Rethinking America  –                                                         2020 and the Future 

Note: we do also use our regular blog area for specific articles and commentary, just check archives.

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July 18, 2024

As the heat is being applied to Biden, albeit six months late, (see my posts in this rolling blog back on January 13th, and 16th 2024, just scroll down), the scramble in on.

As I see it the Democrats have two choices at this late date:

  1. Biden can assert that he is the President and that his voters, which are in the majority, are voting for him due to his character, experience, and accomplishments, not his physical stamina, quick wit, or debating ability. He is admittedly old, the last President from even before the Boomer generation. Inherent in that age are obvious pluses and minuses. Being President, he could set the playing field, no debates with Lier’s, and the majority of voter interaction through podcasts, etc, thereby avoiding Covid risk. All Democrats need to then close ranks if this is the course taken, no more back biting, American Women will make the majority happen.
  2. If Biden decides to rest on his laurels. He could take those successes, everything that made the last 4 years successful, and start a Biden Institute. Therein he could structure, teach, and maintain an approach to issues that younger Democrats could use.  
  3. As to who the Dem’s should run, that is up to them obviously, but I would think a combo of Kamala Harris and Josh Shapiro would be strong. It would pull together the west coast and rust belt and everything in-between.

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July 16, 2024

We are probably like a lot of you, feel like we have been on a roller-coaster as we try to follow the direction of the Biden Campaign Team. Probably like most of you, we are not impressed.  Like who are Mike Donilon or Becca Siegel? Whoever they are, they need a stiff review.  

As Democrats we have a problem, we have a President who has done a fantastic job, much better than we expected, he has put his experience to work and got the job done.  

On the other hand we have a campaign strategy team that are doing a sloppy job of telling the story.  Is that because Biden has not laid out his whole vision for the team, or is it because the team is trying to mix their ideas with Bidens, or they just don’t really get it?  We need to find out.

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July 10, 2024

Hey everybody, maybe it is time to get over it, some Seniors are still needed to lead this country.

Experience and Perspective will Prevail…

Seniors have the experience and perspective to use their leadership to complete the transition to a better world that started in 2020 after the upheaval of the Nation.

26 years ago, two important books were written. Strauss and Howe’s “Fourth Turning” and Theodore Raszoks “America the Wise”. Both books deal with transformative changes. The Fourth Turning is well known while “America the Wise” is more subtle but deeper. It forecasts the triumph of the old. It says their sheer numbers will revolutionize society, moving it from predatory capitalism and environmental exploitation to what Roszak calls the survival of the gentlest.

The increasing proportion of seniors in the population tips the balance in favor of values that he believes seniors hold dearest, alleviation of suffering, nonviolence, justice, nurturing, and maintaining the health of the planet.

All during this time since 2020 the relatively young media has tried to paint a dire picture of a President that is too old, reaching a fever pitch over the recent debate performance.

This will all fall into place as the election nears and people come to realize a President is about much more than a debate.

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July 5, 2024

Some things came to mind after watching the Stephanopoulos interview of Biden today.                                           

In the coming election we are looking at a complex mix of many factors. For both Biden and Trump it involves honesty about health, and a willingness for both to have neurological testing due to their age.

For both men it also involves a look into leadership, how it evolves and how it is part of what makes things happen good or bad. In Biden’s case the question is how someone in the 77 to 81 year age group, which Biden resided in over the past four years, produced so many strong pieces of the American Dream.  It also involves honesty on how that happened, how it took so many faces to accomplish the task and begs the question of why those faces have not been recognized, as they will be needed in the next Biden Presidency if he wins.

The story that could resonate for Biden would be one that involves talking about all the Biden Administration successes and how the driving force was his experience and leadership, not that he is the smartest and most agile person in the room, the person who did everything and is indispensable, but that he is the cog that is still needed, and was the cog who made it happen. He put together the team.  Maybe Biden needs to come to grips about who he really is, realize that as President he was the experienced  Coach, not the Captain or the Star Quarterback and that he can continue to function the same way in a new administration, leave the ego to rot in Trump land.

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July 4, 2024

On this Independence Day we all can celebrate our American freedoms. 

And maybe we can start to think about how we can maintain them, especially if we are not in the elite top 5 percent who have the money and power to try and control the other 95 percent. As we noted in our post of July 2, trying to determine what is behind the Supreme Court Agenda is difficult. It obviously is not to write sustainable long-term Law.

The conservative faction of the Court no doubt gets many of its ideas from the thinking of the Federalist Society, and the Replacement Theory argument plays a part. We showed you the numbers behind it.

And one little tidbit on the coming election which will be pivotal in the fight to maintain our freedoms. The wholesale plunge by corporate media into the theme of discarding Biden will I think be a godsend for him. He can now name the Supreme Court and Corporate media as two big negatives in the fight to maintain our freedoms. Peter Baker of the NYT will be shown as the squirrely columnist that he is.

I do think, and I have said this before, starting in 2020 right after he took office, Biden should have been behind an effort to encourage younger Dem’s to start building their National Brands, see what flies.  It should never be forgotten that the country is not open to a wildly liberal candidate, Sanders and Warren proved that point. Biden won because he was a centrist. 

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July 2, 2024

Things are becoming Clearer….

The election related events of the past couple of months are helping to bring things into focus. Three things stand out, 1) The Trump felony convictions; 2) the poor Biden Debate performance which brings age of candidate into play; and 3) the recent Supreme Court rulings that signal the collapse of the institutional basis of Democracy. 

The Supreme court ruling on Presidential Immunity has now become the number one factor that will drive the direction of the coming election. It is so significant because it is a key piece in the drive by the Court to try and overcome the trend for whites to lose their majority of the total US population and is directed at getting Trump back in office as President. An authoritative white that would try to keep the money and power on that side of the equation is not viewed by the Court as a problem, but a necessity.

But they are going to lose their majority, it is just a matter of when, and this is being said by me, an 81 year old white male. See chart here. 

