Election 2016, Hillary Clinton, Trump

Taking Stock

 

The unthinkable has happened. A racist, misogynist, blowhard with no experience and a very thin skin is America’s next president. There are a lot of reasons why this has taken place, but first all we should recognize that Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2 million and votes are still being counted. Not only that but voter suppression laws passed by 17 Republican states undoubtedly cost Clinton many more possible votes. In Wisconsin, for instance, Trump won by 17,000 votes, but a study has shown that the state’s strict voter ID law prevented 300,000 people from voting. Since the whole idea is to suppress the Democratic vote, it’s virtually certain she would’ve won the state. The polls saying she was going to win were correct.

Then there’s the manipulation of voting machines. As stated previously, many American states have privatized their elections. They give contracts to private companies to provide the machines and count the votes. Most of those companies are owned by Republicans, they leave no paper trail and the source code is proprietary. The courts have thus ruled that the people have no right to see the code, so those companies can do whatever they want. The first case of that type of election fraud happened in the first senate race of Republican Chuck Hagel of Nebraska about 20 years ago. He was behind in all the polls, but won a landslide victory in the election. He even won in black precincts that had never voted Republican before and I guarantee you never would. Only later it turned out that Hagel was part owner of the company that ran the election. Analysis of voting stats from Pennsylvania in this election shows that Clinton won 7% fewer votes in precincts that used machines compared to those that used paper ballots, enough to swing the election in her favor. Now add Michigan which is still too close to call. It wouldn’t have taken much there in the way of election fraud to make it close rather than in Clinton’s pocket. With the above three states she would’ve carried the electoral college.

The are other tactics Republicans have used to steal elections. Many states work to prevent voting by sharply reducing the number of places to obtain ID and reducing the number of precincts. Much of that came as a result of the conservative Supreme Court gutting the 50-year-old voting rights act. Under that act states with a history of suppressing minority voting had to get approval to change voting rules. Now they’re free to suppress all they want.

Another favorite ploy of the right is to provide inadequate numbers of voting machines in likely Democratic precincts. Many times in the same county voters in suburban areas likely to vote Republican are in and out in 15 or 20 minutes while voters in inner city or student precincts have to wait for many hours to vote. Ohio was famous for that in the 2004 election of Bush vs. Kerry when some people waited as much as 8 hours to vote.

There are other reasons both legitimate and illegitimate that Trump is president-elect. To finish up the illegitimate, The Republicans have a long history of dishonest, unethical harassment and obstruction, especially of the Clintons. In the nineties Bill Clinton was impeached over lying about a blow job, a question he should never have been asked. It all started over the Repubs hiring a special prosecutor over a small-time failed real estate development called Whitewater in which the Clintons lost $90,000. With no mandate to expand the inquiry he came upon Bill’s dallying in the White House. Clinton was acquitted in the Senate with the help of a few honest Republicans.

Contrast that with G.W. Bush who lied to justify a war of aggression leading to the deaths of thousands of US troops and about one million Iraqis, not to mention displacing millions, he approved torture which against US and international law and is a reprehensible act under any and all circumstances, and the army under his tenure used depleted uranium bombs in Iraq which have left a legacy of babies being born deformed to this day. That’s what impeachment is for: egregious acts, not consensual blow jobs.

That has carried on to Hillary’s time. Republicans held eight hearings on Bengazi where five Americans were killed. In spite of all those hearings she was never indicted or found guilty of anything. Republican leaders made it clear they were using those hearings as a political tool to hurt and harass her. And then there’s her emails. Emails, emails, emails, over and over and over. Finally 10 days before the election, FBI director Comey, a Republican stupidly put in office by Obama, announced he was opening another investigation of emails pertaining to Clinton. Except in this case they weren’t sent by her or received by her and he didn’t even know what was in them when he made the announcement. In fact they were emails between disgraced ex-congressman Anthony Weiner and his ex-wife, a confidante of Clinton. They had nothing to do with her, but that tipped the balance nonetheless. Hermann Goering, Hitler’s information minister was famously quoted as saying if you tell a lie often enough the people will believe you, and that’s exactly what happened.

On the other hand she was a flawed, tainted candidate from the start. It doesn’t matter that many of the attacks against her were unfair and unjustified. It doesn’t matter that many of those attacks involved lies and distortions, she has a long, difficult history and those defamations were going to stick. Besides, she was the quintessential establishment candidate when many people were desperate for change. She earned $12 million giving one hour speeches at $200,000+ a pop to the banksters and elite. She represented the failed policies of neoliberalism that for 30 years had driven down the lifestyles of the bottom 60% to 70% of Americans. She was strongly in favor of pending trade deals until forced to change her stance because of Sanders and Trump. She’s a military interventionist. She waffled and changed and was inconsistent in her politics.

