; progressives see the world for what it is, accept it as ever-changing and dynamic, and choose the best course of action in line with decidedly American values.

-From an article on Alternet.org by Andrew Garib

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Trump raised more money from small donors than Clinton and Sanders combined. America has a problem.

 

The Campaign Finance Institute just released an analysis of FEC filings for the 2016 election. You may remember Bernie Sanders bragging about the money he was raking in from small donors at an average of $27 each. Well, Hillary Clinton beat him in small donations. And Trump beat them both – combined.

Not only did Trump raise more small donor money, after initially financing his campaign himself, small donors ended up paying over two-thirds of campaign expenses, far more then even Bernie Sanders. Further evidence that Trump may have emerged victorious no matter who ran against him.

Trump raised 69% of his individual contributions from small donors, compared to Sanders’ 44% (2016), Clinton’s 22% (2016), Obama’s 28% (2012) and 24% (2008)

America has a problem and President Trump is the symptom. So many have tried to spin Trump’s victory as the failure of one person or another to fight hard enough, or well. Trump’s win was not a failure of any individual or organization. This was a failure of the American mentality.

If Trump’s out sized small donor performance, the Republican electorate’s sudden love for Vladimir Putin,  and the vilification of Hillary Clinton, a woman who has been globally most admired for twenty years, and who left office only a few years before with a record high approval rating aren’t enough to convince you of this, nothing will.

There is a significant segment of the population that is only interested in peace, prosperity, and liberty for those they approve of. Sure, Putin has had people run off the road and irradiated with polonium. You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Constant fear mongering, the denigration of our culture of education, and the creeping pervasiveness of profiteering that demands more hours of work every week to survive, all combine to create a citizenry that is afraid to think, doesn’t know what to think, and anyway has no time left in the day for thinking.

So people rely on tv and their emotions, and we have to listen as people talk about how they “feel” about political candidates. They cling to their religion and their guns, and when someone offers them a value meal candidate that looks familiar, or makes them ‘feel’ good, they choose the #4. Large.

This only works because we have fallen into the habit of excusing the behavior of our own tribe, and focusing on the value meal menu instead of facing the difficult questions about what kind of society we want and where we want to see our country in the future. Pre-packaged candidates and causes. And no one cares really, as long as they help us figure out which side the other guy is on.

You choose Planned Parenthood, I choose a pipeline.

There is only one way forward that holds any hope. Revolution does not start at the Oval Office, from the top down. The only way forward is for those with vision to start locally, find allies, and start doing things the right way. That means building our society on cooperation, education, sustainability, and liberty.

 

 

 

FLORIDA: Voting Begins This Monday. Here’s What You Need To Know

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Florida ballot recommendations: U.S. Congress, Florida State Legislature, Florida State Supreme Court, 11th Judicial Circuit Court, Miami-Dade Questions

Early voting for this November’s election begins in Florida this Monday October 24th.  Besides the election of the President, there are 40 offices up for vote. The number of offices on your ballot will vary depending on where you live. By now you may have received a sample ballot in the mail. If not, you can look yours up here, or go to your county’s elections department website.

Below are recommendations for voting this year. This article is written by a progressive, or what some would describe more generally as a lefty, so most of the ballot is easy: vote Democrat, not Republican.

The reason is simple: for all the talk of blue states and red states, almost every state is red. Yes, many states go reliably for Democratic presidential nominees, but when you look at the state governments, you find that the majority of politicians across the country are Republican.

ballot-recs

Florida, in particular, is a Republican trifecta, holding the governorship, the state senate, and the state house. That means fracking, increased cancer-causing chemicals in our water, no expansion of medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, no high speed rail, and very little action on climate change.

So vote Democrat all the way down the ballot.

That leaves Judges, Amendments, local seats and local charter amendments.

In Florida, Judges either win elections, or are nominated by a commission and appointed by the governor. So even if Judges are removed, the new appointees will likely be favored by Republicans. However, in the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal, a new appointee only serves a year before facing a retention election. Five of those judges are on the ballot this year. If they are retained, they then serve a 6 year term. So voting against retaining partisan judges now limits the length of time the court is under Republican influence.

• Charles T. Canady: NO
Republican appointee, only justice to dissent on requiring death sentences to be unanimous, on Donald Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees, allowed deceptive Amendment 1 on the ballot.

• Jorge Labarga: NO
Havana, Cuba born Republican appointee, refused a new vote in the 2000 Gore v Bush election, allowed the deceptive Amendment 1 on the ballot.

• Ricky L. Polston: NO
Republican appointee, rated more conservative than average, often sides with business and Justice Canady.

Edwin A. Scales: NO
Republican appointee.

