Professor, Where Do Your Loyalties Lie?

Because of all the writings and the rantings and the criticisms that I offer I have been asked many times…..just what do you want from a political party?

I mean so far I have seen nothing in the parties that I can sign onto….in the distant past I was a socialist and then a Green……I have never found anything I liked about either of the two major parties….most of them talk a good game but never deliver…

I have a problem with most of the policies….domestic, financial, energy, education and mostly with their foreign policies….the major parties are not about the country but rather the cash to be made by deceiving the voter….

There are major issues that need attention in this election…..

A selection of issues at stake in the presidential election and their impact on Americans, in brief:

Source: WHY IT MATTERS: Issues at stake in election

Issues that need to be talked about beyond the platitudes we have these days…..

So I sat down to list what I am looking for in a political party….the list was going well….that is until I read in “Popular Resistance” the 15 core principles…..after reading the list I saw possible solutions to the issues that we do not talk about….why?  Easy…most will not generate the necessary applause……

This list was developed during the organizing process for the Occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC.

Corporatism – Firmly establish that money is not speech, corporations are not people and only people have Constitutional rights. End corporate influence over the political process. End corporate welfare that enriches the few and instead treat government investment as something that all profit from, ensure corporations pay their fair share by ending corporate loopholes and tax subsidies and put in place a global tax so that off-shoring of money does not avoid taxes. Protect people and the environment from damage by corporations and end corporate trade agreements and partnerships that undermine consumer, labor and environmental protections.

Wars and Militarism – End wars and occupations, end private for-profit military contractors and end the weapons export industry. War crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace must be addressed and those responsible held accountable under international law. Reduce the national security state and demilitarize the police.

Human Rights – End exploitation of people in the US and abroad. End discrimination in all forms (race, gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity), guarantee equal civil rights, and the right of people to travel across borders to work and live. Make the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a reality.

Worker Rights and Jobs – Guarantee that all working-age people have the right to safe, just, non-discriminatory and dignified working conditions, a sustainable living wage, paid leave and economic protection. Put in place policies that allow worker owned and managed businesses, e.g. worker-owned cooperatives, so workers can build wealth and have greater control over their economic lives.

Government – Guarantee that all processes of the three branches of government are be accountable to international law, transparent and follow the rule of law. Respect the civil rights of government employees. Create a work environment in government that empowers service to people, participation, honesty and integrity and that protects whistleblowers. Build policies and infrastructure that allow people to participate in decision making.

Elections – Guarantee that all citizens 18 and older have the right to vote without barriers and establish universal voter registration. Guarantee that all candidates have the right to be heard in open debates and to run with low-threshold ballot access laws. Count all votes in a transparent method open to the public. Institute new voting systems so that more than majority views are represented, e.g. proportional representation; and voting systems that avoid voting based on fear of the greater evil, e.g. instant run-off or ranked choice voting. Create a level playing field by funding public elections with public dollars and clean election laws. Require that all donations directly and indirectly to elections should be transparent, i.e. no anonymous funding of elections.

Criminal Justice and Prisons – end stop and frisk and other racial profiling police practices that lead to police harassment,  brutality and even killings of civilians; respect constitutional rights against search and seizure, right to counsel and against self-incrimination. End the drug war and adopt a public health, evidence-based drug policy that respects individual rights and does not rely on law enforcement. End private for-profit prisons, end mandatory sentencing, recognize prisoners have the right to humane and just conditions with a focus on rehabilitation and reintegration into society and abolish the death penalty. Police need to protect the right to peaceably assemble to redress grievances and the right to Freedom of Speech without infiltration or other police practices that undermine those rights.

Healthcare – Create a national, universal and publicly financed comprehensive health system, i.e. improved Medicare for All, which provides full health coverage throughout life with no out-of-pocket costs. Promote wellness in public policy. Recognize that health is a human right not a commodity.

Education – Guarantee that all people have the right to a high quality, publicly-funded and broad education from pre-school through vocational training or university.

Housing – Guarantee that all people have the right to affordable and safe housing. End predatory mortgage and foreclosure practices.

Environment – Adopt policies which effectively create a carbon-free and nuclear free energy economy and that respect the rights of nature. Confront climate change with a rapid and comprehensive transition to an energy efficient, wind, solar and other renewable source-based economy that ends the wasteful use of energy. End the extractive economy and move toward a circular system where there is no waste and everything is re-used. Remake land use planning to support a healthy environment.