On the other hand she was fine on social issues: abortion rights, gay rights, civil rights, health care, Medicare, Social Security, all the things the common people depend on for quality of life, and which will be trashed by Trump. Not to mention she’s not a racist.

In some ways, just thinking strategically, it’s better that Trump won. If she had won after Trump saying the vote was rigged and he wouldn’t accept the result if he didn’t win and his frequent calls to violence and second amendmenters to take up arms, there would’ve been terrible unrest and probable violence. The Repubs would’ve tried to make her life unbearable, harassing and obstructing and screaming bloody murder non-stop. The Republican house would’ve impeached her on the flimsiest of excuses. The macabre political circus would’ve been unending.

Now we have all Republicans all the time. They’ve got control of everything. The only leverage that the Dems have is the filibuster in the Senate. Thankfully, Senator Warren is a fighting firebrand who won’t give an inch. Add Bernie and a few others and they’ll be able to hold back some of the worst that the Repubs have to offer. Otherwise they’ll have no-one to blame when their regressive and sometimes catastrophic policies are brought to bear.

Take their obsession with Obamacare: The house voted more than fifty times in the last session of congress to repeal it: It was an empty gesture since it was certain even if it made it through the Senate, Obama would veto it. In six years time of threatening to end it, they’ve never come up with an alternative. That’s because Obamacare is the conservative alternative. It was designed by the Heritage Institute, a far right think tank. Obama was too timid to do health care properly with a single payer system that polls say is favored by about 70% of the people, because he feared the power of the insurance and pharma industries was so strong he’d never get it passed. So what happens if they now stick to their promise and repeal it? 22 million people lose their insurance; it’s poor quality, but it’s something.

Paul Ryan, speaker of the house wants to privatize Medicare, which he can now try to do with all seats of power in Repub hands. This is a program that’s liked by almost everyone who’s on it. It regularly is approved by 80 to 90% of seniors. Even Tea Party seniors love their single-payer, socialized Medicare: There’s a famous picture that floated around the lefty internet of an old guy at a Tea Party protest who was holding a sign that said, ‘Keep the government’s hands off my Medicare’. In place of an exceedingly simple system where everybody is automatically covered, he’ll give people a voucher so they can go buy coverage from hated,  despised, insurance companies. That’ll go over with a resounding thud and one thing is guaranteed, geezers vote.

Trump is going to bring good jobs back to the rust belt. How’s he going to do that? Well, he’ll slap a 45% tariff on goods from China and 35% on goods from Mexico. I absolutely agree that China is screwing America on trade. The deficit this year is $360 billion. That’s a lot of jobs shipped overseas. Most establishment economists say that China’s currency is now not being manipulated, I don’t agree. Just last year when their stock markets were crashing, they immediately devalued the Yuan. When they let it float on the international markets, I’ll accept that. They can do other things to reduce its value, but at least it won’t be direct manipulation.

Since most of the consumer goods sold in the US are produced in China the immediate effect of Trump’s 45% tariff would be a steep rise in the cost of living. Sure, before too long other countries – like Cambodia in areas where it’s competitive – would begin to take up the slack, but the Chinese industrial powerhouse is so vast it’d take years for others to ramp up production. Yes, manufacturers would return to America but the jobs wouldn’t be the high paying jobs of the past, that was from unionization, which conservatives have worked very hard to suppress. They’d pay $10 or $12 an hour and their goods would still be more expensive than those now being imported from China. Inflation would be rampant and all but the 1% would suffer.

He wants a new simplified tax system, which is code for the rich paying a lot less and the middle paying more. The 1%, .1%, .01% are already doing so well, they literally have too much, they are distorting the system, damaging the economy. The cuts he proposes will have absolutely no effect on creating jobs. The deficit will increase by $700 billion a year. Tax cuts and huge deficits are a Republican compulsion. Carter left Reagan a balanced budget, he cut taxes massively and tripled the national debt. Clinton left Bush a nearly balanced budget; he cut taxes and also massively increased the deficit. The current deficit is very small compared to when Obama took office, but Trump will be sure load to it up again. Republicans actually like deficits because then can then claim there is no money for social programs.

