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ProfessorPlum

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Member since: 2001
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Has Hillary Clinton EVER made a convincing argument for economic justice?

I've listened to her a lot, but I have never known her to talk about poor and working class people getting the shaft, and how that should change.

Can a Clinton supporter here point me to a speech or moment from a debate when she actually took up the cause of economic inequality and wealth distribution and spoke about it as if she gave a damn?

Because I'm worried that those concerns are about to be swept into the memory hole - creating a pressure cooker of unrest.
Posted by ProfessorPlum | Thu Apr 21, 2016, 12:54 PM (10 replies)

Bernie staying in is a service to everyone in this country who believes in economic justice

As this process has gone on, and it has become clear that the corruption of the system (DWS in the bag for Hillary, the superdelegates bought by Hillary's money-laundering scheme, the media that is the receiver of all of the corporate cash for elections treating Sanders as a joke) would stifle his candidacy, I began to think that Bernie might end his campaign, save himself the humiliation of going all the way to the end, only to fall short.

Even if he wins the pledged delegates, which seems unlikely at this point, his path to victory involves superdelegates supporting him and voting for him at the convention. The process has become too corrupt for that to happen even if he does win pledged delegates. The powers-that-be were happy to allow Obama to stop the inevitable Hillary in 2008 (I wonder how they knew it wouldn't be a problem for them?), but no such lenience will be afforded to Sanders, who actually wants to make people's economic lives better.

But then I thought about what Sanders represented. The poor, the dispossessed, the working class. The hopes of everyone in this country that it could provide a good life even if you weren't blessed with a 6-figure bank account and a 7-figure salary. And I thought that all of the people who have worked for that, who have shared that vision with him and pounded the pavement and knocked on doors and made phone calls . . . that he _owed_ them that. Not to fold, not to quit, not to save some dignity for himself. Because the needs of those people, both economically and in terms of just hope for the future, will not vanish once Bernie is out of the race. But they will disappear from the conversation.

And Sanders is keeping those needs visible, keeping the conversation about economic injustice alive, keeping some focus on the big banks and the economic royalists. And for that we should all be grateful to him.

Run, Bernie, run. And thank you for paying back the people who support you by taking it to the end, no matter how bitter, before this corrupt cesspool of a system shuts us down.
Posted by ProfessorPlum | Thu Apr 21, 2016, 12:21 PM (21 replies)

Hillary, progressive, or is it centrist, was proud of her conservatism and conservative roots

http://usuncut.com/politics/npr-interview-hillary-clinton-was-proud-of-her-conservatism/

SCOTT SIMON: I mean, did you ever back in the í60s, between when ó I believe you were a Goldwater girl ó
HILLARY CLINTON: Thatís right.
SCOTT SIMON: ó and whenever you became politically Ė
HILLARY CLINTON: Thatís right. And I feel like my political beliefs are rooted in the conservatism that I was raised with. I donít recognize this new brand of Republicanism that is afoot now, which I consider to be very reactionary, not conservative in many respects. I am very proud that I was a Goldwater girl.


Look, everyone can have changes as time goes on, I get it, but it just isn't obvious that much has changed with her.
Posted by ProfessorPlum | Wed Apr 13, 2016, 03:12 PM (5 replies)

All this talk about whose supporters are more polite, who has more vitriol,

who said who was more unqualified . . .

misses the fucking point.

Our country is now run like a giant mafia - there are no laws for the people inside, and they all help and protect each other while picking everyone else's pockets. The rest of us are commodities, chum, fertilizer, labor units, disposable . . . to be picked clean of our labor and wealth and health and thrown away at the first sign that we might cost one of them a dollar in care.

What the hell is the Democratic party going to do about it? Nothing, since we are led by members of that mafia.

God, wake the hell up! This country needs a new FDR yesterday, and we watch the ritual slaughter of Sanders by all of the powers that be, the sneering, bought media and the DNC, as if it is some game.

I never expected Sanders to win, I never even expected it to be close, but as long as it is, his ideas and the power of his vision for our society deserve to be treated with the utmost respect - because they reflect the respect that we should have for ourselves and our fellow citizens - that we aren't just robots to be fed and clothed the minimum amount that will get our enormously productive labor out of us. Sanders represents the idea that being a human being matters more than what they contribute to some bottom line somewhere - and that makes it a stand of humanity against the giant, soulless, corporate machines that we have built and keep letting run our lives as if they have some magical answer for our civilization. It's just greed!

