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Gender: Male
Current location: northern California
Member since: Fri Jan 26, 2007, 08:20 PM
Number of posts: 4,775

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Here's what I know about Panetta (he was my rep)

Panetta is a former Republican who is a "centrist".

His wiki page gives him credit for authoring legislation to create the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary and preventing oil drilling off our coast. I remember it differently...

He was my rep in the 80's when I lived in Santa Cruz (which is part of Monterey Bay). There was a huge push to create that sanctuary, as I remember it the driving force was NOAA. There was a series of regional public comment meetings on the proposals for the sanctuary. I went to the one in Santa Cruz, held at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.

The presenters gave an overview of the sanctuary, and outlined 3 different choices for sanctuary boundaries. They were mostly about how far from shore the sanctuary would extend, with the two main issues being protecting sensitive habitat and the routes taken by offshore oil tankers. 2 of the 3 routes would have put the sanctuary borders so that they would contain the routes taken by the tankers (spills happen from tankers, they were trying to prevent this from happening). So the tankers would have been pushed further from shore. The 3rd route was placed just inside the tanker routes, so the sanctuary could prevent drilling inside its boundaries but we would receive no further protection from tankers cruising our shores.

There were probably a thousand people in attendance, it was huge, the largest such thing I ever went to. The crowd overwhelmingly supported one of the first two sanctuary boundaries.

Then Panetta's aide (Panetta didn't show up himself) spoke in support of the 3rd choice, where the sanctuary boundaries were drawn just inside the tanker routes to avoid pushing them offshore. He gave no believable explanation for this choice. It was clear they were selling us out, and the aide was literally booed off the stage by an angry crowd, an incredible occurrence that is burned into my brain to this day.

Panetta is also responsible, I think, for the stepped up drone attacks in Pakistan. Those attacks create many more terrorists than they destroy, as many innocent people are wiped from the face of the earth by an unseen attacker from the sky. I can't imagine living in such a circumstance, though I think we'll all experience it someday when armed drones patrol our own skies.

Panetta is no friend of mine, and I have never considered him a Democrat either.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Tue Dec 20, 2011, 09:21 PM (0 replies)

Wonderful post

Thank you for taking the time and effort to lay it all out there.

O'Romney Care, an actual REDUCTION of financial prosecutions in the wake of the biggest rip-off in history, a refusal to prosecute the former regime's war crimes and the continuing and dangerous erosion of civil liberties, tax cuts for the rich in a demand-driven depression, increasing medical marijuana prosecutions to aid big pharma's financial interests, a brutal Dept. of Homeland Security coordinated crackdown on Occupy Wall Street and its many affiliates, a new provision that will allow the government to declare these very protesters terrorists and indefinitely detain them without any proof of guilt, continuing a captured regulatory regime, aggressive prosecution of whistle-blowers rather than the crimes they blew the whistle on, letting corporate lobbyists continue to write legislation, arguing against a financial transaction tax in Brussels to the EU, new and expanded "free trade agreements", doing absolutely nothing of substance for the millions of homeowners who are losing their homes, making sure the banksters get theirs while the rest of us get poor, no reinstatement of Glass-Steagal, not putting the exotic financial products on an exchange where they can be regulated, working against the left wing of your own party in favor of corporatist DINOs, delaying or subverting mandates of greenhouse gas reduction in the face of a coming and imminent environmental catastrophe that is very near to reaching a point of no return. This administration's views on education reform are nothing like how I view education. they're trying to produce the most efficient and productive human resources for the unregulated global corporatist labor market (the slogan I think is to "win the future" in a race to the top) rather than producing educated, well-rounded human beings that seek harmony with their world and are capable of critical analyses of the systems they are part of.

For much of the above list, one can argue that a Republican administration would be be a little worse, or that these policies were a result of Republican obstructionism, which is true, in my opinion by design. So the administration is given the cover of "relative merit", paying lip service to the 99% (while sometimes pistol-whipping them) but fully in the pocket of the 1%, the global corporate robber barons who have used the last 30 years of deregulation to accumulate vast wealth. And this administration seems to worship the military as much as the Republicans they replaced, when our nation is broke but not too broke to continue to spend more than the rest of the world combined on its military.

You don't get anywhere good by following this path. You get Geithner, Summers, Petraeus, the Clintons and their global corporate agendas running the State Department, you get Holder who is an utterly worthless A.G. for anyone on the left, you get the D.L.C. with the logo scrubbed from the masthead but the policies are all there.

