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Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Dec 1, 2011, 12:59 PM
Number of posts: 7,830

About Me

FDR Populist Progressive who believes the environment trumps all. We\'re sinking the only ship we\'ve got, and govt leaders are ignoring it.

Journal Archives

It's a Movement, Stupid: Why Bernie Can Deliver While Sensible Centrists Can't

It's a Movement, Stupid: Why Bernie Can Deliver on Promises of Change, While the Sensible Centrists Can’t
by John Atcheson
Common Dreams

The Consequences of Politics Without Passion or Conviction

Democrats have been trying the “pragmatist” approach for decades now. Since Reagan, they’ve been loath to confront the conservative mantra of small (read ineffective) government, low taxes, deregulation, trickle down economics, and obscene support for “job creators.” In reality, however, all that just is code for corporate welfare and giant giveaways to the uber rich.

The reason, of course, is that Democrats are as dependent upon the campaign contributions from these groups as the Republicans are.

As a result, what the press, the pundits, and those in the Party establishment think of as the “sensible center” has drifted further and further to the right and the terms of the national political debate occur exclusively on the conservative’s side of the fence. If that’s where you start the negotiations, then any compromise only accelerates the rightward drift. There’s nothing sensible about that.

That’s what passes for “sensible” and “centrist” – a guaranteed loss of ground.

The problem with all this – and the part the Party establishment, the pundits and the main stream media (MSM) just don’t get – is that the vast majority of Americans haven’t moved to the right with the Party.

As a result, many are staying home on election day, and Democrats are losing power.

You can’t compromise your way to your goal, especially if you can’t get elected

As income disparity and the influence of money in politics has expanded, voter turnout has only gotten worse. The 2014 midterm election represented the lowest voter turnout in modern US history.

And while the party in power normally loses ground in the midterms, 2014 was a rout of epic proportions for Democrats. Basically Democratic candidates took the “sensible centrist” position and avoided taking stands that the MSM and the punditocracy defined as controversial. And no one showed up at the polls except the radical right.

If you stand for nothing, you will get beat by anything

Democrats are getting slaughtered at all level of government because citizens are tired of voting for people who don’t represent them.

For example, at the state level, Republicans have total control—that is, a Republican governor and Republican majorities in the legislature—of 24 states. Democrats, by comparison, control only 7 state governments. The rest are split.

It’s not that Bernie doesn’t know how the political process works, it’s that he knows it’s NOT working

When Hillary tells you Bernie Sanders doesn’t know how American Politics works, and people like Paul Krugman, Tom Friedman, and Jonathon Chait repeat it, they’re missing one important fact: The American political process doesn’t work, and it won’t, until and unless we get a real political revolution.

It’s certainly not working for the 99% of Americans who are getting left behind economically. It’s certainly not working when the interests of the elite few trump the desires of the rest of us. And it’s certainly not working when the progressive issues the majority of Americans favor are completely ignored by the government they elect.

If we have a different Congress, things will change

This, of course, is the crux of what the Party establishment, the mainstream media, and the punditocracy don’t get. If Bernie Sanders gets elected, it’s because he got the disaffected majority off the couch and into the voting booth. And if that happens, Congress will have a completely different make-up. Yes, the influence of gerrymandering might dilute the gains that would otherwise be made, but it will not prevent more progressives from getting into office.

More progressive voters, means more progressives get elected. And if that happens, Sanders will have more success than any of these so-called experts predict.

If we don’t, they won’t

If we don’t get the disaffected back into the political process, then Democrats will be lucky to get Hillary elected. She’s a uniquely vulnerable candidate, with high distrust levels, and net negative favorability ratings – both of which make it easy for the opposition to peal away votes. But demographics favor Democrats in presidential races so she might just squeak by.

But even if Hillary does survive the campaign and get elected, she will be facing a substantially similar Congress. Under the best of circumstances, the Democrats could win back the Senate – but as long as 60 votes are needed for legislation, that won’t change the balance of power, nor will it prevent gridlock.....

............The problem with the Democrats is that they haven’t been that much different.

Bernie Sanders offers an alternative – one that just might excite the people and create a new power base, one in which the power emanates from the people and one in which the government works for the people.

Let’s hope he succeeds. The only alternative is the same old game with different players. That’s what the self-appointed cognoscenti of the establishment just doesn’t get.


(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License)

*Some bold is my own.

GO Bernie!!!!! GO Progressives!!!!

