Socialism or Social Justice?

Tom Cantrell, a friend and a smart guy whom I respect immensely, wrote me an email questioning my stand on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I responded. We have different points of view. He has agreed that our discussion can go forward in this blog. I have opened it up for others to contribute, but there are rules.

Rule #1: This is my publication, these are my rules, if you don’t like the rules, that’s okay.

Rule #2: No cheap shots. Some will say I take cheap shots. I will change something if I think I should, but see Rule 1.

Rule #3: Stay on topic. We are not going to talk about the Meuller probe, or chem trails. Who decides what’s on topic? C’mon.

Rule #4 (as of 9:00 a.m. March 8, 2019): You’ve buried me! I am unable to respond to the sheer volume of words coming in via email, Word .docs, comments, with photos, etc.

Therefore, limit your responses to ONE point. Under 500 words. Comments MUST be posted here, below. Sign in, do the Captcha dance, and I will try to get them up asap. If you want to drop me a note (“Hey, Erik, I put a comment up, where is it?”) that’s fine.

~ Erik Dolson

On Mar 4, 2019, at 9:06 AM, Tom Cantrell wrote:
Erik, you are not really advocating Socialist governing concepts are you??

On Mon, Mar 4, 2019 1:21 pm, Erik Dolson wrote:
Tom, that’s such an open ended, loaded, and ill-defined “gotcha” question, I can’t possibly answer it.

Tell me what you mean and are referring to. Give me an example based on something I wrote or said. Disagree with the specific, and let’s talk about it. If you want to discuss something, be fair in your question.

To Erik Dolson:
I do not intend to be rude but I do intend to be direct. The reason I asked was to understand why you have so much respect and agreement for AOC’s (U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) thoughts and opinions. America is a Republic and AOC does not believe in a Republic system of Government. AOC has made it clear that she supports Socialist style of Government. There is a difference in making laws based on the support of the majority versus imposing laws that the minority believes are best for the majority. No gotcha, just curious.

To: Tom Cantrell
Tom, I have clearly stated that I disagree with some of her ideas: “I was skeptical at first and don’t agree with everything she believes, but I do think she is fast becoming the most important political voice in America.”

No support for socialism there.

Again, you do not give me a specific statement that I made or that AOC has made to discuss. Show me where I have said, or for that matter, where AOC has said, that she promotes “imposing laws that the minority believes are best for the majority.”

In any case, a minority can hope to pursuade a majority that there are other points of view. That used to be the strength of America. And there is no disagreement from me that some of her views are currently a minority opinion. That the right seeks to supress her ideas by saying they are unAmerican, as you do here, is an indication of their power.

My enthusiasm for AOC has to do with her willingness to put in the work and ask tough questions. The first post noted her questioning the way corporations can and do buy senators and representatives and how this hurts ordinary Americans. The second was about AOC asking Trump’s consiglieri Michael Cohen who knew what about possible racketeering by Trump.

Nothing to do with socialism in either case.

At 10 p.m. on March 5, Tom Cantrell wrote:
Eric, my question was: “Are you advocating socialist governing concepts” ?

 I was not implying that you suggest imposing laws that the minority think are best for the majority but you do think she is a fresh voice.  So I asked you a direct question as to your views/advocacy on Socialist governing.

As for AOC, here is what she has said:  “Yup. If you don’t like the #GreenNewDeal, then come up with your own ambitious, on-scale proposal to address the global climate crisis. Until then, we’re in charge – and you’re just shouting from the cheap seats”. 

I am sure there will be other polls that some will point to but here is the best one I have seen and not only provides the exact question that was asked but also provides the demographics. https://remingtonresearchgroup.com/green_new_deal_survey/

 As for the Green Deal being a socialist ideal here is another poll with good info. https://thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/432102-most-voters-view-green-new-deal-as-largely-socialist-poll-shows

 I can not agree that I am suppressing her opinions, however if the majority of Americans do not agree with her or me, it is not suppression it is free thought.  I am not agreeing with her that is clear. 

The real irony with the concern of suppression and BIG money in elections is the actions of the past to the Tea Party and the Freedom Caucus.  As we all know the IRS took a very long look at these groups and all conservative groups.  The IRS denied them 501-C status, investigated conservative groups for months/years and even tried to fine them.  So little said by so many about their fight against BIG money and it’s influence at that time.  The fight is the same but the people are different, but now those fighting are a breath of fresh air.  I would call that discrimination.  To be clear I am not suggesting that you did this.

I agree that the minority can or may convince the majority to change their line of thinking but I doubt it will happen. The attitude as been broadcast by the Political Party Leaders that a Party must stand shoulder to shoulder and vote the party line, no matter how bad the legislation is or what it’s effect would be.  Sure there will be one or two defectors but not enough to make a change.  When one sees a party that has defectors in the range of 5 to 10 people one should ask them selves a few hard questions about fair and free thinking or if they are also just following the party line.. 

