The Democratic Party Isn’t Dead But Desperately Needs New Medicine

(Author’s note:  America needs a two-party system, with equal power and participation for both parties. Though this non-partisan article portrays a negative view of the Democrat Party’s current state, it presents the factual disarray with a roadmap for positive change to regain the party’s historical national leadership.)

The last few political years have not been good for Democrats, and Hillary Clinton’s loss in the presidential election is only the latest symptom of a rudderless ship making little or no progress.

FullFinalRepublicans now control the Senate and the House of Representatives. Only 17 states have Democrat governors. Only 13 state legislatures have Democrat majorities.

Although Democratic President Barrack Obama held the presidency for eight years, his personal popularity and a highly favorable media treatment couldn’t stop a slow-but-steady Democrat descent that began long before Obama’s wins. The president had strong support from minorities and young voters. But that support was his alone, and could not transfer to the remainder of the party. Though the hapless leadership of Debbie Wasserman Schultz was part of the Democrat problems, electing a new DNC chair will provide only a tiny uptick.

THE GOOD NEWS FOR DEMOCRATS: THE PARTY CAN STILL CHANGE AND REGAIN MOMENTUM.

The keyword is “change.” The party needs different strategies and different leadership voices.

Democrat leaders need to reposition two or three of their loudest and most embarrassing voices to the ‘back row’ of the caucus. Though people like Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Maxine Waters may be effective lawmakers, they are unappealing to the electorate at large. Ms. Pelosi is 76 years old. Mr. Schumer is 66. Ms. Waters is 78. Pelosi has a net worth of more than $70-million. Waters’ net worth is around $5-million, and Schumer is also wealthy, at a bit under $1-million. How can such wealthy senior citizens relate to a Democratic constituency of youth and mainstream workers struggling to pay bills every month?

Strategically, the Democrats have limited their leadership to bashing Donald Trump, just as they bashed Bush 43 and every other Republican they could vilify through identity politics. Though these tactics may energize marginal social media hate-mongers, this strategy turns off moderates and mainstream voters in both parties.

THE PRESCRIPTION

A much stronger way to strengthen Democrat positioning is to get out in front of Donald Trump’s agenda.

  • Stop screaming about Trump’s wall, and come up with a better plan to enforce our borders. You can include e-verify, state-of-the-art electronic detection, drones, increased manpower, and programs to punish employers who hire immigrants without specific licensing. (This can be far more effective than Trump’s wall since it can also be designed to track the estimated 40 percent of illegal immigrants who overstay their visas.
  • Instead of trying to block the inevitable repeal of Obamacare, promote a Democrat program for “Obamacare II.” Write a plan that keeps the framework and theoretically fixes all of the problems. Include a single payer option that will have lower drug prices, that the party negotiates with the pharmaceutical companies. (Remember, Democrats. You don’t have to implement anything. You only have to promote it. Even if it never comes to pass, this program will raise the party’s positive visibility.)
  • Enhance Medicare, and eliminate Republican plans for a voucher system by the following strategies:
    • Fund and implement an FBI task force to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse, thereby lowering Medicare costs.
    • Sponsor and enforce “tort reform” to lower costs for malpractice insurance for hospitals and individual doctors.
    • Implement means testing so that high-income people only qualify for Medicare for catastrophic illness or injury. Negotiate lower drug prices, and lower costs for high-priced diagnostic equipment.

By promoting effective programs that are more attractive than Trump’s, the party can reclaim middle-class voters and begin winning local races all over the country.

And one more thing. Plan strategies to be promoted on a micro-target basis. Don’t fool yourselves into believing that nationwide poll numbers indicate uniform support. The overwhelming population numbers in California, and New York, along with Washington DC influence can make bad ideas seem supportable. Microtargeting can optimize support in Omaha, Madison, and Jacksonville while maintaining the support of the large Democratic masses on the coasts.

