Thursday, August 31, 2017

So much for Mexico paying for the wall. Instead of cutting FEMA to pay for the wall, how about fining the price gougers taking advantage of the victims of Hurricane Harvey

Over the last ten years, our country has been hit by three major hurricanes: Katrina, Sandy, and now Harvey. The last thing the Presidents people should be doing is cutting the FEMA budget in order to help pay for the southern border wall. Who should pay for it is the price gougers who are victimizing the desperate through higher gas and water prices in the areas hit hardest by the recent hurricane. A message should be sent to these vermin that their attempts to make a quick buck by feeding on people who have been temporarily knocked down. They should be prosecuted, imprisoned, and fined with the proceeds going to the wall while FEMA resources should go to helping people overcome the tragedies they are a part of. And if you want to take the fines from these individuals and use it to help the people affected by the hurricane, just cut back on one or two fighter jets at the Defense Department. That should be enough to build a southern and northern border wall.

Time to Educate the Trump Voters with Flash Cards and inject them with reality.

Will Progressives and Democrats be able to persuade Trump supporters that they were all wrong in supporting the President last November? In a word, no. We can, however, try to educate them and inject some reality into their lives. The three video clips below illustrate the task and hope ahead. The first link shows how some Trump supporters think Obama was President during Hurricane Katrina. The second shows how some think Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are two different health care acts. We should not give up on attempting to give the right information to these people. Will it change all minds? No, it will not.  But at least our people will be better informed by the time they go to the polls next. The hope in that lies in the third video link where college students react they way we all should when viewing a production made in 1947 where the speaker advocates a "Trump" like American Whites First Agenda. The hope was expressed in the student's reactions. Not one of the students supported the views expressed in the video. We should remember that most of the population in this country is more like those students than the people expressing views in the first two links.

Recommended Reading from Tom Friedman from one year ago and how it could affect bipartisan legislation to stabilize the health insurance markets.

Politics has become increasingly partisan and tribal these last 30 years. Compromise is a dirty word. Working Across the aisle is scorned. It is okay to put up with transgressions from members on your team because they are on your team while manufacturing fake accusations (where is your birth certificate Mr. President) is permissible in the political game of gotcha.

The editorial link below from New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is both reflective and prophetic as the fever starting in the later stages of the Reagan years has increased to the point where Friedman asserts that we have become like the immovable Ultra "Shitties and Sunnis" waging a virtual Moslem Civil War in the Middle East.

We need to break the fever. Where we can begin is to act on a bipartisan plan by some of our nation's governors on how to stabilize the Affordable Care Act. It is pragmatic, makes sense, and touches on ideas both parties have mentioned over the last couple of years. Senators Alexander and Murray can easily take their ideas and build bipartisan legislation in the Senate and get it through the House despite the Freedom Caucus. It is time for the grown ups to put their foots down and break the fever. Let's hope they can rise to the occassion.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Joe Heller

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Dave Granlund

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Rob Rogers

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Jack Ohman

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Jimmy Marguiles

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of David Fitzsimmons

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Sack

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

It is time for a Progressive Pro Growth Tax Plan not a repeat of Voodoo Economics

If you ask the average American citizen whether the United States had better economic and job growth when taxes were lower or higher, most would say the former. However, as history has pointed out, the best economic and job expansion of the United States occurred when the top tax rate was well over 70 percent. That the United States was the only major power untouched by World War Two was also a factor as the rest of the industrialized world was in shambles. However, in recent history, Republican attempts at what we call today "trickle down" economics (Reaganomics for fans, Voodoo Economics for detractors) has led to the false premise that the economy flourishes when taxes are cut, especially for the top. While there was a Reagan expansion in the 1980s, tax cuts played little part. What really helped the economic uptown in this period was the proliferation of credit card access, a drop in gas prices and a willingness among both political parties to run up the national debt. When George W. Bush attempted the same policies with two tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, the economy and job front remained largely static and a great recession occurred because of flawed policies enacted in the Clinton and Bush II administrations. The largest recent long term job growth periods occurred after major tax increases were enacted. The first occurred at the end of the Bush I administration. This was reinforced by the Clinton economic plan in 1993. The largest economic and jobs expansion in recent United States History occurred then. In 2013, the Obama Administration and Congress allowed the top income tax rates to rise again. Job Growth accelerated after that as well.