Well how do we think the Trumpster will do in the big hot seat? He’s got an awfully thin skin and takes every criticism personally, but everyplace he goes in the US and the free world where people have the right to protest, they will, and loudly and forcefully. The insults and anger displayed towards him will be unending. He has upended the fundamental belief in an America where all people are respected and all try to coexist in harmony. Considering the US is now about 35% minority and those Americans are now feeling a virulent, vitriolic hostility towards themselves, they will fight back, and they’ll fight back alongside those many other Americans who value inclusiveness, empathy, tolerance and diversity. She won the popular vote. She was the people’s choice. She represents the values of the American people much closer than Trump does.

He’s going to be president, but he’s going to hate it.

To be continued.

 

 

 

Advertisements
Standard
Bernie Sanders, Economics, Hillary Clinton, US Politics

Democratic Party Death Wish

 

 

The Democratic party is trying it’s best to become irrelevant by trying to rig the primary process to nominate the choice of the establishment rather than the choice of the people. This is an extension of a process that’s been pervasive and long-lasting. A recent study showed that the majority’s desires had nothing to do with legislative outcomes.

 

Single-payer health care is the prime example. Several prominent Democrats in Colorado are working to defeat a single-payer ballot measure there. Who are they working for? Who do they represent? For years now polls have consistently shown that single-payer is favored by about 90% of Democrats and close to 60% of the population as a whole, and yet Clinton says it’s impossible! can never happen! as she mimics an aide to Obama in 2008 who called it ‘pie in the sky’. The fact that 90% of their constituency want it, the people who voted them in office, seems to have no bearing on their position.

 

Pie in the sky is what the pharmas and health insurance companies get in the present system… medication that costs a few dollars in a place like India can cost hundreds of dollars in the US. Here’s an outrageous example that doesn’t even involve prescription meds. Here in Cambo I have a toe fungus problem about 10 months a year from the heat and humidity. In the US a tiny 1.5 gram tube costs a minimum 6 dollars. Here in Cambodia I can get a 10 gram tube made in Malaysia for 65 cents, that’s about 80 times less. A 20 gram tube made in India costs 50 cents, or about 200 times less. Not patented, not prescription, just a total, unconscionable rip-off.

 

The current for-profit health care system takes 17% of US GDP and even with Obamacare still leaves millions uncovered and millions more under covered. Even with Obamacare the largest number of bankruptcies are caused by medical bills and the largest percentage of those were people who had insurance, but couldn’t make the co-pays.

 

The next most costly health care system in the developed world takes about 11% of GDP. In that system all people are covered and they have better outcomes than the US. So tell me again why single-payer is impossible. Impossible for Hillary to support because she gets her money from the industries that don’t want it.

 

When confronted by the $24 million dollars in speaking fees she earned from the corporate elite between 2013 and 2015 she insisted that that had no effect on her politics. At first I thought that seemed absurd, who could believe that? But then on further reflection, I realized she’s right: That’s the way she thinks, that money was immaterial.

 

Why is it the Demo party establishment is so wedded to Hillary as the nominee that they will game and rig the system and steal votes in several states? For instance, in the Massachusetts primary every single precinct that used paper ballots went for Bernie, every single one that had machines went for Hillary. Now tell me how that could be a coincidence in a state with thousands of precincts.

 

It’d be one thing if she was well liked and popular, but she’s looked on unfavorably by 55% of the population and for whatever reason, reasonable or otherwise, a lot of people hate her. Her policies and politics don’t represent the heart of the party or the populace as a whole and yet they’ve done everything in their power to stifle and squash Sanders, the one candidate who does represent the people. Sanders is the one candidate with a net favorability and beats Trump by a larger percentage than Hillary. Lately Trump is beating Clinton in the polls.

 

The Democratic National Committee started out trying to harm Sanders by scheduling few debates and having them at times when people were not likely to watch. That served their purpose in maximizing Hillary’s votes in the early southern contests when many people hadn’t heard much of him yet. Large numbers of superdelegates picked her before most states had even voted and some said they’d vote for her even after the state they represent had voted for Bernie.

 

She represents the old, the past of the two party system that has no interest in what the people want. Bernie consistently has gotten the majority of the youth vote, in some cases up to 85% of under 30 votes have gone for him. He represents the future. In open primaries where independents, who now make up 44% of the electorate, are allowed to choose which party primary they want to vote in, he consistently wins. Hillary likes closed primaries where only Dems can vote, but they are now only 29% of the population. No candidate can win without the independent vote.

 

It’s still time for the Demo establishment to come to its senses, but I fear they’d rather go down with Hillary than actually represent and serve the people.

 

 

Standard