UNDER CONSTRUCTION – Please use the comment form to share you ideas (or correct mine).
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER FOR NORMAL REPUBLICANS: I use the word “Republican” a lot on this website. When I use that word, I am talking about the Republican President and legislators in Washington. I am not referring to the normal Republicans like my wife, in-laws, and neighbors. My wife is a smart, conservative, life-long Republican but the so-called Republicans in Washington almost never represent her views on any issue. If I was a normal Republican, I would be very upset with the so-called Republicans in Washington. It seems clear to me that they don’t give a damn about the normal Republicans who put them there. Loyalty to the party only goes so far. The Republicans in Washington don’t deserve loyalty from normal Republicans because they only care about the very wealthiest Republicans who donate enough money to help them stay in office by buying so much TV time that regular people almost can’t help thinking that Republican must be the way to vote. I know this is self-serving but the only way that normal Republicans can take back their party from the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and the reclusive Mercer family is to vote Democrat for a few cycles. Hopefully, that will convince those big money donors that normal Republicans are on to their tricks and they will lose interest when their money is being wasted. Then normal Republicans can put up normal Republican candidates. Then the interplay between normal Democrats and normal Republicans should result in legislation that the 80% of AMERICANS in the middle can live with. It’s no wonder the Congress is held in such low regard. The radicals are running the country instead of the 80% of us Americans in the middle. I don’t like compromise any more than anyone else. While compromise doesn’t make anyone ecstatic, for the first 200 years of our country, Congress got things accomplished and didn’t force radical views on the 80% by manipulating temporary majorities for the radicals at the extremes.
Most normal Republicans think of themselves as AMERICANS. They are the conservative part of the 80% of AMERICANS in the middle. I’m with them in the sense that I am running as an AMERICAN and hope to represent the 80% in the middle and not the 10% at either end of the political spectrum. What’s best for the 80% will usually be best for the whole country.
John Boehner was pushed out of his position as Speaker of the House by the so-called Freedom Caucus. We all know the Freedom Caucus would more accurately be called the Koch Caucus. The Koch brother’s money has funded the members of the Freedom Caucus although they try to hide this by using Political Action Committees (PACs) who don’t have to reveal the source of the PACs money. Changing the disclosure laws pertaining to PACs is going to be a priority for me. What are they trying to hide? John Boehner and I were quite often on opposite sides of most issues, but I always admired John for his ability to get things done in Congress. He understood the give and take of compromise that got laws passed that didn’t satisfy the 10% of the radical right or the 10% of the radical left. The result was often a compromise that worked out to be best for us AMERICANS in the 80%. The Koch brothers pulled their massive and hidden levers to push Boehner out and then propped up a puppet who would do their bidding. The puppet ran as a Republican, but it is interesting that, as soon as the puppet was sworn in, the puppet declared that he was a member of the Koch Caucus. I do have a question for normal Republicans from the 80%. Would you like to have a member of the 80% representing the Ohio 8th District or have the puppet of the Koch brothers wielding the power of the 8th District? If you want a representative AMERICAN from the 80%, vote for me. I would like to meet with as many Republicans from the 80% as possible. I want to know what you think and what you want to be done in Washington. I can understand that you may have never voted for a Democrat, but it’s the only way the Republican Party in Washington will take you seriously and run a Republican candidate who is not just a puppet for the Koch brothers.
· College Affordability Enlightened countries look upon a college education as an investment in their economy. Not as an opportunity to squeeze money out of students. Getting a good college education is hard work and requires sacrifice. We should be proud of the AMERICANS who are willing to take on this challenge. College should be free for students carrying at least a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Students who fall below this average should be given a probationary semester to bring their grades back up and will not be allowed to continue if they don’t. For profit private schools would be required to submit their student body to testing by an independent testing organization twice every year. If their student body, as a whole, can’t demonstrate acceptable progress the school would be given a probationary semester to bring their average up. If the school cannot provide an acceptable level of progress, the school will be closed. The days when fly-by-night “colleges” would pop up and make unrealistic promises just to get students to take out massive loans to hand over to the “college” are over. Egregious cases would result in prosecution and forfeiture of tuition already paid by the students.
