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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

Wow, where to start...

You say we're in a 2-party system, but the electorate has left them both, because they are owned by the same large corporate donors.

"It's a numbers game. So, either you recognize who your opponent is, work to beat the living shit out of that opponent and make changes while you're in a position to, or you get left behind and whine about it."

I recognize who my opponent is, it's the donors/owners of both major parties. And it's well past time that everyone else recognizes this too. The numbers game supports my argument, not yours, voters who refuse to affiliate are by far larger in numbers than those that belong to either party.

The ideological struggle you speak of is mostly contrived by the powers that be, so we don't notice the Acme, Inc. armored truck being loaded up with all the money of the Treasury, to be shipped offshore to tax havens for the wealthy. We are up against an existential crisis as a species, climate change, are besieged by terrorists who are blowback to the policies of U.S. military "adventurism" and regime change that are done by both parties, globalization and the trade policies that enable it are eroding opportunities for good secure jobs (also pushed by both parties), on and on. I define our ideological struggle differently than you.

Finally, there's a great deal of general harm (your term) that is caused by corporate Democrats, who are using the people-first cred our party cultivated over long years of standing up for the little guy, to pass corporate agendas the people would more fiercely resist if they were being pushed by Republicans.

There are certainly real left-right divisions between Democrats and Republicans. Unfortunately, the far more urgent problems (climate change, endless wars, poverty, exploitation of desperate labor pools, mass incarceration and the police state, an out-of-control financial industry, many others) largely transcend these divisions. The presumptive party nominee is on the wrong side of every one of these issues, as is the party leadership. At this point our party has pretty much succumbed to corporate capture.

Can it be fixed internally, in-party? I certainly hope so. Many of us have watched this primary and seen what our party really stands for, and we're not seeing any sign of reform, the party has instead doubled-down on corporate supremacy. Defining our mission as simply opposing Republicans enables this.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sun May 1, 2016, 07:34 PM (2 replies)

Thanks, because of your post I went and read all of it

and some of the background links too.

For example, this one:

Rearming for the apocalypse

AMERICANS ARE IN near-panic over the danger posed by Islamic terrorists. That danger, however, pales beside an emerging new one. President Obama has proposed a frighteningly wrongheaded plan to “modernize” our nuclear arsenal at the unfathomable cost of about $1 trillion over the next 30 years. Terror will never reach even 1 percent of our population. Nuclear “modernization” increases the prospect of true devastation.


Besides these grave dangers — global proliferation, accidental war, and nuclear terror — there is another: national bankruptcy. Obama’s project is ruinously expensive. Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calls it “spending ourselves into oblivion.”


Nuclear weapons are useful for deterrence only. The United States has more than enough for that purpose. Investing huge sums in a new arsenal will not protect us from tomorrow’s threats. Most depressing, the proposal for this investment comes from a president who campaigned on a pledge to reduce and seek to eliminate nuclear weapons — and who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his apparent sincerity. Keeping our country safe requires agile thinking, not reliance on policies shaped for a bygone age.

To respond to your post, I think the way to reach people, when campaigning, about the need to focus on domestic needs rather than the needs of empire, is to focus on the money. If the people of this country had someone pounding the military (and all its many associated agencies and costs) expenses into their heads, repeatedly and obstinately, they'd respond.

So why hasn't Bernie been pounding this message? I'm pretty sure he is fully on our side here, but has trimmed his messaging to a few targeted items that were chosen early in the campaign. Why? It might just be smart strategy on his part. Or it might be that he knows where the lines are, and doesn't want to be a martyr. I take heart from his debate statement, which he was ridiculed for, that the greatest security threat facing this nation is global climate change. Exactly right, he gets it.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sun May 1, 2016, 06:14 PM (0 replies)

