WHEREAS, stability in the Middle East is a high priority for Israel, the United States and the world; while military interventions in the Middle East have been lengthy and costly resulting in civilian and military casualties with only mixed success and unintended consequences including the rise of Isis; and
WHEREAS, nuclear experts and intelligence sources indicate that Iran is only months away from the capability of making a nuclear bomb with approximately 20,000 centrifuges for uranium enrichment; while the Nuclear Agreement with Iran will allow inspectors on the ground and reduce Iran’s stockpile of uranium to about 2%, a 98% reduction from present levels, and lock many of these 20,000 centrifuges so they cannot be used to enrich uranium; and
WHEREAS, it is acknowledged that this Agreement is an important start in redefining the relationship with Iran which has been problematic for many years, that this Agreement does not preclude the United States from taking any other actions deemed necessary with a repressive regime, and that this Agreement will use diplomatic channels to secure peace before placing our troops in harm’s way; then
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the members of the Ventura County Democratic Party endorse the ratification of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement; and
THEREFORE, BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED that the members of the Ventura County Democratic Party support the Honorable Member of Congress from the 26th District, Julia Brownley, and our Honorable Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, in their decisions to endorse ratification of the Iran Nuclear Agreement.
Authored by Kristin Hoover, Resolutions Chair of the Democratic Club of the Conejo Valley. Edited and supported by Richard Gunther, President of the Democratic Club of the Conejo Valley.
Politics is like booze. What matters is perception.
Mediocre vodka in a fancy bottle, widely advertised, ludicrously overpriced is perceived as “premium vodka.” But the expert tasters at Proof66.com are scathing: “If there was ever an example of all marketing and no quality, this is it. We find the vodka to have a very poor taste.”
Hyped-up marketing overwhelms the perception of our senses. Republican strategists understand this. That’s how they succeeded in deceiving Americans about President Obama’s economic stimulus of 2009.
Lest we forget, the entire world was then heading for a 1930s Depression. Lest we forget, this country lost 8.7 million jobs in the Great Recession (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities). Lest we forget, this mess was caused by Republicans. Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, snuck through laws favoring Wall Street that stuck us with those dangerous financial derivatives. Those supposedly safe investments threatened the entire global economy in 2008. Industrial output plunged worldwide and millions lost everything.
Finance ministers around the world met urgently and agreed on stimulus policies to pull the global economy out of its nosedive. But Republicans opposed President Obama’s stimulus fanatically. They hyped up tiny items to discredit the whole policy. They conflated it with the hated 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program (the bailout of banks and Wall Street) enacted byPresident Bush Junior, mark you.
Democrats were blindsided. They don’t understand perception. They fought back miserably, making things worse. Right-wing goons equated “stimulus” with “bailout,” “fraud” and “waste.” Obama didn’t seize the headlines. He didn’t marshal prominent economists like Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman into the public eye. He lost that crucial swagger, vital in American politics. The “narrative” and “framing” were driven entirely by Republicans. Their Noise Machine blasted out whoppers, parroted by the media, making Americans believe that the stimulus was a failure.
Obama expected that Republicans would come to America’s aid in her hour of peril. They threw sand in the gears instead. These tactics are chronicled in The New New Deal by Michael Grunwald. Don’t read it. It’s sickening. You’d vomit. There are pages of blatant Republican lies. Even Sen. George Voinovitch, R-Ohio, was revolted: “Instead of doing what was right, partisan politics always came first.” Wrecking America for political spite was more important to Republicans than nursing America back to health. If you think I’m outraged at this treachery, you’re right.
Krugman commented (Sept. 16, 2012): “But because it fell short of its goals, and was roundly ridiculed by Republicans and inadequately defended by Democrats, who should have trumpeted its success, the president’s stimulus plan is now widely considered a stumble.”
But how did Obama’s vodka actually taste? The experts loved it. CNN Money stated (Sept. 8, 2011): “Despite nonstop criticism from Republicans, the Obama administration’s effort to help the economy has created jobs.” Krugman, a Nobel-prize-winner, loved it (Feb. 22, 2014): “It created or saved an average of 1.6 million jobs a year for four years.” In his opinion it prevented a depression. Financial markets loved it.
The conservative Economist magazine concurred (March 8, 2014): “When he became president in 2009, Barack Obama’s job was pure fire-fighting. His huge package of bail-outs and stimulus was justified by the awful symptoms of the slump: a jobless rate approaching 10 percent and a deficit of $1.4 trillion. It worked: The economy was growing again by late 2009; the deficit soon tumbled.”
So Obama produced great booze and got the party going again, but was out-sold by goons flogging lousy vodka that was “all marketing and no quality.”
Warren Buffett called the stimulus “half a Viagra.” Democrats had only 58 votes in the Senate (breaking a filibuster needs 60 votes), however, and the two remaining moderate Republicans wouldn’t allow a bigger stimulus (to get to 60). And no emergency program could possibly have cured America’s problems resulting from 35 years of Reagan’s “voodoo economics.” Polls showed that Americans wanted more government spending like FDR’s New Deal, but no more of that nasty “stimulus.” That’s ... pathetic. If you think I’m outraged at this travesty, you’re right.
