My Ideal Candidate

This just in:  Election season is officially here.  There is probably no single candidate that agrees with me on everything.  However, I thought I would put down those campaign issues that get my support…in order of priority.

Get money out of politics.  This is the root cause of nearly every problem in D.C.  Politicians are spending half their time raising money and, in the end, vote in accordance with what their largest donors want.  Jon Stewart, yesterday, said that politics is no longer about governing; its about getting re-elected.  I agree.

Education.  We are not even in the top 15 when looking at global achievement in all areas of basic education.  We have a system designed in the early 1900’s that was intended to crank out people that would work within the framework of the industrial revolution.  Now we are in the digital age.  We’ve been here for some time.  We need to innovate.  We need to look at countries that are doing it right and learn what we should do.  We need to make education available and affordable to everyone.  We need a system that allows our citizens to achieve the highest level to which they aspire.  We don’t need to do this because we are benevolent.  We need to do this so we can remain on the top of the hill.

Healthcare.  If you tell me we can’t get this done, you don’t get my vote.  Obamacare was a baby step but it was better than nothing.  Universal healthcare works.  My view is that we not only provide healthcare, but we fund research.  So long as companies can maximize their profits by “treating” rather than “curing”, that is what they will do.

Income Inequality.  There is an abundance of evidence that says “The greater the inequality, the greater the social strife.”  I don’t begrudge anyone’s ability to make a ton of money.  I don’t want “their” money because of some Atlas Shrugged plot line.  We need to redistribute income because it makes us a stronger country overall.  We need high speed transportation.  We need education.  We need healthcare.  We need innovation.  We need so much.  Instead, we funnel money to they very rich in hopes that they will maybe create a new job; perhaps we can mow their lawn.

Taxation.  We need to have a progressive tax system that funds our national needs.  Cutting taxes does not create long-term growth and raising taxes will not create long-term stagnation.  Trickle-down economics is a scam created by those that would take advantage of the intellectually lazy.  The rich need to pay much, much more.  Stuff is not free.

Civil Rights.  We should treat all people equally.  I don’t care about your religion.  I don’t care about the color of your skin.  I don’t care about your social status.  I don’t care about where you came from.  I don’t care about your level of education. I don’t care about your sexual orientation.  I care about the content of your character.  That’s it.

Climate Change.  This appears to be real.  I’m not a scientist so I rely on scientists to tell me what’s going on.  They are saying, “This is real.  This is man-made and this is a problem that is getting worse.”  We can not only address this, but we can do it in ways that are extremely economically beneficial.  Fighting climate change is not a burden; it’s an opportunity.

Then there are a ton of other issues: Corruption in politics.  Immigration.  Gun Control.  Worker benefits and minimum wage. Abortion/Choice.  The truth. The military.  International relations.   These are all important.

So, if you find a candidate that fits all of these, point them out.  Those are the people that I want to follow.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

 

 

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My Progressive Rationale

This just in:  I want to spend some time on today’s blog talking about why I “lean left”.  But first…I’d like to tip my hat to Anthony Bourdain.  He tragically took his own life yesterday.  Those of us left behind get to miss him.   As for Anthony…he is truly off on the final trip to Parts Unknown.

So, why am I a Progressive?  Why do I use that term instead of “Liberal” or “Democrat”?

To me, “Progressive” describes someone that recognizes the world is in constant flux, always moving forward, not backward.  Success belongs to those that prepare for what is coming rather than hugging on to that which is past.

“Liberal” makes me turn away.  It sounds like a person that wants to give stuff away for free because it makes them feel good for some reason.

“Democrat” means “Not Republican” so I could live with that one.

I’d like to list a few items and tell you why I support them.

  1. I support DACA and a path forwards for citizenship.  I support this because these people are an integral part of our society.  They are doctors and farm laborers.  They pay their taxes and, as they stay in the United States, the look for ways to make things better for their families.  In short, they contribute more to our economy and society than they take away from it.
  2. I support Gun Control.  Keep in mind, this is not “taking away guns.”  People blame porn, lack of a God, energy drinks, mental illness and solar flares on the 35,000 gun deaths we experience every year.  I think that is all nonsense.  Why?  Because every other country that experiences all of those things, does not kill itself with guns at anything near the rate we do.  Guns guns the only difference.  (see tab above for ideas about Gun Control)
  3. I support higher taxes on the wealthy.  Yes, this is a redistribution of wealth…but so was the latest tax cut which redistributed billions from the poor and middle class to the wealthy.  This has nothing to do with envy or whatever the Atlas Shrugged people want to call it.  When we have income inequality, the overall economy of our country suffers.  Watch this TED talk about income inequality.  Our overall quality of life, economy and position of power internationally all improve when this inequality is less.
  4. I support universal health care.  There is only one reason for this – it works far better than our current system in 100% of the countries that use it….and all industrialized countries besides the United States use it.  We pay more and have poorer outcomes because…politics.
  5. I support efforts to combat climate change.  There is only one reason for this – 98% of all scientists and our military claim that climate change is real and is the greatest threat to our national security.
  6. I support any program that makes sure children don’t go hungry.  I do this because each child represents two potentials: (1) someone that drops out of school and becomes a burden to society and (2) someone that grows up, has a family and contributes to society.  I believe a child with a full stomach is nudged towards the more positive of these two potentialities.
  7. I support free education to whatever level you would like to attain.  There is only one reason for this: We need educated people if we are to compete with the rest of the world.  Short of making education free, we are only allowing the rich to attain it.  Who is to say that the children of the top 1% have more potential than the other 99%.
  8. I support higher taxes that give a positive return on investment.  We can spend $10 billion on tanks and get nothing in return.  Or, we can spend $10 billion on high-speed transportation which enables people to live outside the overprices housing markets in cities and still work in those cities.  Money on universal healthcare and education is money that gives us a greater value in return than that of the tax dollars we invested.
  9. I support getting out of the conflicts in the Middle East.   We started going there for oil.  We stayed there because we wanted to have influence and military bases.  Today, we can conduct a war anywhere without actually having a base nearby.  History books will have a hard time explaining why we are sending our kids to die in “over there” and why we are spending trillions of dollars to do so.
  10. I support legalized abortion.  Why?  Because making it illegal only drives abortions into the alleys.  It does nothing to reduce abortions.  I support Planned Parenthood because it is the single biggest contributor to stopping unwanted pregnancies, and thus abortions.
  11. I support government regulation.  Not all regulations but those that protect the population and the environment.  Why?  I want to be able to eat grapes that don’t kill me.  I want us to be in the game for the long run which means realizing that Earth is a finite resource that needs to be managed or lost.
  12. I support a Constitutional Amendment that overturns Citizens United.  Ever since that ruling, our government has become increasingly more corrupt.  It’s not so much the money grabbing that’s bad.  It’s the bad policy that comes from the money grabbing that it pulling us down.

