Current location: northern California
Member since: Fri Jan 26, 2007, 07:20 PM
Number of posts: 3,187
Current location: northern California
Member since: Fri Jan 26, 2007, 07:20 PM
Number of posts: 3,187
and I am generally a big fan of Lessig and his reform efforts. Rootstrikers is a good organization, IIRC he is a large part of that.
In politics, money literally doesn't matter, only votes matter. Money is only useful as a way to get votes. Obviously it is extremely difficult to win without corporate money, it's the greatest challenge we face in getting reforms enacted. Bernie is showing us he can reach people without corporate money.
Once the great progressive force accepts the corporate PAC money, he/she is no longer a great progressive force. I've been watching for far too long not to deeply understand that, from my perspective it is proven out historically again and again. So you can win elections that way, provided you beat the Republicans, which even with large corporate money is no given (the taint of the corporatism and triangulation required by it is a dead giveaway to voters, who won't trust it), but even if you win, you're owned, and the people's needs are no longer on the table. We can site under the table and hope to get thrown a bone or two.
Unfortunately our situation is beyond dire. Climate change is a global killer that demands a total change in direction, now. There's no way that will happen with bought and paid for leadership. There are other issues with nearly that much urgency, too. Bones will not suffice, I have completely crossed that threshold, business as usual leads to collapse and probably extinction. I have a son who deserves a future.
We have to find a way to get it done without corporate PAC money. We finally have a candidate who has a chance to do just that. It will be far more difficult IMO to defeat Hillary than to defeat the Republican nominee. So I just don't accept that it's a huge risk to nominate Bernie, I think if he wins the nomination he has at least as good of a chance to win the general election as Hillary, and a far better chance of moving this country in the right direction. I'm sure you don't agree with that opinion, but it's deeply held on my part, I really think Bernie can get this done if he wins the nomination.
I've recently heard Bernie waver a bit on the issue of not using superPAC money, he said so far they've been able to do it, there was an implication in his speech that it is being looked at. I think it would be a huge mistake, our challenge is to learn to defeat big money, there is no other road to where we have to go. It's difficult but not impossible.
We need to get the message out to anyone who is receptive, which is more people than the usual suspects think. This country is frustrated as hell with policy not being reflective of the people's desires and needs, and that cuts across most every demographic. We have a once in a generation candidate who is a devoted public servant, genuine, with excellent analysis of the systemic problems and their solutions (which are mysteriously never on the table or even discussed by th media or by major candidates of either party, because money) and has consistently over his long political lifetime demonstrated exactly that. Time to do what's right not what the corporate strategists suggest, in my view it's our only hope and we have to put aside cynicism and get behind it.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Fri Aug 28, 2015, 08:43 AM (0 replies)
Pisses me off to no end. This is a clear choice, not an Obama - Clinton distinction where the differences are splitting hairs.
Sadly there is no clear metric to distinguish who a candidate is and what they will do and fight for. Voting records are not enough, they are allowed by their party leader to change their votes after the vote outcome becomes clear but before the vote goes final. I remember the first time I saw this happening on C-Span, blew my mind, at first I thought I didn't understand what I was seeing, eventually I realized that's the game the parties play with their votes, it allows them to cynically position themselves when it doesn't effect the legislation's ultimate outcome.
Another part of it is the votes that actually happen are so narrowly defined (the reforms Sanders will work toward are not even allowed to be voted on for the most part), and poison pills are put in bills so a legislator may reject an otherwise sound bill based on the poison bills, then get called on it later for not supporting the issue the bill was supposedly about (I've watched Sanders explain some of his votes that were about exactly that).
So it leaves us judging candidates by what their life and political histories demonstrate, and parsing expedience from conviction during campaigns. Sanders and Clinton are very different, they view the world differently and they inhabit it differently.
I've been amazed at some recent polling showing that voters overwhelmingly prefer Clinton on foreign policy. Maybe it had something to do with the way the question was phrased, or maybe people don't go much deeper than "she was Secretary of State and has that experience". Foreign policy is one of my major differences with Clinton, way too much of a hawk for my taste. I wish Sanders would spend more time making this distinction, attack her perceived "strength" and show how it is really an area where Sanders is the better choice.
The other such area was voters believed Clinton would be better at working with Republicans. I think that needs work from the Sanders campaign, too. The intersections where Hillary and Republicans will get things done are not likely to be ones favorable to most citizens, only wealthy ones. I think Sanders has good skills for finding and working on narrow areas of agreement with Republicans where they can actually do things that benefit working Americans. And beyond that, he will do a lot of good fighting losing battles, where the issue is honestly and forcefully explained to the people and the ground will be prepared for future progress.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Fri Aug 14, 2015, 01:28 PM (1 replies)
They're clearly two very distinct candidates with different views on how this country should function, and different views on what the relationship between corporation and government should be, and what the relationship between normal citizens and wealthy ones should be.
As to the corporations as sociopaths, interesting point. I hate to agree (seems over the top) but it seems at least somewhat accurate. Their concern for the community at large is mostly limited to what they can extract from it, and they use the selfish corporate charter bit about maximizing profits for their shareholders as justification for that. I've seen refutation about the literal truth of the maximizing profits mandate, so I don't know if it is completely true, but it certainly is a guiding principle for most corporations. And since they're corporations, they define "self" as their board members and shareholders, viewing the greater community as external (food, prey, resources, other corporations as competitors, merger candidates or take-over opportunities) and their own employees not much different than we view the microbiotic bacterial colonies that each of us is host to.
Like any top-tier predator, they need to be kept in check or they will ruin everything. Sanders understands that, I don''t think Clinton does.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Fri Aug 14, 2015, 01:05 PM (0 replies)
"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:
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)