Finance and the Economy – Break up the too big to fail banks, develop public banks in every state and major city, encourage community banks and credit unions, create local stock exchanges to allow investment in local communities and create microfinance loans to encourage entrepreneurship and support local businesses. Re-make the Federal Reserve into a transparent, democratic institution that responds to the needs of the economy and not to the needs of big banks. Put limits on the discrepancy between worker and executive pay. End policies which foster a wealth divide and move to a localized and democratic financial system. Guarantee that people’s deposits are protected and that the public does not pay for financial institutions that fail. Reform taxes so that they are progressive and provide goods, monetary gain and services for the people including creating a guaranteed national income.

Media – End the concentration of media by a small number of corporations. Democratize the media by recognizing that the airwaves and the internet are public goods and recognize independent and citizen’s media as legitimate media outlets. Require that media be accurate and accountable to the people and that the internet be accessible to all people, respect people’s privacy and promote the sharing of information.

Food and Water – Create systems that protect the land and water, create local, affordable and sustainable food networks, encourage community supported agriculture and farmer’s markets and diversify local food supplies so that food does not depend on transit over long distances. Encourage organic food production free of chemicals and end genetically modified foods. Guarantee the right to produce and harvest seeds. Stop commodification of water and guarantee access to water as a public good.

Transportation – Provide affordable, clean and convenient public transportation and safe spaces for pedestrian and non-automobile travel. Develop land use planning that creates walkable and bikeable communities, with mass transit so that people do not depend on automobiles. Improve travel by train, rapid transit and commuter rails, so people are not dependent on air travel and automobiles.

That was easy….it saved me a lot of time….after all I am basically an old man….now it I can find a party that has these principles in their heart then they have me…..the closest I have found so far is the Green Party….

Or maybe it is time for a new political party….one that has all the desires of the American people at heart.

I prefer principles to party….all Americans should feel the same…..that would make changes that we all desire…..without principles we have a loss of awareness and this loss feeds ignorant decisions during an election.

A wasted vote is a vote along party lines….if these toads lose then it is their fault for not having any principles…..

Me? I’ll vote for a party of principles.

 

Neoliberalism against capitalism?

My regular readers have heard me rail against neoliberalism….I have, in the past, called it nothing more than a conservative ideology trying to hide among progressives…..

Neil Davidson on how the current neo-liberal project has been almost too successful as a ruling class strategy, creating a form of capitalism which endangers the long-term security of capital itself and edges society ever closer to barbarism.

Source: Neoliberalism against capitalism? – Neil Davidson

Neoliberal thought has done more damage to the nation than any other ideology that has been deemed dangerous to our way of life…..

How Rousseau Predicted Trump

I have introduced my granddaughter to the great thinkers….she is not that thrilled right now but I hope she will come to appreciate what they did….

As most of my readers know I do love me some history…..and with these elections I have found some predictions, if you will, about the rise of the cosmopolitan Elite (concept from the Age of Enlightenment)……..

Back in the 18th century during the Age of Enlightenment….there was a philosopher named Jean-Jacques Rousseau….his insights went deep….he wrote about everything …….even the possibly of a Trump-like leader.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was one of the most influential thinkers during the Enlightenment in eighteenth century Europe. His first major philosophical work, A Discourse on the Sciences and Arts, was the winning response to an essay contest conducted by the Academy of Dijon in 1750. In this work, Rousseau argues that the progression of the sciences and arts has caused the corruption of virtue and morality. This discourse won Rousseau fame and recognition, and it laid much of the philosophical groundwork for a second, longer work, The Discourse on the Origin of Inequality. The second discourse did not win the Academy’s prize, but like the first, it was widely read and further solidified Rousseau’s place as a significant intellectual figure. The central claim of the work is that human beings are basically good by nature, but were corrupted by the complex historical events that resulted in present day civil society.Rousseau’s praise of nature is a theme that continues throughout his later works as well, the most significant of which include his comprehensive work on the philosophy of education, the Emile, and his major work on political philosophy, The Social Contract: both published in 1762. These works caused great controversy in France and were immediately banned by Paris authorities. Rousseau fled France and settled in Switzerland, but he continued to find difficulties with authorities and quarrel with friends. The end of Rousseau’s life was marked in large part by his growing paranoia and his continued attempts to justify his life and his work. This is especially evident in his later books, The Confessions, The Reveries of the Solitary Walker, and Rousseau: Judge of Jean-Jacques.

The Enlightenment philosopher’s attack on cosmopolitan élites now seems prophetic.

Source: How Rousseau Predicted Trump – The New Yorker

How interesting that these people…these writers saw more of the future than anyone these days…..we cannot seem to get past the next 140 character Tweet…….but as usual all goes unheeded so we can bitch about it at a later date.

Have a good day my friends…..

Do You Know Your Political DNA?

