Popular Posts

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

If there must be cuts...

As I have said before, with all the unemployment that remains a huge drag on our economy, we need increased government spending, not cuts in spending, as the congress is obsessed with doing. Every 1%  of unemployment adds about $90 billion of government debt annually. Getting unemployment down to 4% would reduce the annual deficit by half a trillion dollars. This would still leave us with about a 700 billion dollar deficit and so we will need eventually to cut spending and raise taxes.
All this considered the political environment is all about cuts and while taxes are scheduled to increase, the GOP will pull out every trick in the bag to make sure that millionaires don't have to pay a dime more. If substantial cuts in spending are inevitable and modest tax increases are doubtful, progressives have got to find a way to make sure that the cuts come out of 1.2 trillion we are spending on war, defense and security.
Ideally, electing more peaceful green progressives would get us moving rapidly forward toward the goal of a peaceful green economy. Can we find districts and states which are willing to elect progressive rather than blue dog Democrats? Realistically, I don't see many substantial gains coming our way. I wish we could get 60 progressive green and peace loving Democratic Senators. We came within 6 or 7 in 2008, arguably the best year for the Democratic party since 1964. I wish someone could show me a realistic plan to get those  60 progressive Senators we need, but until then I am going on the assumption that we have to supplement our strategy with some unconventional tactics.
If we cannot get the shift in spending from empire building and maintenance to building the peaceful green economy, then we have to find a way to at least save vital domestic programs and make sure that the cuts come from bombs rather than butter. To do this we progressives, who live in districts and states where there will be no competitive primary race between a blue dog and a progressive, must temporarily change our party registration and vote in the 2012 GOP primaries and caucuses. Our votes could be caste in one of two ways. First, if there is a viable extremist who can be nominated but can never win in the general election against the Democrat, vote for the extremist. Second, if there is a viable libertarian Republican candidate who wants to make deep cuts in defense and security spending, vote for that candidate.
After the primaries are settled, we have to size up the general election candidates. If a the GOP nominee is a lunatic, obviously vote for the Democrat. If the Democrat is a true peace loving progressive, again vote for the Democrat no matter who the Republican is. If the Democrat is a blue dog and the Republican is a true peace loving libertarian, vote for the Republican. This strategy aims at making sure that the largest majority possible will be in favor of huge reduction in the empire building and maintenance budgets. It does not guarantee that the bulk of the money saved from such a reduction will go to building the peaceful green economy but it moves the debate forward.
Next, we move on to the progressive and libertarian negotiations in the 2012 congress. Here is the worse case scenario: We get tremendous reductions in empire building and maintenance, maybe over the next 4 years, 600 billion annually; however the libertarians are able to freeze domestic spending. The result will be about a 2.4 trillion dollar reduction in federal debt over 4 years. This might even mean that interest rates can remain low and the private sector can borrow and spend a bit more. Let's say that gets us a reduction in unemployment to 7.5%. By 2016 7.5% unemployment will feel just as bad as 9% does today. In the mean time, classrooms and jails get crowded, oil prices remain high or increase, bridges fall down, Medicaid and Medicare lurches closer to bankruptcy, insurance companies have to charge more because doctors and hospitals are charging more to make up for what Medicaid and Medicare will not pay, millions of former defense workers are still unemployed and the planet is .25 degrees  F. higher than it is now. The neo-cons are aching for a comeback and wanting to fight unemployment by starting another war in the middle east and the libertarians are determined not to lose what they have gained. Progressives suddenly have the advantage with a split on the right. We then advocate investing 2 trillion over the next four years (2016-2020) toward building the peaceful green economy. In doing so we point out that we are still saving nearly half a trillion dollars during the same 4 years while libertarians are content to allow 2.4 trillion more to be spent on buying Chinese junk while investing in the same or similar economies. We would also point out that the neo-cons are content to spend 2 trillion on another war while giving a trillion in tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. We might even have a tax plan of our own by then that is more progressive, more simple, less burdensome on middle and lower income families and less avoidable by well connected rich and powerful.
The best case scenario with a libertarian/progressive coalition is that 1.2 trillion is spent on building the peaceful green economy while the same amount is used to pay down federal debt. Under such a scenario the unemployment rate may go down close to 6%. The good news is that neo-cons are confined to to their bitter corner where they pull at their ears while shrinking but still shrieking cultural conservatives play their ceaseless, nostalgic cacophony. The bad news is we have to compete with a libertarian plurality who probably can convince the crowd more easily than we, that they deserve the credit for a renewed economy. Might have to wait 2 more years for them to run the unemployment rate back above 7% before we can get a majority in 2018 and a super one in 2020.
If however, we choose to go with the rhetoric of progress through 2016, unemployment will probably hover around 8% and the green economy will gain whatever snail's paced ground it can. More likely President Obama, wanting a legacy of 6 percent (yes we can let our expectations vanish!) unemployment,  might just decide to outflank the neo-cons and start two more wars while keeping domestic discretionary spending frozen. Do we really want to grow the grayish green economy with peace no where in sight? If we do, keep towing the party line. If we don't, then kill the conventional wisdom by sabotaging the duopoly establishment.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