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While the looming 50 percent line is key to the thinking of the white male justices (along with a kept black male), there are more interesting points deep in the population data. First, in 1600 the data keepers viewed America as 100 % white. The percent blacks peaked in 1770 after a steep rise between 1700 and 1770 due to slavery. Secondly, percent whites had an early bottom in 1770 at 78.6 % and then rose until 1940 to 89.8 % due to European immigration. And finally, the 1770 percent low level of whites was not taken out until 2000 when the percentage of whites had declined to 75.1 percent. Since then the decline has accelerated and in 2020 was at 61.6 % due to declining birth rates and immigration.  

How does this information play out in the coming election? First, Trump is about power and money and the authoritative drive to keep it with the wealthy.  Low relative tax rates for the top 10 % of the population as well as corporations are involved. Monopolistic practices that hinge on keeping the money at the top are a driving force in the inflation the economy and the population faces. Supreme Court decisions that keep all this in place are part of the strategy. 

With all this, Democrats have a clear direction, they need to get the equality story out in front.  They have to point out what the Supreme Court is trying to manipulate. The have to point out the part that Trump plays in the effort to keep the bottom half of the population under control. 

Immigration and fair taxing are key pieces in increasing economic equality. These factors need to be strengthened.  

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February 5, 2024

Two Messages that Biden Needs to Get Out and in Front of

Message # 1

It does appear that Biden is well in the lead.

I do think in his message he needs to point out to younger people that the low interest rates of the past 12 years, they were only around 13 at the time of QE2, were part of a FED low rate experiment that was designed for crisis periods, not growth periods.

I got my first mortgage in 1975 so I know, and yet I hear grandkids out of college in their 20’s complaining about high rates. I try to explain that high growth means higher incomes, they are doing well already on the income side, but it also includes higher cost of inputs.

The Fred chart here shows that around 7% could be called a normal average rate and rates are a little below normal at the moment.

Message # 2

Things seem to be falling in place for the coming election. More voters are getting involved and educating themselves.

Here is my unsolicited advice to President Biden, i.e. ideas for his 2024 message, things he should think about saying…. 

. Yes, I have some years, I know how to get things done. See how our economy and job growth have worked coming out of the pandemic.

I am a leader, not a dictator.

I am even older and maybe smarter than the Boomers who dominate the Senate. I am from the earlier” silent” generation, the only person who became President from that generation. Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump are all Boomers.

I view my role as having the experience, I have had 12 years in the executive branch, that will enable me to shepherd the country through the Democracy Crisis and hand the country off to the “Gen-X” and “Millennial” generations in 2028.

Generations are what make the world go around, the Boomers, 1946-1964, the Gen-X 1964-1984, the Millennials, 1980-1996, and the new Gen-Z, 1997+, are all part of that evolution.

You will see my leadership of America continue with a young and diverse administration. In our current cabinet, we have 26 members, 13 women and 13 men of diverse backgrounds.  As to age span, of the generations included, we have a younger mix than Congress, 15 Boomers, 10 Gen-X, and 1 Millennial.

I will get the job done”

 

January 19, 2024                     

Further Comments on “There is Hope”.

In January 2022 there was a monumental change in how the economy worked. The eleven years that the Federal Reserve had sponsored speculation came to an end, no more zero rates or increases in the balance sheet, QE.

This shook the financial wizards, Wall Street, and Corporations to the core. Now money was going to need to be focused on investments that contributed to growth. We are seeing worker wages and incomes rise, we are seeing Gross Domestic Product stabilize and avoid a recession. The adjustment that occurred between January and October 2022 was swift and dramatic. It was such a dynamic change that a majority of the smarty pants financial guru’s missed the start of the new economy and still are trying to spout negative forecasts.

But any way you put it, things have changed dramatically and even though the coming election is creating a timid investment environment, the fact remains, this is a better time for the bottom 90%.

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January 17, 2024

In this posting we are putting out some work tied to concepts found in three books on Generational studies. Strauss and Howe’s “The Fourth Turning”, and their more recent “The Fourth Turning is Here” and Twenge’s recent work that really puts it all together “Generations”.  We title this piece as “There is Hope”.

There is Hope

The “Gen-Z” generation, born 1995-2012, half are voting this election, they are a group that the Democrats need. They are a group that have a strong moral code, much like the “Silent” generation born 1925-1945. The Boomer, Gen-X, and Millennial generations have tended to not exhibit as strong of moral directives.

This is the generation that Biden should be closest to, but unfortunately, he has let his moral compass be strained by Boomer and Gen-X influences. Of course, Trump is the extreme immoral exhibit, but the country as a whole does not have a strong moral compass at this point. Fortunately the younger generations have been able to easily, through the internet, see the real story.

The picture that has evolved is based a lot on the fact that the internet has made so much information available to all.

Books and the studies on which they are based, like “The 1619 Project” and “Rediscovery of America” are bringing into focus some building blocks of this country. Newer factors, Information on how the government and markets have worked together since 1980 in a way that has exploded inequality have also become known.

America had a sweet expansive period between the end of WWII ,1947, and 1973. After the easy effects of rebuilding after the War slipped away a furious attempt to keep the economic momentum going commenced with the Reagan Supply-Side movement. This set off the inequality direction. The younger generations at that point bought into getting rich through financial engineering. This thrust continued through 2021, 41 years. The first hiccup was the crash of 1987, then the 2000, 2008 crashes, and then the mini crash of 2020. So many crashes as everyone tried to get rich. 

The end result, Gen-Z is seeing the world through a negative lense, seeing the reality that Boomers, Gen-X, and Millennials ignored in their quest to get rich. They realize that big corporations, the Fed, rampant lobbying, big/dark money PAC’s, have worked together for over 40 years and have been in control since 1980.

On the positive side fixing a problem starts with seeing it with open eyes. Next, someone has to do something. Gen-Z has that capability.                 

Obviously, no one is perfect, Biden and Trump both have flaws, but Trump takes things to another level.