Our Fore Fathers provided us with the best solutions for prosperity and Governance which can be proven by comparing America to any other country in history for success and freedom for period of 242 years.  Our Fore Fathers warned us time and time again thru the Federalist papers, Bill of Rights, Constitution and multiple speeches regarding other systems of Government yet we seem to try to flirt with the very things they warned us about.  We are acting as rebellious teenagers and trying to do what has already been done but expecting different results. Looking at the political landscape, I do not think the” tyranny of the majority” has fueled that length of success and prosperity of America for over 200 years, in fact I think the opposite.

At 10:30 March 5, Erik Dolson replied:

Tom, this is a bit of a moving target, but I’ll do my best.

Your first emails to me clearly indicate that since I expressed appreciation for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, that I was advocating “socialist governing concepts.” Your phrasing noted. Which is still not true, see argument above.

It’s as if I’d said that since you’re a capitalist who favors deregulation, you want more people to have lung cancer, more lead in drinking water, tornados or wildfires to kill hundreds of people. I know that you are not in favor of poisoning children with lead in their drinking water. That’s the danger of labels, right?

None the less, you did say that AOC favors minority rule, if you will pardon the short hand. Which I don’t think is true and you don’t really offer much evidence.

The right wing has stuffed the media with mischaracterizations of what AOC said about the Green New Deal (which I do NOT support in total). It took 6 Google pages to get to an actual quote and that was from a British newspaper, once you get through “Glocknews” and the “Washington Examiner,” “Pig-in-the-Poke Daily,” etc. Six pages, that is not an exageration.

Here is what AOC said: “So people are like ‘Oh it’s unrealistic, oh it’s vague, oh it doesn’t address this little minute thing’ and I’m like ‘You try! You do it!’ Because you’re not, so until you do it, I’m the boss, How about that?”

See the words, “You try! You do it!” and “…until you do it?” She is putting ideas out there. Boy, does that have the right wing riled up. The first six pages of a Google search full of fear and loathing that a 29 year-old freshman congresswoman said  the planet is in danger and Americans need a future!

Damn straight I think she’s becoming one of the more important voices in American politics. AOC is trying to start a discussion about what is possibly the greatest threat to mankind since the last comet hit the earth. She is trying to put Americans to work (albeit poorly, in my opinion). She is trying to address the corrosive influence of Senators for Sale.

About damn time we had these dicussions in ways that Americans can understand.

Your comments about the majority of people being opposed to her concepts or her words? A majority of people think we need a better health care system. A majority of people think Trump’s unfit for office. If you want to credit opinion polls, then let’s go with those, too, okay?

Tea Party and Freedom Caucus? I will admit to disparaging both. And some were targeted by the IRS for abusing the system, possibly some which had not. But they had a pretty good run until they got swallowed by Mitch McConnel and Trump Republicans who rammed through a non-conservative, hyopocritical, budget busting give-away to huge corporations which are not hiring more workers but using their tax break windfall to buy their own stock and prop up share prices, further enriching the top 1 percent.

And when it’s time to cut the budgets, it will be the poor and middle class who will bear the burden because “America can’t afford these dangerous deficits.” The rich will scream “class warfare, class warfare” when they were the ones who started it.

Remember how Main Street bailed out Wall Street? Wall Street took the money and gave themselves a raise.

Slavishly following the party line? You’re talking about Republicans, right? Lockstep for years, now? Right? Okay, agreed.

As to your comments about our form of govenment, our forefathers, other forms of government, etc.? Non arguments, more of that “she opposes DEMOCRACY!” fear mongering, kinda like saying that since the sky is blue and chocolate tastes good, you’re on the side of right.

The biggest threat to what our forefathers envisioned is sitting in the White House, tweeting Fox News releases to undermine the very principles you say are important.

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About Erik Dolson

Erik Dolson is a writer living in Oregon

10 Responses to Socialism or Social Justice?

  1. Mike Currie says:

    Eric: Thank you for the opportunity to comment. This is my response to the question about Ms. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Unfortunately, these things seem to automatically morph into wider discussions on related subjects.

