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BainsBane

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Member since: Sat Sep 15, 2012, 01:49 PM
Number of posts: 30,685

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It's 19 months until the election

Why do people insist it be resolved today? The Democrats so far have one declared candidate, just one. That bothers the people who oppose her, who have vacillated between comments on her campaign donors and the Iraq war vote to sexist attacks on her appearance and deciphering supposed cryptic messages in her logo. Someone asked why we all have to rally behind Clinton. We don't, not yet anyway. My suggestion is people relax. Wait until some other candidates announce and then argue FOR the candidate you like rather than limiting yourself to attacks on Clinton. It's still a very long time until the election. I know some DUers have been playing fantasy presidential politics for a couple of years now, and it's unfortunate so much energy is taken up in cable news-like prognosticating and hand wringing about potential candidates.

How about people address issues and policies that concern you, issues that you would like to see the Democratic party and the eventual nominee adopt? Saying you dislike Clinton is not enough, especially when there are yet no other declared candidates. What issues do you care about? Do you want to see the influence of big money in politics lessened? Do you want to ensure there is no war with Iran and encourage a rollback of US military entanglements around the world? Rather that beating one another over the heads about our respective views of a single candidate, why not focus on issues and reforms that matter? Because if the only goal is ensuring Clinton not be elected President, most loyal Democratic voters will not go along with it. You need to stand FOR something, not just against Clinton.

Another note. I've seen a lot of sexist crap posted over the last few days in the name of "progressive" reform of the party. No progressive reform can be accomplished through sexism. When people rely on sexism or diminishing the rights of LGBT Americans or any other group, the impression is that the reform some want is more regressive than progressive.


Hey patriarchy



Love it.

I like this one



The entire argument about Clinton's so-called private intelligence network

As far as I can tell, hinges on the term "sensitive source" used by Sydney Blumenthal in correspondence to Clinton.

Let's make clear that we are talking about Benghazi here. Ben-fucking-ghazi. A few weeks ago I asked whether people really wanted to sink to Republican levels in staking out the position for the primary (a primary that is not even yet happening). Clearly the answer to that question is yes, and Benghazi is now the smoking gun for the anti-Clintonites, just as it has been for the GOP for years now.

Benghazi was the located of a clandestine CIA station. We know that not only from news reports but from Republicans letting that classified info slip in front of the cameras. "Sensitive source" could well have referred to one of the CIA agents stationed in Benghazi, or it could have referred to another intelligence source. All we actually know is that Blumenthal considered the source sensitive.

The very article used as supposed evidence of Clinton's running her own intelligence service says:
The reports Blumenthal sent to Clinton appear to have been compiled by Tyler Drumheller, a former chief of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) clandestine service in Europe. Drumheller left the CIA in 2005 and started his own security business. http://www.allgov.com/news/top-stories/was-hillary-clinton-while-secretary-of-state-running-a-secret-spy-network-150330?news=856096 There's the tried and true tactic of phrasing a baseless allegation as a question.

While the article doesn't concern itself with providing evidence, it says the reports were compiled by a former CIA station chief and sent to Blumenthal, who then sent them to Clinton. It says she received information from this other source, not that she ran her own intelligence network. How does receiving information from a former CIA station chief equate with "running a private intelligence network"? The US government has many, many intelligence agencies. Why would a Secretary of State need or want to create her own? All to hide the fact she knew the consulate in Benghazi was about to be stormed? We're heard this story before, only from the GOP.

The Secretary of State has contact with members of all kinds of US agencies, which any cursory reading of US diplomatic history should make clear. The only way in which the term "sensitive source" can be interpreted to mean she ran a private intelligence network is if people 1) have no regard for the truth, facts or evidence; 2) are looking to gin up opposition to Clinton; 3) and have no compulsion about engaging in lies and distortions in order to serve their goal of destroying one potential candidate.

The entire argument is without evidentiary basis. Now I get that right-wingers will grab onto anything to use against the Democrats, but when supposed Democrats do the same thing, it becomes increasingly difficult to tell Republican from Democrat. Regardless of party, however, intellectual honesty should require more; self-respect should require more.


