Hillary Hate and How to Cure It – DINO Woman


According to some, Hillary Clinton is nothing but a DINO. Now while that could mean she’s a t-rex, what it actually means it that they think she’s a Democrat in Name Only.

Tyrannosaurus rex

fig 1. – Not Hillary Clinton

What does this mean in practical terms? It means that the people who are calling her that are convinced that she’s not a true Democrat. They think she’s basically a Republican who claims to be a Democrat because reasons.

This should be a fairly easy thing to prove when you think about it. All you have to do is look at a mix of Hillary’s voting record in the Senate and her promises on the campaign. Plus you can add in what she did before she got elected to the Senate. When you add up all these things, you find someone who isn’t a DINO, but is, rather, a pragmatic left-leaning Democrat.

BEFORE THE SENATE

The first most of us knew about Hillary’s politics was when she came along in 1994 to push for single-payer health care. Yes, let me remind those of you who have forgotten, or who weren’t alive at the time, that Hillary was a big proponent of single-payer health care reform. This was, of course, blocked by Republicans, and no small number of Democrats, and that was the end of that until the ACA came along. Even that isn’t single-payer, but it’s a start.

Before that, Hillary…well, let’s take a look at this list of accomplishments published by the Daily Kos. I’ll cut off the parts that happened after she joined the Senate.

•First ever student commencement speaker at Wellesley College.
•President of the Wellesley Young Republicans
•Intern at the House Republican Conference
•Distinguished graduate of Yale Law School
•Editorial board of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action
•Appointed to Senator Walter Mondale’s Subcommittee on Migratory Labor.
•Co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
•Staff attorney for Children’s Defense Fund
•Faculty member in the School of Law at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
•Former Director of the Arkansas Legal Aid Clinic.
•First female chair of the Legal Services Corporation
•First female partner at Rose Law Firm.
•Former civil litigation attorney.
•Former Law Professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law.
•twice listed by The National Law Journal as one of the hundred most influential lawyers in America
•Former First Lady of Arkansas.
•Arkansas Woman of the Year in 1983
•Chair of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession
•twice named by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America
•created Arkansas’s Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youth
•led a task force that reformed Arkansas’s education system
•Board of directors of Wal-Mart and several other corporations
•Instrumental in passage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program
•Promoted nationwide immunization against childhood illnesses
•Successfully sought to increase research funding for prostate cancer and childhood asthma at the National Institutes of Health
•Worked to investigate reports of an illness that affected veterans of the Gulf War (now recognized as Gulf War Syndrome)
•Helped create the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice
•Initiated and shepherded the Adoption and Safe Families Act
•First FLOTUS in US History to hold a postgraduate degree
•Traveled to 79 countries during time as FLOTUS
•Helped create Vital Voices, an international initiative to promote the participation of women in the political processes of their countries.

Ok, yes, the Young Republican stuff is awkward, but a: Republicans were a different breed back then (bear in mind it was a Republican who created the EPA), and b: we all have our experimental phase in college. And I could do without her being on the board of Wal-Mart.

Otherwise, what I see here is someone who, again, has stood up for liberal causes, defended the rights of women and children, and has a great educational background. All of this points to someone who has been generally liberal and, at her worst, a left-leaning centrist.

None of this is the behavior of a DINO.

But, hey, let’s take a look at what she did once she was actually in a position of power.

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How to Regain My Respect


Bernie Sanders is doing it right now. He’s making a full-throated endorsement of Hillary Clinton, and talking about how much more important it is to elect her than it is to allow Trump to win. It’s a good speech, and I’m glad he’s making it.

And I really, really hope that the Bern Outs I know are paying close attention, and will vote for Hillary in November. I know it sounds like a cliche at this point, but it really is true that a vote for anyone else amounts to a vote for Trump.

About Last Night


Click to embiggen!

Last night Obama and Boehner gave dueling speeches. Obama’s was reasonably non-partisan, clear and measured, with smacks to both the right and left for not accepting reality. He did blame Republicans more than Democrats, but only because at this point they should be blamed more. Boehner, on the other hand, gave a highly-partisan speech wherein he whined some more and blamed everyone except the Republicans. Neither actually solved our problem with the debt ceiling, but I expect that will sort itself out no later than Monday.

For the record, mad Socialist though I am, I’m in favor of certain targeted cuts to Medicare and Social Security (ie: if you’re rich, you don’t need either). I’m also very much in favor of raising taxes on the wealthy and, FYI, if you pull in $250,000 and have a family of four, you’re rich, even if you live in Manhattan.

I’m also in favor of cutting back on the debt and deficit as much as possible, but this is not the time. This is the time to spend even more money to do things like repair our badly aging infrastructure, something I never hear the GOP wanting to do. But doing so will fix some massive problems we have and will also create jobs.

