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Gender: Male
Current location: northern California
Member since: Fri Jan 26, 2007, 07:20 PM
Number of posts: 2,980

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Great, good OP you have here

"I've thought about how this can be turned around, and I'm surprised at the lack of replies with criticism to that effect. My belief is that where there's a will there's a way. I say that because we far outnumber the business owners and politicians. It can be done. But it cannot be done any other way. We've already seen the days of acceptable capitalism. They're long gone now. "

Pretty sad how much energy at this site goes toward in-figting and how little of it goes to analysis of the nature of our problems and the system fixes we need to reclaim our government and our country from the forces of big money.

The Populist Reform group sometimes has good discussions on these issues, and sometimes things will pop up in a GD post too.

There are so many layers to the onion of corporate control and exploitation that it can be reasonably attacked from many different angles.

One of them is trying to break the connection of big money to our politicians, so they would be free to represent our interests instead of the interests of their large donors. This is of course very difficult, and there are a lot of good groups working on it. One of them is rootstrikers.

Reversing Citizen's United is important, it would help, but not fix the problem, big money had already captured our system even before Citizen's United, and that ruling has just made the problem worse.

We really need methods to either remove big money from the system (probably requires a constitutional amendment) or to come up with strategies to defeat it so underfunded candidates can have a fighting chance.

One such effort is this legislation (see below), there are call-your-senator efforts going on right now to get them onboard. I don't know a whole lot about it, but from the surface it looks good. It''s similar to a hair-brained idea of my own I've posted about a couple of times, which was to come up with a public pool of money, I called it crowd-sourcing, that could be drawn from when elected officials are in a position that they are going to take the donations that later dictate their policy efforts. I had envisioned it being a dynamic entity, a politician who wanted to do the right thing yet didn't want to unilaterally disarm in the money race could come to that group, and say "I don't want to take money from these guys, it will have their strings attached, they are interested in such and such an issue (a pipeline, a reguation to remove, whatever it is), can you help me out? Then the group I was imagining would put it out to the crowd-sourcing, posting the funders, the issue involved, the elected official(s) who would like to NOT take their money but need it to be viable in our system, and a request would go out to the "crowd" saying if we care about this issue, we can chip in and this politician will take our money instead of the corporate money, with OUR strings attached. Sorry to be so long-winded, a little difficult to explain. Not the best solution, perhaps, but a practical approach given the current money = speech SCOTUS position.

So to wrap it back around, the legislation I started talking about does something very similar to all of that, might be worth checking out, I only recently heard about it:


Here’s how the bill would work:

To encourage greater participation, everyday Americans could qualify for a $25 refundable My Voice tax credit for small donations to congressional campaigns.
Qualified candidates who prove their viability by raising a large number of small contributions from their home state would be eligible to receive a base grant to help fund their campaigns.
After qualifying, candidates who choose to participate must limit their contributions to $150 or less. Those donations would be matched, up to a limit, by six dollars for every dollar raised. For example, a $40 donation becomes $280.
Candidates who qualify for Fair Elections funding can receive additional funds to ensure they have the resources to compete against outside attacks.

I think it also has conditions so they couldn't be taking the grant money AND the corrporate money.

So that's one line of attack.

Another is money-shaming, I think we could do a lot more in that direction, and the U.S. public is receptive to this, they know it's the root of the problem, they just feel overwhelmed with all of the info-overload and can't take enough time from their lives to actively read and learn enough to see who is funding candidates and what the funders want in return for those donations (plus the two main political parties do their best to have only captured candidates on the ballot). A good money-shaming effort could do that research for them, tying money to issues and tying those issues to the candidates who are taking that money. We could work to expose that activity and stigmatize candidates who take the corporate money as tainted, which is the absolute truth of the matter, they are tainted and captured by their funding.

The worker-owned business approach is a great place to put energy, and to a smaller extent profit-sharing is good too.

Tax policy can do a lot of good, we can make it too expensive for corporations to do the wrong thing, and we can encourage worker-owned businesses through the tax code. I believe Bernie would do so.

Exposing the poor conditions of american lives compared to citizens in Democratic Socialist countries is also a place to put energy. Most americans are not aware of how bad things are here compared to the european and scandinavian nations, in important metrics such as infant mortality, wealth inequality, incarceration. government and regulatory capture, job loss through offshoring (we need tariffs or some other mechanisms to prevent this), how many more hours we work than europeans, single payer health care systems, percent of our taxes that goes to "defense" and "security", police brutality, social safety nets to take care of our people, cost of education, the list goes on and on, most people are unaware that it is better elsewhere. Another area where Bernie is way better than anyone else. We can do more to educate the public, it doesn't need to revolve around Bernie, candidates come and go, we need to increase understanding of these things as much as we can to get the public on our side rather than pointing fingers at each other as "takers" while the corporations get richer and use their divide-and-conquer strategies as gladiator games for their amusement.