As I teach classes here and there I am always asking my young students where do they stand politically…..many have no idea….they know Repub, Dem and independent….beyond that they have NO idea that there are many other options….

So I decided when I teach a course I gove them these quizzes as homework and ask that they print out their results and we will discuss them in class….

Source: The Definitive Political Orientation Test | PlayBuzz

Source: Political Spectrum Quiz – Your Political Label

Source: The Political Compass

I know that everyone has an opinion and a party that they think represents their ideals……usually these ideas are formed by the news media they choose to fixate upon…..

But if my readers would like a better idea of their political orientation then maybe it would be fun to try these quizzes for themselves…..

Just a thought.

Speaking Of Libertarians

We all know of Ron Paul and his son Rand and their Libertarian leanings….even some within the GOP have these leanings….but that is all there is ….leanings.

As popular as people think Libertarianism …….they are probably mistaken….there some parts of the political philosophy that they will use to their advantage….but a total Libertarian is a thing from the past…..

I have tried to explain this belief to some of my friends and acquaintances….but have been fairly unsuccessful…..the truth is that I also find some of their policies acceptable….but only a few……mostly in the field of foreign policy.

But how do you explain Libertarians to others that are not so sure of what they are or what they believe?

Good question!  And I think I have an answer for them……

Libertarians have a problem. Their political philosophy all but died out in the mid- to late-20th century, but was revived by billionaires and corporations that found them politically useful. And yet libertarianism retains the qualities that led to its disappearance from the public stage, before its reanimation by people like the Koch brothers: It doesn’t make any sense.

They call themselves “realists” but rely on fanciful theories that have never predicted real-world behavior. They claim that selfishness makes things better for everybody, when history shows exactly the opposite is true. They claim that a mythical “free market” is better at everything than the government is, yet when they really need government protection, they’re the first to clamor for it.

Source: Here are 11 questions you can ask Libertarians to see if they’re hypocrites

These days a libertarian belief is one of convenience…anything to be elected and stay elected….whatever is useful to gain that end…..including Libertarianism.

Speaking of “getting elected” as a Libertarian…….

There’s a guy who’s “having a good day” and emerging with surprising poll numbers against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but he’s someone FiveThirtyEight says is easy to confuse with “that plumber who fixed your running toilet last month or your spouse’s weird friend from work who keeps calling the landline.” Who? It’s Gary Johnson, the probable Libertarian Party candidate for president, and based on recent numbers, FiveThirtyEight thinks he’s someone to keep an eye on. The ex-New Mexico governor went up against both Clinton and Trump in two May polls, and while Trump and Clinton hovered within 3 points of each other in both polls—Clinton got 38% to Trump’s 35% in a Morning Consult survey released Tuesday, while Trump came out with 42% to Clinton’s 39% in a Fox News poll conducted May 14-17—Johnson walked away with 10% in both matchups. And FiveThirtyEight doesn’t think these polls are necessarily May outliers, citing a Monmouth University poll from March that gave Clinton 42%, Trump 34%, and Johnson 11% in a three-way runoff.

Morning Consult notes that percentage is nearly twice as high as what Johnson got in most 2012 tracking polls when he ran against President Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney. And Vox notes that if the experienced Johnson is picked as the Libertarian nominee at his party’s convention in Orlando, Fla., this weekend—along with William Weld, an ex-Massachusetts governor who could become Johnson’s running mate—the Libertarian ticket “could have a real opportunity this November to run a real race against two of the least-liked presidential candidates in recent history.” What FiveThirtyEight also says Johnson has in his favor: history, via other third-party candidates who did fairly well nationally (e.g., George Wallace and Ross Perot). And the Washington Post says the case for a third-party candidate is growing. But FiveThirtyEight also adds Johnson only won 1% of the national vote in 2012 and that he still needs to secure the nomination. (Don’t know Johnson well? USA Today takes you on a “speed date.”)

I am sure that there are some that are pleased with these numbers……but that will quickly disappear on election day.

Neoliberalism Is Destroying Almost Everybody’s Lives

Are you a liberal?  Maybe a conservative?  Probably you are neither but rather what we political scientists call neoliberal.

That is right both of our major parties are basically living under the tenets of neoliberalism…..

