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Douglas Carpenter

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Corry (Erie County), Pennsylvania 16407
Home country: USA
Current location: Saipan, U.S. Commonweath of the Northern Mariana Islands
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2005, 08:56 PM
Number of posts: 20,226

Journal Archives

Warren, Sanders beat Hillary in poll of DFA members

by Alex Seitz-Wald

“If you only listened to Washington pundits, you’d wonder why Democrats are even bothering holding primaries and caucuses.”

- Charles Chamberlain, Democracy for America

The members of the progressive group that grew out of Howard Dean’s presidential campaign are not exactly ready for Hillary.

Democracy for America (DFA) has been asking their roughly one million members whom the group should support in a hypothetical 2016 Democratic presidential primary. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the clear favorite, with support from 42% of respondents, according to results shared with msnbc ahead of their release later Thursday.

In second place was Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is seriously considering a presidential bid as a Democrat, with 24%. Just one point behind was former secretary of State Hillary Clinton at 23%.

From there, the numbers drop off significantly, with former Labor Secretary Robert Reich – who told msnbc he is not interested in running – capturing 3% of the vote, and Vice President Joe Biden getting just 2%. Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, who announced an exploratory committee Thursday, received less than 1% of the vote.

Warren has repeatedly said she is not running for president and there is no evidence thus far that she’s interested. Sanders is seriously considering a run, and recently hired a top Democratic strategist to help plan a bid.


Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Sat Nov 22, 2014, 03:58 AM (392 replies)

The Orwellian redefining of the meaning of the words "centrist" and "moderate" by the right wing

It is hard to argue when some one calls themselves "centrist" or "moderate" because those words imply that someone is in the middle and that their positions on issues are the middle way - the sensible way - not too far left - not too far right.

By any reasonable definition I suppose I am a centrist and a moderate. I don't believe that capitalism is all bad and I don't believe that capitalism is all good. I don't believe that socialism is all good and I don't believe that socialism is all bad. I believe there are some things better left to the private sector - while some things such as education, healthcare as well as fire and police protection are better handled by the public sector. I believe history has clearly shown that a balance between capitalism and socialism - a balance between altruism and individualism is what works best.

I don't believe that global projection of American military power is all a bad thing and I don't believe it is all a good thing. The sure size and scope of America and its interest in the world almost assures that it will be a major player on the world stage - but our own national interest as well as the issue of sustainability of international stability means that we cannot continue on the path of that we are currently on - one of endless military conflicts and quagmires.

President Obama was very honest, candid and forthcoming when he said that in the 1980's he would have been seen as a moderate Republicans. He was also very honest and candid when readily admitted on national television that President Nixon was in many way more liberal than him.

The Orwellian redefining of the meaning of the words "centrist" and "moderate" by the right wing seems to suggest that policies in line with 1980's moderate Republicans or policies closer to Richard Nixon's policies rather than New Deal/Great Society Democratic policies or something to the right of that is what is centrist and what is moderate.

This implies that finding a workable balance between capitalism and socialism - finding a sustainable foreign policy that doesn't have us in permanent military conflicts defending an unsustainable global military empire - establishing real universal healthcare such as is practiced in every other developed country in the world - Making sure our democracy is not something bought and paid for by hedge fund managers, Wall Street investment bankers and corporate lobbyist - Stopping and reversing the never ending redistribution of wealth from ordinary working people to the very few - Having a vision of an America where poverty has been at least as eradicated as it has been in most other advanced democracies - Striving to see in our time an America - socially just at home and at peace with the world - These are now seen as far left pipe dreams - although they were once mainstream opinions held by ordinary Americans - I see nothing extreme at all about this agenda - I say that in the real world it is simply being reasonable, sensible and indeed moderate and centrist.
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Wed Nov 19, 2014, 06:08 AM (91 replies)

If it's impossible to ever elect a progressive President - there is no hope of saving our country

and the future is indeed bleak as truly the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer and the middle class will grow smaller and smaller and more indentured to debt than ever before.

Actually the Republicans elected two Presidents well to the right of Goldwater - Reagan and Bush Jr. The difference is when Goldwater lost in 1964 by a landslide - that campaign and that loss was the basis to build the modern right-wing Republican Party so right-wing that poor old Barry Goldwater was not longer welcomed in the movement he helped create. He was too liberal for the new Republican Party

IN contrast when George McGovern who lost by a comparable landslide in 1972 - The Democrats never nominated a progressive again. Instead of using the incredible accomplishment of nominating a progressive as a basis to build a new movement like the Republicans used the in 1964 loss to build a movement - This loss became the constant excuse for why the Democratic Party must forever keep moving farther and farther to the right - perhaps liberal on many social issue but farther and farther to the right on the economic issues that determine how we actually live. Because only moving farther to the right can they raise the enormous sums of money from special interest lobbyist to fund their campaigns.

