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Posts Tagged ‘Democrats’

On Senator Cotton’s Opposition to D.C. Statehood: An Examination Using Hard Data re the Variables To Which He Alludes

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 29, 2020

A couple of days ago, CNN reported Arkansas Republican U.S. Senator Tom Cotton made some idiotic comments and assertions in response to the House passing legislation to introduce Washington D.C. as an official state. He replied Wyoming is substantially more deserving because it is a “well-rounded working-class state.” Aside from the transparent reasons for his opposition and the transparent problems inherent in his little publicity stunt, I felt the potential damage done by such irresponsible and frankly moronic statements deserved some examination, so I did. And while variables surrounding such an issues are more complex than Cotton alludes to, the bankrupt intellect (and morality) he displays in asserting Wyoming (already a state, Cotton!) is more deserving of statehood than the District because since it’s heavily blue collar anchored by a manufacturing industry, it is a more”well-rounded working-class state.” And there are so very many problems in that line of unreason that I couldn’t resist actually applying his definition of state value to the test by comparing Wyoming to Washington D.C. and adding in Arkansas just for kicks. Among MY variables were state population, state GDP, GDP per capita, unemployment rates and numbers, states paying the most gross taxes and the most taxes per capita, states that suffered the worst “federal tax burden as a percent of income” and just to offset those who would say “Yeah, But…” an additional section on the so-called “dregs” of society as often identified by many in the GOP — those on food stamps, so the SNAP program. What I found in my research was far more confirming than my theories and placed into question that if one were to look at such variables as requirements for statehood and then discriminate against locations because of them, not only would D.C. be far more deserving of most states — specifically Wyoming and Arkansas — but using these data, many states should not “have the right” to exist as states and should revert to a territory status or something along the lines of a Puerto Rico or District of Columbia, etc.! Of course I know this is a very simplistic line of reasoning, but I’m not the one originating it. Hypocritical privileged politicians pretending to be one of the people they claim to represent yet have nothing in common with do, as in Senator Cotton, are responsible. Thus, I felt compelled to meet him on his own terms and essentially “kick his ass” publicly on such a stupid argument to support his opposition to D.C. statehood.

Thus yesterday, I published a (very long) article on Medium titled “Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton Opposed D.C. Statehood Stating Wyoming Would Be More Deserving For Various Economic Reasons. Let’s Examine That, Shall We?” Even though this blog usually draws readers more interested in book reviews, this isn’t unlike topics I’ve posted on before, so for those of you interested or who already care, feel free to check it out. And let’s continue to demand social, cultural and political change and justice, particularly where and when woefully overdue. Cheers!

 

 

 

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Book Review: A Foreign Policy for the Left

