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He says he is serious. If he IS serious, then he has to differentiate himself from Hillary, which is simple because there are miles of daylight between them on virtually every aspect of the economy, on defense, national security, even the environment to the extent that he recognizes the need for a much more immediate, more aggressive program to mitigate Climate Change. And more.

For him to define what he is for and what he is against without identifying HRC's positions, based on a vast historical record, is pointless. For him not to question whatever position de rigeur she adopts for the purpose of the primary is not only foolish but would do a disservice to those who are campaigning with and for him.

For that ONLY serves the establishment, by allowing them to define the frame. It's like allowing BBB to declare that the ONLY difference between candidates Obama and Clinton was in their attitudes on defense. As if the entire PE came down to whether or not people felt 18 or 24 months was a better goal for getting out of Iraq... It ONLY serves Clinton to say such things. It ONLY serves Clinton for Bernie to put forward his Agenda and the many well-established attitudes and views he has while idly allowing Clinton to pretend she's just a smidgen to his right, which is the ENTIRE dishonest D establishment game plan in every election. Which is why they must be defeated.

In addition, if Bernie does define his positions in relation to HRC's, and he is completely honest, it WILL paint HRC in a bad light. It can't not. And there's no other way to go and still be serious about winning.

And let's not forget Jeremiah Wright, HRC will ONLY play politely so long as she maintains a comfortable lead. The moment any contention gets real, she AND her supporters, including those promoting a polite Sanders campaign now, will go after him with fangs, claws and garrots if they have to.

Please let's not kid ourselves.

Let's not pretend that this effort to force Bernie into a box where he can't expose the real differences, the critical differences, between he and HRC, between democracy and plutocracy, is anything but a thinly veiled attempt to secure her coronation without ANY contest at all.
It may not be pleasant to have them fight, but endless economic rape; increasing concentration of income, wealth and power; criminal warfare; and national security fascism is far from pleasant, too. And those are things this election is really about. He can't let the establishment pretend it's not, that one candidate will fight to put an end to these things, while the other will fight to put a kinder, gentler face on them.

I'm not saying he has to come out guns blazing tomorrow, but before too many months pass shit will have to get real or there will be no contest.

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In order to win, Bernie Sanders will not only have to define what he is for and against, he will also have to define what HRC is for and against. Otherwise he will allow the establishment to do so, and his campaign would be pointless.

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Bernie Sanders has an Agenda for America.

Bernie is not following in the wake of public opinion, which itself is following in the wake of social/human need. He is leading, because to people like Bernie, actions flow from character, from believing in the Party platform, from knowing that democracy DEPENDS upon widely distributed income, wealth and power. To people like Bernie the needs are obvious and solutions that scale to meet problems are necessary, not unicorns. Incremental change does not keep up, has not kept up, and therefore is absolutely NOT tied to reality, practicality or need. And that matters to a degree the establishment simply does not, will not recognize, because the establishment is chained to the status quo, not to social, human or environmental need. Period. For this reason, that the status quo is light-years from viable solutions, the establishment is consistently as WRONG as Dick Cheney. All you have to do is look at where we are in every sphere of human activity: the real economy, Wall St. management, the concentration of income and wealth, executive pay, business regulation, the environment, defense, national security, law enforcement, food safety, criminal justice, you fucking name it. These are not small gaps. It's no coincidence. It's the direct influence of the establishment and the status quo. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Consistently.

And it is not all on the Republicans. There are virtually always just enough Democrats to stymie progress and/or ensure regression into an ever weaker position, especially for the 90%. It's like they plan it.

Well, absolutely no surprise, Bernie has a different plan.

The Agenda:

  1)  Rebuilding Our Crumbling Infrastructure
  2)  Reversing Climate Change
  3)  Creating Worker Co-ops
  4)  Growing the Trade Union Movement
  5)  Raising the Minimum Wage
  6)  Pay Equity for Women Workers
  7)  Trade Policies that Benefit American Workers
  8)  Making College Affordable for All
  9)  Taking on Wall Street
  10) Health Care as a Right for All
  11) Protecting the Most Vulnerable Americans
  12) Real Tax Reform

More below.

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Bernie's Agenda for America

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Pragmatically speaking, is it possible for the Bernie camp, those who have not forgotten Hope and Change, and the HRC camp, those who are glad and/or resigned to her inevitable coronation, to ride out the next 18 months in the same clubhouse?

We've got the diehard Clinton lovers. We've got those who've bowed down to the inevitability, whether or not they would prefer Bernie. We've got those who would prefer Bernie but have no belief that he could win a GE. And then we have those who believe that this Party and this Country and the World and the biosphere NEED Bernie (and a whole lot more like him), and they NEED the party's activists and operatives and rank & file to rally in a way that makes OFA look like a warm-up.

I don't see how that last group can come in here on a daily basis and listen to the inevitability realists. It matters not if the realists agree with Bernie's progressive attitudes and/or ideas. At the very least, their attitude is counter-productive to campaigning for democracy, er, Bernie.

It's like the Red Sox and Yankees meeting in the same clubhouse. Granted, the winner may be facing the Cardinals in the post-season, but that doesn't mean they aren't competing fiercely in the meantime, across the entire 162 game, er, 16 month primary election SEASON. Committed to defeating each other.

