Category Archives: Good Government

How to get back at Trump for pulling us out of Paris Climate Agreement

Flooding in Miami Beach, Florida

As many people feared, Donald Trump yesterday withdrew the United States from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement that was signed by 195 nations. Trump has added America to an extremely short list of outliers, including only Syria and Nicaragua. However, all is not doom and gloom as a result of Trump’s bad decision. First, plenty of state officials and companies will continue their commitment to fight climate change, for example, by deploying more clean energy such as solar and wind power. Second, there are many efforts each of us can make to bridge the climate change gap that Donald Trump is creating:

Steve Wozniak: Corporations regulate us

Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak

Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak wasn’t known in his youth as a public speaker. He was always the shy one, letting his gregarious partner Steve Jobs do the talking, with amazing results. However, in his first TEDx talk in Brussels in 2012 (a year after Jobs died), Wozniak let go some passionate free thinking about corporations that is very relevant today, and which should perk up the ears of all progressives. More than once in his speech, Wozniak said that corporations “regulate” us.

United Airlines violence toward passenger: how should we respond?

United Airlines' not-so-friendly skies

United Airlines’ not-so-friendly skies

One of the most talked-about news stories this week is how United Airlines “bumped” a passenger from its Chicago to Louisville flight on Sunday, and then literally bumped him off the plane when he refused to leave. As at least one writer explained clearly, the United episode is a result of the oligopoly that airlines have, with government approval of laws, rules and mergers that give airlines economic, and even physical, power over passengers. Given this airline power, the question becomes, how should consumers and voters respond? Here are a few ideas:

The allure of the phony Republican anecdote

Surf and Turf, a staple of food stamp recipients' diets according to GOP.

Surf and Turf, a staple of food stamp recipients’ diets according to GOP.

Humans are a storytelling species. Thus, it’s no surprise that narratives — essentially, ongoing story lines — are an important part of successful political communication. In Messaging Maxim #4: Feed the Narrative, we mentioned that it is valuable to:

craft a true but negative story about your opponents’ ideas, actions or positions, and then look for statements or actions by them that you can point to as furthering that narrative.

Republicans are very good at constructing narratives (for example, “Scary Brown People”); however, many Republican narratives are false. That’s why you will see the GOP using anecdotes, i.e., possibly false or possibly true stories involving as few as one person, to further their phony narratives, rather than citing any meaningful facts, evidence or accurate math.

President Obama’s high-water mark

President Obama at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Nov. 11, 2016.

President Obama at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Nov. 11, 2016.

President Barack Obama is leaving office on a high note. Many people might not remember what it was like when Obama took office in January 2009. The Bush Recession was underway, and America was losing 779,000 jobs per month. Stores were closing. Restaurants were empty. And our treasury was also empty (in fact, trillions in debt) from Bush’s disastrous Iraq War. Obama, with no help from the Republicans, turned things around to the point where he will be turning over a country that, by most objective measures, is doing very well. Let’s take a look at some of those numbers, so that we will have a comparison for the future:

John Glenn, Good Government hero

NASA astronauts John Glenn (C), Alan Shepard (R) and Gus Grissom (L)

NASA astronauts John Glenn (C), Alan Shepard (R) and Gus Grissom (L)

John Glenn, one of America’s heroes of the 20th Century, died last Thursday at age 95. Glenn was a highly decorated Marine Corps fighter pilot in both World War II and the Korean War, rising to the level of Colonel. Then, as immortalized in the book and movie “The Right Stuff,” Glenn was chosen as one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts, where he became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962. Glenn went on to serve four terms as a U.S. Senator from Ohio, and he even returned to space at age 77, the oldest person ever to do so. In between, Glenn ran for president in the 1984 Democratic Party primaries.

What do all of John Glenn’s heroic accomplishments have in common? They were all done as part of the U.S. Government.

Democratic revolution in U.S. House

U.S. House Democrats stage anti-gun violence sit-in on House floor

U.S. House Democrats stage anti-gun violence sit-in on House floor

Yesterday, the type of “political revolution” that Bernie Sanders called for but did not deliver during the 2016 Democratic Party primaries was launched instead by the Democrats in the House of Representatives. In a stunning, unprecedented move, Democratic Representatives protested the Republican majority and the National Rifle Association by staging a “sit-in” on the House floor after the Republicans refused to vote on gun violence legislation in the wake of the June 12 Orlando, Florida nightclub shootings in which 49 people were killed by a man using a semi-automatic assault-type rifle and a semi-automatic pistol. 

President Hillary Clinton is going to disappoint me, and that’s OK

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, both imperfect.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, both imperfect.

I’m astounded by the number of purity tests and “the perfect is the enemy of the good” sentiments coming from some Democratic Party primary voters this year. Do these voters insist on perfection from anyone else in their lives — their significant others, friends, bosses, co-workers or family members? Do they receive it? Has anyone in their lives never disappointed them? So why are voters expecting perfection and purity from their presidential candidates? I have no doubt that President Hillary Clinton will disappoint me sometimes, and that’s fine with me.

Issue-based unity for supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

Democratic U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer, Edward Markey and others demonstrate for a full Supreme Court

Democratic U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer, Edward Markey and others demonstrate for a full Supreme Court

Once again, the 2016 presidential primaries have been an emotional roller-coaster. The Democratic Party, while not engaged in open civil war like the Republicans, has certainly felt the sting. Nasty things have been said, hurt feelings have been felt. Therefore, while Hillary Clinton has all but won the Democratic Party nomination and Bernie Sanders has all but conceded, and the endgame is near, no one can expect Democratic Party unity overnight. Instead, Democratic voters should now focus and fight together on the issues that unite them against the Republicans. Here’s a partial list of such issues:

The second one-word difference between liberals and conservatives

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Last year, we came up with a one-word difference between liberals and conservatives. That one word was “Believe,” as in, “I don’t believe in climate change despite what those 97 percent of scientists say.” Basically, conservatives often use “believe” in a blind faith kind of way, whereas liberals often use “believe” to validate something that is backed up by facts and evidence. We have now identified a second word that, when you hear it being used, also gives you a major clue as to whether the person saying it is a liberal or a conservative: