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dreamnightwind

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Gender: Male
Current location: northern California
Member since: Fri Jan 26, 2007, 07:20 PM
Number of posts: 4,775

Journal Archives

Yes there is a very big reason

"There's no reason why so many deep blue states should be electing so many corporatist ConservaDems."

It's called money.

In my own district a few years ago, Jared Huffman (not yet an incumbent) ran a well-financed campaign against the farther left and ideologically much closer fit to this district (one of the most progressive districts in the nation) Norman Solomon. Huffman got the slick mailers in every mailbox, the fancy signs posted everywhere, the endorsement of the local newspapers (they aren't really local, they're owned by the same giant media conglomerates), and what little T.V. time there was. Solomon had a lot of very enthusiastic volunteers backing him, doing grass-roots organizing, knocking on doors, but in the end, with a great candidate, an extremely progressive electorate, and energized support, the progressive candidate lost handily to the fauxgressive Huffman.

Huffman isn't the devil, but this district is way farther left than him, and we had a rare and excellent candidate who was unable to overcome the obstacles of money and corporate institutional support.

Our real challenge is to learn to defeat money with progressive values. Bernie's campaign is a great attempt at this. We have to stigmatize candidates accepting corporate money, and not support them, or we'll never get anywhere. Defeating money is really hard, not impossible but unless we as a constituency swear off corporate politicians, we will continue to get our asses handed to us, and our jobs handed to the most desperate and least regulated labor forces on the planet.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sun Jan 31, 2016, 01:25 PM (3 replies)

Thanks for explaining

I'm fairly old (mid 50's) so I see the current Democrats as similar to the Republicans of my youth. So I share your concerns.

We'd get "solutions" like raising the social security retirement age, we already got the Heritage private health iinsurance mandated purchase, lots of public/private partnerships to further university research into things like GMOs and automation technology, distributed workforce business models so they can exploit resources and labor forces wherever they are cheapest and most controlled, focusing on climate change damage remediation (relocation of low-lying cities, for example) rather than on ending fossil fuel use, more education privatization, pushing solutions like rentals for low-income people instead of affordable home ownership, the continued dominance of our society by the large financial corporate interests, continuing or even expanding the drug war and incarceration, finding new ways to monetize prison labor, basically more of the same disastrous road we're already on.

I've long been torn about whether to fight for taking back the Democratuc Party or work to build a progressive alternative. If they succeed in putting Hillary in the White House and ignore progressives as they always have, that will be a much more active consideration.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Thu Jan 28, 2016, 01:27 PM (1 replies)

Very true

The saddest part is he's not that dangerous a man at all. Ideas that were once taken for granted as making sense (free or affordable college and healthcare, aversion to foreign wars, progressive taxation, taking care of the least of us) are now seen as radical and dangerous. FDR would be right at home with Bernie's agenda.

Even worse has been how complicit our own party has been in attacking him and his agenda. Our party needs to change its evil ways, or fade into irrelevance. A little better than Republicans, in this day of certifiable Republican insanity, is no longer cover. Democrats have to step up and drive a positive reform agenda for the future, one based on the interests of the planet and ordinary citizens rather than on the ability of corporations to profit off of them, or they're part of the problem.

If Bernie wasn't running, we wouldn't be having any of this conversation. Standing up for the real values of the left is incredibly important, it changes everything.

edit to add: as to your OP and your handle, hell hath no fury like an oligarch scorned.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Thu Jan 28, 2016, 12:17 PM (4 replies)

Great OP

I'm always amazed that we let this persist:

Sorry but free education works and single payer health care works quite well in other parts of the world as does child and elderly care for all. Most nations in the world are not at war, have minimal militaries and still get on just fine.


How did the U.S. get installed as the military of global capital? And why does this meet so little resistance from U.S. citizens? It's insane. Not only do they not respect our wishes re foreign policy, they use our sons and daughters to do it, and they get us all to pay for it!

Growing up, I was taught all sorts of myths about what a great force we are for peace in the world and for freedom and liberty. As I grew up I gradually figured out what a load that is, and that we are propagandized to believe it by the nexus of corporate and military interests. It was always that way to a certain extent, at east in modern times, I don't know our early history too well, but it's gotten much worse in my lifetime, both from our foreign and our domestic policies.

Our own party's centrists are fully onboard with having U.S. military bases in every corner of the earth, waging multiple and simultaneous wars or whatever euphemsm they are using for war that day. They position themselves slightly on the more doveish side than the kabuki opposition party, to make a slight distinction without changing the nature of power and global control. and our party's reps prefer smaller-scale "interventions" on the down low rather than massive ground wars, it's more civilized, or something.

Wake up people. It doesnt' have to be this way. It isn't generally this way for other countries. Because of our success in WWII, corporate forces have captured our government and are using the immense power of it to do their bidding in every corner of the planet. And they aren't even generous with sharing the proceeds, not that that would make it ok.

I want real substantive change, and I will support candidates who also want, and fight, consistently, for it. No more fake change candidates. You can tell the difference if you try, too many people just find it easier (and sometimes more profitable) to buy into the lies than to honestly look at the system they're supporting and work to regain control of it.

We can do this! We need all the help we can get to do it, but it can be done, and we shouldn't accept compromised phonies who do nothing but support business as usual.

I focused on war but could have done the same rant with a few tweaks to the other issues you listed. People need to wake up to the reality of it and lend a hand to become a country we can rightfully be proud of again.

Thanks for the OP.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Tue Jan 26, 2016, 12:23 PM (0 replies)

He could do better if

he was willing to tailor his message to be safe for the interests of the corporate media ownership he would be working for.