Here's an answer, I wrote it recursively for you, LOL

although it would more properly be iterative

step 1 decide you are going to be president
step 2 make a stump speech saying you'll fight inequality
step 3 make paid speech to the people responsible for said inequality. if any media are around fire up the white noise machine.
step 4 setup and attend $10,000+/plate fundraising dinner, give speech, collect money from the wealthy who would like to have you represent them
step 5 use that money against the candidate who has made it his life's work to fight inequality
step 6 evaluate if you have beaten the anti-inequality guy yet
Yes = you can move on to the step 7 general election
No = spawn a new thread at step 2 or step 3.
step 7 general election - fight with asshole billionaire who hammers you for taking all that money from the rich while saying you'll fight inequality
step 8 evaluate
Won the general election? Mission accomplished, thank your donors with policies that benefit them at the expense of everyone else
Lost? Blame the left for not fighting harder for you.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Fri Apr 29, 2016, 10:24 AM (0 replies)

I think you're missing something

What you're describing is exactly what got us in this mess, and how we never break free from it.

I think we're on a long slide towards corporate fascism and irreversible environmental destruction while greedy people fill their pockets working with and enabling those who are destructively plundering.

The operating analogy, to me, is a rip tide. The corporate flow is extremely powerful and controlling both parties. The Republican party, most of it anyway, is fine with this, go with the flow, it's free enterprise and will lift all boats. Truth is, only those in yachts are ok, the rest of us are sink or swim.

Members of the Democratic Party who don't like the whole slide into endless wars and environmental destruction, to me, are swimmers caught in the rip tide, and fighting against it to swim back to shore. They're losing this fight, but they're being pulled out to sea a little slower than those who don't fight the tide.

The way to beat a riptide is to stop fighting it, instead swimming sideways, essentially changing the entire context of the struggle so that you are swimming in a different context. Once you swim sideways far enough to escape the rip, everything is possible again, you have escaped the tractor beam of fascism and your efforts will propel you the direction you are trying to go.

I think we have to define, absolutely no compromise, that we're working, politically, in contexts that refuse corporate money. We can work on our party to be that context, to me that is great work but probably futile. We can work in other ways too, to create new vehicles for ending this riptide. Those are the interesting things happening right now. Vote however you want, but I'd advise looking into other ways to change things rather than just slowing down the corporate fascist rip-tide.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Fri Apr 29, 2016, 05:31 AM (3 replies)

OK, but who here is arguing to not stay in the fight?

I think we're just discussing different ways to go about that fight, as is the OP.

What you write in your 2nd paragraph is basically the work-within-the-system approach, right? It's what we've always been doing, and we've been largely ignored by the powers that be.

We now, presumably, have greater numbers, yet still are ignored by the powers that be. We have to change that, somehow.

Our own party leadership fights everything you are advocating for. Primaries of Democratic incumbents are all but forbidden (I think they'd only approve of primarying a leftist in favor of a corporatist). Publicizing betrayals, trying to shame them or scare them to respect the people's demands, those are good actions, nothing we haven't been already trying though, and our track record is not good.

I read the linked article. I liked the part about citizen lobbyists, I think, not entirely sure, dislike the whole lobbyist thing but we have to influence our representatives somehow. I'm wondering how you see that happening? Usually such things are institutionally driven. Who do these lobbyists work for, under what name or organization?

I'm more of the mind that it's ultimatum time for the party. We need very substantial change, and the party needs to show us, now, that they are part of the solution and not part of the problem. By pushing Hillary on us, they have pretty much sealed their fate on this. Most unfortunate.

So, given that, what next?

I think the main problem here is corporate money, and I think a very large percentage of the voting public understands at least that much. We have over 40% of voters who are refusing to affiliate with a party, corporate money is one of the biggest reasons for this.

I am thinking more and more that we need to see a non-partisan party that defines itself on issues of full public financing of elections and of any money elected officials receive (no paid speeches, for example, with a long window of none before and after political employment). Such a political entity would have a platform of no corporate money, retooling our economy to use renewable energy and fight climate change, reversing monopolistic trends, and ending the U.S. empire. Within this entity, there would be separate entities (caucuses or parties, I'm not sure) that would be allowed to position themselves anywhere along the left-right spectrum. The Democratic Party could exist as a center-left entity under that umbrella, or more likely it would be on the outside and we'd be fighting against it, since the party has doubled down on its corporatist agenda.

Anyway, this would connect to the vast disaffected electorate, and give them and anyone else room to be who they are along the left-right spectrum while fighting the issues that transcend all other issues as a united people.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Fri Apr 29, 2016, 05:14 AM (1 replies)

Yes and there will soon be a lot more

I did a quick Google run for left/right alignment of the independents but finally tired of looking. If anyone knows the percentages, that would be interesting.

So what do you think, can the left actually do this, assuming we agree on what this is, or does it need the other side's help?

How about this, could there be a parent entity that would define itself around populist issues, that could then encompass, under its non-corporate ideology, different caucuses that would vary on the left/right spectrum? Are we the people capable of organizing in such a way? If so, I think we'll be able to get some critical things accomplished.

If anyone has an actual plan to get a functional Democratic Party again, that would be even better. I don't see us getting it out of the hands of the corporations. I'll keep working to do so, but it's time to look at whether that's a good use of energy, or whether it's going to take something else.

Even if we could do so, I think we'd still be thwarted by the right, just because. The independents might actually get on board if it was a larger entity that left the left/right issues to different factions within it. A populist Democratic Party could be a part of such a solution, but the current Democratic Party is decidedly on the side of the polluters/extractors/financiers/militarists.

Posted by dreamnightwind | Tue Apr 26, 2016, 03:00 PM (1 replies)

That would be great, though there's one other way I can see

which won't be popular here, but here it is.

First, I'll start by saying that moving the party to the left is the preferable path.

However, the party has erected huge institutional barriers to protect itself from leftist/populist influence, including and by no means limited to using superdelegates in the primary.

There are currently FAR more U.S. citizens who belong to neither corporate party, and have withdrawn from party politics, out of disgust for both parties. They self-identify as independents.

If we can't get the Democrats to move left and represent the people rather than the corporate interests, there's another way, which is to realign on a corporate/populist axis rather than on a left/right axis. By doing so, there would be a huge base instantly attuned to the new populist alignment.

The independents themselves are all over the left/right spectrum, and mostly agree that corporations have too much power in our lives and in our government, and that both major parties represent corporate interests more than they represent citizen interests.

There is a surprisingly large ideological intersection that such a realignment could draw from. I suspect that the independents would mostly agree on issues of getting corporate money out of our political system, rejecting fossil fuels and embarking on a massive conversion to save our planet, creating clean energy jobs in the process, reigning in Wall St., spending less taxpayer money on the most expensive military the world has ever seen which is mainly supporting resource extraction and exploitable labor pools, ending this nation's incarceration binge, ending the drug war, ending the push for globalization of business and labor, taking care of our citizen's survival needs (healthcare, living wages, possibly a guaranteed minimum income to offset the coming automation layoffs, secure retirement), and other things I'm not thinking of at the moment.

It requires getting cats to lie down with dogs, we have all been programmed to fight along the left/right battleground for a long time, but today, in my opinion, the more important battles are being fought along corporate/populist lines. Sadly, today's Democratic Party establishment is clearly on the wrong side of these lines.

We can move further left and try to take on the powers that be ourselves, starting with our own party, as you suggest. Then we'll need to win power over the oligarchs. I don't think we're that strong, frankly, I just don't see the left pulling that off by ourselves. Alternatively, we can realign and agree to disagree on certain left/right divisions while having each other's backs in a newly aligned populist movement.

It's certainly what the corporations fear most, and is why so many divisive issues get all of the airplay, while the larger issues we face are not even discussed in the corporate media.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Tue Apr 26, 2016, 01:45 PM (1 replies)

Good OP, we need to push for platform considerations

I don't think any DU Bernie person is going to vote for Trump, at least I'd be shocked. I guess, given the large numbers of people, there's bound to be one or two, but overall, I don't see it.

But I'm definitely an issues voter, not a party voter, and I'm sure there are many others this is true for. Hillary is pretty much the worst of the worst Democrats from my perspective, doesn't support my issues with anything more than campaign rhetoric.

They'll need to incorporate some serious reforms we are pushing for, and its a good idea to push this. We'll only get small bones, IMO, on the party platform, but we might as well fight for the most we can get, and let them know we vote based on issues. The whole reason for Bernie's campaign is that the party has ignored our issues for too long, hopefully we can get something substantial on the platform out of this campaign, and then we can decide how to proceed from there.