You're probably used to hearing me

urging Dr. Paul to make deals with us progressives but here is a suggestion in the other direction. Tell Sarah Palin that she can have Interior Secretary if she stays out and endorses Dr. Paul Tell Herman Cain he can have Commerce if he gets out and endorses the same. Give Huckabee something too. Do this and get enough of us to jump on board and you can tell Romney or some other neo-con clones to eat the dust that's stinging their face. Might even tell Huntsman he can have UN Ambassador. Of course The neo-cons will throw every weapon they have to stop Dr. Paul should he get a good lead early on. And if he survives that assault, he's got the Democratic corporatists who will do the same and more if need be. That's why after the nomination is won he has to offer Labor to Kucinich and Treasury to Sanders. He comes at Obama with a real coalition he might just win. Plays to the purists and their lust for instant gratification, he loses, and the purists, with him.

Vote downurging Dr. Paul to make deals with us progressives but here is a suggestion in the other direction. Tell Sarah Palin that she can have Interior Secretary if she stays out and endorses Dr. Paul Tell Herman Cain he can have Commerce if he gets out and endorses the same. Give Huckabee something too. Do this and get enough of us to jump on board and you can tell Romney or some other neo-con clones to eat the dust that's stinging their face. Might even tell Huntsman he can have UN Ambassador. Of course The neo-cons will throw every weapon they have to stop Dr. Paul should he get a good lead early on. And if he survives that assault, he's got the Democratic corporatists who will do the same and more if need be. That's why after the nomination is won he has to offer Labor to Kucinich and Treasury to Sanders. He comes at Obama with a real coalition he might just win. Plays to the purists and their lust for instant gratification, he loses, and the purists, with him.

I am surprised

I cannot seem to find a list of Ron Paul candidates running in the house and senate GOP primaries. Can anyone tell me why or better yet show me what I am missing?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Type of deal we are looking for:

Many of us progressives believe that public transportation is vital for creating the peaceful green economy. We are particularly frustrated that our nation does not have a high speed rail system. Here's my idea: sell interstate and US highways to states, localities and private companies in states where the people approve of it. Use the funds raised to build a high speed rail system. Begin the system in states which will dedicate 10 cents per gallon into further funding of public transportation. This is one of a million compromises that pristine libertarians will never consider but for more realistic Randians, just think about it: It moves transportation funding and policy away from the federal level toward the states and private sector. It gives libertarians the chance to prove that the private sector can do roads (and everything else, of course) better than the "government" can. This is the type of deal that Ron Paul needs to make if he wants the White House.

If you are interested...

I am looking for contributors for this blog. If you are interested in writing something on topic, please contact me. Also I am looking for a list of 2012 Ron Paul Republican candidates running for congress.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Even if you don't want to vote for Ron Paul...

