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Gender: Male
Current location: northern California
Member since: Fri Jan 26, 2007, 07:20 PM
Number of posts: 2,657

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Thanks for trying

Pretty much the third rail around here, polarized to the max. Clinton supporters have long ago accepted the corporate agenda, driven by corporate money, as the best we can do, they just want a kinder version of it than the Republicans provide.

I would go along with that myself, if not for evidence that this is no longer sustainable. Corporations work against our interests on issues like climate change, which is the deal-breaker for me, we have no future whatsoever without radical change on that issue, and the powers that be refuse to embrace that kind of radical change, because they are too heavily invested in the current petro economy and resource wars. Hence, to accept that path is to accept our doom. The entire globalist approach to manufacturing and distribution is antithetical to a sustainable human future, you cannot ship logs to China to be milled there with cheap labor and ship the products back here for resale, that kind of shipping of everything burns too much carbon, things need to be done more locally. That is just one example.

They (corporations) also work against our interests on just about every other issue, unless we happen to be among the people who profit from stocks and wall street based pension funds.

Getting back to a heavily managed and regulated capitalism in a political framework of democratic socialism is about the least radical solution I can see that could actually be sustainable, and anything that isn't sustainable isn't acceptable.

I have heard the argument from some Clinton supporters that her SCOTUS appointments could lead to the reversal of Citizen's United. I think that is a good-faith argument they make. The probem with it is that, even if her appointments would be to justices who would overturn CU (and I by no means see that as a certainty), our system was already a captured regulatory deep state before Citizen's United, we need much more radical change than that or we can kiss everything we love goodbye.

I wish that was exaggeration, but all evidence is to the contrary, they will count their money as our planet overheats and ocean acidification and methane releases from the warmed sea floor destroy us.

So I will no longer support candidates who suck up to corporations for campaign war chests, to do so is to support our end as a species. If that is not true, the burden is on the corporations and their candidates to show that they have a path to stop climate change in time to avoid some of the unthinkable tipping points we are approaching.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sat May 16, 2015, 11:46 PM (0 replies)

I actually think protectionism is a reasonable response

to countries who won't meet reasonable standards of environmental, regulatory, and labor concerns. This "treaty" is primarily written by corporate interests. I know they claim to have included environmental and labor concerns, but it's odd that environmental and labor groups are so united in their opposition.

Corporations should be required to pay wages that would provide at least a living wage in their own country if they are going to use labor in some other nation to produce goods to be sold in the country of the corporation's origin. And goods produced by foreign corporations should be subject to tariffs to offset the disparity in labor and regulatory standards. If we had polical representation for citizens rather than for the largest campaign donors, these issues would be getting a lot of consideration.

I know the left is supposed to be against protectionist policies, perhaps it's time to reevaluate that. Times and conditions have radically changed. The information revolution has made it possible for corporations to exploit the weakest labor and regulatory conditions anywhere, tracking projects with distributed workforces, and the massive infrastructure of modern ports and shipping enables goods produced offshore to be imported back and sold into price structures that reflect entirely different monetary and living conditions. The old free trade liberalism is no longer viable for anyone but the corporations. It's obvious, and would be obvious to many more people if it were explained to them, but the explainers are all on the corporate payroll.

Rather than regional agreements writtten by corporate interests and enforced by stateless courts whose members are appointed without public oversight, we should set the acceptable conditions for goods from other nations. If they won't meet those conditions, we can ban the imports or we can attempt to offset the unfair production environment with tariffs.

I'm sure not all of my ideas here are viable or are the proper response, but it's time for a rethink, and to think for ourselves, we're being sold a load of pain by bought and paid for politicians.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Mon May 11, 2015, 04:31 AM (1 replies)

Great discussion

I am to the right of you, but even I have to watch what I say to stay within the TOS, I very often bite my tongue or say less than what I believe.

If you look at who runs the site, and their views and posts, it's pretty much a mainstream corporate Democratic site that used the word Underground not in the sense of being for reform of the Democratic Party, but in the sense of, after the (s)election of GW Bush in 2000, they saw their centrist Democratic views as needing to go underground and network and grow to return to power. That meant, I think, a return of the likes of Clinton and Obama, not actual reform of capitalism.