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 12, 2020

A Foreign Policy for the LeftA Foreign Policy for the Left by Michael Walzer
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Weak. I’ve been a progressive/”liberal” for most of my adult life but over the past five years have become really disgusted with the group. While I cannot stand (even believe) where the far right has gone, A) the left could look to them for some damn lessons, because B) the Dems eat their own, constantly bickering among themselves, constantly attacking their own while the right gets behind their candidates and fucking WIN while Berniebots hate their OWN leading candidates so much, they fucking voted Trump INTO office last time! It’s their damn fault that moron is president and so for the past four years, most of America, including nearly every liberal, has counted on seemingly ANYONE running against Trump to kick his ass and put some sanity back in the White House, … but it’s happening again, and it started at least two years ago. I’ve read some books by some disillusioned lifelong Republican strategists and advisers who are desperate to join with everyone in a centrist effort to vote Trump out, although they say they won’t vote for a Hillary or Bernie. I understand that. It’s called compromise and it used to be a big part of our government. These major players write that the Dems can be counted on to bicker with their pet projects and pet peeves so much that they lose sight of the election and lose the election as a result of infighting while the conservatives all rally around whatever asshole is their candidate, like him or not. And the Dems lose and they do this to themselves and they never learn. And these people are 100% right. Trump WILL win again because for the past two plus years the Berniebots have insisted that NO ONE except Bernie will be okay with them – Biden, Bloomberg, Warren, no one. Because he’s the “outsider.” HE’S BEEN IN FUCKING OFFICE LONGER THAN ANY OF THEM!!!!! You stupid dumbass hypocritical traitors! So because you hate people in your own *alleged* party so much (because obviously you’re Republicans as you’d rather have an autocratic insane Republican president than someone from a party you claim to be a part of who is not your favorite choice…), you’d rather have a treasonous Russian puppet in office. You’re the damn problem, not the conservatives! Idiots. And this book? Rewritten regurgitation with few new ideas. Neither party has a grasp on quality, successful, diplomatic-yet-cautious foreign policy and the leaders of both parties have taken the “winner” from the Cold War and they’ve fucked the country and world up with their idiot foreign policies, and we want these people recommending anything? The liberals are idealists with no concept of reality and the evangelical right wing nutjobs are fascist nationalists intent on getting behind an apocalyptic nationalist Mussolini wannabee. Awesome. And my wife won’t let us move to New Zealand… Both parties have proven to be failures at public policy and foreign policy over the past 25+ years. Please get the centrists together and form a real, actual third party to wipe these idiots out of office and start over with some sanity and reason. This book? About as good as current conservative books calling for “change” — bullshit.

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A Review of The Survivor

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 20, 2013

The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White HouseThe Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House by John Furby Harris

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I hate this book and I despise the author. I couldn’t believe, when looking through the Goodreads reviews, how many people call this book “balanced.” I think it’s anything but. I think it’s a hatchet job on a great man, Bill Clinton, my favorite president of all time. I admit to being biased, but I’ve read several Clinton books and none were as unflattering as this one. I couldn’t even finish it! I couldn’t even get past the second chapter! Virtually every page is stocked with loaded language designed to make the reader look down on Clinton (and his wife). Examples:

Page X: He talks about Clinton’s “capacity for drama” and his “usual … swirling cloud of last-minute chaos and indecision.”

Page XI: “Hillary Rodham Clinton … hovered over the proceedings with the discerning eye of the corporate lawyer she was.” Harris makes her out to be a Dick Cheney-like character.

Page XII: In discussing Paul Begala’s first meeting with Clinton, Harris writes “In his crush, however, he kept enough detachment to contemplate that the session had been a put-on, and what seemed like a wonderfully guileless performance actually had been a more sophisticated brand of artifice.”

Pages XIV and XV: In describing Clinton’s politics as “defensive” and his knowledge of this a very conscious one, Harris writes “Certainly he understood, with occasional remedial courses required….” Like he’s stupid…. Later, his (Arkansas) opponent “portrayed him, not unfairly, as an arrogant and unseasoned young man who was out of step with his constituents.” Harris goes on to talk some more about Clinton’s alleged “women problem.” It makes me ill.

On page XVI, Clinton is described as “maddeningly noncommittal.”

On page XVII, Harris really goes for it. He plunges right in by writing, “his marriage to Hillary Clinton was said to be in turmoil…. He was a man of vagrant sexual appetites. Every political operative or journalist with even a passing knowledge of Clinton knew it.” What a crock! Even with all of the right wing-founded rumors about Clinton’s alleged infidelities, the only one that ever had any proof associated with in was the Monica scandal. In his book, My Life, Clinton denies any involvement with Flowers or Jones and I believe him. There’s no proof anywhere. This author is stooping to tabloid journalism by bringing it up in the introduction!

On page XVIII, he “bristled over the scrutiny,” while somehow showing “indifference to the rumors.” Contradict yourself much, Harris?

The author then goes on to deride Clinton’s intelligence by writing that Hillary “was his equal or superior in intelligence” and he talks about their marriage as a “partnership” and not one based on love. Does this guy have a bone to pick or what?

On page XX!, Harris writes “Traits that would be regarded as emotionally unhealthy by conventional standards — a desperate need for human contact, or a heedlessness about persona risk — were in Clinton’s case political assets of great utility.” Later, on his intelligence again: “Yes, he was smart, but no smarter than many other politicians of his generation.” Seriously? Every book I’ve ever read about Clinton, right or left, has lauded his intelligence! The man is brilliant. Holy crap — who does this Harris guy think he is? What an asshole!

Harris shows Clinton plotting left and right while being naive at the same time. Honestly, I can’t read this book without getting violently angry. I made it to page 12 and that’s the furthest I’m going. I had high hopes for this book because of good reviews, but I’m sorry I wasted good — and a lot of — money on this stupid book. Definitely not recommended for anyone who admires the Clintons.

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A Review of My Life by Bill Clinton

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 13, 2013

My LifeMy Life by Bill Clinton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

At nearly 1,000 pages, this book is a monster to read, but boy, am I glad I did! First of all, I love Bill Clinton, I’ve got to be honest. He was, is, and will always be my favorite president. That said, I was curious how he would describe his life and is on goings in the White House and before.

He starts with his childhood and writes an exhaustive account of his life up until Bush takes over for him. He spends a great deal of time early on discussing religion and his spirituality, both of which seem extremely important to him. (He’s Methodist.) He also spends a lot of time on the Vietnam War and his not going over to fight. He explains that he really struggled with that decision, and although I already knew this, he acknowledges that he joined the ROTC to fulfill his military duty before backing out to finish out his Fulbright scholarship at Oxford. He was plainly torn.

His description of meeting and courting Hillary is truly interesting, and it seems clear to me that he really does love her very much, as well as Chelsea. Both women are mentioned extensively in this book.

Clinton could have taken a lot of pot shots at the jerks who consistently attacked him and tried to ruin his life ever since he was elected governor of Arkansas, but he’s a bit of a gentleman and goes easy on most. He does display his scorn for Kenneth Starr, who in my opinion, is one of the most evil men of the twentieth century and who should burn in hell for the suffering he caused countless people. What a vindictive asshole! Clinton also does have some hard words to say about the hard Right, with whom he was constantly at war for the last six years of his presidency. It’s amazing to me still how much he was able to accomplish with all of the attacks on his character and presidency.

If you’re after juicy gossip, though, you won’t find it here. He denies any role with Flowers or Paula Jones and while admitting to the Monica disaster, he limits its inclusion in the book while apologizing to all for his poor decisions.

There are a couple of passages that really stood out for me. The first one reads,

“Although I would always regret what I had done wrong, I will go to my grave being proud of what I had fought for in the impeachment battle, my last great showdown with the forces I had opposed all of my life — those who defended the old order of racial discrimination and segregation in the South and played on the insecurities and fears of the white working class in which I grew up; who had opposed the women’s movement, the environmental movement, the gay-rights movement, and other efforts to expand our national community as assaults on the natural order; who believed government should be run for the benefit of powerful entrenched interests and favored tax cuts for the wealthy over health care and better education for children.”

Wow! Fast forward to 2013 and it doesn’t sound like much as changed, does it? The Republicans are still trying to oppose the very same things and advance the very same tired agenda.

Later, he writes about some of the things I loved about his presidency in writing about his 1999 State of the Union Address.

“My last State of the Union address was a joy to deliver. We had more then twenty million new jobs, the lowest unemployment rate and smallest welfare rolls in thirty years, the lowest crime rate in twenty-five years, the lowest poverty rate in twenty years, the smallest federal workforce in forty years, the first back-to-back surpluses in forty-two years, seven years of declining teen pregnancies and a 30 percent increase in adoptions, and 150,000 young people who had served in AmericCorps. Within a month we would have the longest economic expansion in American history, and by the end of the year we would have three consecutive surpluses for the first time in more than fifty years.”

