Saturday, June 23, 2018

What Will Make People Decide Who To Vote For In November?


There are a bunch of run-of the-mill Democrats and semi-Democrats running in Michigan this year, including for the district in the southwest corner of the state (MI-06) held by Fred Upton. One-- sleazy lobbyist George Franklin-- is especially bad. He's been helping finance Upton against Democrats for years. And now he wants to run against him. What a joke! I can see the GOP ads now: "I was for him before I was against him." And he was. Why? What changed, Georgie?

Upton is real bad but but Franklin is-- at best-- the lesser of two evils. The best Democrat in the race is Paul Clements. This week he told his supporters that "despite hearing that we're in a prolonged economic recovery, over half of all Americans are economically insecure-- unable to maintain long-term savings, fearful of emergencies they can't afford, unable to relax even a little. Whether you're below or above the poverty line, economic insecurity is unhealthy, exhausting, and bad for our democracy. You can read my entire economic agenda here, but I want to focus on three things I will do in Congress to reduce economic insecurity in America.
1. Medicare for All

Canada's health care system has not only produced longer life expectancy and lower infant mortality than the United States; Canadians also know they won't go broke if they get sick. In Congress, I will push for, support, and vote for Medicare for all.

2. Increased Wages

Americans should be able to support their families by working one job. I will work to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour or, for now, half the regional median ($12 an hour in Michigan).

3. Postal Banking

Millions of Americans lack access to affordable banking and financial services, and that means it costs more money to be poor. In Congress I will support the revival of United States Post Office banking, facilitating basic banking services and low-interest loans that can help working class Americans.
There are 6 counties in MI-06. Obama won all 6 both times he ran. Then in 2016 Bernie beat Hillary in 5 counties. And then along comes Trumpanzee-- he won all the counties but one in the district too and beat Hillary district-wide 51.3% to 42.9%, a district Bernie won in the primaries and Obama won against McCain. Here was primary day, 2016
Allegan County:
Bernie- 5,545
Hillary- 3,489
Trump- 5,327
Berrien County:
Bernie- 5,942
Hillary- 6,546
Trump- 7,817
Cass County:
Bernie- 1,683
Hillary- 1,657
Trump- 2,859
Kalamazoo County:
Bernie- 20,146
Hillary- 12,593
Trump- 8,655
St. Joseph County:
Bernie- 2,219
Hillary- 1,382
Trump- 2,655
Van Buren County:
Bernie- 3,656
Hillary- 2,484
Trump- 3,287
Clements is the candidate running on a Bernie-like platform, but the Democratic Party establishment, of course, prefers the lobbyist, Franklin. As of March 31, Franklin had raised $534,743 (the source of $100,000 of it unaccounted for) while Clements had raised $257,757.

Meanwhile, as Clements pushes a cutting edge progressive economic message for working families, Trump and Ryan-- with Upton firmly in tow-- are still trying to chip away at the social safety net-- including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Remember the tax scam that lined the pockets of multimillionaires and billionaires, while doing nothing for the rest of us? They always had the idea of making the rest if us pay for it. Yesterday, the New York Times asserted that "Trump, spurred on by conservatives who want him to slash safety net programs, unveiled on Thursday a plan to overhaul the federal government that could have a profound effect on millions of poor and working-class Americans. Produced over the last year by Mr. Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, it would reshuffle social welfare programs in a way that would make them easier to cut, scale back or restructure. Among the most consequential ideas is a proposal to shift the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a subsistence benefit that provides aid to 42 million poor and working Americans, from the Agriculture Department to a new mega-agency that would have 'welfare' in its title-- a term Mr. Trump uses as a pejorative catchall for most government benefit programs." A couple of days ago, writing for the Washington Post, Erica Werner warned that the budget Trump and Ryan (and Upton) purposely exploded will be balanced on the backs on cuts to Medicare and other programs Trump vowed over and over to not touch while he was campaigning.
[T]he budget serves as an expression of Republicans’ priorities at a time of rapidly rising deficits and debt. Although the nation’s growing indebtedness has been exacerbated by the GOP’s own policy decisions-- including the new tax law, which most analyses say will add at least $1 trillion to the debt-- Republicans on the Budget Committee said they felt a responsibility to put the nation on a sounder fiscal trajectory.

“The time is now for our Congress to step up and confront the biggest challenge to our society,” said House Budget Chairman Steve Womack (R-AR). “There is not a bigger enemy on the domestic side than the debt and deficits.”

The Republican budget confronts this enemy by taking a whack at entitlement spending. Lawmakers of both parties agree that spending that is not subject to Congress’s annual appropriations process is becoming unsustainable. But Trump has largely taken it off the table by refusing to touch Medicare or Social Security, and Democrats have little interest in addressing it except as part of a larger deal including tax increases-- the sort of “Grand Bargain” that eluded President Barack Obama.