Let's face it, the battle here is between 1) those who support and/or accept the Third Way and the devastation it, along with its neoliberal partners across the aisle, have wreaked upon the middle and lower classes lo these twenty-three years since they have joined forces in ever-escalating Reaganomics, er, plutocracy in support of oligarchy, and 2) those who firmly reject every ounce of that as much as Bernie Sanders. The fact that the Democratic Party establishment is the side that is willing to maintain and expand the post-economic-rape centers does not make it the "good" Party. It is not enough. It will never scale to address the income, wealth and power inequality gap that threatens ever aspect of life. The good party can only be the one that openly acknowledges the rape and focuses at least as much on preventing it (at the point of distribution) as it does on treating the victims (at the point of "redistribution"). THAT'S the Party that, as fellow soldiers for democracy, we all should be focused on pursuing. But many, even most of us, aren't and/or won't do so. And this is from whence the intense rivalry comes, one which will dramatically escalate in the coming months.

I think of working for Bernie and coming in here and listening to the HRC supporters and the HRC coronation inevitability patter on a daily basis, ill-intentioned or not, and I say no way. No way can I be listening to that destructive, self-fulfilling prophecy, especially coming from those who claim to believe more in Bernie's policies than Hillary's. I've already been hearing it for two days, and that was prior to the official announcement. 16 months more? No way. How is that even possible if your commitment is to democracy?

If my calculation is wrong, please, enlighten me how this can work.

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I believe having the HRC supporters, HRC coronation believers and Bernie diehards meeting together over the next 16 months is

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This is actually a long a comment I made within the thread of thirty three and a third's "Alec Baldwin Tweets on #FightFor15 Recalls “White Moderate” MLK Dreaded/NeoLib 1% Bubble, posted yesterday," 4/22.

Quoted from the LP himself: "Last week while thousands of people, myself and some friends included, marched through NYC, after a rally attended by and hosting politicians such as Eric Shneiderman, Scott Stringer and Latisha James, Baldwin showed some of his true neoliberal colors as he tweeted away about his own inconvenience. An op-ed in the NY Times confronted it, 'A Response to Alec Baldwin’s Complaints That a Living Wage Rally Snarled Traffic.'"

“Life in NY is hard enough as is. The goal is to not make it more so. How does clogging rush hour traffic from 59th St to 42 do any good?”

“Oh, I support their cause. The timing of their event wasn’t what good NYers would do....”

“ NY’s ethos dissolves every day that individuals or groups put their needs/goals ahead of everyone else’s.”

“There are ways to rally people to your cause without inconveniencing an entire City.”

My thoughts:

Plenty of people felt same about Civil Rights marches, I'm sure.

Yet there are tons of D's who feel the same as Alec. I've seen the complaints here on DK. Limousine liberals, wannabes and other progressives with superficially developed principles and disdain for or fear of public conflict, confrontation, and agitation, don't want change if it inconveniences their lifestyles or could possible jeopardize their social standing. Arguments over movies, golf swings and the best tax sheltering strategies, sure. Holler over whether or not people are using your parking space. Fine. But let's not engage (fight back) in the Class War.

And sure as hell don't ask them to ruin a perfectly good Saturday to march around in public--when they could be getting ahead by working or schmoozing over a round of golf or relaxing in front of the tv; where friends, family, associates, bosses, employees, customers, vendors, etc., might actually see them standing up for something the court of public opinion has not already definitively ruled on. They'll express their support in the safety, er, privacy of the voting booth, perhaps even the occasional guarded parlor conversation among vetted confidantes, and no where else. Expose allegiance to ideas and causes not otherwise and by other people made ironclad-safe for establishment expression and support through the blood, sweat and tears of others in the public square?

Don't be ridiculous. That's unthinkable. Undignified. Uncivil. Unrealistic. Immature even.

Smart adults know and embrace what's best for them.

Smart people know not to rock the boat if they want to protect their future earnings potentional.

All you have to is point out how "impactical" bucking the system is, how inevitable the status quo is, how very much like a unicorn democracy and "justice" are. Let the process of change take place in the dark where it poses no personal threat to them and not in the light where it could be honest and disruptive, er, unseemly and unhelpful to one's social networking schemes.

Otherwise, public opinion and the powers that might be paying attention to changing currents in order to in the public's good grace--entirely for business purposes, mind you--can move at mother-fucking glacial speeds for all these "liberals"/"progressives" care.

And so public opinion and progress do take forever and at the great expense of the principled few, whether it's abolition, suffrage, labor rights, civil rights, women's rights, environmental protection, LGBT rights, economic justice (and the social ills/health attached to it), no difference. Let others do the work, people who can be disparaged as self-aggrandizing martyrs, like Ralph Nader, Jesselyn Raddick, or Edward Snowden. And let those people either do it in private somehow, without all the fuss and "attention-seeking," or through official channels designed specifically to thwart them, so that the adults can step forward in safety when the work's all done and, predictably, take the credit and bask in useful public approval.