    Ms. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is an interesting case. She has basically risen from complete obscurity (at least, as far as I can tell) to a position of prominence in the Democratic Party. I don’t understand why! She is an attractive candidate in that she is a young, good-looking woman, but has staked out some pretty controversial positions. AOC’s Green Plan is unattainable and unrealistic. My calculator doesn’t have enough zeros to even begin to calculate the cost. Never mind the fact that she is advocating the use of solar power and wind farms to replace existing hydro power, both of which are NOT environmentally friendly solutions, never mind ridiculously expensive.
    Typically, AOC typically advocates taxing the rich. I’m sure Nancy Pelosi, the Kennedys, the Kerrys, and the Obamas will be more than willing to cough up their fortunes to aid the cause. NFL (which doesn’t stand for National Football League)!! The rich are going to move their money off-shore (or as much of it as they can get away with). Then there’s the small issue of what do you do when the rich have nothing left to tax?
    It’s pretty well established that “green industry” will be unable to fill the jobs required and to generate the tax revenue required for the government. In fact, as it stands at the moment, the “green industry” requires more subsidy than any contribution is may make. The current experiences of countries such as Australia and Germany indicate that a “green energy” plan is totally unworkable. The British have experience similar problems with their windfarms when, during a cold snap, here was no wind to run the windfarms.
    AOC is a media darling because she generates viewers watching and website hits. I don’t want to go into a dialogue regarding how easily led some voters really are. I watch both Canadian and American politics and can see where the adage “you can fool some of the people” really applies.
    AOC is a socialist. I don’t know whether she’s aware that full-blown Socialism has NEVER worked anywhere that it has been tried. Here in Canada we have a much more socialistic society compared to the U.S. Some parts of our system work. Our healthcare system works pretty well, though it is expensive.
    I may be somewhat confused on all the issues involved. Someone better informed may have a completely different take on these things.

  2. Tom Cantrell says:

    I want to say to anyone who may read my dribble that Erik Dolson is my friend and that will not change. We may not agree politically but I am sure we would both fight to our last breath for each others right to say it. As I said, Erik is my friend and I really appreciate him posting my comments and letting me hijack his site.

    .

    Erik, I am providing you my response but first I need to ask how could you extrapolate all of your quotes below out of me asking you if are you advocating social governing concepts? The only one I have every told that you are a Commey is Jake.

    Your first emails to me clearly indicate that since I expressed appreciation for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, that I was advocating “socialist governing concepts.” Your phrasing noted. Which is still not true, see argument above.

    It’s as if I’d said that since you’re a capitalist who favors deregulation, you want more people to have lung cancer, more lead in drinking water, tornados or wildfires to kill hundreds of people. I know that you are not in favor of poisoning children with lead in their drinking water. That’s the danger of labels, right?

    Erik here is my evidence that AOC believes that the minority should rule. AOC’s current Green Deal has been challenged by the majority but she tweets to the very people that pay her salary to sit down and shut up. If this is not evidence then what would be? One can just go to her twitter account and see the comment, no need to look thru pages and pages of slanderers comments about the young Lady. There is a better way to present this to the people of America. I understand you think the right wing has stuffed media with mischaracterizations but they have not stuffed me. I can stuff my self and I have the evidence. But the truth is the Green Deal is a Financial Boondoggle. Erik when I was child I spoke like a child and AOC is acting and talking like a child. Your explanation of what she said was an after thought and during an interview 2 days after she had tweeted. What she wrote is what she said.

    Erik, I believe all the versions of the Green Deal(s), there have been several edited versions now, should be read by every American. She does want to put people to work that is true, but she will never be able to employee all of those who will loose their jobs due to the Green Deal, not to mention those who are not or have never been employed. However, here is the good news, she also has a provision for those who do not have a job to get a pay check in the new Green Deal. She has also included free child care in the Green Deal. Why is that a green issue? It isn’t in my opinion, so why?

    Erik, remember Al Gore telling us in the documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” that there would be wide spread flooding in nations all over the world that would never reseed, food production would be impacted severely and food shortages would be common place by the year 2006. There would be mass deaths, disease and irreversible destruction. Erik, as you said the right wing has stuffed the media, how would you characterize the film Mr.Gore produced? I remember well the fear that this film caused and little has changed with regard to Green policies that the film said must be done right away.. Should there have been changes maybe, but how do you address that truth..

    Erik, I would like to see evidence that the majority of Americans think Mr. Trump is unfit for office, I know that radicals will say that about any republican but they are not a Majority. I do not think I ever said AOC is Unamerican but she untested, amateurish and drunk with one view.

    Erik, you are right about the Republicans spending more money but where were those voices when Democrats spent more in 4 years than the total of every budget combined since 1776? Erik, you are wrong on the tax cuts, Corporations this year have had their write offs drastically cut. How do I know this? I am facing the issues right now and how to deal with the growth of my company without the benefit of write offs. Erik, the Koch Brothers hate every thing about Trump and the horse he rode in on. You can just Google this issue and read story after story of the money the Koch brothers spent to defeat Trump. Big Corporations are not sailing off into the sunset singing “Happy days are here again”,( had to get the sailing dig in.) Take a look at Harley Davidson and General Motors, which announced they are moving some of their manufacturing out of the USA, they are being pressured from all sides by Government and Labor to stay put in the USA with manufacturing. Who is leading that charge to pressure these company’s? You will never be able to produce one president that has come out publicly and told a company if you take our jobs from us we will take your money from you thru tariffs and taxes.

    As for Lock step voting by our lawmakers, Yes, I am only talking about Republicans, they are not one of us.

