Trump’s threat-tweet about funding to Berkeley is a dog whistle to distract his base

Trump’s threat to cut funding is either more evidence of how ignorant he is of the facts, or it’s evidence of him blowing a dog whistle to his base as part of a leadership style that is predicated on intimidation, misinformation, misdirection, and bullying even when he has no power to do what he threatens to do.

I think it’s the latter.

trump-voters-by-education-sex-and-race
Source: http://www.cnn.com/election/results/exit-polls/national/president

First, the data. The facts. They show to whom he appealed in the campaign, and for whom the whistle is being blown.

He won 61% of white, non-college educated, women. They made up just 17% of the electorate.

He won 71% of non-college educated, white, men. They were the smallest block in this category at just 16% of the electorate.

He just barely won more than one-half, 53%, of white, college educated, men. They were a voter block that was just 17% of the total voters.

Add it up. He won impressively with non-college educated voters, especially men, but even when you add in the narrow majority of educated white men, this is a voting block that totals 50% of the voters.

He pretty decisively lost white, college educated, women. Alone, they were 20% of total voters.

He was crushed in the non-white block of voters regardless of education levels. Together with educated white women, they make up the other one-half of voters.

I think these facts tells us a lot.

I think they tell us that the people who are white and who have less formal education – and who, I’m guessing, would confirm themselves to being avid consumers of information from sources like Fox, Limbaugh, Breitbart, InfoWars, and countless others – love Trump for, once again, being bombastic and making threats.

What makes no sense is why anyone, including his supporters, should applaud his threats to funding higher education.

How is it even possible that education becomes a target for Trump, and how is it even remotely possible that his supporters could join him and cheer him on in that?

Let me be clear. This isn’t about whether or not everyone should go to college. This isn’t about colleges somehow threatening free speech. That’s ridiculous.

What this is about is a president who threatens the very idea of education. And, yes, DeVos is a clear example of this threat, too.

I’m issuing this plea to his supporters. Please look at the question of education, what Trump and DeVos are saying about it, and understand that you are working against yourselves, your kids, their future, and the future of this country by attacking education, especially as is the case this time, when there’s no justification for the criticism.

Trump is blowing a dog whistle to make it seem like higher education – any education – is, what, another liberal conspiracy to silence dissenting voices??? Anyone who has spent any time on a college campus knows that to be completely untrue, and that is the case again with Berkeley and the protests.

I’m asking Trump supporters to do one other thing. Forget Berkeley for now.

What I’m asking instead is for Trump supporters to realize that if America’s taxpayer-funded public education system was extended to apprenticeship programs and to 2-year and 4-year programs and degrees of all kinds, they and their children could get the education they need to be more competitive in a global economy and to have good paying jobs.

Here are the facts.

Companies are going begging for people to hire, but only people with the necessary education.

With the right post-secondary education, Trump supporters (and those who aren’t) and their kids would have the knowledge and skills to be hired into good paying middle class (and now called middle-skilled) jobs because they’d have the education those jobs demand.

Don’t believe it?

When the German engineering company Siemens Energy opened a gas turbine production plant in Charlotte, N.C., some 10,000 people showed up at a job fair for 800 positions. But fewer than 15 percent of the applicants were able to pass a reading, writing and math screening test geared toward a ninth-grade education.
(“Wanted: Factory Workers, Degree Required“; New York Times, Jan 30, 2017)

Want more evidence?

“In our factories, there’s a computer about every 20 or 30 feet,” said Eric Spiegel, who recently retired as president and chief executive of Siemens U.S.A. “People on the plant floor need to be much more skilled than they were in the past. There are no jobs for high school graduates at Siemens today.”

Good paying jobs with a future now require more than a high school education. People like my father who worked in manufacturing his whole life with nothing more than a high school diploma – and who then retired with dignity thanks to a union who ensured their workers reaped some of the rewards from their labor through a defined benefit pension – cannot and should not expect to find anything even close to that now.

Anything even resembling a decent paying job in the 21st century requires more knowledge than high school can provide. And, unless Trump supporters are ready to join the fight for a federally imposed living wage, the only way to make a living wage will be to have the knowledge and skills employers want.

That’s why it’s so obvious that when it comes to workers and wages, there’s only more bad news for Trump supporters.

trump-and-labor-secretary-andrew-puzder
Source: http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/01/27/trumps-choice-for-labor-secretary-outsourced-jobs.html

It’s sad to see Trump supporters believing his rhetoric about bringing back good paying jobs. I hope someday they realize that not only is he not even talking about bringing back the jobs he’s created overseas himself from his own businesses, his choice of Andrew Puzder to lead the Department of Labor is a slap across every American worker’s face.