It's been this way with every movement. So why would anyone expect it to be different for overcoming Reaganomics-on-steroids? Why should we expect "progressive" establishment opportunists to live their principles when it could hurt their deal? Isn't that what the Third Way is all about? Embracing the opposition's Voodoo, which even George H.W. Bush could recognize as a fraud (but not today's mainstram Democrat!), to use the strategery of being an adult and thus working within (and thus being co-opted by) the establishment system>?
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I believe we should

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So let me get this straight. We're going to outmaneuver the oligarchs by placing a person or two on the SCOTUS while leaving hundreds of neoliberals in place, from the bottom to the White House, continuing to support the same economic ideas that continue to funnel $10B+ and GROWING every year the Kochs alone--which alone can continue to fund every aspect of the right-wing machine with change left over?

This is our winning mantra?

Do people seriously think that reversing Citizens United without reversing its source of power is going to make a dent? What, like the wealthy and the corporations and their right-wing echo chamber and their mainstream media and their lobbying legions and their revolving door and their bribery and blackmail and extortion and all manner of coercion and political influence weren't quite capable of squeezing more and more influence over both the private and public sectors each and every day before Citizens United?

Get fucking real.

Yeah, Citizens United was a real boon, but there's more where that came from.

[Don't get me wrong. Citizens United is important and it must be reversed (my $500 to Shockwave et al's successful CA March for Democracy for that cause alone should prove my belief and commitment in the worthiness of that goal), but it isn't the lynchpin. The lynchpin is the concentration of income, wealth and power behind Citizens United as one among many, many tools. Take away Citizens United and they will simply suit up a little differently. And get bigger every day.]

Imagine if people thought the Gilded Age could be ended without Teddy's trust-busting assault on the power base? Now imagine if people thought the Gilded Age wasn't so bad. Ha! THAT's the neoliberal "Democratic" Party. That's HRC and a collection of damned fools, useful idiots, imposters, frauds, and opportunists of every stripe.
You may think Bernie Sanders or someone with his mindset can't win (and he is among precious few who understand why putting power in check by cutting off and reducing its source of power is so critical to the 99%), but if you can't wrap your mind and your will and strategy for 2016 around THAT then you have no hope seriously challenging your real opposition. You WILL continue to lose power and influence. You WILL lose the future.

You may think populist economics can't win but put your 90 for 90 tactic and more behind THAT if you are serious about the Democratic Party platform. If you can think big with 90 for 90 then you can think big about putting it into even an larger operating plan behind the right people for winning not only 2016, 2018 and 2020 in a manner that can scale to challenge the real opposition. THAT is only the pragmatism that matters.

If we could elect a anti-colonialist, communist, Jeremiah-Wright loving, Saul Alinsky-hugging, America-hating, affirmative action dependent like Barack HUSSEIN Obama, then we sure as fuck ought to be able to elect a white senior American, even if is someone who doesn't merely play on tv but actually IS a person who appreciates a robust role for government services, a tightly regulated market sector, the real economy and all its participants, democracy in a leveling of the influence of all Americans, the destructiveness not helpfulness or pragmatism of the MIC and its neoconservative business play, etc., etc., etc. Wrap your head around that and you might actually have something worth pursuing.

You know what the "2016 is about the SCOTUS" strategy is about? It's about surrender dressed up as realism. It's about justifying a candidate who will not represent or pursue the most important aspect of democracy--economic democracy--because she, like her husband and her daughter, have built their standing in the world upon currying the favor of the wealthy few who have no interest in democracy. That is a reality they have embraced and have no interest in changing. Unfortunately for you, my dear democrats, that is not an approach that will serve your ends any more than it will serve the self-interests of the average Republican.

If you haven't liked the capitulation of the Democrats over the past twenty years, you definitely shouldn't be clapping for the "2016 is about the SCOTUS" strategy. The SCOTUS is hardly the game-winner. It's Park Place, but it's not the game winner. The game winner is changing the rules of Monopoly by first and foremost recognizing the fact that Monopoly is not the game we should be playing for the health of the species, then adopting a strategy to replace it with a Mixed Economy game, a heavily-regulated economy to prevent excessive concentration of wealth power. Nothing short of that can approach democracy.

Consider that the Kochs alone could fund every election in the land, the entire right-wing media, ALEC and the rest of its NGO arm (through its shadowy byzantine organization, where necessary)  on their annual "salary" alone. And that's just one family. You think you're going to end that without stopping the source of their strength. You think you're going to take this castle for democracy without cutting off its supply lines and starving the leader(s) out into the open where we can parle from a position of strength??? You think they're going to stop their efforts to take control??? You think anything short of putting them in regulatory or possibly even real shackles will do???

2016 isn't about the SCOTUS. It's about electing a government that will re-direct growth of the oligarchs and the hedge fund economy to the 99% and the real economy. It's about credibly convincing masses of cynical, distrustful, apathetic Democrats and Independents and even a few Republicans that THAT is what the Democratic Party will fight to the death over from this day forth, beginning with throwing neoliberal thought and policy out of the Party playbook. Period.

THAT is the only game in town and we are losing badly because today's Democrats are not interested. Not its leaders, not its followers. Instead they have conceded what is and will be normal and inevitable--what is reality--out of a misguided, hopeless sense of pragmatism, to the megalomaniacs who would sooner destroy all life on the planet than give up their increasing control over that life. They don't need us, and that becomes more true every day.

