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BILL MOYERS: This week on Moyers & Company, organized people against organized money. The spirit of '76 lives on.

JIM HIGHTOWER: There is a greater power that is building up in the countryside, simmering, bubbling in different places and that's going to come together because you can't hold the middle class down. That's a lot of people to hold down. They're beginning to rebel, that's what I'm saying.

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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. On this Fourth of July weekend, think about the authors of the Declaration of Independence who had the courage and nerve to stand up to the British crown and say, enough. And think of the everyday people, regular people, who then put themselves on the line to back up that Declaration. Those patriots have their counterparts today in the fight against the modern tyranny of organized money and its chokehold on our government.

These champions of grass roots action are fighting for a rearrangement of power not from the left or from the right but from the bottom up. They, too are saying, enough. No one speaks more powerfully for them than they do for themselves.

One of their best known has been agitating for ordinary people for most of his life. Like the circuit riders of old, spreading the word, Jim Hightower is forever on the road, speaking, riding the electronic rails of the Internet, appearing on radio and TV, preaching the grassroots gospel. He’s had first-hand experience of politics and government, both as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill and as the two-term agriculture commissioner of his native Texas, where he fought for small farmers against the giants of agribusiness. In addition to his books he publishes this political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown,” which many of us consider so essential I once raised money to help make people more aware of its wit and wisdom.

Welcome back, Jim.

JIM HIGHTOWER: Thank you, Bill. Great to be with you.

BILL MOYERS: You have been sounding the populist trumpet ever since we first met 30 or more years ago. But the walls of Jericho are still standing. Corporate power is, practically has the lease on Congress, the rich are richer, Wall Street is back on top, and politics at almost every level is overwhelmed by money. The robber barons have won, wouldn't you acknowledge that?

JIM HIGHTOWER: Well, the robber barons are certainly atop. And they, but I believe is this populist fervor that is challenging that robber barony that we have dominating pretty much every aspect of our lives. You know, politics, the economy, whether you get a job or not and whether that job comes with any pay, much less health care. And, you know, the media, you know, right on down the line.

Yet in every one of those segments there is a growing rebellion and an increasing awareness among different groups fighting different battles that they are connected to the other groups. It's not a movement, yet. But it's beginning to connect up. There's now this group called the United Workers Congress. And these are ten different very low income employee sectors; they're farm workers; they're nannies; they're taxicab drivers; they're day laborers; and they're adjunct professors.

BILL MOYERS: Adjunct professors?

JIM HIGHTOWER: Professors.

BILL MOYERS: That's an unusual participant in a coalition like that.

JIM HIGHTOWER: They’re paid a poverty wage, no health benefits, no security, job security you know, just like fast-food workers, in fact.

BILL MOYERS: What does that suggest to you?

JIM HIGHTOWER: It suggests that people are beginning to get together and see their common interests. So here are some of the, here are the highest educated poverty workers in America with the lowest educated poverty workers and seeing that they're in the same boat now. And that realization is a powerful political potential.

I'll give you another example. We had a world protest against McDonald's. There were 30 countries involved in it. That takes organization. Again, it's not high visibility yet, but neither was Civil Rights until it popped up. To me, these things have a dynamic of their own, a life of their own, and there comes a point at which the people are pushing and more and more politicians begin to respond Elizabeth Warren in the Senate makes a difference.

BILL MOYERS: Do you know about the NewDEAL?

JIM HIGHTOWER: Yes.

BILL MOYERS: I'm not talking about Franklin Roosevelt's political platform. I’m talking about a new organization in Washington, led by Wall Street Democrats like Cory Booker of New Jersey, they formed recently a group that can raise campaign cash secretly from anonymous donors. And so far, they've raised it from some of the same big corporations that are also contributing to Republicans: Wal-Mart, Pfizer, big pharma, Comcast and others, friendly corporate lobbyists help run this. One of its board members is a lobbyist for the US Chamber of Commerce and they call themselves the NewDEAL.

JIM HIGHTOWER: That is exactly what's wrong and why people are sick of politics that you would think that the answer, that a Democratic organization would think that the answer is for them to get corporate money as well.

That's what happened in Texas. The people didn't turn right wing. They quit voting because the Democrats quit being Democrats for exactly the reason that, of what Cory Booker is doing there.

They went out and got the corporate money. And you take that check, you know, you're not going to be talking populist old Democratic rallying the troops and going at the bastards and big shots and BS'ers.