Non-controlled media efforts are also a place to energy. For most people, most of what they know about what's going on in the nation and the world is just what the corporate media wants them to know. With the internet we increasingly have the opportunity to change that.

We need to put energy into globalizing labor organization. That would make a HUGE difference. Many obstaces to getting that done, would be great to do so though.

Sorry to go on so, lengthy posts often don't get read. I care about all of these things and want to spark more energy towards these kinds of approaches, and learn more from others. Thanks again for your OP.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Fri Jul 24, 2015, 05:14 PM (1 replies)

Thanks. I can actually respect well-targeted belligerence.

Black people live in unacceptable conditions in this country. It isn't new, in fact, other than the mass incarceration (a big issue for sure) their fate in this country is perhaps better than ever, which still isn't good at all. But on the scale of problems this nation and planet are facing, driven by systemic economic forces (climate change is the most urgent issue we have to deal with, there is no way to overstate the urgency of that issue), most of our problems are in a downward spiral, economic, climate, wars, oligarchy, surveillance, a runaway and unstable financial system that has pretty much captured the U.S. government and many other governments as well, racial issues still suck but are not in a downward spiral, probably the opposite.

Police brutality has escalated against everyone, it's part of the growing corporate control that advances rapidly toward fascism. Minorities are disproportionately on the receiving end of police brutality. And there is a lot of evidence of white supremacist types in law enforcement. Sanders is excellent on this issue, the others not so much.

Obama and Holder were pretty worthless on these issues. Obama's style was to make nice speeches about it, but he never took on the power structure behind it, never attempted real systemic reform, and Holder also made some superficial gestures but little attempt to bring about real change. I agree with you, they would have been excellent targets for Black Lives Matter. Like Obama and Clinton, I have not seen BLM take on the powerful interests (corporate at root) that are the source of the problems. Perhaps they have and I am not aware of it, but if it were high profile direct interventions such as their co-option of the Netroots talks by O'Malley and Sanders, I'm fairly sure I would know about it. Seems more likely to me they either are, or are being used by, the oligarchy which is getting pretty worried about a rising left-wing populism.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sun Jul 19, 2015, 09:27 PM (1 replies)

I honestly don't know

What concerns me is we've seen, from mostly the corporate Democrat supporters here on DU (I don't hang out elsewhere so I don't know what that is like) a pretty bizarre attempt to frame Sanders as not caring or insensitive about the concerns of people of color. These efforts to frame Bernie that way almost never contain specific policy that they want Bernie to support, it's more like Bernie is supposed to somehow end racism in the hearts of Americans, pity that Obama and Clinton(s) haven't already done so.

I would see it in a different way if it were being done to a candidate like Clinton, who I don't see as having many actual policy stands that will help minorities, except perhaps where corporate interests and minority interests intersect (cheap labor pool for corporations, H1-B and guest workers from Clinton), and who actually used thinly veiled racially coded statements against Obama in the 2008 campaign.

Sanders is the absolutely best candidate minorities have when it comes to policy issues.

So you have the corporate Democrat supporters here who have for some time now been trying to attack Sanders this way, it has seemed very much like a strategic decision that was made, the Clinton people seeing that they had a problem on the left, no doubt came up with a strategy, mostly empty of policy so it didn't cost them anything as far as their corporate donors were concerned, to attack Sanders on minority concerns. What a joke.

The BLM people could have had a good interaction with Sanders and O'Malley, getting specific policies addressed. Bernie would not necessarily give them all the answers they want (he doesn't pander, he tells the truth), such as I think Bernie supports American workers when their interests conflict with allowing unlimited undocumented people into this country (I could be misrepresenting Sanders there), or when corporations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (a far RW group that no Democrat should support) want more H1-B visas for cheap labor instead of working with and paying U.S. citizens to do the jobs. Those issues relate more to Latino interests than to U.S. blacks, so I really don't know why black people in this country would not work for positive interactions with Sanders, he is their best chance to take on the abusive police state we live in, to free them from the economic draft they fall victim to when corporations want U.S. soldiers for resource wars, to reduce incarceration, and to provide better access to healthcare, education, and employment. I honestly believe Sanders is better on all of those issues than any other candidate we've had in a long long time. But apparently that isn't good enough, for some reason.

