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Aftab Pureval, Hamilton County Ohio’s new Democratic Clerk of Courts, and how he won

December 6, 2016 at 3:29 pm
[caption id="attachment_2159" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Aftab Pureval for Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval for Hamilton County Clerk of Courts[/caption]

The Hamilton County Clerk’s office was not a race Democrats should have won. The Hamilton County Democratic Party was up against Tracy Winkler, a member of the Winkler local political dynasty. Robert C. Winkler is the current Common Pleas Court judge and Tracy is married to Ralph Winkler, the current Probate Court judge.

Out of the blue comes Aftab Pureval, a young former prosecutor and Ohio State student body president who took a leave of absence from his job at Proctor & Gamble to run for clerk of courts.

How did a guy with such an strange-sounding name (strange for Southern Ohio, anyway) beat a strong incumbent?

Pay more and get less: The Ryan plan to privatize Medicare

November 29, 2016 at 11:41 am
[caption id="attachment_2147" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Paul Ryan speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011 (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia) Paul Ryan speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011 (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia)[/caption]

One of the fights likely to come up early during the next administration is privatizing Medicare.

Tom Price, chairman of the House Budget Committee, has indicated Republicans will try to privatize Medicare in a budget reconciliation bill (a sneaky filibuster proof attack).

You’re going to hear a lot about “choice” and “efficiency” and the amazingness of markets, but Ryan’s plan basically comes down to two things: 1) you will pay more, and 2) you will get less.

If you want to build a big movement, pick a big fight

November 21, 2016 at 1:29 pm
[caption id="attachment_2153" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Democracy Spring protesters at the United States Capitol building, April 2016. (Michele Egan/Wikimedia) Democracy Spring protesters at the United States Capitol building, April 2016. (Michele Egan/Wikimedia)[/caption]

A week before the election, I went to a Hillary Clinton rally in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was a well-attended and polite affair on the riverfront in Smale Park. That night increased my worry about her chances to win.

Clinton seemed to be playing what I’ll call “small ball.” She spoke of policy issues, like which gun control measures she wanted to enact. She spoke about the threat Donald Trump posed to national security. And she spoke about how many people he had insulted.

What worried me was the mild interest. By comparison, Donald Trump filled U.S. Bank arena in Cincinnati in October.

Michael Moore wrote:

And therein lies the problem for November – who is going to have the most motivated, most inspired voters show up to vote? You know the answer to this question. Who’s the candidate with the most rabid supporters? Whose crazed fans are going to be up at 5 AM on Election Day, kicking ass all day long, all the way until the last polling place has closed, making sure every Tom, Dick and Harry (and Bob and Joe and Billy Bob and Billy Joe and Billy Bob Joe) has cast his ballot?

Sadly, he was right. Trump even did better with minorities than Romney did in 2012.

In part, it was because he picked a big fight.

Donald Trump is the establishment

September 20, 2016 at 10:42 pm

This may be the weirdest election year ever. People are not happy about what’s happening in their lives and a supposedly “anti-establishment” candidate has risen by playing off these fears and scapegoating all of the usual suspects.

[caption id="attachment_2137" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Donald Trump signing the Republican pledge to support whoever becomes the GOP nominee. "So I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and for the conservative principles for which it stands." (Michael Vadon/Wikimedia) Donald Trump signing the Republican pledge to support whoever becomes the GOP nominee. “So I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and for the conservative principles for which it stands.” (Michael Vadon/Wikimedia)[/caption]

Time and again, in talking to people I know they’ve told me that they like Trump because they see him as an “outsider.”

“How,” I ask, since this type of scapegoating and raging against “big government” has been going on for over 30 years, “is Trump any different?”

To me, this looks like Lucy laying down the football once again for Charlie Brown. “This time it will be different, Charlie Brown,” she says. And we all know what happens. The candidate was just playing us.

Don’t buy it. It’s the same establishment, tea party trick of pretending to run as an outsider that we’ve seen for years. Donald Trump is the establishment.

1. When you can tell people how corrupt you are without any consequences, you are the establishment.

I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And yunno what, when I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me.

America is angry. If we don’t speak to this anger, we’re in trouble

July 27, 2016 at 6:30 pm

While taking a short break from work this afternoon, I ran into my next door neighbor. She is an older lady who is about as liberal as I am. She said to me, “I’m afraid Trump is going to win.”