 

Insights from Inside the Bunker July 9, 2016

In-Memoriam

Clinton’s Meeting with Lynch: The Inside Story

Following up on the questions whirling around the role of Bill Clinton in his wife’s campaign, we dug more deeply into the former President’s now infamous tarmac meeting, with Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Bypassing the conventional sources reporting through the media, we contacted a reliable friend on contract with the NSA and struck gold. Without warrants or any other authorization, we learned that voyeuristic tech people in the agency listen to conversations between celebrities and other newsmakers. The material they record seldom goes to anyone outside of the agency, but they sometimes give a tip to gossip sheets, pointing them toward a story. But in this case, on a promise of strict anonymity, our contact provided us with a transcript of a key conversation, held the evening following the alleged chance tarmac encounter between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Clinton. Here’s the transcript:

Loretta: “Hi, Sweetheart, how’s my Billy Boy?

Heart2Bill: “Lovin,’ locked, and loaded for you, Sweet Loretta! Missing you already. But at least we had those 37 minutes of heaven on your airplane. Once your husband lost consciousness from that Rohypnol, and you locked him in that rear cabin, we had an experience I’ll never forget.”

Loretta: (sighs) “It was wonderful! And we fooled everyone, didn’t we? You’re the Master of Misdirection! Politicians, pundits, and the media are killing themselves. They’re yakking about “bad optics,” harm to Hillary’s campaign, secret deals, and other nonsense, not realizing that we set the whole thing up as cover for our love affair!”

Bill: “Yup! The media people are so dumb; they think I want Hillary to win. Why would I want that? Full-strength Secret Service instead of my two running buddies watching my back? Press, paparazzi, and Hillary’s friends dogging every step when you and I want some lovin’ time? No thanks!”

Loretta: “Ooooh, Sweet Lips! I can’t wait for the next time!

Bill: “Stop! Baby, you’re killin’ me! Hey, what are you wearing right now? Send me a selfie!

Loretta: OK. Here it is!

Bill: “OH MY GOD! You’re so beautiful! WHOOPS! Gotta go. The wicked witch is calling, to bitch about the tarmac meeting. Again. And Again! I’ll call you Baby!”

Loretta: “Bye-bye, Sweetcakes.”

 

Do Gay Muslim Women Support Hillary?
With America still mourning the tragic shooting in Orlando, followed by the terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Bangladesh, and Bagdad, the world saw a new kind of attack in Los Angeles, a few nights ago.

At a rally for Hillary Clinton, more than one thousand members of the Beverly Hills “Democratic Women Fighting Poverty,” had paid $500 a seat at the Microsoft Theater. Music to create an exciting atmosphere was supposed to be “I am Woman,” by Helen Reddy. Instead, the shocked audience heard a Billy Joel classic, as the smiling candidate strode onto the stage:

Honesty

The crowd of women booed loudly. They hadn’t come to the rally for honesty. They had come for Hillary. Meanwhile, the Republican undercover operator who had pre-set the musical recordings quietly exited the building.

As the crowd quieted, a new diversion appeared. A large group of black-clad women filed quickly into the auditorium, carrying super-soaker guns, loaded with red-dyed water. 3SoakersWith military precision, they ran up pre-assigned aisles, constantly shooting the red water from their super-soaker guns, shouting “get down on the floor.” Frightened audience members screamed and obeyed the order, hoping to survive.

The assailants, all dressed identically, wore burqas with niqab face covering that only exposed their eyes. A few carried signs reading “Gay Muslim Women for Equality.”

Others chanted, “BERNIE AKBAR!”

Seeing what appeared to be a bloodbath, CNN reporters, and camera crews ran from the auditorium to report on what they saw as a bloody slaughter. They later learned that the dyed water was harmless, but their story had already spread throughout the media. Twitter was on fire with clashing opinions about the “slaughter.”

signHow had such a large group of invaders gotten through the layers of building security? Security people explained that they were afraid to challenge the women, for fear of being called anti-Muslim, gay-bashers or misogynists. Therefore they allowed them to move forward.

Eventually, police captured all of the attackers and transported them to a nearby precinct to be booked. However, all arrested women refused to remove their face masks, citing religious grounds. Police, therefore, recorded 53 identical photos of black hoods with only eyes exposed. They noted each woman’s unpronounceable Arabic name and released all of them on their own recognizance.

Learning about the event, President Obama was furious. How could he call these invaders “terrorists?” He couldn’t insult their Muslim faith, nor could he speak ill of LGBT people or women. After a few hours of debate with his communications people, he made a Presidential decision. Speaking before the entire nation, he called for laws against Super-Soakers, blaming Republicans in advance, for holding up this important legislation.