So when you hear the Trump Administration and its allies in the political and economic sector boast that their tax cut plans (which will probably largely benefit corporations and the wealthy)  will stimulate economic and job growth, research the history of when such promises were made in the past and come to an informed decision.

What does country needs is progressive pro growth tax policies that expand the middle class and moves our nation forward. Some of these policies, as mentioned in previous posts would include.

For Individuals and Families
* Expansion of the Child Tax Credit
* Expansion of Charitable Contributions
* Expansion of College Tuition Tax Credits for students that devote two years of national service (along with separate increases in Pell Grants and National Apprenticeship Programs )
* Expansion of Allowable Deductible Medical Expenses
* Expansion of Allowable Work Travel Deductions
* Expansion of Green Energy Purchases for both the home and motor vehicles
* Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (along with increases in the minimum wage to a living wage)

For Businesses and Corporations (small and medium)
* Expansion of Tax Credits for Research and Development
* Expansion of Tax Credits for Environmental Infrastructure Upgrades
* Expansion of Tax Credits for Hiring and Business Expansion

Now there should also be tax increases as well that are largely targeted at the wealthiest. These include:

* An increase in the gas tax that would go towards our nations transportation infrastructure and its maintenance.
* An increase in the maximum payroll amount towards social security contributions.
* An increase in the individual sales tax on purchases of $500.00 or more.
* A national lottery whose proceeds would be allocated with half the proceeds going to reduce our national debt and the other half towards rebuilding our traditional and charter public schools.

This is a Progressive Pro Growth Tax Plan that expands the middle class, stabilizes social security, and provides for our transportation and educational infrastructure. These policies would work. How do we know. Because smaller versions of these policies have demonstrated their effectiveness before.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Mike Luckovich

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Nate Beeler

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of David Horsey

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Dana Summers

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Joe Heller

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Call to Action courtesy of Desert Progressives

Please Join Us Monday, Sept 4, at 7 pm
Shadow Rock Church,12861 N 8th Avenue, Phoenix
For a CASE Meeting on: How to Change Our Nation’s Immigration Policy and Change the Direction of this Country

We expect that like us, you have a bundle of mixed emotions about the outcome of Tuesday’s protest outside the convention center: everything from a great sense of solidarity and pride in the people of our city for standing up to the hate fostered by our president – to perhaps also a lot of anger and outrage about how the night ended. We await the result of investigations.

However, we are feeling even more sad, angry, and appalled at the deportation of our friend Ismael. So, yes, we want to work for peaceful dialogue – and YES, we also need to take action!  Mickey and I want to channel our energy into doing something constructive to change this horrible immigration system.

We recently found a powerful group to work with, and we really hope you’ll join us because it’s going to take all of us to make this change happen.  There’s a group called CASE (Central Arizonans for a Sustainable Economy) and before the last election, they organized hundreds of young people who went out and registered over 40,000 new voters to push Arpaio out of office.

In preparation for the next election, as CASE has been surveying infrequent voters, one of their big finds is that there’s a huge number of infrequent white voters, (not just minority voters) who name immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship as their top issue. They intend to mobilize these people AND register 200,00 more like-minded Arizona voters before the 2018 election, get them to the polls, and elect people who will fix this terrible immigration system. We can sit by and be sad and appalled, or we can stand up and do something – and begin doing it NOW.

We believe that CASE knows how to do this, and we believe that by joining with them and others, we can help provide the will and determination to change the course of this country as well as our horrible, broken immigration system.