President Donald Trump’s pick for labor secretary outsourced his fast-food company’s technology department to the Philippines, a move that contradicts Trump’s vow to keep American jobs in the U.S.
(“Trump’s choice for labor secretary outsourced jobs”; Fox (yes, Fox) Business News, Jan 27, 2017.)

There are lots of ways to grow an economy, but there aren’t many ways other than education to be part of it.

I can’t encourage Trump supporters enough to read the above NYT article, and to join the fight to both modernize and properly fund education in America, as well as to force corporations to more equitably share in the wealth they create for their senior managers and shareholders. That is not what Puzder is about.

And, when it comes to education, DeVos wants to privatize public education and turn it into a for-profit venture for private companies. If you Trump supporters thought you were being left behind before, you won’t even be able to see the tail lights of the economy speeding away from you if she gets her way because you and your kids won’t be able to afford to be educated.

Free-market ed reformers deny or dismiss the inevitable outcome of vouchers: an even more unequal K-12 system than we have today. Middle-class parents will add as much money as they can to their vouchers in order to get their kids into the best possible schools. The wealthy will spend whatever it takes to create an elite strata of schools that insure their kids’ advantages. Lower-middle-class families will scour the system for decent schools they can afford; they’ll find that the more decent the school, the higher the demand for it, and the higher the price. And the poor? They will go to “government schools”—a term that market ed reformers have long used to describe what everyone else calls public schools.
(“Milton Friedman, Betsy DeVos, and the Privatization of Public Education”; Common Dreams, Jan 17, 2017

This is a sincere appeal to Trump supporters. I sincerely hope that they will start to give this idea of what a post-secondary education means, and what it can mean economically for them and their kids.

The root issue I hope they’ll understand is this. Trump and people like him don’t really care about them and don’t really want them to be educated.

Why not?

Because educated people tend to be very hard to manipulate

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Only #Sanders has any credibility on controlling Wall Street and reforming campaign financing

There is only one candidate for president with any credibility when it comes to reining in Wall Street and doing something to end the corrupting influence that Big and Dark Money have over our elected officials.

Compare Bernie

As terrible as right-wing and ultra-conservative ideology is for everyone (including the ‘true believers’ who live with the rest of us 99-percenters), the problem of corruption that comes from unlimited and unregulated money that floods our democracy is one that can actually be solved now if we elect the right people.

http://anticorruptionact.org/

Model legislation exists. See the American Anti-Corruption Act.

 

What can we do?

  • First, get registered if you aren’t and vote in the primaries for Sanders.
  • Second, vote for him in the General.
  • Third and perhaps most importantly, vote Republicans out of every other office on the ballot.

Every. Single. One.

No, Democrats aren’t pure and innocent on the issue of money. Hillary is the largest recipient in pretty much every way, but understand this.

This isn’t about her, and money is absolutely corrupting Republicans in ways that result in far worse outcomes for everyone, economically and socially.

According to OpenSecrets.org, Republican presidential candidates get….

  • 62.6% of all Commercial Bank contributions
  • 70.4% of all Hedge Fund & Private Equity contributions
  • 74.7% of Insurance
  • 88.1% of Oil & Gas
  • 58.6% of Pharma
  • 65.2% of Securities & Investment

….and the list goes on.

Who is the most responsible for our economic woes? See above.

The real icing on the cake is how we got to this sorry state. The single biggest reason is given to us courtesy of the Supreme Court.

The only Supreme Court Justices who ruled for Big Money in the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases were those appointed by a Republican president.

Sanders is the only one talking about overturning these decisions as a condition for any appointments he’d make.

How much more convincing will it take to reach our fellow 99-percenters who prefer Hillary or who think that they’re Republicans?

95 percent

Republican voters: You have more in common with #Sanders than you probably want to admit

Are you in an income category that will see a tax increase under Sanders’ proposals?

How many people do you know personally who would have their taxes raised?

Sanders Income Tax Plan

The question of which income group can and should be paying more, both in real dollars and percentage of their incomes, for all of society’s benefits is the wealthy.

Why them? Because the wealthy in America are actually the greatest socialists to ever live, and no amount of failed Republican rhetoric about trickle-down economics or the amoral lies of libertarian Objectivism will change this reality.

Only voting for people like Sanders will.

Corporatism is Capitalist Socialism

Think about it.

Everything that happens in the present-day and so-called capitalist system we live in is designed to not just “trickle up” but to flood the wealthy with greater and greater advantage and wealth.

Besides Wall Street’s insane ability to privatize all their gains while socializing their losses; besides polluters who can freely pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere without bearing any of the expense for what the pollution does; besides the hundreds of billions that are spent annually from federal coffers on subsidies and contracts to some of the biggest and richest corporations ever seen on the planet; the everyday occurrences that also make them socialists include all of the benefits they get from a system that is set up to actually make their wealth even possible.