Again, wow! And why did people hate such a wonderful president? Of course, the real tragedy is Bush came in and decimated everything, rolling back social expansions, international friendships, and financial gains and starting a three TRILLION dollar war in Iraq (I’m reading on a book on this right now) we couldn’t pay for and had to borrow to finance, thus practically bankrupting the country for years to come. Bush needs to be tried for crimes against humanity for what he did to hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq in his deceitful and failed attempts to establish democracy and control oil. If only Clinton were back in office. Obama is better than having the far right Republicans in office, certainly, but he’s no Clinton. Perhaps Hillary will save us in 2016. One can only hope. This was a fascinating book to read and if you’re not too frightened by its size and want to learn about American politics in the 1990s, it’s a great book to read. I strongly recommend it.

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Obama leads Democrats out on a limb – CNN.com

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 11, 2013

Obama leads Democrats out on a limb – CNN.com.

This disgusting opinion piece ensures that I will forever view CNN as little more than Fox News Lite. What a crock of BS! It makes me sick to even read it. The Republicans are decimating themselves and this guy is blaming Obama for the nation’s ills. What a moron. Who needs Fox News when you have CNN?

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A Review of Living History

Posted by Scott Holstad on November 3, 2012

Living HistoryLiving History by Hillary Rodham Clinton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to start by confessing the Clintons are my favorite politicians and I love them dearly. I miss Bill being in the White House and I think Hillary should have been. Now that that’s out of the way, I finally, finally got a copy of this book and I just couldn’t put it down. (I am biased, remember?) I thought it was enthralling. I think it really showed the human side of Hillary, whereas in the media she’s often portrayed in a very negative light, or like she’s a robot or something. I loved this book! And I learned a lot too. For instance, I didn’t know she grew up a staunch Republican and was both a Goldwater girl and the president of her college’s Republican club. That was interesting. I got a feel throughout the book that she really was truly in love with Bill and that his betrayal of her with Monica hurt her deeply, but it was her love of him that ultimately kept them together. She doesn’t mince words with her hurt and despair over his affair. She also spends a lot of time on their eight years in the White House together (which obviously makes sense). She defends Bill and the Democrats and while trying to be reasonably fair, she does take the Republicans to task at times, especially Newt, Bob Dole, and Bush. She was appalled at the 2000 election results where the Supreme Court stole the popular vote from Gore and gave the presidency to Bush. I am too, still. I didn’t know, however, that Hillary was such an amazing advocate for women and children throughout the world. She made the rounds, got a lot accomplished, and was heavily honored for her efforts. This book was written in 2004, after she had become a New York senator. I wish there could be a 2010-2012 update with her role as Secretary of State under Obama. I’d be interested in what she would have to say about current Republican obstructionism. She also made Chelsea come alive for me. I hadn’t known that much about her, and she details the trips they took together, and the campaigning Chelsea did for them, etc., et al, and I have a greater appreciation for their daughter now. Bill wasn’t a perfect person, man, or president, but he did preside over the greatest period of prosperity in our country’s history, along with numerous other achievements, all the while with Ken Starr trying to put him in jail — talk about a stupid, wicked witch hunt! — and I admire him even more after reading this book. Hillary talks about her health care reform efforts and how those were blunted by the Republicans, although she did get more accomplished there than I had realized. All in all, if you’re a Clinton fan, you’ll probably enjoy the book. If you’re not, you’ll probably hate it. A lot of people on Goodreads complain about the name dropping in this book, but I viewed it as legitimate. Hillary DID have a lot of people to talk about and thank. What’s wrong with that? It wasn’t a distraction for me. I’m so happy I finally bought this book and read it. Now I have to read Bill’s books….

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Why Obama Could Win Without a Majority And the Electoral College Fight That Would Ensue – ABC News

Posted by Scott Holstad on October 27, 2012

Why Obama Could Win Without a Majority And the Electoral College Fight That Would Ensue – ABC News.