Linda Ann Wells: NO
Republican appointee, sided with condo developers over Vizcaya Gardens.

Miami-Dade

11th Judicial Circuit

• Mark Blumstein
The edge: length of experience, history of community service, interest in veterans issues.

• Carol “Jodie” Breece
The edge: Length of experience, experience in government ethics, diverse gender and ethnicity,

Local seats, for example on Community Development Districts, are highly local. I will not recommend individuals here. This is something that if it directly concerns you, in my opinion you should know the issues, or leave them blank and let those who do decide. I don’t think it ethical to guess.

Local charter amendments are generally a matter of principle, even if you do not fully understand the amendment.

• Special Purpose District Control Measure: Miami-Dade County On the ballot: NO
• Public Records Measure: YES

 

 

 

A House of Representatives Sit-In? Whatever.

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Today Dems are staging a sit in in the House. Regular readers can probably guess my position on the matter. I don’t want to denigrate other people’s actions for change, but since the story is being so widely reported and commented on, I feel like I would be remiss in not sharing an opinion.
 
A sit-in is not legislating.
This is not 1960.
Any concessions will be for a vote that is guaranteed to fail.
 
Since I was admonished recently for not being explicit about my preferred method to achieve legislative progress, here are the bullet points:
 
• Have a hearing to determine the most effective and comprehensive changes that should be made Constitutionally and in the public interest.
• Create a bill called something like “Terrorist Weapon Prevention Act”
• Create a bill called something like “The Disarm Terrorists Act”
• The “Terrorist Weapon Prevention Act” will have one intent, e.g. block those on the watchlist from buying guns or other weapons.
• “The Disarm Terrorists Act” will have all the legislative recommendations of the congressional hearing, starting with
the one in the “Terrorist Weapon Prevention Act”
• Present the “Terrorist Weapon Prevention Act” to Congress, again and again, publicize it, comment on it, until it is passed, at least in some form.
• Once the “Terrorist Weapon Prevention Act” is passed in some form with a single intent, begin submitting amendments based on the original congressional recommendations, one at a time, until the bill is amended.
• Meanwhile, take “The Disarm Terrorists Act” to every state legislature, in its entirety, making every effort to force votes IN THE STATES.
• Use the bill and the votes on “The Disarm Terrorists Act” in the states to force progress on gun control, or to damage Republican state representatives in local races, turning state legislatures as Democratic as possible.

Hillary Clinton full CNN interview

cnnhrc-trp

Hillary Clinton discusses EgyptAir, the war on terror, and Donald Trump with CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

 

Las Vegas police investigating death threats to Nevada Democrats

The Las Vegas Police Department has opened an investigation into death threats directed at top officials of the Nevada State Democratic Party, a spokesman tells Newsweek.

“We are investigating that at this time,” a department spokesman, Larry Hadfield said in a brief interview. He called the probe “an open investigation into some of the death threats made to Democratic office holders that reside in our jurisdiction.”

A spokesman for the FBI, which investigates threats to federal office holders, responded with “no comment” when asked whether the bureau was involved in the Nevada investigation.

Read Full Article => Las Vegas police investigating death threats to Nevada Democrats

How Senate Democrats are trying to deal with Sanders

The lawmakers met in a closed-door session days after Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) was shouted down at the Nevada Democratic convention, an incident that shook Democrats and raised fears about a chaotic fight at the party’s upcoming national convention that might cost the party the White House.

Democrats in the room decided the best course would be to let Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) handle the delicate task of talking to Sanders about the increasingly negative tone of supporters of his presidential bid, according to sources familiar with what happened at the meeting.

“I’m leaving it up to Reid. That’s what the caucus did yesterday. We said he would be the lead on it,” said one Democratic senator. “There was some suggestion that we would all make calls. And everybody said the best idea is to let the leader handle it.”

A senior Democratic aide said that thinking reflects an acknowledgement among the senators that Reid is the one member of the caucus who “has an actual relationship with him.”

Sanders is a political independent who caucuses with Democrats. That’s made him a bit of an outsider with his colleagues, something highlighted by the Vermont senator’s rebuke this week of a Democratic Party he says should open its doors to political independents.

The presidential candidate is not chummy with his colleagues.

Read Full Article => How Senate Democrats are trying to deal with Sanders | TheHill

Once an organizational army, Team Sanders now skeleton crew

•••

While the campaign had exhibited coherence through the first few states, flawed decisions and deep frustrations have marked the second half of the calendar.

The most public sign of discontent and disagreement in the campaign came April 26. It was a key turning point.

Sanders had just lost four of the five states that had voted — a week after a pummeling in the delegate-rich state of New York, where the democratic socialist was born and where he hoped to make a dent in Hillary Clinton’s delegate lead.

