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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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Great, good OP you have here

"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:

To encourage greater participation, everyday Americans could qualify for a $25 refundable My Voice tax credit for small donations to congressional campaigns.
Qualified candidates who prove their viability by raising a large number of small contributions from their home state would be eligible to receive a base grant to help fund their campaigns.
After qualifying, candidates who choose to participate must limit their contributions to $150 or less. Those donations would be matched, up to a limit, by six dollars for every dollar raised. For example, a $40 donation becomes $280.
Candidates who qualify for Fair Elections funding can receive additional funds to ensure they have the resources to compete against outside attacks.

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)

Thanks. I can actually respect well-targeted belligerence.

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)

I honestly don't know

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)

I agree with your analysis

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)
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