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Top 10 Priorities for our Next (Democratic) President and Congress

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 10:46 PM
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Top 10 Priorities for our Next (Democratic) President and Congress
I dont expect that our next president and Congress will actually address all these issues. If our next president does address them all s/he deserves to be ranked among our top 10 presidents of all time. If s/he actually makes substantial progress towards all of them s/he deserves to be ranked number 1, above Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Washington. I dont expect all these issues to be solved in my lifetime, but we better start making some substantial progress on them if our nation is to survive as a democracy and if world civilization is to survive. I do not discuss these 10 issues in order of priority because many of them are related, and I consider them all so important that I have great trouble prioritizing them. So I discuss them in alphabetical order according to their key words:


1. Take the money out of politics (campaign finance reform)

Few or no aspects of democracy are more important than the principle of one person, one vote. Yet American politics today seems to be more about money than anything else.

In theory, bribery of elected officials is illegal. But do 0.1% of our citizens contribute 80% of the money donated to political campaigns without the realistic expectation that they will be provided special favors in return? Have the corporate executives identified as Bush Pioneers contributed millions of dollars to George Bushs presidential campaigns without the certain knowledge that they would be richly rewarded for those contributions many times over if Bush was elected President? Anyone who believes that is not in touch with reality. Yet these things are legal today only because of the officially sanctioned fiction that they can occur without influencing politicians to favor their donors with official acts which is the very definition of bribery.

One of the loopholes in our current laws that allow this to happen, notwithstanding individual contribution limits of $2,300 to a single candidate, is the phenomenon called money bundling. Under this process corporate leaders collect individual contributions from hundreds or thousands of their employees, bundle them together and present them to a candidate. I dont understand why such a process is not illegal under our laws against blackmail or bribery. Who would refuse to fork over $2,300 or at least some smaller amount to their corporate employer if they believed their job security heavily depended upon it?

These things make a mockery of the fairy tale of one person, one vote. Candidates take donations from donors and convert those donations into votes by using them to pay for campaign expenses such as television advertisements. So, instead of one person, one vote, we have $$$$ for 1,000 votes. Those with more money control more votes, and in return they receive legislative favors.

Our votes are anonymous for the specific purpose of ensuring that our elected officials will be unable to favor us or punish us for the way that we vote. Yet, individuals are allowed to openly and legally contribute hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to political campaigns with the expectation that they will be richly rewarded for doing so. If our votes can be anonymous why cant political donations be anonymous as well? And what possible excuse is there for political donations not to be anonymous, other than to allow them to be used for the purpose of bribing our elected officials?


2. Restore our Constitution and the rule of law

There is so much evidence of abuses by the Bush administration against our Constitution and the rule of law in our country that it boggles the mind. In order to address this problem, it will not be enough for our next president to simply cease the abuse of our Constitution. If George Bush and Dick Cheney are not impeached and removed from office for their numerous Constitutional abuses, a terrible precedent will have been set. In order for an individual, a group, or a nation to improve itself, the first step is always to acknowledge the defect. Therefore, our next president must assertively reaffirm the following:

The free speech and free press provisions of our First Amendment: are not restricted to so-called first amendment zones; prohibit the threatening or imprisoning of journalists for exposing government activities; prohibit limiting White House access to journalists who agree not to challenge government propaganda; and prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars for the purpose of government propaganda disguised as news.

Our Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. This means at a minimum that legal warrants be obtained for searches and seizures of the persons or property of U.S. citizens.

Our Fifth and Sixth Amendments require fair trials and equal protection under the law. That means that our thousands or tens of thousands of prisoners from George Bushs so-called War on Terror must be treated according to one of the following options: 1) be given a speedy and fair trial, and let go if found innocent; 2) for those picked up on battlefields, we must designate them as prisoners-of-war and treat them with the common decency required be given to prisoners-of-war under the Geneva Conventions; or 3) let them go.

Our Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, including torture. Our next president must make it clear that s/he will not tolerate government sponsored torture.

Our Constitution proclaims that our President executes the laws and may either sign into law or veto (subject to over-riding by a two thirds vote of Congress) legislation passed by Congress. But s/he may not append statements to laws enacted by Congress that change their purpose or make them null and void.

Our Justice Department and other federal agencies are meant to serve the citizens of our country. They do not exist for the purpose of consolidating the power of a political party or individual, as George Bush did with our Justice Department and other federal agencies.

All of the above should be investigated and documented under the auspices of our next President and Congress if not by our current one. In addition, the theft of our 2000 Presidential election by five U.S. Supreme Court justices must be investigated. If there is found to be no basis whatsoever in law for the decision that handed the U.S. Presidency to George W. Bush, then the three sitting USSC justices who made that decision must be impeached and removed from office, and the other two must be charged in absentia.