Let Hillary have her coronation, but for god's sake, don't forget what Bernie has tried to keep alight - the ideas of human dignity in the face of corporate rapaciousness.



Posted by ProfessorPlum | Fri Apr 8, 2016, 07:35 AM (5 replies)

This primary is about asking the megarich for pretty please a little help versus

saying that we deserve some help, and we have the power to take that help from our society's superpredators to make all of our lives better.

It is about making friends with the rich, and trying to get them to share the power of the organized crime syndicate that now runs this country and our government, versus stemming the corruption just a bit.

It is about corporate media, the friends and lackeys of the rich, versus social media where the rest of us know what is real.

when Hillary wins, we will get what we usually get - the scraps from the table the rich deem to trickle down on us.

But never forget that we had the chance to fight the corruption and instead deliberately threw ourselves upon the mercy of the very rich. . . with predictable results.

Posted by ProfessorPlum | Fri Apr 8, 2016, 07:21 AM (4 replies)

Hillary is right: Superpredators must be brought to heel


Including

TD Bank
HSBC
Capital One
PNC
Mellon
US Bankcorp
Wells Fargo
Citigroup
Bank of America
JP Morgan Chase

Posted by ProfessorPlum | Fri Apr 8, 2016, 07:12 AM (9 replies)

ďIíve got your back,Ē she said, almost shouting, ďand Iíll do everything I can for you.Ē

That quote from Elizabeth Warren came from an article about her addressing a group of union firefighters in MA. The article was posted here a few days ago, making the greatest page.

And that quote has been haunting me ever since.

I read a lot of political reporting every week, about Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, progressives, libertarians, fundamentalists, reactionaries, psychopaths, saints.

But that quote startled me. It brought me up short. It was such a plain, unadorned example of what we, as Democrats, don't get from the politicians in our party 98% of the time.

Politics is a team sport, and as humans we make moral judgments and decisions based on what is right and best for our "team". The Republicans realize this and push those buttons relentlessly, to the point where their party members consistently slash their own throats economically, merely so their team can "win". But the Democratic leadership treats the Democratic party as if the loyalty all flows one way, from the grass roots to the leading politicians. Not only do they not enact policies that show us they are with us, but they don't even talk as if they are on our side anymore. They don't even bother to reward us with rhetoric that upholds that illusion. Apart from Obama making vague promises to put on his walking shoes for strikes and protests, the Democratic leadership simply take our support silently, and clearly for granted. That's probably because their success or failure actually depends on the system of legalized bribery we allow in this country, not the members of the party.

But you'd think they'd at least try.

The fact that Warren can express solidarity with all Americans so simply and naturally makes her my pick for the Democratic nomination in 2016, whether she runs or not. Her rhetoric is inclusive, cooperative, psychologically satisfying, uplifting, nurturing, and references economic justice and fairness. And, what is more, her actions indicate that she means it.




Posted by ProfessorPlum | Wed Mar 18, 2015, 08:15 AM (15 replies)

I got the meaning of "Schindler's List" completely wrong!

In the course of my life, I have read dozens of books and watched dozens of movies concerning the Holocaust. This kind of literature and storytelling is important, because it lets us put ourselves in our imaginations in situations where we haven't been before. It lets us put ourselves in others' places, at least to a first approximation, and think about how we would feel in that place. And so, after reading and watching books and movies like Schindler's List, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The Pianist, The Diary of Anne Frank, Jakob the Liar, Maus, Night, even The Boys from Brazil, and taking a college course on the Holocaust . . . I thought I had gotten the message pretty clearly, and it was this:

It is wrong to treat people, especially a group of people, in this way.

And that applied to Jewish people, homosexuals, the Romani people, religious minorities, people with physical and mental handicaps - to all people.

I thought.

To now see the state of Israel, born out of the suffering of the Holocaust, demonize, round up, ghettoize, and systematically kill a weaker group of people is so galactically ironic that it blows up everything I thought I knew. It turns out that the message of those movies and books wasn't "it is wrong to treat people this way". It was instead a case of special pleading -

It was wrong for other people to treat US this way.

I'm blown away by how wrong I was.


/sarcasm, I hope, sadly.

Just for fun . . an exchange with a Foxbot on Facebook

The names have been changed to protect the guilty. A = the original poster. B = Foxbot. C = third person. Me = Me.

A: Posts picture of snowplows clearing a road, with caption: Evil Socialism at Work

B: I suppose the real example would be to compare a private, toll road and a state-owned road come snow fall. I am willing to bet the private owned road would be maintained quicker and better than the latter. Also, lol @ Socialism.

A: So we should have to pay tolls to drive anywhere?

B: Socialism only works in theory. That's about it. Wasn't Detroit the picture of Socialism? How is that working for them? Municipal services are vastly overworked or pretty much non-existent. Socialism doesn't work and it never will.

Me: socialism rocks. Libraries, parks, fire departments, the armed forces . . . all great socialistic institutions.

C: European socialism works in practice. It's a balance.

B: Europe is in trouble as well. I just can't get on board the "More Gov is better" train. What is the Government doing that the private sector can't do cheaper and more efficiently?

Me: B, I got busy and didn't get a chance yet to write back about this, but I'll try to give some examples.
Providing and maintaining a federal currency.
The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines
Conducting international diplomacy. The National Parks system
Police departments. Fire departments. Funding scientific and academic research.
Providing direct health care for veterans. Providing health coverage for older Americans.
Maintaining a nationwide patent library and a system of courts where contracts are protected.
The CDC - tracking outbreaks of disease, monitoring private products for infectious agents.
The FAA, making sure airlines and airplanes are safe
The FDA, to make sure people aren't selling worthless snake oil as medicine, and that your hamburger isn't 100% E coli
Public libraries.
The Post Office. Ever try to send something to Bumblef*ck, Alaska with Fedex? The PO will do it for pennies.
Keeping people alive is a province that the government does quite well, and the private sector does hardly at all - FEMA, food stamps, hot lunch programs, heating programs, welfare, widows and orphan benefits through social security
Space exploration.
Emergency services. 911.
Interstate highways.
The FDIC, to protect your deposits against fraudulent bankers/banking practices.
the SEC, to make sure that the stock market isn't _totally_ controlled and run as a huge fraud.
Wetlands conservation. Public education.
Electrical grids in rural areas. Left to the private sector, much of America would still not have electricity.
Government research gave us both the internet and the global positioning system.
Sewers and waste treatment.
Anyway, that is just to name a few. Did i mention a court system that allows people standing with the most powerful forces in society?

The myth of private sector efficiency is one I don't understand, either. Anyone who has worked in the private sector has seen a never-ending list of foolish, costly, inefficient, stupid, redundant decisions that are every bit as inefficient and self-defeating as anything the government does. Just watching the pharma industry over the last 20 years - the lack of investment in basic research, the mergers and acquisitions, the opening and closing of sites, the waste - has broken that lie into a million pieces.

Even in sectors where the government and the private sector compete in doing the same task, like primary education or providing health coverage, the government version often beats the pants off of the private sector. For example, medicare administration only loses about 4 cents for every dollar in administrative costs. Compare that to 15-30 percent for private coverage. (And that is with government-imposed caps on what insurance companies are allowed to "lose" in administrative overhead). The government is clearly running that more efficiently (because no profit motive). And I see no proof that private schools are run more efficiently/cheaply than public schools, especially where the differences in their clientele are taken into account.

B: Currency - The Government stole from the people when they removed the silver content of U.S. coins decades ago. They did it again now that the dollar isn't backed by gold. New money being printed like Monopoly money means our dollars are worth less and less.
Armed forces - who are companies like Blackwater and Triple Canopy? Why is the private military contractor industry now a $100 billion a year industry?
Intl diplomacy - like running military weaponry and money to countries that hate us and groups that have known ties to Al-Qaeda?
Police/Fire - likewise, private security is booming in Detroit. Police can't or won't respond. Fire and rescue has ridiculous response times and the Gov has no money to hire more resources.
Research - do you really think the Gov is possible of more efficient research and innovation than the private sector? 3D printing technology has astounding potential. Almost immediately, the Gov rushed to create legislation to ban/regulate the budding industry.
Veterans medical care - have you talked to people that have to deal with the VA?
Postal service - how much money does the USPS lose every year? If the USPS is so great, why has UPS/Fedex/DHL grown like they have?
FEMA - remember the Superdome after Katrina? No thanks.
Food stamps - yeah, I am thrilled people can buy Redbull and Monster Energy on the taxpayer's dime. Because even when you need Gov assistance to put food on the table, sometimes you just need an energy boost.
Social Security - a good example of something else that the Gov has pillaged and destroyed. I do not plan on SS being around when I am able to retire in 20 years.