Except, oh, wait, according to the GOP government never creates jobs. Well, except presumably jobs for police, fire departments, schools, libraries, the military, Congress, the Senate, the Executive Branch, the Judicial branch, all those state and local government jobs, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, NASA, various jobs with defense contractors, various jobs with other contractors and all those other job that government doesn’t create. Indeed.

(chart lifted from here)

A Tale of Two Speeches


You better know who this guy is.

Today President Obama gave a speech about what’s needed to balance our budget and reduce the deficits. A while later the GOP offered a three person rebuttal. Here’s my thoughts on both.

First, Obama is absolutely right that the wealthy should pay more taxes. This is totally correct, and there’s no realistic way to balance the budget without this. Right now the rich are paying less in taxes than they have in decades. They keep getting richer while the poor get poorer. Asking them to contribute more in raw number and as a percentage to the country that allowed them to become rich is good economic sense, and it’s fair. I’d also go as far as to say it’s their patriotic duty.

Second, I’m pleased that he recognized efforts by both sides in the 1980’s and 1990’s. He mentioned teamwork between Reagan and O’Neil, Clinton and Gingrich. Reagan, the Republican party saint who seems second only to Jesus in their estimation did, by the way, raise taxes. He understood that you have to do that some times. The current GOP does not.

I also like that he mentioned that the tax cuts and the unfunded prescription drug plan were both very unwise. I would have also thrown in the fact that having two wars off the books which then turned up on the books and made things look even nastier was also unwise. Yes, Democrats supported the Medicare drug plan, but financially it seems to have been a mess.

Next up, defending the stimulus was wise, especially since, as the GOP likes to forget, part of it was done under Bush’s time in office. It’s also worth noting that the banks have paid us back for bailing them out, TARP seems to have made us money, and GM is back to functioning on its own again after being saved by government intervention.

Then I really liked this part. He mentioned that America has a massive love affair with deficit spending. We’re like anyone, really. We want all the wonderful benefits the government can provide, but we don’t want to pay for it. We therefore let Congress run free with deficit spending because the only other choice is to pay more in taxes. It’s a bad thing we need to stop doing.

I also loved this comments explaining that the part of the budget most people talk about cutting are in a part of the budget that’s only 12% of the total. He also called out the Rand plan for the fact that it basically ends Medicare and balances the budget on the backs of the poor without wanting to do anything in the way of raising taxes.

Obama also said that all spending areas were on the table. Well, except for those that help the middle class, the lower class, seniors and future investments. This appears to be just about everything, really. I mean one could argue that “future investments” are saved through a strong national defense, so we can’t cut defense spending. I’m pretty sure this isn’t what he meant, but I could see this causing some trouble down the line. He does mention specifically making undefined cuts to defense spending, but doesn’t get into any real specifics and you know the Republicans will trash this as being soft on defense.

The President also mentioned reducing the costs of health care by building on the previous reforms and offering incentives to patients and doctors, which is rather like what they do in Europe. I’m completely fine with that. I think everyone is entitled to heath care, and I think everyone has a responsibility to keep themselves as healthy as possible. I was very pleased that he made it clear that he wasn’t going to allow health care reform to be repealed.

Toward the end he drew a line in the sand on renewing the Bush era tax cuts. He’s kind of done that before, but seldom as firmly as he did here, and I really, really hope he follows through this time. We cannot as a nation afford to have these cuts continue. They are something like $700 billion, and I don’t know about you, but I can think of one or two things we can use that money for.

Speaking of taxes, he did mention some reforms to the tax code, including reforming corporate taxes and simplifying the tax forms and the like. I haven’t any real problem with this, as long as it doesn’t include companies like GE getting away with paying no taxes at all.

The last proposal was for a debt failsafe, which sounds interesting. I’d like to hear more about it. Basically what it would do is force Congress to make some changes to lower the deficit by 2014 or certain Bad Things would happen. Not very specific, but I think it does have some potential.

In the end, Obama’s speech was a hard sell both to the right and left on what needs to be done with the budget. I’m very, very far to the left, and it largely sold me. Did it sell anyone in the GOP? Fuck, no. As soon as he mentioned making the rich pay their fair share, you can be sure they went apeshit. How apeshit? Well, let’s see what they had to say.

Eric Cantor

First off, there were Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and some other guy whose name I didn’t get and won’t bother to look up. He spoke first, and immediately we saw a change of tone. Where Obama was speaking out to both sides, saying there was room in the middle for compromise, this first speaker made it very clear that there was no room. He slammed Obama’s speech as incitement to class warfare and said it was more of a speech about getting reelected (because as we all know the best way for a politician to get reelected is to propose raising taxes). He also made some really obnoxious remarks whining about spending half an hour getting “lectured” in the White House about the need for change and bitching that he could have just watched it all on TV. Well, I know someone who probably won’t need an invite in the future (and will of course complain when he doesn’t get one). Whomever this speaker was, he really was very obnoxious, and certainly laid down the case that the GOP will continue to not support any tax increases, even if they are just getting us back to where we were when the budget was, you know, balanced.