You're not going to be talking about good jobs at good wages, not just jobs. Good, you know, jobs that have wages attached to them, living wages. You're not going to be talking about Medicare for all, you know, not Medicare through the, or health care, through the insurance companies, but just you're born, you get Medicare. That's it. People would've understood that. Well, we need to change the system.

So our politics are not dependent on a handful of rich people putting the money up to have a real politics. Instead, getting back to that grassroots politics, and that again, is what I see happening around the country. There's, as you know, this fracking movement across the country, mostly apolitical people often conservative people, Republicans, who now are just astonished and appalled that corporations are doing this to them, and that their own, political people of their own political belief are doing this to them, they’re not helping them.

So they're in rebellion. You got four cities in Colorado last fall, passed ordinances against fracking in their towns. There's going to, I think, be a, not settled yet, but looks like there'll be a constitutional amendment on the ballot in Colorado to allow cities to set their own terms of whether a fracker can come into town, or a Wal-Mart can come into town; that a community, a city itself, has rights that are superior to corporate rights.

BILL MOYERS: You know as well as I do that most members of congress are not even trying anymore, not listening to everyday people, not talking their language, not even knowing the regular folks.

I don't even think they're scared anymore of not pleasing the people. They're more scared of not pleasing their donors. And so what's going to happen when, if there is a convergence of this popular agitation and discontent and it runs into the walls of Jericho?

JIM HIGHTOWER: Well, as, there will be blood, I think. There will be heads bludgeoned.

BILL MOYERS: You're not saying to people, take up your guns and--

JIM HIGHTOWER: No, no, no, no. But take up yourself and get on the front lines, get in the face of power, and that power will have guns, and will have clubs and dogs, and they will unleash that on us. But we've got to be brave enough to do that.

It's been inevitable in every big movement, even the women's suffrage movement had violence against those women. And we certainly saw it in the Civil Rights movement. We see it in the environmental movement. The movements that have come along and succeeded have had to put their, not just their selves on the line, they had to put their heads on the line. And more and more people are doing it. Again, something like the fracking movement. People are taking abuse and under arrest.

BILL MOYERS: But, Jim, the Occupy movement, for example, started in 2011, spread around the world, it had wall-to-wall coverage from some 24 hour networks. Everyone was talking about it, and then it disappeared.

JIM HIGHTOWER: Well, one, it didn't disappear. It went into the countryside. There's a group called Occupy Our Homes that has helped to save at least hundreds, if not thousands, of people from Citigroup and Goldman Sachs and--

BILL MOYERS: It gets no press.

JIM HIGHTOWER: JPMorgan Chase. No, it gets, well, it gets local press, but very little press. But they are still out there, but what Occupy did was to change the discussion. You can ask Mitt Romney about that. It put inequity, the one percent versus 99 percent smack dab in the middle of the 2012 presidential election.

It made it possible for media everywhere to begin to talk about that or in fact have to talk about it because people were talking about it. It's not just the kids and the people who are at those camps around the country of Occupy, but the public support for it was overwhelming. And that generates a momentum.

BILL MOYERS: I agree with you and yet people have kept talking about it and as you know the inequality gap, the income gap, the wealth gap gets wider and wider like the Grand Canyon.

JIM HIGHTOWER: Well, yes, but you can’t just wait for it to, you can't just give up. That's your choice. I mean, do we just quit? No. You double down and go back at it and become more disobedient and seek new avenues and cleverer ways to go at it.

And people are, again, are doing that. In all sorts of movements including taking on big money and politics. You know, we have an actual grassroots movement now, I think it's 13 states have called, officially called on congress, the state legislatures have, to send to their states, to their people, a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. You get, you know, 13 more states that's going to be even bigger. And that movement is growing every single day.

And these are real people and groups of people and increasingly forging coalitions in their towns, in their states focused, as I say, squarely on the issue of corporate power, not just a particular abuse by a corporation but the power of the corporation itself.

And think about that, Bill, Wall Street and the CEOs have turned corporation into a four-letter word. People no longer take great pride in a corporation in their town, because they've seen what these entities do.

There is a greater power that is building up in the countryside, simmering, bubbling in different places and that's going to come together because you can't hold the middle class down. You know, poor people, they're good at holding down poor people. They've had decades and centuries of experience. But now you're trying to hold down the American middle class and succeeding at the moment. But those people know that they, you know, even a dog knows the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked.

And these people who've now been knocked out of the middle class, and by the way since the 2008 recession, collapse of Wall Street crashed on our economy, 90 percent of the American people have lost income and lost wealth, nine out of ten of us. That's a lot of people to hold down and think that those people are not going to rebel. They're beginning to rebel, that's what I'm saying.