3. Get private corporations off the backs of the American people

Ronald Reagans plea to get government off the backs of the American people was one of the most cynical ploys ever perpetrated on the American people. In a democracy, government IS the people, and its supposed to work for the benefit of all the people, not just the wealthy. What Reagan did and George W. Bush has accelerated is to replace government by and for the people with government by and for the corporations and the wealthy.

There are certain functions that are and must be an intrinsic part of government. Why? Because they represent vital public services that are so important that a society cannot afford to trust them to private individuals. Republicans may find this hard to believe, but sometimes private corporations are more concerned with making a profit than they are with the quality of their service. And no, the two are not always the same thing, especially when the government routinely provides no-bid contracts to its cronies.

Examples of functions that must be run by government are our elections, primary education, the military, public health, and our prison system. Take our prison system for example, as discussed by Si Kahn and Elizabeth Minnich in The Fox in the Henhouse How Privatization Threatens Democracy: Prisons run by private corporations are not required to comply with requirements for transparent decision making that government prisons are. Add that to their profit motive and you have an explanation for why physical and sexual prisoner abuse is higher in private prisons than in government prisons. And worst of all, private prisons actually have the gall to lobby for laws that increase the number and length of prison sentences, which probably goes a long way towards explaining why the United States has the highest per capita imprisonment rate of any country in the world. Private prison companies lobbying our elected legislators for longer prison sentences is an abomination to a democratic nation, and it isnt a very far road from there to institutionalized slavery.

It should be noted that taking the money out of politics should go a long way towards accomplishing this goal.


4. End the war on drugs

There are so many serious tragic effects of our war on drugs:

Additions to the largest prison population in the world
According to U.S. Bureau of Justice statistics, there were 2.2 million people incarcerated in U.S. prisons in 2005, a 2.7% rise from 2004, and representing a 33 year continuous rise in the U.S. prison population. The U.S. incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 residents is now the highest rate in the world. Russia is a distant second, with 611 per 100,000 residents, and the highest rate in Europe is England/Wales, at 148 per 100,000 residents. The United States, with only 5 % of the worlds population, holds one quarter of the prison population of the world. Of the total U.S. prison population in 2004, more than one quarter, 530,000, were imprisoned for drug offenses, and almost a tenth of these were for marijuana only. And many of those are for mere possession, rather than manufacturing or selling. For example, of 700,000 marijuana arrests in 1997, 87% were for mere possession, and 41% of those incarcerated for a marijuana offense are incarcerated for possession only. This is not surprising when one considers that most non-violent first time offenders guilty of drug possession today in the United States get a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years with no parole, or 10 years with no parole if a large quantity of drugs is involved.

Contributions to racism
The racial disparity in the United States for imprisonment for drug offenses is well known. Though the Federal Household Survey (See item # 6) indicated that 72% of illicit drug users are white, compared to 15% who are black, blacks constitute a highly disproportionate percent of the population arrested for (37%) or serving time for (42% of those in federal prisons and 58% of those in state prisons) drug violations.

Whenever and wherever victimless crimes are prosecuted and punished, especially when mandatory minimum sentences are on the books, the opportunity for arbitrary enforcement of the law based on racism or other nefarious factors is magnified tremendously. For those concerned with the preservation of the family, perhaps the major reason for single parent households in our country today is the huge number of imprisoned men.

Wrecking the lives of the people of other countries
The United States has pressured many countries to collaborate with it in its War on drugs, particularly with respect to preventing the production and export of drugs from those countries. This often involves aerial spraying of farmland (especially in Colombia) suspected of growing drugs, and the consequent destruction of the livelihood of farmers.

Violence
This war provides a lucrative world-wide business for narco-traffickers. Consequently, many believe that it has been responsible for far more violent crime than it has prevented.

The withholding of medical treatment
Many illicit drugs have important medical uses, but because of the war on drugs their use for medical purposes is either completely outlawed or severely curtailed.

Cost
Nobody can say that we are winning this war, despite the 50 billion or so dollars that we spend on it annually. Drug use in the United States is little different today than it was when the War on drugs began.


5. Restore transparency in our election process

Ill discuss here 3 different kinds of election fraud, for which there is abundant evidence of their use in the 2004 Presidential and other elections:

Prevention of electronic vote switching fraud
The best way of preventing electronic vote switching fraud is to get rid of DRE machines. Hand counted paper ballots and optical scan machines have both been shown to be much less susceptible to breakdown, as well as much less susceptible to fraud. But if DRE machines are to be used, every effort must be made to guard against fraud. Three general principles stand out as being crucially important:

1) First, the idea that proprietary voting machines which count our votes using secret (i.e., not accessible to the public) software have any place in a democracy must be vigorously fought.