Notice that none of these say, “I am a good person” or “God told me this”.  I’m just going with the facts.  When the data says universal healthcare works, I believe it.  When Hannity says it doesn’t…I know he is lying.

The crux of the matter is being informed.  If you think guns are not the problem, then you and I don’t differ on philosophy, we differ on degrees of information.

So there you have it.  Am I a liberal?  I don’t think so but you can call me that if it works for you.

I’m a progressive.  I want policies that make us stronger overall.  I want policies that use data to drive decisions.

And…I want to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

 

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How would you spend your taxes?

This just in:  On 60 minutes a couple of weeks ago, there was a segment about a program at MIT where students invented stuff.  Combine this with stories we often hear about soldiers that come back from the Middle East, traumatized, and with no idea of why they were sent there in the first place.

This made me think, “If I were King, how would I spend my tax dollars.”

I thought I would offer up a few choices.

Let’s start with…

  1. Which would you rather do: (1) Pay no taxes and have only toll roads and private schools  or (2) Pay taxes to finance things that promote the public good?
  2. Which would you rather spend tax money on: (1) sending soldiers to Syria or (2) doubling the budget for NASA?
  3. Which would you rather spend tax money on: (1) sending soldiers to Afghanistan or (2) high speed transportation between cities and population hubs?
  4. Which would you rather spend tax money on: (1) Subsidizing the oil industry or (2) financing research into finding cures for things like Alzheimer’s or cancer?
  5. Which would you rather spend tax money on: (1) A military that is larger than the next 10 militaries put together (many of whom are allies) or (2) State of the art education that is available to all Americans, not just the wealthy?
  6. Which would you rather spend your tax money on: (1) Building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico that can be defeated by a $20 ladder or (2) Universal healthcare that makes sure no one ever goes without healthcare and no one ever declares bankruptcy because of their medical bills?
  7. Which would you rather do: (1) Spend money on tanks and foot soldiers suitable for warfare as it existed 50 years ago but has no relevance to today or (2) Revitalize inner cities with the goal of every American being able to live free of fear with equal opportunity to the benefits of being an American (healthcare, education, freedom etc.)

And now one final one for my Republican readers (if there are any)…

Which would you prefer:  (1) a food program that makes sure no child in our country ever goes hungry of (2) allowing millions of children to go hungry because less than 1% of those on such a program are lazy?

There you have it.

Now…I have to run off and save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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Besides Guns and Trump

This just in:  I don’t know about you but there are certain things I have come to accept as normal.   Mass shootings followed by “hopes and prayers” followed by increased gun sales is normal.  Trump doing the exact opposite of what is the right thing to do in EVERY situation is normal.  Republican’s hiding Trump’s Russian affiliations is normal.  Fox News blathering absolute nonsense that is gobbled up by a large portion of our population is normal.

It’s become normal to me because I watch a lot of news and this is all I see.

Today I found myself wondering, “What would I like to see on the news?”

This gives rise to the question, “Is news supposed to be informational, educational or merely entertaining?”

I suppose a little of all three.

Here would be my programming:

  • A segment on conflicts around the world.  Who is fighting who and why.
  • Something about entertainment
  • A segment on advances in medicine.
  • A segment on advances in technology.
  • A good news story with maybe a puppy
  • A segment that compares the current rating of the top 25 countries in the following categories:
  1. Math scores
  2. Science scores
  3. Cost of health care
  4. Quality of life
  5. Quality of the Democracy
  6. Work-Life balance
  7. Military spending
  8. Crime
  9. Economic growth
  • I would sprinkle in some sports.
  • There would be an international segment about places like Africa or Asia that covered things we don’t normally hear about.
  • There would be a segment where political actions and statements are evaluated based on effectiveness and truth by an neutral third party like IBM’s Wilson.
  • There would be section on national social issues like poverty, equality, racism, jobs, wages etc.

That all sounds like a good start.

I think its high time the people of the United States realize that we are quickly falling behind the rest of the world in nearly every category except military spending and gun deaths.

A good dose of reality television that showed the truth of our ongoing fall from the top of the heap may be what we need to make us take action to reverse this trend.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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