 

Could we possibly see a repeat of the 2000 election when Gore won the popular vote only to have the Supreme Court give the election to Bush, who then went on to have the most disastrous presidency in history? Signs are pointing to Romney winning the popular vote, while Obama maintains a slim lead in the electoral voting polls. Hard to tell. Personally, I’m biased of course, but I don’t see how anyone who had a problem with Bush and his disaster would want to vote for Romney. I think it’s just a case of voting for anyone who will get the “liberal” black Democrat out of office. Which is frustrating. Obama has frustrated me at times, but Romney/Ryan scares the hell out of me, and if I were a woman, black, Latino, progressive — anything but a rich, white evangelical voter — I’d be running for the hills. Speaking of, if Romney actually does win, Toronto seems awfully appealing now. Although it’s a bit too cold. I never could have imagined a Romney victory, especially after Obama beat the hell out of him in those last two debates, but polls indicate otherwise. It’s truly depressing. I’m hoping that America will see that Romney has no plan, offers no numbers, his tax plan makes no mathematical sense, he’s anti-woman, anti-poor, pro-big business — he’s not good for the country, dammit! Please, America — come to your senses and give Obama four more years of continued, albeit slow, growth. Let the growth grow some more. Let’s not regress to the Bush years. Please….

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A Review of The Little Blue Book

Posted by Scott Holstad on October 5, 2012

The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking DemocraticThe Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic by George Lakoff

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I finished this book and I’m not really satisfied with it, although I can’t quite place my finger on why. I had really looked forward to receiving this book, assuming it would teach Democrats how to go toe to toe with conservatives in rhetoric, debates, etc. To a very minor degree, the second half of this book provides some terms and examples one could use, but that’s not really the gist of the book. It’s subtitle is “The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic” and I guess it might be partially accurate, but it left me feeling pretty empty and hopeless. I think most of the terms suggested here to replace commonly used terms in public discourse border on ridiculous and won’t ever come into play.

First, though, conservatives like to accuse Democrats of being “liberal elites,” which makes me wonder why Republicans want to be known as stupid dumb asses. Anyway, the first half of this book did nothing to make me think that the stereotype did not hold true for the book. It’s a scientific, linguistic explanation of morals, moral contexts, using “basic-level” words, neural logic and “cascades,” a “network of neurons that links many brain circuits…. the brain does not handle single ideas as separate entities: a bigger context, a logical construct within which the idea is defined, is evoked in order to grasp its meaning…. Language triggers cascades.” Confused? I bet Joe Six Pack would be if he picked this book up. This book is designed FOR liberal elites and feeds right into the stereotype so many of we Democrats fight to overcome.

The bulk of the book is taken up by Democratic ideas, such as those surrounding corporations, food regulation, public education, nature, and more, and it basically provides tiny chapters for each (like two to four pages) and gives alternative terms for words commonly used in political circles that the authors think have been hijacked by conservatives. This is where my big problem is. I’m right up there agreeing conservatives have hijacked public dialogue, but the alternative terms they advocate strike me as downright silly. Let me give you examples. On abortion and pro-choice terminology, they argue that conservatives make this a moral argument through their use of their own terminology, so instead of saying “pro choice,” we should instead say “pro-liberty.” Other options include “pro-family” and “family freedom.” They then go on to say, “the terms birth control and birth control pills are disastrous. The real issue is ‘pregnancy prevention’.” That’s right — we should talk about pregnancy prevention instead of birth control. Maybe that makes some sort of sense, but I can’t see society making that shift, no matter how many liberals start employing that term. So too, abortion is a dirty word. We need to replace it with — get this — “development prevention.” Yeah, that’s right. Development prevention. I’m not pro-abortion, nor am I anti-choice, but no one’s going to start saying development prevention. I’m sorry — it’s not going to happen. To sum it up, this is a book of ideas, and maybe it’s a decent conversation starter, but the terminology solutions suggested here seem ludicrous to me and probably to a whole bunch of other people too. I was really disappointed in this book, especially after looking forward to reading it so much. I don’t recommend it.

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