BILL MOYERS: You know, Ralph Nader is out with a new book called “Unstoppable,” in which he says, there could be a coalition of left and right, united around such common interests as ending corporate bailouts, military overreach, and even the minimum wage. There are people on the right who support the minimum wage.

JIM HIGHTOWER: And that's what I'm saying is out there in a number of different issues. And a transition begins to happen when they see that they are working together and that this corporate power is really what they're battling, or the concentration of money and power that wants to stomp on them, no matter what their voter registration card says. That then, they begin to think, well, maybe some of these other issues, too, are related to this, and that's when the movement begins to weave together, and become something more than just a scatter shot of protest groups.

BILL MOYERS: The Fourth of July, 2014. Thomas Jefferson who drafted the Declaration of Independence as you know, would also warn against what he called, "Aristocracy founded on banking institutions and monied in corporations…riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry."

What do you think Thomas Jefferson would say of our system today?

JIM HIGHTOWER: I think he would say that this is the exact opposite of what we were talking about. Now, you know, there wasn't much democracy in the first US Government, 1789, I guess, when it took power. Only four percent of the people were even eligible to vote, you know. You had to own land if you were a white man to be able to vote, and of course, if you’re African-American, Native American, woman, you know, no, you couldn't vote.

So there wasn't a lot of democracy there. But their vision, their ideals were there, of a greater democracy and they understood about corporate power, even in that day. Because you’ve got to remember that the, you know, the original Boston Tea Party was not just about King George III's government. It was about the East India Trading Company, and the way that they were treating the merchants and the consumers in the colonies.

And people hated them. And in fact, that's the tea that they were throwing overboard was East India Trading Company's tea. That spirit has been a part of America from the very beginning.

So, you know, people are ready for that kind of politics. And if they see it beginning to work somewhere, then they take greater heart and they make a bigger effort and other people join with them. That’s to me how you build a movement

BILL MOYERS: Jim Hightower, thanks for joining me.

JIM HIGHTOWER: My pleasure.

PROTESTERS: Get up, get down! Corporate greed get out of town!

AI-JEN POO: We’re in a bit of a crossroads. We can continue to go down a path of a low road economy where the fastest growing jobs are all poverty wage jobs. Or we can start to chart a new path.

GEORGE GOEHL: If we’re serious about changing the country and changing who our economy serves, and what values are underneath it, we’ve got to come together in much bigger ways than we have before. So for the conference, we’re training a new generation of activists around how to think differently about how we do organizing.

AI-JEN POO: The conference was called Rising Voices for a New Economy and it was held in Washington, DC, where a lot of decisions about the future of our economy get made. We had 500 domestic workers from around the country meeting for several days. Many immigrant women, African-American women, so almost entirely women of color.

GEORGE GOEHL: Hello NPA!

AI-JEN POO: And then we were joined with the National People's Action and they represent small family farmers and public housing residents and all kinds of working people.

GEORGE GOEHL: There was a long history in the field of community organizing of different organizations actually not collaborating. Actually kind of running down their own path, building their own power, but not building a movement.

The director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and an ally and a friend of NPA.

I think there was just a recognition that we were up against such big forces. That we actually don't have any choice but to collaborate. The same root causes are impacting everybody. So if you're fighting to save your home from foreclosure, or you're seeing corporate agriculture come into your state and ruin family farms, you see corporate power. And so people are making the connections. And I think organizing, and organizations likes ours and the domestic workers, help people make these connections.

BREANNA CHAMPION: It’s not that my state is broken, that we can’t afford the things that we so desperately need. It's just that the people that are making the most money aren't contributing to our state, and to our country. This is happening all over the country.

Two-thirds of corporations in Illinois pay no income taxes. If they were to pay taxes, that is money that could go to students like me who can't afford school. And not just my education, this affects everything in my community.

GEORGE GOEHL: If you care about us having a modern social safety net, you need corporations to pay their fair share. If you want to see new infrastructure built so we can create jobs in this country, we need corporations to pay their fair share. I could go on and on. If there’s any issue that we need to unite around, this is one of them. And right now, corporations are sitting on record profits but simultaneously paying record low tax levels.

AI-JEN POO: There is so much wealth all around us. I definitely think that our scarcity mentality is one that can and should shift and is not based on the reality that we have here in this country.

GEORGE GOEHL: We need to go expose those lies, tell the new story, and take our country back.