2) Secondly, any DRE machine that counts our votes must be accompanied by a reliable paper trail that will facilitate a recount if needed.

3) And thirdly, laws must be instituted that will ensure that recounts will be available whenever controversy exists over the results of an election, and that those recounts will be conducted in a fair and transparent manner, with the requesting party given the choice of which precincts to select for the initial recount.

Prevention of central tabulator fraud
Individual voting machines do not constitute the only use of electronic mechanisms to count our votes. All counties have central tabulator machines, which accumulate the votes from all precincts and tally them up. Much potential for fraud exists with the use of these machines.

To prevent this kind of fraud, pre-central tabulator vote counts must be obtained at all precincts at the time that the polls close. Then, if the results of an election seem suspicious, all we need to do is compare the pre-tabulator counts to the post-tabulator counts, and if we identify large mismatches, then we can feel confident that thats where the problem is. Then, a full recount of those precincts where mismatches are identified should be demanded.

Prevention of voter registration fraud
Voter registration fraud that is, the purposeful purging of legitimate voters was probably the main mechanism by which George Bush won Ohio, and therefore the Presidency, in the 2004 election.

One important step towards preventing this kind of fraud is to ascertain precisely how it was committed. Then, we must ensure that there is enough oversight of the process so that it isnt likely to happen again.

Beyond that, it seems to me that the Democratic Party and its allies need to be much more vigilant in ensuring that its registered voters STAY registered. In the 2004 election great amounts of resources were put into getting out the vote on Election Day. Couldnt we put a similar effort into examining the voter rolls to make sure that our registered voters remain registered by Election Day?


6. The environment

In his book, Collapse How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Jared Diamond describes the environmental causes of past and present failed societies and makes recommendations on what we can do to stave off the many environmental crises now facing us. In the last chapter of his book, Diamond lists the twelve most serious environmental problems that our world faces today, the first 8 of which were also common to ancient civilizations. These include:

1) The destruction of natural habitats, especially forests, wetlands, coral reefs and the ocean bottom; 2) the exploitation wild foods, especially seafood, which is threatening the livelihood of billions of poor people; 3) the loss of genetic diversity; 4) erosion of soil on farmlands at about 10-40 times the rate that it is being reformed; 5) depletion of freshwater from underground aquifers being depleted faster than it can be replenished, preventing the access of over a billion people to safe drinking water; 6) alien species crowding out or killing native populations of species, causing billions of dollars worth of damage; 7) human population growth, which may well cause catastrophic damage before it stabilizes; 8) increasing environmental impact of the average person which the earth cannot support; 9) current reserves of energy resources likely to last only a few more decades; 10) the photosynthetic ceiling, which means that most energy fixed from sunlight will be used for human purposes, and little will be left over to support the growth of natural plant communities; 11) air, soil, and water pollution from toxic chemicals, persisting in the environment for long periods of time; and, 12) global warming from greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels and methane from animals, both rising at rates that are certain, if continued, to result in rising sea levels that cause catastrophic coastal flooding.

Of the twelve problems noted above, many of them exacerbate each other, thus producing a vicious cycle. Diamond summarizes our current situation:

Our world society is presently on a non-sustainable course, and any of our 12 problems of non-sustainability that we have just summarized would suffice to limit our lifestyle within the next several decades. They are like time bombs with fuses of less than 50 years. Any of the dozen problems if unsolved would do us grave harm If we solved 11 of the problems, but not the 12th, we would still be in trouble We have to solve them all.

Thus, because we are rapidly advancing along this non-sustainable course, the worlds environmental problems will get resolved, in one way or another within the lifetime of the children and young adults alive today. The only question is whether they will become resolved in pleasant ways of our own choice, or in unpleasant ways not of our choice, such as warfare, genocide, starvation, disease epidemics, and collapses of societies. While all of those grim phenomena have been endemic to humanity throughout our history, their frequency increases with environmental degradation, population pressure, and the resulting poverty and political instability.


7. Reclaim our international reputation by living up to our own professed ideals

The Bush administration has brought the reputation of our nation to a new low, through its barbaric treatment of its prisoners, its preemptive war, and its refusal to be bound by all but a few international laws of its own choosing.

But in much of our history prior to our current presidential administration, we also failed to live up to the ideals of either our own Declaration of Independence or those of the United Nations. Our Declaration of Independence claims that all men are created equal and therefore endowed with inalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The purpose of the United Nations is to prevent war and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life

Yet, we have too often failed to live up to these principles, by treating other nations and peoples as a means to supporting our own ambitions, rather than as equals to be respected and treated as fellow human beings. For example:

The continental expansion of our nation involved more than a century of wars against the then current inhabitants of our continent, leading to their near extermination and a war of aggression against Mexico (1846-8).

