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Member since: Tue Nov 16, 2004, 03:14 PM
Number of posts: 7,215

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Dear Sen. Franken: resign from the Democratuc Party, not the Senate.

Dear Sen Franken:

I have been considerably bothered by the recent flurry of gossip about you, and the request of your fellow Congressional Democrats that you resign. Here's a solution I think will satisfy everybody: Resign from the Democratic Party, register as an Independent, caucus with the Democrats, and continue to vote your conscience. The Congressional Democrats are apparently embarrassed by your presence among them. Remove yourself from their presence and continue to do your job. Sen. Sanders has been able to function well as an Independent, and you're funnier than he is (although he has a beautiful smile when confronted by a small bird perched on his podium, comedy is not his forte). The Democrats would no longer be embarrassed by you but could presumably count on your vote if needed.

While all this is going on, the Ethics Committee could complete an investigation into the allegations against you and reach a conclusion of some sort. I am among the people who think that if all the allegations are proved true, that would still not be grounds for your resignation. If the allegations fall apart upon closer scrutiny, as many of us expect them to do, then everybody's happy--the voters of Minnesota, who wanted you as their Senator, the other Democrats in the country who are happy with your performance as as a Senator, and even the Congressional Democrats, who could hardly argue with the results of a fair and impartial investigation of all your accusers who can be induced to give their names. We are by default believing everyone who makes accusations of sexual harassment, which is certainly better than automatically disbelieving them. The truth, no doubt, lies somewhere between those extremes. If you are cleared by an Ethics Investigation, perhaps Congressional Democrats would change their minds about your usefulness.

This is a time, I believe, for all good men and women not to panic. Retain your seat in the Senate, cooperate with the investigation of the allegations against you, and continue to be your usual competent self. Even Santa Ana winds eventually die down.

A possible future, or, is this progressive enough for you?

I have been following political discussions during the 2016 campaign, and realized that there was a bloc of people who thought of themselves as "progressive," even more liberal than your garden variety Democrats. So I thought it might me useful to outline a truly progressive vision for the future.

My plan involves completely scrapping the notion that any human being can own land, which is the founding principle of capitalism. The most people could do in this progressive plan would be to rent land for a period of time for a specific purpose, like farming it, or building vehicles on it, or living on it. People cannot "own" land: if anything, the earth owns us, just like giraffes. The earth has been reminding us of this truth recently, as pollution generated in the U.S., or China, or India travels freely anywhere the winds blow. A "country" as we call it, has always been a hunk of land whose borders could be defended by a government or other ruler. The earth doesn't care who we imagine the ruler to be, it circulates storms and pollution everywhere. We won't actually have countries any more, but territories flavored by historical traditions, a Canadian territory, a U.S. one, and certainly a British one. Since everybody in the world would have enough to eat and a job, and since borders would have disappeared, the need to defend them would also disappear. On the whole, I think this plan gets reid of war, too.

In this vision, there would remain an economic system which would allow for exactly the same useful activities that capitalism allows: provision of food, medical care, trade, and the exchange of ideas and innovations. But this economy wouldn't be based on money as we know it, but on hours worked by real people. There would be two kinds of hours worked: community hours, and personal hours. The community hours would be owed to the community to sustain vital functions: grow food, cook and distribute it, care for the elderly, and providing transportation to people who need to get to and from their jobs. Community hours would take approximately half your work day, and the other half would be devoted to working for personal hours, the accumulation of which would enable the other side of the economy to function. With your personal hours, you could buy a nice guitar, or materials to make a beautiful hand-knit sweater, or lipsticks and volleyballs and toys for children. The community fours would guarantee that every adult would have useful work that obviously supported the community; personal hours would allow for the pursuit of personal dreams, like writing songs, playing in rock bands, designing your own clothing or a computer app to make the common life of your community function better. Rather than pieces of paper whose value everyone agrees on, the economy would be based on the value of the hours you've worked. It would be possible to become relatively "rich" in personal hours, but the tendency would be to save up to buy a particular good or service, which would plow your hours back into the economy.

This system doesn't so much tinker with capitalism, as replace it with something much more earth-friendly, and people friendly. I think we are all equipped with imaginations, and that we have gotten too used to imagining small changes to monolithic systems. Why not imagine something really new, really different, and seriously progressive?
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