Monthly Archives: January 2016

What is Democratic Socialism?

Here’s an excellent essay on why we shouldn’t run from the label “socialist”. I honestly believe that smaller government is best but with both the Ds and Rs doing nothing but increasing the size of government I’d like to see this government juggernaut we are creating work more for us, the people, than giant corporations and billionaire political donors.

Although Sanders says that America needs a “grassroots political revolution,” he is actually a reformer, not a revolutionary. His version of democratic socialism is akin to what most people around the world call “social democracy,” which seeks to make capitalism more humane.

Source: What is democratic socialism, American-style? (Opinion) – CNN.com

F.C.C. Proposes Changes in Cable Set-Top Box Market – The New York Times

That set top box was a huge motivation in me cutting the cord. I thought having to rent a device that allowed me to purchase cable service was ridiculous, especially since it tied me to buying programming from a single source.

Nearly all customers now must get their boxes from their cable companies, and they pay an average of $231 a year to lease the devices.

Source: F.C.C. Proposes Changes in Cable Set-Top Box Market – The New York Times

I think the FCC opening up the market to allow customers to buy a box from wherever they choose will go a long way toward breaking up the cable companies’ monopoly on programming. Imagine a Roku that also acted as your cable box.

It may not be Sanders who defeats Clinton

Sanders supporters see the announcement of Mike Bloomberg putting in an Independent bid for the presidency should Sec. Clinton not become the Democratic nominee a sign that people fear the Sanders campaign juggernaut.

With Sanders now leading some polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire I can understand the enthusiasm in the Sanders camp but their might be another reason Mike Bloomberg is considering throwing his hat in the ring.

Another explanation is that he sees trouble ahead for Hillary Clinton. Because of his close relationship with former NYC police Chief Ray Kelly and others in the law enforcement community, he might have the inside track on the FBI investigation into the former Secretary of State’s handling of classified documents and questionable foundation-related activities. Democrats have done a fine job of completely dismissing the FBI inquiry, but the possibility that Clinton could face serious legal hurdles may be encouraging Bloomberg’s ambitions.

Source: Does Mike Bloomberg Know Something We Don’t About the Clinton FBI Probe? | The Fiscal Times

I still see his announced consideration to run as being a threat to help Sec. Clinton but Sec. Clinton being indicted is not beyond the realm of possibilities.

It’s all a part of the charade

I’ve been telling people and they won’t believe me, Trump is in Cahoots with Clinton to see that Clinton wins the White House. The biggest implication of this is in the phone call Trump had with Clinton shortly before announcing his bid.

“The tone of the call was informal, and Clinton never urged Trump to run, the four people said,” Robert Costa and Anne Gearan reported, summarizing the comments of “four Trump allies.” “Rather, they said, Clinton sounded curious about Trump’s moves toward a presidential bid and told Trump that he was striking a chord with frustrated conservatives and was a rising force on the right.”

Source: Is Donald Trump Really in Cahoots With Hillary Clinton to Hand Her the White House? — Charisma News

Read that part again,

“Clinton sounded curious about Trump’s moves toward a presidential bid and told Trump that he was striking a chord with frustrated conservatives and was a rising force on the right.”

It sure makes it sound to me like she is encouraging, at the very least, him to run. And I can’t make sense out of him calling her about his running since she would be his opponent should he make it out of the primary.

See, I don’t think he meant to make it out of the primary. I think he thought he’d make an outrageous statement anytime any bad press for Ms Clinton was airing its head in the media so as to take attention away from Ms Clinton’s problems. I also think his objective was to take the air out of the room for all other Republicans running for the nomination and keeping them off message.

I think that he originally figured his poll numbers would be so low at this point that he could bow out of the running and I think he has been trying to put off voters with all he’s said and done but instead of going down in the polls he just continues to rise.

Finally he’s realized what is happening, though, and speaks about it last week.

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?” Trump remarked at a campaign stop at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. “It’s, like, incredible.”

Source: Donald Trump: ‘I Could … Shoot Somebody, And I Wouldn’t Lose Any Voters’ : The Two-Way : NPR

So he’s got a new strategy for pulling out. He’s going to stop campaigning. He pulls out of the last debate before the Iowa caucus giving the excuse that Megan Kelley is not fair to him and since Fox won’t pull her from the debate he’s not showing up. And also:

“Why should the networks continue to get rich on the debates?” Trump told reporters at a news conference in Marshalltown. “Why do I have to make Fox rich?”

Source: Trump says he won’t participate in GOP debate on Fox News – The Washington Post

Mark my word, Trump will be out of the race before the South Carolina primaries. He’s been looking for an out for a couple of months now.

But then we have other intrigue involving another billionaire running.

The New York Times reported on Saturday that Bloomberg is uncomfortable with the rise of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s principal Democratic challenger, and of the prospect of real-estate mogul Donald Trump being the Republican nominee. The 73-year-old billionaire has asked advisers to draw up plans for a potential independent campaign, the newspaper reported, citing people it didn’t identify.

Source: Clinton Confident There’ll Be No Need for Bloomberg to Run – Bloomberg Politics

<Sigh!>

This is What “No Favoritism” Means

The National Review has been dropped by the RNC as the co-sponsor of the upcoming debate because it editorialized against Donald Trump.

Republican National Committee spokesperson Allison Moore said that “debate partners can’t have a predisposition towards or against any candidate.”