Reality-based community is an informal term in the United States, used to refer to people who base their opinions more on observation than on planning—that the people rely on their observation of reality instead of seeking to shape reality in the image of their plans. The term has been defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from judicious study of discernible reality." It can be seen as an example of political framing.

The source of the term is a quotation in an October 17, 2004, The New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, "Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush," quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush (later attributed to Karl Rove[1]):

    The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."[2] - "Reality-based community," wikipedia

Guess what, that ideology may not succeed in winning unwinnable wars of choice, but it IS succeeding in creating a neoliberal reality in which progressive goals for economic justice and the democracy and social justice it can create and protect ARE unicorns because the neoliberals say so and the pragmatists go along to be "taken seriously" (AKA, stay on Santa's list, because that's all that really matters to the modern neoliberal adult). And the neoliberals and their pragmatic supporters ARE, for all intents and purposes, the Anti-Democrats for Plutocracy that have usurped the "Democratic" Party and turned it into a farcial kabuki troupe.
2016 is NOT About the Supreme Court. It's About the "Democratic" Party, whether Democrats will:

Realize the essential nature of democracy (not just GOTV) to its causes,
Learn what it takes to have a democracy,
Elect Democrats--not merely "Republicans who don't care what people do in their bedrooms" (hat tip to neimann)--will be elected to credibly, honestly champion the real economy, the 99% and democracy, only one piece of which, and not even the most important piece, is the SCOTUS.

Another NEWSFLASH: ...the terrorists aren't your biggest threat by a long-shot, and the militarized mass surveillance state isn't their to protect you, unless you're thinking of a "protection racket." Used to be we worried about Republicans fear-mongering the population into submission. Now it's the "Democrats." too.
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2016 is

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Queued for cross-posting on caucus99percent.

Neoliberalism, that buzzword--the definition of which is the source of many a misdirection and hi-jacking, the existence of which many kossacks will deny or endlessly equivocate and trivialize as normal and inevitable--as many of us have known for years, is striking a lot of nerves, causing widespread mental anguish and distress, and precipitating suicides. The latest report comes in the form of an open letter from well over 400 mental health experts, which was printed in The Guardian (Austerity and a malign benefits regime are profoundly damaging mental health).

"The past five years have seen a radical shift in the kinds of issues generating distress in our clients: increasing inequality and outright poverty, families forced to move against their wishes, and, perhaps most important, benefits claimants (including disabled and ill people) and those seeking work being subjected to a quite new, intimidatory kind of disciplinary regime," warned the letter, whose signatories included Susie Orbach—a well-known psychotherapist and social critic.

The Alliance for Counseling and Psychotherapy played a lead role in organizing the statement, which was signed by counselors, psychotherapists, and other providers associated with a broad array of groups, including Psychotherapists and Counselors for Social Responsibility and Disabled People Against Cuts.

The letter specifically took aim at a series of austerity reforms included in the chancellor's latest budget, including the controversial "linkage of social security benefits to the receipt of 'state therapy.'"

But their warnings spoke to a theme with broad implications around the world, as societies from Greece to Jamaica suffer from the harrowing public health impacts of austerity.

"More generally, the wider reality of a society thrown completely off balance by the emotional toxicity of neoliberal thinking is affecting Britain in profound ways, the distressing effects of which are often most visible in the therapist’s consulting room," the letter states.

"This letter sounds the starting-bell for a broadly based campaign of organizations and professionals against the damage that neoliberalism is doing to the nation’s mental health."

CommonDreams

Note: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

No doubt insufficient stimulus; costly bailouts for the wealthy and not the people; long-term neglect of the victims of the collapse followed by no or grossly inadequate relief; sequestration; inadequate, quickly de-fanged reforms; lack of consequences for perpetrators; etc., etc., etc., here in the U.S.--in other words, America's bi-partisan austerity program, has brought to life many people's worst nightmares and done extensive mental health damage here as well. Not just upon the victims, of course, but family members, friends, acquaintances. This is like the fall-out from a war with upwards of 10,000 casualties and millions upon millions of wounded, some permanently, and the vast majority of Democrats apparently have no idea. No doubt most of us have had many, many first-hand experiences. So why the obtuse embrace of neoliberalism?

For here we are, a group of ostensibly progressive Democrats championing democracy and justice, where a large contingent is already rallying around a Presidential candidate firmly entrenched in the country's neoliberal establishment, her coffers flush to the gills with funding from the financial institutions and individuals who ruined the global economy, murdered the equity that was actually, truly earned by millions of homeowners, slaughtered the retirement accounts of millions of workers willfully and wantonly defrauded, in other words, a candidate sleeping with those who wielded the bludgeons that have driven and continue drive the world into desperation and despair. Because that's normal. It's inevitable. It's what adults do.

How quickly they forget. Not the Republicans. The Democrats.

And we like accuse Republicans for being weak on memory, nuance and math.

Let us just remember, for a second, what happened with the last Clinton:

The most vast, destructively consequential merger & acquistion spree-fueled concentration of wealth and power since the gilded age. Industry after industry after industry collapsed into small, tightly held oligopolies and monopolies upon the graveyards of vibrant, sustainable community businesses, forcing globalization, outsourcing, offshoring, natural resource theft and biosphere destruction, the race to the bottom jobs economy, etc., a war upon the 90% from which it will almost certainly never recover.