So I think there's a concerted effort to unfairly and wrongly target Sanders as unfriendly to minorities, when it's really just that he isn't someone who will pander and market to them, he is a policy person, which is the substance rather than the marketing effort. All I have seen that feels legitimate is that people want him to showcase minorities and their interests more, to speak more specifically to those interests, to "hear" them, rather than just working on policy issues to advance their interests. Whereas Clinton will do just the opposite, she and her marketing department will put together a beautifully framed and colorful bouquet that shows she cares, and she will look the other way (wherever the money is) when policy issues arise that actually impact their lives.

If BLM really wanted anything specific they would have had an ally in Sanders, and would have done well to work with him. The Netroots host that moderated that fiasco has published books about his life as an undocumented immigrant, I believe (but do not know, I have not read his work) that he advocates completely free and unlimited, unregulated immigration into this country, in other words no border, which would actually put much downward pressure on the wage structure that black people are dealing with, and on their access to employment. There are texts showing that the Netroots founder couldn't wait to sock it to our progressive candidates at this event, and the moderator was clearly part of that effort. Sabrina's posts about Netroots and their DKos ties (and her statements about the possible nature of those ties) have been interesting, I need to learn more about that.

It fits well, though, when looked at through the corporate lens, the corporations' politicians and their wage structures and labor pool all benefit from an attack on Sanders on minority interests. What BLM gets out of it, aside from 15 minutes of attention, is the question.

I don't know what happened, I know something smells really wrong. Sometimes things just stink because they do, and sometimes they stink because there's a rat around. Perhaps as time goes on we'll know more.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sun Jul 19, 2015, 08:02 PM (1 replies)

I agree with your analysis

and would like to add that, learning how to and developing methods for defeating big money is needed to elect Bernie, and to elect anyone to any office who is not owned by corporate interests.

We should try a number of approaches.

Donating our own money is certainly one of them.

Money doesn't buy votes, it buys campaign infrastructure and ad-buys.

Infrastructure can hopefully be accompished with tons of volunteers.

Ad-buys can be replaced in a number of ways, such as social media outreach, word of mouth, tabling, recruiting influential people to make public endorcements, BernieTV (and using social media to get it seen by people), artists and musicians creating art and songs that can hopefully go viral, and direct outreach to the MSM to get Bernie and his issues and events the coverage they deserve.

Also, an area I think we really need to focus on, is techniques for using a candidate's acceptance of corporate money to discredit their legitimacy as representatives of the people. I'm not sure how to accomplish this, only that it would be extremely helpful if we could find a way. We'd need to do things like identify donors and the amounts of their donations (plenty of online resources already exist to give us much of this info), link the donations to positions on issues that are likely to be influenced by that money (a little harder, requires knowledge of specific interests the donor is seeking to advance), and find or build an effective way of establishing that linkage in the public's mind.

This is a much bigger thing than just electing Bernie, it's what we need to learn how to do (or at least my attempt at identifying some of the tasks) to elect anyone who will represent us rather than their large corporate donors.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sat Jul 18, 2015, 06:48 AM (1 replies)

The corporate Dems can't even put the lie to the Republicans

because they've been too bought out by the same forces.

They can't speak with authenticity against militarism, against a runaway financial sector, against income inequality, and wealth disparity, against exporting our jobs overseas, because their donors wont allow it, and because it's too obviously disingenuous when they pay it lip service.

This serves to either turn the electorate off from both parties, disengaging from politics, or to make Republicans seem far more reasonable than they are. Many times I have heard Republicans defend their Iraq war advocacy by saying "Hillary also supported it", just to give one example.

Bernie can do all of this and show the nation how incredibly hurtful these policies are to pretty much every single one of us, exposing the Republicans for the frauds they are rather than legitimizing their horrible positions by being only slightly better than they are, which is where the corporate Dems are at.

That's not the whole game, but it's a huge part of it, and many Americans are dying to hear someone who can speak to their interests, who can articulate the nightmare they have been living and the policies necessary to awaken from it.

He'll have to overcome the Dem Socialist label, and most of all he'll have to overcome the massive onslaught of corporate money that both Hillary and whoever wins the Republican nomination will use against him.

