Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Notes on #Trump's win

Running as the inevitable nominee, then inevitable President because it was your turn didn't work for Hillary in '08. Until some dirty tricks within the DNC, it might not have worked in '16 either. Team HRC would have been smart to let the nomination race conclude organically (without institutional interference). The folks who Bernie Sanders brought in from the outside, returned to the outside after he was ousted from the contest. Who's to say, but if he lost to her in a fair and transparent way, those folks could have been the extra 4-5pts that would see her with a 370+ electoral vote win instead of losing to Donald Trump.

Economic voters are still economic voters. Obama campaigned on the economy in '08 and won. Again in '12 as the economy was finally growing again.
Well pocket book issues still matter, and Trump, for all of his flaws, had an economic message. It doesn't mean it will work; pledging massive tax cuts that typically benefits the 1% are still a politically sexy thing to offer. And when you're dealing with a voter base that traditionally doesn't trust government, offering to out some more coins in their pockets gets their attention.

Trump is a womanizing dirtbag. So was Bill Clinton. The two are not comparable, and Bill wasn't on the ballot, but there was a little political genius in attacking him. The very folks that supported and kept Bill Clinton in office didn't care about his personal flaws, and both Hillary and Bill counted on that. But now, she was counting on those same folks to judge as unfit, Donald Trump, after proving that voters don't give a crap about that. Trump figured this out and used Bill as his own defense. It worked.

The open support of white supremacists (or, if you prefer the more sanitized "Alt-right" crowd) failed to dissuade folks from voting Trump because his campaign latched on to a popular (but wrong) myth that immigrants were taking American jobs. More accurately, Republican attacks on education were making Americans fall further behind and less competitive in the global economy while the country simultaneously needing to hire for a growing high tech sector. That argument wasn't being made though; it seemed as though by simply only condemning the KKK links to the Trump campaign the Democrats ignored a false theory on immigrants/jobs. End result, "immigrants taking our jobs" argument was left to stand as 'fact', and worse, went a great distance to partly rehabilitate the Klan as a legitimate political influence in American politics.

Gender had little to do with this. Several states have voted for strong conservative women as Republican Senators, Governors, state level representatives and such. Having said that, clearly there will be some who'd never vote for a woman for President. Those people exist. But remember this: the folks who some on the left would dismiss as anti-woman voters forget that conservative Republican Sarah Palin was on the Presidential ticket in '08 and received almost the same 60 million votes as Trump did in '16.
It wasn't gender. It was Hillary Clinton that some had issues with.

Thus concludes an absolute disaster of American politics for another cycle. Donald Trump will be the 45th President as he won the election and now has the right to serve as such. I have little doubt that he will be a disaster for America. And that will be the Democrats opportunity if they're smart. Give voters something to vote for, not another contest of who's less bad than the other.
I haven't even addressed the many other policy flaws that Hillary has, and there are many. Her support of Bush's war in Iraq, her support of the Patriot Act, her uncomfortably close links to big banks, big oil to name a couple; and put her strangely close to some Republicans that she'd pretend to oppose.

Bottom line.
You can't campaign as something different while offering little difference in policy. Obama did, and he captured the imagination of a generation. That wave in '08 swept away Republicans at all levels. Democrats kept the house, expanded their hold in the Senate. Obama offered folks something different and delivered. Hillary didn't..but Trump did. That's why she lost.

That's my take.

Monday, October 31, 2016

I'm #withher but barely

I hope Hillary Clinton wins on November 8. I hope she clobbers Donald Trump in the popular vote, and the electoral votes. I hope Democrats win a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, and retake the majority in the house. I hope Democrats win state houses up for grabs, gubernatorial contests so that gerrymandering can be rolled back.
I hope Hillary wins, not because I'm particularly won over by her, but that it proves that America isn't insane.
To be clear, Hillary is a flawed candidate. She's proven more adept at the game and not the results. That's why she lost to Obama in '08 but why she'll win against Trump.
I would have preferred Bernie Sanders as the Democratic candidate, but that's just not the way it goes.
Mostly, if Hillary Clinton wins, she will force the Republican party to burn itself to the ground in order to start again.
Republicans weren't always like this. They're the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower. When organized and moderate, they produced great things too.
This is the natural cycle of the Tea Party infection that was drawn into the spotlight after Obama won in '08.
Democrats expunged the far right racists from their party in the 1960's when LBJ signed the voting rights act. It's high time that Republicans do the same. A defeat with Trump at the top of the Presidential ticket would be the right opportunity to start that process.
Losing to Hillary Clinton would light that fuse. That's what America needs.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Winning #potus won't mean much for Hillary with an obstructionist GOP Congress