The politics of Helen Keller, Socialism and disability

In a neoliberal era in which personal choice and triumphs of individual character are heralded above social justice and understandings of structural oppression, I think it useful to examine the historical construction of Helen Keller's life story, a popular interpretation that erases her Marxist activism on disability and supplants it with moral tales of overcoming personal obstacles.

Helen Keller is one of the most widely recognized figures in US history that people actually know very little about. That she was a serious political thinker who made important contributions in the fields of socialist theory and practice, or that she was a pioneer in pointing the way toward a Marxist understanding of disability oppression and liberation—this reality has been overlooked and censored. The mythological Helen Keller that we are familiar with has aptly been described as a sort of “plaster saint;” a hollow, empty vessel who is little more than an apolitical symbol for perseverance and personal triumph.1

This is the story that most of us are familiar with: A young Helen Keller contracted an illness that left her blind and deaf; she immediately reverted to the state of a wild animal, as depicted in the popular movie The Miracle Worker; she remained in this state virtually unchanged until she was rescued by her teacher Anne Sullivan, who “miraculously” introduced her to the world of language. Then time passed, and Helen Keller died eighty years later: End of story.

The image of Helen Keller as a gilded, eternal child is reinforced at the highest levels of US society. The statue of Helen Keller erected inside the US Capitol building in 2009, which replaced that of a Confederate Army officer, depicts Keller as a seven-year-old child kneeling at a water pump. Neither the statue itself nor its inscription provides any inkling that the sixty-plus years of Keller’s adult life were of any particular political import.

When the story of Helen Keller is taught in schools today, it is frequently used to convey a number of anodyne “moral lessons” or messages: There is no personal obstacle that cannot be overcome through pluck and hard work; whatever problems one thinks they have pale in comparison to those of Helen Keller; and perhaps the most insidious of such messages, the one aimed primarily at people with disabilities themselves, is that the task of becoming a full member of society rests upon one’s individual efforts to overcome a given impairment and has nothing to do with structural oppression or inequality.


More about the work she did engage in at:
http://isreview.org/issue/96/politics-helen-keller

Time to cover up for Assange again

The statute of limitations are close to expiring. Assange, who faces allegations of sexual assault, has been a fugitive from justice for four years. Swedish prosecutors have decided to travel to the UK, where he is evading justice, to interview Assange before the Statue of Limitations expires.

Lead prosecutor Marianne Ny explained the change in position by saying some of the crimes the 43-year-old Australian is accused of will reach their statute of limitations in August.

"My view has always been that to perform an interview with him at the Ecuadorean embassy in London would lower the quality of the interview, and that he would need to be present in Sweden in any case should there be a trial in the future," Ny said in a statement.

"Now that time is of the essence, I have viewed it therefore necessary to accept such deficiencies in the investigation and likewise take the risk that the interview does not move the case forward."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-sweden-julian-assange-embassy-20150313-story.html

Now what do you do if you're desperate to ensure Assange doesn't face justice for sexual assault? Assail the integrity of the prosecutor, accuse her of "lying" because Sweden has decided to go to the UK rather than let the charges elapse. It takes a lot of effort and justifications to ensure the great and powerful men like Assange not face consequences for allegations of sexual assault. Female victims: liars, worthless. A female prosecutor: a liar whose character must be assassinated to continue the cover up. The accused rapist: not subject to the laws of mere mortals, too great to be held accountable to charges made by lowly women.

This folks is rape culture.

Naturally they should travel to another country to question a fugitive from justice

because a man such as Assange should not have to comply with normal laws and procedures. He must be served, catered to, despite fleeing from questioning for sexual assault allegations. Another victory for rapists the the great men who are above the law, especially when it comes to allegations of violating lowly women.


And it truly is amazing to see celebration of a two procedures of justice--one for the great men of the world and another for mere mortals.

Rape culture must be protected at all costs, or before long more than 3 percent of rapists will have to do jail time, and 25 percent of women in this world might not experience sexual assault. With that kind of disorder, with women considered equal human beings, white male supremacy might disintegrate. Lord knows we couldn't have that.


Yeah, yeah, You'll claim Assange really isn't a rapist, just like the football players in Steubenville weren't really rapists according to their fan club. We live in a world where rape proliferates yet astounding there are no rapists. The purpose of a criminal investigation and trial is to determine guilt, and since Assange has fled that investigation for four years, he has willfully forsaken the opportunity to clear his name.