The main points of neo-liberalism include:

  • THE RULE OF THE MARKET. Liberating “free” enterprise or private enterprise from any bonds imposed by the government (the state) no matter how much social damage this causes. Greater openness to international trade and investment, as in NAFTA. Reduce wages by de-unionizing workers and eliminating workers’ rights that had been won over many years of struggle. No more price controls. All in all, total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services. To convince us this is good for us, they say “an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth, which will ultimately benefit everyone.” It’s like Reagan’s “supply-side” and “trickle-down” economics — but somehow the wealth didn’t trickle down very much.
  • CUTTING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES like education and health care. REDUCING THE SAFETY-NET FOR THE POOR, and even maintenance of roads, bridges, water supply — again in the name of reducing government’s role. Of course, they don’t oppose government subsidies and tax benefits for business.
  • DEREGULATION. Reduce government regulation of everything that could diminsh profits, including protecting the environmentand safety on the job.
  • PRIVATIZATION. Sell state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors. This includes banks, key industries, railroads, toll highways, electricity, schools, hospitals and even fresh water. Although usually done in the name of greater efficiency, which is often needed, privatization has mainly had the effect of concentrating wealth even more in a few hands and making the public pay even more for its needs.
  • ELIMINATING THE CONCEPT OF “THE PUBLIC GOOD” or “COMMUNITY” and replacing it with “individual responsibility.” Pressuring the poorest people in a society to find solutions to their lack of health care, education and social security all by themselves — then blaming them, if they fail, as “lazy.”

Our conservs live and die, at election time, by these tenets……our liberals are not as blatant but they also live by them.

Crisis after crisis is being caused by a failed ideology. But it cannot be stopped without a coherent alternative.

So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Source: Neoliberalism Is Destroying Almost Everybody’s Lives—How Many People Even Know What It Is? | Alternet

Time for Americans to face up to what is happening in their name….it is not pretty and it is not healthy……time to look for an alternative…..time to put the country back on the track of prosperity.

Is It Time From A Change?

This election, the 2016 election, has brought up many questions….one being…… are the two parties really representing the people of this nation?

And what about all those “independents”?  This is a con job…there are very few independents most can accurately be called centrist….but independent is a lie!  (More to come before the election on this faux issue)

With all the battles going on within the two parties could it be time for a new party to arise from the ashes of 2016?  Especially with the Democratic Party….there is deep division within the ranks….

Despite a decisive victory Tuesday providing further confirmation of her likely nomination, in many respects Hillary Clinton emerges from the New York primary more damaged, her party more divided, than she entered it. What came to be called The Battle of New York has served only to further expose what millions of people in the […]

Source: The (un)Democratic Primary: Why We Need a New Party of the 99% – The Unz Review

With this premise I agree….as a matter of fact I have been saying this since 2010 when the Dems imploded and allowed the GOP to gain control where they should not have control….

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I was thinking that in 1912 TR established the Bull Moose Party and the platform is one that could be useful today……

Teddy Roosevelt and the Progressive Party in 1912  gave Americans “A New Nationalism” and their platform was as follows….

In the social sphere the platform called for

  • A National Health Service to include all existing government medical agencies.
  • Social insurance,  to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled.
  • Limited injunctions in strikes.
  • Farm relief.
  • Worker’s compensation for work-related injuries.
  • An inheritance tax.
  • A Constitutional amendment to allow a Federal income tax.

The political reforms proposed included

  • Women’s suffrage.
  • Direct election of Senators.
  • Primary elections  for state and federal nominations.

The platform also urged states to adopt measures for “direct democracy”, including:

  • The recall election (citizens may remove an elected official before the end of his term).
  • The referendum (citizens may decide on a law by popular vote).
  • The initiative (citizens may propose a law by petition and enact it by popular vote).
  • Judicial recall (when a court declares a law unconstitutional, the citizens may override that ruling by popular vote).

Some parts we have settled….others are still not used or employed….we could do better…..

However, the main theme of the platform was an attack on the domination of politics by business interests, which allegedly controlled both established parties. The platform asserted that

To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.

To that end, the platform called for

  • Strict limits and disclosure requirements on political campaign contributions.
  • Registration of lobbyists.
  • Recording and publication of Congressional committee proceedings.

Teddy was shrewd….he was ahead of his time…….sadly we have few that are that shrewd these days…..we have cowards and reformers that best propose reactionary crap as policy.

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I even proposed a new Bull Moose Party here on IST back in 2010…….

The 2010 mid term elections have shown that the American people are ready for some change in the way that governing is done by our representatives…unfortunately we have little choice on who d…

Source: How About A New “Bull Moose Party”? #2 – In Saner Thought

I still believe that the US is primed for a new party….a Bull Moose Party…..a party that is truly of the people and not of Wall Street….Sander supporters must become a Tea Party of the Left. Bernie, run 3rd-Party….and A Bull Moose Party would be a good place to start this thing.

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The political revolution has begun….do you have the ‘nads to continue to the end?

Can you hear me NOW!?

Opinions?