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dreamnightwind's Journal
dreamnightwind's Journal
August 31, 2015

Good journaling of the crisis, almost nothing on what to do about it

Many of us know things are going to hell, without huge changes. It's why I will no longer support corporatists as the lessor of two evils.

His only remark about Sanders in this article (not that this is about Sanders, but electorally it is a choice we are faced with) is the following:

Democracy, especially in the United States, is a farce, vomiting up right-wing demagogues such as Donald Trump, who has a chance to become the Republican presidential nominee and perhaps even president, or slick, dishonest corporate stooges such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and, if he follows through on his promise to support the Democratic nominee, even Bernie Sanders. The labels “liberal” and “conservative” are meaningless in the neoliberal order.

He finishes the article with this:

Those of us who seek to create a world that has hope of viability have little time left. The neoliberal order, despoiling the Earth and enslaving the vulnerable, has to be eradicated. This will happen only when we place ourselves in direct opposition to it, when we are willing to engage in the acts of self-sacrifice and sustained revolt that allow us to obstruct and dismantle every aspect of neoliberal machinery. I believe we can do this through nonviolence. But I am not blind to the inevitable rise of counterviolence, caused by the myopia and greed of the neoliberal mandarins. Peace and harmony may not engulf the Earth if we succeed, but if we do not remove the ruling elites from power, if we do not overthrow the neoliberal order, and if we do not do it soon, we are doomed.

So nothing really, just overthrow the neoliberal order. I completely agree with that, by the way.

Our best chance, electorally, to make progress on this is to elect Sanders, not exactly the poster child of neoliberalism. Not a perfect vehicle, he has coexisted with our system for a long time, so some of it he has internalized, but by far the best realistic choice we have, and to some extent genuine vehicle for change.

We need a lot of others like Sanders or even more radicalized to win lower positions in government, I'm hoping the Bernie movement can begin that process, I don't think it's really about Bernie, and it would be a great step if the movement behind him is able to start cranking out candidates for other positions. The U.S. Green party has long shown itself incapable of effectively doing so, sadly, so maybe we need the umbrella of a major party to make it happen.

Apparently Hedges is advocating non-electoral revolution? I'm not sure that's his position but if so, that will go just great. I'm sure the large network of U.S. Marxists and anarchists have everything ready so they can roll out their new utopia when their uprising overthrows the U.S. government. Plug and play.

Seriously, what is his path forward? I agree with his diagnosis, and with the need to end neoliberalism, which as far as I understand it is basically about eliminating regulatory obstacles to corporate interests, to maximize profits in a system that doesn't subtract the externalized consequences of extraction and manufacturing from the corporate bottom line.

It is very dire. Hard to see a path to avoid the coming disasters. An awakening is happening, it is reactive though, and is behind the collapse curve when it needs to precede it.

There are groups like transition.us working to create viable small-scale local alternative systems, and I like (as does Bernie) expanding worker-owned businesses, though even there we need a mechanism that ties the greater interest of society (and more generally the greater interest of the biosphere) into the business model, not just the interest of the company's employees or stockholders.
August 30, 2015

Hey, my son and I have been working on that tune

We started this last month and haven't done anything with it yet.

Needs a little work, or maybe it just seemed like a good idea at the time. Suggestions welcome, or someone can take it and run with it themselves. We may get around to recording it eventually, that was our goal.

Sing to the tune of the Blue Oyster Cult song:

Here in the city
Politics isn’t pretty
Voted for change
Got more of the same

Nothin to believe in
This election season
But here's Bernie Sanders
He's the real deal

Burn out the lies
I can't see no reason not to put up a fight
I'm living for giving the people their due

And I'm burning, I'm burning, I'm burning for you
I'm burning, I'm burning, I'm burning for you

Mass incarceration (or Overflowing prisons)
In the land of the free
No blood for oil
And wealth equality

Corporations aren't people
Money is not speech
Renewable power
Keep temperatures in reach

Burn out the lies
The hour’s late, no time for business as usual
Got to feel the bern, there’s no limit to what we can do

Well I'm burning, I'm burning, I'm burning for you
I'm burning, I'm burning, I'm burning for you

Burn out the lies
I can't see no reason to put up a fight
I'm living for giving the people their due

And I'm burning, I'm burning, I'm burning for you
I'm burning, I'm burning, I'm burning for you

August 28, 2015

I get all of that

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.

August 14, 2015

Thanks for pushing back on this, Merrily!

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.

August 14, 2015

good explanation

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.

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