· Private Sector Schools (Charter Schools) -The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) scandal in Ohio. ECOT shut it’s doors on January 19th but six days later it’s website is still up as if nothing happened and inviting students to enroll. ECOT had 12,000 students enrolled. Each of those students represents $6,000 taken from the local public schools and given to this privately-owned charter school. The loss of 10 students from the local public school means the loss of a $60,000 math teacher. 20 students would mean the loss of a $120,000 science lab. AMERICA has a tradition of providing a free, public education to all of it’s children. These schools are provided in the local community. If you prefer to educate your children in private schools, that is your right, but you pay the tuition at the private school. The taxpayers are paying to provide a public school that your child can attend tuition free. The taxpayers should not be called on to subsidize your decision to not take advantage of the free public school that we built for your kids. How can anyone believe that a private school will provide the same of better education than the local school at a lower claimed cost but with the extra burden of slicing off a piece of the pie for the proprietors of a for-profit, private school. The numbers don’t make sense even if you include the $6,000 per student taken from the local budget to subsidize the for-profit private school. In many states, these for-profit schools are exempted from the testing required in the public school to assess whether the children are making adequate progress.
Campaign Finance Our elections should be about who has the best ideas to improve AMERICA for all AMERICANS and not about who has the deepest pockets. Political Action Committees must reveal the names and amounts of their donors. What are they hiding?
Sorry Mr. Romney, corporations are not citizens! Every first-year law student learns that corporations are a “legal fiction”. A corporation is a fiction that makes it more convenient to deal with a company that has a great number of stockholders. It’s just a name for the whole group. I’ll believe a corporation is a citizen when Texas puts a corporation to death with a lethal injection. The over-used phrase “corporate citizen” is just wrong. Corporations are not mentioned as citizens anywhere in the Constitution.
Criminal Justice Reform
· Private Prisons – We need to close all private prisons. There have been more than enough cases to prove that the profit motive corrupts a prison system. Corporations who exist, only to profit from the suffering of others, are an abomination. There are quite a number of functions that should never be turned over to the private sector because the legally mandated profit motive is often at odds with what is morally accetable and prisons are clearly one of them.
· Eliminate Mass Incarceration Strategic Priorities of the Vera Institute of Justice
· Death Penalty I used to support the death even though it violated my Catholic upbringing. I thought it was more merciful to execute someone than to keep them in a cage for the rest of their natural life. I thought Prisoners serving life sentences would be more difficult for the prison personnel to deal with because they have nothing to lose. And I believed that almost everyone on death row was guilty. I thought it was unlikely that an innocent person would go through the entire conviction process without it coming to light that they shouldn’t be convicted. In my last year of law school, 1992, a couple of public defenders started the Innocence Project to use DNA technology to prove that people who were wrongfully convicted were innocent. I thought they might find two or three. So far, they have exonerated 350 innocent people using DNA and that’s only the exonerations. Because of the work of the Innocence Project, many thousands of innocent people have been spared the trauma of being charged. Knowing that their work will be scrutinized with DNA technology, the procedures of police, evidence techs, laboratories, and judges have been improved and are constantly getting better. I no longer support the death penalty and I was wrong to assume the system was nearly infallible.
Economy The AMERICAN economy belongs to all AMERICANS not just those at the top of the income spectrum. We claim to have a capitalist system. It should have been called the “Labor and Capital System” because this system will not work without both labor and capital. They are equally important. Neither can get along without the other. In my life, I have belonged to at least three unions. Unions created the middle class. Even if you have never worked in a union, your standard of living is the result of union activities over the last 130 years including a fair number of union members who were killed for their efforts. Many scholars attribute the current trend of income inequality to the falling membership in unions. This level of wealth disparity is un-AMERICAN.