Massive media consolidation - hundreds of entities collapsed into entities owned by six (now five?) major multi-nationals, a phenomena which itself has put democracy on the mat.

[How? By embracing the laissez-faire ethos of neoliberalism and losing ALL touch with the boundaries of and ethical stewardship over monopolistic advances and just letting it happen because that's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.]

NAFTA, opening the floodwaters which run to this day in the Amazonian tide of TPP, increasingly rendering workers powerless and thoroughly unrepresented at home and abroad, and soon to subjugate sovereign, even global interests, such as climate change mitigation, to the interests of private multi-nationals to develop, maintain and grow revenue. [If they can't replace fossil fuel revenues from renewables, they'll bill us for loss of revenue when we sidestep them.] That's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.

Welfare Reform without effective alternative programs. That's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.

Wall St De-Regulation - opening S&L funds to risky investments; allowing banking firms bringing securities to market to also produce the advisory analysis used by investors, analysis which was, especially in the dot com arena, routinely fraudulent; permitting rapid expansion of unregulated derivatives toward the creation of the casino largely responsible for the '08 collaps. That's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.

This is the environment created by neoliberals of both parties, an environment in which pluotcracy is ascendant and democracy is down for the count. An environment which the establishment insists is normal, inevitable and non-negotiable for competitive business. That's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.

The unquestioned (unnoticed?) capture of board rooms across the country by colluding managers and directors, following which executive compensation has skyrocketed, completely untethered to performance and participants in the rest of the marketplace, invulnerable, beyond reproach, unquestioned to this very day. That's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.

Those who defend the Clinton economy both give him virtual sole credit for the growth in GDP AND refuse to acknowledge the contribution AND destructiveness of the bubble upon which it rode. That's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.

Moreover, people will no doubt forget that Clinton began with an austerity program of his own, putting the national deficit ahead of the far more consequential needs of majority of the population already suffering from neoliberalism, then most recently experienced in the '92 recession. And the takeaway they ride on to this day is that the debt is more important than jobs and wages. That's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.

THIS is what so-called "Democrats" are inviting:

more recoveries and expansions for the 10%,
more bailouts for .1%,
more neglect for the 90% ("it's globalization, can't do anything about that!),
much, much more power over everything for the .1%.

Very shortly, whether Citizens United exists or doesn't will be completely beside the point, since what happens in D.C. will be completely out of the control of whomever is sent there.

Sit back. Relax. The adults are in charge. That's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.

If the Democratic Party isn't serious enough about democracy to nominate someone who will champion policies and practices that promote democracy while blocking or eliminating policies that increase plutocracy, how can it honestly be considered anything but a tool to co-opt half the voting populace for the wealthy few? It can't. It just can't.

Especially once you consider that that same candidate is the as neo-conservative, hawkish and militaristic as any Democratic Presidential candidate we've had in decades...

For these reasons, for the love god, for those you profess to love and care for, for the GD biosphere, throw all your might behind identifying and supporting a real, non-neoliberal, pro-democracy candidate, and save HRC for the LAST resort. Or at least change the GD Party name to something honest.

[How about the "We'd like to have democracy but believe that's a unicorn so we'll accept neoliberalism, plutocracy, mental illness, endless war, climate change catastrophe Party?"] Because that's what it is at the moment, at least that portion seriously supporting or contemplating an HRC Presidency as anything but the last resort after every other option is pursued.

From the "Democrats Didn't Get the Democracy Memo" Department:

"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy and mental health in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few with great mental distress, but we can't have both." - Reality
Please proceed, "Democrats." Please fucking proceed with your destructive plans.
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I for one

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Widely distributed income and wealth and the power and influence they confer within the public sphere are VITAL to democracy and justice. Real democracy and justice will not, cannot exist when income, wealth and power are highly concentrated.

Ever-increasing concentration of income, wealth and power has not always been, as many Democrats insist. It is not "normal," as many Democats insist. It is not inevitable, as many Democrats insist. (Consider the great expansion of the middle class during the middle of the last century as proof to the contrary.) Allowing bad things to happen, participating in bad things happening, as many Democrats do in supporting or otherwise allowing the neoliberalism embraced by the Party leadership, because they think it is normal, even desirable, and inevitable, is really what corruption is all about. The corruption of good intentions with money, comfort, convenience and/or bogus excuses, such as "normalcy" and "inevitability," for bad behavior.

As MLK so eloquently noted, the status of all justice ultimately depends first and foremost upon economic equity. Hide economic inequity behind false meritocracy all you want, it increases injustice of the tiny few against the multitudinous many, as well as whatever other injustices they may support and perpetuate to further their own cause. It's a bad deal to forfeit economic equity for anything else. Period. Only damn fools, useful idiots and self-serving opportunists will tell you otherwise.