News outlets deemed the campaign on its last legs, and top advisers were publicly scrambling over how to react to the string of losses.

Senior adviser Tad Devine told The New York Times that the tough electoral results would spur a “reassessment,” while spokesman Michael Briggs insisted the inner workings of the campaign would not be rewired.

“There’s nothing to reassess,” Briggs said in an email to VTDigger on April 26. “He’s made clear that he’s going forward to give voters in California and every other state that still hasn’t voted a voice and a choice in the democratic process.”

The next afternoon, after an assessment, the Times’ Yamiche Alcindor reported that hundreds of staff members would be laid off and Sanders would “focus much of his remaining effort on winning the June 7 California primary.”

The story surfaced before the word was official, and many of the staffers learned of the layoffs from the Times, not the campaign.

Read Full Article => Once an organizational army, Team Sanders now skeleton crew | VTDigger

Sanders Issues Statement on Nevada: ‘Nonsense’ to Say Campaign Has ‘Penchant for Violence’

Sanders declares in the statement today that it’s “nonsense” to say such a thing. This is how he responded to calls to denounce the violence from his supporters:

Our campaign has held giant rallies all across this country, including in high crime areas, and there have been zero reports of violence. Our campaign of course believes in non-violent change and it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals. But, when we speak of violence, I should add here that months ago, during the Nevada campaign, shots were fired into my campaign office in Nevada and an apartment housing my campaign staff was broken into and ransacked.

He proceeds to denounce the supposedly unfair delegate system in Nevada in which the state Democrats “used its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place.”

Read Full Article=> Sanders Issues Statement on Nevada: ‘Nonsense’ to Say Campaign Has ‘Penchant for Violence’ | Mediaite

Democratic Primary Update – Thursday April 28

primary results 4-26

Tuesday April 26th were the Democratic primary elections in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

Another great night for Hillary Clinton that read as much as a hammer blow to the Sanders campaign as it did an electoral victory. Clinton took 4 of the 5 states, winning by 52 pledged delegates and almost half a million votes, taking an overwhelming 293 pledged delegate lead.

Clinton continued to dominate with women, voters over 40 years old, Blacks, and Democrats. Sanders continued his lock on independent voters.

While Clinton did expand her lead and is all but guaranteed the nomination (and the presidency), Tuesday’s elections do little to change the dynamic of the Democratic nomination process, save to place Sanders further back in the rear view mirror, and to make Sanders campaign claims of influence and rationales for continuing the campaign and solicitation of donations ring more hollow.

The math:

1,202 pledged and unpledged delegates remain to be had, and 2,383 are needed to win the nomination to be the party’s candidate.

As it stands now:

Clinton needs 719 more pledged delegates to win with pledged delegates alone, or 71% of those remaining. To win with pledged and super delegates, Clinton needs 232 more, or 19% of those remaining.

Sanders needs 1,012 more pledged delegates to win with pledged delegates alone, or almost 100% of those remaining. To win with pledged and super delegates, Sanders needs 971 more, or 81% of those remaining.

Clearly the numbers are prohibitive for Sanders; this race is over.

The next elections are:

• May 3rd, Indiana, open primary, 83 delegates
• May 7th, Guam, closed caucus, 7 delegates
• May 10th, West Virginia, semi closed primary, 29 delegates
• May 17th, Kentucky, closed primary, 55 delegates; Oregon, closed primary, 61 delegates

 


About the numbers:

These numbers are the most accurate available. No, CNN, the AP, and Real Clear Politics do not have accurate numbers. They simply report the numbers from election night and often do not update with corrections until the next election night, if at all. They often have charts that auto update without accounting for differences in caucus and primary states.

These numbers are based on the latest information and use the Democratic Party allocation formula, and are updated to account for changes. There is still a limit to their accuracy. As Nevada shows, no delegate counts are final until they are allocated at the Democratic convention in July.


 

 

Democratic Primary Update – Wednesday April 20

primary results 4-19

 

Tuesday, April 19th was the Democratic primary in New York. The state is not yet fully reported, but we do have a good picture of what happened.

Hillary Clinton walked away with a convincing win, taking 139 pledged delegates at the current count. Not only did Clinton win almost 58% of the popular vote, she won Democrats and women with 62 and 63%, and Blacks and Latinos with a stunning 75 and 64% respectively.

Sanders and Clinton split the male vote 50/50, with Sanders predictably winning the under 30’s with 65%.

Here I must point out that it seems more than a little significant that a very large proportion of Sanders supporters have never voted for a president in their lives, and if they have, it was only for one – President Obama.

Sanders also won the rural vote with 58% and the independent vote with 72%.