Then beginning in 1893, we overthrew, helped to overthrow, or went to war against the legitimate governments of dozens of nations, including Hawaii (1893), Cuba (1898), Puerto Rico (1898), the Philippines (1899-1902), Nicaragua (1909), Honduras (1912), Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Indonesia (1965), Vietnam (1961-73), Chile (1973), Panama (1989), and Iraq (2003-???).

As an example of what these interventions entailed, William Blum writes in A Concise History of US Global Interventions, 1945 to the Present, about United States intervention in 11 different Latin American countries during the Cold War. The main purpose of these interventions was to facilitate changes to regimes that were friendlier to the United States. For this purpose, we developed the School of the Americas, which was used to train native personnel in the techniques and ideology of insurgency and counter-insurgency, including torture. This placed the U.S. in opposition to any who sought free speech to discuss problems, alternative means to solve problems, or democratic means to change governments. More specifically, the enemy was identified as the poor, those who assist the poor, such as church workers, educators, and unions, and those who held certain ideologies such as socialism or liberation theology.


8. End the monopoly of our corporate news media

At the root of many of our other problems is a national news media that has largely become a tool of the wealthy, replacing the independent news media that was facilitated by the passage of the Federal Communications Act of 1934.

The loss of an independent press in our country has resulted in a citizenry that is largely ignorant of numerous issues of great importance to them, including information on candidates for high public office. During the 2000 presidential campaign, for example, the corporate news media invented and propagated a myth about Al Gore being an exaggerator and a liar, while continuously giving George Bush a pass on the numerous and substantive lies that he told the American people. And when George Bush lied to the American people to justify his Iraq war the news media failed to point out the severe paucity of evidence for the administrations case for war. With a responsible national news media there is no possibility that George Bush could have been elected as president of the United States, and once elected responsible news reporting would have quashed many of his irresponsible ideas, including the Iraq war. The problem continues today with unwarranted and persistent news media attacks against Senators Obama and Clinton, which will be bound to heat up once one of them gets the nomination.

The philosophy behind the Federal Communications Act of 1934 was that the airways that enable communications via radio or television are public, like our water, air or public roads, and therefore they must serve the publics interest. This concept of public airways protects our right to free speech and freedom of the press, and consequently our need for the information required in a democracy.

Our new President and Congress must challenge corporate monopoly of our national news media. They must attempt to reinstitute a version of the Fairness Doctrine, which was essentially discontinued during the Reagan administration. They must work on reversing the effects of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which is largely responsible for monopolization of our public airways by a small group of billionaires and their powerful corporations. They must figure out a way to put back the wall that used to separate the commercial from the news aspects of corporations. In short, they must figure out a way to make our public airways once again serve the public, as Congress admirably but unsuccessfully tried to do in 2005.


9. The economy and poverty

One cannot, or rather should not, talk about our national economy without tying it to the issue of poverty. People are not poor because they choose to be, but rather because of an unjust economic system that perpetuates poverty throughout the generations by favoring wealthy individuals and corporations, and by denying people the opportunity to climb out of poverty.

The poverty rate in the United States declined during every year of the Clinton administration, from 15.1% in 1993 to 11.3% in 2000. Following that decline to a rate that hadnt been seen since the Carter administration, poverty steadily increased during the administration of George W. Bush. As of 2004 there were 37 million Americans in poverty, which was 12.7% of the U.S. population.

Our current use of economic indicators exacerbates the problem, by virtue of the fact that those indicators pertain to averages rather than to the experiences of most people. For example, consider a community of one thousand people where virtually all families of four have a family income of $15,000. Virtually everyone in such a community would be living in poverty, and the average family income would be $15,000. Lets say that Bill Gates then moves into the community. The average family income would then immediately go up to over a million dollars per family. But 99% of the families would still be living in poverty. The point is that when inequality of income is extreme, as it is has more and more so become in our country, the economic indicators that we use to indicate economic health become more and more meaningless. Rising economic indicators in such a setting are more likely to pertain to the economic status of a small wealthy elite than they are to pertain to the vast majority of people.

Since John Edwards had by far the most comprehensive approach to poverty of all the presidential candidates, Ill mention here some of his ideas for ending poverty within the next 30 years, as specified on his website. Those ideas include the following:

A plan for universal health care; expanded access to pre-school programs and much more investment in public secondary and college education; making jobs available for all Americans, on the assumption that everyone has the right to a job; the strengthening of labor laws; raising the minimum wage to $7.50 an hour; expanding affordable housing by making the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) into a force for economic opportunity, which would include the issuance of a million housing vouchers to low income families; cracking down on predatory lending; a new tax credit for low income working Americans of $500 per year; expansion of the earned income tax credit (EITC) by $750 for single adults and elimination of the marriage penalty on the EITC; and, reversal of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to pay for much of the above.