  1. Trump on the one hand, not only works with criminal and autocratic foreign elements but is an outright criminal at his core who aspires to be a Dictator himself.
  2. Another problem in Washington is that it seems to me that too that way too many legislators have a law degree. They waste too much time in dotting the i’s and crossing the T’s. Anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that Trump committed treason. You don’t need to take three years to put together a case. Try him and put him in jail for life. We should not be going through this as the 2024 election beckons.
  3. Trump has done one good thing, he has shaken the Republicans to their core, they don’t know who they are at this point. A new party will arise from this. The current candidates in the 2024 election have not seen this yet. Ramaswamy and DeSantis are trying to act like a new version of the disintegrator Trump. Wrong approach. Haley and the others are too timid, afraid to say that a new Republican Party needs to emerge.

The Democrats have a different problem. Their old party hasn’t been blown up yet, they are still trying to do things the old way.  Biden is trying to hold on. He did a great job in rescuing the country from Trump elements and tackling the first stage of taking on climate change. He has to put together a message that brings forward enthusiasm that emphasizes his accomplishments and the people in his administration who got the job done.  

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January 16, 2024

The Answer…

No real surprise in the Iowa Caucus last night.  Evangelicals believe they have the Answer, some old guy found it in a vision a long time ago.

At an early age Evangelical’s learn how to be judgmental. Down deep most evangelicals believe Trump is going to end up in Hell for his many sins.  But they don’t care, because in the world they inhabit now, he is going to preserve their Wealth and even more their Power. They live in two worlds, life on earth and the after life. Because they have the Answer they know who is going to hell and who is going to heaven.

A key point is, they don’t believe that voting for someone who is morally Upright will get them into heaven.

My first vote was in the 1964 election. I know what it was like to buy into candidates that had the answer, candidates like Goldwater and Nixon, one didn’t make it, one was a criminal.

Biden and the Democrats have to show that they have implemented a Real Answer. They have turned around the inequality thrust that was started 40 years ago by Reagan. Wages are going up now, people have jobs. They now have to turn up the heat on fighting the biggest threat to civilization that man has ever faced, Climate Change, much bigger than the two World Wars. Biden’s failure on this front has not been about putting in place a lot of strong programs. It has been by not promoting someone as the person who is knowledgeable and can provide a comprehensive Answer to what everyone is feeling now, the High Volatility of Weather. High volatility is a key trait of Climate Change, whether it be records on heat, cold, floods, etc.

The Democrats need to grab onto one of the conservative approaches. They need one name that has the Answer, a name that everyone will associate with the Democrat approach, and it should not be Biden, he should be using his age as an experience stability backdrop, let younger and technologically smarter people speak and implement and let everyone know who that person is. That person could be who carries on in 2028.

As a car guy I have to say one more thing about Biden, get rid of the old Corvette, it was cool in the 60’s. Get an electric sports car, make a personal statement. It seems like on Facebook most of the old car people are dyed in the wool conservatives anyway

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January 13, 2024

As we go into the New Year and the start of the 2024 Election Cycle…

The Iowa caucus is next Monday and it is said that Evangelicals dominate and control the direction of the voting in that state.

To that point I have something personal to say.

I am witness to what I am saying herein. My grandfather grew up in the Amish faith and my parents and their siblings raised me my siblings and all of my maybe 40 cousins one step away in an Evangelical church. I am 80 years old at this point and can provide a bit of perspective at this point.

First, Evangelicals are used to living by rules and discipline handed down by elders, primarily white males having seen a vision. This is hard core Old Testament history stuff, from a time before Christ died for the sins of all.

So it is no stretch that Evangelicals would vote for an authoritarian immoral demagogue like Trump. In a sense that is the historical thread on which Nazi Germany thrived.

The things that Jesus aspired to in the New Testament are mostly alien to the Evangelicals. Things like “love”, “doing to others as you would like done to you” are not core beliefs.

A core point in the 2024 election is that Evangelicals don’t see what I said above as rejecting Democracy. Most Evangelical immigrants from the big immigration period, maybe 1860 to 1920, were not escaping religious persecution, but were coming here for economic reasons. With the indigenous Native Americans having been successfully killed or driven West to OK or KS, west of the Missouri River, there was a whole bunch of land that was being offered by the government and all those who didn’t want to farm could live off building the infrastructure or providing services.

At this stage in 2024 it is important for the Evangelicals that immigration be curbed, they believe that will leave more of their wealth to be handed down to their families.

The core point, Democracy for Evangelicals is about personal wealth, not the common good.

Another important point is that morality of the country’s leaders is not an important factor for Evangelicals. Morality for them is doing what they believe they need to do to get into heaven personally. Everyone else is on their own.

It probably is important to factor in that going to church is becoming less important to Evangelicals. The internet has made it easy to download the goals and rules for being an Evangelical. God is much closer now, he can be on your iPhone. Trump is playing into that dynamic, he is doing his God act directly, he doesn’t have to cozy up to local Pastors anymore.

The answer to all this for me is to live by what all peaceful God loving , regardless of religion, people around the world abide by: Love, and treating others the way you would like to be treated. You don’t need some elder with a vision telling you how to live your life or who to vote for.

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October 6, 2023

The Fourth Turning…

The popular new book, “The Fourth Turning is Here” by Neil Howe, lays out some interesting parameters for the two coming elections that will occur during what he believes the Fourth Turning period 2021 to 2033 entails.

Prior Fourth turnings have turned out some of our strongest Presidents.

George Washington ….1783-1794 Fourth Turning

Abraham Lincoln …..1860-1865 Fourth Turning

Franklin D. Roosevelt….1938-1946 Fourth Turning

Interestingly and maybe importantly the ages of these Presidents during the Fourth Turnings ranged between 56 and 65.

As we are in a Fourth Turning period and look at the ages of potential Democratic candidates for the 2024 and 2028 Elections we see that a tight range of birth dates between 1967 and 1973 will produce Presidents with the combination of experience and age that will provide strong and vigorous leadership that is congruent with history.

These five potential candidates are in order here from oldest to youngest with their birthdate.

  • Gavin Newsom 1967
  • Dean Philips 1969
  • Hakeem Jeffries 1970
  • Gretchen Whitmer 1971
  • Raja Krishnamoothi 1973

This could be a starting point for an aggressive Democratic presence in the coming election. 