CANVASSER 1: So we are going to be calling targeted voters…

GENEVIEVE LYSEN: 100 folks have come from all across the country to learn a critical organizing skill, which is canvassing.

CANVASSER 2: Right now we have a bill that's just been passed…

GENEVIEVE LYSEN: Today the group of volunteers are calling about a tax haven bill in Maine that would ask corporations to report the profits that they're storing overseas right now. 'Cause currently they're allowed to get away without reporting that income, and thus not pay any taxes on it, and we don't think that's fair.

CANVASSER 3: I'm going to make it really easy for you. I can transfer you right over to where you can either speak with your legislator, which is Senator Langley…

GENEVIEVE LYSEN: In Maine we've been able to override the Governor's veto on our state budget, on a slew of environmental bills, and it was by contacting voters at their homes to call their legislators. So canvassing works.

CANVASSER 4: Do you mind if I turn this computer a little bit?

GENEVIEVE LYSEN: The goal here is that all of these volunteers take back the skills that their learning here today, and bring them back to their communities and their organizations. So we're seeking to build a big group of powerful canvassers across the country to try to turn things around.

MALE SPEAKER: We're going to spend some time this morning.

GEORGE GOEHL: At our conference, we do training, we do issue workshops, and then most importantly, we hit the streets.

PROTESTER 1: Time to make some noise!

GEORGE GOEHL: We actually left the conference and went into the streets.

AI-JEN POO: Protests are one of many ways to get a story out there. To us it’s about making visible the many, many voices and experiences that are made invisible in an unequal economy and society like the one that we live in.

PROTESTOR 2: All right, so our first action is a surprise action. Today we’re taking one of the biggest tax dodgers in the country. GE, General Electric…

GEORGE GOEHL: We took 600 folks from NPA and the Domestic Workers to the GE’s lobbying operation here in Washington, DC. And it was to really go directly to the people that are responsible for the tax dodging that GE is engaged in, and bring the message directly to them.

PROTESTER 2: GE, we’re ending your tax dodging today!

PROTESTERS: That’s right. Whoo! Pay your fair share.

GEORGE GOEHL: In a time that they’ve made 30 billion in profit, they’ve gotten 3 billion back in tax refunds. We need to expose them directly and go toe to toe with corporate power.

PROTESTER 2: Once we get off the bus, remember don’t run, walk quietly, calmly, and quickly. Don’t engage with police. I know we have three police liaisons; can you raise your hands? Whoo!

PROTESTER 3: This is where we get off.

PROTESTER 2: Here we go, guys.

PROTESTER 3: Alright, let’s go, let’s move. Let’s move.

SECURITY GUARD: Excuse me, excuse me. No, no, no.

PROTESTOR 4: We are here today…

PROTESTERS: We are here today…

PROTESTOR 4: Because we’ve had enough…

PROTESTERS: Because we’ve had enough…

PROTESTOR 4: We’ve had enough of cuts to our schools…

PROTESTERS: We’ve had enough of cuts to our schools…

PROTESTOR 4: Medicare and Medicaid…

PROTESTERS: Medicare and Medicaid…

PROTESTOR 4: We’re angry.

PROTESTERS: We’re angry.

Pay your fair share! Pay your fair share! Pay your fair share!

POLICE LIASON: They want us to leave, but we’re here until we deliver our message.

PROTESTERS: Pay your fair share! Pay your fair share! Pay your fair share!

GEORGE GOEHL: Wealthy elites have basically and isolated themselves off from the rest of us. They actually don’t have to see poverty. They don’t actually have to see the people that have been made invisible by inequality.

PROTESTER 5: Pay your taxes so our families can live.

AI-JEN POO: It’s a transformative experience for people to speak truth to power in a really direct way. And it is about civic engagement and participation. It is about making this country the country that makes everyone visible.

PROTESTER 6: Above us are the General Electric offices. And up there, they can hear you. They can hear you.

PROTESTERS: Whoo! We’ll be back! We’ll be back! We’ll be back!

GEORGE GOEHL: We are at this point in building a new movement. That we are not quite at take-off, but a lot of the building blocks are being put into place. Big shifts in how we do organizing, big shifts in terms of collaboration. We feel like this was a little baby step towards aligning some impressive forces across the country.