Progressives ought to get in the Republican primaries and vote either for libertarians in the primaries or for extremists who cannot be elected so that Obama gets a progressive congress or a congress that forces him out of the endless wars.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Looking for

contact info for Ron Paul supporters in SC and of progressive organizations in SC.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ron Paul Quote on ABC's The View

"I think I probably have more allies from the progressive side when we talk about how to get the budget under control. In spite of the image of most progressives—and there are some who don't really worry about the deficit—but there are some serious-minded progressives who would like to cut back and pay the bills. And where we agree on that is the foreign adventurism. Not so much on the domestic spending.
As a libertarian, I don't endorse philosophically the many domestic programs and I'm willing to work on a transition. So I say: Let's cut the unnecessary wars. Let's cut the foreign aid. Let's cut all the empire building which costs trillions of dollars and maybe we could tide ourselves over. But for some conservatives to start tinkering with the budget with health care or education for the poor, that doesn't make any political sense to me."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Concentrating on the controversial

The media have already begun to try to discredit Ron Paul. First step ignore him. Second step, ask questions on his most controversial positions: heroine, bin Laden raid, 1964 civil rights act. Third step, avoid questioning him on his liberal and progressive alliances on issues of war and corporate welfare. Fourth step, avoid him altogether. I wish Representative Paul could be more nuanced on these issues. For example, he could say, "Yes I would legalize all drugs but hold manufacturers responsible for injuries from their products and tax such items significantly and strictly forbid their sale to minors." I know that sort of thing goes against his strict libertarian impulses which is why he needs to frame every issue in terms of what he wants as a libertarian and what he is willing to allow progressives to do along side of him as a better alternative to the present situation where corporatists make all the rules and libertarians and progressives are ignored. He does a little of this with his acquiescence to state level regulation. He could do more by saying, something like this, "If we can have more liberty in our land even though I am opposed to all new taxes, I would be willing to have these types of drugs taxed significantly if we can use that money exclusively to pay down the debt." He needs to consistently to combination punching. Right, left, right, left.... that is the best way to combat the media's portrayal of him as an extremist without him having to compromise his principles. Coalition combo punching Dr. Paul! You'll knock them out!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Game we are playing and the one we should.

Libertarians and progressives have many things in common including even some of our criticism of the American economy. We both see the problem as corporatism, but then our remedies are different. Libertarians think that if we just got "government" out of the equation the individual would rise to the top and create a prosperous economy which punishes the lazy and parasitic, regardless of class.

Progressives think that the solution is to inject democracy into the economy. What we need is government of the people writing and enforcing the rules of commerce, universal single payer health care, a large green stimulus, worker ownership, fair trade, etc.

Today's American economy is like an American football game. The quarterbacks, running backs, and receivers get all the rewards as if they scored all their touchdowns without an offensive line or a defense to set them up.

Libertarians think we need to end the football game and play baseball. It's a team sport without team work (except the double play). It is also a game without a clock. There is no sense of history. Every individual is born into a historical vacuum. We are never running out of time. What came before does not matter. Whether you come from the inter city, the rural plains or the suburb's privilege gated communities, we can all become Willie Mays or Ted Williams. We just need to get rid of the clock and the notion that your teammates have anything to do with your success. The westward movement, the accident of fertile lands and natural resources, the genocide of natives, the enslavement of Africans, the dislocation of workers have nothing to do with our great American economy. And neither does the government, especially not the government, that monster that would basically cease to exist if we shut down Washington left Wall Street to its own devises.

What we really need is an American economy that looks like a basketball game. Yes, the individual would greatly matter but the individual would have to be a team player and have teammates to assist the individual. Yes, there would be a temporal context; no one inning rally could change the game. Not as dramatic as baseball but much more realistic and only somewhat more predictable. The greatest players are members of the greatest teams. Every Jabbar needs a Magic and every Magic needs a Worthy; every capitalist needs workers and consumers; every business needs an internet and an interstate and government which builds the infrastructure. Not many Michael Jordans in such an economy but neither need there be any Tom McHales or Ted Johnsons.

