Tag Archives: political parties

Democrats are now Republicans

 

By Dom Nozzi

March 3, 2017

Now that both the Republicans AND Democrats have been corrupted by big money lobbyists, it should come as no surprise that the Democrats are now sounding like Republicans during the Donald Trump era.donkey-elephantcelebratingtogether

For example…

It was just a short while ago that Dems hammered Repubs on warmongering and hating/fearing the Russians. It is now the Dems that lead the effort to beat the war drums and engage in McCarthyism. For instance, more than any other presidential candidate in 2016, Dem Hillary Clinton forcefully assured us that she was going to ramp up warfighting in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. It was Dem Obama who increased the number of wars the US was fighting in the Middle East from two to seven or eight.

In the past, Dems accurately criticized Repubs for taking enormous amounts of lobbyist (donor) money from major corporations. It is now the Dems who lead in taking money from Big Pharma, military contractors, and Wall Street. Indeed, Obama accepted more contributions from Wall Street than any Repub challenger when Obama ran for president.

Previously, Dems rightly attacked Repubs for ignoring the working class. Now it is the Repubs who at least pay lip service to the needs of the working class. During the campaign, Trump promised he would bring jobs back home from overseas, attacked NAFTA, called for the deportation of illegal immigrants (who could be seen as taking US jobs), and punish foreign corporations which had taken US jobs and are now exporting to the US. Soon after being elected, Trump ended US involvement in the TPP. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Dems did not even pay lip service to the working class needs. Obama and other Dems openly supported NAFTA and TPP.

In past decades, it was the Repubs that were most eager and successful in spending money on the Pentagon. But during his two terms of office, Dem Obama set all-time records for the amount of money allocated to the Pentagon.

When Obama was president, nearly all Dems BLASTED Repubs for ridiculing Obama, accusing him of being a liar, laughing at him, obstructing EVERYTHING he proposed, opposing ALL of his appointments, joking that he should be assassinated, never giving him credit for ANYTHING, and stating that “Obama is not my president.” Today, a day does not go by where Dems are now joking about Trump’s appearance, calling for his assassination, calling him names, blaming Trump for everything imaginable, and lampooning him in cartoons.

In the past, Republicans were infamous for calling Dems traitors for what Repubs considered excessive friendliness toward “enemies” of the US. Today, Dems regularly engage in calling Trump a traitor for wanting to work with the Russian government.

In the past, Dems lead the fight for freedom of speech and attacking Repub efforts to engage in censorship. It is now Dems who are mostly leading the fight to censor public speakers or silencing speech that they consider “hateful” or “racist” or “sexist.”

In previous decades, it was the Repubs who were the loudest advocates of being “tough on crime.” Under Dem Bill Clinton in the 90s, Dems showed they could build more prisons than Repubs, have more crimes be eligible for the death penalty (from 3 to 60), fund 100,000 more cops, and create a huge increase in the number of mandatory minimum crimes. Dem Bill Clinton also significantly increased the penalty for crack cocaine vs powdered cocaine (100-to-1). Bill Clinton escalated the drug war far more than the Repubs could ever imagine, leading to the largest increase in prisoners ever.

Repubs used to be the most regressive when it came to taxation. But then Dem Bill Clinton successfully passed a capital gains tax cut that was one of the most regressive tax cuts in history.

Repubs were formerly the party most responsible for eliminating regulations that protected us from socially undesirable actions by the powerful. But then Dem Bill Clinton’s deregulation of the investment banking industry played an enormous role in creating the crash of 2008. He repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, which had separated commercial from investment banking since 1933, and directly led to the 2008 crash and the need to bail out the too-big-to-fail banks.

Repubs have long attacked Dems for supporting the public nature of Social Security. They proposed such things as investing social security dollars in the stock market. But then Dem Bill Clinton, while in office, nearly succeeded in privatizing social security (another Repub dream) had the Lewisky scandal not led to his impeachment.

I remember when it was Repubs who far outspent Dems in presidential races. In the 2016 election, Dem Hillary Clinton outspent Repub Donald Trump two to one.

Repubs have long lead the charge to engage in invasive surveillance of US citizens. But it was Dem Obama who established, by far, the most extreme and comprehensive surveillance of US citizens in history through the NSA and other agencies.