The New York win expanded Clinton’s lead by 31 pledged delegates, leaving her solidly ahead in pledged delegates, super delegates, and popular vote. With current poll numbers she has effectively eliminated any chance Sanders had of overcoming his deficit.

The math:

1,594 pledged and unpledged delegates remain to be had, and 2,383 are needed to win the nomination to be the party’s candidate.

As it stands now:

Clinton needs 937 more pledged delegates to win with pledged delegates alone, or 67% of those remaining.
To win with pledged and super delegates, Clinton needs 29% of those remaining.

Sanders needs 1,178 more pledged delegates to win with pledged delegates alone, or 84% of those remaining.
To win with pledged and super delegates, Sanders needs 71% of those remaining.

The next elections are Tuesday April 26th in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island with 384 delegates to be allocated, the most in Pennsylvania with 189 followed by Maryland with 95. These will all be closed primaries, except Rhode Island which is semi-closed. The six elections after April 26th are all single elections until June 7th, when six states hold elections, including California with 475 delegates.

*As always, delegate counts are not final until the convention.

Dear Berners: There’s No Getting Around Process

 web_3

One thing that has really been bothering me during the Democratic primary and about Bernie Sanders specifically is the severity of his ignorance and detachment from reality.

Bear with me – I honestly believe that is an objective assessment, not an insult.

At the root of it is a complete ignorance of process and any understanding of how to accomplish something, and how long it will take.

For example, Sanders says we don’t have time to wait when it comes to breaking up banks, banning fracking, getting rid of nuclear energy, and overhauling the medicare system, but for some reason when people are being shot and bombed and having their human rights denied and being forced to flee their homes, Sanders says we need to stop and consider the consequences of regime change.

As Clinton pointed out in the last debate, it’s true that Libya is not in a good place. But we have done little in Syria, and they may be far worse off, and contributing exponentially more to the growth of ISIL.

So here’s a concept: yes the situation in Libya is ugly, but maybe it’s the best situation we could expect. Maybe the birth of a stable Democratic nation can never be without pain and upheaval – it certainly wasn’t in the United States.

Beyond that, there is a level of immaturity that is not surprising coming from the majority of Sanders supporters given their average age, but is astounding coming from a senior with the experience of Senator Sanders.

When we are young, we rush, we hurry, we try to accomplish things in the shortest time possible. And we make more mistakes. We get into more car accidents. We have more injuries. We are more likely to gain unsustainable debt buying things we can’t afford.

As we age we begin to gain a larger understanding. We begin to fully understand the fable of the tortoise and the hare. We learn that the shortest trip does not always involve the most direct route or the highest speed. The shortest route to the grocery store may be Main street, but if Main street is under construction and there is an accident, your trip could take far longer than a route twice the length.

One hundred miles an hour is certainly faster than sixty. But if you try to drive one hundred miles an hour the entire trip from Brooklyn to Newark and get in an accident, or blow your engine, you will not arrive at all.

This is something most older people have learned and come to understand in their lifetimes. This is something Bernie Sanders should understand.

Clinton supporters and progressives who understand process and the U.S. government don’t choose incrementalism out of fear of change or some arbitrary love of being cautious. We choose it because it is the most efficient and quickest route to attain our goals – one with the smallest chance of being undone by opposing forces. It is the route that is twice the length, but will get us there in half the time.

These are the simple facts of life. No reasonable person can deny the point. But an unreasonable one can ignore it. Or a youthful and inexperienced person may fail to understand it.

As a child I spent hours in a U.S. Congressman’s office. I have served on city commissions. I have knocked on hundreds of doors for various causes. I have trained canvassers. Attended protests and demonstrations. Written letters and hundreds of articles. Made phone calls to strangers. Spent countless hours studying our government and it’s processes, and various issues. I have run and participated in SimSoc workshops.

This primary election is the first time I have ever in my life been called a ‘complacent’ ‘fake progressive’, in love with the ‘status quo’, who knows nothing about ‘real change’. Often by political inactivists, many who have never voted in their lives. I even had a well known Asian activist, a Bernie supporter, tell me, a Black man, that my contributions were meaningless and my critique of some BLM tactics was invalid.

I don’t think there could be a clearer demonstration of social dysfunction, when ignorance of history and process, and the disconnection from and disregard for wisdom and experience has become so great, that a so-called progressive leader can get millions on the Left to not only ignore their greatest institutions and their strongest leaders, but to eschew and denigrate them as corrupt, useless, and counterproductive – the “establishment”.

It’s a terrible farce.

Those of us who disagree with Bernie Sanders may be driving slower on a longer route, but I think in the past few weeks Sanders has been hitting heavier traffic. This Tuesday he may find that the road he is on is under construction.