 

What’s Behind the Burqa and Niqab?

New-NiqabA few days after the Super Soaker attack, Ellen Degeneres interviewed a representative from the group of Gay Muslim Women on her show.

Ellen: “Aliyah, thank you for coming. We feel that American women want to know more about you and your group. And there’s more than a little interest in the Burqa and Niqab you all wear.”

Aliyah: “Thank you, Ellen. What would you like to know about?”

Ellen: “How did your group of Gay Muslim Women get together?”

Aliyah: “You must understand customs of our home country. Women are almost non-persons. The men in our families can make deals for us and force us to marry anyone they choose. That’s what happened to all of the women in our group. But the men lose interest after a few weeks and spend their time plotting in the souk, or blowing themselves up as suicide bombers. Eventually, none of our members had husbands. And we were damaged goods. No one wanted us, so we secretly married each other.”

Ellen: “Why did you disrupt Hillary Clinton’s rally event?”

Aliyah: “We don’t like her. We like Bernie. He’s a cute little guy, and too old to hurt anyone.”

Ellen: Do you like Donald Trump?

Aliyah: He’s dangerous. Like our dead husbands were. But there’s one thing we all like. He builds things. For girls who have always lived in dirty old tents, that’s a big deal.”

Ellen: Let’s talk about the way you dress. Why do you all wear burqas and naqibs?

FullFinalAliyah: Oh that is the best part of our lifestyle. When we still had husbands, we could go to a festival, and the men would get stupid smoking hashish. Even though it’s not allowed in our religion, the men love to party. After a while, they can’t tell one girl from another because we look alike, wearing our burqas and naqibs. They never talk to us, so they don’t know our voices. That means we can go home with someone else’s husband and trade back in the morning.”

Ellen: “Are there other advantages?”

Aliyah: “Of course! We use the burqa and naqib as recruiting tools to attract American women. Once you dress in this way, you can save so much money! No more need for beauty products, hair products, and different outfits. But best of all, you don’t worry about your looks. Even if you’re a three on the 1-10 scale, a real bow-wow, you begin wearing our clothing, and ZAP! You’re a ten!”

Ellen: “Would you recommend your clothing style to women leaders like Hillary? Could she become a ten?”

Aliyah: “She talks too much. Maybe a hard seven.”

Are Voters Fooled Again Like Charlie Brown Kicking a Football?

VoterMissesFootball2

Poor Charlie Brown! Once a year, the comic strip icon believed his friend Lucy and trusted her to hold a football in place so he could kick it. And every year she broke her promise and pulled the ball away mid-kick. The result of his trust was always the same. He’d vault through the air and land on his backside. Charlie is an apt metaphor for American voters who believe promises from their chosen candidates every four years and experience a similar reward.

Presidential candidates make promises analogous to Lucy’s. They openly say, “vote for me and I will deliver the following changes.” They also say, “vote for me because my skills and experience make me the most qualified candidate.” Following are some of the most popular claims and promises of this year’s cycle, along with some thoughts on whether the candidates will “pull the football away” as Lucy always did.

Promise One: “My skills and experience as (1. A senator 2. A governor 3. A business executive 4. A former First Lady 5. Secretary of State or 6. A famous neurosurgeon) qualify me for the presidency.”

Comment: Experience only counts if it is the same or similar to the job of POTUS. The only people with that experience are Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Dick Cheney and Al Gore.

When Senator Barack Obama became president, his lack of administrative experience became painfully apparent during his first year. Senators have some knowledge of the president’s issues but haven’t managed large complex organizations. Their backgrounds demonstrate that they can “talk the talk.” However, they have no experience in managing multiple large teams. As presidents, they might be effective spokespeople for complex laws like the Affordable Care Act. But choosing a staff and subcontractors to design and implement a complex law requires skills outside of their backgrounds. Senators will argue that they can surround themselves with experts. In actual practice, the “experts” are usually narcissistic political hacks and outlier academics who provide information without accompanying wisdom.