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September 14, 2023

Biden’s Age…

The Biggest obstacle for Biden is, other than for the younger millennials, I think Americans down deep have a place in their heart that embraces authoritarianism.

True, the long Democracy story is all about everyone having a piece in the game, but the old European thread in the US is that respect for strong management ideas are a positive.  Republicans use that view to the utmost. I think it is tempting for many people to want to see someone take over and do everything.

Democrats want to govern by letting the good ideas float to the top in a democratic process. With the legitimate pushback on Biden’s age, what Biden has to do is show what these ideas and directions are and who in his administration is going to implement them. He has to use his experience to lead, but then turn implementation over to a balanced mix of smart, younger people.  These names and faces of the implementers can become the campaign focus.

 

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August 25, 2023

Climate Change appears to be causing a little heart burn for the Republicans.  Details in our blog today.

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June 3, 2023

Dem’s Need New Thinking

All that the Dem’s are trying to do is good, but I think they are missing the point in the message that they are putting out for 2024. I am in a sense going way beyond my previous post of April 26, 2023. That post kind of tried to work within establishment norms, rather than New Thinking.

First, I think they need to view Trump, albeit a terrible immoral person who would destroy America if he was voted back in for four more years, as having done the country a big favor in totally upsetting the table on the old way of doing things. The people who are following him, both people in Washington and in the electorate, are missing the point, he was a flashpoint, the match to burn down the house, not the builder of a new house.

The Dem’s won in 2020 by bringing back old thinking, getting the electorate to believe that going back to old ways would solve the national problem.  It has worked in a sense, a little bit of calm has returned in the Biden era, but the basic issues that Trump exposed in both the Republican and Democratic party are still there.  Running Biden for a second term will not work, the electorate wants new thinking and solutions.  Biden’s age is just a low level story, not the core issue.

So to me what the Dem’s need to do is some deep thinking, where is there a younger, dynamic individual that can capture the hearts and minds of the electorate?  This person needs to be able to stand on the principles and thinking that can capture the imagination of the electorate. This person needs to be beyond running on gender, race, or equality issues, these are not the factors that matter now. What matter’s now is New Thinking.

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April 26, 2023

Another Biden Term?

Biden’s announcement yesterday to seek another term is our subject today. I have really mixed emotions, he has done a good job with all the legislation that has passed, however I do see that polls affirm that he is too old to seek another term.  It no doubt is important to keep “lame duck” status at bay, but I do think he should be grooming and eventually making public a little before the primary season starts, a couple of strong people.  I would suggest Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar.  It would be important to highlight that they have been selected due to their expertise in following the goals and legislation methodology that the Biden administration has established. 

A good background piece on Biden’s announcement by Heather Cox Richardson can be found in our blog today.

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February 9, 2023

We have been waiting for the pieces to fall into place for 2023. Biden continues to surprise me.  He actually has gotten a lot done.  Watching and analyzing him makes me realize how he operates.  He is kind of an old time politician, gets things done by understanding politics in maybe what could be called Old Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley style.  Things are done in background and boom there they are, like his State of the Union Speech a couple of days ago. So, he is getting things done, and more importantly in ways that the bottom half (income basis) of the Republican crowd can embrace. 

On the other hand, the Don’t Get Anything Done Crowd..

It is rather refreshing after the past six years of watching the smart but don’t get anything done Democratic crowd, the Adam Schiff and Jamie Raskin type.  They know the constitution and rules completely, yet they don’t get anything done. They didn’t realize it was not their job to explain the constitution and why Trump broke the rules, their job was to convince Senator McConnel that getting rid of Trump was a great thing and could be done.

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December 2, 2022

A time to Celebrate..

Today’s employment report is like a shot of sunshine, maybe even lightning, in the long fight for equality, the fight that started when the Republicans and Ronald Reagan started the Supply-Side agenda which was just another name for moving money to the top.

Wage and employment gains are part of a large wave that includes making the economy more efficient by taking on the economic headwinds of climate change.  The two big “E’s”, Increasing Efficiency and Equality are the headlines that need to be front and center for the Progressive direction of today’s American government.

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Industrial Recovery

Our blog today takes a look at the manufacturing sector which is gaining jobs this year, a net increase versus pre-covid levels.  A goal that has been talked about for some years and is finally happening.

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August 29, 2022

Biden Resurrection is Strategic

I will have to admit that Biden has proven how his deep political roots can have legs when the going gets tough.  The Inflation Reduction Act and Chips bill have changed the playing field.  Those factors along with pushback from voters on the Supreme Courts reversal of Roe vs Wade puts the Democrats in a position with the potential to hold their slim edge going into November.

Also providing assistance is FED chair Jerome Powell who said in his speech at Jackson Hole last Friday:  “Some of you will suffer, but that’s the sacrifice I’m willing to make.”

Those comments by someone with a Net worth in the area of $200m, and who along with his friends and fellow governors have advance knowledge of when to be long or out, or maybe even short.

Maybe Congress needs to require full disclosure reported at end of each week of all investment positions of all FED Governors and related family members, and maybe all senators and representatives, since our world has become a money game.

What he should have said is “Ben Bernanke and I are the problem. Zero rates and low growth for 11 years have us in a bad place. 3.5 % is rate that has stood the test of thousands of years. In order to be a stabilizing force and provide growth we will use that level for the next 11 yrs.”

In any case, the economic headwinds have now been firmly placed on Powell’s lap.  All Biden needs to do is be more forceful in getting that message through to the FED.

On another note, while I see unfolding events in Washington continuing to push Trump into the background, one stills needs to be aware of the solid core of support he has in the Republican evangelical sphere.  I have added a thought-provoking front-page article today by Thom Hartmann titled “Is Trump the Antichrist”

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July 8, 202

Economics and the Coming Election

The rise of the dollar and decline of oil prices are completing some long term background views that I have expressed since the beginning of the year. The dollar no doubt is benefitting from the stupidity of the Steve Bannon influenced Brexit moves by England plus the stupidity of huge levels of liquidity added to the U.S. economy by the FED and Treasury over the past two years. On a relative basis the US is sitting in a good place. High Energy prices benefitted mostly from Ukraine, and that area is seemingly becoming a stalemate.