He'll have the truth and the support of many highly motivated and energized citizens on his side. For me it's a very easy choice.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Wed Jun 24, 2015, 05:08 AM (2 replies)

No problem

Nice chattin' with you, I can tell you are one of the good ones here, so take care and stick around. I was a child in the 60's but am very familiar with alternative or "underground" media, I think the internet has swallowed a lot of it but some of it is still around. Don't know te Helix, sorry I missed it, northern California though so probably would not have been exposed to it anyway. You are right of course about the usual meaning of the word underground.

In case you don't know any of this, or in case others are reading who don't know, here's some info:

We can't openly advocate for 3rd party candidates, and certain words and modes of dealing with others get you banned, but there seems to be room to be yourself once you learn the rules.

Ask the Administrators and Forum Rules (you already know this one, putting the link here for convenience)

There are also groups (aka forums) within DU, which enjoy special protected status (not sure to what degree the protection holds, but it is helpful). Among them are Populist Reform of the Democratic Party, Socialist Progressives, Bernie Sanders, I'm no doubt forgetting others on the left side of the spectrum, so see what's out there that works for you.

Posted by dreamnightwind | Tue Jun 23, 2015, 11:38 PM (1 replies)

Though I share your view of the word underground,

Skinner has gone on record to say that he does not, his intention was nothing of the sort.

You're already quite aware of this, since it was in response to a query from you that Skinner made this clear (and thanks for your query, I had always wondered about the same thing, clearly the site's name is misleading):

We were the "Underground" fighting against the Republicans, who were in power at the time.

Ironically, it seems that many people took the name to mean "Underground fighting against Democrats." I was so naive. Back when I started this site I had no clue so many Democrats hated Democrats.

Skinner himself lists the DLC/PPI website in his website development portfolio, so he apparently worked for the DLC, that should give you some more perspective of how "underground" Skinner's intentions were.


I think its good for more of us to be aware of this, most aren't. It is good to understand where the admins are coming from.

I am not a fan of the DLC wing of the party and policies such as TPP, but consider myself a good Democrat, in fact I feel that I strongly support what this party is supposed to be about, rather than supporting just any politician that chooses to place a D after his/her name.

I try to coexist here yet still state my positions, hopefully that is acceptable. I don't hate Democrats, I hate people pushing harmful policies whether they call themselves Democrats or Republicans.

I used the DINO word earlier today in a post, probably shouldn't have, I had just called Feinstein's office about the TPP and spoken to her staff, and that was my honest opinion after making that call. I could have phrased it differently, shouldn't have to though. Hopefully we can elect some better Democrats who care what we think, my impression of Feinstein has always been that she does not.

Posted by dreamnightwind | Tue Jun 23, 2015, 07:33 PM (1 replies)

Damn. It isn't even Corporate America. Fela's Beasts of No Nation

Time for them to stop winning. Bernie is a good first step, if we can get him heard.

Infinite ways to oppose what is happening, Bernie is only one of them. It's going to take a lot of people, a lot of determination, and a lot of heart, using a lot of different approaches to get our lives and world back, if we can do so while we still have lives and a world capable of sustaining them.

FELA vs BUHARI - Beast of No Nation

Posted by dreamnightwind | Tue Jun 23, 2015, 04:17 PM (0 replies)

Yes, and check out the origin and designer of DLC/PPI site, blew my mind

I thought the CPC website was the responsibility of Ellison and Grijalva? Is this the website you mean, or is there another one I don't know about?


For a real contrast, the old DLC/PPI website (which were designed by our own Skinner, 5th site in this portfolio he posted, http://web.archive.org/web/19991014035441/www.onlineworkshop.com/portfolio/ ) are an informative read, you've probably already seen it. DLC Underground would have been a more appropriate title for this place, though I guess he tolerates the likes of us for the most part and allows it to be a general Democratic site rather than strictly New Dems.

It really is about competing world views, which is what I was saying in my response above, Obama isn't stupid or evil, he actually believes that multinational corporatism can be a force for the greater good, IMO. I can understand someone believing that, though I couldn't disagree more. We've been living that vision for too long, and desperately need to take our party back from the monied interests to whatever degree is possible.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sat Jun 13, 2015, 09:29 AM (1 replies)

Some comments

I often see this showing up here on DU as a rationale for supporting corporate Democrats who many of us feel are working against our interests.

I'm not saying that's what you are doing, I don't know enough about you to make any supposition. So this post may be a little off base for your OP, I'm not sure, it speaks to a larger dynamic I keep running into at DU though.

There is clearly a racial problem in this video.

How do you propose to address fixing it?