Mickey and I have asked two powerful young women from CASE, Murphy Bannerman, and Rep Athena Salman, to come speak to us about how we can do this together.
It’s so important.
Please join us on Monday, Sept 4 (Labor Day) at 7 pm to hear from them.
(Murphy and Athena will also be sharing information about another meeting on Saturday, Sept 9 (I think from 10 am-5 pm) to gather a huge group from many areas to get inspired, trained, and then go out canvassing together that day.  So, you might want to pencil that onto your calendar, too. Stay tuned for location info.)

Judy & Mickey
If you have questions, please call:                      
  602) 769-5149                   (602) 318-5236
Judy Schwiebert       or      Mickey Tucker

Must read article on the history of empires in Afghanistan

Below is a must read article on how major powers have fared while occupying and/or playing a pivotal role in shaping Afghanistan. The United States is entering its 16th year in Afghanistan. It should learn from its past involvement in that country as well as the experiences of other major powers and devise a strategy that stabilizes the country and eventually minimizes the need for our presence in a safe way that leaves the nation in a position where it would not go back to an arrested culture.

Wisconsin goes to the Supreme Court to protect its gerrymandering ways.

A very interesting article partially on the new Supreme Court Year fast approaching in a little over a month as it considers the gerrymandering congressional map of the state of Wisconsin. This case and how future attempts at congressional districting will be shaped will be determined by likely Anthony Kennedy, the current swing vote on the court. When this case comes to the court, it may be revealing to hear Justice Kennedy's oral comments. Sometimes they tell analysts where the justice's vote is headed. While not full proof, it has served as a clear indicator in the past. Let's hope Justice Kennedy sides with democracy in this case.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Gary Varvel

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Marshall Ramsey

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Andy Marlette

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Matt Wuerker

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Patrick Chappatte

Monday, August 28, 2017

Call to Action courtesy of VOX on how to help the people who have suffered from Hurricane Harvey: Please click on the link below.

The Story of how People in their might can overcome the power of money: Bringing the Arizona Voucher Program to the people to vote on.

Excellent article from the Bill Moyers web site that documents how grass roots organizations like Save our Schools, Desert Progressives, and others along with individuals overcame the big money push that made getting petitions to put propositions on the ballot more difficult and how they banded together to put Arizona's School Voucher Program on the fast track to a vote on it by the people. MUST READ on how the people, when they put their minds together, can show the oligarchs what democracy is all about.

Repeat Video on the Value of a National Apprenticeship Program

We have shared this video before but as schools are opening across the country, this is a reminder about the importance of setting up apprenticeship programs, patterned in part on the German model, for our high school and college students so they can real world experience in the careers they would like to pursue.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Andy Marlette

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Dana Summers

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Gary Varvel

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Chris Britt

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Stephen Benson

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of David Horsey

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Former Vice President Biden is right: This is a fight for the soul of the United States

Former Vice President Biden is right in the article link below. We are in a fight for the soul of our nation. This is not about Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative, Progressive or Reactionary. This is a fight about decency, respect for all, equality,  color blindness, fairness, and a shared belief that all lives matter. The President, with his reaction to Charlottesville, his repeating of Alt Right and Reactionary Talking Points, his official banning of transgenders in the military and his pardon of Joe Arpaio for ignoring a judges order telling him not to racially profile Latinos appears to show what side he is on. We who believe that this is a country for people of all races, creeds,  sexual orientations, and religions need to stand together and oppose this reactionary wave shared by the most loathsome of our people and never give up or sacrifice our beliefs.

Children should not suffer for the acts of their families: DACA should stay.

Do people who come to the United States illegally be allowed to stay. Of course not. They should either leave or pay a special tax to stay while they apply for green card status and their registration fee should cost more than people who came legally and they should be placed last in line. Now should the children (either illegal immigrants themselves or ones born as United States citizens) of these people suffer for their parent's acts? Absolutely not. We are a compassionate nation and children should not be separated from their families nor ostracized in their communities. It is Un American and more importantly, it is morally wrong.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Adam Zyglis

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Paresh Nath

Editorial Cartoons courtesy of Ed Hall

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Chip Bok

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Nick Anderson

We wish everyone well who was affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Why not a unity ticket?