As Obama was taking the oath of office in January '09, GOP leaders were plotting their way back to power. Their plan was to simply say "no" to everything that Obama was in favor of. If that meant gridlock in Congress, then so be it; they'd prefer government shut down than to compromise with the President. In fact, they've done that twice since Obama's first election win, and are making noise as if to deploy the same strategy against Hillary Clinton should she (likely) win in November.
Hillary Clinton may win by a landslide, but her win will be pointless without flipping control of Congress away from the GOP as well. Until the backwards thinking Tea Party movement is beaten out of the Republican party, they cannot be trusted to govern effectively or governm for the whole nation instead of their narrow minded agenda.
Hillary Clinton is not a perfect candidate, Democrats are not without their flaws as well. But unless the gridlock is broken in DC, little will change.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

GOP didn't learn from 2012

It was a lesson that was supposed to be learned from '12 for Republicans to better reach out to Latinos, blacks, etc. Romney won 61% of the white vote and it wasn't enough to win outright. America has changed so much since 1988 when Bush Sr. won 400+ electoral votes and 61% of the white vote.
The point is that the Republican Party was to reach out and build bridges if they wanted a chance again at winning the Whitehouse. Instead, they got Trump.
Trump. Build a wall along the Mexican border, Trump.
Until Republicans eschew the tea party movement and move moderate, they'll never win again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

PNW LNG project issues

On top of every other complicating matter that makes me not support the PNW LNG project, the tax and royalty regime now in place are so low that it almost qualifies as a taxpayer supported subsidy. Petronas, is a state owned corporation in Malaysia.

Also, both federal and provincial governments have green lighted the potential use of temporary foreign workers for this proposal.

And this.

This is notwithstanding some very serious issues regarding a requirement for meaningful consultations with the affected first nations' in the region.

Petronas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

'via Blog this'

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fassbender/DeJong forget that the internet has a memory

Yesterday, late in the day, Peter Fassbender attacked the NDP for pledging to increase the provincial share of transit expansion through the 'mayors 10 plan' from a 33% to 40% share. Translink Minister Fassbender has a short memory on finding cash for short term political gains.

Families begin receiving TESP payments this week | BC Gov News:

Bonus: the Provincial government demanded some parents/families pay this back.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Clark's real estate spending trough

The BC Liberals have done something unique. They have managed to rake in an unprecedented sum of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from the overheated Vancouver Real Estate market while simultaneously crashing it with their new "Foreign Buyers Tax" (more after images)


The BC Liberals are on their typical pre-election spending spree and promise making. Today it was their pledge to cancel the planned 4% hike to MSP premiums. This amounts to an extra $3 per month that won't be charged any more. Predictably, the governing party is making a lot of noise about this after having a rough go of it lately.

They had been rightly skewered for increasing said premium by 100% since taking office in 2001. More recently, far more controversially, the government announced that while increasing the monthly allowance for disabled British Columbians by $77 per month, these same folks would see $52 per month clawed back should they elect to keep their transit pass. Given that BC's disabled hadn't seen a pay increase since 2007, the extra $77 was embraced (as little as it was) but the clawback was soundly rejected. Given how the costs of living in most of BC have gone up significantly in the 9 intervening years, the puny raise and subsequent clawback would be an inhuman setback for folks already among the most vulnerable in BC.

Enter: real estate boom. Its no secret that the lower mainland has done well as far as real estate and subsequent construction. Why: that was not so clear. We now know that it has much to do with shadow flipping and questionable lending practices. The result of this (previously) self regulated industry is that hyper inflation hit the market and pushed home values out of reach for regular buyers.  But when there's a tax applied to the land value of hyper inflated prices, government rakes in stupid amounts of cash.

Now that the BC Liberals are feeling confident enough to start spending some of that unearned windfall of cash, it will likely dry up faster than its spending promises can allocate. Today it was cancelling the MSP rate increase scheduled for next year. Without that free flowing cash however, expect that the rate will be increasing again.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Irresponsible media attempts to dismiss Bonney/criminal charges.

Almost as if it was planned this way, that if the criminal probe didn't implicate an actual sitting MLA or Premier, that it was going to be no big deal. 
Wrong. Its a big deal. An alternative headline would be: "Another criminal charge against Clark insider speaks to culture of corruption in 16 year old govt". 

Images presented as is.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Its not that I support Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau's call for more resources for her..