Governors can bring state-level administrative experience. This background may be helpful, but it provides no knowledge or experience of foreign affairs and global strategies. Sharing command of a state’s part-time National Guard unit doesn’t qualify a governor to be Commander-In-Chief of the world’s most powerful military; nor does it offer skills relevant to the planning and financial underpinnings of defense programs. Governors spend nearly all of their efforts on “education, medication, and incarceration.” They are world-class experts in these three areas. But their experiences offer little else to qualify them as President.

A cabinet post like Secretary of State requires skills very similar to those of senators. It requires no executive responsibilities. It may offer added experience of diplomacy, extensive air travel, and relationships with second-level foreign leaders. Similarly, the unelected post of First Lady has virtually no value as a presidential qualification, other than planning menus for diplomatic events, or acting as the gatekeeper to buffer the president from unwanted conversations at diplomatic receptions.

CEOs of large corporations have skills that are similar—but not identical—to a US President. Compared to Presidents, however, CEOs have absolute authority to implement changes, to hire, and fire as they see fit. Ironically the President has much less power while having much greater responsibilities. Presidents must manage effectively despite impediments of political parties, Congress, and a Supreme Court that can approve or disapprove any controversial decision. No CEO has experience “selling” vital decisions to adversaries within their organization, often with backroom deals.

Promise Two: “I will reform the tax code.”

Comment: In every presidential election in recent memory, every candidate, from either party, has promised tax reform. But despite an apparent agreement that the tax reform is vital, the tax code has had no significant changes since 1981. Presidents have only fiddled with rate changes while creating new loopholes and tax credits favoring special interests.

Every presidential candidate hires an unnamed, faceless economist who writes a new tax plan, with fictitious numbers that seem positive to voters. Candidates then sell their tax plans on the campaign stump. After winning elections, Presidents file these plans, and never discuss them again. Even more disingenuous, opposing candidates use similar language around taxes but intend different results. Voters usually hate taxes and believe proposed changes are good for them personally. But when Democrats say “close the loopholes,” they mean “collect more tax revenue for government spending.” When Republicans say it, they mean raise more revenue to lower the national deficit or rebuild the military. Neither party means tax relief for middle-class taxpayers.

Promise Three: “I will get the economy going again, bring back jobs from China, and provide more income for every family.”

Comment: To all politicians—Stop perpetuating the fiction that presidents control the economy. The truth is that presidents can only make minor changes. 1. Presidents can implement executive programs that slow down the economy. 2. They can undo executive branch impediments that are slowing the economy. 3. They can appoint Federal Reserve members who affect the money supply. 4. They can lobby Congress for stimulus programs; that may provide short term effects. None of these actions bring jobs back from China. Positive effects of these actions are temporary at best. The economy is extremely complex, and business cycles automatically kick in to produce a good or bad performance. Narratives by presidents or candidates promising better economic conditions are fantasies. When their empty promises prove to be untrue, politicians respond by blaming the other party.

Current candidates have made many other promises that they will not fulfill. These include:

  • Free college tuition and relief from the current $1.5 trillion of outstanding loans.
  • Carpet-bombing ISIS.
  • Ending the “War against Women” by providing free birth control to all.
  • Halting immigration of one large religious group.
  • Repeal of Obamacare.
  • Ending violence against women by electing a woman president.
  • Rounding up 12-million illegal immigrants and transporting them to Mexico.
  • Nationwide increase of minimum wages to $15 or $20 an hour.
  • Lowering taxes from the middle class by raising confiscatory taxes from billionaires.

The likelihood of politicians fulfilling these promises is equal to Lucy returning to comic strip life and apologizing to Charlie Brown for causing his back injuries.

My book “The Victory that Wasn’t” offers a fictional alternate history with a different kind of Military, and better outcomes for all Americans. It’s available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1GUL8oX

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Can Our Immigrant Vetting Process Really Detect Terrorists?

Fullubunting-seal

How does the US vet immigrants who want to enter the US? The president says we can offer visas to 10,000 Syrian refugees because we have a bullet-proof vetting process in place. But media and pols on both sides of the aisle aren’t so sure that he’s correct. And it’s not clear that any of these “experts,” including the president, has ever looked at the actual vetting process.

Surprisingly, I have personally undergone the immigration visa process, even though I was born and raised in the US. My experience may not be relevant anymore because the vetting organization has evolved and now depends more on technology. Nevertheless, some of what I experienced may remain in place.