 

Democratic Primary Update – Wednesday April 6th

primary results 4-5

 

Yesterday was the election in Wisconsin where Bernie took the win with 57% of the vote, gaining the majority of 86 pledged delegates. With 3 pledged delegates yet to be assigned, Bernie cuts into Clinton’s pledged delegate lead by 11 after last night’s win. Clinton remains far ahead in pledged and unpledged delegates, and in popular votes.
 
As always, delegate counts are not final until the convention.
 
The math:
 
1,873 pledged and unpledged delegates remain to be had, and 2,383 are need to win the nomination to be the party’s candidate.
 
As it stands now, Clinton needs 1,081 more pledged delegates to win with pledged delegates alone. Sanders needs 1,300.
 
That means that Clinton needs 65% of the remaining pledged delegates to win on pledged delegates alone, while Sanders needs 78%.
 
However, to prevent Sanders from winning on pledged delegates and win with both pledged and unpledged, with the current count Clinton likely only needs to win around 31% of the remaining pledged delegates. The same calculation does little to change Sanders’ needed win rate, as he has very few unpledged delegates.

Current Relative Pledged Delegate Totals

 

The next election is a closed caucus this Saturday April 9th in Wyoming with 14 pledged delegates to be assigned, followed by a closed primary Tuesday April 19th in New York, with 247 pledged delegates.


The Crucifixion of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) speaks onstage at the Inaugural Youth Ball hosted by OurTime.org on January 19, 2013 in Washington, United States. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for OurTime.org)

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 19: Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) speaks onstage at the Inaugural Youth Ball hosted by OurTime.org on January 19, 2013 in Washington, United States. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for OurTime.org)

There is no doubt that women in general face sexism daily. Hillary in particular is a glaring and unfortunate example of sexism faced by women as they strive for positions of power or authority.

I suspect that most women view sexism like most Blacks view racism: it’s a lot like the weather. Sometimes you get lucky and it’s a beautiful day. Sometimes you get caught in severe weather. You can prepare for the weather, but changing it is beyond our reach.

But beyond bias and bigotry, something that really irritates the Hell out of me is disloyalty and betrayal.

I’m bringing this up because I see the continual bashing, smearing and denigration of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. I have no doubt that it is largely motivated by sexism. But also infuriating is how criticism of Wasserman-Schultz is such a clear example of not only sexism, but a terrible and ignorant mentality that is taking over this country: a mentality of hate, and a mentality that sees nothing wrong with propping people up only to tear them down.

Today it seems completely forgotten how Wasserman-Schultz came to be chair of the Democratic party.

In the 2010 midterms, many were frustrated at the actions of many Democratic candidates, who were doing their best to distance themselves from President Obama. Fearing public perception of Obama initiatives, many went out of their way to avoid any connection with Obama or his policies, and offered weak responses when pressed with questions. Many Democrats and Obama supporters were angry at this, seeing the behavior not only as a betrayal of Obama, but a weakening of the legislative front against Republicans, serving to dissipate the populist advantage gained from the 2008 election. Of course, we now know that’s exactly what happened.

In the midst of all this comes Wasserman-Schultz, from a purple state with a Republican governor and a Republican legislature, who today is often criticized as a long-time ally of Hillary Clinton, standing up for and standing with Barack Obama, loudly and proudly proclaiming her support for and agreement with President Obama’s actions and policies.

At the time it was like a breath of fresh air. So many Democrats were frustrated and angry. Finally someone was standing up and doing the right thing!

Calls for more of Wasserman-Schultz quickly grew. Get her in those interviews! Send her on the talk show circuit! We only have an acting head of the DNC; give Wasserman-Schultz the job!

And in 2011, by popular demand, Wasserman-Schultz became the chair of the Democratic National Committee.

So don’t talk to me about ‘the lesser of two evils’. Jesus Christ has yet to run for election. Put away your crucifixes, your hammers and nails.

No one is perfect. This is not your family. This is not even your neighborhood. This is national politics in a nation of millions. You will never agree with every position held, or every tactic employed by someone else. It’s time to grow up, be adults, and recognize the full value of individuals, as women, as people of color, as people who are loyal, who are willing to make sacrifices for others. As people who value their communities and are willing to put in the work to make them better.

As people who are willing to stand up for what is right while others run the other way.

You may not like everything Wasserman-Schultz has done. But far more dangerous and disgusting are people willing to nail someone to a cross because of anger over a few issues, and memories that don’t even go back five years.


The Horrible Flaw In Bernie’s Tax Plan That No One Is Talking About

I have been promising for a few weeks to go into detail about how nutty Bernie’s tax proposals are, specifically when it comes to paying for medicare-for-all. Well, I finally saw the annoying and unofficial chart below one too many times, and I finally had my fill of watching liberals defend Bernie’s awful anti-liberal proposal.