Its that I don't care enough to be that upset about it.
To be clear: I don't support this call for more resources.
As a single parent myself, I've understood that as parents, we do what we can with the limited resources available to us. For those whose incomes are low, there is some help available (subsidies, etc) that can assist. If Sophie was calling for more resources for all Canadian parents of limited means, I'm all in - because that would be correct. How about a national daycare program for starters.
Raising a family is hard. Raising a family as a single parent is harder still. But we do it nonetheless. I believe that in our families, kids come first. If I found myself stretched to far, overwhelmed so much, that it took away from caring for my young child, then I would sacrifice those things that came between me and my son. That's our jobs as parents, we sacrifice for our families. Period.
Now, I'm not going to condemn Sophie and Justin for their parenting styles. That's not my business. But I'm having a hard time supporting her position here. I'm not the only one.
But I'm also finding that I don't care much about this. I'm not sure what the financial cost would be to accommodate Sophie, but as far as big issues that have a consequential effect on Canadians, this is not it.

Accommodate Sophie, or don't. But we've got bigger fish to fry in this country.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hillary would win against Trump, Bernie would crush him.

VOX media contributor Ezra Klein makes a case that Trump is a losing candidate for the GOP. He demonstrates this using a chart that prominently reveals the billionaire losing ground to Hillary Clinton. No chart showing what a Trump vs Sanders contest would look like. Just Hillary.

The trouble is that this sort reporting is exactly the kind of problem in American politics that Bernie Sanders is running against.

The fact that Sanders runs the table on Trump better than Hillary proves this in spades. Bernie Sanders attracts an independent and progressive libertarian voters that have no use for Hillary Clinton. This is exactly how Barack Obama was able to upend Hillary in 2008. He was not the Democrat establishment's first choice; they wanted Hillary then too. But Barack Obama was able to appeal to a not-so-partisan moderate and independent while Hillary could not. "Republicans for Obama" were a real thing and turned out to vote for him: winning red states like North Carolina and Indiana in 2008.

Yes, Trump loses to Hillary Clinton. But he gets crushed by Bernie Sanders. In an election where the choice comes down to picking more of the same vs change, Hillary Clinton represents the same old politics, same old divisions, same old partisanship and the same old obstruction. Bernie Sanders is the agent of change.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

I'd vote for Bernie if I could

Spoiler alert: I can't vote in any US election, primary or otherwise, being a Canadian citizen. But that doesn't stop me from saying that if I were American, Bernie would be my choice.
Its not that I dislike Hillary Clinton, its that she is representative of a political machine and philosophy that is broken. Don't get me wrong, I identify with many planks she represents, but the political baggage she carries is the same trash that's infected so many other otherwise well-meaning politicos over the generation.
I'm not generally a high-tax kinda guy. But I don't necessarily have a problem paying them. What I oppose is how my tax dollars are spent from time to time.
Bernie isn't advocating trillions of dollars in "new" free stuff. In fact, its not that at all. He is just stating that the free stuff handed out by the other folks is not the free stuff he believes as relevant priorities in today's world.
Bernie calls for free college education, calls for a universal health care system. While both ideas are not cheap, neither is the F-35 fighter at $400 billion; or the George Bush Iraq war at over $2 trillion.
I would imagine that healthcare and education would be pricy in the budget, but if you're spending less on interventionist wars around the world, spending less on outrageously generous corporate subsidies (while they get incentives to ship jobs off shore), you can find the room needed.
What isn't being measured in this numbers game is that by having a healthier citizen, better educated citizen, America would be more productive, more profitable and need more (higher skilled) workers. Higher skilled workers with higher pay = spending money in the economy generating more job growth. Healthier citizens = less time spend in hospitals using up precious time/space and saving money.
This formula already proved itself. When veterans came home from the war in Europe and Japan in the 40's, the G.I. Bill provided (among other items) education funding. The result was 40 years of the most robust economic growth in America.
America also used to have a fair tax regime, where those of the greatest means paid a higher share of taxes. This adequate and fair tax system provided for the public investment in highways, dams, telecommunications, schools, and yes - a robust national defence. This trust was broken by the Reagan policies and further eroded by leaders following; including Democrats like Bill Clinton.
Its not that Bernie Sanders wants to turn America into Sweden, or Cuba, or otherwise. He's looking to restore the American promise that once existed under previous leaders like Franklin Roosevelt, or even Dwight Eisenhower.
A society where everyone pulls together so that all can have a chance is what can make America great again. Not the divisive hate-politics of fear of Donald Trump, and sadly, Hillary Clinton doesn't offer anything that shifts America in the right direction. While continuing on with the legacy of Obama at the pace his change was working might be fine for some folks. But for others, who have been hurting for far too long, Hillary represents more of the same and not real change.
I can't vote in America. But if I could, I'd vote for Bernie Sanders.