The House Republican budget, titled “A Brighter American Future,” would remake Medicare by giving seniors the option of enrolling in private plans that compete with traditional Medicare, a system of competition designed to keep costs down but dismissed by critics as an effort to privatize the program. Along with other changes, the budget proposes to squeeze $537 billion out of Medicare over the next decade.

The budget would transform Medicaid, the federal-state health-care program for the poor, by limiting per capita payments or allowing states to turn it into a block-grant program-- the same approach House Republicans took in their legislation that passed last year to repeal the Affordable Care Act (the repeal effort died in the Senate, but the GOP budget assumes that the repeal takes place).  It also proposes adding work requirements for certain adults enrolled in Medicaid. Changes to Medicaid and other health programs would account for $1.5 trillion in savings.

Social Security comes in for more modest cuts of $4 billion over the decade, which the budget projects could be reached by eliminating concurrent receipt of unemployment benefits and Social Security disability insurance.

The budget also proposes a number of other cost-saving measures, some of which could prove unpopular if implemented, such as adding more work requirements for food-stamp and welfare recipients and requiring federal employees-- including members of Congress-- to contribute more to their retirement plans. It assumes repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act that regulated banks after the financial crisis 10 years ago, something Congress recently rejected in passing a banking bill into law that softened some of the key provisions of Dodd-Frank but left its overall structures intact. And the budget proposes $230 billion in cuts from education and training programs, including consolidating student loan programs and reducing Pell Grant awards.

The budget also relies on rosy economic-growth projections and proposes using a budgetary mechanism to require other congressional committees to come up with a combined $302 billion in unspecified deficit reduction.

Overall, the partisan proposal is reminiscent of the budget released in 2011 by now-House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), who was then the Budget Committee chairman and advanced a bold proposal attacking entitlements, slashing spending-- and creating lines of attack for Democrats once Ryan became Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate on the GOP ticket the following year.

How is this going to go over with voters? Latest Monmouth poll shows the tax scam is losing more and more support: "34% of the public approve of the tax reform plan passed by Congress last December and 41% disapprove. Another 24% are not sure how they feel.  These results have shifted in the past six weeks. Approval is down 6 points from 40% in late April and disapproval is down 3 points from 44%. The number who give no opinion on the plan has risen 8 points from 16%.  Polls earlier this year had shown a more evenly divided public-- 41% approve to 42% disapprove in March and 44% approve to 44% disapprove in January-- with a smaller percentage of undecided opinion. Public opinion on the Republican lawmakers’ signature accomplishment has never been positive, but potentially growing uncertainty about how American taxpayers will be affected does not seem to be helping the GOP’s prospects for November,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute."

The chair of the House Budget Committee is Steve Womack (R-A). He's in a safe Republican seat that Trump won with 62%. The PVI is R+19, the worst and most backward district in Arkansas, so he doesn't care... but his local paper, the Arkansas Times castigated him for the betrayal. Commenting on his dishonest press conference touting the bonus "A Brighter Future," they reported that "He didn't mention that rising deficits were made worse by the tax cut for the rich he supported. Nor did he mention the pain his budget will cause millions of Americans.
With the nation's attention rightly fixated on President Donald Trump's horrific treatment of immigrant children, House Republicans on Tuesday quietly unveiled their 2019 budget proposal that calls for $537 billion in cuts to Medicare, $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, and four billion in cuts to Social Security over the next decade in an effort to pay for their deficit-exploding tax cuts for the wealthy.

"It's morally bankrupt, patently absurd, and grossly un-American," the advocacy group Patriotic Millionaires said of the GOP's budget proposal, which calls for $5.4 trillion in spending cuts from major domestic programs.

Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), argued in a statement that the Republican proposal demonstrates clearly shows the "House majority's fiscal priorities haven't changed.

"It’s easy to become numb to the harshness of these budgets and to brush aside their policy implications based on the assumption (likely correct) that few, if any, of these policies will be enacted this year," Greenstein said. "But this budget reflects where many congressional leaders—and the president—would like to take the country if they get the opportunity to enact these measures in the years ahead. Rather than help more families have a shot at the American dream, it asks the most from those who have the least, and it would leave our nation less prepared for the economic and other challenges that lie ahead."

Progressives have been warning for months about the GOP's plan to axe crucial safety net programs following the passage of its deeply unpopular $1.5 trillion tax bill, which has sparked a boom of corporate stock buybacks while doing little to nothing for most American workers.

"Each GOP budget is more fraudulent than the last," Seth Hanlon, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, wrote on Tuesday. "We know what they stand for: tax cuts paid for with healthcare cuts."