Source: GOP drops National Review from debate sponsorship over Trump attack

So this tells me that either Donald Trump is now the establishment candidate or that RNC takes their commitment to being unbiased toward all of their candidates seriously. Can we say the same about the DNC?

Corruption Fuels Extremism

goverment-corruptionJohn Kerry has explicitly stated the root of all the problems we have in this world. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland he correctly identified that government corruption fuels crime, violent extremism and disillusionment with society.

“The fact is there is nothing, absolutely nothing, more demoralizing and disempowering to any citizen of any nation than the belief the system is rigged against them and that people in positions of power are — to use a diplomatic term of art — crooks who are stealing the future of their own people; and by the way, depositing their ill-gotten gains in ostensibly legitimate financial institutions around the world,” Kerry said.

Source: Kerry Says Governmental Corruption Fuels Extremism – The New York Times

I hope he recognizes that we, the U.S., need to start fighting this at home and to do this we need to start electing officials that are unwilling to turn an eye to corruption. This isn’t something that is accomplished by pragmatism, this must be driven by idealism.

Don’t just do something, do something that works!

Some people wonder why I can get so wound up in opposing gun control. It isn’t because I’m an avid shooter or a gun collector, it’s because I hate seeing people implement solutions that are going to put a burden on people who aren’t the problem and that just aren’t going to work. People don’t just shoot someone only because they have a gun, there has to be some motivation driving that decision to shoot. Paul Heroux, a state representative in Massachusetts, feels the same way and has written a great article on this.

A lot of the solutions that are proposed by people who fiercely for or against guns just don’t work. They argue about what they think should work or what makes sense, or what fits their political worldview, but not what has been empirically proven to reduce gun violence.

Source: Guns and Politics and What Actually Reduces Gun Violence | Paul Heroux

Reducing gun violence isn’t going to happen by controlling guns, you have to control people to reduce gun violence and, more importantly, identifying the people that must be controlled. Mr. Heroux gives some examples of how proven methods of doing this have been verified.

Bitcoin a failure?

Mark Hearn, a former developer and evangelist for Bitcoin, recently had this to say in an article written by him on what he sees as the upcoming failure of Bitcoin:

But despite knowing that Bitcoin could fail all along, the now inescapable conclusion that it has failed still saddens me greatly. The fundamentals are broken and whatever happens to the price in the short term, the long term trend should probably be downwards. I will no longer be taking part in Bitcoin development and have sold all my coins.

Source: The resolution of the Bitcoin experiment — Medium

I’ll take his word that Bitcoin is a failure, I never had much faith in its long term solvency anyway. What I’m curious about is how he can justify from an ethical standpoint selling a commodity that he is convinced is now, or will soon be, worthless with no possibility of regaining any value?

 

A bit on health care in Georgia

I pointed out yesterday how Bernie Sanders’ single payer health care system would probably save most of us money, even with a tax increase. The more I think about it the more I’m convinced his plan would actually bring the cost of health care down over time due to people having access to health care at the onset of disease when it is cheaper to treat.

I’m convinced of the same thing here in Georgia with the expansion of Medicaid. However, Gov. Deal is hesitant to sign on due to the cost.

Deal, a Republican, said expansion would have cost Georgia more than $200 million in the fiscal 2017 budget (which will begin July 1). “That number would only continue to grow exponentially,” he told a joint session of lawmakers Wednesday.

Source: Ga. health care costs need limits, Deal says | The Augusta Chronicle

It might grow exponentially for the first few years but I think that would level off and we would eventually see a decline in cost due to a healthier population. Regardless of that, though, the $200 million might be well worth the money if it means making health care available to more Georgians.

BernieCare

BernieCare has been estimated to cost us $15 trillion over ten years. That’s $1.5 trillion a year to cover about 319,000,000 people which is $4,702.19 each for the year or about $90.43 per week per person. That covers everyone. With BernieCare everyone goes to the doctor when they are sick and the government picks up the bill and pays for it by taxing us $90.43 a week per person. That’s $361.71 for a family of four. Does your employer pay for your insurance? I just checked my check stub and I see that $346.02 per week is going to pay for three people’s coverage in my family. That’s my share and my employer’s share. This almost looks like a wash to me.

An Enthusiasm Gap

Ya know what the one thing is I really hate doing when it comes to my civic duty? It’s voting against someone. I’ve had it beat into me that I must educate myself about those people running for office and I must vote.

Great! Now if there was only someone I could vote for and do so passionately, with enthusiasm. Someone I thought would really make a difference and push for the changes I’d like to see happen in government.

Well, maybe I wouldn’t like all the changes he’d push for but I think Bernie Sanders would make a difference, if for no other reason than to challenge the establishment. I could work up some enthusiasm for that and it looks like others can too.

Iowa Democrats are displaying far less passion for Hillary Clinton than for Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont three weeks before the presidential caucuses….

Source: Hillary Clinton Races to Close Enthusiasm Gap With Bernie Sanders in Iowa – The New York Times

And that enthusiasm is showing up in the polls. So it looks like Iowan Democrats are split between those who are enthusiastically voting for a candidate and those who are holding their nose and voting against the Republicans…. or are they?

I contend that under the circumstances those who are voting against the Republicans are actually voting for them when they have a candidate that can garner the enthusiasm that Hillary Clinton fails to do.