    Erik, the threat our fore fathers warned us about were taxes, taxes and taxes. Now we have people talking about what their rights are because we have taxes and money to spend. Need more rights? Tax the people more, simple. Here are a few things I hear that people feel are a right: Health Care, Water, a Residence, Electricity, Dental Care, Eye Care, Food, Employment, Medicine, Transportation, Vacation, Sick Leave, Maternity Leave and Education. With this frame of thought nothing will be off limits to funded by taxes and you can mark my words this day that if we get a National Health care and the freebees in the Green deal with will only be the beginning of the items we have a right too. The Bill of Rights was written for the totality of the population and it did not include Health care and day care.

    How would a country afford all of this? How would we have a Military to protect ourselves? How would we be a leader in the world if we did not have that Military? Have we did wrong things with our Military, Yes, but do you think China would be sitting at a table talking trade right now if we were not strong? Did you think that the Old Soviet Union would have torn down the Berlin wall? Do you think that the satellite countries of the old Soviet Union would be free right now? Take a long look at Ukraine/Crimea, do you think the people of Crimea wanted to be absorbed by Russia right now? The action by Russia on Ukraine/Crimea was done because Putin seen a weak America and a passive leader in my opinion.

    Here is the interesting look of current and past issues with regard to who does what, and who is or is not qualified.

    Trump: Trump post a tweet, He is an idiot and has no clue what he is talking about

    AO : AOC post a tweet, She is inexperienced but she is starting a really important conversation that needs to be discussed right now! She is really on point.

    Trump: He is a business man and does not understand or know the common working man.

    AOC: She is young and inexperienced never owned a business but really knows what the country needs not because of her years but because she has a vision.

    Trump: This clown can not discuss the issues facing America, he is not one of us. Lets protest everything he says and does…

    AOC: Its about Damn time we had someone to talk about the problems facing America. She may be 29 years old but she really knows what I am feeling.

    Trump: Nafta is a terrible deal for America and it needs to be re-negotiated.

    Media: Trump has no clue what he is talking about. He will destroy all of our alliances and we will become isolated.

    Trump: Our trade with China is unfair and destroying America thru the balance of trade deficits. China is robbing the USA blind of our intellectual properties

    Media: China will never bend to Trumps demands. Who does he think he is? Telling China there will be Tariffs if they do not come to the table. He will change his mind when the stock market plummets.

    Trump: Look at our economy, America’s economy is better than it has been for years under my leadership.

    Media and Democrats: He has nothing to do with the current economy, the past President had set the table for him. Fool, he thinks he can get manufacturing back in America

    Obama: These jobs are gone and will never return to America again so evolve. I am the only one honest enough to tell you that truth

    Trump: I predict the GDP will hit 3 to 3.5% percent in the next year

    Media and their Financial experts: HAAA, HAAA, giggle. The best the GDP may hit is 2.0 and that would only be for 1 quarter.

    Trump: This bone head thinks he can pressure North Korea into giving up their Nucellar Weapons with economic remedy’s. Look he is trying to talk with Little Rocket Man about coming to the economic world Party and ditching his weapons. What an Idiot!

    All Other Presidents: This is a Rogue Nation and we will not be threatened nor meet with this dictator. If you do not stop shooting missiles we will start economics sanctions to a degree that you have never seen before… “Another Missile Launch’s over Japan”… Maybe you did hear me North Korea, let me repeat it again….

    Dolson and Trump: Why is the Fed raising the interest rate!!

    AOC: What is the Fed???

    Erik, I just do not get it. Why do the Liberals have so much disgust and hate for someone that has had Nation changing results but all the love for someone who has not produced one thing yet. I am not saying she can’t or wont but I am not going to give her Kudos for anything until it is completed and the majority agrees with her because that is how a Republic Government works and I like it. Signed, D.B. Cooper

  3. Erik Dolson says:

    We need to avoid labels in this discussion. Labels, be they “socialist” or liberal” or “conservative” or “capitalist” substitute for thinking and are easily misapplied.

    I’m also going to try to be more concise than I have been. If these posts become too long they won’t be read.

    Mike Currie, I’m going to address your comments first, about green energy and taxing the rich. You state that green power is unattainable and unrealistic.

    You say “My calculator doesn’t have enough zeros to even begin to calculate the cost… solar power and wind farms … are NOT environmentally friendly solutions, never mind ridiculously expensive.”

    I don’t think this is true.

    On July 13, 2017, “The Economist” newspaper published an article titled “Can the world thrive on 100% renewable energy?” The conclusion was that this is possible, though not painless.

    And there are many valuable steps before 100%.

    “…for the first time the amount of renewable capacity commissioned in 2016 almost matched that for other sources of power generation, such as coal and natural gas. In some countries the two technologies—particularly solar PV in sunny places—are now cheaper than coal and gas. It is no longer uncommon for countries like Denmark and Scotland to have periods when the equivalent of all their power comes from wind.” — The Economist.

    Further, you can’t ignore that since the beginning of the 20th century, at least, there has been a massive “cost shift,” where some of the cost of using coal and oil, including direct pollution of air and water to say nothing of carbon in the atmosphere, has been avoided by the coal and oil industries and shifted onto the rest of us.