“A large middle class is of often seen as a guarantee of democratic stability: with much to lose, it has an interest in property rights, limits on state power and policy continuity.” The Economist January 27, 2018 Bello: Fear of falling
America does best economically when there is a large middle class with enough income for some discretionary spending. The policies of the Republicans are shrinking the middle class and holding wages stagnate which allows even modest inflation to erode the amount of money available for discretionary spending. These wealth disparity policies, supported by the wealthy through corporations, are not only selfish but if left unfettered will kill the Golden Goose that made the wealth in the first place. There are no scenarios where a smaller middle class with less spendable cash is good for the economy. We could give the wealthy and their so-called Republican stooges the benefit of a doubt that they just don’t understand this but, if they do see where this is going, they must envision and be happy with an America with no middle class. In that world, you will either be among the 1% who have all the wealth and income or you will be a member of a large and destitute class of peons.
Expanding the middle class would be better for everyone including the wealthy. I want to enlarge the middle class by increasing the upward mobility of poorer Americans-not enlarging the middle class by bringing people down from the higher income groups.
Any legislation that doesn’t increase the size and wealth of the middle class should be rejected out of hand. Shrinking or stagnating the middle class should be unacceptable to all thinking Americans. This is why I’m so adamantly opposed to supply-side economics. When you get past the lies, this legislation clearly violates this paradigm.
Minimum Wage – The U.S. minimum wage started in 1938. The only year the minimum wage came close to equaling the Federal Poverty Level was in 1968. In that year, that highest ever minimum wage (adjusted to 2015 dollars) was $10.85 per hour. It has fallen to $7.25 because Congress has failed to adjust the minimum wage for inflation. Those adjustments would not have been a real “raise” in the minimum wage but merely keeping the minimum wage at a level where it would buy the same amount of groceries as could be purchased on the minimum wage in 1968. Congress raised the minimum wage by 70 cents in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The wages paid to Congressmen and Senators is indexed. This means the pay will go up every year with automatic cost of living adjustments. Very clever. They can freeze their pay so that it doesn’t go up automatically in a year (which they have done 11 times in the last 20 years) but they never have to vote to get a pay raise. So, it looks like they haven’t given themselves a pay raise in 20 years (unless you count the nine years that they did not vote to freeze their pay and it went up automatically). If the minimum wage went up automatically by 1.6% each year, it would be $24.00 in 2018. To keep the minimum wage at the federal poverty level it would be $14.14. So, this talk of a $15 per hour minimum wage keeps minimum wage workers just about the poverty line. Minimum Wage History – oregonstate.edu Maybe we should discuss whether a business is a viable business at all if the business cannot continue without the taxpayers picking up the tab for part of that business’ cost of labor.
Healthcare – We are already a single-payer system. Most of us pay our health insurance premiums and co-pays and anything else the insurance company doesn’t want to cover. Most of the time the government doesn’t pay part of it. The hospital doesn’t take up a collection from their shareholders to cover the cost of treating the poor and indigent. The insurance companies don’t pay any more than they have to under their contract. In the end, there is only one payer. That single payer is us. Since we are the only one paying, we need to recognize the health insurance companies as parasites on the system. every dollar of your premium that goes into the pocket of some vastly overpaid CEO or to the shareholders, doesn’t buy any healthcare at all. Health insurance is a racket. In the early days of health insurance, the job of collecting premiums from the risk pool (us) was done by non-profit mutual insurance companies. They were sometimes organized by a large employer to help their employees reduce the risk of health problems by having them all contribute to a fund and paying for healthcare from the fund. By everyone contributing an affordable amount, the fund would have enough to cover any personal catastrophes and pay the administrators to keep track of the money. The basic concept that underlies all insurance is that the larger the group, the more stable the fund and each person’s share of the burden gets smaller. By that simple logic, if a larger group is better for the members of the group, you would want to make the group as large as possible. Therefore, putting every man, woman, and child into the same risk pool will be the optimal situation for everyone. The only downside of a single payer system for everyone is that we will have no need for health insurance companies. The good news is that we won’t have a huge chunk of our premiums siphoned off to overpay a CEO and an army of lawyers who work at these insurance companies whose whole job is to find ways to deny claims and wipe out members of the pool. Since we are already the only ones paying for healthcare, we should adopt a single-payer system as soon as possible and as we are the only ones paying, we, the taxpayers, should be the only ones who have a vote. The insurance companies should have no input in this decision.