Cantor and Ryan spoke after him and basically made the exact same statements as far as taxes go. They also slammed the speech as being a reelection effort and one of them dragged in some comment about a “billion dollar” reelection bid. It’s true that it’s likely the next Presidential campaign season will cost over a billion dollars, but that’s on both sides, and it’s not certaiin yet.

I also rolled my eyes when they whined about taxing job creators. Hey, if these job creators are so great, why is there still almost 9% unemployment in this country? Taxes are lower than they’ve been in about 50 years, and still there’s not enough jobs to go around. Since it’s clear that no matter how low we make the taxes, it’s not likely to make a difference, why not raise them? Once we do that, I’m sure the “job creators” will be more inclined to open business as tax shelters, if nothing else.

Ryan himself at the end said that it was important that we make tough choices now in order to keep our children from making tougher ones in the future, and I entirely agree. The difference is that I think it’s better to make sure we have strong education, a good infrastructure, a healthy population and a strong safety net than it is to cut taxes.

Paul Ryan

So there you go. My take on the two speeches. I’m of course more inclined to support Obama on this, but I really must say that the contrast in tone between the two is very fascinating. Obama came out speaking to the nation as a whole and offering real solutions and real concessions. The Republicans were confrontational, made no effort to speak with anyone beyond their basis and offered no position for compromise, simply relying on their philosophy that all taxes are bad.

I think this shows the very real difference between the left and the right in this country. We’re willing to make compromises. We’re willing to, as Kennedy put it, not let the perfect stand in the way of the good. We’re willing to offer real solutions to real problems. The GOP? They bluster and shout and play to their base while having an innate paranoia of anything involving higher taxes. They instead want to build all their solutions on privatization, deregulation and screwing over the poor.

It’d be funny if it weren’t so sad.

At Last, the Dems Are Eating Their Fiber!


(because we have movement, see?)

Yes, at last the Democrats are growing a pair. Obama has finally told the GOP that, hey, you guys have had your chance to be involved in health care reform, we’ve taken some of your ideas on board, and now you’re not going to be able to stall any longer. Like sex with Kobe Bryant, you can scream and struggle all you want, but it’s gonna happen (gentle note to Bryant’s lawyers: it’s a quote from Family Guy! Fair use, fair use!).

It’s about damn time, too. I’m not happy with the current proposals in that they don’t go far enough, but it’s better than nothing. I’m also very annoyed that we’re going to have to wait several years for parts of the reforms to take effect.

But partial reform and delayed reform is better than nothing, and both are better than continuing with our current, highly failed system. We do not have the best health care in the world, despite what the Republicans have to say. In fact, according to a study by the World Health Organization that was done in 2000, we’ve got the 37th best. Also, we spend the most. The latter fact wouldn’t bother me if the former fact weren’t true.

So this is a case of half-measures, but half is better than none, and I’ll take what we can get now with hope of downloading patches to it later.

A Bit of Good, a Bit of Bad


So the great 2009 election chaos is over. Yes, for those who hadn’t noticed there were five important elections last night. These were governor’s races in New Jersey and Virginia, Question One in Maine, a Congressional race in NY 23, and Referendum 71 in Washington State.

Now the two governor’s races and the Congressional race were about local issues so it was, of course, all about Obama. Well, at least according to the MSM and the GOP. I noticed the GOP crowing long and loud last night about their crowning achievement in unseating two incumbent governors who just happened to be Democrats. This is, to them, proof that the GOP is back and on the rise and about to destroy the hated, unpopular Obama, etc.

Oddly I notice that they’re ignoring NY 23 where, at least in part due to the GOP turning on its own, the conservative candidate lost. Clearly that was a referendum on the GOP’s policies and, obviously, it means that the GOP is on the decline and the Democrats are about to destroy them, etc.

The lesson here is that all three of those elections were local elections about local issues and have no real national significance.

Meantime, a little bit of bad and a little bit of good for gay rights issues. The voters in Maine choose to outlaw gay marriage after their legislature and government passed it and this despite my personal plea for them not to be a state of dicks. I am very disappointed in you, Maine! I expected better than for you to prove that direct democracy is a bad idea.

Over in Washington state we see how wonderful direct democracy is as a gay rights bill there pass, showing public support for civil unions. Knowing what I know about Washington and how the courts have ruled, I’m guessing that within two years we’ll have a court ruling there saying that giving all the rights of marriage but calling it a “civil union” is discrimination illegal.

So five races. Two went the way I wanted. Three didn’t. I don’t view any of these as having any real national significance beyond, say, next week. By this time in 2010 we’ll have all forgotten about them.

A Fascinating Drawing


Courtesy of Andrew Sullivan, I found this picture:

Click to embiggen!

Click to embiggen!

Explanation here. I do think it does a better job of what people think Left and Right believe, but reality, as often, is complex.