Midterm Elections: What Progressive Candidates Should Run On

These are my top ten issues for progressives to run on this cycle. 

candidate.jpgThere’s been a lot of talk about what progressive candidates should and should not run on for the midterm elections. This big question seems to be: regardless of the positive issues we may wish to run on “do we also run on impeachment?”. 

I frankly believe that Trump being in office can end up being the Democrats best friend in November, if they play their cards right! And let’s face it, in 2016 they could hardly have played their cards worse. There is gamesmanship to an election – and it has to be done right. 

One of my strongest suggestions is never to run Dem vs. Dem.  No infighting! The Hillary vs. Bernie division was really what sank the Dems in 2016. We can’t have that happening in the midterms this cycle. Instead, I would rather see run offs decided by two candidates joining at the hip, like a double entry in a horse race. First, it saves election costs. And if their is a complaint about salary, (and this is way more important than any politician’s salary) the saved election funds could be shared along with the allotted salary. That way two close competitors can share one position. Granted they get one vote in Congress. But imagine if Hillary had run with Bernie as a ticket rather than against him. It would have been a landslide. In 2020, if Biden runs, maybe he could run with Bernie as a ticket. Biden/Bernie will play well only if young blood does not take over the scene by then – and it might. We will see. But no infighting. Infighting means we don’t have a clear agenda. And that means, we don’t know what we are doing. And that means, people may decide to stay with what they know and have.  And we can’t have that.

These are my top ten issues for progressives to run on this cycle. 

#1 Medicare For All. There is nothing that unifies Americans more than our need for affordable healthcare. It will be easy to expose the hypocrisy of the GOP on this issue. It should be front and center of any progressive campaign.  But work out the math ahead of the campaign promises. Make it look achievable or you will be tagged as impractical dreamers. Show us where the money will come from. And yes, don’t be afraid to say we should tax billionaires the same or higher than workers are taxed. Remind us that this country worked best in the 50’s when the rich were taxed higher than the poor, which created a more level playing field for all Americans. 

#2 Reversing Trump’s GOP Tax Laws. This is tricky because Trump can say his new laws are the reason for the seeming economic boom. Is it really a boom? Maybe that has to be discussed. Because if we have set our expectations lower, a small increase in take home pay can seem like an improvement. But there are other ways to measure success rather than just pocket money. Trump and the GOP will rely on this argument that things are better. Dems will have to show Americans in black and white, how the increase in health-care costs, the lack of access to great education, and the failure to spend on infrastructure are other ways to measure the standard of living of a nation. Show us how everyday citizens are fare better and even live longer in countries like Germany, Sweden and Japan. And the states that tax heavily and invest in their own infrastructures, like Cali, Mass and NY, – they do not like the new limit on deducting state taxes and interest payments. So expose that strongly as well. 

#3 College and K-12 Investments. There is nothing that quashes the dreams of our children more than the ridiculous economic barriers to quality education. It starts at K. Our grade schools and high schools are short on books. How sad is that? I’m sorry but what differentiates a great country from a failed one is actually the education level of its citizens. It is way more important than levels of pocket money.  A society that is rich monetarily but stupid is ripe for takeover. Think Rome. Brains is what separates us from animals. And honestly, “stupid and spoiled” is sort of what Russians and even Islamic terrorists think of Americans. And frankly, they are not far off. No way we are the brightest minds on the planet any longer. We used to be – in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Somewhere around Regan, we began to slip. That’s also when big money took over the soul of our government. Today, teachers are clearly paid far less than other professionals with the same qualifications as teachers. And yet, teaching is the one profession that makes all other professions possible. So drive all of this home. It will resound in New York as well as Texas and West Virginia. 