Neoliberal Democrats may increase taxes on the wealthy and they may develop social programs for the poor, but when the midway is packed up and carried away, when the neoliberal administration leaves town, we all have far less wealth and influence over the future relative to the .1% than we did before it all began, when we cast our vote for it. Even with the neoliberal "Democrat" there instead of the Republican. The past few decades show that neoliberal Democrats somehow have fared no better in helping out the middle or lower classes relative to the .1% when the double entry bookkeeping is all done. Neoliberal Democrat or Republican, the .1% get stronger and we get weaker every single second. We trade trillions away for billions in return. We trade trillions in vast, unfettered mortgage and securities fraud, bailouts, corporate welfare, and on and on, for billions for ACA. This is not normal or inevitable and sure as fuck is no coincidence. It's the entire purpose of the neoliberal midway.

For the same reason, a Democrat who only votes Democrat on social issues but votes Republican on matters advancing plutocracy and oligarchy is of absolutely no help whatsoever. This is not white privilege talking. The only thing that matters in the end is do we have the political influence to assert and/or protect justice tomorrow? No social victory today is worth a good goddamn if it is traded for less income, wealth and, thus--in a capitalist society, especially neoliberal crony capitalism--political influence tomorrow, since that victory and all others, already won or not, depend upon tomorrow's influence. Why this is not OBVIOUS is one of the great mysteries of the age, and why I find it outrageous that people insult ME for villifying and refusing to support neoliberal candidates.

The Party circular firing squad is created by design when the neoliberals are invited into the wagon train. When the wagons of this train are drawn into a circle for defense of democracy, anyone with one firing neuron will return fire on the neoliberals whether or not they are in or outside the circle. It makes no difference where they stand or what they call themselves, neoliberals will sell us deeper into plutocracy, and that is the entire ballgame, folks. Plutocracy and democracy do not co-exist. No democracy, no justice.

HRC is a neoliberal. No amount of populist lip service will change that. You may be fooled by the shell game, as I was originally by Obama's (as TPP, especially secret fast-tracked TPP, only the latest treason, so amply demonstrates), but I am not fooled this time, not with HRC. Make no mistake about it: any gesture she would make to help the middle and/or lower classes would by the end of the day be offset many times over by far larger assistance to the upper class. She may not call them her base, grand triangulator that she is, but they are. Just as they were for her husband. W. was just more honest.

And it doesn't matter whether she is pro-this or that liberal cause, because in the end she is pro concentration of income, wealth and power. She is pro-plutocracy. She is pro-oligarchy. Don't let the sleight of hand or shiny objects of pro- this or that fool you. In the end, if she is elected, you and we all will be far less capable of fighting injustice thereafter. Period.

We like to say that rank-and-file Republicans are fools for voting against their own self-interests when they vote Republicans. Well, Democrats who vote for neoliberals of any stripe are no less fools. And I won't be fooled or brow-beaten into joining them.

There was a headline article on HuffPo that appeared and disappeared quite quickly yesterday morning. The title was something to the effect of "Wall Street Not Concerned" with a giant picture of HRC. The article explains how Wall St. is not concerned about the populist talk coming from HRC because they know it's just good politics if she's going to co-opt the Democratic Party for the oligarchy. [The article didn't actually disappear. Not entirely. It just was no longer at the top of the front page. Or anywhere on the front page. Or on the Politics page. So far as I was able to ascertain, it was only available if you searched something like Clinton Wall Street April 16 2015. And it was under the less emotionally and intellectually honest title:  Hillary Clinton's Wall Street Backers: We Get It.. Moreover, yesterday, for the brief moment in time, the entire article appeared on HuffPo. Now, only a couple of sentences are there. The rest is on Politico. Coincidence?]

You may be willing to overlook her coziness with oligarchs. Not I. No more than I am willing to overlook Obama's involvement in TPP. It's no freakin' coincidence that Big Business, otherwise portrayed as a rival in the media, is willing to give him carte blanche to negotiate on its behalf for the TPP. But damn fools, useful idiots and opportunists are blinking.

These are not horse races people. They are horseshit. The whole thing is rigged to thwart justice for the many. Whatever accomplishments you think have been achieved have been bought with shackles, and that is the only kind of deal available to you in this system.

Anyone who tells you we can create meaningful change through this system, such as by filling seats at the bottom with real Democrats  and then painstakingly promoting them up through the ranks until they fill every position at the top, is smoking some powerful shit. This system will spit out, convert, or compromise 99.99% of them.

So the ONLY way to deal with it, ultimately, is with a broadside applying means and rules not designed or sanctioned by the system. Which is why they have erected mass surveillance, to sniff out and exterminate any effort to organize and use the one advantage we otherwise have: numbers. And this is why they have militarized the police and created sanctions for pre-empting, marginalizing, and brutalizing dissenters. So, many thanks to those of you who support or otherwise ignore or deny the rise of mass surveillance and the police state in general.

Read my sig. I will not be voting for HRC or anyone else who will--despite token words or gestures to the contrary--do nothing but ensure that the .1% will be stronger and less accountable with each passing second.

Read my sig. I will not support her or anyone else who will don kevlar for the plutocracy in defense of oligarchs.

Upwards of 75% of the voting populace will not be voting for Democrats next year.

Please proceed.