The Koch Caucus sometimes called the Freedom Caucus supports repealing and replacing Obamacare, which is leaving Ohioans with higher costs and less access to care.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNEMENT – The Obamacare Individual Mandate is and still will be in effect through 2018. This means you will still be penalized on your tax return in April of 2019 for not having coverage through 2018.
Dropping the Individual Mandate is just stupid and it will result in fewer people covered (and you know who pays for them) and higher premiums (the insurance companies are not going to foot the bill for fewer premiums coming in.) We’re back to my original premise. We are already a single-payer system and that single payer is you! Your cost of the AMERICAN healthcare system is going up. Thanks, Trumpcare 🙂
AMERICANS pay $8,233 per person on healthcare and that figure is from 2012. Well, it’s worth paying almost three times as much for our healthcare as the next highest country because we have the best health care in the world! If only that were true. We need an independent organization to track these things so we can make valid comparisons. That’s where the World Health Organization comes in handy. They rank all the countries on the quality of their health care systems. The biggest factor that is considered is outcomes.
The United States ranks 37th for overall efficiency in all 191 WHO member countries
In the United States:
- There are fewer physicians per person than in most other OECD countries. In 2010, for instance, the U.S. had 2.4 practicing physicians per 1,000 people — well below below the OECD average of 3.1.
- The number of hospital beds in the U.S. was 2.6 per 1,000 population in 2009, lower than the OECD average of 3.4 beds.
- Life expectancy at birth increased by almost nine years between 1960 and 2010, but that’s less than the increase of over 15 years in Japan and over 11 years on average in OECD countries. The average American now lives 78.7 years in 2010, more than one year below the average of 79.8 years.
INFRASTRUCTURE – It’s no secret that we need to fix our infrastructure all over this country. That will result in jobs, jobs and more jobs. The Republicans are talking about infrastructure all the time, but we need to upgrade the Brent Spence bridge. It was a “shovel ready” project which should have been started early in President Obama’s first term when there was money available as part of the stimulus. The Republicans had Mitch McConnell from Kentucky running the Senate and John Boehner of the Ohio 8th District as Speaker of the House. That sounds like a slam dunk. It’s not a bridge to nowhere. Everyone agrees it’s badly needed and the two most powerful legislators in Congress live on opposite sides of this bridge. The only reason it didn’t get done is that Republicans were afraid that Obama would get the credit for building it!
Jobs – We need to provide great training to help people move from a dying industry to a growing industry instead of flat-out lies and empty promises about throwing our weight around to resuscitate dying industries.
