Category: Politics

A Strong Argument FOR Hillary Clinton. Plus Reflections on the Democratic Party Platform

hillary_clintonI’m not sure I’m yet ready to have a change of vote but I am sure I’ve had a change of heart as a result of two things that have crossed my desk in the past 48 hours vis a vis the November Presidential election.

First, I read a very long article on the openly partisan Democratic Party mouthpiece blog Daily Kos that is the most reasoned and lucid defense of Hillary Clinton I’ve ever read. The journalist friend who shared it with me — who is decidedly not pro-HRC or, for that matter, much of a progressive — labeled it a “must read.” He doesn’t play that card often and every time he has, it’s proven worthwhile. So I took his advice.

The crux of the piece is that Hillary Clinton’s reputation for being scandal-plagued, dishonest and untruthful is not well-deserved, nor supported by a look at the evidence. There’s a lot of detail here and it would be an injustice to attempt to summarize it in so brief a space. Suffice to say the writer makes a very convincing case that, as he succinctly put it:

[T]he one thing that seems to most negatively and consistently affect public perception of Hillary is any attempt by her to seek power. Once she actually has that power her polls go up again. But whenever she asks for it her numbers drop like a manhole cover.

In other words, she’s a victim of pretty blatant sexism. Compared with male politicians with similar records, experience and public-service longevity who happen to be male, she is far more often a victim of intense and often-unfounded criticism.

Second, I’ve been following the development of the Democratic Party’s 2016 platform and, frankly, I’ve been astonished at the inroads into the policy positions and philosophical statements the Bernie Sanders contingent has been able to realize in a still-in-process draft. A big part of his policy positions have been incorporated into the platform without much dilution. There are still areas of disagreement and gaps but it is encouraging to see the party of my entire adult life taking progressive viewpoints as seriously as they appear to be this year.

Don’t get me wrong. I have been around politics long enough to know that a platform is hardly a binding document. Candidates often distance themselves from their party’s platform during the campaign and seldom even attempt to accomplish all of the platform’s promises after they are elected. Still, this is far and away the most progressive platform the Democrats have adopted (assuming they do) in at least two generations. It is indeed heartening.

So I conclude that perhaps it’s time for me to re-examine my decision to stay out of the party to which I was loyal my entire adult life until 2012 and convert to the Green Party. One of the primary blockades to that re-thinking is the Democratic Party’s take on the global climate change crisis. As the top of my blog says, it’s the only issue worth writing or talking about (and using as a basis for voting). While the Democrats are much closer to what’s absolutely essential to avoid catastrophic results, it still falls short of what is really needed. The Green platform will be on target to do what we as a nation need to do to do our part in minimizing the risks and costs of climate change.

Still, the Democrats have moved a considerable distance and I am ready to admit I have judged HRC too harshly without a serious examination of the entire factual background. It is clearly not fair to paint her with the wide brush her husband certainly earned.

A closing note. What if Hillary picks Cory Booker as her running mate? That could nudge me even farther in the direction of the Democrats. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are off the table, I’m sure. But Booker could bode very well for the near-term future of the party. His only drawback is his state-pulling power is in New England, just as Hillary’s is. But in this cycle, that may not matter.

Millennials Are Listening to Cenk Uygur; Hear Jill Stein Interviewed by Him

If you want to get a handle on where I am in terms of the American political scene today, and/or if you are one of the majority of Americans who don’t trust or like either of the major parties’ candidates for President, you owe it to yourself to watch this video interview. Yeah, it’s kind of long (45 minutes) but you know you’ve already spent far more time than that listening to the gibberish emanating from Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton. Dr. Jill Stein, who has now clinched the Green Party’s nomination, answers good questions, covers the broad policy front and explains clearly why the traditional options of choosing the lesser of two evils and instead going for the greater good is a powerful political tool.

Please take time to listen carefully.