Poll

I am a

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| 34 votes | Vote | Results

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Thu Apr 02, 2015 at 11:11 AM PDT

About that Iran Nuke Deal

by Words In Action

I admit that I am not tracking this issue much beyond the headlines, in part because of the outrageousness of the Republicans' behavior. It was obnoxious and crazy, per ideological design, from the get go, but hit a rather sharp inflection point with the distribution of Cotton's letter signed by 47 other assholes masquerading as statesman. Watching such things up close induces nausea without even the brief, illusory pleasure of being drunk, and who knowingly wants to do that?

So the breaking headline I noticed this time is the HuffPo's Deal?, which is paired with another headline, sourced from WashPo: Why Obama chose the Iran talks to take one of his presidency’s biggest risks. For point of clarification both headlines do have complementary articles, but my point can be made without discussing them, so why not save ourselves the trouble? While we're at it, we can probably save ourselves the time of even reading them.

So it turns out that this is not so much a diary per se as a couple of links to articles that have prompted a comment that I've chosen to broadcast to save myself the time and tediousness of looking for an appropriate diary into which I might slip it... But since you've read this far you may as well hear it.

I know it would be inflammatory but, in the spirit of O's boldness in pursuit of a nuke deal with Iran, which he does in the face of equally bold but singularly asinine opposition, might it not be worthwhile for him or a mouthpiece to point out that the Iraq War has been a perfectly good example of the disastrous impact that choosing the war hammer to deal with every threat can have? Might not we remind the world that, by comparison, the sanctions being imposed and enforced by the international community were, in fact, being used to adequate effect against Iraq? Might we not assert that a deal with Iran, supported, endorsed and enforced by the international community is, in the face of the Iraq example, worth a good try? Might we not also point out that the result of a satisfactory, though no doubt imperfect, deal, might very well result in far less loss of life and money, not to mention the tens (hundreds?) of thousands whose lives are forever changed for having participated or having had a loved one participate in the war solution?

(Might it not also be worth pointing out that that war "solution" has simply morphed into, among other things, the ISIS outrages?)

Quite clearly one salient conclusion to be drawn from the past, present and predictable future is that Republicans don't like deals whether they can or do work or not because they simply prefer war. Period. When their blood boils, nothing short of war drums, charging missiles and the definitive death of their enemies and "the lamentations of the women and the children" will do (nod to Conan). Especially when they can get surrogates to do the fighting and foreign soil upon which to engage in it.

So, we have recent history, still unfolding, of the disaster of choosing war over deals backed by the will of the international community. And we have the recent history, still unfolding, of Republicans simply being bloodythirsty maniacs drooling for war at every turn so long as--in the spirit of the true chickenhawk that dwells within the vast majority of Republican breasts--they can avoid personal involvement and risk. To them, the slaking of that thirst is priceless, especially since it can so easily be traded with the approval of both parties for less "entitlements" the 47% don't deserve anyway.

I don't know. These points seem both pertinent and noteworthy, even if you don't drag yourself through the muddy details, as I haven't. Maybe also a good topic to put on the table in the onrushing, vomit-filled kabuki of 2016. IMO (note the lack of demurring "H"), the Democrats should make a better argument that they don't support endless war, which is no doubt a question in many people's minds, even if to significant extent just for better kabuki. The Iran deal would be as good a place as any--and better than the ISIS crisis--to draw that line of demarcation in the sand on the stage of the kabuki theater to which we seem confined, like some Hotel California nightmare. With each ISIS outrage, no doubt, there's a spike of support for swooping in and beheading every last one of them, tending as we do from the deepest recesses of our most ancient brain parts, toward impulsive, easy solutions, whether or not history has demonstrated they produce anything but the most superficial, fleeting, illusory "benefit."

Okay, I've hit my limit of really lengthy, contorted sentences for the moment. Well, not my limit as a writer, but that of pretty much any reader, including myself. Not that I haven't read nor don't appreciate the words of Wm Butler Yeats:

I said, ‘A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,  
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Adam's Curse is having its way with me today.

btw, pretty sure this is the first instance of Robert E. Howard and Wm Butler Yeats being quoted in the same extended comment.

Poll

It's a good time to

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| 19 votes | Vote | Results

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In thinking about the various ways in which the national Ferguson-support "community" can respond to the heinous miscarriage of justice we have witnessed, it occurred to me that putting Bob McCulloch, St. Louis County prosecutor and central figure in the perpetration of that crime, on public trial might be one effective method of drawing attention to his failure, which was no doubt instrumental in the failure of the jury. It would also serve as a way to document a rebuttal, if you will.

A grand jury of 9 black and 3 white jurors ought to be selected. The facts in the case of how McCulloch failed in his responsibility of prosecutor, from the day of the MURDER up to and including his disgustingly farcical announcement last night.

The entire deliberation of the mock grand jury should be scripted by talented writers and last the same number of days, thereby DOUBLING the time upon which the public would dwell upon this terrible process and result.

The entire deliberation should also be filmed and released on YouTube, with transcripts online and coverage across the blogosphere.

Protests should be arranged and held in Ferguson around the "leaks" from these Grand Jury deliberations on the case of Bob McCulloch.

After it is all said and done, the entire thing should be compiled into a book sold on Amazon as both a record and a fundraiser. People should be encouraged to purchase copies for every library in the country.

Put Prosecutor McCulloch On TRIAL!

Make him rue the day he decided to throw this decision for Darren Wilson.

