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

Journal Archives

Interesting OP

But as John Judis has reported in National Journal, the Democracy Alliance, the party’s most influential donor club, which includes mega-funders such as George Soros and Tom Steyer, has itself shifted leftward during the Obama years.

I'm pretty sure both Soros and Steyer are suppporting Hillary (certain about Steyer, not about Soros).

My feeling is the party establishment and their wealthy donors are largely opposing any leftward shift, sticking instead to the priorities of business and empire.

On the ground, different story, many people are waking up to the reality that the party has largely been captured by those interests, and are working to correct this.

In my opinion, if Hillary wins it will be a huge step towards the end of the viability of the party. Policies will serve donors rather than voters, the RW will gain cred by pointing this out (though their policies are slightly worse, it won't stop them from hypocritically pointing out her actions in favor of donors), and the young will not see the party as a vehicle of change or of representing their interests.

The party has to change or a large powerful force may open to its left, enabling Republican electoral victories as the emergent left grows to a size large enough to win national elections.

It would all work itself out in time, problem is we don't have time, we have a global uprising against our imperial actions, and we have rapidly accelerating irreversible climate change that demands radical change and committment.

We need leaders who stand firmly against powerful MIC, fossil fuel, and financial system interests, NOW, which requires electing leaders without their money.

Bernie's campaign is a great opportunity, and I hope we don't waste it. Thanks for the OP and all of your efforts here!
Posted by dreamnightwind | Thu Dec 31, 2015, 05:32 AM (1 replies)

Anecdotal, I live in norcal redwood forest

(western Sonoma county) and had a tree trimmer climbing my (over) 200 foot redwood trees earlier today, removing the dead limbs before the winds come and bring them down on the house.

Our land has probably never been this dry since the house was built, which was over 90 years ago. The dryness has caused some land shift (I guess it shrinks some as it dries, impacted my carport in a bad way but I'm in the process of fixing that).

Anyway, the tree climber/trimmer, who is not technically an arborist but has a lifetime of experience working with these trees, says my trees (I use the possessive pronoun loosely, the trees are on the home's land but I never actually think of them as mine, they will outlive me and owning them seems absurd) are dry but in excellent shape.

I was shocked, I was expecting really bad news given the severity of this drought. These redwoods are incredibly resilient.

Some of the douglas firs in the neighborhood are not faring as well, some neighbors are out a lot of money to remove them before they fall, I've only seen a few trees felled though.

From the map you posted (very interesting graphic!), it looks like the worst of it is in the western Sierras, which would only very rarely be redwoods. The redwoods are able to get some of their water requirements from the coastal fog we get, up there in the Sierras the trees are probably more dependent on rainfall.

Anyway, some regions of California and its trees are in really bad shape, many other parts of the state are doing well enough, considering.

Looks like a wet winter, finally. I got over 10" rain (my estimate) in December, a good sign. Usually 40" here is ok, and some years I've had over 100". The stream in my backyard is making great sounds again, mostly absent for the last 5 years or so.

Just a report from one location. Thanks for the OP! Here's hoping for a long wet winter.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Wed Dec 30, 2015, 05:08 AM (0 replies)

I tend to disagree with this assessment

though I agree that he was in a position to make a difference and didn't while in the Clinton administration. I have read his words and watched him speak (TV, Youtube) many times over the last 10 years or so. I am no apologist for corporatists or financial deregulators, quite the opposite. In my opinion Reich is sincerely and doggedly working to reign in the runaway financial industry, and to bring us to a more equitable and just society. His voice is consistent and persistent, guided by a heart that is in the right place and the wisdom of knowing the system from the inside.

I recently got into a (mostly worthless) DU discussion over whether to give Hillary such benefit of the doubt as someone who has seen the light and is working for actual reform that favors the 99%. I completely reject that possibility. In my opinion she positions herself for political expediency and makes no challenges to power interests, instead considering them her base.

Reich, in my view, is an example of someone that actually came out of it on the other side, from the halls of power to working in our interests from the outside. I trust him about as much as I trust anyone in this political world, save Bernie or Warren, who have long and loud histories of going up against wealth and power.