Myself, I would be careful about running into the arms of politicians who like to include racially diverse people (and gays) as indicators of sensitivity to those issues. They may or may not be attuned to the racial issues you care about. I get that diversity is a component of that work, if done sincerely. It can also be done to make things look right without being right (Clarence Thomas, Eric Holder, Michael Steele, plenty of examples).

I haven't seen Obama (and for most of his presidency, Holder) do a lot to address these problems, though with a black POTUS and a black attorney general, we might think these problems would get more attention. Do people agree or disagree with me here? I've seen them do more to protect the bankers and the multinationals than to address issues relevant to people of their own color.

I sure haven't seen him do much to address the rampant racism in our police departments, or do much of anything to dismantle the police state which is a problem for all of us. I realize he has done some things in those areas (such as addressing sentencing disparity between cocaine and crack, and his recent move to stop distributing military equipment to local police), but not much, he seems to go out of his way to not be seen as caring too much about the issues of black people. He did make a nice statement about if he had a son he might look like Trayvon, but didn't go to bat much to change the context that allowed for Trayvon to be killed. Holder has shown up in person (Ferguson for instance) and filed some civil suits, not much evidence though of systemic reform, which they were in a position, and had an event-driven context, to push for.

I see Hillary being careful to include people of color, women, and also gays in her staff. Does that mean she will lead the hard work of addressing these problems? Maybe, maybe not, probably a matter of degree. Does she have much or any history to show that is a priority for her? I don't mean words uttered in campaigns, I mean policy that she has put energy into enacting. I know she is now speaking about mass incarceration as a problem, though unlike Sanders I don't see that she has much history fighting against this. She certainly comes up short in the economic justice department.

Pretty much the only post I've seen in this thread that went towards proposing actions leading to improvement was just a post that said education and exposure. I would add police retraining as a high priority, and incarceration, it is amazing the racial disparity of incarceration, though it is too high for all races, we as a nation love to lock people up and crow about being the land of the free. The military also disportionately and very negatively impacts people of color, largely as a result of what is in effect an economic draft.

Exposure is an interesting issue, and it does have a strong economic component, though it is also cutural. I have family from, and in, Texas and Oklahoma, and though the exposure to mixed ethnicities there is higher than my mostly white California hippie community, I am often shocked by the racism in the south and midwest. So exposure can be helpful or not, depending in part on education and also in part on underlying family and peer group racial views that are difficult, though not impossible, to unwind.

There is also a large difference in racism here in California between the inland (more conservative) areas and the liberal coastal areas where I live, though I also understand that there is still a form of more subtle racism here, but the more conservative inland areas are racist hotbeds.

I've always thought conservative / liberal divides falls along issues such as racism, equality for the sexes, support for economic justice as opposed to capitalist exploitation, caring for all living things as opposed to a model of high achievement or wealth or victory, compassionate and sustainable systems that allow most if not all people to have their basic needs met and to have a context where they can live decent lives.

Economic issues are about improving things for everyone (except for the very rich, whose lives need no improvement), and are an enormous problem in our country at this time, much more so than in recent times, and it's getting worse in a hurry. This also disproportionately effects people of color.

Many of our other most urgent problems are enabled by corporate politicians of both parties, with Republicans being slightly worse but corporate Democrats playing a huge enabling role. These include using our tax revenues for military, police, surveillance, incarceration, industrial and financial system deregulation (more broadly the capture of government by industry interests), and supporting industries bringing us impending climate disaster (this includes the whole global trade system, which is an enormous contributor to climate change), plus of course the all-pervasive corrupting influence of money on politics. Racism and sexism, so-called social polices, are sometimes used by corporate politicians who hide behind those issues (it costs the corporations nothing) but do little to actually address them. These issues are problems for sure, I just think people are being misled into electing and supporting politicians that don't have their best interests at heart.

I say all of this only because the whole social justice - economic justice dichotomy so often spoken of on this sight seems to be somewhat false and is used as an excuse to support corporatists, who I don't think really care about the social issues, they care about hedge funds and making millions from speeches to other rich people and getting billions in political "contributions", and use social issues (and often platitudes rather than policies) for cover. Then I see these same issues being used as a wedge against Sanders supporters, and wrongly so in my opinion, speaking for myself I do care about these issues, I just don't see the either-or scenario, I care about these issues because I care about people and all living things, not profits, and I work towards a more just society rather than one based on winning the future, capitalistic excess, or global trade systems whose foundation is labor exploitation.

Apologies if this is not applicable to you or your OP, it brought up this larger DU dynamic I wanted to make an attempt to comment on.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Tue Jun 9, 2015, 07:56 AM (0 replies)
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