    Recently, the Koch brothers and executives of Marathon Oil have taken action that indicate they are willing to see people die rather than reduce their profit from polluting the planet. I don’t know of any other way to look at their efforts. They want more pollution and less responsibility for the impact, and they don’t even pay funeral expenses. This is a cost shift.

    For most of my youth there was a thriving aluminum industry along the Columbia River because of cheap hydroelectric power provided by dams built after Worl War II. Those dams also destroyed the greatest fishery in the world, extending from the Pacific Ocean to Montana and Idaho. Cost shift.

    “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.”

    Because your calculator does not include these costs that are paid by the rest of us every single day, the math you use does not work.

    For the moment I’ll take a pass on the cost of relocating the cities of Miami, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and your own Vancouver and Victoria, B.C. Maybe insurance will cover it.

    I think your calculator also fails to include a few offsetting zeros because much of the money spent will be for local labor. Incomes for men and women women that will muliply as they buy groceries instead of stocks, who can’t shelter their incomes as many of the rich do, as you point out.

    Thank you also for pointing out that some elements of your Canadian “more socialistic society” work rather well. “Our healthcare system works pretty well, though it is expensive,” you wrote.

    Expensive? In 2017, the average cost of health care per person in Canada was $4,902. In the U.S., it was $10,224. And, you Canadians had better health care.

    • Mike Currie says:

      We can probably not bother to pursue our varying opinions on the Green Energy Issue. I can keep trotting out incidents which show it isn’t nearly as efficient as it ought to be and you can keep trotting out incidents which show otherwise. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one. Besides, I don’t want to monopolize your forum. It’s a fun discussion and I’ve enjoyed reading the various opinions.

      Mike

  4. Erik Dolson says:

    Tom, I’m still digesting what you wrote.

  5. Jane Miller says:

    I disagree with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s political ideology, her integrity, her education and intelligence, and her hype. The examples and issues described b below are illustrative, not exhaustive.

    Like many millennials, Ocasio-Cortez is neither well educated nor smart. She recently said in a call to “Justice Democrats,” a PAC founded by her chief of staff:

    If we work our butts off to make sure that we take back all three chambers of Congress — uh, rather, all three chambers of government: the presidency, the Senate, and the House …

    Most people, those who have graduated from high school, know that our republic is based on three branches of government – executive, legislative, judicial. When this error was pointed out, Ocasio-Cortez was angry, accusing Republicans of “drooling” over here every word. (Townhall, https://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2018/11/19/ocasiocortez-we-need-to-make-sure-that-we-take-back-all-three-chambers-of-congress-n2536164) Granted, this is a small mistake in the scheme of things, but it illustrates the tip of the iceberg of subjects we should expect members of congress to know.

    Ocasio-Cortez has spoken a lot about unemployment in the US. Unfortunately, she has been amazingly wrong. When asked about the low unemployment level, she said,

    Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs. Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their family. (Firing Line, July 13, 2013)

    This is especially ridiculous given her degree in economics, and was widely reported by right and left organizations. Let’s investigate. (NB: The following statistics come were cited in Politifact (https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2018/jul/18/alexandria-ocasio-cortez/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-wrong-several-counts-abou/)

    Regarding “… two jobs …” — The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps statistics on the number of people who have multiple jobs. This number has ranged from six to seven million people over the past year. Compare that with the number of people (148 million) who hold one job. Multiple job holders make up a small fraction of the number of job holders, and are not responsible for low unemployment numbers.

    Stats are also kept of the number of people who hold multiple jobs. The number of people who hold two full time jobs is 4.82 percent of 6.4 million multiple job holders out of a total of 148 million job holders. This is not a factor in unemployment numbers.

    And “ … 60, 70, 80 hours … can’t feed their families …” — The federal minimum wage is $10.35 while the min wage is $11.10 in NY. A person working 80 hours a week at $10.35 is earning $1,656 every two weeks, or $3,312/month, or $39,744/year. Anyone who can’t feed a family on that much money is doing something wrong.

    Taxes are another basic economic concept misunderstood by Ocasio-Cortez. In February, Amazon pulled out of a plan to open a headquarters in NY. Ocasio-Cortez was really happy, claiming victory over Amazon’s “corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.”

    Amazon was offered a tax break to come to NY (not unusual) and create 25,000 new jobs. When the deal fell through, Ocasio-Cortez said this about the use of tax breaks – as if tax breaks were income —

    If we were willing to give away $3 billion for this deal, we could invest
    those $3 billion in our district ourselves, if we wanted to. We could hire out more teachers. We can fix our subways. We can put a lot of people to work for that money, if we wanted to, …

    She doesn’t understand that the money is not in the coffers just waiting to be spent or “invested.” It is what would be generated by the new jobs, etc.

    Ocasio-Cortez’s new tax proposal raises the federal tax bracket to 70 percent on income over $10 million. Bill Gates the error of this plan, stating that “extreme politicians like [AOC]” have it wrong. The wealthy should be taxed on wealth not income.