There is not a shred of evidence that the American people as a whole are pro-Wall Street, pro-investments banks, pro-insurance company and pro-out sourcing. There is not a shred of evidence that a message of economic justice and equity is unsellable in any region of the country.

But frankly, I think most professional Republican politicians whether elected officials or professional operatives are movement conservatives - people who are ideologically driven. Most Democratic professional politicians whether elected officials or professional operatives are not. They are career goal driven and base their career plans on a balancing act between raising money from lobbyist and satisfying demographic and constituent blocks.

The message that it is impossible to ever elect a progressive on the national level and for progressivism to win on a national level is a message to give up all hope of moving our country forward and seeking a newer world. I for one am not prepared to do that - yet anyway.
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Mon Nov 17, 2014, 03:29 PM (17 replies)

Wall Street and Hillary Clinton: The risk Democrats run by embracing the “big tent” - from salon.com

New report shows that Wall Street is as ready for Hillary as it gets. Here's why that should make Democrats nervous

by Elias Isquith

(Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Yet if we’re to take the Politico piece on Clinton and Wall Street as any guide — and, coming as it does from former banker William D. Cohan, there’s reason we shouldn’t — it looks like that’s the approach the Clinton folks have decided to take. According to Cohan, Wall Street is almost giddy over the prospect of a Clinton candidacy, describing it with the kind of vacuous (and intensely ideological) “non-ideological” phrases that they used when rhapsodizing over Obama back in 2008. “Many of the rich and powerful in the financial industry,” Cohan writes, “consider Clinton a pragmatic problem-solver not prone to populist rhetoric.” Regardless of whatever she may say to win over Democrats, Clinton’s got a pass from these masters of the universe, Cohan reports, because “[n]one of them think she really means her populism.” The Street’s support is “rock-solid” and “not anything that can be dislodged based on a few seemingly off-the-cuff comments.”

As Cohan notes, despite their recently spotty record on wise investments, the Wall Streeters’ confidence in Clinton is pretty well placed. They already know her quite well from her years in the White House — years that were characterized by a wave of financial deregulations that came at quite a price for the rest of us, though they were doubtlessly beneficial to the 1 percent. And they know her better still from her brief stint as New York’s junior senator. Clinton and Wall Street, Cohan reports, are simply comfortable around one another. They go to the same parties (in the Hamptons) and travel in the same circles (among the financial, cultural and entertainment elite). She “understands how things work,” in the words of one Cohan source, who helpfully clarifies that, on the Street at least, “she’s not a populist” is what that means.

And the affinity is not just historical or cultural, either. Cohan finds that one of the reasons Wall Street is so gung-ho about Clinton 2016 is because it believes a second Clinton presidency would lead to progress on the issues that, in its eyes, matter most — namely, “fiscal and tax reform,” which is the elite’s favored euphemisms for cutting Medicare and Social Security as well as lowering taxes on corporations. “She will be trying to govern from the center with a problem-solving bent like her husband,” says Greg Fleming, the president of Morgan Stanley Wealth and Investment Management. Going unmentioned, of course, is the fact that the problems being solved in Wall Street’s imagination by a future President Clinton are currently only a significant concern among those in the 1 percent.

So if two years from now Democrats find themselves on the defensive, watching in horror as someone like John Kasich or Ted Cruz successfully labels Clinton as the candidate of the status quo and the 1 percent, they shouldn’t say no one saw it coming. In an era of populist anger and increasing polarization,
there are downsides to having such a big tent.


Elias Isquith is a staff writer at Salon, focusing on politics.

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Thu Nov 13, 2014, 08:56 AM (4 replies)

Texas Tech students try to answer VERY basic questions on American history and politics

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Tue Nov 11, 2014, 07:39 AM (98 replies)

President Obama said that he is “in a lot of ways” less liberal than Republican President Nixon

By Andrew Rafferty, NBC News

President Barack Obama said that he is “in a lot of ways” less liberal than former Republican President Richard Nixon and said Fox News Channel's Bill O’Reilly has been “absolutely” unfair to him throughout his presidency in an interview that aired Monday night.

“In a lot of ways Richard Nixon was more liberal than I was,” Obama said. “He started the EPA, started a whole lot of the regulatory state that has helped keep our air and water clean.”

