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Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Spiritual home: the rocky Maine coast
Member since: Sun Mar 27, 2016, 08:06 PM
Number of posts: 1,629

About Me

Greetings... what can I say? I'm an old time hippie and anti-war activist from the 60's. I was radicalized then and have always remained political. One's politics can have different aspects. Economically I'm an FDR liberal. Socially I believe in the Ninth Amendment that government has no legitimate power to limit some rights such as responsible drug use, the right to choose, or one's sexual behavior. Politically I'm to the left of the Democratic Party. Why? Over the years I realized the focus of activists should not be stamping out brush fires and putting band-aids on problems. The effort must always be to keep in mind the root of most of our problems such as wealth inequality, growing corporate power, voter apathy, climate change, etc... is an electoral system that is incapable of measuring the popular will and a political system that is incapable of implementing it. Sadly, the Democratic Party seems to need a push to find a greater appreciation for... and to work towards, implementing common sense democratic reforms to both those electoral and political systems.

Journal Archives

Can Someone Become President With 24% Of The Popular Vote?

Right wingers constantly use as a defense of the EC that they don't want NYC and LA picking our presidents. It's nonsense, of course... and why should any citizen get a smaller vote just because of their choice of state residence. But no one talks much about the absurdities the EC system.

I just did a spread sheet using last year's election results by state... and found out that it possible, though highly unlikely, that under our system a president can be elected with just 24% of the popular vote. If all the small states that comprise 280 EC votes... vote for candidate X by one vote... the winner take all rules that virtually every state uses... will give candidate X ALL those 280 votes... and if you want to be picky, OK, Nebraska apportions them but they only have 5 votes... not enough to affect this exercise.

If all the remaining states vote UNANIMOUSLY for candidate Y... X can win even with 24% of the popular vote. Now, before anyone whines that this is impossible... it doesn't matter because this just illustrates the absurdity of the system which DID give Trump the presidency with 46% while HRC got 48%.

It's about time that Dems FINALLY discuss the defects in our system which also deprive the Dems control of the Senate. Why? Because Dems represent 33 million more Americans than does the GOP.


Tax expenditures are another name for tax breaks like for capital gains... it's potential revenue the government decided not to collect. The most egregious example are those in the top bracket who get close to a 50% lower tax rate for capital gains than if the same money were "earned" income. If the GOP is going to push for laws allowing states to drug test for unemployment benefits... perhaps there should be a drug testing for those who get capital gains tax breaks. After all, both affect government's bottom line. Of course this would never happen... especially when according to the CBO the top 1% gets 70% of these tax cuts. But just the argument highlights the absurdity if not cruelty of the far Right's war on labor.


Democrat's Core Choice: MONEY OR MESSAGE?

Some here believe that Dems MUST go after big corporate money or Dems will forever be at a perpetual political disadvantage. They complain that to concentrate on messaging is to put purity over winning. I have problems with the first approach for several reasons.

1: The GOP can spend 100 billion in an election and the Dem's zero I think it's safe to say no one here would be swayed by all that spending. Therefore the effort must be to inoculate Dems that might be swayed by diversionary issues (guns, immigration, god & flag etc) and middle of the roaders to see through the GOP game and to see that their true interests are with the Dems.

2: No corporation is going to give money to Dems unless as self-centered entities, there's something in it for them.

3: To go after corporate money, therefore, will tend to ultimately corrupt any message and in an economy that's largely a zero sum game, to help corporations is to shaft labor. It undermines any attempt to inoculate voters in #1 at which point the party's positions and voters move to the Right. We don't need two GOP parties... a liberal and a far right one.

So how do we inoculate voters? Part of that is to understand how a successful belief system, even a dysfunctional one, take root. I've long speculated that it really just needs a few variables... to convince people the system/narrative is moral, to have a plausible answer for everything, and to demonize the other side so the True Believer distrusts their motives and therefore blocks out their message. The Right is very good at this. Once a person is locked into a belief system they then selectively seek information that supports it, and instinctively block out anything that threatens it. They deprive themselves of the intellectual tools to disprove the system.

The first part is to have clear positive vision of where Dems want to take this nation in 25-50 years. Without a vision, there will be no strategy on how to get there... and without a vision and a strategy Dems will have no consistent message and in politics if one's not constantly on the offensive, one is losing ground. Dems need a strategic and sustained counterattack against ALL the strategic attacks of the Right... something they've been involved in since the 70s... ideological framing from think tanks, a strong media presence, voter suppression, ALEC, using the courts as the judicial branch of the GOP, expanding corporate personhood, using money to buy elections, defunding the Dems by going after unions and trial lawyers, and starve the beast? The far Right has been so successful that even half of the Dems have moved to the right undercutting their own natural constituency.

This madness has to stop... but some here seem to believe that the Dems can sleep with corporations and protect progressive causes. Nope. All they do is water them down in a process so slow they don't even see it happening. Case in point. In election 2000 Dems saw through Bush's attempts to sabotage the Clinton Surplus with massive tax cuts. By 2008, Dems bought into Obama's call to make permanent most of Bush's irresponsible tax cuts. Gone from the discussion was ANY talk of paying down debt... and I'm talking PRE-crisis.

What ever happened to ALL of Saddam's WMD documents handed over the the UN in 2002?