Because the same people insist on ignoring all legal evidence in the case and repeatedly and falsely insist there is no legal charge against Assange, I am posting the warrant for his arrest and the UK court decision that made clear what his standing is under UK law.

The link below goes to a PDF of the international arrest warrant.


here are four allegations as set out in box (e) of the warrant:
1.
On 13th – 14th August 2010, in the home of the injured party in Stockholm, Assange, by using violence, forced the injured party to endure his restricting her freedom of movement. The violence consisted in a firm hold of the injured party’s arms and a forceful spreading of her legs whilst lying on top of her and with his body weight preventing her from moving or shifting.
2.
On 13th – 14th August 2010, in the home of the injured party in Stockholm, Assange deliberately molested the injured party by acting in a manner designed to violate her sexual integrity. Assange, who was aware that it was the expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a condom be used, consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her without her knowledge.
3.
On 18th August 2010 or on any of the days before or after that date, in the home of the injured party in Stockholm, Assange deliberately molested the injured party by acting in a manner designed to violate her sexual integrity i.e. lying next to her and pressing his naked, erect penis to her body.
4.
On 17th August 2010, in the home of the injured party in Enkoping, Assange deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep, was in a helpless state.
It is an aggravating circumstance that Assange, who was aware that it was the expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a condom be used, still consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her. The sexual act was designed to violate the injured party’s sexual integrity.

The framework list is ticked for “Rape”. This is a reference to an allegation 4. The other three allegations are
described in box (e) II using the same wording as set out above.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/world/20110224-Britain-Ruling-Assange-Extradition-to-Sweden.pdf


UK appellate court ruling on extradition of Assange to Sweden and his standing under Swedish law.


http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKSC/2012/22.html



None of the actual evidence in the case matters of course for those who insist the great men of the world be immune from the laws where lowly women are accusers. That is precisely how power, patriarchy, and violence against women are perpetuated.

Every single time I have tried to discuss sexism and gender inequality

I have been told that to do so is "divisive." EVERY TIME. I've been told I'm an unreasonable radical for caring about women's rights as I define them and not taking the upper-middle class white male's direction on what rights I am allowed to care about. African American members have been called divisive trolls for posting about racism, for suggesting that people here might care about their life experiences. Just today I served on a jury where someone lit into a member for posting about racism, when he felt he should not have to be exposed to such trivial concerns. Now I read a post where you say it's us vs. them, the us being many of the same people who have told me and others to keep our mouths shut, not to pester our betters about issues that speak to the experiences of many women and people of color. Some of the those you proudly proclaim as the "underground" are people who have insulted LGBT members, who have faced discrimination and oppression their entire lives, as hypocrites and accused them of being aligned with the 1 percent and Goldman Sachs because they didn't share their assessment of a single individual. After years of being told I'm an unreasonable radical, suddenly I'm a collaborator with power, a whole new kind of other.

In both cases, I am excluded and reviled for the same reasons: I am not you, and my life has been nothing like yours and the others you so proudly proclaim as "the underground." What I am not is not someone who grew up middle-class and male, and therefore my experiences differ from many here. I care about issues that relate to my life experiences, and that makes me less, just as the subject position I occupy is defined as less in the social and class structure of this country. That is true for many of the people your post looks down upon. You see for us, elections matter. Our very civil rights, our economic livelihood, and for some their survival is effected by the outcome of elections. Yet none of that concerns you. You instead proclaim a superiority as an "underground" keyboard warrior, all over what appears to be opposition to the only presumptive candidate for the Democratic nomination. What you are proclaiming is a superiority tied at least in part to privilege of race, class, gender, and sexuality.

Deliberately seeking to exclude the majority of the electorate from your notion of underground, of who matters, is not revolutionary or even reformist. What it does is serve the interests of the powerful, of capital. The system in which we live is overpowering in its control. To resist it requires SOLIDARITY on issues, on coming together to take action on the role of money political system, to oppose capitalism, the very system that grants you privilege lacking in those you look down on. Yet your posts shows that what you care about is not challenging that system but instead targeting those who disagree with you. That, I assert, does the work of the very forces many here claim to oppose. Yet when they spend their energy attacking ordinary American voters rather than capital or the "corporatist state," it tells me that they, and you, aren't interested in changing anything. You instead proclaim yourselves superior to those who are born, live, and think differently. If i had money, didn't have a uterus, and if others here were white and straight, they could afford not to give a shit about elections. If we were privileged, elections wouldn't make that much difference to us and might even provide a nice cut in taxes. Like most Americans, we are not so fortunate.

