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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
Number of posts: 35,525

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LAKOFF: In Politics, Progressives Need to Frame Their Values

Lakoff sums up the problem with large corporations in a way that is hard to imagine the corporate owned wing of the Democratic Party ever doing (or Republicans even contemplating).

If a politician tries to serve both corporate and financial interests and regular people, the money interests will eventually make sure the politician has no other gods before them.

What are some frames to counter "government by corporation"?

Again, it is a matter of naming a single truth: Corporations govern your life in many, many ways for their benefit, not yours. Name what people already experience and resent for good reason. How do corporations govern your life for their benefit, not yours?

Start with your health insurance company and your internet and cell phone providers. Continue with all the times you call for customer service, get a robot voice, have to press a bunch of buttons, and then wait on the phone for half and hour to an hour - or be directed to a website, where you have to spend lots of your time. You are working for the corporation - when you spend your time, the company saves money on hiring human beings and makes more profit. You are contributing to their profit with your time, which is part of your life, and hardly a pleasant part.

Oil companies - our wealthiest corporations - are destroying the planet for their short-term profit. Corporations govern your life by putting hidden carcinogens and other poisons in your food, cosmetics, furniture, etc. for their profit, not your health. For details, go to ewg.org. These are facts. In isolation, one-by-one, they are just a laundry list. Isolated facts don’t help. Together they tell a truth: Corporations govern your life for their profit not yours, in all those ways. Name it. Repeat it. We need reform at the deepest level.


Cosby digitally replaced with Wayne Brady in Cosby Show (STORY & PICS)


Nick at Nite will be returning the beloved Cosby Show to television after pulling it in the face of sexual assault allegations against star Bill Cosby, but with one critical difference: Cosby will be CGI'ed out of the series and replaced with Wayne Brady.

"Wayne Brady is the least controversial, least offensive, least intimidating black man in the history of television," said Nick at Nite programming Associate Vice President, Frances Lawrence, "maybe in the history of the world. He makes Urkel look like Mike Tyson."

"I'm pretty sure Wayne Brady has never raped anyone. Hell, I'm not even sure if he's ever had sex at all," Lawrence added....


When our current political system will die

The Democratic Party is patiently waiting for the death (or at least permanent disabling) of the Republican Party as their base of whites who fondly remember the days of Jim Crow dies off and whites in general become a small enough demographic that the percentage of racists and cranks in our midst won't be enough to add up to an electoral majority at the national level.

A similar demographic change could end the stranglehold both parties have on political power.

When people who grew up getting their news from a local paper and TV become a minority, that will be the end of it.

Progressive talk show hosts and pundits rail about the sins of the mainstream media, the Sunday talk shows, columnists at the major papers and what stories those papers get wrong or don't choose to cover at all.

But younger people don't even tune in those sources. We have a myriad of sources available to us online, and if someone is just repeating empty talking points and bringing no real facts or new angles to an issue, we simply move on to a source that does.

I'm fifty, and feel like I sit in the middle of this. I grew up with TV and physical newspapers, but shortly after 9/11, I realized I could get better and more information in five minutes online than I could from any TV news show, and I had already given up reading the print edition of the local newspaper, The Los Angeles Times, except as a Sunday brunch ritual. When they raised the price and cut back content, I gave up even that.

Even though I don't rely exclusively on the LA Times, NY Times, or some equivalent, I still feel a kind of reflexive deference when their take on a story differs from the progressive one, even if the progressive one is backed by reputable studies, declassified government documents, or whistleblowers with solid credentials, and respectable news organizations around the world.

There's still a part of me that suspects that pre-packaged "conventional wisdom" is true, that the ghost of Walter Cronkite is guiding the writers and editors and newsreaders of the mainstream news media toward accuracy over balance and the public interest over the owners and investor class.

I'm not sure how much younger than me they are, but there's a generation coming up who won't know who the hell Walter Cronkite is.

When they become the voting majority, no one will be able to convince them that they have only two choices, and there are things that they shouldn't know. They will know the other choices and they will find out what those in power don't want them to know.

And if some old fart calls some opinion of theirs a conspiracy theory, they will know there's a decent chance that facts will eventually leak out making today's conspiracy theory tomorrow's ho-hum accepted history.

When they become the majority, things will start to change faster than our pot laws are now.

Corporate Democrats Act Like the Cable Company

After enduring another round of DLC/Third Way/Centrist whatever the fuck they're calling themselves this week berating of progressives after and even before the election because we didn't adequately support their candidates, I just realized their behavior is a lot like the cable company.

Remember that guy who tried to cancel his service a while back, and the cable company kept him on the phone haranguing him about what a good deal he was giving up?

Where else are you gonna go? Back to the three shitty channels you get with an antenna?

Corporate Dems think they are cable and Republicans are the antenna. They know fewer and fewer people like the handful of channels they get with the antenna: tax cuts for the rich, cuts to government services, fear of gays, blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, and some foreigners yet to be determine, and military spending and war 24/7.

So the corporate Dems give us some channels we like: gay rights, better education spending, health care reform, Social Security, and a couple of others.

But they also make us pay for a lot of channels we don't want, including a lot of the worst Republican ones: trade deals, privatization of government services like education, weak punishment and regulation of Wall Street crimes, the surveillance state, and endless war.

Sure there are third parties like the satellite systems, but they are set up much like the cable companies, and while they offer a better deal, they don't really cut into the cable business in most places.

They think they just have to wait for the old farts that like antenna's racist, "get off my lawn" audience to die off, and they will own the market.

But like cable, competition could come from some entirely unexpected direction.

People are cutting their cable and getting the programs they want a la carte on Amazon, iTunes, and the like.

The corporate Democrats don't seem to realize that that kind of unexpected changes is coming to politics.

