Notes on the Draft
Also sponsored by Earth Pendant at PeacefulJewelry
Nice Social Aspirations Ruined by Militarism
I received a Political Science degree in 1976 and have been an activist since I was 17, but I don't think I ever bothered to read a Democratic Party platform. Until now; I read the draft, which of course could be changed at the upcoming convention.
I read it because the Bernie Sanders people were screeching about it. I wanted to know what was in it, as they harped about some of their proposed language being voted down. I noted that the Sanders people on the drafting committee all voted for the final draft except one who abstained.
First and foremost, the draft endorses a $15 national minimum wage. That was one of the key points of the Sanders campaign. And what they claimed on their Facebook posters had been vetoed by Establishment Democrats. But if you haven't figured out that Bernie Sanders lies with the best politicians, and the Bernie Bots lie with the worst propagandists, you probably never will.
High Social Aspirations
The draft platform clearly recognizes social problems and vows to fix them. Specifics are missing, but that is okay, otherwise it would be a 2000 page document. Recognizing problems is easy. Fixing them is hard.
Women should get equal pay. Black people and other minorities should be treated like first-class citizens.
Universal healthcare is a goal. Not necessarily single-payer, government run health insurance, much less a national, government run medical system. So the Affordable Care Act plus some fill-in the gap measures. But it is worded to leave Medicare for all, or socialization of the medical sector, as an open possibility. Probably the Bernites wanted to demand Single Payer explicitly. They don't understand that, bad as the current system can be for some people, a majority of Americans oppose single-payer government health insurance. Maybe they shouldn't, but they do.
Part of the Preamble sums up the view: "But too many Americans have been left out and left behind. They are working longer hours with less security. Wages have barely budged and the racial wealth gap remains wide, while the cost of everything from childcare to a college education has continued to rise. And as working people struggle, the top one percent accrues more wealth and more power. Republicans in Congress have chosen gridlock and dysfunction over trying to find solutions to the real challenges we face. It’s no wonder that so many feel like the system is rigged against them."
They think of everything. The Democrats will "increase the supply of affordable rental housing." How they will deal with the enviro-democrats who don't want high-density housing built in their existing neighborhoods, they don't say.
They will give senior voters larger Social Security payments by "taxing some of the income of people above $250,000." Who can complain about that, besides people who make over $250,000? Not me.
They will create good-paying jobs. By spending more on infrastructure. Presumably by borrowing more, since if you tax some people to pay to create jobs, the taxed people will have less to spend, which would destroy jobs. Infrastructure includes something for everyone: "roads, bridges, public transit, airports, and passenger and freight rail lines ... energy and water systems, modernize our schools, and ... high-speed broadband networks." Worried that those new roads might add to global warming? Money also will be spent on "green and resilient infrastructure."
Of course they will revive manufacturing. How, not clear. Perhaps they will order a billion Hillary Clinton busts. Or Obama busts, made of American coal, creating jobs for all those American coal workers who've been laid off lately.
The Democrats will put a surtax on multimillionaires. As to trade, "many trade deals have not lived up to the hype." Democrats will try to live up to the hype of their new trade deals.
On marijuana, it should be state by state. No federal law against it, but states can have laws against it.
On immigration, the Democrats are for legal immigration. As to those who came illegally, "Those immigrants already living in the United States, who are assets to their communities and contribute so much to our country, should be incorporated completely into our society through legal processes that give meaning to our national motto: E Pluribus Unum." Which actually means the Democrats favor unlimited immigration, no visa required. Come here, take a job from a black person or legal Hispanic or even a white person, and if you don't break the law, and pay taxes (the highest public good for the Democrats), we'll find some way to make you legal retroactively, someday. And in the mean time you can count on $15 per hour. And, as explained above, Democrats will build millions of new housing units, to be rented as reasonable rates, providing "good jobs" for those who beat you here. And the environment will improve even with tens of millions of new people with driver's licenses piping CO and CO2 into the air.
These are very smart politicians, the Democrats. I'm surprised they don't promise to make everyone a multimillionaire, as long as you are willing to pay those new taxes. Or they could at least raise the minimum wage to $125 per hour, so that we can all hit that $250,000 per year threshold.
I agree with "We reject attempts to impose a religious test to bar immigrants or refugees from entering the United States. It is un-American and runs counter to the founding principles of this country."