I have two major problems with the proposal. One, it will raise taxes on the poor. Two, it will destroy small business.

First, the chart is not helpful. Look at it objectively. The IRS has four separate filing categories for taxpayers, and the chart simplifies the tax rate, making it less than it actually is.Let’s take an annual income of 30K. A single self-employed person will pay “$922.50 plus 15% of the amount over $9,225“. The same person making 40K will actually pay “$5,156.25 plus 25% of the amount over $37,450”, not the 15% the chart claims.

That is only income tax. Everyone must also pay medicare and social security tax. For individuals working for someone else that is 7.65%. But that is only half of the tax. Your employer pays the other half. The full tax is 15.3%. As a self-employed person you have to pay that all yourself.

So all self-employed small business owners pay an additional 7.65% in taxes right out of the gate.

Now Bernie wants to add a 2.2% tax on income, and a 6.2% tax on payroll. Self-employed pay their own payroll – they will have to pay both taxes – an additional 8.4%!

Under Bernie’s tax plan, becoming self-employed and starting your own small business will cost you an additional 16% in taxes right out of the gate!

That means that on an income of 625 a week, a self-employed person will pay $100 a week BEFORE even paying income tax. What do you think that will do to small business in this country?

Now let’s take Bernie’s claim that a family of four can make $28,800 and not have to pay his tax.

We will leave aside that for most businesses, payroll is one of the top expenses, and leave aside the question of what the average business might do if that cost was suddenly increased 6.2% – which is above the margin of profit for many businesses.

First, two adults making $28.8K means that on average they each make $14.4K a year. I can’t help being astounded that any liberal or progressive would actually advocate for raising taxes on anyone making $15,000 a year. As a progressive, my feeling is that people at that income should be taxed less than they currently are, if at all.

That’s before I even consider that many of the beneficiaries of this tax on the poor will be people who are upper middle class or wealthy.

And it is a tax on the poor. This is the most outrageous thing about Bernie’s plan. Poverty level for a family of four is $24,300 a year. For making $90 a week above poverty level, a family of four will have their taxes raised. And many of us far better off than that family will receive the benefit.

Now, I have been admonished many times: ‘but that family of four will actually save money because they will not have to pay for health care!’

But it’s not true.

If you are making a poverty level income, you already do not pay for health care. You will not ‘save’ anything, you will simply have an additional expense.

Take Florida. Like many states, Florida refused to expand medicaid to fill gaps in health insurance coverage. The Affordable Care Act allows that anyone making 138% of poverty level income in a state that has refused to expand medicaid is exempt from having to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. That means that same family of four mentioned in Bernie’s plan can make up to $33,534 a year as it stands now, and not face any additional expenses.

And health care is already a right. It is against the law for any hospital to turn away emergency cases, and against the law for a public hospital to turn away any patient. Health care is a right. What it is not is free. Not even Bernie is saying it should be free, as we can see from his tax plan.

Of course we need to improve our health care delivery system. Of course we need to reduce costs and expand coverage. But exacerbating an already unfair system while providing more benefits to the well-off is not the way to do it. No liberal or progressive in their right mind should be okay with raising taxes on people near the poverty level. No progressive in their right mind should be advocating for a poorly thought-out plan that tinkers with the tax code to fundamentally alter a sector that accounts for 18% of our economy.

What we need is a complete overhaul of the tax code, and the addition of a public option to the ACA, not an absurd plan to tax the poor and give benefits to the rich.

 

The Black Vote And Racist Incredulity

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I got to tell you. We saw it in Seattle with BLM, and now that we are on the verge of voting in SC, I have to chuckle to myself.
 
White Sanders supporters just do not get it. Honestly, I don’t think a lot of White Clinton supporters get it either, but they’ll take it.
 
The frustration in the Sanders campaign is erupting in racist invective just like it did 7 months ago in Seattle. ‘They’re poor, uneducated, uninformed, conditioned, looking for someone who is going to give them something’.
 
I never put much stock in the whole firewall concept, but after dealing with Bernie supporters for months now, as a Black person I can tell you that’s exactly what it is.
 
Bernie supporters point to Clinton’s flaws and say ‘don’t you see? How can you trust her? Look at her history of racism!’
 
I have to tell you, to me and I think to a lot of Blacks this is hilarious. We think to ourselves ‘maybe she is racist. But then Bernie is certainly racist too. They’re both White.’ And Blacks have been choosing the lesser of two evils our entire history in this country.
 