BILL MOYERS: There was something of the spirit of '76 about those protesters as they marched up Capitol Hill to make their case to any legislators who would listen. I mean the spirit of 1776, when ordinary people became insurgents against imperial power. The House of Representatives, by the way, was once known as "The People's House."  And now it's in the imperial grip of money. But these present-day insurgents are just getting started and, as Tom Paine, the great pamphleteer and journalist of the American Revolution, wrote:  “An army of principles will penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot.”    At our website BillMoyers.com, you’ll find cause for hope and creative ways to bring about change in interviews I've done with George Goehl, Ai-jen Poo and other activists at our “Take Action” page.

That’s at BillMoyers.com. I’ll see you there, and I’ll see you here, next time.

Watch By Segment

Full Show: Grass Roots Grow Against Greed

July 2, 2014

This Fourth of July weekend, as we celebrate our independence and democracy, we pay tribute to the champions of grassroots action fighting against the moneyed interests trying to buy and control government.

One of their most articulate spokesmen is writer and commentator Jim Hightower who travels the country preaching the gospel of populism. A former congressional aide and two-term agriculture commissioner of his native Texas, he is the author of several books and edits a newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.

Hightower tells Bill, “There is a growing rebellion and an increasing awareness among different groups fighting different battles that they are connected… People are beginning to get together and see their common interest.”

Following Hightower’s conversation with Bill, a report from producer Karla Murthy spotlights the recent “Rising Voices for a New Economy” conference held in Washington, DC. Over 500 grassroots members of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the National People’s Action gathered to meet and to learn from each other, and to speak truth to the power of corporate America in Washington.

Learn more about the production team behind Moyers & Company.

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  • Anonymous

    Whether we say the discussion is about “populism,” the class war, or about opposition to greed, it continues to be a false discussion. All we have heard from media for years has been a discussion based on the better-off vs. the very well off — the middle/working class and the rich. We know that not everyone can work, due to health or circumstances, and we know there simply aren’t jobs for all who urgently need one.The US shipped out a huge chunk of our working class jobs since the 1980s, then ended welfare aid in the 1990s. Greed drives this generation of middle classers to refuse basic poverty relief to fellow citizens in great need.

  • Anonymous

    CITIZENS GET THE KIND OF GOVERNMENT THEY DESERVE. Until citizens visibly object to wealthy power grabbing, we will get more of it.

  • Anonymous

    So vote 3rd party – throw the bums out ….

  • Tim Taylor

    I’m not voting at all. I have learned that the illusion of participation is just that. And that the best method of starving the beast in nonparticipation in every aspect possible.

  • Anonymous

    No – No – if you don’t participate you leave the field to the corporate PTB – that’s precisely what they want – there are alternatives, better ones on the ballot – e.g. Stein in ’12 – you won’t “starve the beast” by not voting – it will go on its merry way, sustained by the knowledge it doesn’t have to worry about a revolt at the polls ….

  • Anonymous

    Many, many studies show that NOT voting supports the conservative candidates. Large turnouts support the Democrat/Independent candidates. So your not voting is a vote.

  • Anonymous

    Hi! Could you explain to me why my previous attempt at posting was removed?

  • Anonymous

    The notion that Democrats and Republicans are the same is ridiculous. And, as for not voting, Red-state governments are hell bent for leather that you absolutely should not vote and are doing whatever they can to discourage you from voting.

  • Anonymous

    It’s all about tax rates and collection. In ’82 when the rate was cut to 28%, the theory was that profits would be so big that they would overflow onto the workers. That idea has since proved to be pretty stupid for the worker and great for the wealthy. In the ensuing 30 years the rate has increased to a modest 39%, but, no-one pays it. Mitt paid 14% on his 20 million income. The GE protesters are right.

  • Tim Taylor

    Do you think I actually want to support any of the candidates you believe I should be supporting? May I suggest you reread what I actually wrote. I don’t have any greater disdain for Republicans than I do Democrats. In their own right, all who seek power over their fellow man are evil. And, in many regards Democrats are worse. Republicans deregulated private capital. Democrats deregulated the border of private capital that has resulted in upwards of direct and indirect losses of eighty million jobs. Once you understand that capital-creating jobs result in anywhere from 5 to 8 second derivative and third derivative jobs, you understand how profound our situation is courtesy of Democrats. And we have replaced capital-creating jobs with do-nothing service and financial jobs that create zero capital. But rather consume it and thus are actually making our situation even more dire.

    And the perception of a third or independent party is just that. It’s a mockery of the true reality.

    Let me ask you, how has voting in the last 150 years helped African Americans? Seriously. Sure some get to join the club. But most are subjugated in some way under the corporate state. White Americans, including you, are now joining them in that tyranny. You just don’t realize how bad it is. Yet. If you did, you wouldn’t be talking about the Democratic Party.