When it came to drafting the articles concerning the election of our President and Vice President in our Constitution, the framers envisioned a unity ticket with the first place winner becoming the President and the second place person would become the Vice President. Suffice it to say, that idea went to crap after the Washington and Adams Administration with second place winner Thomas Jefferson not doing his part to unite the country after John Adams won in 1796 and with the tie with the first election between political parties in 1800 which resulted in a tie between Thomas Jefferson and his own Vice Presidential pick Aaron Burr which led to open friction between the two (not to mention an attempt by the then Vice President to set up his own country in the western territories which resulted in his arrest, trial, and acquittal). After those two elections, the Constitution was amended to the system of electing Presidents that we have today. Although specialists in alternate histories drool over what might have been with scenarios like Richard Nixon being John Kennedy's Vice President and Al Gore being George W. Bushes, the idea of unity tickets has not really gained steam. In 1968, Hubert Humphrey did approach Nelson Rockefeller about being his vice president but Rockefeller did not want to leave the Republican Party. In 2008, the extreme right stopped John McCain's desire to make 2000 Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Liberman his vice presidential candidate.  There was even a movie with Jack Lemmon and James Garner called "My Fellow Americans" where two former political rivals (and ex President) find out they have more in common than they realize and form a unity ticket. Today, there is some talk of Ohio Governor John Kasich forming a unity ticket with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. While this seems to be talk, the idea of a unity ticket is appealing with pragmatic centrists whose moderate middle of the road programs would gain the support of the Center Left and Center Right of the political spectrum. With the extremes of both parties on overload, a unity ticket with mature individuals that have a history of making executive decisions and compromises at the state level may be what this country needs.

Two Down and One More to Go

With the welcome ejection of resident white nationalists Stephen Bannon and Sebastian Gorka from the White House, all that is left is to throw out the remaining prominent creature of the alt right, Stephen Miller and all of the other remaining influential figures of that movement that still exert say in our government. Keep up the good work General Kelly.

Editorial Video with Robert Reich showing how Seven Republican talking points on economics are misinformed along with a Center on American Progress fact sheet on why Republican tax proposals are not stimulative as well.

Comedy Video courtesy of Weekend Update

Very funny video link depicting Alec Baldwin parodying President Trump at his Phoenix Rally last Thursday.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Pat Bagley

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Mike Luckovich

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Kevin Kallaugher

Friday, August 25, 2017

Progressive Idea of the Week: Do not promote a culture of Inequality of Fairness by pardoning people that do not deserve it.

A person who commits a  non violent criminal act and redeems him or herself through good samaritan acts may deserve a pardon.

A person wrongly convicted of a crime definitely deserves a pardon.

A person who is elderly, ill, and has served a part of a sentence may deserve a pardon.

Where does Sheriff Joe Arpaio fit among these three scenarios. He does not. He was recently convicted of disobeying a judges order and President Trump (who Arpaio supported in the last election and who was a fellow birther against President Obama) pardoned him before he was sentenced. He may have been fined, imprisoned for up to a year, or both.

To some extent this is similar to Ford's pardon of Nixon and Bushes pardoning of the Iran Contra figures. If you are connected, your chances of getting favorable treatment are enhanced. This sends the wrong signal to our citizens and it is an inequality of fairness. The former Sheriff (he was defeated for reelection at the age of 85 last November) knowingly broke the law. While most people (including this writer) think a year in jail may be too much for an 85 year old, a conviction and a fine on the person's record is not. People need to know that justice is blind.

Book of the Week is actually Two DVD Series of the Week

This week, I would like to recommend two DVD Series that captures the part of the historical origins of the world we have today.

The first is the DVD series on World War One based on the Hew Strachan work "The First World War." It is a truly global accounting of how the war started, the course it ran, and the implications for the world 100 years later.