  • Publicly funded infrastructure
  • Local services like police, fire, emergency medical services, snow removal, garbage collection, public libraries, etc., etc.
  • Public schools and universities
  • Social service programs that their workers – sadly, more and more of our fellow citizens – need just to survive, forget about growing and thriving

How does this happen?

Because too many Americans have been duped into believing they are Republicans and insist on voting against themselves and the rest of us by voting mostly for corporatist Republicans who pass ALEC-written laws that benefit the already rich and powerful.

You’re Not a Temporarily Embarrassed Millionaire, You’re a Socialist

The rich and powerful have had it too good for too long and at our expense.

It’s about time we all wised up and started electing people like Sanders who will tilt the field back in our favor.

Not to a level field. Tilted to our favor.

The “level playing field” where one’s lot in life is supposedly determined solely by their desire and tenacity and hard work is a ridiculous and juvenile Objectivist myth perpetrated by libertarians who love to believe that Americans are not socialists by nature but actually just “temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

I call out libertarianism in particular because, generally speaking, it is an especially abhorrent and selfish form of corporatism which happens to form the foundation of modern-day Republican social and economic policy.

True believers will try to deny their history. History won’t let them, and neither will I.

History shows without question that what rich and powerful men – and with still rare exceptions in the 21st century, it’s white men of privilege – left unchecked will operate with wanton disregard for anything resembling what it means to be a human being living in a modern and civil society. They are sociopaths, and why some people outside of their gated communities and exclusive country clubs would decide to worship them for their cutthroat Objectivism and for their hoarding of wealth and power is one of today’s great social and political mysteries.

Far Past the Time to Raise Taxes on the Rich

The rich and powerful exist only as a result of our labor. If the economy was limited to only the transactions and consumption of the richest 1%, how long could it actually last?

Spend the next few minutes listening to venture capitalist, Nick Hanauer, if you don’t believe me, or Sanders, or Robert Reich, or anyone who understands even the simplest concepts of how our economy works.

The rich and powerful rule over us untouched only because too many of you in the 99-percent insist on voting for Republicans which is, at the very least, a vote against your own economic self-interests and the economic interests of all of the rest of us.

That’s why I’m supporting Bernie Sanders.

For the first time in my 50+ years, I feel like there’s someone I can vote for who is willing to talk about raising taxes on the rich and who is willing to say to all of us that,

The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time.”

So, I get it. It’s easy to understand why you’d be a libertarian or a Republican and against Sanders if you make (or inherited!) a lot of money.

What’s impossible to understand is why you’d consider yourself to be a libertarian or a Republican if you don’t have a lot of money.

Trapped by the Kochtopus

It’s important to be aware of and to avoid being trapped in the tentacles of the Kochtopus and their libertarian empire.

If you’ve never heard of the Kochtopus, then please spend some time making a close examination of the tentacles of Kochtopus so you’ll understand just how far-reaching a single wealthy family like the Kochs are influencing everything around you; from the media, to think tanks, to academia, to legislators and judges, and more. If anyone can find a similar beast that exists on the left, I’d like to see it. (Cue the George Soros haters.)

Wake Up Call

Look. It’s time for everyone making $250K or less to wake up and to stop pretending you’re a temporarily embarrassed millionaire, or a Republican, or even a libertarian.

You’re not, and you likely never will be.

If you make less than the $400K+, which is what it takes to be a One-percenter, and you still call yourself a libertarian or a Republican, then you’ve been duped.

You may not realize, but what you actually are is a corporatist. You’re on the wrong side. You’re supporting people like the Koch brothers, the Waltons, and Wall Streeters who wouldn’t cross the street to piss on you if you were on fire. (Crass, I know, but I think it makes the point, don’t you?)

What you are is one of us.

You’re a 99-percenter.

And, you are far more likely to benefit from a tax increase on the wealthy to fund policies and programs that tilt the field in favor of middle class and poor Americans than you are to find yourself among the whiny One-Percenter “socialists” who will just have to find a way to go on living with one less house in the Hamptons and one less yacht to water ski behind.

Come on. Just be real. Five minutes at Sanders’ campaign site will convince you that you have way more in common with the vision and policies of Bernie Sanders than any other candidate. (To my fellow progressives, liberals, and Democrats, that includes Hillary, too, btw.)

We are all democratic socialists. We all should be supporting Sanders. We should be caucusing for him and voting for him in the primaries. He’s the only one who seems to care about all of us outside the One-Percenters, and that’s ok. The One-Percenters will be fine no matter what. It’s all of the rest of us that we should be thinking about now.