A couple of weeks ago, Keli Goff wrote a great article in the Daily Beast called “You’re Damn Right Electability Matters to Black Voters”. She made the great point that Blacks take our votes seriously. Just like bad public policy has a disproportionate impact on our communities, so do bad electoral outcomes.
 
I have people say to me ‘the parties are the same’ and ‘I can’t trust Clinton, I don’t believe in her’. And I think, trust? Believe? What does that have to do with anything?
 
History. A track record, even if flawed. An agenda. Engagement. These are what matters.
 
We want someone we know, and who knows us. Someone who will come to the table and listen, and have the flexibility to change, to make accommodations.
 
Not someone like Bernie, who is so rigid that he attempted to stop an Obama budget because of compromise with Republicans, calling it absurd and accusing the President of ‘caving’ to the GOP. He tried to block that budget, even though it would have meant extending the worst recession since the Great Depression. He stood on principle. He stood on the backs of the poor.
 
Black people don’t do protest votes. Our issues are already too low on the totem pole to walk away from the game. And here we have some Whites with the arrogant, racist audacity to suggest that we should risk a Trump or Cruz presidency by voting third party or not voting at all.
 
Trump and Cruz. Openly racist, and openly promising racist policies while openly meeting with bigoted and racist supporters and organizations. Bernie supporters want us to turn away from a decades long relationship with Hillary Clinton to risk it all on a White stranger and his racist supporters, a socialist, calling for some of the biggest changes in government in U.S. history, who could easily lose to some of the worst political actors in generations.
 
Now that I think about it, I’m not chuckling anymore. I’m pissed.

After Nevada, the Threats from the “Bernie or Bust” Crowd Grow Louder

There truly is a brand of young political idealist — and that’s the nice way of referring to it — which is wielding its vote, or lack thereof, as a weapon to hopefully get Bernie Sanders elected. These are the people who threaten to stay home on election day, so to speak, and who insist that that very boycott will be what costs the Democrats the White House and puts the highest office in the free world in the hands of somebody like Donald Trump. Their arithmetic goes something like this: Democrats say that a Republican win in 2016 is unacceptable, given who the candidates are and what they believe, and that any and all necessary steps must be taken to prevent it; Hillary Clinton can’t win against the Republicans without the support of Bernie Sanders supporters in the general election; Bernie Sanders supporters will not vote for Hillary Clinton if she wins the nomination, no matter what; therefore, abandoning Hillary Clinton and supporting Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee is the only alternative to preventing a GOP victory. See? Give us what we want and no one gets hurt. Simple as that.

Except that this is the same kind of political hostage-taking the Republicans currently in Congress have become pariahs for engaging in. When the GOP has in the recent past threatened to allow the government to go into default because it doesn’t have the votes or the power to get what it wants through the proper channels, wise people have looked for the nearest brick to throw at its representatives. Now, if these Sanders acolytes are to be believed, the ostensible other end of the political spectrum is trying to pull the same crap: threaten to burn the country down because they can’t get what they want any other way. Like all forms of political terrorism, if you give in to this nonsense it’ll just embolden the next fringe group that can’t see its demands met by putting it to a vote. And that’s really the problem here: these pouty, endlessly spoiled little assholes apparently can’t understand that in this country it all comes down to a vote and if their guy doesn’t get enough of them, he doesn’t win. Simple as that.

Read Full Article => After Nevada, the Threats from the “Bernie or Bust” Crowd Grow Louder – The Daily Banter


 

Good For Bernie. Great For Hillary.

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton talk before the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

Last night in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders achieved a resounding and historic win. Bernie became the first Jew to win the state, and by the widest margin of any Democrat in the last 56 years. A great and impressive win, and although I am firmly behind Clinton to be our next president, you will not find sour grapes, bitterness, or attempts to minimize what Bernie accomplished. Good for Bernie.

Good for Hillary. She got in there and fought for it. She worked hard to contest an election that we knew from the beginning would be a loss for her. She didn’t quit. And even with the loss, like Iowa, she walks away with 2 more delegates than Bernie.

Great for Hillary. It’s not fun to lose. But there is a lot to look at in the numbers out of New Hampshire that looks great for Clinton in the general election. Clinton pulled nearly as many votes as the Republican winner. And although Bernie drew over 140,000 votes in a great performance, 72% of voters voted for someone else. While Sanders has done well in the first two states where Republican voters have participated in greater numbers than Democrats, Clinton split those that identified as Democrats. These are clear indicators that a) the majority of people want someone other than the Republican front runner, and b) that Clinton can pull as many votes as anyone on the Republican side. In a one on one in the general, this looks very good for Clinton.