Let’s get real. The coal industry is not coming back and it is not regulations that killed it! There is no such thing as “clean coal”. “Clean coal” is an advertising slogan to lead people to believe that some technology has been developed to remove the nasty effects of using coal. Whoever came up with that slogan must have gotten a really serious bonus! There’s no such thing as clean coal – Popular Science, By Kendra Pierre-Louis October 13, 2017 As for regulations, Coal mining has always been one of the most dangerous jobs in AMERICA and the coal operators have a long and disgusting history of ignoring not only regulations but common sense in order to maximize their profits without regard to who gets killed. Wondering if it could really be that bad? Read this book: The Buffalo Creek Disaster: How the Survivors of One of the Worst Disasters in Coal-Mining History Brought Suit Against the Coal Company- And Won. It’s available on Amazon for as little as $5.42 or better yet, borrow a copy from your local public library. After you read about the Buffalo Creek Disaster, you will think you couldn’t get any angrier but, take your blood pressure meds and Google “Johnstown Flood” where you will find that 2,209 AMERICA died and property damage of approximately $463 million were the direct result of a group of the wealthiest AMERICANS setting up a hunting club for 50 of the wealthiest people in AMERICA. The club was set up on a property that included an abandoned reservoir. These very wealthy #$%^& modified the damn for their purposes without regard to proper engineering and safety even though they had been warned that the contemplated modifications would make the damn more vulnerable. Well the damn failed and killed all those hard working AMERICANS and their families living down in the valley. The icing on this cake is that the wealthy scoff laws were sued for damages and the loss of life but they fought the suit and won!
Old Bone Spurs and his Republican buddies are always complaining about regulations but the truth is most regulations are put in place after someone, more interested in money that anything else, pulls one of these stupid stunts and the taxpayers end up covering their losses. Take banking regulations as an example. The Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, had a lifelong disdain for regulations. He assisted in removing numerous regulations of the banking industry at the turn of this century. This was one of the primal causes of the mortgage crisis in 2007-2008 that devastated the value of homes which most homeowners were counting on as a solid but not great investment for their retirement. In hearings after the crisis, he admitted to Congress that he presumed financial firms would regulate themselves so as not to risk the survival of their companies on dodgy deals. He then admitted that his presumption was wrong. That’s why we have banking regulations. Those regulations protect us from people who would let greed push them into deals that could bring down the entire economy. We the 80% got hurt. Many of the jerks who created this mess walked away with millions as a going away gift for destroying their own companies. I’d like to see regulations to ensure that CEOs who preside over bankrupting their companies don’t get a dime and must pay back the last five years of their compensation.
Taxes and the National Debt – Trickle Down Economics – “How “Voodoo” Caused Most of the National Debt” zFact 12/19/2017
Isn’t it interesting that Republican legislators are always worried about the National Debt except when they are in a position to spend our borrowed money to benefit the wealthiest people in our country? Every time the Republicans pass a “Trickle Down” economic plan, I feel like I got trickled on. Reagonomics, Trickle Down or Voodoo; these plans to give away money to the wealthy DON’T work. We have to borrow the money as a nation to give it to people who don’t need it, are based on the Laffer Curve. Arthur Laffer is a “supply side” economist who believes (mistakenly) that the more an activity such as production is taxed, the less of it is generated. Likewise, the less an activity is taxed, the more of it is generated. That sounds sensible but every time it has been tried, it has been shown to be wrong. I would call i the “Laughable Curve” except it’s not funny.
In fact, The chart below shows that “Trickle Down” economics, which was first tried by Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush and tried again by President George W. Bush is responsible for MOST of the National Debt. This “Trickle Down” idea doesn’t work any better at the state level. The best example is the State of Kansas under Governor Brownback. He and his Republic state legislators passed “Trickle Down” for Kansas with disastrous results. As Trump Proposes Tax Cuts, Kansas Deals With Aftermath Of Experiment and Republicans Are Getting Ready to Repeat Kansas’ Tax Cut Disaster and The Biggest Tax Scam in History
“Trickle Down” economics is also un-AMERICAN. We claim that capitalism is the AMERICAN way and the reason we’ve been so successful. But “Trickle Down” is anti-capitalist. Capitalism is supposed to go like this: 1. The wealthy people have their capital, 2. The capitalists risk their money to buy equipment and hire labor to run a business, 3. The business makes a profit and the wealthy get back their original capital and the profit. Easy, peasy, 1-2-3. But when we try Trickle Down instead of capitalism, the capitalists don’t have to buy equipment or hire labor. They can just put the money in a bank and not have to take the risk of starting or expanding a capital business! Trickle Down takes away the capitalist’s incentive to run their business. When you run a business, you risk your capital. Why risk your capital if the taxpayers will just give you the money!