A DISHONEST campaign: 17 Hillary memes the media just won’t stop pushing — or factcheck

This is a dishonest campaign: 17 Hillary Clinton memes the media just won’t stop pushing — or factcheck
by Corey Robin


1. Clintonite McCarthyism

....As was true of McCarthyism, it’s not really Sanders’ communism or his socialism that has got today’s McCarthyites in the Democratic Party worried; it’s actually his liberalism. As this article in the Times makes clear:

“Some third party will say, ‘This is what the first ad of the general election is going to look like,’” said James Carville, the longtime Clinton adviser, envisioning a commercial savaging Mr. Sanders for supporting tax increases and single-payer health care. “Once you get the nomination, they are not going to play nice.”

A Sanders-led ticket generates two sets of fears among Clinton supporters: that other Democratic candidates could be linked to his staunchly liberal views, particularly his call to raise taxes, even on middle-class families, to help finance his universal health care plan; and that more mainstream Democrats would have to answer to voters uneasy about what it means to be a European-style social democrat.

Raising taxes to pay for popular social programs: That used to be the bread and butter of the Democratic Party liberalism. Now it’s socialism. And that—now it’s socialism—used to be the bread and butter of Republican Party revanchism. Now it’s Democratic Party liberalism.


9. The Establishment

After Human Rights Campaign and Planned Parenthood endorsed Clinton, Sanders said they were part of “the establishment.” Clinton and her supporters made a big to-do of it. But this response from Garance Franke-Ruta was the most sublime:

Bernie remarks a reminder how left economics & new social movements—civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights—have always been uneasy allies

— Garance Franke-Ruta (@thegarance) January 20, 2016

No, not really.

Back in 1985, that old dinosaur of a socialist Bernie Sanders was signing a Gay Pride Day Proclamation on the grounds that gay rights were civil rights.

Back in the 1990s, while the Clintons were supporting DOMA and “don’t ask, don’t tell,” that old dinosaur of a socialist helped lead the opposition to both policies on the grounds that they were anti-gay.

And throughout his career in the Senate, Sanders got consistently higher ratings from civil rights organizations than Clinton did while she was a senator.

The only thing this whole episode is a reminder of is how poorly journalists do their job.

To read on the other 15 ways we're being punked~

Her differing viewpoints are confusing. Here's a time line to help sort it out~

....snip flip-flopping from 1993-2008...

"First, let me underscore President Obama's and my commitment to the Free Trade Agreement. We are going to continue to work to obtain the votes in the Congress to be able to pass it. We think it's strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States. And I return very invigorated ... to begin a very intensive effort to try to obtain the votes to get the Free Trade Agreement finally ratified." (June 11, 2010: On RCN Television. She also flew her husband in for dinner in Bogota, Colombia, with key players. Bill Clinton has always been in favor; his foundation has taken money from people with business interests there, as reported and written about in a forthcoming book by Peter Schweizer.)

"Getting this done together sends a powerful message that America and Korea are partners for the long-term and that America is fully embracing its role as a Pacific power. ... I want to state as strongly as I can how committed the Obama Administration is to passing the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement this year. ... This is a priority for me, for President Obama and for the entire administration. We are determined to get it done, and I believe we will." (April 16, 2011: In a talk to a business group in Seoul, South Korea.)

"We need to keep upping our game both bilaterally and with partners across the region through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. ... This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world's total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment." (Nov. 15, 2012: Comments in Australia.)

"One of our most important tools for engaging with Vietnam was a proposed new trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would link markets throughout Asia and the Americas, lowering trade barriers while raising standards on labor, the environment, and intellectual property. ... It was also important for American workers, who would benefit from competing on a more level playing field. And it was a strategic initiative that would strengthen the position of the United States in Asia." (From her second memoir, Hard Choices.)

"Hillary Clinton believes that any new trade measure has to pass two tests. First, it should put us in a position to protect American workers, raise wages and create more good jobs at home. Second, it must also strengthen our national security. We should be willing to walk away from any outcome that falls short of these tests. The goal is greater prosperity and security for American families, not trade for trade's sake."

Specifically regarding TPP: "She will be watching closely to see what is being done to crack down on currency manipulation, improve labor rights, protect the environment and health, promote transparency and open new opportunities for our small businesses to export overseas."


She Is all in for the TPP in my opinion. She did play a major role in writing it after all. She worked very hard for big businesses globally while serving as "our" SoS.

Hillary Clinton is very aware of the advantages of being Hillary Clinton, and didn’t seek permission when she not-so-subtly encroached on the Commerce Department’s turf to install herself as the government’s highest-ranking business lobbyist. On her scores of overseas trips—at 956,733 miles and 401 days on the road, she is the most-traveled secretary of state—she’s made pitching U.S. companies part of her routine.