You imagine yourself and those you think better than the rest of us to be among the underground because you post on a site that has that title in its name. My notion of underground or change doesn't revolve around an obsession with one member of the political elite or another. For me, social justice and human equality are what matter, and when people insist on ignoring and even silencing those issues and social problems in favor of mudslinging about individuals, I see a way of thinking bound by the power of capital. I see people who forsake activism that might actually change the relationship between capital and citizen and instead direct their energies toward targeting ordinary, working and disadvantaged Americans whose position in society is far more fragile. This conceptual underground you present looks to me a lot like a country club.

How does insulting Democrats help your cause?

We again see another post that is all about telling people on DU how they are unacceptable for not taking your precise approach to politics. I won't say values because your fundamental mistake is assuming a different view about a candidate or tactic means an entirely different set of values. If you think people here actually believe what you claim. you haven't payed attention to those who disagrees with you.

A Democrat is someone who votes for the Democratic Party. A number of people here have said they do not and will not. Therefore they are not Democrats. I myself only became a Democrat following the 2000 election. While I often voted Democratic, I also voted Third Party, and wouldn't identify myself as a Democrat because I have never found capitalism an acceptable economic and political system. However, the Bush presidency convinced me to adopt a more pragmatic approach. He was so awful, I decided I had to vote consistently for Democrats.

Now on DU i have been called a Third Wayer while discussing Marxist theory and reminding people that change comes from social movements by the people, reminding them of the history of their nation and how the structures of government were set up to serve the interests of the wealthy rather than ordinary Americans. I then get insulted from people with little to no familiarity with history, Marxism, or leftist thought more generally, all because I don't share their obsession with defeating a single presidential candidate. You see, the idea that such values rise and fall with Hillary Clinton or any other individual is a complete fiction, ahistorical and counterfactual. To focus entirely on the presidency is to limit oneself only to contests among political elites. It does not promote or accomplish social change.

A key difference I have here with many is on the idea that the presidency is the be all and end all of political reform. To think that way limits enormously the possibilities for change and makes impossible the goals you list above. Those can only be accomplished through local, grassroots organizing that transforms the party, or creates a new party, from the ground up. And even then electoral politics are only a small part of the change that's required to realize your goals. Too many imagine a president will spontaneously transform American and deliver what you want. It doesn't work that way.

If you want a party to stand up against capital, I'm all for it. That party, however, is not the Democratic Party, which has never rejected wealth or profit. It is a mainstream party in a capitalist state. There has never been a time when it did not serve capital. Many wish for another FDR, with no sense of the historical context he responded to. If FDR were alive today, he would not govern in the same way because he responded to a series of social movements that threatened to undo the capitalist system. He constructed the New Deal to assuage the worst excesses of exploitation and thereby saved the capitalist system.

What you seem to want is closer to socialism than what the Democratic Party has stood for. I'm all for socialism, but I would like to know how you think we can make it work it within the confines of our current electoral and campaign finance system.
My question is how do you propose to enact those values you list? Do you have a reform to organize around? How do you propose to bring about those changes? Or do you think "corporatism," as you call it, rises and falls on the fate of Hillary Clinton? Because if the goal is simply to defeat a candidate, that accomplishes none of the goals you outline above. It simply is a different face heading the capitalist state.

If the goals of people really are to transform the relationship between politics, money, and citizen, why is it that so many devote most of their time to attacking other Democrats? That suggests to me goals not in keeping with what you claim.

Lastly, in prior discussion you disclosed to me that you in fact have no problem with corporate profit, as long as it is on the part of gun manufacturers, an industry where wealth is accumulated based on hundreds of thousands of deaths. I find that troubling and entirely inconsistent with what you write above.

Lastly, I find it fascinating that people who rail that discussions of racism or misogyny are divisive have absolutely no problem dismissing the majority of Democratic voters as beneath contempt. I once again come away with the impression that the only thing that people really care about is their disgust for Democrats whose thoughts, knowledge, tactics, or interests disagree with theirs at all.