For now, it looks like we will continue the gridiron economy where tackles dream of home runs.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

OK...vote for Obama in the general election but not in the primary: 10 reasons to have more fun and produce a better outcome.

Despite the title of this blog, I really still want to vote for the President in his reelection but I plan to support Ron Paul because endless wars and empire building and maintenance are preventing us from building the peaceful green economy. We have to strike a death blow to the MIC first if we are going to free up enough funding for building the PGE. Many progressives are very scared that a President Paul will not only destroy the MIC (which most would applaud) but also destroy social security, Medicare, every reasonable regulation, etc. I know he would like to do this and so I understand the skepticism. Nevertheless, for political reasons Paul will not be elected without making a deal with progressives who can give him the presidency in coalition with libertarians and independents. He will owe us and this obligation will prevent him from overreaching. Regardless, let's suppose progressives will not lend a hand in getting Ron Paul elected. Does this mean they should not lend him a hand in getting him the GOP nomination? My answer is, of course, no. We should help him get the nomination for the following reasons:
1. Most progressives have little reason to vote in the 2012 Democratic primary. If you live in a district and state where progressive Democrats already hold office, it is highly unlikely that a blue dog will challenge, let alone, defeat the incumbent.  The converse applies to blue dog districts and states. If you do have a truly contested primary, then by all means, don't jump ship; support the progressive candidates in such primaries. But if the outcome of your state's Democratic primary is fairly certain, why not have fun making the GOP miserable?
2. Getting Ron Paul a plurality of GOP primary voters will make the 2012 GOP convention actually worth watching. Establishment Republicans will stop at nothing to prevent Ron Paul from getting the nomination. If Ron Paul wins, the GOP splits and some kind of Romney/ Huckabee combo goes independent.
3. A 3-way race among the president, Ron Paul and the GOP establishment candidates means Obama wins big time (unless, of course, enough progressives decide that Paul offers a better deal).
4. Voting in the GOP primary also gives progressives the ability to nominate either libertarians who will assist a newly peaceful and green President Obama (I keep praying for it.) to dismantle the MIC, or to nominate GOP extremists who have no chance of winning in the general election.
5. Voting in the GOP primary gives progressives the opportunity to significantly weaken the neo-con/cultural traditionalist coalition, a fitting punishment for all they have done to ruin our country and prevent progressive legislation like single payer or public option from even making it out of committee.
6. If the economy tanks (not that I think we are out of the tank yet), which of the Republicans would you rather have running the country? Nominating Ron Paul guarantees that a Romney, a Huckabee or one of their clones does not win the general election. Even causing a huge stink at the GOP convention all but guarantees these military Keynesians fall short in the general election even with a double dip on.
7. An overreaching Ron Paul, if elected, will destroy the libertarian cause. (I really think he is too smart to overreach and will confine his cutting to the MIC at least through his first or only term.)
8. A Ron Paul surge or nomination gives the president and the Democrats a wake up call: do not take progressives for granted! Can you think of any other way for progressives to flex their muscles right now. A Democratic primary challenge will weaken the president and when a diminished but inevitable nominee loses the general election, guess who gets the blame and more of the marginalization we've come to expect.
9. A libertarian coup on the other side of the aisle means the Democratic party finally moves left of center and has a constructive opposition that it can make real deals with. Wouldn't this be a change: trying to out-peace a fatter libertarian faction of the GOP? The alternative is more of the same presidential and congressional "centering" (with all the paranoid avoidance of being perceived as weak on defense) against an increasingly rightward gravitating GOP.
10. A Ron Paul nomination serves as the first victory over corporatism since the New Deal. Our vote could actually have some real significance for a change. Along the way toward this victory, we might discover some unexpected ways to make deals with libertarians who, at least for now, offer us a better bargain than the corporatists who ignore us except to plant us in their astroturf.