#EnoughIsEnough

To every kid who spent today making sure we adults don't simply get to move on with our lives, you are my heroes.

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Don’t be too quick to applaud Brian Mast

Florida’s 18th district Republican Rep, Brian Mast, is getting accolades from the left for his February 23rd opinion piece, “I’m Republican. I Appreciate Assault Weapons. And I Support a Ban,” in the New York Times.

Don’t be fooled, and don’t nod your head in agreement or admiration as if he’s right and totally reasonable.

He’s not.
 
Also, he’s not brave, nor is he courageous for what he’s proposing. His proposition still falls far short of a real solution, and his only real achievement is that he’s simply one of the rare Republicans willing to have a rational conversation.
 
That’s where the bar is now on guns with Republicans; willing to have a rational conversation.
 
What’s wrong with Mr. Mast’s proposal?
 
Without confiscation, there is no real solution to the problem of mass shootings with assault rifles, large capacity magazines, and accessories that amplify the weapon’s ability to kill.
 
semiautomatic weapons store
It’s not enough to put the guy pictured with the article and everyone like him out of business. The “products” he sold legally and which are to become illegal under Mr. Mast’s proposals must also be illegal to possess.
 
If it’s going to be illegal to sell them, then it must be illegal to possess them, too.
 
That’s where I think the bar needs to be set.
 
Someone let me know when a politician emerges with the courage to take that stance.
 

Whom to tax for infrastructure?

The fed tax on gas was last raised 25 years ago. Should it be raised now to pay for infrastructure? I don’t know.

Koch network asks Trump not to raise gas tax for roads

koch

I think it’s a regressive tax that hurts the poor, working poor, and middle class.

Some arguments I’ve heard for it are that it’s fair because it taxes those who use the roads equally regardless of income, but is that really true?

What about businesses like Walmart, Amazon, Apple and so many others and all the other businesses who are part of global supply chains? Wouldn’t they all would be dead without a safe, reliable, and ubiquitous infrastructure of seaports, airports, railways, and highways? Aren’t they reaping benefits – much greater benefits monetarily – from our infrastructure than the average American?

It seems that I actually find myself agreeing with the Kochs that the gas tax shouldn’t be raised; however, I suspect that we have different reasons for opposing it.

Which brings me back to the question of how do we fund the desperately needed repairs – and maybe even expansions – to our infrastructure?

I was thinking that a tax on corporations and a tariff on imports that use our infrastructure they so desperately need to sustain their business would be the more fair and equitable approach.

But, that seems impossible given that Republicans are in charge and doing just the opposite.

If I understand it correctly, their tax changes permanently reduce corporate taxes while only temporarily reducing taxes on average citizens. Business 1; Citizens 0

And that stalwart and defender American business, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce? Oh, yeah. They like the idea of a gas tax increase. Why wouldn’t they? They work for business – and don’t fool yourself, they work for BIG business, not the fabled “mom & pop”. To believe that what they do that’s good for business is always good for workers is to believe the lie of trickle-down economics.

So, now what?

To liberals and progressives: know the difference between imperfect allies and actual enemies

Calling out bad Democrats and illiberal liberals is fine. Confusing imperfect allies with actual enemies is just mystifying and inexcusable.

Such has been and continues to be the case with some on the left.

Despite the stranglehold that Republicans have at every level of government, some on the left are doubling-down on the inexplicable idea that the way to reform the Democratic Party is not by joining it in order to move it to the left from the inside, but instead to remain outside of it and demanding purity and fealty first before they will grace the Party with their ideas, their efforts, and their votes.

That makes absolutely no sense to me.

For the record, I’m a life-long liberal. Until 2015, I was registered Non-Partisan. I registered as a Democrat that year solely for the purpose of voting for Sanders in the closed PA Democratic primary.

Let me be clear. I believe it’s fine – and necessary – to call out “bad” Democrats. I’ve been doing it for most of my life. There’s plenty of recent evidence in this blog site. Just search for words like ‘liberal’ and ‘Democrats’. You’ll see.

But to my fellow lefties who can’t seem to hate Democrats enough, let me say that for you to go on demanding from the outside that the Democratic Party change to your liking while also criticizing the idea that liberals and progressives should join the Party in order to actually change it from within is not only illogical, it puts you into a category of people who can’t seem to tell the difference between an imperfect friend and an actual enemy.

Democrats are not the enemy. No, they are not perfect. No one is, but they are the only major Party that represents progressive and liberal ideas and policies. No, not enough and not strongly enough for some, including me, but they do represent them.

When it comes to discerning friend from foe, don’t take my word or the word of someone on Facebook. Look up your favorite antagonist at GovTrack.us to see what bills they sponsor and support, how they vote, and where they are on the ideological spectrum.

Here’s the chart for recent Angry Buster target, Cory Booker.

Cory Booker

That grey dot on the extreme left is you-know-who. That’s right, no one is left of Sanders.

That doesn’t make everyone else in blue an enemy.

So, I ask anyone who thinks they can change the Democratic Party from the outside these questions.

What if all the “calling out” actually did force out present-day bad Democrats, what then? Let’s say you get your wish. Who replaces them if not members of the Party?

And, seriously, do you expect all the rank-and-file members and all the leaders to simply throw up their hands, fall to their knees, and exclaim, “Hallelujah, you are right! We are evil and wrong and bad. We abdicate! The Party is yours! Thank you for saving us!”

It just makes no logical sense to go on believing that somehow the Democratic Party will change if only enough people outside of the Party screech long enough and loud enough about how terrible the Democrats are.

I’ll add this. It requires an ego that rivals Trump’s to think that all that screeching will eventually convince enough people to also join up in throwing away their votes in battleground states because that “sends a message” to Democrats to be more like them, or else.

I have bad news for those folks.

No political party cares what 1% of the total electorate thinks.

The Democrats aren’t trying to figure out how to win 100% of the 1% who voted for Stein. They’re trying to figure out how to win more of the overall electorate in districts and states where it matters.

So, here’s my advice to the Greens, liberals, and angry Busters who hate Democrats and the Democratic Party:
If you want the Democratic Party to change, become part of it; otherwise, you’re leaving the Party to those who are part of it, and they’re going to go on without you and your ideas.