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PatrickforB's Journal
PatrickforB's Journal
February 18, 2019

America Needs Radical Solutions

This guy, Juan Williams, is an analyst for Fox, but I thought, even though he IS a Fox guy, I'd share this with you all because it seems even some of the Republicans are repudiating Trump's misbegotten policies. Here's an excerpt, after which he goes into actual poll numbers indicating Americans DO want socialism in the form of healthcare, and they DO want a Green New Deal. By large margins.

Last week, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that a record 7 million Americans are three months or more behind on their car loan payments. Last year, the Federal Reserve reported that 40 percent of Americans can’t cover an unexpected expense of $400. Then there’s the pressure on families from student loans and credit card accounts. In 2018, total student loan debt was $1.5 trillion and growing. And the credit card debt collectively owed by Americans in 2018 surpassed $1 trillion. An alarming number of accounts are delinquent. Maybe that’s why retail sales had a big drop in December.

Trump backers, also open your eyes to a new study from a University of California at Berkeley economist, Gabriel Zucman. It shows that the 400 richest Americans (.00025 percent of our population) now own more wealth than the 150 million poorest Americans (60 percent of the population).

So while President Trump is pledging “America will never be a socialist country,” a lot of Americans are looking for any policy that will help them pay the bills in a time of stagnant wages and high income inequality. Trump and McConnell have no ideas for dealing with income inequality. Their tax cut put more money in the pockets of the rich and corporations. That is not working for the middle-class.


See, I think this is a big irony, you know? That we are trying to put forward policies that will actually preserve and strengthen this nation, while the Trumpies and the 'freedom holy-roller caucus' is trying to tear what we have down, put us into chaos and have us emerge as a theocracy ruled by a bunch of billionaire parasite oligarchs. Funny how Juan and some of the other Republicans see this.

They are still enemies to good policy - don't get me wrong, but Juan seems to 'get' what is wrong with the fundamentals of our economy.
February 8, 2019

Poll: Just 13 percent want 'Medicare for all' if it means end of private insurance: from The Hill.

Follow the link, read the thing, and then I'll furnish a more appropriate headline.


Funny how the media, which is corporate owned, really doesn't report the truth, does it?

Let me furnish another, more accurate headline:

71% of Americans want some form Medicare for all.

So, what's the deal? Why the faux controversy? Simple: higher ad revenue. By the way, The Hill is actually a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc., which is owned by Capitol Hill Publishing, Chairman James A. Finkelstein. Now, apparently Finkelstein owns a limited partnership, non-publicly held, that invests in media. Here's more:

James A. Finkelstein is Founding Partner in Pluribus Capital Management LLC Mr. Finkelstein was one of the founding partners of Avista Capital Partners in 2005. Mr. Finkelstein is an experienced leader in the media industry and focuses on private equity investments in the field. He formally served as Chairman of DLJMB Global Media Partners through June 30, 2005. For 19 years, he served as President and CEO of the National Law Publishing Company (presently American Law Media). Mr. Finkelstein received a B.A. Degree from New York University. He also has an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Hofstra University. Mr. Finkelstein currently serves as Chairman of the Boards of InvestorPlace Media, Thompson Publishing Group, and News Communications, the Publisher of The Hill and Marquis Who’s who. He also serves as a Director of Star Tribune and WideOpenWest. Mr. Finkelstein has previously provided consulting services with respect to investments for DB Capital and Veronis Suhler Stevenson. He formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Legal Aid Society and on The New York University Faculty of Arts and Sciences Board of Overseers.

So there you have it. Capitalism at its best.

February 2, 2019

My wife and I spent some time talking about Ralph Northam this morning.

We are both white, in that late fifties-early sixties age band.

I've been reading a lot of posts by African Americans that are helping me understand the feelings around this photo, chosen by Northam for insertion into his college yearbook.

I think you're right, here Mineral. I have no business sticking up for Northam because he posed for that picture in the first place, chose it to be in his yearbook, then just forgot about it. He did not bring it up, confess to it, apologize for it until he was caught. It is possible for me to understand the feeling of betrayal that members of the black community now feel for this guy.

They thought he was truly on the side of racial and social justice, and they thought they were electing someone who would fight for the rights of all people in VA, and for an even playing field, voter rights and all the rest. Then...this came out.