    When African Americans voted, what did they get? The movement in the 1960s was subverted by white guilt. It was white voters who passed the legislations of the 1960s that actually had the effect of taking the black freedom movement and in its place gave them various forms of state handouts. Even EEO is a state handout that has unintended consequences including creating resentment of other innocent people who are now experiencing what African Americans have been experiencing. These handouts further eroded human dignity and rights of determinism courtesy of the central state. Not that the bigoted and racist south was any better at that time. My point is voting under this system is a ruse. Political parties do the bidding of ideologues who then use the force of the state to impose their violence aka will on the rest of the nation when they win. At least George Carlin understood this.

    I support none of them. I don’t support this system of a centralized bureaucracy in a far off land legislating my supposed freedom and using state violence to accomplish this. I support a distributed system that places decisions and power into the hands of the people as the original framework of our founding fathers intended. As the original Articles of Confederation granted. I support communities and citizen-owned public institutions, and local public banking, guaranteed access to economic resources and guaranteed property ownership for every single American. If you think Washington is ever going to give that type of power to the people, that must be taken from them, you might consider a lesson in power. It is never given away by those who have taken it. I don’t care what political party they are in.

    Once you can properly frame the issue, you realize the only answer, as our original founders did before there was a later sellout to a centralized bureaucracy they had fought to rid themselves of, is that tyranny results in any system of concentrated power. And that this system will never work on behalf of the people.

    This system won’t be fixed. It must either be reconstituted or it will collapse as the central state Soviet Union did. Or, you will simply continue to vote for your own greater and greater victimization by supporting Washington pathology’s intent of control. That is, until one day people wake up or the system simply caves in on all of its internal contradictions.

    People need to wake up. I mean really wake up.

    Any vote is a vote for this system. And voting has only made it worse and worse.

  • Tim Taylor

    I have been censored on here. More than once actually.

  • Anonymous

    R/Ds are both corporate sponsored parties, and it is the corporate control of just about everything that is responsible for most of our modern problems – we need to take back control of our government from them – we need to “throw the bums out” …

  • Anonymous

    So will you have voting in the system you would create?

  • Anonymous

    Do you know why? i can’t find out why ….

  • Tim Taylor

    It’s simple. Those who control the posting on here really don’t support an open debate on reality. If you don’t buy the Big L liberal party line, your viewpoints are often unwelcome.

    ie Free speech is dead here too.

  • Stuart

    I keep seeing this elsewhere, that people are getting tired of the Republicans. Well, I don’t believe it. If they are, why are we looking at a Republican majority in both houses this fall?

    This isn’t going to change until red states stop voting Republican. How long do you think that will take?

  • moderator

    Please read our comment policy before commenting. We strive for open debate, but we also ask you follow our guidelines. If you cannot you will be unable to comment further.

    Moderator

  • Anonymous

    Well now the post has appeared …. wonder how long it takes before one knows whether a post will appear or not, and what the process is for finding out why if it doesn’t :) …..

  • Anonymous

    Could you specify as to whom this post is directed and why? I am getting a bit confused here …..

  • moderator

    Hi Aquifer,

    This post is aimed at everyone on the board. I should have started with “to the community”.

    Often times comments are put into our pending file due to keywords. It takes sometime before they make their way back to the page. If they are deemed to be outside the bounds of our comment policy, they will be removed.

    Thanks,
    Moderator

  • Anonymous

    I figured it probably had to do with “keywords” – but I confess I could not figure out what keywords prompted the holding …

    The “guidelines” in your comment policy aren’t terribly helpful in that respect …. :)

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely the wrong way to fix the problem. Gives them 100% of what they want.

  • JC

    If Thomas Jefferson were alive today….he’d be pissed off at the way corporate America has co-opted the Declaration of Independence and the spirit of our Nation. In more recent history, as he left office, President Eisenhower stated, “…..beware the military-industrial complex.” He implied that centralizing the wealth of the country into a small number of individuals and corporations will undue the democracy we still enjoy today. So, I applaud the “grass roots” efforts to regain the spirit and intent of our forefathers in creating this great experiment in democracy. Greed is myopic….it cannot see the future….or a future where we all grow together. Hence, as corporations fail, so will individuals who’s greed outweighs their hearts and minds and vision.
    Laws need to be changed to where any individual or corporation who offshores profits in tax sheltered accounts needs to be made to pay taxes on those amounts the same as the rest of us. If you make the money here or overseas, it doesn’t matter; especially if you headquarter your corporation and/or live in America. You can’t continue to be “safe” in this country and hide your profits without being held accountable by the people.
    The other thing that needs to happen is for more citizens to get involved (as many are doing now) AND,….. VOTE! Because, it is still the benchmark of our freedom and, we will surely lose it if things continue on the current course. To those who cynically say, “nothing will change…the congress people are in the back pockets of corporate America,” I say, keep voting until you get the person you want in office who WILL SERVE THE PEOPLE not just a few rich guys and corporations. Then, we will truly have a representative Democracy. Happy Fourth of July everyone!!!
    (Viet Nam vet)

