Thursday, March 02, 2017

The Type Of Democrats We Need... And The Type We Don't


Yesterday the Maine Beacon reported that 8 Democrats-- 2 in the state Senate and 6 in the House-- signed on to Paul LePage's plan to roll back a just-passed minimum wage increase. And by "signed on," I mean co-sponsoring a bill that would target restaurant workers. What LePage, his GOP allies and those 8 Democrats want to do is overturn the voter-approved ballot measure, which won in November 417,132 (55.5%) to 334,774 (44.5%). How big a deal are those numbers? Hillary won the state with 357,735, beating Trump's 335,593. Measure 4-- the minimum wage increase-- beat both candidates substantially and beat the winning marijuana legalization measure to boot! These are the Democratic co-sponsos of the anti-worker GOP bill:
Sen. Bill Diamond (Cumberland County)
Sen. Jim Dill (Penobscot County)
Rep. Robert Alley (Beals)
Rep. Martin Grohman (Biddeford)
Rep. Brian Hubbell (Bar Harbor)
Rep. Louis Luchini (Ellsworth)
Rep. Anne-Marie Mastraccio (Sanford)
Rep. Catherine Nadeau (Winslow)
Amy Halsted, campaign manager for Mainers for Fair Wages, the coalition that supported the minimum wage referendum, explained that "The median hourly wage for a waiter or waitress in Maine is just $9.06, including tips. They are twice as likely to live in poverty and three times as likely to access food stamps to feed their families. These legislators need to hear from us right now about not betraying the will of the voters and not cutting the minimum wage. No legislator should support cutting the minimum wage, but for Democrats in particular to try to betray the voters and attempt to cut the subminimum tipped wage after leaders like President Obama, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and women’s and workers’ rights groups have worked so hard to increase it is absolutely unacceptable."

As you've probably guessed by now, my reason for reporting this isn't specifically because of Maine or even this (worthy) issue. It's because of Democrats. If you want to oppose the minimum wage and the right of the voters to raise it, why not just switch parties and become a Republican?

The GOP isn't fooling around. They have a national agenda-- a highly toxic one, that will role back all the progress made since FDR was president. As Trump's proto-fascist chief advisor, Steve Bannon, admitted boasted, "That’s all going to be deconstructed and I think that’s why the regulatory thing is so important."

Yesterday, for example, the House voted on the so-called SCRUB Act to put together a new agency to find regulations to repeal, primarily science-based public health and safety protections. It passed 240-185. Republican Walter Jones was the only Republican to vote against it. These 11 Democrats, primarily very right-wing Blue Dogs, crossed the aisle to vote with the GOP:
Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
Josh Gottheimer (Blue Dog-NJ)
Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL)
Tom O'Halleran (Blue Dog-AZ)
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Jacky Rosen (NV)
Bobby Rush (IL)
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)
Kirsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ)
Tom Suozzi (NY)
Another example: the EPA. When he chose Scott Pruitt to head the agency, there could have been no doubt what his intentions were. I was dismayed on February 17 when the Senate voted to confirm Pruitt even before reading the Big Oil documents he was hiding that a court had just ordered released. Two Democrats-- both up for reelection in 2018-- voted with the GOP: Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Joe Manchin (WV), the two Dems who cross the aisle most frequently, looking to please home-state Trumpists and brazenly thumbing their noses at their own base.

Did it surprise anyone when Trump's budget included ripping nearly a quarter of the EPA budget out from under them-- and it wasn't to lower Scott Pruitt's salary. If Congress approves it, that will mean $8.1 billion that would have been used to keep water and air from being polluted (by people very much like those in Trump's cabinet-from-hell), will instead be used to... build a wall along the southern border? Finance another tax break for multimillionaires and billionaires? Increase military spending even even more ridiculously than it already is? Look at this comparison? It's already completely repulsive. Trump wants to make far more so.

Trump has released Pruitt from any kind of pre-confirmation leash he was on to start aggressively rolling back regulations that in any way touch on the climate change programs Obama had begun. Tuesday, Trumpanzee signed an executive order that will lead directly to plenty of dirty water.

Raúl Grijalva is the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee and just before Trump gave his speech Tuesday night, he noted that "If this budget is enacted the way he wants it, he’s effectively dealt a very significant death blow to the EPA." And there are even some conservative Republicans who fear that Trump and Pruitt are too extreme. People in Idaho may be extremely conservative-- Trump won the state 409,055 (59.2) to 189,765 (27.5%)-- but they also appreciate a clean robust environment. Far right Republican Mike Simpson has been in Congress since 1999. Yesterday he gulped when he saw Trump's numbers. "If they’re trying to get rid of the regulatory regime and a few things like that, you could probably make some cuts... I don’t know if they can be as big as what they’re talking about."

R.L. Miller, head of ClimateHawksVote cut right to the chase: "America is going to run an uncontrolled experiment: will a mixture of 76% clean air and water, and 24% dirty air and water, poison the body politic?"

A little addendum on Cory Booker. Remember back in January when he voted with the Republicans against Bernie Sanders' attempt to cut the price of pharmaceuticals by allowing drug importation from Canada, something almost 80% of Americans support? The fury unleashed in Booker's direction seem to have yielded some instant results. He's now very publicly supporting Sanders' bill.

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At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about just saying we should just euthanize the entire party? A simpler concept, given that the majority, probably a vast majority, are owned and operated by the big money and will always act contrary to the interests of the commons and the lower 99%. There aren't "types" any more. There are democraps and there are the few interloping progressives who still use the label.

kill the party. then we can fill the vacuum with something better. maybe.

We'll still have 60 million Nazi voters, 60 million-ish really stupid non-Nazi voters and 120 million voting-eligible of indeterminable intellect and maturity. We don't know about them because they don't participate.

We do know that polling (across all 3 bands of that spectrum) shows that a vast majority of them support every single progressive position on any issue except hate/fear of muslims, which is about 50/50. So there is reason for optimism.

But not if the democrap party is the default anti-Nazi weight on the balance. The democrap party is unfailingly fascist, warmongering, anti-middle, anti-labor and is indifferent to all forms of voter suppression.


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