The wealthy are not job-creators. No one just creates a job. Jobs are created when the wealthy spot an opportunity to exploit a worker to bring in more money than it costs to employ the worker. Under Trickle Down, the taxpayers just give the money to the wealthy and are left begging, “Please Sir, can we have more jobs?”
President Trump tries to sell his Tax Scam as a benefit to regular people like you and me. The Republicans have been trying to buy your vote with your money! This latest Tax Scam is trying to buy your vote with your grandchildren’s money!
Republicans are not Deficit Hawks except when they want to kill programs that would make AMERICA better for somebody other than the rich.
The Social Safety Net
Democracy – We need more eligible citizens to vote. Not less. To do that we need to end discriminatory voter purging. It’s unconstitutional and just plain wrong. When you think about it, we would be just fine with never purging the voter rolls. Citizens could be removed from the rolls when they die but leaving their name on the roll doesn’t make any difference. I don’t believe in Zombies and the stories about dead people voting.
Technology – Net Neutrality – Burger King explains Net Neutrality
A Do Not Disturb List for cell phone numbers
Internet Scams – ransomware, Calls from Microsoft support informing you that they noticed a problem on your computer and will fix it immediately after they get your credit card number, name, address, city, state, zipcode, mother’s maiden name, grandfather’s middle name, shoe size, date of birth, name of your best friend in high school, favorite 4 digit number, your land line phone number, your spouse’s name, weight, height, favorite musical artist, favorite city, favorite movie, favorite author, hobbies, medical history, driver’s license number, etc.
Abortion – I think abortion is wrong but that is a religious consideration which the Constitution prohibits the use of our government to enforce. I will not stop you from getting an abortion because the Supreme Court has said is your right under the privacy guaranteed to you by the Constitution. If you oppose abortion and want to do something about it, you should not be encouraging your elected officials to pass laws that are prohibited by the Constitution. We need an Amendment to the Constitution to prohibit abortion. However, you need to convince your friends and neighbors that they should support such an Amendment because I’ve heard figures that as high as 65% of AMERICANS want abortion to be available on demand. If that’s true, an amendment would never pass. It’s also concerning that prohibiting abortion will be felt more by the poor than any other AMERICANS. Even if we had an amendment for a total end to abortion, the wealthy will always be able to hop on a plane and fly to some other country where they can get a safe abortion. I can’t put it into words but that bothers me.
Trump – Trump’s faithful little puppet – Votes with 90% of the time unless Trump is not leaning far enough to the right.
Freedom Caucus – House Freedom Caucus Member Responds To White House Budget Proposal – NPR March 16, 2017 Heard on All Things Considered – Wants Deeper Cuts – The Koch Caucus (Freedom Caucus) was responsible for pushing John Boehner to resign. Boehner just couldn’t get anything accomplished with the Koch Caucus (Freedom Caucus) opposing every compromise because they weren’t sufficiently right-wing for the Koch brothers. Would the voters of the Ohio 8th District like to have a little say in who is their Congressman or are they happy with letting the Koch brothers hand-pick their puppet. The Koch brothers are taking the voters of the Ohio 8th for granted. One might ask, “What do the Koch brothers really want?” Leaving aside what the Kochs and their my way of the highway caucus says they want in public, an analysis of their actions, seems to indicate that they are anarchists. It sure looks like they want our government to fail. It’s as if the Kochs think they would prosper best with no government. If that truly is their aim, their goals align nicely with the goals of Vladimir Putin. Vlad and the Kochs both benefit from a deeply divided AMERICA. They all seem determined to make AMERICA look foolish in the eyes of the world. This weakens our standing with our allies and encourages our enemies to push the limits. With illogical, petty and childish actors like Trump and North Korea’s Kim each fondling their nuclear button, we are less secure today than at any time since our War of Independence.