Sustaining the Bernie Revolution

Those of us who began the 2016 Presidential campaign as supporters of long-shot Bernie Sanders have now come face-to-face with the reality that he will not be the Democratic Party nominee for the White House. He and his followers will undoubtedly be conducting extensive postmortem analysis of the campaign and the mechanisms of the nominating process for many months to come.

But I want us to move beyond those moribund discussions and consider how we may help keep the revolutionary spirit Bernie engendered in so many millions of our fellow citizens alive, productive, and influential. Beyond the question of who we choose to support in November, the movement itself is too powerful and important to allow it to dissipate as has happened so often in the past with progressive causes.

move_to_amendI want to commend to your attention a movement of which you are probably aware called Move to Amend. This organization is dedicated to the sole purpose of overturning the worst Supreme Court decision perhaps of all time: Citizens United. By a number of different mechanisms and means, this rapidly growing group is attempting to establish the principle that corporations are not people, that they do not have “human” rights. That they are not entitled to unfettered free speech in the form of political contributions.

I’ve been a member of Move to Amend for quite some time, but I’ve decided to step up my visible involvement as a result of the now-concluding Presidential primary season.

At a minimum, I would request that you go to their website and sign the petition there. While you’re on the site, consider the possibility that you might be able to entice other friends or even gather petition signatures from strangers, in an effort to boost this cause.

If you feel so inclined, I’m sure they would appreciate you volunteering, donating, or otherwise promoting the cause.

Thanks for listening. Let’s keep Bernie’s great revolutionary work alive well beyond the upcoming election!

Regards,

Dan

Bernie in My Home Town

Monterey, California, seldom has seen a Presidential candidate from a major party visit in the last few decades. First, thanks to the way primaries are run in this country (aka chaos), California’s votes hardly ever count. Second, even those candidates who do come to California typically don’t do public events; they’re here for the rich veins of fund-raisers in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Finally, Monterey is well off the beaten path located as it is all the way on the coast.

But there was Bernie. My friend MaryAnn Boylan took this picture at the rally. She had a great spot near the candidate, as you can see.

Bernie Sanders Comes to Monterey May 31, 2016

Bernie Sanders Comes to Monterey May 31, 2016

Several of my friends — some of whom remain convinced of Bernie having a remaining long shot at the Democratic nomination — found the rally refreshing. “Most of the people up front near me,” MaryAnn said, “were millennials. It was really great to talk to them and get their take. Most of the ones I talked do said if Bernie doesn’t get the nomination, they won’t vote for Hillary.”

Almost 8,000 people attended the event, four times the campaign’s forecast to local authorities.

Bad News :-(. Feds Clear Offshore Fracking for CA Coast

According to news reports, two key federal agencies have given the green light to fracking off the coast of California. This is a dangerously stupid decision.

Neither the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement nor the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management could find any reason to expect negative impacts on the California coast or the ocean from allowing the issuance of the drilling permits that cover fracking techniques. In view of the national experience with fracking over the past several years, this decision is a head-scratcher. The numerous known harms that result from fracking are bad enough. But thanks to the collusion of private companies and federal officials charged with governing the issue, very little deep study has been conducted.

Clearly, the Obama Administration is interested only in paying lip service to the environmentalists who continue to wage a thankless uphill battle against the human causes of global climate change. It is sad, really. The fate of humanity hangs in the balance and we as a nation would rather focus on short-term economic goals rather than the much broader and bigger picture.

We will pay the price.

 

Big News! More Jobs in Clean Energy Than Coal & Oil for First Time!

Global-Climate-ChangeThere was some great news for those of us advocating on behalf of Planet Earth today, as the United States reported that, for the first time, employment in the solar energy industry is greater than the number of jobs in oil and natural gas extraction. That incredibly important milestone, which flies in the face of many of the Right’s economic arguments against environmentalism, took place last year, but the numbers have just been released.

Anyone with one eye and half sense already knew this would happen. As the public becomes better-educated about clean energy and its myriad benefits — benefits which transcend the critical impact on global climate change — the demand for solar, wind and other renewable resources will simply continue to grow by leaps and bounds. The fact that those industries are now less profitable than their long-established dirty energy counterparts is due only to the fact that a great deal of research and development and marketing ramp-up has to take place before the economies of scale kick in.