The kind of change you are talking about requires a great deal of organizing and solidarity, and if you refuse to listen to the concerns of others, you make it impossible to effect any of that.


You can't be serious

This is a long post, but I take challenges to my integrity very seriously and have a great deal to say.

I don't attack people for being "left." I'm a Marxist, for Christ sake. The difference is I understand the nature of the capitalist state, and now I get lectured by people who can't tell Marxist analysis from the Sunday newspaper.

I demonstrate my principles often in my posts. I post about social justice, violence, human equality, feminism, racism, empire, and war, even Marxist theory. I clearly express my principles in those threads. If I did not have principles, I would engage in group think and go along with the prevailing view at the time. That is something I have never done. What I do not do is focus entirely on contests among political elites. I know that social change doesn't emanate from the presidency down. As someone with training in social history and social movements in particular, I know that social change comes from the bottom up, and that politicians only respond when compelled to by the people. You see, focusing on the presidency to the exclusion of particular causes reflects a conservative (not as in GOP but in the more traditional meaning, as in great man view of history and social change) worldview. For example, people present FDR as a savior, the only real Democrat, yet show no awareness that FDR acted because he was forced to by widespread social movements. He saved the capitalist system by creating the New Deal that has assuaged many of the excesses of capitalist exploitation. If not for him, it is possible the country might have turned to social revolution at that time. He made sure it did not.

I did not grow up upper-middle or middle-class, so I have never been among the people who expected government to cater to me. I expect for people who grew up in more advantageous circumstances, there probably was a time when they saw government representing their interests. It has never represented the poor, and the days some here hearken back to were a time when the majority of the population was denied basic civil rights and existed outside the body politic.

My academic background in the history of nation building and national identity also enables me to see national mythology at work. Much of the frustration I see here is from people who buy into the national mythology of government for the people and by the people and think that government's failure to serve the needs of common people is new. It is not new. It is endemic to the capitalist state, a state that was never intended to serve common people, which is clear from how the framers set up government. While it is true that the cash nexus between capital and state is more naked than in the past, the fundamental relationship is much the same. A key difference today is that capital is increasingly global, and its accumulation is no longer dependent on nation. That has generated a new host of contradictions that we are witnessing today.

I don't see a lot of principal in endless fixation on contests among political elites. I do not see disputes about individual politicians as reflective of principle. In fact it avoids a discussion of broader and more systemic problems that cannot be solved by a President. When people identify one individual, like Clinton, as responsible for the ills of capitalism, it frustrates me because it reduces a systemic problem to a caricature and thus allows no possibility of addressing it. I consider that a very narrow political worldview.

I have never known of a politician in this country who expressed my views. The closest globally is Salvador Allende, but I know the nature of the country I live in. I look at electoral politics quite pragmatically: my principles are not expressed within the confines of the governmental structures of the capitalist state. When I was younger, I wouldn't identify as a Democrat for that reason and often voted third party. Bush changed that. He was so awful I realized I had to consistently vote for Democrats. I'm all for progressive reform of the party, and time and time again I have suggested that people get involved at the local level to make that happen. Expecting a president to spontaneously transform society is folly and impossible under the confines of our system.

I live in one of the most progressive states in the country, a state that has gotten a lot of press about its governor lately. Yet missed in that coverage is that we have the most politically engaged population in the country: not only do we have the highest voter participation rates in the country, we organize around issues like marriage equality, defeating voter ID and retaining election-day voter registration, an increase in the minimum wage linked to inflation, requiring employers to pay sick leave, funding for the arts and parks. That is all possible because the population organized for it, not because we waited for a governor to give it to us. If we are to have progressive reform, people need to do that all around the country. Sitting back and waiting for the perfect president to bestow it is a fool's errand. Worse yet, people who think that not voting constitutes a form of activism only make the situation worse.

I think part of what is happening here is we have a fundamental disagreement about what constitutes left. For me, leftism is Marxism, socialism. It is not liberalism, and it is not embodied in a particular US presidential candidate or arguments over individual public figures. And in fact when that is accompanied by hostility to the rights and interest of the subaltern (eg. racial justice, gender equality, and full civil rights for LGBT), I consider it right-wing.
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