10. End the Iraq War and declare war on the military industrial complex

War results in the destruction of civilian populations, accelerated deterioration of our environment, millions of refugees, the bankrupting of our country, the trashing of our international reputation, and the draining of funds to pay for so many other things that our country desperately needs. If the United States continues on its current imperial course it is bound to spur the onset of World War III, which will likely result in the destruction of world civilization as we know it.

In order to end the present war and prevent further ones, the citizens and especially the leaders of our country have got to come to the realization that collaboration with the nations of the world within a strengthened framework of international law with emphasis on preventing war is the only way that we can contribute to the peaceful coexistence of the worlds nations. The continued belief that we have the right to dictate to other nations what they should do, for the sake of our own imperial ambitions or our ideology will surely result in the destruction of the world before very long.

Another major reason why our country gets involved in war is our military industrial complex and other corporations that profit so much from war.

In introducing his War Profiteering Prevention Act of 2007, Senator Patrick Leahy discussed the role of war profiteering in the Iraq War, and made the following statement:

Combating war profiteering is not a Democratic issue, or a Republican issue. Rather, it is a cause that all Americans can support. When I first introduced this bill in 2003, it came to be cosponsored by 21 Senators Passing bipartisan war profiteering prevention legislation was the right thing to do then, and it is the right thing to do now. I am hopeful that in a new year, and with a new Congress, we can make a fresh start and forge a bipartisan partnership on this important issue that will result in passage of this bill.


Beginning to make these priorities a reality

All of the priorities that I listed above are strongly connected to each other. Currently, corporate interests in our country have way too much power over the vast majority of people. Politically they maintain this inordinate power through their money (# 1), control over our elections (# 5), and the spread of misinformation through our news media, which they own (# 8). To a lesser extent the war on drugs (# 4) helps them to maintain control by disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of people who are likely to vote against them.

They have an abiding interest in privatizing everything in our country, including the services that are required to provide a decent life for the American people (# 3). Legislation designed to protect our environment (# 6), to prevent imperialistic meddling with other nations (# 7), to reduce poverty (# 9), and to make war less likely (# 10) cuts into the profit margins of many of the corporations who control our national agenda. Refusing to allow our Constitution to interfere with their agenda (# 2) helps them to accomplish all of those things.

Many of these things are firmly embedded in American culture, and to the extent that that is the case they will be very difficult to dislodge. Americans have been made to believe that drugs represent a much greater danger to our country than our governments efforts to fight its war on drugs. We have been conditioned to believe that when our CIA overthrows democratically elected governments throughout the world they do so for our benefit, rather than for the benefit of a small wealthy elite. And we are often made to believe that dissent against our government in time of war is unpatriotic.

But on the other hand, with the help of some very courageous journalists and communication through the Internet, many Americans are wizening up to the problems that confront us. We are coming to recognize the threat to our environment, the potential for election fraud, and the corrupting influence of money in politics, for example.

Problems cannot be adequately confronted until they are fully acknowledged as problems. We therefore need citizens and elected leaders who are willing and able to educate the American people on the extent of these problems and the dire need to combat them. This will take much political courage. Some of these issues are things that many or most Americans do not want to hear or are not ready to hear. But a courageous and eloquent President who is not afraid to challenge the corporate interests just may be able to make great progress in these areas without significantly impairing his/her electoral prospects.

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tomreedtoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 10:53 PM
Response to Original message
1. Why do you think the next President will be a Democrat?
Considering the brush war that's been going on here, what makes you think the Democratic Party can unite behind any candidate at all? While every progressive/liberal/whatever poster on every blog has been treating this primary process like it was Britney Spears vs. Michael Jackson, the Republicans are very serious. They should be; they made the mess we are in.

They also know that as long as Democrats are acting like spoiled children, they will look mature by comparison, and voters will consider them the only mature solution to those problems.

So, assuming there will be anyone who gives a damn about the environment or corporate power will be in power is as fanciful as waiting for a train on Platform 9 3/4.
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IndependentDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. sad but true
if a democrat is not elected we can only blame ourselves. we have divided our party over personal differences, this is where the republicans always seem to have a leg up on us. remember when mccain wasnt conservative enough for the religious right? but now that he has the nomination he has the support of the entire republican base. why? because they understand that for them any republican is better than a democrat. why are we not able to see this on our side, dont we understand that ANY democrat is better than ANY republican. i cant believe we are fucking this up so bad! as i said in my first DU post, we seriously need to remember what is at stake and who the enemy really is, everyone needs to go over to http://www.freerepublic.com for a few minutes to remember how insane those people are.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 07:44 AM
Response to Reply #1
12. These issues are what I believe should be the priorities of our country
If I believed, as you appear to believe, that there is no chance that we will have a Congress or President who gives a damn, or that there is no chance a Democrat will win the Presidency, then what would be the point of even trying? -- What would be the point of being involved in a political discussion board?