Clinton has directed a lot of her attention to opening new markets for the U.S. in the developing world, where China is establishing a significant presence. Chinese companies have poured capital into poor regions of Africa where foreign aid from Washington once gave the U.S. leverage. In resource-rich countries such as Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, U.S. companies have recently lost major contracts to state-subsidized Chinese outfits.

In the global economic order that emerged after World War II, the U.S. and its allies took American dominance for granted. They “did not envision China as the second-biggest economy in the world,” Clinton says. She doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with China’s desire to extend its reach. “I don’t hold that against them,” she says. “I just hold it against us if we’re not out there pushing back.”

She’s pressed the case for U.S. business in Cambodia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, and other countries in China’s shadow. She’s also taken a leading part in drafting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the free-trade pact that would give U.S. companies a leg up on their Chinese competitors. The State Department even has had limited success in prying open Chinese markets to U.S. companies. In 2011, after extensive haggling with U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, the Chinese government allowed Titanic 3D and other Hollywood movies to be shown in Beijing theaters. And that same year, after talks with Clinton, the Chinese relaxed so-called indigenous innovation rules that kept U.S. companies from competing for government technology contracts there. “Not that they would ever admit that the Americans—that the secretary—said this, and therefore [they] changed,” says Clinton, who’s been careful not to brag too loudly about these deals. “A lot of this you cannot claim, because then you kind of force the people on the other side to lose face.”

For U.S. companies overseas, a personal appeal from Clinton opens doors and unravels red tape....

Hillary Clinton's Business Legacy at the State Department

A Doctor's Perspective: "Medicare for all: A solution for health care"

by Dr Sean Lehmann
Carson City, Nevada

The Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) has most certainly had some successes. There are many who didn’t have health coverage that do now and many others who can now get coverage that were previously denied due to pre-existing conditions. With that said, still others have seen increases in their premiums, deductibles and co-pays. It has become more and more obvious the ACA is not a long term solution for our health care system. Unfortunately, neither party has championed a viable alternative. The majority of Democrats vow to protect the ACA, while the Republicans repeatedly attempt to “repeal Obamacare” which isn’t a plan at all.


In our current system, private for profit insurance companies are middlemen and as such, drive up the cost of health care. There are only two ways in which an insurance company can increase profits for its shareholders: raising premiums and denying care. This is a serious conflict of interest, yet we have allowed it to happen.

During 2014 alone, the CEO of United Health Care made $66.1 million. Not to be outdone, the CEO of Gilead Pharmaceuticals made $192.8 million in the same year. As a nation we spend 17 percent of our GDP on health care, while the next closest country, Norway, spends only 9.3 percent. The vast majority of nations spend less than 10 percent of their GDP on health care and still provide universal coverage for their citizens. We spend significantly more on health care than any other nation on earth, yet more than 50 percent of personal bankruptcies are due to medical bills or illness.

How do we fix this? The overhead for private for profit health insurance companies is nearly 20 percent, yet the overhead with Medicare is only 1.3 percent. Eliminating the middleman would account for an immediate 18 percent reduction in our healthcare costs. As Americans well know, we also pay infinitely more for prescription drugs than the rest of the world. In fact, we’re the only country that allows pharmaceutical companies to charge whatever they want. By negotiating these prices, we could realize large savings.

Personally, I pay nearly $6,000 a year to insure my family. We also have a $10,400 deductible. This means I pay $16,000 per year before my family and I get any health care coverage. I have heard horror stories from patients of mine who pay even more, some significantly more.

What about Medicare? The program that covers seniors isn’t perfect, but the costs to patients are infinitely lower. The monthly premium is $104.90 and the deductible is $166. This means seniors will pay just more than $1,400 yearly before Medicare begins to cover them. My father was self-employed and paid enormous premiums to a private insurer before he turned age 65. He was relieved when he was finally able to enroll in Medicare, just like many others were when they became eligible. So why not extend Medicare to everyone? There’s a bill to do just that, HR 676, “expanded and improved Medicare for all”.

So how do we pay for it? There is already a payroll tax for Medicare. This payroll tax would be increased slightly, but the increase would pale in comparison to what we’re already paying for health care. Remember, I’m already paying $16,000 per year. Others are paying even more. Employers would see huge savings over what they are contributing to private for profit plans. A recent study by the University of Massachusetts showed there would be an annual savings of $592 billion. No other plan can achieve this magnitude of savings on health care.....


Its common sense AND common decency.

GO Bernie!!!!
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