What Costco has to teach the 99-percenters who think they’re Republicans

It’s not complicated. Every retailer, restaurant, and corporation in America can do what Costco is doing, but they don’t.

Costco

Why is that?

I think it’s because the people who own and run these businesses refuse to look beyond next quarter’s financial statements. Their thought processes, their vision, and their values don’t include ways to share their wealth with their workers.

They are greedy, selfish, sons-of-bitches who want us to think that’s just how capitalism works.

That also seems to be how today’s conservatives who are outside the 1% think, too. What other explanation can there be for why they think they are Republicans?

Conservatives Don’t Seem to Understand Reality

Costco clearly has leaders, a board of directors, and shareholders who are visionary and courageous enough to implement ethical and moral business strategies that are profitable AND which include a more equitable distribution of those profits to workers in the form of livable wages.

Contrast that with the lies we’re told by Wall Street, by Big Business shills like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association and the National Federation of Independent Business, by libertarian mythologists like Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute, and by Republican politicians who keep claiming that trickle-down economics works, that we should abolish a minimum wage and leave compensation to market forces, and that government interference and over-reach are stifling business and our economy.

How is it that conservatives don’t get that all of that is, of course, complete and total bullshit?

How is it that conservatives who make less than $340,000.00 – what it takes to be in the 1% – insist on voting for Republicans and their failed policies which have ALWAYS been designed to benefit the rich and powerful first and foremost?

Liberals: Time to “Welcome Their Hatred”

We need leaders like Bernie Sanders who welcome the hatred of Wall Street and Big Money.

Compare Bernie

 

We need people like Lawrence Lessig as politicians who represent us and who are willing and eager to confront Big Money for their lies and their failures.

 

As individuals, we also must welcome the hatred of the rich and powerful. We need to find the courage to band together. We need to shine light on the fact that conservatism and Republican policy is to blame for where we are now as a nation and as a society.

More than anything, we liberals need to stop surrendering to the all-too-common liberal weakness of always wanting to find compromise.

No more compromises. It’s how we got to this sorry state of affairs. We let conservatives move the center further and further to the right by acquiescing to their demands and our own desire to avoid confrontation and conflict.

No more.

Liberals didn’t elect Reagan and two Bushes. Liberals didn’t cause banks to fail. Liberals didn’t demand that government shrink and corporations become less and less regulated. Liberals didn’t funnel all of the recovery and wealth to only the absolute richest among us.

We liberals need to continue to point out these and all the inconvenient truths that stem from conservatism (and its absurdly juvenile and greed-driven stepbrother, libetarianism).

Our fellow citizens who self-identify as conservatives need to hear from us whether they want to or not. They need to hear the truth; that they are also part of the ever-shrinking middle class and the ever-growing class of working poor.

They need to hear from us liberals that they are wrong – plain and dead wrong – for voting for ANY Republican anywhere and at any level of government.

They need to keep hearing it. Conservative (and much of libertarian) ideology that informs and drives Republican policies have unequivocally been proven to be dead wrong for everyone on every issue, and that includes economic issues. That is true, of course, for everyone except for the rich and powerful.

The Parties Are NOT The Same

It’s pretty simple and absolutely obvious. The GOP is the party of big business and the rich.

For those who are tempted to trot out the b.s. false equivalence that, “Both parties are the same,” save it. As far as I’m concerned, you’re second in line as the greatest obstacle to making real progress in this country. You give Republicans cover, and you need to stop it.

Number one on the list of obstacles are actually those Americans living in households with adjusted gross incomes of less than $340,000.00 per year who insist that they are Republicans and who vote for Republicans. I have news for them. They are not in the 1%. The conservatives in the 99% mean precisely nothing to Republicans except as useful fools who can be counted on to vote for them.

Organized Labor Is the Path to Prosperity

It’s absolutely stunning that conservatives aren’t banding together with the rest of us in the middle class in support of organized labor. History proves that stronger unions are the path to better and higher standards of living for everyone.

It bears repeating.

If you make less than 340-grand and think unions are somehow the problem and Republicans are the answer, then you not only don’t understand reality, you’re the biggest obstacle to prosperity we have right now in America.

So, how about it, conservatives?

How about you wake up and stop voting against yourselves and the rest of us?

You’ll thank yourself and, more importantly, so will future generations.

95 percent

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Additional Reading:

Strengthen Unions

Wealth Inequality in America

Top 1 percent: How much do they earn?

Capital Eye Opener, March 8: The Fight Over Minimum Wage, and Rand’s Partisan Appeal

New Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Major Minimum Wage Increase

Activists Around the US Fight to Raise the Minimum Wage