Me: that's a lot of Fox nonsense.
Your complaint about currency is nonsensical and has nothing to do with private/public sector inefficiency. most of the world's economists agree that decoupling currency from metals is an incredibly smart thing to do.
Blackwater and companies like it will feed on the government teat happily, but I've yet to see any analysis that shows that they provide more efficient (more service per dollar spent) service than the regular army. That's because in addition to having to do the services they are contracted for, they also have to provide a return to their owners, which makes them more costly than the regular army.

International diplomacy means talking to other governments.

when public services are starved of funding, as in Detroit, they fail. Big surprise. Fire departments and police departments work very well in 99.9% of American cities, and I'm guessing that includes yours.

Yes, I do think that government funds very efficient and excellent research. I have sat on NIH funding panels and read proposals and seen how that sausage is made. Not only do they fund excellent, important research, it is often research that won't necessarily turn a buck instantly, and so no private sector funding will touch it. Your very life probably depends upon research that has been supported by government spending.

B: I'll save you a lot of typing, PP. Let's agree to disagree and move on. Best wishes, man.

Me: Yes, I have talked to people who have used the VA, and also people who have worked within the VA. Like most other government services that actually help people, it is being systematically defunded by conservatives, and is unfortunately not as good today as it used to be. However, name me the private service which is providing better, more efficient healthcare to veterans than the VA. You cannot.

Ok, happy ignorance B

The Post Office is self-sufficient, and has only suffered a deficit in recent years because of Republican legislation that has required it to fund its pension for 75 years into the future. 75 years! Apart from this accounting trick, the Post Office is doing quite well for itself. Again, when I can send something to the other side of the country via Fedex for 60 cents, we can talk.

Yes, FEMA run by people who don't believe that government can or should help people (Bush and his cronies) did a terrible job in Katrina. I await your tales of all of the private sector businesses who rushed into New Orleans and did a great job with it. On the other hand, FEMA did an excellent job with hurricane Irene and many other instances.

Again, which private sector entities are keeping people alive by providing them food, and which are doing it more efficiently than that foodstamp program (which is one of the best ways that government spending stimulates the economy, by the way)

Social Security. I could go on and on about what a great (and very stable, and well-funded) program Social Security is, despite all of the ignorant propaganda around it. Rest assured that the rest of us won't let the plutocrats kill this program before you get to benefit from it. With the 401K disaster looming, SS is going to become more important than ever before. Another example of the public sector doing something important successfully with far less fraud, waste, and failure than the private sector.

Posted by ProfessorPlum | Thu Jun 26, 2014, 09:19 PM (31 replies)

A really good explanation for this kind of mimicry is found in "Climbing Mount Improbable"

by Richard Dawkins.

I'll try to do justice to it here. There are lots of caterpillars in a particular species, and they all look quite similar to each other, but each slightly little different. Some of them look a little tiny bit like snakes, if you see them in the dim light of dawn or dusk, or deep forest, or just catch a glimpse of them as you pass. That small difference in look makes predators pause, or pass them by, or back away at a just slightly higher rate than their brethren. They tend to live just a little bit longer, and mate and have more offspring. And so the population of caterpillars that look just a little bit like snakes grows larger. Their children all look just a little bit like snakes, but some of them are a little more green, or just slightly more bulgy, or happen to have a slight dark patch on their haunch. This, for some of them, makes the illusion just a little bit more convincing, giving them just a tiny edge against predators in low light, in marginal situations - but it is just enough or the effect to continue, over millions of generations, to create and select for mimicry that eventually is good enough to be very convincing indeed, in full light.

Evolution is so beautiful, and powerful, and amazing.
Posted by ProfessorPlum | Wed May 28, 2014, 02:12 PM (1 replies)
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