While you're reminding your Tea Party uncle that if he collects Social Security, uses Medicare, or drives on a road paid for with his taxes that he is also a socialist, you can also remind him, as Ralph Nader reminds us, that those who rail against "socialism" are too often the biggest practitioners of socialism-for-corporations. And it never helps to forget that our government followed the 2008 bankster crash by handing out "trillions of taxpayer dollars" to "reckless bankers and speculators." Maybe your Tea Party uncle was against that, too -- but it's awful hard to overcome decades of political propaganda about how you can only ever succeed on your own, without help from anyone, ever.
From the "It's a Shame We Even Have to Say It" file: no, Mr. President, it's not at all true that "nobody can even define" what Roger Stone did, not when our own Justice Department summed up the whole affair thusly: "Stone was found guilty of obstruction of a congressional investigation, five counts of making false statements to Congress, and tampering with a witness." You'll hear people say that everything that's been going on with Russia is so complex, as a way of saying there's really nothing there, but, ah, it is easier to catch people who commit crimes more straightforwardly, is it not? And do we really think criminals haven't figured that out? Certainly our President has -- the more feces he dramatically flings against the wall, the more likely we are to throw up our hands and walk away.
I can't help but read that our President plans to deploy heavily-armed border patrol agents in so-called "sanctuary cities" and think that I guess this is how he gets his Reichstag Fire. Let us recall why they call them "sanctuary cities" -- not because they actively shield undocumented immigrants, but merely because they will not co-operate with federal immigration authorities without a court order. All these law-and-order types should be able to respect that, but in my experience, the only thing "law-and-order" types really respect is unquenchable rage.
Widely-respected medical journal Lancet says Medicare-for-All health insurance will save Americans $450 billion annually, and that figure might actually be a little low -- taking the cost estimate from the right-wing Mercatus Institute ($32 trillion over 10 years) and the Center for Medicare Services' projected 10-year cost ($47 trillion), I'd say the Lancet figure might be less than a third of the actual figure. Still, it's good PR, as is their finding that struggling hospitals will also benefit from all the stability Medicare-for-All would bring. That's struggling rural hospitals as well as urban ones, of course. Maybe someone should take that message to Middle America?
Joe Biden says Bernie Sanders should "take accountability" for his supporters' egregious actions, and here you have the reason why Democrats constantly lose: they're always blaming the wrong people. Shouldn't Mr. Sanders's supporters take accountability for their own actions? Aren't threats criminal acts subject to punishment by our government? I'm on record as saying you can't bring our President into criminal proceedings against white nationalists just because he's made racists feel good about themselves again, so I don't feel any differently about this. When Mr. Biden talks about "accountability" like this, of course, you can tell he's made a career out of capitulating to the other side. (Sadly, Elizabeth Warren piled on about this matter later -- also to NBC -- and even said "we are all responsible for what our supporters do," which, ah, no.)
Don't look now, but a member of Barack Obama's braintrust has written a very good article suggesting that Democrats shouldn't look to 2016 for lessons so much as 2012, for three main reasons: one, Mitt Romney basically made that election about Mr. Obama rather than himself; two, Mr. Obama completely reframed the economic issues of the time that made Mr. Romney's attacks on him moot; and three, Mr. Romney seemed to lock himself into the right-wing news bubble. I wonder if the third matters as much as the first two, especially given that we have an incumbent President who amplifies the worst aspects of that bubble, but this largely is a trenchant analysis -- particularly given that the eventual Democratic nominee will run against a man who's desperate to make everything about him, and that most of the possible Democratic nominees won't talk enough about the folks this economy has left behind.
Finally, now that Bernie Sanders is kind of the front runner for the Democratic nomination, we confront the notion that the "liberal" media will try to take him down by comparing him to Great Losers from the Past. Chris Hedges's trenchant analysis says that Our Glorious Elites "will do to Sanders what they did to George McGovern" if he becomes the nominee, and I know they will try, but I also know that George McGovern shot himself in the foot plenty in 1972 after he got the nomination, starting with taking Sen. Eagleton as his running mate and then ditching him not even three weeks later (after saying he was behind him "1,000 percent," no less). Meanwhile, Jonathan Freedland at The Guardian speculates that Mr. Sanders could be the next Jeremy Corbyn, but Labour didn't lose the recent national election because they were "too liberal" -- they lost because they weren't pro-Brexit enough! And for no other reason! Plebescites have consequences, after all, and Labour pursued "constructive ambiguity" about Brexit while Boris Johnson pretended to be Super Awesome Pro-Brexit Man, so it's no surprise who won. Ambiguity may be the special sauce of literature, but it's poison to political campaigns. The most analogous situation in America is trade, and guess what? Mr. Sanders is just as anti-"free" trade as our President, if not more so, and all the other remaining candidates save Ms. Warren are as wishy-washy about trade as Mr. Corbyn was about Brexit. I trust the pattern, and the lesson, are unmistakable.