At the moment US politics remains a nest of whores. Biden was a good choice when Trump was the other possibility, but Biden has way too big an Ego and little sense of how to get major economic projects in place to be the positive force needed now. Climate change has the potential to be the major driving force of the economy, but at the moment we only see the negative side of it, the ramifications of rising temperatures, and unnatural precipitation patterns. How many of us know the name of the person heading up the Climate Change initiative. This should be the most known name in America, more known than Biden’s, as he is what he initially said he was, the caretaker. But what we have is a Climate Change head with basically experience in regulation, not Big Positive policy. You have to go to google to find her name.  Get with it Democrats.

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May 8th, 2022

We have posted a number of articles over the past couple of years describing descriptive aspects of the Trump takeover of the Republican party and the factors that helped it grow.  Trump had his chance to build a constructive legacy and failed to be reelected.  Now he is looking to try again.  But 4 years is a long time in political circles, time that has allowed other groups including what I would call “CORE Republicans” to find common purpose.  Democrats for the same reason are figuring out their message. Our post today in the blog section, “MAGA REPUBLICANS” is from an article on CNN today.

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March 28, 2022

Who has the edge for 2022

The strange theme that seems to be central to the 2022 election, the theme that Republicans are going to make big gains in that election, seems to me to be ignoring what is going on at ground level.  Things are changing in a big way, the populous is realizing how important Democracy is, and how reckless the ultra-conservative push to Authoritarianism has been.
A diverse set of circumstances have changed how Americans see themselves and their country. Covid, the January 6th insurrection, Ukraine, and Increasing Climate Change are bringing the big picture into focus.

The result is a movement towards solid civil society that puts the focus forward for positive direction.

The disaffected middle ground will move towards the policies and programs that are based on a practical approach to getting the job done.

This middle ground will be the area where people energy is going to concentrate in coming years. It will be made up of the disaffected, the so called conservative liberals and liberal conservatives. This is a group that will grow its own leadership and make big changes to which ever party, the current Democrat or current Republican it becomes a part.

It will be a formative moment to see how liberal Democrats and Conservative Republicans adjust to this new reality. The party that welcomes this group, a group which may be as big as the current core Republican and Democratic Parties, and adjusts to a new normal will be central to the direction for America in the coming decades.

I am hoping that we are talking here about the true center ground, the true Progressives who fight for strong and sustainable governance. A government devoted to action and equality rather than grieving over past inequities. In my opinion they are the greatest hope for a New America.

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March 12, 2022

The Money Fight

We have a fight where two leaders are fighting from their hearts, Zelenskey fighting “to Be” and Putin “to be great again” and we are bringing to the fight what the western world cherishes, “money” , Negative money towards Putin, positive dribbles to Zelenskey. A sad statement of what the western world sees as important.  We know Putin is wrong in every sense, morally and more, but where are the leaders, other than Zelensky, that will fight the moral high ground?

Where are the western leaders who will fight for liberty and democracy? 

With all the inroads of social media in the past 10 years the average citizen of the world has a fairly enlightened view of things, they know right from wron.. It is a few demented leaders that the world has to fear. The good leaders will need to be those who are not cowed by the bad guys and are motivated by their hearts, and not money.

Marcdh 8, 2022

Hats off to Biden.  Long term readers know that I am not a Biden fan.  He is too much of an old line Democrat.  But I will say that his cautious approach seems to be working on the Ukranian issue. I like a more aggressive posture, but Biden has pulled the whole western world together in a fight to support Democracy in a way that has never been accomplished in these modern times.  Rather interesting when we compare the results Biden is getting versus Bush and Cheney’s attempt to bring Democracy to Iraq.

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March 6, 2022

Is this the Current World Message to Dictators ?

“If you have nuclear you can do whatever you want.”

This is what is reflected in today’s world where the most powerful country in the world feels it cannot act to stop invasion and mass destruction and execution of a countries people.  Maybe it’s time for some outside the box thinking on Global Security.

One approach would be to institute a global populous stance of operation within the UN.  Make it truly the driving force of the worlds people. The UN could be run using a 2/3 majority rule on all decisions.  A Charter that includes all nations, where each country can vote in a way that reflects the total global population will. No Security Council with veto power.  All countries could join.  Votes on resolutions could be based on a vote value approach that calculates a country vote value by some formula of population, land mass, and GDP.

Then there could be a UN Strike Force that would remove any leader who violates UN rules and receives a NO vote by the body, and then refuses to abide by such ruling.  

 Such an approach as stated above could apply rulings to even the all powerful US and China.  No doubt this is so far outside the box that the world would rather continue the approach of violence with no solutions.

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March 1, 2022

Is this the time where America does some deep insight work.  Why do we as a country now feel that are our hands are tied when cruel dictators are taking advantage of a populations either internally or through invasion.  Is it because we base our approach on learning things based on prior strategic mistakes? Mistakes like Viet Nam, where faulty premises were key, Iraq where a brutal dictator was wreaking havoc, or Afghanistan, where Bin Laden was hiding, both situations where we overstayed after the core problem was solved. Now we face another core problem, it is not Russia or the Russian people, it is Russian leadership.

February 25, 2022

A short comment here, the last day of an eventful week. Of course, the big question is what happens in Ukraine. In doing a bit of research on the subject, I have come to the realization that the biggest battle is here at home, does the US have the willingness to fight for Democracy, or does Trump’s Authoritarian influence move beyond the Republican base. The US and NATO have stated that they will not overtly help Ukraine fight the authoritarian Putin, that would appear to me as a signal that all is not well here at home.

February 24, 2022

An Emergency NATO Membership Meeting is called for…

My view is that the four reasons that Ukraine’s membership in NATO has been held back have been negated by Putin’s moves tonight. It is time for an emergency NATO meeting, sanctions will not get the job done quickly enough to save Ukraine. Please take a moment to review this excellent piece from the NYT.

 

NATO Won’t Let Ukraine Join Soon. Here’s Why.

Ukraine, with Russian troops on its borders, is pressing for membership. But President Biden and European leaders are not ready for that step.

By Edward Wong and Lara Jakes  NYT

Jan. 13, 2022

WASHINGTON — The tense talks this week among the United States, Russia and European members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have made one thing clear: While the Biden administration insists it will not allow Moscow to quash Ukraine’s ambitions to join NATO, it has no immediate plans to help bring the former Soviet republic into the alliance.

If Ukraine were a NATO member, the alliance would be obligated to defend it against Russia and other adversaries. U.S. officials say they will not appease President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia by undermining a policy enshrined in NATO’s original 1949 treaty that grants any European nation the right to ask to join.

“Together, the United States and our NATO allies made clear we will not slam the door shut on NATO’s open door policy — a policy that has always been central to the NATO alliance,” Wendy R. Sherman, the deputy secretary of state, said on Wednesday.

But France and Germany have in the past opposed Ukraine’s inclusion, and other European members are wary — a deal breaker for an alliance that grants membership only by unanimous consent. American and Russian leaders know this. With Russian troops amassed on Ukraine’s eastern border, some current and former American and European officials say Mr. Putin might just be raising the NATO issue as a pretext for an invasion.

Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, has suggested that Mr. Putin is trying to distract from more urgent matters. “Everybody’s talking about NATO expansion,” Mr. McFaul said on a podcast by the Center for a New American Security that was released on Tuesday. “Suddenly, we’re debating this issue that wasn’t even an issue. That’s a great advantage to him.”

Like European leaders, President Biden remains uninterested in Ukrainian membership in NATO. Here are four reasons.

  1. Biden has grown skeptical of expanding U.S. military commitments.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mr. Biden successfully urged NATO to accept Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic as member states in the late 1990s. The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time, Mr. Biden said that turning the former Cold War adversaries into allies would mark the “beginning of another 50 years of peace” for Europe. He added that the move would right a “historical injustice” perpetrated by Stalin.

But over the course of two decades of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, experts said, Mr. Biden’s fervor for expanding NATO cooled considerably. In 2004, seven Eastern European countries joined the alliance, and in 2008, President George W. Bush pushed NATO to issue a declaration that Ukraine and Georgia would become members in the future despite reservations from U.S. intelligence agencies. However, the alliance has never offered either country a formal action plan to join, a necessary step for them to do so.

As recently as June, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken told senators that “we support Ukraine membership in NATO.” Mr. Biden, however, has been far more circumspect in his public comments and “has soft-pedaled talk of extending NATO membership to Ukraine,” two foreign policy scholars, Joshua Shifrinson and Stephen Wertheim, wrote in September in Foreign Affairs.

 In 2014, as vice president, Mr. Biden told officials in Ukraine during a visit there that any U.S. military support would be small, if given at all, according to a biography of Mr. Biden by Evan Osnos, a New Yorker writer who was on the trip. Russia had just invaded and annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, and Ukrainian officials were unhappy with Mr. Biden’s message.

“We no longer think in Cold War terms,” Mr. Biden told Mr. Osnos, adding that “there is nothing that Putin can do militarily to fundamentally alter American interests.”

Last June, Mr. Biden told journalists at NATO headquarters in Brussels that “school is out on that question” when asked whether Ukraine could join the alliance.

2. Biden wants Ukraine to improve its political and legal systems.

To meet one of the three main criteria for entry into NATO, a European nation must demonstrate a commitment to democracy, individual liberty and support for the rule of law. While Ukrainian leaders say they have met that threshold, some American and European officials argue otherwise.

In a 2020 analysis, Transparency International, an anticorruption watchdog, ranked Ukraine 117th out of 180 countries on its corruption index, lower than any NATO nation.

Officials in European nations with stronger liberal governance — notably in Sweden and Finland — have also floated the possibility of joining NATO, despite years of determined nonalignment. That is a discussion “we are ready to do,” Victoria J. Nuland, the State Department’s under secretary for political affairs, told journalists on Tuesday. “Obviously, they are longtime, established, stable democracies.”

She signaled that might not be the case with Ukraine. “That conversation would be slightly different than it is with countries that are making the transition to democratic systems and dealing with intensive problems of corruption and economic reform and democratic stability, etc.,” Ms. Nuland said.

Her comments echoed those of Mr. Biden on his 2014 visit to Ukraine. “To be very blunt about it, and this is a delicate thing to say to a group of leaders in their house of parliament, but you have to fight the cancer of corruption that is endemic in your system right now,” Mr. Biden told Ukrainian officials then.

Some Western officials also question whether Ukraine could meet a second set of criteria: contributing to the collective defense of NATO nations. But Ukraine sent troops to the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“There are steps that Ukraine needs to take,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said in September after President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine met with Mr. Biden in the Oval Office. “They’re very familiar with these: efforts to advance rule of law reforms, modernize its defense sector and expand economic growth.”

3. NATO wants to avoid greater Russian hostility.

After annexing Crimea, Mr. Putin invaded eastern Ukraine and gave military aid to a separatist insurgency there. He did something similar in Georgia in 2008. The message has been clear: If these two nations join NATO, the United States and European countries will have to grapple directly with ongoing Russian-fueled conflicts.

Russia could also impose other costs on Europe, such as withholding gas exports. And Germany and many other NATO nations prefer to choose their battles with Russia, given its proximity and Mr. Putin’s aggressive nature. They know he and other Russian officials are obsessed with Ukraine.

Given all that, Ukraine would almost certainly be unable to meet the third main criterion to join NATO: approval from all 30 members.

 “The principal objection would be: Does such a move actually contribute to the stability in Europe, or would it contribute to destabilization?” said Douglas E. Lute, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO. “I think it’s indisputable there wouldn’t be consensus among the 30 members, even though all allies agree that Ukraine has the right to aspire to become a NATO member.”

Stephen M. Walt, a professor of international affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, said that even in the 1990s, when NATO enlargement was first proposed, many prominent American strategists opposed it for this reason. “That was the concern all along — it wouldn’t be easy to do this in a way that wouldn’t threaten Russia,” he said.

4. Ukrainian leaders have waffled on NATO membership.

Ukrainian leaders have not always pushed hard to join NATO, and that has shaped the American approach.

Former President Viktor Yushchenko wanted entry into the alliance, but Ukrainians became more reluctant after Russia invaded Georgia. His successor, Viktor Yanukovych, dropped any drive for membership and promoted closer ties with Russia, even agreeing to allow Moscow to continue leasing a Black Sea naval port in Crimea.

During the Obama administration, American officials encouraged Ukraine to sign a formal association agreement with the European Union rather than try to join NATO. Mr. Putin pressured Mr. Yanukovych to reject the agreement, which led to the Euromaidan protests in 2013 that eventually ousted Mr. Yanukovych.

“A lot of the U.S. policy has been quite reactive due to circumstances,” said Fiona Hill, a Russia expert at the Brookings Institution who was a senior director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council under President Donald J. Trump. “It has also changed due to changes in Ukraine itself toward this.”

“By now, you’ve got much more sentiment in Ukraine for joining NATO,” she added.

Mr. Zelensky has pressed Mr. Biden repeatedly on membership, including during his visit to the White House in September. “I would like to discuss with President Biden here his vision, his government’s vision of Ukraine’s chances to join NATO and the time frame for this accession, if it is possible,” he said as he sat next to Mr. Biden.

Mr. Biden blew past those comments without responding.

 

The writers of this NYT article:

Edward Wong is a diplomatic and international correspondent who has reported for The Times for more than 20 years, 13 from Iraq and China. He received a Livingston Award and was on a team of Pulitzer Prize finalists for Iraq War coverage. He has been a Nieman Fellow at Harvard and a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton. @ewong

Lara Jakes is a diplomatic correspondent based in the Washington bureau of The New York Times. Over the past two decades, Ms. Jakes has reported and edited from more than 40 countries and covered war and sectarian fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, the West Bank and Northern Ireland. @jakesNYT

A version of this article appears in print on Jan. 14, 2022, Section A, Page 6 of the New York edition with the headline: Why the Members of NATO Won’t Let Ukraine Join Anytime Soon. 

end of post.

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  • February 6, 2022,

There is a path to a sure victory for the Democrats in 2022. 

It involves the 15 percent of the population that identifies as Republican yet dislike Trump and what he portrays for the country.  It will take the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party, yes, the Practical Progressive wing, not the elite liberal wing to get the job done, but it can be done.  As a Republican for 40 years prior to 2003, I know the type of people who could provide the edge for a Democratic win. We can do it.

February 3, 2022

In the regular blog today, we have posted an article by Samuel Goldman on a topic that I believe the Progressive movement needs to address.  And that is the Return to Libertarianism by some on the right. 

January 20, 2022

Been waiting for a year to get back involved, made a post to our blog today, but you can read it hear today.

I have held my tongue waiting for the first year of the Biden initiative to go into the record books, a lot has happened but so much remains to be done.

My first comment…

Biden is getting old, just a year older than me. I think he needs to sit back and assume the position of a wise advisor, ie. put some younger high energy people out front on the initiatives. And that person is not Harris.

I think history will show that the biggest initiative for his Administration will no doubt be Climate Change. It will not be all the cleanup issues that carried over from the disruptive Trump reign.  The COVID response has been strong and the initial money raise for the stimulus package was good.  On the other hand, I believe there has been a lot of over-reach with the initial Build Back Better and Voting Rights Bill.  I think the filibuster should be left alone; it will only come back to bite you if at some time in the future the Republicans get in a small majority situation.   It you want to go big, then work on getting more Democrats elected in 2022 and 2024.

Build Back Better needs to be enacted. But first, it needs to be explained and most importantly it needs to be financed by rescinding the Trump Tax Cuts.  This program has to be paid for by increasing government revenue, no additional debt can be added in this inflationary environment.

There was and is a need for all of these programs, but there needs to be more energy and more compromise. On voting, maybe the most important thing would be to make Election Day a National Holiday, the other stuff would be nice but are deeply scary for Republicans, because if everyone voted, Republicans would lose. So, work on getting out the vote.

Secondly..

A change of attitude for the Democrats should have a high priority. All this talk of losing their majorities in 2022 should stop. I will say that I have the luxury of having been a Republican for almost 40 years, 1964 to 2003. I see how Republicans get things done. They are not like Democrats who are always crying about something. And while I love Rachel Maddow’s investigative qualities, she and the other MSNBC crowd are too much, a bunch of cry-babies. It is time they devoted themselves to efforts for voter registration and positive Program agendas. Give airtime to experts on Climate Change, exciting people like Jeremy Rifkin and others, not some bureaucrat.

And,

The Democratic Pary needs a leader, Biden, sadly, is not a visionary one, and Jamie Harrison for sure is not one. I became a Democrat based on the energy and ideas of Howard Dean. His 50-state initiative got things going, Obama came along, and a new world was built. Now someone exciting needs to move to the top and keep it going. I have some ideas.

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November 3, 2021

It has been almost 300 days since the inauguration and I have kept quiet.  While I was not a Biden supporter, I did want him to have a chance to succeed. Today, after the Virginia and New Jersey Governor elections, and final results not confirmed yet, in any case the Democrat candidates did not perform.  Am I surprised, not really, the 2020 congressional election was too close and the electorate too partisan for all the happy talk of working together. 

So this morning I am posting an article by the Intelligencer which speaks to the point and I am including my comments underlined in the body of their article.

We will become more active as we move forward into the 2022 elections setup.  We will have a lot to say.  Many of these comments will be added in the “2022 Progressive Factor” section.

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January 8, 2021    The much talked about disconnect.

Here is a quick take on the disconnect between the state of the country and the stock market.

To me the answer is real easy. No one believes the core message that Democrats have put forth.

  1. No one believes that the Democrats are going to change anything other than spend more money. This after we have seen the Republicans run up huge deficits, papering over their failures by using taxpayer money to save votes. A good example; the tariff failure and the billions given to farmers to make up the difference.
  2. No one believes that in the first 100 days that anything is going to be done about the core Inequality issue.
  3. No one believes that in the first 100 days that legislation is going to be passed to raise corporate and capital gains taxes as a first step to Fiscal sanity.
  4. No one believes that in the first 100 days legislation is going to be presented to break up monopolies.
  5. No one believes that in the first 100 days the Treasury Department will curtail support for zombie company bond financing.
  6. No one believes that Janet Yellen will really fight for financial balance.
  7. No one believes that stock buybacks will be curtailed until the FED stops buying bonds and starts selling down its bond portfolio.