Poll

Should Bob McCulloch be tried for (crimes to be named)

73%22 votes
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| 30 votes | Vote | Results

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Robert Reich posted this on facebook today:

Business owner Nick Hanauer has a good idea: By executive order the President could raise the salary level at which employers are required to pay employees time-and-a-half for every hour worked beyond 40 hours a week. In 1975, more than 65 percent of salaried workers qualified for such overtime pay, and the threshold for receiving it was $69,000 in today’s dollars. But since then the value of the threshold has eroded to $23,660, so just 11 percent of salaried workers now qualify. If Obama raised the threshold back to the same standard we had in 1975, and everyone earning up to $69,000 got overtime pay, Hannauer estimates 10.4 million middle-class Americans would get a raise. Or they'd have more time off, and corporate America would have to hire hundreds of thousands of additional workers to pick up the slack—slashing the unemployment rate and forcing up wages.

The right will react to this like they do to raising the minimum wage – calling it a job killer. But in fact, putting more money into the pockets of more workers gives employers more customers, and thereby an incentive to hire more workers. What do you think of Hannauer's idea?

[emphases mine]

Hard to believe Obama won't hear of this.

If the Democratic establishment believes in supply-side economics, which it appears it does, then it won't touch Hannauer's brilliant plan for an Executive Order that could significantly improve demand.

If they believe in demand-side economics, which they should, then it would be hard to understand why Obama wouldn't do it immediately and get the full benefit to the economy before the '16 election. Every Democrat in D.C. could get behind it, and we could watch reality overcome voodoo.

The disconnect between establishment Dems who tout Obama's legacy on the economy and the voters who stayed home is that 90% have not recovered, and the 1% continues to concentrate income, wealth and power every single day. This move would actual have a significant impact on the expansion of the gap, either slowing it significantly or potentially halting it.

And guess what, small donors and campaign volunteers would actually be in a better position to help...

But is that really what the establishment wants to do, represent the 90%? Or would they rather continue to tell them to stop whining?

Will Obama take the initiative to help the 90%?

Poll

Should President Obama Adjust the Paid OT Salary Ceiling to $69K

78%91 votes
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| 116 votes | Vote | Results

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Sun Nov 09, 2014 at 10:54 PM PST

Selma (The Movie)

by Words In Action

So UTvoter and I went to see Interstellar tonight (long, but recommended; good cast) and beforehand we saw the trailer for Selma, an upcoming film produced by Oprah Winfrey about "Martin Luther King, Lyndon Baines Johnson and the civil rights marches that changed America."

According to IDMB it's not due out until Jan. 9, but I wanted to give a heads up while it's on my mind and also to put a particular bug in people's ear.

Obviously it's an important movie but if you are like me it might be one of those serious movies you put off so you can watch lighter or more escapist fare.

The review raises some questions about whether the movie will do well or not based on a number of considerations. I can't begin to guess myself whether it will become a popular or critical success or not.

I bring attention to the release because I'd like to encourage everyone to consider making a special effort to see this film. In fact, I'd like you to ignore your aversion to overcrowded theaters--if you're like me--and consider going the first night or weekend at least, if simply out of respect for the subject and to show your support--for Oprah's commitment in financing the film and to the cast and crew (see link above) which created it--by contributing to its opening ticket sales. Maybe even make it a group evening with family and/or friends and even consider buying tickets for people who may not otherwise attend, etc.

Especially with what's going on in Ferguson and across this country with police militarization (topics I discovered are raised in the above Trailer Review, along with Occupy Wall St.), I think it would be a good message for us all to send out by showing our solidarity in part through our recognition of the significance of the subject and this film.


Discuss

Wed Nov 05, 2014 at 06:41 PM PST

Beyond Political Fatigue

by Words In Action

Hey folks, I am done with politics. I hope Republicans get a super majority in 2016. That will move the timeline for the second Civil War they want to about 2020, which means the country will have recovered by 2050. No, seriously, I am done.

I am exhausted and disgusted at how ignorant people are.

Someone I "know" on fb "liked" this comment so I got a chance to see it. I've seen a few other remarks like this today but I chose this one because there was a bit more to it.

First, I wonder how much of this sentiment is out there. I'm guessing enough to make a difference. Campaign donors and participants are not so few for no reason. Voter turnout is not less than 40% for no reason.

Second, I wonder how many people inside politics will internalize sentiments like this for useful purposes, or if they will essentially just toss them to the heap of the dismissed and disenfranchised because they have given in to their frustration, anger or despair.

I know there are many who think 2016 will be fine because Democrats do better in Presidential elections. Of course "well" in this context means that something a bit over 25% of registered voters will turn out to vote for Democrats. It also means that we should come out afterwards a bit more competitive with batshit crazy. When THAT suffices as the definition of doing well, when THAT is what the Party sets as its target, I personally am not surprised by the various emotions and attitudes people adopt when they choose not to vote. In fact, I am a lot less surprised by that than the fact that the Party never sets a landslide as a target and then develops a strategy for THAT, beginning with developing an offer no one can refuse.

But that won't happen for a variety of reasons mostly determined by the Serious People who must consider the "practical" implications. So maybe the winger Civil War thing will happen. And Climate Change. At the same time. That could very well turn out to be more practical.

Discuss
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