The incident I remember occurred in Newark, NJ, with the organization that was then called INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service). I was in the middle of an outdoor line that was half as long as a football field at 7:00 AM, on a March day with an outdoor temperature around 20 degrees. Shivering while holding a handful of government forms received by mail, I was in line early, following the advice of knowledgeable people. They had warned me that the government limited its daily quota of cases, and refused new applicants after 10 AM every day. To ensure success, we needed to be in line by 7:30 AM or risk having to return at a later date.

Though my former wife and I were born Americans, we were in the process of adopting a two-year-old boy from Korea. Though we could have hired a family-law attorney, adoption experts told us we could reduce waiting time by six months if we walked the paperwork through INS ourselves. So we waited in line, with chattering teeth like all other immigrants.

Surveying people in our waiting line, I noted that most of our fellow applicants were Hispanic, African, Asian or Middle Eastern. There were very few Caucasian faces. Most people, including children, spoke quietly among themselves. Other than the soft buzz of those conversations, the crowd seemed eerily quiet.

About 30 minutes before the agency would open its doors, a female official emerged, wearing an extra-heavy, military style overcoat with an official INS badge. She was a large and imposing person. Though not impolite, she was stern and projected an unsmiling, no-nonsense bearing. She worked quickly down the line, apparently to ensure that all applicants carried paperwork.

When she had worked her way down to us, I interrupted her rapid process and asked a question. She immediately recognized that I was an American. Glancing at my paperwork, she offered a friendly smile, took us out of line, and escorted us into the indoor lobby at the very front of the line. Though I felt somewhat guilty on behalf of the people remaining outside in the Arctic air, I was nonetheless grateful for the special courtesy. Thinking further, I wondered whether the official instructions said, “Treat the tax-paying citizens kindly, so they’ll forget the standard dehumanizing vetting process.”

Once the inner doors opened, we faced a friendly but detailed, interrogation that lasted about 15 minutes. Once the interrogator dismissed us, we left quickly and quietly, happy to be ordinary Americans. At the time, we laughed at the perfunctory, bureaucratic process. How could it possibly single out a criminal or terrorist? Were governments of other countries equally slipshod?

Two years later, our family had relocated to the Boston area and awaited the arrival of a little girl, also from Korea. Chastened by our Newark INS experience, we had hired an attorney and waited through extra months for our new daughter to arrive.

We didn’t worry about INS anymore. But we soon faced a new bureaucratic experience at the French Consulate in Boston. We had planned a family vacation on the West Indies Island of Guadeloupe, a French territory.

Our US passports permitted us easy entry to the island. A few months earlier I had held my son’s hand and taken an oath that made him a naturalized American. He too now traveled on an American Passport. But our daughter wasn’t yet a citizen and had only a “green card” passport. Her passport was white, not blue, and was longer and narrower than ours. She, therefore, needed a full visa investigation to enter a territory of France.

The process at the French Consulate was much more civilized than the Newark incident. The consulate had far fewer travelers to manage and worked by appointment. However, the interview was far more detailed. Although my cute little daughter sat quietly on my lap, the unsmiling interviewer insisted on asking in-depth questioning. For example, she asked where the applicant had attended college, even though she was only three years old.

History suggests that the INS vetting process later became easier. It reportedly has few in-person interviews, relying on whatever inspectors can find in online databases. Having used material from government databases myself, I have noted numerous errors and omissions. I wouldn’t bet the life of one American that our current process will identify individual criminals or jihadists.

Before we commit our country to large numbers of immigrants, we need to have the entire vetting process inspected and certified by an outside group of technologists, including a few “white hat” hackers. “Congressional oversight” cannot perform this certification. The congressional oversight process for anything normally includes nefarious political machinations. We can’t depend on it. Vetting immigration is too important.

Personal Epilog: The little boy and girl referenced in the immigration vetting incidents grew up. The little boy served in the US Army, graduated from Cal-Berkeley, and works for a leading company in Silicon Valley. The little girl graduated from Cal-Santa Cruz, worked teaching English to Children in Korea, returned to the Bay Area, married and has a little boy of her own. Both kids have made their parents very proud.

My book “The Victory that Wasn’t” offers a fictional alternate history with a different kind of Military, and better outcomes for all Americans. It’s available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00W2MGW4W

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