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January 3, 2021

A few thoughts this evening as we move into the Future, the hopefully wonderful world of 2021. 

The battle going forward will circle around the factors that have built and perpetuate the inequality that so many Americans feel.  Basically we live in a world that governments through their central banks have built.  The US is not the only country that is affected, but we were the first and are worst at this moment.

What has rolled out is that the top third of the population do not have to endure a market based economic cycle, they through their influence, have governments intervene and create a no-consequence artificial cycle.

The bottom two thirds of the population still have to live in a real consequence market based economic cycle.

And to top it all off, most politicians are part of the elite top third, and use their power to send crumbs down to the people involved in the real world whenever the top third have a hiccup.

Is it any wonder that the people are angry?

After the inauguration we will get moving on the 2022 Progressive Factor section.

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December 3 2020

We are adding a new section to this site today and will be building it over the coming months.

It is titled “The 2022 Progressive Factor” and can be entered through the home page.

In this section we will insert a number of articles that look at what Democrats, or maybe not Democrats, maybe a new party, will need to analyze in order to bring rural and blue collar workers interests into a new political direction for 2022. We see that Democrats had to put together a coalition package to beat Trump Republicans, they got it done, but not by the margins they expected or will need in 2022 elections.

Thanksgiving Day 2020

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and in my years on this earth I don’t think I have ever seen such a gap between the haves and have nots and the public policy that is unwilling to address that gap. A substantial number of Americans are not going to have a festive holiday. Covid and unemployment are real.

The coming end to the Trump administration and the switch to a Biden Presidency will hopefully provide a quantum change in policy, a change that most Americans don’t perceive. Main Street will replace Wall Street. We all know that stock indexes don’t really provide a picture of the state of our country. Price / earnings multiples are in the stratosphere and the markets are still clinging to the old normal, and why would they not, that is what the bully pulpit is proclaiming. There has been no effort to redeploy workers to new areas that the New Normal will require.

Hopefully that redeployment will happen. It will be a shock to Wall Street as they will find dwindling support for their dreams, reality will set in for Main Street. This will not be an easy switch, too much is leveraged in the happy talk conversation, inventories and orders are bulging as the much hoped for return to the old normal are in place.

To be fair, Trump is not totally to blame, and Biden will not be the total cure, too many old ideas, lack of outside the boxers, old school elitist’s appear to be populating the new administration. But that probably had to happen to bridge the gap from the magnitude of the destruction of Main Street since the Supply Sider, Trickle Downers, got control in the early 1980’s. Trump was just the cherry on the top of that Wall Street ice cream sundae.

Enjoy your pumpkin pie tomorrow.

Election Day 2020

It is not about Trump.  Today we have added a blog post to our Digging Deeper-Politics Section that we think has some important insights.  See “It is Not About Trump”.

Update of September 26, 2020

The Supreme Court Moment

We hear much today about the replacement of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a conservative female justice and what that will mean.

Are those selection concerns real?

So I did a google search asking the question, “have Supreme Court picks always been based around cultural values rather than judicial expertise ?”

And I was surprised to get a lengthy set of abstracts on the issue, I know reading those helped me and maybe you also to see the bigger picture.

Politically we know the coming judicial nomination by Trump will have a short term effect on things. I think taking a deep breath and looking at how this unfolded will allow some perspective for the longer term.

Trump was voted in by a backlash against elites, whether measured by education, wealth, or scientific knowledge. That has not changed with his followers in 4 years as we go into an election in November.

What has changed is the overwhelming number of people who now understand this and will I believe install Democrats in the Whitehouse, and a majority of the Senate, and House.  This is the bigger long term picture.

So back to the judicial abstracts to get you up to speed.  Go to Supreme Court Selection in the Menu.

update of August 12, 2020

We have been watching and researching the landscape over the past three months.  Have not posted since early May.  COVID-19 has brought a lot of turmoil but the big picture has not changed that much. Climate Change and Health Care and how to deal with them in a pro-growth environment is still key. A sense of making ones Community central to your life is still paramount. As Raghuram Rajan points out at one point in his book, The Third Pillar, the central theme in a dysfunctional community is the inability of the community members to act together for their common good. How better to describe many of our Communities in the United States at this moment, whether it be our national community or our local communities. 

My hope is that Joe Biden can foster an administration that can get us back to working together.  In order to do that he will need a partner as VP has the desire to build a National community and I believe he has that done in choosing Kamala Harris who brings a lot of energy and and perspective.   I do also hope that he will choose Elizabeth Warren for a large role in the Administration.  She would bring a rich portfolio of forward thinking ideas to tackle the economic, climate, and health issues that the country faces.             

             Back in May we said the following: The hard part in any election is convincing voters that you really have something that you can make happen – and in this election we originally thought it was —

                                            Workable Big Ideas

But it turned out in the early primary races that the desire to take the low risk route to be sure and beat Trump took things towards one thing, 

                                            perceived electability

With that as the back drop we have just added a section March 5 Rethink.02. This section takes a second look at how the voters could have their low risk route and yet see the next Administration be truly one devoted to Big Ideas.

                                        Education is the first step.

In the early stages of the caucus and primary schedule a lot of attention was being focused on elect-ability, the fear that no Democrat can beat Trump. We would like to see this change for the rest of the primary season. Explained ISSUES should be the number one challenge. Especially issues explained in detail, like do the math for people, let them visualize the story.  Climate, Inequality and Healthcare are big words that need to be wrapped in reality.

In this website we have a Digging Deeper section where a number of researchers, authors, etc, do dig deeper than we have seen on the primary trail so far.

We also in the ReThinking section, try to put together some challenge/solution dialogue.

In the blog section we will post items of interest and invite you to post responses also.

           

 

         

 

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