It's great for people like you to stick around here, for one thing I like having people working to my left, makes it easier for me to advocate for a system closer to the Scandinavian democracies, which I think would go a long ways towards making a more sustainable and tolerable society.

I'm curious which, if any, nations you see as models for your views, I am not real informed about the manifestations of radical revolutionary socialism.

One thing I will say that I absolutely hate about this site is having to defend views that should IMO need no defense by Democrats, views such as corporate hegemony being the fundamental problem we are facing, that our military and police are for the most part forces deployed by coporate interests, there are a million such positions and I don't need to go into all of them now. I spend a lot of my time fighting off attacks from people invested in supporting bought-and-paid for pols and policies, which is counterproductive and a negative drag on my psyche. I used to think it was a battle that could be won, but as I learned more about who ran this place I came to realize it is really what this site is setup to advocate for, and if we don't, we're considered to be working in the interest of Republicans. So for that reason I often think of leaving here myself, or hope to find a place where the foundational purpose is to better the lives of the masses rather than to support a particular political party. If (when?) Hillary wins the primary I will probably take a break from here rather than suffer the get-on-board coersion, that for me is a bridge too far.

I read what you wrote about your fear of the Sanders campaign causing true revolutionaries to be assimilated (hopefully I am getting that right) and was surprised by that. I think Bernie does want a revolution, in that he doesn't think we are legitimately represented, seeing our representatives as serving their donor base rather than their electoral base, which I agree with, and in my mind changing that would allow us to exist in an imperfect but sustainable society that would provide a context for satisfying and decent lives for most of its citizens. I love Sanders but to me he is just a vehicle towards reigning in the beast, not necessarily the best vehicle but the best one at this moment to run a national campaign.

Re revolution, elections are so fraudulent right now (power doesn't really change with elections, though the people running it do) that I can understand working to bring one about, but I choose to work to remove the influence of money from our elections so that there would actually be the possibility of true reform through electoral politics. If that can't happen, though, and it is very much an uphill struggle, it will require an actual revolution, which would probably not end well but there would be no alternative.

Anyway, I hope you keep posting here, you can work elsewhere too, DU doesn't have to be everything, but DU can benefit by more people who seek actual systemic change or reform rather than just a change in how many bones are thrown to the proletariat.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sun May 10, 2015, 08:25 PM (0 replies)

No, pay them millions, and forbid all profiteering from their service

I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I've thought it through after saying so here before and getting panned for it, and I'm standing my ground on this unpopular opinion.

I hate them as much as anyone, believe me.

I favor paying them literally millions a year. The legislation authorizing the pay raise needs to also contain strict regulations forbidding them from profiting in any way from their service, while they are in office and after they leave office.

It's an extremely important job, they should be paid accordingly. They're getting paid, just not by us. Who do we think they work for? The people who pay them.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Fri Apr 17, 2015, 03:02 AM (0 replies)

Make the liberal case, yes!

That is right on, I've been saying it for a long time myself. One of the worst problems with our party electing 3rd-way types is that the case for liberal policies is never fought for, never presented to the american people as the needed solution to any problem. Instead we're triangulated into supporting the least worst policy.

" Hillary is a politician, and that kind of means she can absolutely be pressured into doing the right thing. "

I agree that it should not stop after the election, but disagree that she can be moved significantly on any issue that takes money and power away from the monied elite.

For one thing, people say she has no real center as a politician, that she is just a poll-driven power player. I think, at her core, she is deeply and truly onboard with the multinational neo-liberal world view, favoring corporations over local rights, military interventions to secure physical resources for corporate profit, management over labor, etc., she is at heart a corporatist, as is her husband. They have long records to prove it, not to mention the Clinton Global Initiative, and their very active participation in the drafting and passing of NAFTA and the TPP.

For another thing, the kind of people she will be speaking to and including in her cabinet will be people who listen to lobbyists, not to progressive populist opinion. We will not have the leverage, nor the money, to move her, that is all concentrated on the corporatist side.

I posted these disagreements only to expand on your excellent post, and perhaps to add something to the discussion. Ideally, we will have some strong progressive candidate to support in the primary, not holding my breath though.