You are right that the infignting in the Democratic Party has got to stop. Maybe it will after we choose a nominee.
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lpbk2713 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 11:09 PM
Response to Original message
2. Get the jobs back that BushCo sent overseas.



Increase tariffs on foreign goods.



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Fireweed247 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 11:14 PM
Response to Original message
3. But I thought Kucinich dropped out?
:shrug:
Seriously, you've got his platform down there.

And I agree completely, it is time for US to tell our "leaders" what WE want not the other way around.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #3
17. Yes it is
I was originally for Kucinich, but when it became apparent that he had no chance I changed to the next best thing, which was Edwards. When he dropped out, I eventually went over to Obama. But whoever wins the Democratic nomination, we must hope for and and work to get the best we can out of them.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 01:06 AM
Response to Original message
5. Thanks! n/t
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 01:41 AM
Response to Original message
6. that's a great list, but also huge tasks
My own attempt at a wish list was more pragmatic

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

I started thinking that Obama and Clinton supporters have quite a bit in common and that we should perhaps list these things. Many of the things Obama supporters hope for from an Obama Presidency would also be acheived (or worked for) in a Clinton Presidency and vice versa. Maybe we should think about them, make a wish list. Such as:

1. pro-choice, pro civil rights, anti-corporate judges
2. likely to end the war in Iraq
3. less likely to start a war with Iran (or Venezuela or Uzbekistan or Bomevia or wherever)
4. increase in the minimum wage
5. rollback of the bush taxcuts, and more progressive taxes
6. increased funding for things like Headstart, LIHEAP, SCHIP, etc.
7. increased environmental, workplace, and financial regulation of corporations
8. less lobbying influence
9. election trustability (maybe or maybe not, but definitely not with a Republican President)

and so on. No candidate promises or will give us exactly what we want, but probably out of 100 things I want from an Obama Presidency, I will get 95 of them with Clinton and 12 of them with McCain, plus a whole lot of crap I would want to stop would come along with a McCain Presidency.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #6
13. That's about right
My list is my long-term priorities.

There is, of course, an important place for both long term and short term priorities. But I do believe that if we neglect the long term priorities there will be a heavy price to pay before too long. For example, as long as we have corporate control of the news media and our elections, ALL of our goals will be very difficult to realize.
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Oldenuff Donating Member (442 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 02:46 AM
Response to Original message
7. I agree..

It would be nice to have our country back,but I think that those who hold all the power would rather drive this country into the ground than give up control.
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puebloknot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 03:17 AM
Response to Original message
8. "... without significantly impairing his/her electoral prospects."
I have long felt that a candidate who would stop holding a damp finger to the wind about electoral prospects, and would openly and honestly address the issues you've outlined, would be balm for the soul of the American electorate -- or at least the true Democratic/democatic electorate. We are all so tired of watching this circus we call the election process, and someone with real courage could be a shew in, absent the "mischief" that kept Gore out of office.

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #8
16. I often feel like that
But sometimes I don't.

The problem is, IMO, that if a candidate comes out too strongly in favor of all these thing, although it would indeed be balm for the souls of many of us, the corporate news media will become apoplectic, and the "mischief" that they use to attack that candidate will make their attacks on Gore seem like child's play. It's a very tricky, sticky situtation.

I do believe though, most of the time, that they should come out much stronger than they have against Republican and corporate media attacks, to defend the kind of priorities that I describe in the OP. But it would have to be done by a candidate with tremendous eloquence and political skills. Also, there would have to be a strategy for overcoming the corporate media message.

So, maybe it has to be taken one step at a time, rather than as a full scale assault.
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Cobalt-60 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 04:22 AM
Response to Original message
9. Agreed on every point. But may I suggest a purge of Busheviks
Edited on Sun Mar-16-08 04:23 AM by Cobalt-60
To make much of what we want work, the Boosh hires must be removed from the government at every level.
They've been selected for loyalty to Boosh and little else.
Incompetent at best, everyone these people brought in must be considered spies.
With the infinite wealth of corporate amerikkka to pay them, they'll be sabotaging and impeding the function of every regulatory agency. What do they care if they're fired? Bushco will be there with a bribe or a soft job for them.
The Busheviks needs to be scoured from the military, starting with the Evangelist chaplains at the air Force Academy.
They need to go, every one of them.
It needs to happen immediately on power transfer.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 06:54 PM
Response to Reply #9
26. Yes, the upper level ones need to be purged, but
we need to be careful that we don't break civil service laws in the process.