Even if they took better care of their customers, it would only delay the inevitable.

The cable box is going to end up in the dumpster along with the last rabbit ears antennas.

And if they don't take better care of us, we might throw the box out before we figure out what the replacement is.

VIRUNGA: documentary on gorillas vs. oil companies

This looks pretty compelling.

After listening to Obama's statement on the midterms, it seems like this is the situation he wanted

all along.

Even when he had both chambers of Congress at the start of his presidency, he talked and made proposals as if Democrats were in the minority, and was far quicker to criticize the progressive wing of the Democratic Party than Republicans.

If that sounds crazy, consider how Andrew Cuomo is governing in New York. The Working Families Party gave him their endorsement in part by getting him to promise to work to elect a Democratic majority state senate.

Think about that: a third party had to bargain to get a Democratic governor to work for a fully democratic state legislature. Shouldn't that be automatic?

And he didn't even keep that promise that shouldn't have been necessary in the first place.

Instead, Cuomo has worked with Republicans and adopted some of the policies wholesale, like privatization of K-12 public education (Obama has as well).

On ebola, he is literally following the Republican playbook.

That seems to be the DLC way. A lot of what Bill Clinton got done during his administration were neoliberal policies, most of which Republicans could love.

Obama and Mitch McConnell have already had a love fest on trade deals that average Americans across the political spectrum loathe.

The DLCers seem to be embarrassed when their own party controls the legislature because they can't pretend the Republicans are forcing them to enact policies that hurt average Americans.

So they do as little as possible, this time helped by Republican obstruction, until the Republicans regain the majority.

And then they have the perfect illusion of checks and balances, and excuse to "compromise," which is really capitulation to the corporate agenda.

I don't think Obama is going to become "Dr. No," and wield the veto pen, nor do I think Democrats in the Senate will be one-tenth or even one one-hundredth the obstruction Republicans have been.

Instead, a few will put up token opposition, definitely sincere from a very few, but the rest will relax, knowing that the natural order has been restored.

Did Democrats do ANYTHING to stop GOP vote suppression like CROSS CHECK?

Would Democratic politicians rather lose than risk losing rich donors?

I heard an interview with Ralph Nader last night, and he said the Democrats had a winning issue with the minimum wage and one that easily set them apart from the GOP.

Nader met with Harry Reid and said if Obama had gone barnstorming around the country asking voters to give him the Congress that would pass such a bill for him to sign, it would have made a huge difference. Reid agreed but said instead, Obama was fundraising, and the party didn't present a unified message.

This morning on Democracy Now, Amy Goodman said minimum wage ballot measures passed even in very conservative states, indirectly confirming Nader's point.

If Democrats don't run on a simple, easy to explain progressive issue that is overwhelmingly popular, you have to wonder whether keeping their wealthy donors is more important than actually winning.

I guess they figure if they side with the rest of us instead of the 1% and they lose, we can't offer the consolation prize of high paying jobs as lobbyists, CEO's, corporate lawyers, or consultants. We can only offer the jobs we elect them to do, so they can win or lose. With the fat cat 1%, they win either way.

What do you think?

The Big Problem With Time's Teacher-Bashing Cover Story

Wall Street has had their eye on the hundreds of billions of our tax dollars that go to public education for a couple of decades. They think it rightly belongs in their pockets. So they have campaigned relentlessly to demonize teachers and reduce their control over what goes on in the classroom and replace them with short term recent college grads, who quickly burn out and move on to other professions, standardize testing and curriculum to make it easier for a few companies to monopolize, and replace public schools with privatized, for profit charter schools and education management companies (get our tax dollars but skim some off as profits).

The people pushing this movement don't advocate the same changes for the private schools their own children attend.

This movement has had some major setbacks recently with several states investigating fraud and embezzling at charter chains, and the superintendent of LA schools being fired in part for buying a billion dollars worth of iPads at full retail price, acting as an agent of Apple rather than of the public.
With this movement on the ropes, Time magazine decided that this was a good time to bash teachers again rather than investigate how a few wealthy people bought our federal education policy, and are doing to public education what they did to our manufacturing base and housing market.

If Democrats wanted to turn the election around, they could drop this corrupt education policy that puts Wall Street profits ahead of our kids' futures.

There are a few problems with the story, but the biggest one is pretty familiar: It buries the lead. The Time piece, by Haley Sweetland Edwards, waits until the very end to tell readers that the teacher evaluation scheme central to argument is advancing is highly dubious.

The article is about how a small group of very wealthy Silicon Valley millionaires have decided they're the ones who can fix America's public schools–a "half-dozen tech titans who are making the repair of public education something of a second career." The movement has been joined by people like "CNN anchor turned education activist Campbell Brown."

The piece focuses on a relatively unknown figure named David Welch, an "unassuming father of three" who "clearly prefers a world of concrete facts to taking sides." Welch evidently came up with the novel legal strategy behind the Vergara case in California. A court ruling in June found that tenure provisions serve to protect failing public school teachers, and thus the civil rights of the students forced to endure these conditions have been violated.

Time tells readers that Welch arrived at this simple conclusion by asking a "big-city California superintendent" how to fix the schools. His answer "blew Welch away"...


Obama could do labor a big favor WITHOUT the help of Congress

Simply enforce the anti-union Taft Hartley law as vigorously as every president since Reagan has enforced the Sherman Anti-Trust law, which is to say as close as possible to not at all.

That would slightly even the playing field between big corporations and average Americans.

I don't think it will happen, but for our DLC friends who hide behind the skirts of Republican obstruction, it's a good example of what a creative president could still get done.

We sure as hell see this kind of creativity on drone strikes and military action against the terrorist group of the week.

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