    I disagree with the unstated goal of Ocasio-Cortez’s huge tax hikes on the wealthy. She seeks not to create revenue but to decrease what she sees as inequality. Just because you don’t like a situation does not make it discrimination or unequal. In 2016, the top 1 percent of taxpayers earn 19.7 percent of reported income; however, they pay 37.3 percent of federal income taxes. The top 50 percent of taxpayers paid 97 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 50 percent paid 3 percent of taxes. The top 1 percent paid a greater share of income than the bottom 90 percent combined. (The Tax Foundation, https://taxfoundation.org/summary-latest-federal-income-tax-data-2018-update/)

    This is not to say that our tax code is not incredibly convoluted and in dire need of winnowing. It is to say that the people who earn the most money pay the greatest percent of taxes. Ocasio-Cortez’s argument that because there are people in New York City who own helicopters while other people take the subway is somehow discriminatory and unfair is wrong. And it is not what the US was founded upon. We are not “democratic socialism” we are a republic. WE should be seeking ways to raise the bottom 50 percent up, not bring the top 50 percent down.

    The Green New Deal is a bill built on unrealistic, even dangerous goals, that will come at a destructive cost. The Congressional Record summary includes the following. Read each carefully and determine which are really progressive, actually regressive, and/or blatantly socialist.
    The bill’s goals are
    achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions;
    establishing millions of high-wage jobs and ensuring economic security for all;
    investing in infrastructure and industry;
    securing clean air and water, climate and community resiliency, healthy food, access to nature, and a sustainable environment for all; and
    promoting justice and equality
    The goals would be accomplished by
    building smart power grids (i.e., power grids that enable customers to reduce their power use during peak demand periods);
    upgrading all existing buildings and constructing new buildings to achieve maximum energy and water efficiency;
    removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation and agricultural sectors;
    cleaning up existing hazardous waste and abandoned sites;
    ensuring businesspersons are free from unfair competition; and
    providing higher education, high-quality health care, and affordable, safe, and adequate housing to all.
    The CBO has established that this will come at a cost of $93 trillion over 10 years, and at a cost of over $635,000 per household.

    Patrick Moore, the co-founder of GreenPeace and former president of GreenPeace Canada launched an attack on the GND as unscientific, unfeasible, unaffordable, and in the end dangerous. There are many sources, ranging from The Daily Mail, (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6775221/Ex-Greenpeace-president-blasts-AOC-pompous-little-twit-Green-New-Deal.html) to Fox News, (https://www.foxnews.com/politics/greenpeace-co-founder-tears-into-ocasio-cortez-green-new-deal-pompous-little-twit).

    Let’s take just one bullet point. To take them all on would require more patience than I have right now.)

    Ocasio-Cortez will replace all use of fossil fuels, coal, gasoline, and natural gas with hydro, geothermal, solar, wind, nuclear , and other sources in a time span ranging from 2035 to 2050 — which will eliminate airplanes, trains, mass transit, public transportation. We will have to build a high-speed rail system that will enable travel from coast to coast in six hours. Traveling to other countries – barring the borders of Mexico and Canada would be eliminated without those pesky planes.

    The use of electric vehicles is about one percent of total car usage – and we’re going to replace every single car in 10 years? Not likely, and what would the cost be for government subsidies for people who cannot afford to buy a new car and junk the old one.

    Then there is the cost of manufacture and infrastructure. MIT says we cannot rely on batteries and explains a $2.5 trillion elephant in the room (https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611683/the-25-trillion-reason-we-cant-rely-on-batteries-to-clean-up-the-grid/)

    Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff are being investigated for misuse of political contributions and violating campaign finance laws by the Federal Election Commission (https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/ocasio-cortezs-chief-of-staff-ran-1m-slush-fund-by-diverting-campaign-cash-to-his-own-companies)

    Snopes has a detailed explanation of the issues that is far more detailed than I can go into (https://www.snopes.com/news/2019/03/07/aoc-chief-of-staff/)

    Which leads me to her amazing hubris.

    I’m at least trying and they’re not. So the power is in the person who’s trying, regardless of the success. If you’re trying, you’ve got all the power. You’re driving the agenda. You’re doing all this stuff. Like, I just introduced Green New Deal, like, two weeks ago, and it’s creating all of this conversation. Why? Because no one else has even tried. So people are like, ‘Oh, it’s unrealistic.’ ‘Oh, it’s vague.’ ‘Oh, it doesn’t address this little minute thing.’ And I’m, like, YOU try. YOU do it. Cuz you’re NOT. So until you do it, I’M the boss. How ‘bout that?

    I can come up with a dozen plans that will not work. Does that make me the 12-times-boss? Let’s rebuild every single building in the United States. (NB: The Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey estimates there are 5.6 million commercial buildings in the US. This does not include government or private structures.) Or ground all airplanes until we can put solar panels on the wings and only fly in the daytime. My point is that it is not in the “trying” but in the succeeding. And it takes more than putting forth dangerous and expensive pie-in-the-sky plans with unreachable timelines.