#4 The EPA. Golly, I hope Scott Pruitt is still the head of the EPA in November. If he is, he won’t hold that post in December. The air we breathe, the water we drink, and our climates are valid ways to measure the success of a nation. So again, it’s not just pocket change. After all, its not what money you have, but what it can buy. And if your money can’t buy clean air and water, because companies are allowed to pollute, then you are poorer than you think. Expose as much of the EPA’s reversals to common sense legislation as you can this cycle. Remember, the GOP will paint Pruitt as a help to the economy. We need to answer back strongly. “We don’t want an economy that is driven by allowing corporations to pollute our greatest common asset, our environment. Lack of respect for mother earth by this administration should be fully exposed. Again, it will resound with Americans of all stripes, and in all 50 states. Americans want to be proud of America again. That’s really what Trump has done to us. So seize on that. Make America Proud Again? Well, not. We don’t want to sound like we ripped off anything from this charlatan. But the idea of restoring American pride is sound. 

#5 Re-establishing Diplomacy. One of the reasons I am certain that the Russians have Trump suborned is the way our diplomatic core has been stripped under Trump’s Secretaries of State. Bring math to this argument. Show what has happened in stark black and white. Frankly, it borders on treason. And this is exactly what Russia wants. They are increasing their position on the world stage – as we are decreasing ours! If it feels coordinated, it probably is. 

#6 Border Security Done Right. Why is this so hard for us? Border security has nothing to do with hatred of others. We can have secure borders and love our neighbors. There should be check-points and it should be hard to illegally penetrate. I’m not sure we need “Trump’s Wall”. But we should agree to have secure borders, and to police those borders. But also, most Americans agree that the DACA kids are citizens. So we can run on Dreamers and border security simultaneously. Please do that this cycle. And if GOP candidates drift into that general area, welcome them. We need more welcoming of the other here in the USA, and that starts with “across the aisle”, when it is justified. There is a place where can agree with GOP voters on border security. Just strip away the hate of others and be kind to our Dreamer’s. I would fund any border upgrades from infrastructure spending. That is what it actually is. 

#7 The VA. Our veterans deserve the best care possible. Trump had a guy who was trying to do a decent job and he was fired. Rub this in his face forever. Veterans exist in all states. And its damn well embarrassing that he is trying to make veterans care a for profit industry and take his cut. 

#8 Infrastructure. There is no doubt that America has fallen far behind other first rate countries in infrastructure. Our roads, bridges and trains are sorely in need of serious investment. Something like what FDR did seems appropriate. But, we are not as collectively rich as we used to be in the 1950’s. Why is that? It’s because we have allowed our money to collect at the greedy top where it stagnates and gets funneled out of the country into off-shore bank accounts. There is no way to fund the projects we need without recapturing those lost funds. It’s not a pretty statement. I think of things like a billionaire’s tax. So here too, math has to be done to sell infrastructure investment. This is not a cycle where we can make promises that we cannot keep. It will be too easy for the GOP can say we can’t afford this now – that our national debt is already ballooning. But infrastructure is an investment that pays back! So focus on that when you get GOP push-back. Do your math. Cite history. People in all states want better infrastructure.

#9 Voter’s rights and an end to Gerrymandering. The GOP realizes full well that they advance the agendas of the super-rich – not the average American. They know they have no way to win an honest election. That is why Trump and the GOP welcomed Russian help in the election of 2016. They can’t possible win a fair fight with their agenda that favors the billionaire class. Assume the GOP will do anything to win. They will try to block the minority vote. They will play with election software. They will use social media campaigns to rile up hatred again. And Gerrymandering, though slowly being outlawed, still exists. All of this must be exposed. In red states, make it clear the GOP does this because they don’t want your vote to count. 

#10. Vetting our candidates better. This is the hardest to promote because so many sitting Congresspeople are not clean – and won’t support anything which makes vetting candidates a more thorough process. But let’s be real here this cycle. We got a criminal president because we allowed him to be a candidate without even showing his taxes. We vet Uber drivers better than we vet our president, so what should we expect? If there is a path to insane profits in government service, we will continue to get criminals seeking to “serve” in Congress and in other high end government positions. They see dollar signs and are drawn in. Jared Kushner could not even get security clearance, but neither could Trump if he had to.