Probably too it would be worth while to conduct a thorough investigation to ascertain the extent to which civil service laws were broken under Bush... and take the appropriate responses.
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OneBlueSky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 05:50 AM
Response to Original message
10. nice wish list . . . but chances of ANY of this happening is zero . . .
the Democrats long ago became such an integral part of the problem that they can't possibly be part of the solution . . .

btw, holding BushCo accountable for their crimes should be high on this list . . .
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 08:05 PM
Response to Reply #10
27. Not zero
Some Democrats have been bought off, so to speak, but they can be replaced. It depends upon the will and efforts of the American people.
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Perry Logan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 05:57 AM
Response to Original message
11. 1) Declare martial law, 2) arrest all Republicans.
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Thothmes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 09:05 PM
Response to Reply #11
28. So much for the Constitution.
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Fiendish Thingy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
14. Great list- I'd start w/#2 (Constitution) and #8 (media), then the others might be possible...
alas, I fear little progress, if any, will be made on this list no matter who is elected.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 10:30 PM
Response to Reply #14
31. Thank you -- These are long term goals
If they come to pass within the next 200 years it will be a great victory.
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niceypoo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
15. End the phoney, destructive, war on terror
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Larry Ogg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
18. I liked the way you summed it up in your closing comments.
Beginning to make these priorities a reality

All of the priorities that I listed above are strongly connected to each other. Currently, corporate interests in our country have way too much power over the vast majority of people. Politically they maintain this inordinate power through their money (# 1), control over our elections (# 5), and the spread of misinformation through our news media, which they own (# 8). To a lesser extent the war on drugs (# 4) helps them to maintain control by disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of people who are likely to vote against them.

They have an abiding interest in privatizing everything in our country, including the services that are required to provide a decent life for the American people (# 3). Legislation designed to protect our environment (# 6), to prevent imperialistic meddling with other nations (# 7), to reduce poverty (# 9), and to make war less likely (# 10) cuts into the profit margins of many of the corporations who control our national agenda. Refusing to allow our Constitution to interfere with their agenda (# 2) helps them to accomplish all of those things.
<snip>


You used this summary too point at the core of all these issues, and as you said, All of the priorities that I listed above are strongly connected to each other. I dont think enough emphasis could ever be placed as to how and ware they are connected, because for the most part they are connected not to each other but rather through a core. Unfortunately the core issue is beyond the precept of most people who are more concerned about the byproduct of the core - which manifest as the issues most people concern themselves with.

So what is the core?
The core is the center of it all, and those who are in control and within the core are the ones (mostly unelected) who get to decide who gets what or who gets nothing, who eats or who does not; lets face it, they get to decide who lives and who dies. And whether you like or not they also get to decide who our political candidates are, or who they are not, because they can and do control the information that goes into the minds of the electorate. So now we have this pretense of a democracy ware the sheeple, ripe for the slaughter, can actually choose between butchers and wolves. In addition wolves have an uncanny ability to deceive enough of the sheeple, convincing them that the core does not exist and that wolves are not really wolves and are truly looking out for the best interest of sheeple. While at the same time, most sheeple, i.e. the majority of sheeple, dont believe that these wolves are looking out for anybodies interest except that of other wolves.

But the real problem is, even though the majority of sheeple dont believe in what the wolves say or do, they also dont believe that the wolves are actually wolves that prey upon sheeple. Nope they just think wolves are mean, nasty and selfish sheeple.

So it is, sheeple who are clueless to the concept of inter species predators, will do what normal sheeple do; and that is to treat other sheeple with civility. And even though wolves who look like sheeple but are not, and are greatly out-numbered by the normal sheeple, wolves can manipulate the M$M, steel elections, create unimaginable fear, pain, suffering, and mountains of dead sheeple.

So what a great deal for wolves - they can create so much horror among the sheeple and feel confident that the sheeple will treat them with civility, while blaming all the problems caused by wolves on innocent sheeple whom the wolves say are bad. The only fear wolves might have, is that sheeple might learn from other people who have figured out just exactly how wolves are able to pull off the elusion that wolves are really normal people

Heres what Badtux the Snarky Penguin has to say about Civility and Sheep.


On Civility
Civility is the way that sheep convince wolves that they're bad dogs if they eat sheep. Without civility, all that exists is brute force, and brute force is prejudicial to the functioning of a working economy because it punishes innovation and investment (since any of those can be taken from you by brute force). The inevitable result of a society-wide loss of the concept of "civility" is the most venal placing themselves in charge and looting the wealth of the nation for their own benefit.