Recently, I’ve heard this from a couple of other people as well. It’s wise to never discount intuition—especially when I have the same feeling. So I started thinking about why I feel this way, as we often intuit things before we’re able to explain them. This was how I wrote about how “Donald Trump isn’t going anywhere” in August 2015. This is just how people’s brains work.

So I threw aside the piece I was going to write this week to think about why.

By now we all know that politics is about emotion, yet often we still don’t really understand this. Why?

Because it’s not translating into speaking to the outrage America feels. Because I keep seeing posts and discussions about policy and how Hillary is adopting policy changes. Because we seem to be talking about policy and relying on anti-Trump sentiment. Because we’re not speaking enough to this anger in a way that isn’t anti-Trump.

If we don’t genuinely speak to the anger America is feeling, we’re in a lot of trouble. Here are some examples and some thoughts on how to genuinely acknowledge the very real pain people are expressing.

[caption id="attachment_2132" align="aligncenter" width="640"]The famous moment where Bill Clinton went off script during the 1992 presidential debate. The famous moment where Bill Clinton went off script during the 1992 presidential debate. (Screenshot/YouTube)[/caption]

How to get to Planet X, the change we desire

July 5, 2016 at 8:29 am

planet_x650Planet X is that place liberals want to be. The planet people like Bernie Sanders talk about. Where we believe Elizabeth Warren lives. It’s where people understand climate change and don’t think it’s the government testing secret weather machine weapons. It’s where racism is understood as a problem, as well as a key driving factor in economic inequality. It’s where reason and fairness and mutual responsibility live and where democracy once grew.

Here’s the rub. You can’t teleport to Planet X.

So how do you get there?

Big businesses are hurting small businesses

June 29, 2016 at 6:39 pm
[caption id="attachment_2112" align="aligncenter" width="650"]'The Big Fish Eat the Little Fish,' satire on the fall of Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, 1619. ‘The Big Fish Eat the Little Fish,’ satire on the fall of Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, 1619.[/caption]

We often hear that taxes and regulation are hurting small businesses. As a small business owner and someone who talks to a lot of conservatives, I hear this all the time.

Though it has a small kernel of truth to it (a key to most successful marketing), this ignores the larger part of what’s really happening.

What’s hurting small businesses? Big businesses. A few ways they do this are through consolidation, market leverage, technology, temporary jobs, corporate special interests, media, and globalization. They also do this through tax evasion, government capture, and lobbying for regulations that create barriers to entry.

Here’s a closer look at how big businesses are hurting small businesses.

7 questions for John Schaffer, autism advocacy film director

June 28, 2016 at 6:05 pm
[caption id="attachment_2106" align="aligncenter" width="650"]John Schaffer filming Laura Nadine for The Shadow Listener. John Schaffer filming Laura Nadine for The Shadow Listener.[/caption]

John Schaffer is a filmmaker who specializes in movies about people with autism. He is also one of my oldest friends. I’ve admired his work with the autistic for years and have had many late night conversations with him over a few beers. Movies he’s directed include Vectors of Autism: a documentary about Laura Nagle, My Hiccups are Gone,and premiering online on July 1st, The Shadow Listener: A Voice for Autism.

I thought his work in film making and autism advocacy might be interesting to folks here so I thought I’d ask him a few questions.

Why we have a progressive income tax

June 7, 2016 at 1:51 pm

Pictures are a really powerful way to tell a story. If you can find an easy way to explain something through pictures, you can often make great strides in a very short period of time.

One of the things that often gets brought up in conversations with conservatives is this idea of a flat tax. Many conservatives think this is somehow “fair.”

progressive_tax012

Here’s a simple drawing to illustrate why we have a progressive tax and to show how the flat tax is really just a loophole for the wealthy.

Economists discover people don’t behave rationally

May 30, 2016 at 1:28 pm

“Contrary to our original thinking, I’ve come to believe that people don’t behave like the economic textbooks say they should behave,” wrote Dr. Paul Wingfield, an economist at Cato University. “People don’t behave rationally.” Wingfield and his colleague, Dr. Summer Redaction, recently published an article inHigher Economics titled “Outside our corporate […]