If there is a full vetting of all candidate’s past financial history, we can at least be sure they are not criminals or money launderers before they take office. No one should be ever be allowed again to hold high office with undeclared foreign bank accounts. In with this line of thinking is “getting money out of politics” , “term limits”, and ending “Citizen’s United”, which really is “Billionaires United” and “no man is above the law”, which must be true in a real democracy. This won’t be popular with sitting representatives. But it has to be addressed or even a new administration won’t have the support in Congress to make the sweeping changes to policies and laws that will be needed to keep the United States strong, free and democratic.  

You will notice I have not mentioned gun laws. I want to, of course. It is a huge national stigma that we do nothing to protect our children as they are mowed down month after month. But common sense gun law changes will not come from this GOP.  They are a sold-out party. The right idea is to vote out the sold-out GOP that have us under their thumbs. We can do so on the ten issues I have outlined above.  Banning semi-automatic weapons is probably fine to discuss, but it seems smarter to just not enroll Americans who will vote GOP for one single issue.

Finally, absolutely do not announce any presidential candidates until after November.  Any Democrat who does that should be shunned by the Democratic Party. Politicians and citizens can and should get out there and talk about what is good for the country. Biden should get off his horse immediately if he intends to run, or he runs the risk of seeming old, slow, out of touch. Same with Bernie. Trump will be running every week from here on in.  But no one should announce they are running in 2020. It exposes an “it’s all about me” philosophy, and in 2018 we need a fully coordinated team effort. Leave “it’s all about me” to Trump. He is so good at that anyway. 

If we succeed in this cycle, 2020 will take care of itself. If we don’t, I will be seriously eyeing getting out of here for my kids sake. I actually don’t want to be a citizen in Trump’s America. 

……. Joseph Aronesty

Joseph is an e-commerce pioneer, songwriter and etymologist. He was in a class with Donny Trump in 1967 at Wharton School and worked close to him in AC in the 1980’s. 

Joseph can be reached at josepharonesty@gmail.com

Joseph’s SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/raiseourvoices

Joseph’s intuitive etymology page: https://englishcode.wordpress.com/clc-etymology/

 

 

It’s Time for World Leaders to Help the USA with its Trump Problem

When Donald Trump became president, it soon became clear that he is willing to lie to his own people on a daily basis, and with no remorse.

I asked myself this: If Trump is willing to lie to his own people to “win”, as he calls it, then how can he be trusted to keep his deals and former agreements with foreigners?   

The conclusion that I and most world leaders have now reached is that Donald Trump can not be trusted to be honorable.  The rulers of over 200 sovereign nations on this planet all know this now. 

mad-trump
This is an email-letter I wrote to Prime Minister Teresa May in November 2017,
Teresa May,
Please let me know you get this communication and if you feel it has some value to you and our world. Remember, when we did not stand up to Hitler, early in his regime, the entire world suffered. 
I am one of the majority of Americans who feel we are under a joint attack in the USA.  It is a cyber attack, launched by Russian Mafia players partnering with big money corporatism here in the USA.  Their goals are to hide financial crimes and steer an evolving modern world back in time, headed towards a neo-oligarchy where money rules to the detriment of everyday citizens.

The weapons in this war are words. – To be silent is to accept defeat.

 

I am a 69 year old US citizen. I happened to have known Donald Trump when we were young and foolish at U of P. He is still foolish. But he is also madman at the helm of the world – in essence he is an elected, mad king. 
 
Donald Trump is fully willing to set the world on a path to WW3 as long as he can keep his ill-got money and stay out of jail for his crimes over the years – ​as long as he can “win” , as he often says. And if he can’t win, he will blow the whole thing up trying. That is what we are witnessing right now, not only in world affairs, but in our domestic affairs as well. 
 ​
​This statement I am asking you to make today has the goal of ​taking the world off ​the path to WW3, which we are now fully on. I think we need to hear something like what I have written below.  There are now many here in the USA who want Trump out asap, even within the GOP. You and other world leaders can help in that effort with a statement you can fashion in your own words along these lines. 


To my citizens, American citizens and all global citizens on planet Earth:
 
After Donald Trump became president, it soon became clear to me​, as well as most sober people, that he was willing to lie to his own people, on a daily basis with no remorse.

I asked myself this: If Trump is willing to lie to his own people to “win”, as he calls it, then how can he be trusted to keep his deals and former agreements with foreigners?   