The left is given no platform by the MSM, just the corporate wing of our party and all manner of RW crazies, 'cause those two groups pose no threat to corporate profits on issues such as trade, resource extraction, foreign wars, military and paramilitary activites, police state, surveillance, incarceration, personal freedoms (business freedoms are all the rage though), and the intersection of climate change to energy policy and externalized (not financially accounted for) environmental damage caused by all of the above.

Stay on the right side of those issues, go to the gym regularly to look sharp, smile just right, read the prompter, and you'll go far in the MSM.

I welcome people like Ed getting their message out on any platform whatsoever, any crack in the corporate firewall is an opportunity to voice opposition positions.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Fri Jan 15, 2016, 08:21 AM (1 replies)

Wow, had never seen that

“The Lewinsky scandal had a powerful, if usually overlooked, impact on the substance of Clinton’s last two years in office as well. When I asked the President what he might have accomplished absent the scandal, he said that he wasn’t sure. When pressed, Clinton acknowledged that he might have been able to reform the Social Security and Medicare systems if the Republicans -and the media-hadn’t been provided with an alternative form of diversion in 1998 and 1999. In fact, Clinton was poised, at the moment he delivered his “Save Social Security First” challenge in the 1998 State of the Union message, to do something few presidents ever had: to end his second term with a valedictory surge of significant accomplishments. He had tamed the Republican Congress. There were huge budget surpluses to play with. “Both parties were behind the curve on the big issues,” said Bruce Reed, Clinton’s domestic policy advisor. “We could have added a private-investment option on to Social Security benefits.”


So a CATO-affiliated Chilean reform to add a private-investment option to Social Security was all good to go, with the blessings of our Democratic president who was all set to use the new budget surplus to move to such a system.

Many of us thought at the time what a shame it was that the Lewinsky scandal derailed Clinton's agenda. Now that we see more of the details of what that agenda was, we were extremely fortunate to dodge this bullet.

It looks like the version Clinton would have give us was even worse than the Chilean model:

The transition was a complex proposal, but we were able to do it. We kept part of the payroll tax in the pay-as-you-go system in order to finance the elderly benefits. We used the budget surplus as the president is suggesting in this country. And finally, we cut all corporate welfare. We told the private companies that they do not need government money. That money should be used to finance the national retirement system.


We told the private companies that they do not need government money. That money should be used to finance the national retirement system.

So, the reform was not about savings or about macroeconomic equilibrium. It was about workers’ dignity, workers’ freedom, workers’ choice, and workers’ empowerment. I believe this can be done in America.


Anyone think the U.S. would have funded it by ending corporate welfare? Hell no, they were going to use the budget surplus and keep the corporate welfare.

The Chilean system's architect has a long lunch with Joe Klein, who is working on the "Primary Colors" Clinton campaign story and has primary presidential access, and who publishes a Newsweek story on the plan in Newsweek, getting Bill all hot and bothered to touch the third rail with his third way policy pen, private retirement accounts rather than progressive reforms such as raising or eliminating the payroll tax cap. The Chilean author had apparently been working on this with our old friend Pete Peterson.

Clinton sacrificed “an enduring legacy when he had an affair with Lewinsky, the young White House intern. Liberal Democrats were opposed to his pension changes, so to get their support to avoid impeachment, Clinton postponed the package of reforms.” (James Daw, The Toronto Star, September 22, 2002).


So the Lewinsky affair saved us from this plan, since Clinton couldn't pistol-whip his own liberal Democrats when he desperately needed their support to remain in office during the impeachment.

History takes some bizarre turns and twists. In this case, we have much to be thankful for, we were quite fortunate.

Thanks Octafish, very informative and illuminating.

This is exactly the kind of reforms the corporatists in our party have been triangulating against us to implement, and the kind of policy efforts that inform my political choices going forward. We need a highly educated and informed electorate to sniff this stuff out and its advocates before they get into office. The stench of third-way economics is all over our party's establishment.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sun Jan 10, 2016, 07:21 PM (0 replies)

They're ideologically opposed to progressive politics

at least the way I define it. It isn't that they don't learn, or that they fail, it's that they are working for corporate goals instead of populist ones, and corporate goals are not furthered by supporting someone like Sanders.

For a long time I clung to the belief that they just thought they needed big business money to win elections, and would rather enact progressive policies and elect progressive leaders if it was practical.

This late in the game, however, it is completely obvious that they are literally not on our side, they oppose what we believe, they make their money from corporate sources and have fully bought into the worldview sold by DLC-PPI-Third Way/No Labels corporate institutions. It is actually very similar to the worldview promoted by the Kochs and the AEI-Heritage people, practically indistinguishable in the areas of economic policy and foreign policy.

They aren't fools, and they are no longer fooling as many of the electorate.

The biggest failure, in their eyes, IMHO, is not for Trump or another Bush to be elected, it is for Sanders to be elected. Pretty much every other candidate, for them, means businss as usual continues unabated, and we know from hard experience who benefits from that.

I'm just continuing this conversation, not directing this at you really, but at anyone reading the thread. I'm so sick of people like the Clintons and even Obama being presented to us as agents of progressive change, it's wrong and needs to be countered until it stops happening.

Obama was a decent centrist corporatist whose steady hand in troubled waters was probably better than a hair-on-fire RW'er, but didn't approach, nor even articulate, the reforms we thought we elected him to implement as the change agent he campaigned to be.

Now they want more of the same, in fact they want the person we rejected for Obama's change platform, and they want us to think we're supporting a progressive by supporting Clinton. We actually have an excellent progressive candidate who can win the general election, and we need to support him with everything we can muster.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Tue Jan 5, 2016, 03:53 AM (4 replies)

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, 04:32 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, 04:08 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, 03:07 AM (1 replies)
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