Clinton did everything right. She needed to get in there and fight for votes. She needed to show that she would work for voters even if they had differing opinions or preferred other candidates. She needed to stand up for herself against the ongoing smears and crass characterizations. She needed to look supporters, doubters, and opponents squarely in the eye and address their questions and concerns. And she did.

Now moving forward, this is no longer about Hillary versus Bernie. This is about Hillary and the voters. This is about what Democrats, led by Clinton, will do for the American people and the country. This is about taking the successes of the last 8 years and not only protecting them, but building on them. This is about taking the strategy employed by Obama to move things forward, and pushing the envelope to accomplish even more. This is now about specifics, about what exactly Democrat priorities will be, about the first hundred days.

So good for Bernie. Great for Hillary. Now it is time to look ahead to what exactly we are going to do to move forward with our agenda, to define clearly what the second step will be after Hillary’s first step into the oval office.

#movingforward      #secondstep


 

Bernie Meme Store Now Open!

Here are TRP’s fresh new demotivational Bernie posters. Yours to use. Get em while he’s still in the race!

 

There Was No Tie In Iowa. Clinton Won.

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And Bernie still has no path to the nomination.

First, about Iowa. I see a lot of talk about how Bernie outperformed the polls. This is not true. He actually under performed. Opinion polls measure the overall likelihood of support from the statewide populace. However, in Iowa, that is not how the contest is measured. The Iowa caucus last night determined the number of delegates from individual precincts that would be sent on to the next caucus. That’s right. There are two more caucuses in Iowa before we know the number of national delegates going to the Democratic National Convention, and who they will be for.

The delegates chosen by the precinct then go to a later caucus, the county convention, to choose delegates to the district convention and state convention. Most of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention are selected at the district convention, with the remaining ones selected at the state convention. Delegates to each level of convention are initially bound to support their chosen candidate but can later switch in a process very similar to what goes on at the precinct level

So the actual number of delegates is actually not known until later in the process. However, since there are rarely dramatic shifts in delegate alignment later in the process, traditionally we are able to make a good estimate of the number of national delegates and who they will be for. Which brings us to the actual percentage for Clinton’s victory: 52.3%.

That’s right. Of the delegates that were apportioned last night in the first in nation caucus, 23 out of 44 went to Clinton. A clear victory.

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Beyond that, as I pointed out in this video, the total delegates to be awarded in the month of February total less than 150. This number pales when you consider that two states where Clinton has commanding leads, New York and Florida, each have nearly 200. There are 865 delegates up for grabs on March 1st, Super Tuesday, alone. In other words, Clinton can win more delegates in one state or on one day, than she or Bernie can win the entire month of February. And delegates are what gets a candidate the nomination. As it stands now with the current state of the race, and the current delegate allocation, Clinton has an insurmountable lead. Bernie would need wins in every primary contest of over 60% in order to overcome his delegate deficit.

delegates-trpnews

Put another way, half of all Clinton supporters nationwide would have to be abducted by aliens for Bernie to win.

So now it is important for Clinton supporters to turn to those states where Clinton has a commanding lead (which is most of them), and to the national conversation, to protect the delegate lead and to counter the anti-Clinton tea party narrative being delivered by Bernie and his supporters.

Innuendo, smears, and implications are not legitimate policy comparisons. There is nothing wrong with being paid for a speech, unless you are saying that Clinton is corrupt. These tea party innuendos have no place on the left or in the Democratic party.

We know that Bernie supporters can not be convinced to face reality. All of us have had those discussions online where we are told Bernie is not going to raise taxes and he does not want to abandon the ACA – even though that is exactly what he says over and over again. Clinton supporters should focus efforts on creating a new narrative, one that promotes her experience, her intelligence, and her toughness. Talk about how she has stood up to the worst Republican attacks anyone has ever had to face. Specifically cite the heartfelt and sincere endorsements of liberal and progressive leaders. Talk about her history of advocacy, her understanding of the political system, and her incredible grasp of every area of public and foreign policy. Talk about how she is fighting for us before she even gets the nomination, without being an elected official. Talk about her efforts in Flint, her efforts to preserve voting rights, and her advocacy for patients against companies like Valeant Pharmaceuticals. And yes, talk about what her candidacy means to young girls and women.

The Republicans and the tea party have done a lot of damage. So much that in fact many on the left are so confused they have no idea they are doing the work of the right wing in their disruption of liberal institutions and their denigration of some of our best liberal leaders. So this will not be the slam dunk we may want, but with steady efforts, focus, and resolve, we can continue and build upon the work of the last eight years and move the progressive agenda forward.


 

 

Clinton Wins Iowa! What’s Next?

I’m calling Iowa for Clinton today. Now that the first primary is in the bag, what is next for the Dem primary, Clinton, and her supporters?