The conclusion that I, and most world leaders have now reached is that Donald Trump can not be trusted to be honorable.  The rulers of over 200 sovereign nations on this planet all know this down deep now.  This is not to say we don’t trust the good will of the American people. We do.

But North Korea and Iran are still sovereign countries​ and like all sovereign countries, they have a duty and right to defend themselves. If the USA wants foreign powers, including North Korea and Iran, to stop protecting themselves, ​that is something no sovereign country can rightly be asked to do without considerable and understandable resistance. ​

If the USA wants to negotiate about de-escalating tensions with foreign powers,  like North Korea, Iran and others, I now believe they ​first ​need to find a way to install a new president whose words can be fully trusted on the world stage. They do not have that now.

Only a fool would negotiate honestly with Donald Trump. He has proven that over and over again, first as a citizen and now as the US president.

Thank You my Dear American friends. We are here for you. 

Something like that needs to be heard from Teresa May, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron – and other respected world leaders. That way it won’t seem like partisan politics. 

We are living in a world community now. ​ Words started this war. Words can end it. Silence can not.​

Trump counts on being the only one who is willing to make outrageous statements. ​
​Yes, I realize what I wrote seems a bit outrageous. But if one person plays dirty, and the others play according to Hoyle, the cheater will usually win. That’s all Trump has ever known – cheating to win. I learned that from his casino operations in the 1980’s. I was there. 
 
If you would say something sincere, along these lines, which I happen to believe is probably a fairly accurate portrayal of your stance on Trump, I do believe it will ​help us all on planet earth.​ We are mostly hoping he will soon be discharged of his duties.
We need some help from the world stage leaders, the way we helped 75​ years ago.

I will be sending emails like this to the heads of state in Germany, Australia and Iran as well. Listen to what is being said this week on the news here in the USA​.

I ask all global citizens to contact their presidents and senators. Let’s get this done. 
 
The timing will be perfect ​now. No time to lose.  We have a genuine mad maniac in charge here now. Hitler was such a maniac. ​He was elected as well, by a similar distraught electorate as well. 

Etymology teaches us: The MA in maniac is the same ma that is in drama. It means large – as in major, mad and magnify. The mad, maniacal drama we are witnessing since Trump took the helm is the exact opposite of the cool-handed leadership we sorely need right now. Trump is like a hot fuse in a room filled with nitroglycerin. A simple unintended accident now and the word goes boom. 

All it will take to win this war of words, is words. No bombs, no bullets, no troops. How nice, right? We need influential people to deliver some thoughtful heartfelt words to the world stage. GOP politicians here will soon realize they will mostly be voted out of power in 2018. And to the GOP I say, it’s not for “not repealing Obama-care that you will fall. It is because you stand with the mad king, Donald Trump, in spite of what you know to be true: Donald Trump is a dunce, a sell-out and a traitor. 

We can do this world. Thank you for your careful consideration to this plan and for circulating it. We are all global citizens. We all have a stake in peace. I am just trying to do what I can as a citizen. I hope that is appreciated. JA

trash4

 

Foreigners and the Danger of Regarding “Others” as Enemies

The word foreigner is in the news these days more than it should be. Our fallen soldiers fought for freedom and the rule of law. They would be turning over in their graves if they knew what Donald Trump was doing.

The word foreigner is in the news these days more than it should be. When Donald Trump called president Obama a foreigner, it aroused a sense of fear inside a decent percentage of Americans, a feeling that maybe foreigners were taking over our government. Trump’s fear-mongering expanded to include Mexicans and people of Islamic faith. But where is the fear of others in Trump supporters when it comes to Russia? 

Most US citizens consider Russia as a hostile foreign power, and its very suspicious that Russians are not touted as foreigners by Donald Trump. It seems, if Trump can make a buck with a foreigner he thinks they should be OK with all of us. I don’t get that. Most don’t get it. But so far, Trump supporters, including his GOP stooges, seem mostly okay if Russia influences our elections, policies and decisions here. And frankly, our fallen soldiers fought for freedom and the rule of law. They would be turning over in their graves if they knew what Donald Trump was doing – and so would our founding fathers. foreign

I like to use word history (etymology) to see if it can inform us in our daily lives. So today I ask, what was the first meaning of the word foreign?  