I don't think of him as a traitor at all. He was part of a team (and what precise role he had in those dynamics is something I wonder about, Summers was obviously the alpha deregulator) in the 90's that did join wth Newt, Greenspan, etc., to deregulate the financial industry. So in that way you could call him a traitor. But I see him more as someone who was there, participated, saw the consequences of those policies, and has for some time now been putting his energy into advocating for the actual reforms we need to fix things. He's an excellent spokeperson for where we need to go, and throwing him out as a traitor is to waste a great resource and an excellent man. YMMV, of course.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Wed Dec 30, 2015, 04:07 AM (1 replies)

K & R, and yes Sanders is the antidote to this

Also, we need to use his campaign as a model for future candidates. Even if he loses to Hillary (which I don't concede), she is a formidable candidate with advantages few other candidates will ever have again.

We now have a model for a national campaign that can compete without corporate money. It needs to be improved on, we have to work on how to effectively fight back against a corporate controlled media that will back the corporate candidates. I think the Sanders campaign, and his followers, have made a lot of progress in that regard, though it's still a work in progress.

Let's see some other serious candidates run this way, we can stigmatize accepting corporate money (as we should) and counter with a crowd-funded and social media promoted campaign.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sat Dec 5, 2015, 04:29 PM (1 replies)

We have to work to make this part of your OP not true

Unfortunately we're almost as fragile with a sanders nomination - he has to win. If he loses, again the party decides liberalism is a failed movement and continues its snuggling with conservativism.

I love Bernie like no other, but it isn't about him. His candidacy has legitimized an alternative vision to the third way types. Despite the entire party and media establishment being rigged against Bernie, he has millions of die-hard supporters.

Our work, aside from doing what we can to get Bernie elected, is to expand this beyond the Bernie campaign, to carve out a permanent political home.

I have seen very little serious discussion on how we do this. It needs to begin now, not after Bernie's campaign when if he loses enthusiasm will wane.

Any indications of anything serious on doing this? Sanders himself? One of the left-leaning NGO's? It has to be about electing progressive populists without corporate money. It needs a name, a home, an organizational entity that keeps it alive and persists beyond individual campaigns.

edit to add excellent OP, I don't disagree at all, just trying to advance the discussion in this direction
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sun Nov 22, 2015, 02:03 PM (1 replies)

Interesting read, thanks for the OP

Maybe it's not about wealth inequality so much as power inequality. In a true democracy, the little guy is empowered, which is I think where the author of this article is seeing the Alinsky/Sanders intersection.

We live in a kabuki democracy, where we get to vote but power operates behind the electoral outcome, largely immune to the will of the electorate.

Looking at Sanders' life work, I think he consistently has tried to address this problem. A noble work, hopefully people wake up and lend a hand. I

t's going to take a lot of people deciding that supporting one political party's establishment candidate over the other's isn't going to get it done, and that establishment politics is entirely unable and unwilling to address the major issues we must deal with. The power behind the politicians won't deal with the issues on their own, either, they are mostly in it for a buck.

Leaders are invaluable in these efforts, and Sanders is a gift. Hopefully more will emerge, and soon.

From the article the OP is about,

We must believe that it is the darkness before the dawn of a beautiful new world; we will see it when we believe it. - Alinksy
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sun Nov 22, 2015, 12:09 PM (0 replies)

Yes, this

Establishment Democrats typically, after the primary, campaign for the general election and then govern as far to the right as possible without crossing over fully into the established Republican spectrum. It's how they capture the centrists and independents, those who aren't too disgusted to stay home on election day anyway. The left has nowhere else to go, and the third way Democrats delight in telling us so.

By having the Republican clown-car so insanely off the right rail, it allows the establishment Dems to run (and govern) so far to their right that they can drive through the policies wanted by their donors. And they know only a small percentage of Democrats are willing to fight back against policies being driven by their own elected politicians.

They've been runing this play on us for over 30 years now, it's about time we got organized against it. The only way to beat it is to establish somewhere else we can go, so they will have to respect our issues. Otherwise, lip service for the left, room service for the donors.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sat Nov 21, 2015, 08:52 PM (2 replies)

You mis-characterize his statement

"he wants us to stop shouting at each other"

What this refers to is the exact opposite of how you are using it against Bernie. He wants us to stop using gun policy as a wedge issue (which is what you yourself are doing) so we can actually enact reforms to work on the problems you address, rather than just doubling down on the two parties' entrenched positions, which each side uses for political posturing, and that gets nothing done. That's what Bernie's statement means.