Unfortunately, it appears that civility cannot coexist with widespread mass communications that can be seized by the venal. The problem is that civility works by taking advantage of a biological quirk of hairless monkeys -- hairless monkeys, like all monkeys, are social animals that are happy only if part of a pack. Civility works to handle the problem of convincing wolves that they're bad dogs if they eat sheep by ostracizing the wolf from the pack if the wolf does indeed eat a sheep. A monkey ostracized from his troop is a very unhappy monkey, generally incapable of functioning, and soon to die.
Unfortunately, this works only if you have a lone wolf and a lot of sheep. If the wolf can locate other wolves and form a wolf pack, then the sheep can ostracize him all they want and he won't care because he now has his own pack. Modern society with its instant communications and fast transportation methods allows wolves to find each other, join together with each other, and cooperate in order to bring down sheep and eat them joyfully, happily, and with relish (and maybe mustard too).

So civility, alas, is not going to be the answer to the current problem of a lack of civility in American culture, because this lack of civility is a symptom of a greater problem -- mass communications allowing the wolves to form their own troops of hairless monkeys, rendering ostracization for uncivil behavior no longer effective for convincing wolves to not eat sheep. Rush Limbaugh's "ditto-heads" have created their own pack of hairless monkeys, a bunch of deranged sick ----s who believe that hating other people is perfectly fine and that the only reason to not kill sheep is that the sheep might be packing. The invention of radio, in the end, basically ended civility as a method for organizing a society, though it coasted on inertia for a few decades more before finally dying its death with the rise of Rush Limbaugh and his ilk in the early 1980's. With what we replace it, I do not know. But the notion that being polite and civil towards those wolves who would eat sheep simply does not work once they've found a pack of their own thanks to --------s like Rush Limbaugh, and the end result of attempts at civility with these sick ----s is a lot of fleeced or dead sheep.

So what does that mean for American civilization? To paraphrase Gandhi: "It would be a good idea." Alas.


K&R
Larry
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #18
25. It sounds to me like one of the bottom lines of Snarky Penguin's article is that
there is no point in being overly civil to those who are trying to screw you over.

It is striking how uncivil Republicans have been over the past couple of decades, and how Dems always maintain their civility in spit of that. I often wonder why that is. I suppose it's because they know they'll be struck down by the corporate media if they become uncivil, whereas Republicans get a free pass on that issue.

Maybe that's what the penguin means by the perils of radio and other mass communication. But still, it seems to me that the problem is not mass communication per se, but rather the monopoly on mass communications. I think that if we can somehow break that we will be in much better shape.

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datasuspect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
19. too much power has accumulated in too few hands
our owners aren't partisans. they purchase the use of political parties and candidates.

no powerful person or person with access to power would willingly give it up.

the issue is greater than the supposed two-party system in this country.
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mitchtv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 02:22 PM
Response to Original message
20.  I didn't see equality for GLBT's in your priotity list
Edited on Sun Mar-16-08 02:23 PM by mitchtv
Maybe I missed it? Sad that it is not there Sad too the the Democratic party expects my support and vote in November without a proviso. Assuming Gays have no where else to go , is a big mistake, TIME IS NOW
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. That's important, and it should be addressed
In this list I tried to address root problems.

If you made a list of 10, which one would you replace with GLBT equality?
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mitchtv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. Equality? Civil Rights? what to do...
Edited on Sun Mar-16-08 03:49 PM by mitchtv
I'll go with number 1 or any of the others you chose except for the war which was last if I remember. What I won't do is wait another election cycle IN fact it fits in quite well with "restoring the Constitution" It may be "important" to some. If the Dems want our votes and money this time. they had better step up to the plate, cause I smell trouble with the GLBT's with the current religious obsession of certain Dems. Take my vote for granted "AT YOUR PERIL" It was vaguely insulting to be left out of your list BTW
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Sorry to hear that
I am fortunate not to be a persecuted minority and to have had middle class parents who saw to it that I had good opportunities in life.

Nevertheless, I believe that there are several very serious problems with this country, including the 10 I mentioned in this OP and the one you mentioned, and others as well. I know damn well that they will not all be addressed by our next President, and that will be painful. But I also know that the Democratic candidate is going to be far better than John McCain with respect to most or all of these issues, so there is no question as to which one I will support.
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Prophet 451 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 03:35 PM
Response to Original message
22. K&R
Spot on.
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cory817 Donating Member (49 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
29. End the War on Science
Edited on Sun Mar-16-08 09:27 PM by cory817
Medical research has taken a hit the last few years, the hampering of stem cell research, messing with NIH allocations and not increasing NIH funding. Environmental science, suppressing scientific findings when they don't fit your agenda, the outright refusal to accept generally accepted scientific facts, the general dumbing down of American students. I could think of a lot more but I'm too tired from work haha. I'm happy though that both Democratic candidates seem to be solid and understanding in these areas.

Edited to throw some links in
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/04/clinton-b... /
http://www.thenation.com/blogs/edcut?pid=1585
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 09:33 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. Here's one more
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