    I agree that Cortez’s questioning of the influence peddling and use of PACs by members of Congress and the executive branch was spot on. (I can’t find the transcript.) It was great cross-examination oratorical style – never ask a question to which you don’t know the answer. However, it does not prove that Cortez has any insight or mental prowess, just that she can read questions. The Bustle reports this about the Cohen hearing, “The freshman Congress member explained that her own staff, along with the House Oversight Committee staff, worked ‘tirelessly’ to help her prepare her line of questioning in the minutes leading up to her allotted time with Cohen.”

    In a now-deleted tweet,
    Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter,
    Thanks! I really appreciate that. We need to acknowledge the people who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make it happen.@OversightDems staff w/ my staff were double-checking info requests I had just minutes before my turn. I’m truly inspired by their selfless commitment.
    This is no different from every other member of Congress, but to single Cortez out as some goddess of the question, is ludicrous.
    As an historical aside, the original New Deal was spearheaded by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt in a time of deep economic struggle and a real state of emergency known as the Great Depression. The power of the federal government was expanded as the power to regulate previously unregulated areas was increased and social programs were created.
    Many of Roosevelt’s “alphabet soup” programs were judged unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, mainly for violating the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches and amendments 9 and 10.

  6. Mike Currie says:

    Reply
    I believe that we, the human race, haven’t done nature any favours in our time on this Earth. In our conversations we are probably all, ultimately, talking about the same thing. We just have some different perspectives on how we arrive at our conclusions.
    I think, before I go further, I should explain where I derive my “cost analysis” figures. My approach to these is to take an extremely wide view of what are considered costs. As an example “rare earth”, which is used in many products and, especially in the wind farm turbines.
    From what I can find it appears that China provides approximately 86% of the “rare earth” produced.
    And, that’s just one of them.
    Here is a Wikipedia (I know Wikipedia isn’t the most reliable source, but we use what we can get) write-up on the rare earth industry in China:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rare_earth_industry_in_China
    China and India are I believe, the world’s largest polluters, far outweighing North America. I’ve seen videos of people working in rare earth mines in Africa who were working for a pittance each day in extremely challenging conditions which is no doubt a social justice issue all by itself.
    We can discuss the effectiveness of wind farms and solar (and their impact on the avian population). Suffice to say wind farms don’t operate efficiently if there’s no wind and solar panels won’t produce any electricity on cloudy days. A few years back the British were in big trouble because they had a real cold spell and there was no wind to run the wind turbines. They had to scrabble hard to get the gas-fired generators up and running in time to keep some people from being really cold.
    Recently there have been a number of reports giving details of wind turbines ceasing to operate due to mechanical failure (caused by poor maintenance due to the company which operated the units ceased doing proper maintenance because the financial subsidies had stopped)
    One of the biggest problems being faced by many is the disposal of solar panels when they are worn out and don’t produce power any more. The disposal of the silicon panels is very costly. Solar panels contain toxic metals like lead, which can damage the nervous system, as well as chromium and cadmium, known carcinogens. … A recent Japanese report found that it would take 19 years for Toshiba Environmental Solutions to finish recycling all of the solar waste Japan produced by 2020. Yes, some of the panels can be recycled, but eventually there’s an end to that.
    All of the above should be considered in the cost analysis of these products.
    It’s difficult to dispute your comments on “cost shift. I’m sure there are many examples of this.
    Your comments on the fishing industry on the Columbia are correct up to a point. The major fishing industries on the West Coast (both Canada and the U.S.) were pretty well decimated by over-fishing through the 19th and 20th centuries. I’ve seen articles describing the release of tons of dead salmon from the cannery in Blaine because the plant couldn’t handle the volume. I’ve spoken with fisherman who have confirmed this was not an uncommon occurrence on both sides of the border. The Fraser River “run” was definitely over-fished and depleted and that was probably the largest salmon run in the world. The cod fisheries on the East Coast suffered a similar over-fishing issue.
    We could continue to point fingers and not gain much momentum.
    I’ve always felt that one of the biggest environmental problems in the world is the deforestation of huge tracts of land around the world (especially the Amazon Basin). Let me give you a small example closer to home.
    I live in White Rock, which has an area of about 13 square miles. When I first came here in 1948 there was a population of approximate 5,000 permanent residents with the addition of probably a thousand or so more summer folks (people who had summer homes in White Rock). At the turn of the 19th into the 20th century the whole of White Rock and the surrounding areas of South Surrey were heavily forested. By the time I arrive in ’48 the whole area had been completely logged. Today I would estimate that the population of White Rock is about 20,000 and increasing rapidly as more hi-rise apartment/condo buildings are built.