The conclusion is depressing. Lies work in America. Integrity has gone. Gridlock is the new norm. Republicans, including Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, attacked Obama’s stimulus publicly but requested stimulus money privately. These hypocrites calculated that American voters are fools and don’t demand integrity. They calculated correctly. Republicans won back the House in 2010. They demanded insane spending cuts and shut down government to get them. America’s bond rating fell for the first time. The cuts undid many of the gains from the stimulus, so the recovery was slow.
But here’s the good news. The world’s largest bookmaker, Ladbrokes of London, is taking bets that Hillary will win the presidency. As of this writing, her odds are 11/8; Bush’s, 11/2; Rubio’s, 7/1; Trump’s, 8/1. The rest we can forget. Here’s a toast to Hillary!
Ventura County Reporter Ray Freeman Article
In Republican debates it’s firmly settled that America’s “exceptional” due to President Reagan’s exceptional legacy. Well, just how exceptionally have you been doing?
Reaganomics promised us that, by letting the top earners pay lower taxes, the economy would miraculously grow and the extra wealth thereby created would trickle down to everybody else. But it’s the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people. After 35 years of Reaganomics, with all that extra wealth allegedly trickling down, every year, you’d expect some evidence to show it.
But the economic numbers show the exact opposite has happened. We’ll use the numbers for personal wealth from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the prestigious free-market think tank. Wealth is the sum total of assets (homes, bank accounts, stocks, etc.) minus liabilities (loans, debts). Wikipedia has a sortable database at List of OECD countries by wealth per adult, 2013.
Switzerland was first, at $512,562. Second was Australia, at $402,578; third, Norway, at $380,473; fourth, Luxembourg, at $315,240. America was at fifth place, at $301,140. The story, however, doesn’t end there.
Those numbers are the mean (the simple average). The mean is distorted by the Warren Buffets, Donald Trumps, Koch brothers, etc. These billionaires skew the result hugely, yet they’re clearly not typical. America’s by far the most unequal industrial country, as to both income and wealth. (We’re focusing on wealth here.)
Real estate agents understand how a few mansions can affect the average price of homes in their area. So for half a century or so, they’ve been using the median to show typical home values. It’s the middle-of-the-road number: half above, half below (think of a highway: the median is the middle). For median wealth, we find the middle of the population, ranked by wealth, then see what wealth that middle person has. The best indicator of typical middle-class wealth is median wealth per adult.
So what’s the story from the OECD on that score? First was Australia, $219,505; second, Luxembourg, $182,768; third, Belgium, $148,141; fourth, France, $141,850; fifth, Italy, $138,653; sixth, UK, $111,514; seventh, Japan, $110,294; eighth, Iceland, $104,733; ninth, Switzerland, $95,916; 10th, Finland, $95,095; 11th, Norway, $92,859; 12th, Canada, $90,252. But where’s America?
We were 23rd, at $44,911, well behind those “socialist” Europeans. President George Bush Senior described Reaganomics as “voodoo economics.” He was right. Americans have become economic zombies.
The staggering difference between $44,911 (median) and $301,140 (mean) shows the utter failure of Reaganomics. The difference would be far less if that extra wealth really had trickled down to the masses. In reality, the top 1 percent have done spectacularly well, but the rest have been hosed. We now have inequality worse than in the Gilded Age. And 45 million Americans (that’s 14 percent) live in dire poverty. Mostly, they’re in the dirt-poor South and other Republican states.
Americans have been sold the myth that our gung-ho capitalism is better for everyone than the variants found in Canada and Europe. It’s a lie — boldly told and boldly sold — never rebutted.
The dirty secret of American politics is that the middle class and the working class were stabbed in the back by the Republican Party to make the upper class richer. It was cynical class warfare and America’s workers lost, as billionaire Buffet acknowledged. Democrats are unable to get this simple message out to the masses on the idiotic theory that facts don’t matter in politics. (Plainly they do, but the trick is to present them with emotional framing and clear messaging.)
From 1945 to 1975 this country experienced spectacular growth and everyone shared the benefit. Even blue-collar workers were solidly middle class. But during the Reagan Revolution, the right attacked unions, lowered taxes on the top earners, raised payroll taxes on workers, let major corporations pay no taxes and stopped investing in infrastructure.
To make matters worse, both parties approved abysmal free-trade policies and millions of jobs vanished with a “giant sucking sound” (Ross Perot). A few people got exceptionally rich from offshoring jobs. Most got poorer. And Wall Street’s stranglehold on American politics, by bankrolling candidates of both parties, led to rushed financial industry deregulation … which led to the Great Crash of 2008 … which led to foreclosures and bankruptcies … which wiped out billions of dollars of middle-class wealth.
We’re exceptional at the wrong things: delusion, mythology, propaganda and corruption. We’re exceptionally undemocratic because exceptionally rich people have rigged the political system for their own benefit. We have exceptionally mindless elections that cost exceptional amounts of money (even though everyone detests the TV ads, robocalls and mailers the money’s spent on).
Next time you’re fed misty-eyed mythology on Ronnie Reagan’s exceptional presidency and Republicans’ exceptional economic policies, simply say, “Show me the numbers!” Good luck. There’ve been none for 35 years.