I guess for me it would be like being married to someone, loving them, then finding out that in their younger days they did something horrible that is profoundly offensive. Will it ever be the same? No. Can it be saved? A marriage, maybe. But years to build back that trust. For a governor? Maybe not.

I just asked a question on another thread about why so many on here dislike Tulsi Gabbard so much, and maybe I'm seeing that, too.

You know, when I was a kid, I naively believed that we were the good guys - that was before I really thought about our genocide against Native Americans and our enslavement and subsequent entrenched racism. Our foreign policy - the 'dirty war.' Vietnam. We lost our fucking heroes, Mineral. We did.

But, that is no excuse not to TRY to actually BE the good people now. No excuse not to TRY and make this country a real light on the hill, where people can come and find social, economic and environmental justice and opportunity to get ahead with hard work.

So, yeah, we've got to come to terms with the bad in order to embrace the good without soiling everything we touch. And our people do need to follow a higher standard.

February 1, 2019

Cory Booker on the issues.

I like to research candidates, and have already made a post on Kamala Harris, whom I also like, and who is a strong candidate in her own right.

Now that Cory Booker has announced, here is my initial workup on him.

Background: Booker was born to parents active in the Civil Rights movement, went to Stanford and Yale Law School. He definitely has the brains for the job. If you read his bio at https://www.biography.com/people/cory-booker-20967497, you’ll see that Booker has some really good qualities. He doesn’t give up, he’s resourceful, and he has courage. By courage, I mean both physical AND political. He fixed the structural budget deficit in Newark with a property tax increase, and we’re going to have, at the very least, to reverse the giant fiscally irresponsible 2017 GOP tax cut for billionaires and corporations.

Also, as an economist, I really like someone who actually UNDERSTANDS a structural budget. That’s a really good thing that we did not enjoy under Republican leadership.

He’s fine on abortion, gun control, crime and the environment. After reading his quotes, I’m convinced he would be a strong advocate for social and environmental justice. Especially encouraging is his belief the US needs to be a leader in mitigating climate change. Recently he’s come out in favor of a Green New Deal, which I believe is an absolute MUST for any successful Democratic presidential candidate.

On foreign policy, Booker is smart enough to come up to speed quickly, and his quotes seem to present a sane approach – a balance between not keeping our heads in the sand, but not always feeling we need to be the global police officer.

As late as 2017, Booker is on record as saying, “Ok to consider single-payer, but I'm not behind it.” However, he is a strong supporter of fixing Obamacare, and certainly fixing the GOP sabotage would make the ACA nearly universal. This might not be enough in today’s Democratic party, though. Speaking for myself only, I want Medicare for all Americans because I believe in taking the profit motive out of healthcare because it conflicts with the interests of patients.

Nothing really new here. There is a bit of concern that he might be ‘too corporate’ or perhaps ‘too Wall Street.’ I wonder how he feels about Elizabeth Warren’s Accountable Capitalism Act, which would change the face of capitalism by expanding fiduciary responsibility beyond shareholder earnings to include the welfare of workers, consumers and the environment. This would solve a huge number of problems. Of course, Wall Street greed-lizards are saying it will (gasp!) RUIN capitalism, but here’s a nice Forbes editorial about how it would actually help this country get stronger and rebuild its middle class: https://www.forbes.com/sites/rhockett/2018/08/21/senator-warrens-ben-franklin-capitalism/#7aed66ff66cf

Open Secrets shows that Booker’s fundraising is good. He does spend his money, and has less on hand than Harris, whom I reported on earlier. That 12% of his donations are from small individual donors is a bit low, and again, may open him to criticism about being excessively beholden to Wall Street. https://www.opensecrets.org/members-of-congress/summary?cid=N00035267&cycle=2018

Still, Booker has said he won’t take corporate PAC money, which is a bit meaningless because PACs can only donate a max of $5K to an individual candidate. The game is the game, though, and PACS do buy advertising as they wish, and support whomever they wish. It is unwise to punish any candidate for capitalizing on Citizens United to the degree they can.

In balance, I like Booker. I believe he’d be a very strong candidate, a good president and is a decent human being that we can all admire. I especially liked that he released documents during the Kavanaugh hearings. That took guts and moral conviction.

My conclusion is that Cory Booker is a very solid candidate that could well win the general election. If he is our nominee we could be proud as a party to support him. The same, of course, can be said for Harris. They are both good candidates.

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About PatrickforB

Counselor, economist and public servant.
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