  • Invasive Evasion

    Let’s say you are walking down the street and see a pedestrian get hit by a car. Do you reason to yourself that your inability to perform the needed surgery makes any assistance wasted effort, and just walk away, or do you try to do the best that you can within your limited means to help? Yes, the entire political system is corrupt, and yes, both parties serve corporate interests. Voting is not about putting ideal people into office, it is about keeping the worst people out of office. Even within a corrupted system there is still an enormous difference between parties on social issues. If you think voting doesn’t matter, consider the difference that one less Scalia or Alito would have on court decisions like the recent Hobby Lobby case. A single president can alter decades of court decisions, and change the entire country with a single appointment. Voting absolutely does matter. Lumping everyone together as part of the evil system is a lazy generalization. You think you’re “starving the beast” by not participating? You’re only removing the remaining restrictions on the beast, putting it completely in the hands of worst elements of society. Carlin’s cynicism was great for a comedy act, but is death for a democracy and a nation.

    The Articles of Confederation were a failed experiment. Decentralizing power does nothing to solve problems. The same corruption problems which plague the federal level also exist at the state and local levels. In many cases, local leaders are even more subservient to wealth than federal leaders. If you want an example, watch the program about Art Pope in North Carolina. Returning power to “the people” solves nothing, because the same people who corrupted the existing system will also corrupt any new system. Without solutions for the current system, you would recreate the same problems in a new system. Revolution is the easy part. Knowing what to do after the revolution, that is where people fail and things go horribly wrong.

  • Invasive Evasion

    Third parties cannot be a solution under the current election system. All they do is split the vote, and help the opposition. Clinton “won” because Perot split the conservative vote. Nader split the liberal vote and helped Bush.

    The current election system does not function properly in a race between more than two candidates. This could be easily fixed in many ways, for example by allowing a second choice on a ballot. But in order to make the vote counting system work in a three way race, the existing two parties would have to agree to the changes. Because of the self interest of the two parties, it won’t happen. (In a race with four or more candidates, it’s impossible to design any system in which a less supported candidate can’t win over a more supported candidate. It’s a mathematical impossibility, but getting into the reasons why is huge and complicated topic.)

    The only option to get Stein in would be to fight that battle internally within the democratic party, and make her the nominee. The party elites would likely ban her from even entering the building, so I’m not hopeful.

  • Invasive Evasion

    Populist discontent is meaningless without a specific list of proposals, and a concrete plan for getting those proposals enacted. OWS failed to bring any change, because it was a disorganized expression of random anger. The bankers found them highly entertaining, and not the least bit threatening. Occupiers had no coherent message or unity, other than vague outrage at the those running the current system.

    With greater cohesion and better leadership, we can turn these grassroots efforts into political power, and actually bring about change.

  • dana becker

    I just finished saying the same thing. VOTE. It is exactly what the .01% don’t want you do. So make sure you do. It is the most powerful tool in our arsenal to fight back. Don’t waste it or let it set idle. Wield it as a weapon and fight back.

  • dana becker

    They also thought Romney was a shoe-in and Cantor was 34 points ahead. Don’t believe what you read and make sure you vote.

  • Vera Gottlieb

    Even Rome wasn’t built in one day…The MSM carries just as much fault – freedom of the press having been turned into freedom to suppress. Time to stop looking back at the ‘Founding Fathers’ and time to look at today’s ‘destroying Fathers’. It no longer is a matter of ‘left’ or ‘right’, it is a matter of all uniting against ‘them’.

  • Anonymous

    Sure they can win – what makes a 3rd party a “3rd” party – who said the D/Rs are the “1st” and “2nd” parties? The one who gets the most (EC) votes wins – Stein was on enough ballots to get enough EC votes to have won …

    Don’t forget the Reps were once a “3rd” party …

    Stein has too much integrity to run as a corp party candidate …

  • http://bonalibro.us/ Tim Chambers

    Wrong and right. If you vote in elections, you’re too late. The powers that be have already chosen their candidates for you. Organize, stack party meetings with your supporters, primary the incumbents. Only then will we succeed in throwing the bums out.