Making the case for liberal issues is where it's at right now, that will plant seeds in the public's mind in the same way Occupy put income inequality on the map as an important issue. Whether we have a candidate to do it for us, or whether it's up to us to do this through web participation, organizing, demonstrating, and word-of-mouth, it's exactly what we need to do, and we'll need to keep doing so against all odds while the seeds take root.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Tue Apr 14, 2015, 04:35 AM (1 replies)

I agree

If you are new here, welcome to DU.

I hadn't really considered the angle you brought up where the socialist threat helped win concessions in the U.S. from the wealthy. Makes sense.

Organization has always been a talent the right has over the left. They're better at linear thinking, top-down structures that successfully target narrow objectives and then they have the funding to build the infrastructure to deliver the desired change.

The left has always been more about herding cats from one interest group to another, trying to keep people focused on the issue at hand rather than splintering into a thousand loose affinity groups. And most of it is done by underpaid, overworked volunteers who have precious little spare time for activism, struggling just to keep their day jobs and make a living. Paid staff is either non-existent or just enough to coordinate events and fundraising efforts.

I had always hoped the internet would be the great equalizer, that the tech-savvy left would find ways to use it to coordinate actions and screen out corporate candidates who will only sell us out. So far I have seen sites like DU and Kos that are good for discussion and promotion of party ideology but not good at mobilizing action nor at promoting candidates that will serve the non-elites. In fact they may serve the opposite, they take a lot of time from members who read, comment and argue but don't organize for substantive change.

NGOs use the internet to good effect, using online petitions and action alerts, though for the most part they use the web for their own fundraising. Also most of them have too little funding to effectively mobilize against powerful monied interests, though what little good that does happens often happens from their efforts.

I think there is room for a new web site, or several, that work specifically to crowd-source actions and to promote (and fund) candidates who will support the issues of aggregated small donors in the same way our current reps support the issues of the large donors.

Obama in 2008 received roughly half of his campaign money from small donors, yet when he took office it was the large corporate donors and their interests who got their policies pushed by his administration. That's not particular to Obama, it's actually typical, a large corporate donor gets legislation while the small donors get attention in proportion to their individual donation rather than in proportion to the aggregate of the small donors who chipped in. Perhaps this could be improved on by using an aggregator that would manage the donations and use their influence en masse to leverage policy from our representatives in government.

I know there are many groups working along these lines, but I also know that we're losing this battle in a big way, so we need to keep re-inventing how small fish can pool their resources to get what they want from government.

Posted by dreamnightwind | Wed Apr 23, 2014, 05:03 AM (0 replies)

Good post

Small quibble, it's just a point I'd like to make, don't see it represented here much:

"The truth is that the blame belongs to conservatives. It's been long known that people will vote for a real Republican than a Democrat trying to sound like one."

So I think this is a myth. It's long been apparent that people will actually support and vote for a Dem who positions themselves just to the left of the Republican they are running against. It's the slightly better lessor of two evils thing. If people always chose the real Republican rather than a Dem who supports their policies, the whole third way would have collapsed from unelectability.

Sadly, enabled by the "crazy" right-wing, the third way strategy of getting a lot of corporate money, using it to setup a a formidable campaign machine, claim the "center" while punching the left to establish your cred, is often a successful electoral strategy. Fake Republicans running as Dems can and do get elected. Many people think they're doing something a little better by voting for the Dem corporatist rather than for the Republican corporatist, and there's some truth in that.

The problem isn't that it's a failed electoral strategy, the problem is that when these candidates win, they don't represent us, they represent their large campaign donors, the corporations. Ultimately it does our party, and our citizens, great harm. The policies these corporatist Dems get behind taints our party in the eyes of the electorate, they think Dems are the same kind of crooks as Republicans, and perhaps our reps are a little better but the people for the most part have it right, most of our elected Dems are selling us out in the same way the Republicans are, as directed by the oligarchs that support the whole rotten machine.

What we really need to be looking at is how to win elections without corporate money. Running on policies that actually help the average person, speaking truth to power, doing it like Bernie does, that can make up for some of the advantage the better funded corporatists have. We should be exploring mechanisms to help candidates overcome the huge obstacles they face in elections. Money is a powerful thing, but there are other sources of power, such as truth and sincerity. With the internet, there should be ways to amplify and raise awareness about good candidates who are going up against the beast.