In response to UN 1441, the result of Bush pushing the UNSC to get tough with Iraq... in late 2002 Saddam handed over some 12000 pages on past WMD activities. But according to

On 7 December 2002, Iraq filed its 12,000-page weapons declaration with the UN in order to meet requirements for this resolution. The five permanent members of the Security Council received unedited versions of the report, while an edited version was made available for other UN Member States.

The speculation at the time was the US wanted to cover-up its own role in Saddam's WMD programs.

So were all those documents ever released?

EDIT: maybe they were through back channels:

Throughout the winter of 2002, the Bush administration publicly accused Iraqi weapons declarations of being incomplete. The almost unbelievable reality of this situation is that it was the United States itself that had removed over 8,000 pages of the 11,800 page original report.

This came as no surprise to Europeans however, as Iraq had made extra copies of the complete weapons declaration report and unofficially distributed them to journalists throughout Europe. The Berlin newspaper Die Tageszetung broke the story on December 19, 2002 in an article by Andreas Zumach.

At the same time, according to the investigation by Michael Niman, the Iraq government sent out official copies of the report on November 3, 2002. One, classified as “secret,” was sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency, another copy went to the UN Security Council. The U.S. convinced Colombia, chair of the Security Council and current target of U.S. military occupation and financial aid, to look the other way while the report was removed, edited, and returned. Other members of the Security Council such as Britain, France, China and Russia, were implicated in the missing pages as well (China and Russia were still arming Iraq) and had little desire to expose the United States’ transgression. So all members accepted the new, abbreviated version.


What should be CORE Democratic Messaging? On Corporate Frankensteins:

The Dems should to be clear that the agenda is for real persons, not artificial entities called corporations. Just as intellectual property monopolies such as patents and copyrights exist for ONE purpose alone... and it's right there in the Constitution...

The Congress shall have Power.... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

and this implicitly states these protection should NOT go beyond unjust enrichment or patents designed only to trap consumers in vendor lock.... Democrats must stress that corporations must be seen ONLY as social creations, economic tools, designed to benefit real persons. Corporate needs beyond that purpose are not socially valid. To go there only furthers the threat that our creations become our Frankensteins that will mold people, society, and government to suit ITS needs. Clearly this has already happened.

The GOP will never make this argument... and Dems FAIL to make this argument at their... and society's peril.

Far Right Seeks To Negate Key Constitutional Rule Of Construction

The Constitution was based on the assumption central to republican political theory of the day that the free persons were sovereign... possessing natural rights... some of which would be surrendered to create government powers which then would further protect rights. So the Constitution was written with that assumption that it would be a government of limited and defined powers therefore all those residual natural rights were secure by the construction of the government. The Framers were satisfied no bill of rights was even needed. Foolishly this assumption was never spelled out in the Constitution. Madison is even on record that to specify some rights would place the others at risk.

When some states demanded a bill of rights Madison saw the light that one was necessary to protect people against those new powers of the government. For example Art 1 gave Congress great power over state militias. Several states feared Congress could disarm or neglect their militias... AND MADISON SIGNED ON TO THIS REQUEST. So when we got the Second, the intent was pretty clear. And Madison finally included two key rules of construction... the Ninth and Tenth. The Ninth simply says "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

The Ninth was never really debated in the courts. So when Reagan wanted to keep happy the social conservatives that had just joined the GOP coalition, he appointed Bork to the high court. He was rightly rejected because he clearly wanted to abuse his power on the court for a particular agenda... and that was obvious in his claim we could never know what the Ninth really meant. It was pure bullshit and it betrayed his agenda. But Scalia was no different. His approach was since the Ninth stated no rights it was impossible for the Court to protect them. Poof... the Ninth would be negated. But in the process this greatly enlarged the power of government.

Problem here is the Dems have never gone out of their way to flesh out the Ninth. For example their position for the past 40 years could have been... if the GOP wants to repeal the right to choose then they have to pass an amendment to negate the Ninth.

Ultimately we all would have been better off if the Ninth were written as a more positive declaration of rights as the French did in 1798...

4. Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.

5. Law can only prohibit such actions as are hurtful to society. Nothing may be prevented which is not forbidden by law, and no one may be forced to do anything not provided for by law.


TRUMP JUNTA: Draining The Swamp REALLY MEANS Throwing Us To The Corporate Wolves...

In Trump-Speak draining the swamp just means letting corporations have free run.

I'd like to create the definitive list of how the Trump Junta and the GOP have thrown and propose to throw us to the corporate wolves. I know I'm missing a lot... maybe others can add to the list...

Repeal of fiduciary requirement for some financial advisors...
Repeal of internet privacy laws
Threatened repeal of net neutrality
Not funding lead paint removal
Regulation repeal

NEED REVIEWS: Anyone Here Use Internet TV Services Instead Of Cable or Satellite?

We cut the cord except for internet leaving only antenna DTV... but we're considering Sling TV. Anyone have any reviews for these internet-based TV sources?


Why Didn't MSNBC Increase Its Viewer Base on DTV?

When we cut the cord and went from cable TV to antenna TV I found a wealth of virtual networks playing on subchannels of regular TV stations. Most of these virtual networks play old TV shows like Cozi TV or Antenna TV. But this was an opportunity for NBC to push a lower res version of MSNBC on NBC affiliates. I wonder why they didn't? I wrote MSNBC and Maddow and got no response.

It's a shame they lacked this foresight.
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