Personally, some bones I would want would be to end fracking (edit: and to stop supporting it in other countries), to support a massive effort to retool our energy use to renewables, overturning Citizen''s United, ending private prisons, a financial transaction tax, or a platform plank that supports single payer healthcare with no health insurance industry. Getting the party to support these things, or at least some of them, in the platform, would be better than nothing.

Better yet, let's win the primary for Bernie. Still possible if improbable.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sun Apr 24, 2016, 12:02 AM (0 replies)

HUGE K & R!!! Democrats please read this, very important

I had seen other OP's about this article but hadn't taken the time to read it. I finally did, it's long but an easy read and you can get some incredibly important perspective on her approach to foreign affairs by reading this. It's the kind of thing voters need to do more of, read up on their candidates' policies, before voting or advocating for a candidate. Anyway I'm very glad I read it, and I'm horrified.

Apparently she regretted, after the fact, her IWR vote. The news here is that she also regretted that she had not supported the Afghan surge, which was basically the U.S. sending death squads door-to-door (chlling footage was shown on 60 Minutes long ago IIRC) to roust the terrorists, often shooting first and asking questions later, terrorizing families door to door.

Plenty of other important info in the article, it was hard to know which parts to single out. I already considered her somewhat hawkish, but now I consider her fully onboard with the neocons. It''s unbelievable to me that this is who our party is apparently about to nominate, when we have an alternative candidate with a truly Democratic vision (ironically the one who historically hasn't called himself a Democrat, that's how far the party has moved right).

Politics, of course, was also on her mind. Barack Obama was laying the groundwork for his candidacy in mid-January with a campaign that would emphasize his opposition to the Iraq War and her vote in favor of it — a vote that still shadows her in this year’s Democratic primaries. Obama was setting off on a fund-raising drive that would net $25 million in three months, sending tremors through Clinton’s political camp and establishing him as a formidable rival. Although she disagreed with Keane about Iraq, Clinton asked him to become a formal adviser. “As much as I respect you,” he replied, “I can’t do that.” Keane’s wife had health problems that had moved up his retirement from the Army, and he did not, as a policy, endorse candidates. Sometime during 2008 — he doesn’t remember exactly when — Clinton told him she had erred in doubting the wisdom of the surge. “She said, ‘You were right, this really did work,’ ” Keane recalls. “On issues of national security,” he says, “I thought she was always intellectually honest with me.”

He and Clinton continued to talk, even after Obama was elected and she became secretary of state. More often than not, they found themselves in sync. Keane, like Clinton, favored more robust intervention in Syria than Obama did. In April 2015, the week before she announced her candidacy, Clinton asked him for a briefing on military options for dealing with the fighters of the Islamic State. Bringing along three young female analysts from the Institute for the Study of War, Keane gave her a 2-hour-20-minute presentation. Among other steps, he advocated imposing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria that would neutralize the air power of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, with a goal of forcing him into a political settlement with opposition groups. Six months later, Clinton publicly adopted this position, further distancing herself from Obama.

“I’m convinced this president, no matter what the circumstances, will never put any boots on the ground to do anything, even when it’s compelling,” Keane told me. He was sitting in the library at his home in McLean, Va., which is lined with books on military history and strategy. His critique of Obama was hardly new or original, but much of it mirrors the thinking of Clinton and her policy advisers. “One of the problems the president has, which weakens his diplomatic efforts, is that leaders don’t believe he would use military power. That’s an issue that would separate the president from Hillary Clinton rather dramatically. She would look at military force as another realistic option, but only where there is no other option.”
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sat Apr 23, 2016, 08:33 AM (0 replies)

More details please

This is certainly one of the two ways we can respond. Another is to start a separate party.

I am teetering between these two. I have long advocated the path you are working on, taking back the party from within. After this election, and after seeing how much institutional resistance there is to any kind of populist agenda, that path is seeming more and more futile.

So any details or organizational links you can provide which could better inform those of us who are looking at this situation would be welcome. And good luck, you're going to need it but I applaud the efforts you are making.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Wed Apr 20, 2016, 01:06 PM (1 replies)
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