Your final statement, about the left's impotence despite being correct on policy, is dead on, and has been for a long time. We only matter when someone wants to blame us. The corporations have created an entire culture of superficial values, consumerism, conformity, glamor, violence, selfishness, and greed. Their media outlets are incredibly powerful in doing so. The left has nothing comparable, left out.

What we do have is a lot of people in pain worried about their future, and we have the truth that our policies are what is needed to address our problems. There's intrinsic power in that. But we have to learn to win elections without corporate money in order to reclaim our party and restore its good name.

Roughly half of Obama's 2008 campaign funds came from small donors. So, when he got into office, did he dance with us, or the corporations? Obviously the corporations. The half of the money coming from small donors was for the most part not aggregated, so as far as leveraging policies from the president, it carried little more weight than the average size of those donations, which was quite small. Besides, as the third way types will tell you in a candid moment, "where are they (the left) going to go?" We'll see the same thing if Hillary is elected. With no credible threat on the left flank, the people are ignored, mostly without consequence for the corporate politician. That's why something like Occupy was so important, and why it was so brutally crushed.

The corporations who wrote huge multi-million dollar checks were the ones Obama listened to (although I think their world-view for the most part aligns with his own). These people have specific legislative agendas their money supports, and they have a direct line to the elected politicians they "bought". One wrong move, and their support vanishes, they'll take their money to the other party, or they'll destroy the politician some other, more immediate way. Small Mom and Pop donors or their proxies in various NGO's aren't even allowed in the room. We get lip service, they (the corporate donors) get legislation.

Is aggregation of small donations the answer? It could help, so long as the aggregator is 100% representing the people rather than some interest of its own. A credible threat of upheaval or revolution would also get their attention. A serious and determined third party on the left would also help. Personally I favor working within the party, possibly using a far-left socialist wing under the Democratic Party tent, whose candidates would be forbidden from taking corporate money. Whatever the answer is, it doesn't involve electing candidates who share and validate the world-view of the corporatists and the Republicans.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sun Feb 9, 2014, 11:23 PM (1 replies)

The myth of the Christian conservative

A nice piece of writing from Mark Morford. I sometimes find his columns interesting. This one felt spot-on.

The final two paragraphs are quoted below, but the article itself is pretty short and worth reading. Talks a lot about Amway's DeVos family too, as an example of the contradiction between Jesus and the people using his name to push for policies he would certainly have opposed.

So now it begins to make more sense. While conservative Christians of the DeVos variety aggressively despise everything the real Jesus stood for – nonviolence, aiding the poor, ministering to the sick, equal rights, spiritual autonomy, the anointing of lots of trippy holy oil to commune with sacred realms – they very much value what came next: the institutionalized church and all its megalomaniacal, sociopolitical success, perhaps the greatest, most oppressive corporation/political operation of all time. The GOP can only dream.

It’s true, no? More than 2,000 years later, despite endless scandals, oppression and political obfuscation, the church’s brand is still going strong (well, sort of). It is empire incarnate, the greatest marketing success in history, squashing opposition, steamrolling spiritual autonomy and most of all, encoding into millions of followers the most tragic lie of all time: that you are separate from the divine. That you cannot ever truly know God. That you are meek and broken, full of shame and sin. But if you’re really lucky, if you work hard, soak yourself in guilt and support the correct (white, rich, male) leaders, you can maybe, just maybe, avoid Hell. Familiar message, right? Just like Jesus absolutely never intended?

Posted by dreamnightwind | Wed Jan 29, 2014, 07:29 AM (1 replies)

How Science Is Telling Us All To Revolt...

Your post reminded me of CNN's "is it a good thing, or a bad thing?" I know we're all busy and have limited time to give to any single post, but I'd like to present my take on what is actually happening.

I won't go into everything that would be a factor in the reasons for NSA spying, nor am I informed enough to do so (none of us are, and that's no accident, we're talking about the NSA here).