    I suppose that my point is that we might consider the impact on the environment of removing all the trees in White Rock.
    Regarding Canada’s “socialized” healthcare system, I wouldn’t argue that our healthcare is less expensive (Could that because of the number of people paying premiums?). Canadians complain most about “wait times” to get certain medical procedures. Here’s an article from one of our local newspapers which provides some exaples:
    https://vancouversun.com/news/national/canadians-get-ready-to-wait-for-hip-knee-or-cataract-surgery
    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

  7. Erik Dolson says:

    Mike, you have now officially been designated the “Resources Guy” in these arguments. Not that your other comments arent valuable, but I have to draw lines.

    You’ve posted pieces on your own pages about the failure of solar and wind, and put up an article by an industry representative (I believe) who said solar was bunk.

    I dispute is conclusion. Most of the solar being installed on a large scale, especially in Southern Australia is being done with private money. Why? Because it works.

    Do wind mills break and solar panels need replacing? Yes. Is storage an issue? Absolutely. Are these technical issues solvable? Of course they are.

    And I think private enterprise is leading the way, from Elon Musk to companies in Australia who have doubled the investment in solar in just a few years.

    Aside from the CEO of Marathon Oil and the Koch Bros., who apparently feel that if people die because of their pollution, it’s worth it if it improves their bottom line, this is the future.

  8. Erik Dolson says:

    Jane, it’s very clear Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has gotten under your skin. It’s less clear that it’s because of the issues she raises as opposed to what you and all of Fox Nation feel is her arrogance, or hubris, or willingness to address issues in a direct way.

    You’re in good company. She pisses off Nancy Pelosi, too.

    You don’t like her “political ideology, her integrity, her education and intelligence, and her hype … like many millennials, Ocasio-Cortez is neither well educated nor smart.”

    That seems a little harsh, and that last is obviously not true, but we’ll get back to that.

    You offer many examples about why she’s unsuited to have an opinion about what America can be, and display your own professional knowledge of American and constitutional history. There is no doubt that your knowledge of these subjects outstrips hers, it certainly does mine and probably that of most people.

    But AOC is not offering a history lesson, she’s reaching for a future. We didn’t know how to send a man to the moon when that challenge was undertaken. But we are Americans, so we figured it out and we went anyway.

    We could do the same now in tackling the problems of lead in our drinking water, failing infrastructure, hideously expensive health care, dying oceans, technologically driven unemployment … the list goes on. We can do this, we should do this, we must do this and that is really all AOC is trying to say, but not always perfectly.

    While you question her integrity, to me it appears that she’s willing to say and fight for what she believes. Yes, she does so with the passion and inexperience of youth, or perhaps the voice of an outsider who sees a rigged system for what it is. I’ll cede the point.

    But you take issue with the idea that she says someone working 80 hours a week can’t feed a family? You use the number of $3,312/month. Let’s see, it can cost $2,000 a month to rent a nice enough place in a decent school district and pay garbage, water, electicity and internet. Right?

    If there’s a car payment, let’s say $300, then car insurance is needed and depending on the car and how many drivers, $100?

    Let’s add health insurance. What do you think? If you make too much for assistance, and your employer is not likely providing health insurance if you are only making $11 per hour, or you’re working multiple jobs because your employer is strategically keeping your hours below what you need to qualify for health insurance while hiring part-time workers to do so, it would come to what … $600 a month?

    That’s $3,000 a month for the basics, which leaves about $312 per month, conveniently close to $10 per day, for food. Leaves out anything for day care, which if one is working 80 hours per week is likely going to be needed … and since 80 hours may leave one too tired to make dinner, at least $10 per day will buy one large pizza and a few soft drinks … every … three … days. Good thing pizza is better as a left over the next day.

    While I disagree with many things that AOC believes about economics, and sort of agree with you that she is prone to mistakes of youth and inexperience, she is speaking for much of America when she says the system is unfair.

    But before you impugn her intelligence, I’d suggest you view her interview at SXSW, you can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JU-SE5eNt04&app=desktop

    Because I wanted to see if I’d been missing something, because the clips were all over the internet with breathless headlines, because I wanted to know if what you and Mike and Tom believed about AOC would be obvious to me, I watched the whole thing.

    You should watch the whole thing too. Compare it to Trump’s speech at CPAC last week. No, I did not watch all of that.

    I will repeat what started all of this: AOC is becoming a very important political voice in America and I believe that’s a very good thing. It is about damn time the Democrats again had somebody who could talk about ideals with fire, and a belief that we do better if we look up to the sky instead of down at our shoes.

    The last ones were murdered, by the way.

  9. Laurie Lyford says:

    Eric,
    I take issue with AOC, her proposed policies and her sudden and scripted appearance on the political play field.
    You commented previously that AOC needed to be protected. From whom or what? Perhaps herself. AOC’s professed transparency and ethics mantra appears in conflict with her actions.

    https://www.dailysignal.com/2019/03/11/ocasio-cortez-and-top-aide-should-be-investigated-for-possible-campaign-finance-violations

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