For a long time, it was the Repubs who were vocal opponents of what they called “The Welfare State.” But it was Dem Bill Clinton’s gutting of welfare that led to a huge increase in poverty. Some have called Clinton’s action “one of the most regressive social programs promulgated in the 20th Century.”

Only a Dem (Clinton) could have rammed a right-wing program such as NAFTA through Congress. No Repub president could have ever hoped to adopt such an anti-worker program.

The Repubs have always been considered the party most hostile to the environment. But in 2016, the Democratic National Committee came out against the carbon tax and against a fracking ban.

Repubs have a long, disgraceful history of calling people un-American! Or treasonous traitors! Over and over, Repubs were seen attempting to prevent people from protesting (often by claiming that the protest would “incite violence”), attempting to censor comments they do not like, and associating the actions of a lone protester with the behavior or beliefs of an entire protest movement. But in response to the violence at the Univ of Virginia protest in August 2017, a great many Dems are screaming to prevent future protests by extreme right wing groups (and wanting to prevent people from boycotting Israel), calling right wing protesters un-American. Or treasonous traitors. Such Dems are demanding censorship of right wing speakers at universities, stopping speeches because they will “incite violence,” and linking a lone protester (who drove his car into a group of counterprotesters) with the agenda of the right wing protesters. In American history, progressives have rightly objected when protests have been prohibited due to fear of “inciting violence.” Feminists, gays, blacks, and atheists have been stopped from protesting discrimination in the past for this reason. Labor rights activists have been stopped because their protests against unfair labor practices would “incite violence.” Peace demonstrators protesting a war have been told they are not allowed to protest because it would “incite violence.” Even Jane Jacobs, the great American urbanist, was charged with “inciting a riot” when she protested the Lower Manhattan Expressway that Robert Moses tried to ram through New York City in the 1960s. Since when is it acceptable to be able to pick and choose which protests or speeches are okay and which should be prohibited? To be able to engage in such a double standard? Does not true support for free speech demand that we tolerate speech that we hate, and not just speech that we agree with? “If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought we hate.”  — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. “There’s no fine line between ‘free speech’ and ‘hate speech’: Free speech is hate speech; it’s for the speech you hate – and for all your speech that the other guy hates. If you don’t have free speech, then you can’t have an honest discussion.”  — Mark Steyn. “Hateful, blasphemous, prejudiced, vulgar, rude, or ignorant remarks are the music of a free society, and the relentless patter of idiots is how we know we’re in one. When all the words in our public conversation are fair, good, and true, it’s time to make a run for the fence.” ― Daniel M. Gilbert. “[First Amendment protection] must be accorded to the ideas we hate or sooner or later they will be denied to the ideas we cherish.” – Justice Hugo Black. “One way that speech restrictions often grow is through what I call ‘censorship envy.’ Say one group wins a ban on speech that it finds offensive. It’s human nature for other groups to then ask: What about speech that offends us — harsh criticism of Israel, or of certain religious belief systems, or of abortion, or of America?… Oddly, many of these [speech] restrictions come from political groups that see themselves as outsiders fighting the powerful. If that’s really so, how can they give the government extra censorship powers that can so easily be used against future ‘progressives’ like them?” — Eugene Volokh.

Journalist Amy Goodman, in February 2017, noted that Dem Elizabeth Warren has said she’s not so clear she’s going to be working with Donald Trump. “I mean, very interesting, [said Amy], when Dem Barack Obama came in, Repub Mitch McConnell made it very clear they won’t work with Obama at all.”

I am not a partisan extremist (everything the other party does is WRONG, says the partisan extremist). But apparently in America today, nearly everyone else IS an extreme partisan.

Extreme partisanship (and the extreme double standards that both the corrupt Democratic Party and the corrupt Republican Party) is toxic to democracy. And guarantees that nothing will be accomplished by our elected officials.

Is it any wonder that our Founding Fathers opposed the creation of political parties?

 

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2016 Elections and the Politics of Friendships

 

By Dom Nozzi

January 23, 2017

I am increasingly of the view that extreme partisan politics is an enormous problem in our society. I think that problem is increasingly on steroids due to such things as Facebook, the Internet, and the huge array of media sources now available to us.