Did I mention the Democrats will end poverty? How could you even think of not voting for them?
And they are for campaign finance reform. They are for the old system of taxing the rich to give things to the working class to buy their votes. Which I agree is a better system, even with its downsides.
The Democrats are against climate change. "The best science tells us that without ambitious, immediate action to cut carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases across our economy, all of these impacts will be far worse in the future."
They left out a ban on fracking, which most environmentalists now favor, and which was a Bernite demand. Me, I would have added a ban on air-conditioning. The Founding Fathers did not have air-conditioning, so even the Republicans can agree to that. Air conditioning takes a lot of energy, which requires greenhouse gas emissions, which makes it hotter, which goes against the very purpose of making it cooler. But of course the Democrats want you to have air-conditioning and heating and big houses for minimum wage workers and no natural gas or petroleum from fracking, and still stop global warming.
Like I said, aspirational.
Student debt is a big issue these days. That is specifically college students, who aspire to make over $250,000 per year. That is why they are going to college. Why slow them down by asking they help pay for college, or take out loans to that effect? Here's my idea: whatever money you give to college students, you should give to young students who are not going to college to get their lives started.
Teachers are wonderful. I suppose the Republicans will solemnly reject that ideas. Nurses too.
Pharmaceutical companies are bad. They do things like cure previously incurable diseases, and then have the audacity to ask to pay their scientists and pay some dividends to their investors. "We will crack down on price gouging by drug companies and cap the amount Americans have to pay out-of-pocket every month on prescription drugs." And they will do that without stifling innovation. Maybe they will have GS-5 bureaucrats invent new drugs. I'm sure anyone can do it. Maybe herbal remedies?
The Democrats are against gun violence and will make sure only good citizens are allowed to buy guns. Thanks. It is the "good citizens" that worry me most. I want disarmament.
But of course all of this is aspirational. It is goals. No one really expects much of it to get done, even if there is a Democratic President, Congress, and Supreme Court.
Imperialism and Militarism
Then, from my point of view, things turn south. The Democrats apologized to the Native Americans, black Americans, women and even native Hawaiians, but not for past war crimes against people who can't vote in American elections.
No apology for invading Canada in the War of 1812. No apology for grabbing half of Mexico. No apology for our genocidal campaign in the Philippines. No apology for our little interferences with Latin American countries. No apology for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, much less for our genocidal war against the people of Vietnam.
Nope, the Democrats still intend to rule the world, and to kill anyone who opposes them. "Democrats believe America must continue to have the strongest military in the world." Because otherwise you can't boss everybody around.
Some of the people the Democrats don't like, I don't like, for instance the Islamic State. But their list of enemies worth fighting is much longer than mine, though I would admit my list of governments I don't like is longer than theirs. For instance, I don't like the Saudi government, and I'm not very fond of most governments, come to think of it. But I can't go into detail here, you'll have to read my other stuff (start with my International page).
The Democrats don't like Russia. Russia should prop up the dictators the Democrats like, not the ones Russia likes. I like Russia, it is a nation of atheists, not religious crazies, but I don't like to see Russia bullying smaller nations, the way the U.S. does.
The Democrats are against torture, so there is common ground here. The Republicans are for torture, I'm pretty sure.
The Democrats love India. There are enough Indian-American voters to make that worthwhile.
The Democrats don't like China, but they like China better than the Republicans do. The Democrats are concerned about the rights of Tibetans. Which is to say, the Buddhist vote. The Democrats, remember, were the Party of the Confederacy, and of slavery, and of Jim Crow. So they must be trying to make up for it now by bullying the Chinese about Tibet.
The Democrats love Israel. Need I say more?
Obama has U.S. ground troops fighting today in Yemen and in Somalia. For some reason they left that out.
Surprise! While they do not promise to cut the military budget, which is one of the main things sinking the U.S. economy and making us non-competitive, the Democrats "support a smart, predictable defense budget that meets the strategic challenges we face, not the arbitrary cuts that the Republican Congress enacted as part of sequestration."
And how can you not trust the Democrats when they take a stand against waste and fraud in the defense budget?
The Bernie Sanders people signed off on this? It was probably the best that could be got at this time. Saying your party wants a weak U.S. military is a death warrant in the U.S. elections.
I suggest reading the whole thing yourself, and thinking about it critically for yourself. Here's the link:
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