This news gives great additional credibility to the Presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein as they attempt to convince the American voting public of the viability of an economy based primarily on these emerging energy markets and products.

Go tell that to your cynical conservative friends.

Putting Accusations of Trump as a Fascist in Context

Almost from the moment he entered the Republican Party nominating process, Donald Trump has been the target of accusations from the Right and Left that he is a fascist. Everyone from his primary opponents to the Democratic candidates, from rabid Facebook posters to such esteemed writers as Noam Chomsky, has leveled that loaded charge against him.

It’s understandable. In many ways, his “policies” reflect fascist thinking. But on closer examination, he is less a fascist than he is a right-wing nativist with populist overtones. But that’s a pretty big mouthful for a TV commentator, and far too complex and nuanced to fit on a bumper sticker or in a soundbite.

Peter Baker, in a New York Times op-Ed piece dated May 28, puts these charges into the broader context of the growing debate over global fascism taking place in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. He points out that if we begin by defining fascism as, “a governmental system that asserts complete power and emphasizes aggressive nationalism and often racism,” Trump falls short on the very first part of the definition. He is more a neoliberal favoring small, unintrusive government than a big-government fascist.

Read Baker’s article. I think you’ll find it enlightening, not only with respect to the 2016 Presidential election in the United States, but with respect to worldwide geopolitics.

You Go, Elizabeth! If Dems Are Looking for a Trump Attack Dog, They’ve Found Her

Elizabeth Warren: HRC's Attack Dog?

Elizabeth Warren: HRC’s Attack Dog?

Traditional political strategy suggests that each major party’s ticket must include in the number two spot a real “attack dog” capable of going after the other party’s presidential candidate. If that wisdom continues to hold, the Democrats have found their vice-presidential nominee: Elizabeth Warren.

In a series of Twitter exchanges with Republican nominee-to-be-for-sure Donald Trump over the weekend, Elizabeth decimated the dullard billionaire. You can read a particularly cogent account of the dialogue here to get some idea of why I am enthusiastic about this subject.

According to Ashley Parker’s report, at one point Trump tried to attach the label of “Goofy” to Ms. Warren. Demonstrating her understanding that the best way to go after Trump is to question his success and intelligence, Elizabeth countered with something like:

“Seriously? The man with “all the best words”? The best you can come up with is “Goofy”? Weak.”

She had me on the floor! Brilliant comeback. And exactly the formula for keeping Trump as far as possible from our nation’s corridors of power.

As you know if you follow this space, I’m a committed Green Party person. My support and my vote in 2016 go to Jill Stein. But if the Democrats were to nominate Hillary Clinton, and if she were to pick Elizabeth Warren has her VP candidate, it would be very tempting to realign with the my life-long party.

Somebody has got to keep Donald Trump out of Washington!

Please.

Trump, Cruz Both Climate Change Panderers

Just a brief reminder today as Americans continue to contemplate an increasingly chaotic Presidential Election landscape: both of the Republican Party’s front-running candidates deny the very reality and existence of climate change and, of course, dismiss out of hand any effort to suggest humans can do anything to prevent it or to ameliorate its worst impacts. (The third candidate, by the way, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, has wavered a good bit on the subject but his most recent flip-flop seems to indicate he thinks it may be real but doesn’t think we can or should do anything drastic to cope with it.)

Cruz, for example, told CNBC yesterday that climate change is a religion, not science, and that it can “never be disproven,” which, he says, makes it the perfect tool for a power-hungry politician. He should know.

Trump, meanwhile, “repeatedly has said he isn’t ‘a believer’ that humans have played a significant role in the Earth’s changing climate.” It’s scientific fact. You don’t “believe” or disbelieve in facts.

Electing any Republican to the White House in 2016 will drive yet another nail into the coffin of humanity’s ultimate demise. They’re just too dangerously ignorant and dogmatic to let loose on a world in serious trouble.