Due mostly to those tools, people are much more likely to only hear or read things they fully agree with and hear nothing that strays from it – a phenomenon that leads to the “echo chamber” effect. This monochromatic look at the world of course breeds a lot of hostility toward other views (or the other political party).

An irony is that in the early days of the Internet, many of us expected that the HUGE increase in information would allow people to be more aware and tolerant of different views. Many of us did not anticipate that such a world would, instead, allow us to ONLY get info we agreed with.

One thing I notice on Facebook, however, is that the very few Republican friends I have will sometimes post contrary views on topics that we on the left are inundated with, and it is fascinating to me because much of those Republican posts seem believable and persuasive. And are views I never hear at all from my friends on the left.

I am bothered by how easily those on the left these days engage in double standards. Attacking Republicans for things back in the Obama years. And now DOING THOSE VERY SAME THINGS now that Trump is president (such as character assassination, caricature, extreme anger, vowing to always oppose anything he proposes, making fun of him, and screaming that HE IS NOT MY PRESIDENT!!).

An excellent example of extreme partisanship.partisan_voters

Didn’t the Founding Fathers warn against the creation of political parties? If so, it is now more clear than ever why they did so.

The best one can do these days with certain people who are friends is to just tolerate their thoughts and try not to discuss the hot button issues. One thing I have learned in my professional town and transportation planning work is that even if the person is very intelligent, when emotions are involved (traffic congestion and road rage, for example), I need to steer clear of the topic.

This is true even though I am VERY passionate and informed about these topics.

Strong emotions tend to turn off a person’s mind. Evidence and logic are often thrown out the window when strong emotions emerge.

I think this also applies to politics.

When strong emotions come into play, I need to remind myself that people with other views will need to learn on their own…

Something else that has driven much of the divisive hostility we are seeing during this presidential elections time: EXTREME, unvarying hostility by the media towards Trump. I really dislike a great deal about Trump and his views and actions. But I have NEVER seen so much negative media attention. Nothing in the past has been even close to this. One result of the extreme 24/7 media attacks against Trump is that even well-informed people have lost their minds about him. The media has convinced them that he is evil incarnate. The world will end tomorrow! Everything wrong in the world is due to Trump! Trump is the most awful person who ever lived!

It is almost comical if it were not tragic and dangerous. I think that there is a decent chance Trump will be assassinated. If so, the media will largely be to blame.

The left needs to come to terms with the following: Given the EXTREME 24/7 media negativity toward Trump over the past year, how was it possible that over 62 million people voted for him? I’m not saying that Trump must be a good guy despite the media bombardment. He is in many ways an undesirable president. But can the left simply say that there are 62 million morons in America? I don’t think so. I think many on the left are out of touch with what many Americans are looking for. Like with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura, a lot of voters decided that America needed to elect a muscular superhero who would be strong enough to not cave in to many of the economic troubles we are facing: NAFTA, TPP, loss of jobs, immigration, etc. Trump created the persona of a strong superman who would stand up and fight for blue collar jobs.

Much of his tactics to do that are inappropriate or ineffective, but I think his overall message appealed to people. Democrats (except folks like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) have mostly turned their back to that concern. And decided that instead of reaching out to the lower and middle class, Democrats could win with HUGE amounts of corporate cash, identity politics, being tough on crime and “terrorists,” and relentlessly attacking Trump as a racist, sexist asshole. The result is that the Democrats lost the presidency, the House, the Senate, and many state governorships.

Yet the DNC now opts to blame the Russians…

With regard to the massive worldwide marches we saw yesterday, I find myself asking where those marches and protests and energy were during the presidential race? During the eight years of Obama?

Our nation has enormous existing problems (war, transportation, economic suffering, pollution, political corruption, the health industry, etc.). We should have had millions marching every week for decades. If Hillary was elected, I’m convinced we would have seen another four or eight years of no marches or protests despite those several huge EXISTING problems – many of which were made worse during Obama’s years in office.

I think many people have concluded that the Democrats have become too much like Republicans (for example, having a lot of corrupt politicians who were bought by lobbyists), and Trump’s campaign pushed the idea that he was an outsider who was not corrupted by lobbyists.

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