Obama's comments came in response to O'Reilly asking him if he was “the most liberal president of all time.” Obama also listed Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson as presidents who were also more liberal than him.

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Tue Nov 11, 2014, 04:58 AM (109 replies)

Jenny McCarthy’s new war on science: Vaccines, autism and the media’s shame

The vaccine/autism conversation has been abetted by a media determined to pose everything as a conflict

by Elena Conis for salon.com

Jenny McCarthy on "The View" (Credit: ABC)

Autism reporting and mother warriors

The IOM committee took on the feared link between MMR vaccine and autism as its first order of business, convening a meeting in March 2001 and releasing its conclusions a month later. Looking closely at the existing research, the scientists on the panel didn’t find much to implicate the MMR vaccine, but they did find much to exonerate it. To begin with, the MMR vaccine was licensed long before prevalence of autism spectrum disorders began to climb. Eight different epidemiological studies showed no association between MMR vaccination and autism. These studies didn’t definitively disprove a causal relationship, but at the same time, the single study suggesting a link between vaccines and autism—Wakefield’s study—failed to prove a causal relationship. Epidemiological evidence aside, there was also no good biological model to explain how MMR vaccines could contribute to autism, in either lab animals or humans. The likelihood of a causal relationship, the committee concluded, seemed remote.

In 2004 the IOM committee revisited the connection between vaccines and autism, in order to take into account the most recent research. This time, they reported that they had found no support for a causal relationship between the two. Media reports had adopted a reassuring tone when the IOM released its 2001 report: “Parents worried about the potential links between one of the most common [vaccines] and autism can rest easier tonight,” said network news anchor Tom Brokaw. But the tone of media reports on the occasion of the IOM’s 2004 findings reflected a noteworthy shift. Some reports were defensive. On ”60 Minutes,” CDC immunization adviser and pediatric infectious disease specialist Paul Offit not only disputed the vaccine-autism link; he emphasized that vaccines were “without question, the safest, best-tested thing we put into our bodies. . . . [T]hey have a better safety record than vitamins, a better safety record than cough-and-cold preparations, a better safety record than antibiotics.” Still other reports suggested that scientific assurances were now beside the point. While scientists say it’s “clear” that vaccines don’t cause autism, said NBC news reporter Robert Bazell, “for some parents, the doubts will always linger.” Scientific conclusions, reassuring in 2001, were now no salve for parental fears. The vaccine-autism story, clearly, would not be put to rest. In fact, it only became more prevalent as the decade progressed. U.S. newspapers mentioned the link four hundred times in 2001 and more than three thousand times in 2009. And there were five times the number of evening news stories on the link in 2010 than there had been in 2001.

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Sat Nov 8, 2014, 05:04 PM (5 replies)

Have you seen the movie, "The Horse Boy"?

preview on youtube:

The true story of how the highly educated and somewhat unconventional parents of a profoundly classically autistic little boy inadvertently discovered how horses help relax and settle the child. They took that notion with them on a trip to Mongolia where they sought out the healing energy from traditional Mongolian Shamans. By no means was the child cured of autism. Frankly I don't think that would be a good thing if that were even possible. But the child's most debilitating and restrictive aspects of his autism did improve quite significantly.

I should mention that the film is a documentary using real live footage all the way through. The film also includes some commentary from Temple Grandin and Simon Baron Cohen. I cannot remember when I have seen such a great documentary.


I should also mention that the film is available on NETFLIX and amazon instant video online streaming:

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Fri Nov 7, 2014, 03:27 AM (0 replies)

stagnant wages and stagnant income and lack of upward mobility

Although unemployment has dropped and the Dow is soaring since 2008 - some key industries have been saved - For the vast majority of Americans in both reality and perception - things are just not getting much better. More people have jobs - but many are not in the work they went massively in debt to train for and many are otherwise underemployed. Of course this has been the trend before President Obama

This is not President Obama's fault. But this new economy is simply distributing income less equitably regardless who is in office. Unfortunately the President and his party usually take the blame especially in midterm elections for this kind of malaise.
Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Wed Nov 5, 2014, 09:17 PM (2 replies)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: State Legislatures and ALEC - this is really good

While midterm coverage is largely focused on the parts of Congress that do very little, vital (and bizarre) midterm elections are going unexamined. State legislators pass a lot of bills, and some of that efficiency is thanks to a group called ALEC that writes legislation for them. It’s as shady as it sounds!

Posted by Douglas Carpenter | Wed Nov 5, 2014, 04:26 PM (2 replies)
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