The way I figure foreign out is by dissecting foreign into its two basic parts. (fo+reign) The word reign should jump out of you. Reign is a regal/ruler kind of word.  That leaves fo- as a prefix syllable, which refers to foe.  Enemy of the king is clearly what a foreigner first described. Foreign was not a geographical word but a political word! Interesting right there. 

Notice how foreigner does not describe a foe of the people, but an enemy of the king or ruler, the one who reigns. And this is what is so dangerous about this word foreigner. There are now over 200 countries on planet earth. If rulers continue to sell the idea that folks from other countries are enemies, we could have 200 countries with 7 billion people who consider the vast majority of the people on earth outside of their own nation, to be their enemies. Couple that with the kind of weapons we have today, and you have a recipe for the end of civilization as we know it.

This is particularly sad because before 911, the world was trending towards a spirit of tolerance and understanding of others. The global celebration at Y2K certainly allowed a sense of global citizenry to peek its way onto the stage of the foreseeable future. But it was a false Messiah. The unity never really happened and then the banking crisis of 2008 exaggerated the general income gap between rich and poor. And that felt nothing like a brotherhood of man. Corporate greed was and is still in control on planet earth. 

Comparing the distrust level between nations in the WW2 era to 2001, there is no doubt that we had been trending towards more trust between peoples of “foreign” nations. That became more apparent during the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements. And yes, Obama shut that down. 

But Donald Trump has already set much of the progress towards brotherhood back in time, and he aims to continue that reversal because if he loses in 2018, he knows he may end up behind bars. He knows can only unify a base with hate. He started with hate, he cannot switch trains. But nationalism, coupled with an impulsive ruler who is also a life-long criminal looking for a way to skirt justice for his crimes, is a downright irresponsible recipe for disaster, a speedy train on a path towards Armageddon.

Shame on his supporters. Granted, many of them just don’t know better. Like Trump said,“We love the poorly educated”. But much more shame on the GOP establishment. They are not poorly educated. They are in it for themselves – for personal greed.

We may all be foreigners to those who were born in other nations. But we are born naked and innocent. We must learn or be taught to be enemies to others. The smarter path is one towards brotherhood, not otherhood.  We certainly don’t need rulers here or anywhere else that actively promote lack of respect and empathy for others. No country can claim the sole right to nationalism – so this can spread, as it did during the 30’s and 40’s. 

The Danger of the Foreigner Meme

I am no longer religious, but one story from the Bible which I find very informative is the Tower of Babel tale. The lesson of Babel is that if we can’t communicate openly with each other, if we consider others to be our enemies, then we can not build our proverbial towers, which is a metaphor for progress. And there is so much progress we will need to make if we are to survive. Is that not challenge enough people? Do you really have anything better to do? A sense that other people are enemies was bad before we had nuclear and biological weapons; but it’s much more dangerous now.

People who live in different countries are not our born enemies. They are trained to be our enemies of course. And Trump is doing his best to just do that. The word foreigner was created by the ruling class, for the ruling class and its enforcement arm the militia to lure citizens into battle. Hitler said it about Jews. Foreigner. It decodes as “enemy of the king”. – And it is the kings, prime ministers, presidents, and dictators of the world that still promote that hateful concept.  It’s time for the global citizens of the world to rise up and lose the meme that others are enemies. It only serves the weapon makers, industrialists and undertakers. 

I prefer to latch onto the more salient of the biblical teachings. You know, the ones that are about the brotherhood of man. 

JA

Note: Post-writing, I found The OED finds that FOREIGN may have been related to old words for door, the OR referring to light, because there is light outdoors. It also says : 

English spelling altered 17c., perhaps by influence of reign, sovereign. Sense of “alien to one’s nature, not connected with, extraneous” attested late 14c. Meaning “pertaining to another country” (as in foreign policy) is from 1610s.

I’m sticking with that 17th century meaning, but accenting the foe part of the word.

JA