In addition to proposing devastating safety net cuts, the House GOP budget also calls for partial privatization of Medicare and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a move that would throw tens of millions off their health insurance.
Josh Mahony is the Democrat running against Womack this cycle. He noted that "Womack has forgotten the very people he represents. Cuts to these programs will seriously affect Arkansas families. With cuts to education, healthcare, and Social Security, this bill shows the true priorities of Republicans and it’s not to hard-working Arkansans."

My guess if that the good folks in Arkadelphia, Hope and Texarkana noticed that the person Trump was shooting on 5th Avenue was their kid, they'd vote for him anyway. (Yes indeed; these are the ones.) And they're the ones who were probably offended and totally pissed off yesterday when Ted Lieu played this on the floor of the House of Representatives:

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At 6:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, and still, it doesn't matter how good your candidate sounds or is. The tyrant of the caucus won't allow MFA nor any of those other Berniecrat stuff to happen.

And ted lieu might have some credibility if he hadn't let steny hoyer loose in his region to serially ratfuck THOSE better-sounding candidates in favor of the corporate stooges.

And lieu is supposed to be one of the good ones... word to the "wise".

At 6:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all know the Republicans are horrible people. Their actions are overt, and they make no effort to hide them anymore. They fear no retribution, for they have total control over voting and ballot counting with their various voter suppression schemes. They own the "democratic" Party, which does their bidding upon demand.

The Powell Memo has been the script for the creation of the Oligarchy, which is now morphing into fascism more swiftly each day. The Internet is being converted into yet another one-way advertising medium. The broadcast media can only be trusted to pump out tons of corporatist propaganda every day. Truth is determined by the advertising stuffed into the spaces remaining.

There is no cavalry to ride to the rescue. We'll all end up on reservations, defeated, hopeless, and unable to resist, and asking ourselves how come no one said or did anything to stop it while they could.

If I were younger and without family I care about, I'd leave this nation. I no longer see any hope to inspire remaining. Far too many mindless sheep.

At 8:06 AM, Blogger edmondo said...

If you think Michigan is bad, I get to choose between Simena and our McSally, Congresswoman from Raytheon, for the senate and Freaking Ann Kirkpatrick versus some Latina Nazi on the GOP side.
Do the Democrats really think they can run any Republican-lite POS and think we will all come out and vote in droves for these people? Screw the Democrats. I will stay home before I vote for Simena/Kirkpatrick.

At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Ted Lieu would make a great President.

To edmondo above: I suggest you vote for the Democrat no matter what. Hold your nose and do it. Too many people did not do so in the last election and look what we got. Noam Chomsky warned us but not enough listened. There is way too much at stake. Being very idealistic vs. bona fide fascism? Really? The Dems must take over Congress or we are finished.

At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone, the democraps DID take over congress in 2009... and we are STILL finished. The 2009 congress is why we now have trump. They promised much and did nothing but the opposite. They refused to help PEOPLE ratfucked by wall street, helping wall street. They refused to stop warring, making more war instead. Same for torture, finance crimes and immigration. They gave 35 million more lives over to health insurance and phrma to profit from them, and made you pay or face fines from the IRS. They refused to help labor or lgbtqs.

That total left vacuum made millions of voters like edmondo stay home because the 'craps are permanently shit and there wasn't anyone else. That vacuum gave us trump.

I totally understand fear and loathing. But you must still allow yourself to think.
If you want worse than trump, give your 'craps another 2009 and watch them refuse again and again. It's the same people, the same donors, the same money mandate. Only diff is there is more money now than then.

You'll get your warm and fuzzy feeling in November, a nice nap until maybe mid-2019, and then you'll wonder why your saviors aren't doing shit for you... and then in 2020, 20 million more left voters will join edmondo and me in never ever voting for that shit party ever again... ever.

If you have any hope of anything ever changing, you must use your only leverage, your vote, to make that change. And that means never voting for a democrap.

At 3:50 PM, Blogger edmondo said...

I suggest you vote for the Democrat no matter what. Hold your nose and do it.

I held my nose in 2006 and got Pelosi who did nothing.
I held my nose in 2008 and voted for Obama who let every banker free and expanded the wars.
I held my nose and voted against Mitt Romney in 2012 and got 4 more years of Obama who turned around and shoved Hillary down my throat.

I am done holding my nose.

At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I held my nose so often my fingerprints are embedded in the skin of my schnozz. Jimmy Durante (ask Great Grandma, kiddies) would be jealous of my bonzer beak!

At 6:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on what ted lieu has openly refused to do as regional co-chair, he'd make just a abominable a president as obamanation was. He's erudite, I'll give him that.

But he'll kowtow to the money's demands, just as Clinton, obamanation and anyone else allowed to run as a democrap from here to eternity.

At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You don't understand. Until The Coronation, you coulda had class. You coulda been a contender. You coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what your are now. Let's face it. It was on you, Bernie, and you took a dive."

-From the unmade movie On The Political Front


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