The second DVD series is CNN's "Cold War" masterly narrated by Kenneth Branagh and executive produced by Jeremy Issacs who also produced a series on World War Two ("The World at War") narrated by Laurence Oliver.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of David Horsey

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of JD Crowe

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Dana Summers

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Stephen Benson

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Patrick Chappatte

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Some good news on Voter ID, Health Care,Infrastructure, Progressive Politics along with some concerns

There is some more good news for the country as a Federal Judge struck down a restrictive Texas Voter ID Law. Along with recent victories in states on voting rights and gerrymandering in earlier court rulings, the pendulum appears to be swinging back to participatory democracy. Furthermore, in the arena of healthcare, there are now no counties that will not have at least one insurance provider. While stabilization needs to continue, it is good that all of our citizens will have health care options.

There are also some concerns for the country as well. With Donald Trump in the White House, there may be a worry that Republican Governors may ask for waivers that turn the clock back on Obamacare. That is something to watch and may be a good campaign issue for Democrats in 2018. There are also some concerns about the idea (posted in yesterdays blog entries) about Senator Schatz's Medicaid buy in proposal. These concerns range from tinkering a little to it won't work. It is still an idea worth pursuing. Experts are also concerned about the President's infrastructure plans and whether it will strike the right balance between private and public partnerships. Finally, Will Marshall, formerly of the Democratic Leadership Council has (as previous blog posts have reported) has helped form a new organization for moderate-pragmatic Democrats called New Democracy ( that focuses on finding progressive mainstream Democrats that can win anywhere in the country and are good matches for their districts, towns, cities, and states. While this is smart and wise, it still leaves the Progressives and Democrats with the issue of bonding together on a common progressive program that they can forge ahead with on a national message. It is a necessity in order to become a sustained majority forward looking progressive force. Just being against Trump will not be enough. The nation needs to see what we will be fighting for.

Must Watch Video Links comparing President Trump's Talking Points to White Supremacists, Nazis, and Fox News

Some very interesting links on how Trump Talking Points Mirror those of White Supremacists, Nazis,  and Fox News in his own version of identity politics by dredging up white anger against the other. These are must watch and reads.

Editorial Posters courtesy of Blue Dog Democrats

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Adam Zyglis

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Kevin Sier

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Michael DeAdder

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of David Fitzsimmons

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Marshall Ramsey

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Lisa Benson

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Good and Bad News on the Environment

There is some good news and not so good news on the Environment.

1) An appeals court rejected a proposed pipeline in the southeastern part of the country because it did not pay attention to the environmental reports that advised hazards with creating the plant. That is good news.

2) The E.P.A. under E.P.A. anti environment Tsar Scott Pruitt is developing policies in secret and with a "kitchen cabinet" of like minded individuals from the political and energy sector. That is bad news,

3) The President is considering recommendations to shrink or eliminate 21 National Monuments so these parks can be pillaged for their resources. More bad news.

4) The Permafrost in Alaska is starting to show signs of Thawing. REALLY BAD NEWS.

This is not some science fiction movie. This is reality and we need to continue to pay heed and fight wrong headed policies that make our world more dangerous for all life.

Editorial Video courtesy of ATTN: Treating our Teachers Like Rock Stars

Editorial Video courtesy of ABNC News: Red States: Who are the real takers?

Editorial Video courtesy of ATTN on the necessity of everyone needing a Living Wage and what Progressives should remember when campaigning

There are two very interesting links below in reference to the necessity of combatting various forms of inequality. Some may feel income inequality is not an issue Democrats should campaign on and instead emphasize opportunity and growth inequality. Like the question on which voters Progressives and Democrats should appeal to. The answer is they should strive to attract everyone and they should address all aspects of inequality and that includes income, opportunity, and growth. Strategies to combat inequality and appeal to everyone should include programs like health care for all, free college tuition, national apprenticeships, living wages with regional minimum wages tied to inflation, an increase in tax incentives ranging from the earned income tax credit to research to the child one. As Bill Clinton said at his inaugural, "there is nothing that is wrong with America that can't be fixed with what is right with America." Democrats and Progressives should realize that.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Sydney Morning Herald

Editorial Cartoons of the Week courtesy of AZ Blue Meanie at Blog for Arizona