Hillary versus Bernie: Who can accomplish more?

There is a difference between being a loyal Democrat and being a mindless follower.

While there are Bernie supporters and Hillary supporters that are being completely unreasonable and are spending too much time shooting friendly fire at each other, there are also those who are saying that we should not question either of them because, after all, we want one of them to win in November.hilbern

I have criticized both of them before — just like I have criticized Obama when he says and does things I disagree with. I don’t think anyone should be above reproach. I will still happily vote for whichever one gets the nomination over any of the Republican candidates.

We can debate which one would do better in November without attacking the other.

One of the biggest criticisms of Bernie that I am hearing from Hillary supporters is that she knows how to get things done and he won’t be able to accomplish anything — therefore, we shouldn’t aim too high.

I hate that for two reasons:  (1) This is politics. We should aim high. We should dream of great things we can accomplish;  (2) The idea that the GOP will work with Hillary is ridiculous.

Look, they hate her. They’ve hated her from the day she appeared on the scene. They’re not going to work with her. They never have in the past.

Not that they’re going to treat Bernie any better. Any Democrat is going to have to deal with a Republican congress that says “no” to everything.

People are forgetting what the GOP has become. They haven’t let Obama do anything. Remember Bill Clinton? They hated him, too — they freakin’ impeached him. The only way Bill accomplished anything was that he had more Democrats in Congress than we have now.

And that is the bottom line — voting for either Hillary or Bernie won’t make much difference unless we also elect more Democrats to Congress. We have the numbers on our side. All we have to do is show up and vote.

Editorial cartoon: Emailed

Mike Lukovich

Earth, Wind, Fire, and Racism

I’m going to tell you something I’ve never told anyone before.  A memory that popped into my head when I read about the death of Maurice White, the leader of the band Earth, Wind, and Fire. ewf

Way back in the 70s, I was in High School in Richmond, Virginia, which Tom Robbins calls “The World’s Biggest Confederate Museum.” It was a turbulent time, with protests over busing and integration still going on.

I went to a high school in the suburbs where we maybe had ten black students total.

Now, my parents taught me to be a good, clean-cut kid. I never said a curse word, never drank or smoke or took drugs –I was a good, boring kid who was really into the drama club and music. My parents also were no bigots. They taught me that the “n” word was just as bad as the “f” word and there was no way I would ever say either.

Anyway, I remember listening to an Earth, Wind and Fire song on the radio and liking it (although I can’t recall which one right now). I had already been playing in bands and writing my own music, and I was really impressed with the musicianship and the complexity of the song.

And in my mind, I imagined the work that would go into it. And my mind conjured up an image of all the arrangers and composers working on that song.

And then I had a shock. An epiphany.

In my mind, all the people making the record were white. The black guys were just the singers. For some reason, my mind couldn’t imagine that the black guys could have accomplished such an ornate and complicated task of writing, arranging, producing and playing that song.

And I felt ashamed for my thought.

I certainly didn’t see myself as a racist, and I had thoughts like that? Me? I had been the campaign manager for one of the black kids who had run for class President and we won, making the local news and everything. I had black friends in the drama club. I had Funkadelic albums! How could I think something like this?

I realized how ingrained racism in our society could be. And I started thinking about it a lot. And then I thought about sexism in our society and how we take so much for granted and don’t question it.

It was an important first step for me. I still had a ways to go. For instance, it took many more years before I realized that gay people deserved to get married, but that was basically because society around me had not even gone in that direction yet.

Fortunately, the younger generation is growing up without the same environment I had. That kind of thinking is foreign to them. It’s us old folks that had to change (and that’s why, the older you are, the more likely you are to be racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and Republican).

So thank you, Maurice White, for making me think about the biases we all have. And thank you for making me want to change them.


Editorial Cartoon: “Together, we can accomplish mediocre things!”

Patrick Hendy Rodham Clinton

Ted Rall

Iowa Caucus Predictions

Both Trump and Hillary will win the caucus for their parties, but not at the percentage that the polls show. Here’s why:

Caucuses are not like primaries. For a primary, you show up, vote, and leave. You could do it in a few minutes if the lines aren’t long. For a caucus, you have to show up on time in your local area and be there most of the night. Speeches are given and debates are held and if a candidate doesn’t get enough votes, then a second vote is held and so on. It’s democracy on a most basic scale.

While Iowans take it very seriously (since no one cares about Iowa except ovote_ballot_boxnce every four years), you still have the very real situation where only the most political and enthusiastic supporters even attend. And even then, it varies from place to place. A rural site where 20 farmers show up can have as much of an impact as an inner-city site where 100 students show up.

And all this hurts both Trump and Hillary.

Trump gets people to come to a rally to see the celebrity and listen to him spout his hatred. But many of his supporters are people who never vote — they’re not your normal political folks. I’m willing to bet that a large chunk of them will find something else more interesting to do that night.

On the Democratic side, you have the very enthusiastic Bernie supporters who will come out to the caucus meetings. They will give Bernie a much better showing than expected but it still won’t be enough to counter Hillary (who, despite a media attempt to turn this into a horse race, is pretty comfortably ahead of Bernie in all state polls except for New Hampshire, located next door to his home state of Vermont).

I’m not saying Hillary will run away with Iowa — it will be close, and the closer it is, the better for Bernie. He may even win the caucus, which could give him the momentum he needs to even the polling in other states. That’s how Obama did it when he was behind Hillary by about the same amount. Obama had the advantage though of being a great speaker and looking like a President, something you should never discount.

In the long run, Iowa is important only to show how good each candidate’s ground plan is. It in no way predicts the ultimate winner.  Just ask Presidents Mike Huckabee, Tom Harkin, and Richard Gephardt.

But then again, who really knows? Trying to predict the caucus is next to impossible. Anything can happen. My prediction is just a guess.  After all, in 2008, everyone was predicting Hillary to win and she came in third, behind Obama and Edwards.


Editorial cartoon: voter fraud

Tom Toles

What Libertarians don’t understand

There’s lots of things our government does that I disagree with. So I try to elect people who will pass laws that I agree with. Sometimes I lose and a bunch of laws are passed I don’t like.

I don’t claim then that those laws are “forced” against me and that my rights are being violated.all-cats-are-libertarians-mary-fanning

And that’s the reason why many of us just can’t debate some libertarians, because they have this double standard: If they like the law personally, it’s fine but if they don’t like it, they are being forced to obey it and that’s just evil!

I don’t think laws I don’t like are evil. They were passed through our democratic process and I can try to get that changed. I don’t always get my way. That’s what democracy is all about. Sometimes your side loses.

If libertarians said, “Well, we lost, but we’ll try to win next time” then we can discuss the merits of libertarian philosophy. But instead we often get “You people who won are taking away my right to not obey the laws I don’t feel like obeying!”

Well, suck it up. We all have laws we don’t like that we have to obey. That’s what being in a democratic society is all about.

The main problem I have with libertarian philosophy is that they see programs where we ask everyone to pitch in a little to help everyone a lot as “theft” and then complain that they are “forced at gunpoint” to pay taxes to support this stuff.

That’s where they lose me. Every society in the history of this planet has asked its members to support it in some way. Even the most basic society made you pick berries for the good of the tribe.

We can disagree on how much we should do — that’s a legitimate debate. We can discuss how to make taxation fairer.

But when libertarians say any program is a violation of their rights and all taxation is theft, then instead of looking principled, they just look, well, selfish.

Pick some berries, guys.