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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Spiritual home: the rocky Maine coast
Member since: Sun Mar 27, 2016, 07:06 PM
Number of posts: 1,609

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

MINIMUM WAGE TALKING POINTS.... I wish Dems would use

Dems mention the minimum wage quite often... but never provide any historical context... but concentrate on a living wage. But I think context is essential to construct a compelling narrative against right wing ideas. For example under the progressive policies of the 50s and 60s the minimum wage nearly TRIPLED in real value between 1949 and 1968. dollars. http://money.cnn.com/interactive/economy/minimum-wage-since-1938/ One can see the years it was left to decline...

The MW has now depreciated a whopping $10,080 a year. That's the 1968 MW... it's high value level, simply adjusted adjusted to inflation.


But this is what's really shocking and I wish some Dems would FINALLY ask: How could we afford that high MW in 1968 ($12.10 in today's dollars) when per capita GDP was only $26,260* and we can only afford $7.25 when that per capita GDP today is $64,589*???

So the minimum wage is worth 60% of what it was worth in 1968 but per capita GDP is 246% higher????

Anyone see the absurdity here?

*converted from constant 2012 dollars to 2019 dollars


The DISHONEST History Of The Electoral College

If we listen to Hamilton's take on the EC in Federalist 68, it was the only part of the US electoral system designed to prevent a malignant sociopath like Trump from ever becoming president.

The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States. It will not be too strong to say, that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue.

But it turns out it was that antidemocratic abomination that IMPOSED a malignant sociopath on the nation. AND it seems Hamilton wasn't being truthful

The Framers of Constitution were involved in an illegal coop against what were then the supreme law of the land... the Articles Of Confederation. It was failing but also essentially reformproof. So when the Framers devised their new system it had to fix the problems with the Articles... but it also had to be ratified or the nation might be in a worse situation. So many cynical compromises were included that need to be revisited... such as the EC. As it turns out it's the presidential counter part to the 3/5ths person rule. Madison explains it in the secret minutes of the Convention...

"The people at large was in his opinion the fittest in itself. It would be as likely as any that could be devised to produce an Executive Magistrate of distinguished Character. The people generally could only know & vote for some Citizen whose merits had rendered him an object of general attention & esteem. There was one difficulty however of a serious nature attending an immediate choice by the people. The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to fewest objections."
July 19, 1787

Why didn't we ever learn that in US History class?

Missing Democratic Talking Points.... Fiscal.

It would seem Dems... in the primaries... but more in the general election, have some powerful talking points they just don't use... or even think of... even when it's well know the sabotaging of government's fiscal health poses an existential threat to a progressive agenda.

1: Tax cuts when we're in debt and running deficits, designed to cut revenue, is THEFT from future generations who have no say but get stuck with the bill plus interest.
2: The GOP's weaponization of fiscal irresponsibility is designed to create as much debt and crushing interest payments as possible
3: That the sabotage of the nation's fiscal health is DESIGNED to weaken or abolish New Deal and Great Society Programs the far Right has always loathed.
4: Tax cuts are not a free lunch. We're now pissing away $375 BILLION in net interest that buys us nothing and it will be 6 TRILLION over the next decade.
5: Tax cuts are not a free lunch. Even now net interest ($375 billion) = 22% of all individual income tax revenue. Total interest ($574 Billion) = 33%.
6: The GOP is sabotaging our nation's ability to deal with a coming recession, natural disasters, climate change or a war. And then there's stabilizing Social Security and Medicare.
7: The REAL Class War is being waged by corporations and the malignant rich who, for the past 40 years, have rigged government and the economy to screw the working and middle classes.
8: Huge budget numbers in the billions and trillions are too abstract. Want to scare the crap out of the average person use visual aids lkie https://web.archive.org/web/20040604030839/http://crunchweb.net/87billion/index.htm When the average person sees what a TRILLION in deficit spending looks like....

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.


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