There's a fundamental that really exists (in my mind anyway, seems quite real and fundamental to me), no matter how relatively people wish to frame the election, the fundamental that overrides the relative comparisons is that this fundamentally isn't good enough. We have incredible problems, and the administration we fought so hard to elect isn't fixing them. It's not even fighting for the right fixes, it's continuing in the same wrong direction.

Why? They may be true believers in the emerging oligarchy, they may be too wary of offending their corporate donors, or they may have seen the Zapruder film. Either way, they're not on my side. They will try to sound like they're on my side, especially when elections come around, but behind the scenes they're smoking cigars with the fat cats, comfortably enjoying their membership in the club of the global elites and all of its perks, rather than putting on comfortable shoes and marching with the people in their hour of great need (and I mean truly fighting for us to the degree that the situation demands, not campaign rallies or photo ops).

I am a Democrat, and the policies I believe in are much closer to what I think of historically as the Democratic Party than the policies this administration (and before that the similar, though probably better, Clinton administration) apparently believes in.

So, for me, it's not whether they're a little better than the alternative. The slower, more gentile approach to oligarchy (and that's what it is) might more successfully get us to that oligarchy than the more transparent and clumsy Republicans, whose inability to disguise their policies would lead to massive uprisings and fierce resistance. The likeable Obamas and their very reasonable and intelligent discourse could be a better vehicle for the oligarchs than the thugs on the other side. And of course the thugs are always there to validate the "these guys are better" meme that is so effective in winning support for the administration (this applies to the down-ticket races too, not just the administration).

So I really think we have to fight, with all of our resources, for something better, no matter the odds. People will always tell us it can't be done, or it's impractical, or we're enabling the other side. I don't agree with that line of thinking. I think it's all a game of good cop - bad cop, the Democrats are the ones who are allowed to keep some degree of credibility with the general public while they institutionalize the extreme measures championed by the dangerous Republicans. We won't get anywhere we want to go with either one, it's a false choice and a fatal one if we keep making it.

What to do?

Primary from the left at every opportunity. I can't stress that enough.

Work for constitutional amendments to get corporate money out of elections and to overturn corporate personhood. Occupy the streets.

Don't accept the "good cop" Obama without fighting like all hell for someone who truly represents our interests.

Finally, we have to Occupy the Democratic Party, take it back from the corporatists.

They planned this long ago, look into the roots of the DLC and the corporate Democrats if you don't believe me, our party has been co-opted and our country has been destroyed. It's up to us to take it back. We'll probably fail, but the road we've been on for 30 years is a guaranteed fail. We need to realize the scope of the mess we're in and fight with everything we've got. Our children's future depends on it. As does our planet, and as insane as that sounds, it's no exaggeration.

Posted by dreamnightwind | Mon Dec 19, 2011, 10:10 AM (0 replies)

After the difference between how he campaigned in 2008...

and how he's governed, I think we as a party have no self-respect if we don't do everything in our power to primary him from the left.

I can see that it ain't gonna happen (barring a miracle), but that doesn't diminish the need for it to happen.

I watched Democracy Now (as usual) during the week they were broadcasting from the recent climate change summit in South Africa. The whole week, it was one person after another with their jaw wide open (or their jaw clamped fearfully shut) wondering why the hell the U.S. wouldn't get out of the way of meaningful greenhouse gas reduction. Finally one of them spoke up and said behind the scenes they are calling him George W. Obama, because his policies re climate change are pretty much identical.

This is true on issue after issue. Those that don't agree are entitled to their opinion, as I am to mine. But this president is an order of magnitude worse than anything I can support in good conscience. His policies aren't even in the correct direction, they're just getting us to the same horrible places, perhaps a little slower and boiling us frogs a little more gradually than the inartful Republicans would do.

When the general election comes around, I have no idea if I'll vote for Obama or not. Probably not, I don't think I can. For me the primaries are where it's at. We need to take this party back from the corporations, who could not care less about any of us unless there's a buck to be made. There's no way around it, they rule by coercion, by deceit, by eliminating all meaningful alternatives, and by the brute force of their wealth.

We must Occupy the Democratic Party, because the party has shown itself incapable or unwilling to serve the interests of the 99%, which is its raison d'etre.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Mon Dec 19, 2011, 05:54 AM (0 replies)
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