A few things that occur to me:

Sure, part of this is about terrorism. Part of it. And their definition of terrorism would not be mine, they would include non-violent populist uprisings in their terrorist web, though they would identify and exploit any actual violence that either comes from such uprisings or that are staged and blamed on them.

I would rather include the corporate polluters who spend money to lobby governments for unimpeded extraction and combustion of the greenhouse-gas producing fossil fuels they are profiting from.

In addition to extraction and delivery of these resources, they also spend a lot of money to misinform the public about the coming consequences of their pollution, funding industry-friendly scientists, owning our major media outlets, funding "think-tanks", and working against, not for, zero or low-emission fuel alternatives, all in the name of profit. Those are the real terrorists, and the planet we live on is not a collection of natural resources for extraction, it is an intricate and dynamic system being pushed beyond its limits by fossil fuel profiteers.

Things like the Arab Spring, 9/11, other terrorist attacks, and Occupy have the attention of governments around the world. They can respond in a number of ways to these events. It appears their responses are oriented more towards control of the populace rather than on listening to and responding to citizens' legitimate concerns and demands.

In addition to those kind of events, they are looking ahead to future economic collapse and catastrophic environmental degradation which will result in massive evacuations and migrations.

We need a mobilization against climate change, a massive economic and lifestyle reconfiguration, and we need it yesterday. Instead, we're seeing an intense ramp-up of security and control systems. They seek not to avoid catastrophic climate change, but to create a total-awareness information network that can be used by both states and corporations against those seeking the drastic change needed to avert the unthinkable, and against the radicalized victims of the disasters we are and will increasingly be facing. They seek continuity of governments and corporate structures, and firewalling of the oligarchs from catastrophe and catastrophe's blowback when the populace realizes what they're in store for.

It is clear to me that the emphasis is on control by the elites of the masses, crushing dissent, and managing crises as much as possible rather than on dealing with the actual problems we face. I realize it's not entirely either-or, the newly arising total information awareness systems would not necessarily preclude prevention efforts, but it would take a lot of denial, IMO, to not see where the priorities are, which is on building populace control systems rather than on building an economic system that is compatible with sustaining human life on this planet for anything more than elites living in artificially controlled environments.

I would like to refer readers to this post
How Science Is Telling Us All To Revolt by Naomi Klein
Posted by dreamnightwind | Wed Oct 30, 2013, 03:24 PM (0 replies)

I didn't rec this post

though I agree that the need to strike Syria is just the latest B.S. from the MIC.

I don't believe Kerry or Obama are warmongers.

The more I learn, the more it looks like Zappa's statement quoted in that warmonger video () was right on target. I forget his exact words, basically the political establishment is the entertainment arm of the MIC.

For the most part, power does not change hands in the U.S. with elections. It lurks in the background, making policy decisions, then coming up with evidence to put in front of whoever the current administration is. They have their contingencies drawn prior to the requests for them from the POTUS. They know what the POTUS will ask for because they know the intelligence they have presented to him.

Seymour Hersch used to dive down this rabbit-hole pretty deeply, though his reporting lacked the unified theory to tie it all together (not a reporter's job, really). He goes into some of it in this article
which also includes a link to the full half-hour talk he gave. It feels circuitous and unfocused to me, but he's one of the more credible journalists we've had and he was trying to get us to pay attention. His particular focus at that point in time was on W/Cheney and the secret activities of the JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command). More on that here: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/07/07/080707fa_fact_hersh?printable=true

I think even Hersch would now have to alter his view, he focused too much on what he considered unusually evil men (his words) in W and Cheney. He was no doubt correct about them, but W was little more than a stooge, the jester in Zappa's view. Now we see the same patterns with a new administration, we see the NSA scandals, we know a lot more now.

Power in this country is no longer accountable to the electorate. If that doesn't change, it's game over for any real democracy we hope to have.

Kerry is one of our guys I have always admired, so it saddens me to see him playing this role. I think he mostly believes the story that is presented to him by the people that matter. I'd say the same for Obama, though less so, hard to explain away all of the drones and the right-wing appointments he makes. But this game is much larger than either of them, and we're all in deep trouble without a truly representative government.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Wed Sep 4, 2013, 05:08 AM (0 replies)
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