I hate guns personally, but I don't think they're the primary problem, they're the weapon of choice for desperate disempowered people.

I support any sensible gun regulation. Suing gun manufacturers for the wrongful use of their products doesn't seem too reasonable to me (I know your OP didn't mention this, but it is often used against Bernie that he doesn't support this).

I'd support a waiting period, ending the gunshow loophole, a gun registration database, etc.

I'm a little concerned about mental health criteria. Most gun violence happens when violently inclined people act out in rage or in crime. I don't think there's a high correlation to any reliably diagnosed psychological disorders.

The real problem that needs addressing is that people in this society, many of them, are in huge trouble in their lives, and there is no positive societal mechanism to proactively work with such people. Most gun violence could be prevented by such programs. For example, why not have funded support programs for anyone who has income insecurity, whether they qualify for unemployment or disability or not (most people fall through the cracks and are receiving neither benefit).

Or a funded support program for people going through life crisis, whether they lost a child, are having difficulty in a relationship or dealing with ending a relationship, there should be many categories that would be eligible for support. This support should include a mechanism to actually plug people into positive social environments (sports or crafts activities, or work apprenticeship opportunities, why not have social organizations for the recently single, or for people dealing with dependencies). Everything is crisis and punitive focused, rather than a caring system that identifies at-risk people before a crisis and actually tries to address their needs.

Try that, and watch gun violence go down, I guarantee you it would work. These are the kind of things a country like Norway is probably better at doing than our own country.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Fri Nov 20, 2015, 12:37 PM (1 replies)

Some people focus on fighting Republicans, others fight their owners

The real battle is to fight the corrupt industrialists and militarist who OWN the Republican politicians, and those that OWN Democratic politicians.

Owned Democrats and owned Republicans are two sides of the same coin. They're not the same, and when the coin is flipped I will call donkey not elephant, but our party has no alternative agenda to the policies of something like the Nixon-era Republican Party, except at election time, when they are all about the policies we want that they will deliver if we just elect them.

Any Democrats who are not owned are who I am fighting for.

The reason is very simple. The large donors and their lobbyists literally (and I mean literally) are writing our legislation, and delivering it to their sponsored politicians. This is why we're in the situation we're in.

Catastrophic climate change, endless wars, financial deregulation, erosion of social safety nets, largest prison population, construction of unprecedented surveillance and control systems, the Democratic Party's inability in the eyes of much of the electorate to distinguish itself as morally superior to the blatantly corrupt Republican Party, American labor having to compete without protection against third-world labor pools, our inability despite immense national wealth to support our citizens' lives to the extent that many other nations do, healthcare is a corporate mandated profiteering racket rather than a publicly funded human right, and I could go on.

I don't know who made this image, but it pretty much says it all:

Posted by dreamnightwind | Fri Nov 20, 2015, 12:07 PM (0 replies)

Thanks, we are absolutely living under a Deep State

The political leaders are changed by elections. Power just keeps on doing what it wants, in slightly different contexts depending on who runs Congress or who is in the White House, but power mostly operates behind those forces and doesn't change hands with elections. It's been that way for some time now, and gets more entrenched with each election where we don't address it.

Foreign policy (both military and covert), domestic "security" issues, corporate access to government, the financial industry, thy give up noting without a massive fight from the citizens, and maybe not even then (Occupy was an attempt to address this, and was brutally put down, under a Democratic administration).

Until more people realize this and are willing to call it out, fighting for real change rather than the token changes power concedes, we live at their mercy.

And it isn't even just about us. The entire planet is under the thumb of the forces that run our government behind the scenes, using our tax-dollars to finance the military and paramilitary that imposes its will everywhere. U.S. citizens get blamed for their actions, though nobody asks us citizens if we approve of their actions, that's "off the table" (or under the table).

Sad to see ignorance or just complicity displayed in this thread by some. The truth is ugly, but it is the truth nonetheless. The greatest among us acknowledge it rather than ridiculing it.

Posted by dreamnightwind | Fri Nov 20, 2015, 06:25 AM (1 replies)
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