  • ElisianTime

    Reagan’s privatization in the 80s was a terrible travesty … the foundation of the current CORPORATOCRACY… government of, by, and for the corporations.

  • Lorry frey

    I think Tim Taylor is not entirely honest about his statement that he disdains Republicans more than Democrats. I see attempts at changing the rules of the system as usually obstructed by Republicans. The best way to change our government is to make corruption more difficult and this means regulation on the firefighters as well as the corporations. A House of Representatives that writes such rules must be voted for primarily in states with millions of low information voters such as the Deep South and parts of the mountain states. Texas is a lost cause for generations. The fairness clause ushered in cable talk shows where no one was required to be truthful. Our processes are so broken that decent people in government and businesses are now “playing games”. Malcolm Gladwell wrote The Tipping Point which addresses the phenomenon of change. The gay marriage issue is suddenly tipping. Fair Vote is an organization with wonderful ideas for election reform. Are people beating a path to their door? The League of Women Voters also plods on year after year trying to educate voters. They are waiting for the public to wake up. Maybe Hobby Lobby will finally change the conversation!

  • Anonymous

    The “Fairness Clause” was abandoned by the FCC a coupla decades ago – one could argue that abandonment is what made those cable shows possible …

    You refer to “low information voters” – i think that is the key – we have to work harder to inform them and not leave it up to the MSM or be content to whine when it fails to rise to the challenge …

    I am familiar with Free and Equal – an org that works to open up the election process to more parties …

    As far as a SC decision changing the conversation – shucks, ISTM that if Bush v Gore didn’t, can’t imagine what could …

  • Anonymous

    It will be a sad day for this rapidly decaying country if another Wall Street Democrat gets elected into the White House.
    I do not share Jim Hightower’s enthusiasm and hope that anything will change anytime soon. Both parties now use deception as the rule not the exception. Clinton will run on as much populism as she possibly can muster – even her Republican opponent will run a populist campaign – and yet both candidates will be sponsored by corporate entities and the Wall street robber barons.
    We have become a society run by liars. We have become a society that has become abusively cruel to the poor and to our young who are saddled with unheard of debt, just to get a college degree in the off chance they might be able to get ahead in life.
    We have become a nation that leads the world in war profiteering, in the abuse of fundamental human rights such as a person’s privacy, or the right to not be killed without due process.
    We have become a nation that ruthlessly exploits the labor of its citizens – and though we have doubled our productivity since the 1970s, and the wealthy and the corporations they own are enjoying record profits with the lowest effective tax rates in recent American history – ordinary American workers find themselves unable to pay their medical bills, mortgage and can’t even afford a vacation once a year like they used too.
    What will it take to change all this? Again – another lying Wall Street democrat will change nothing. Hightower is right – the only change that will occur now is some kind of grassroots movement. But I just don’t see that happening anytime soon, until the situation gets much more worse for everyone. And by the time, it may likely be way too late to do anything about it – including the ecosystem of our planet.

    As for me … I guess I’ll be moving on (assuming there is any meaning to any of this).

  • Anonymous

    Bur why do you consider that your choice is limited to one of the corporate parties? In many states that has not been the case for quite a number of elections – if you don’t like the D/Rs, choose another, and if you think that other’s chances are small then work to increase them – as i have said, if all the folks who think as you had chosen that other in increasing numbers over the past few cycles, we would have stood a good chance of being ever so much better off now ….

  • Anonymous

    Why? Who do you think controls the mass media Aquifer? What two parties control who gets to debate them?

    Look – I like Disney land too – and would like to think Peter Pan even exists.

    But Aquifer, NeverNever land doesn’t exist and to think there is some kind of viable choice within our currently corrupt political system is just … naïve thinking.
    The only change we’re going to get is really – a grassroots level bloodletting (as Hightower says).

    It won’t come by believe in the tooth fairy fantasy that some third party will suddenly challenge or even defeat the Dems & Repubs.

    Please – really spare me your naivete.

  • Anonymous

    Oh dear …

    “Voting is not about putting ideal people into office, it is about keeping the worst people out of office.”

    Methinks that is the thinking that got us into this mess …. When you just do the LOTE thing, the bar keeps dropping lower and lower …

    Voting could be used or so much better – to get what we want and need – TPTB know this – that is why they spend so much money on elections – to make sure we don’t use them for that, to make sure we don’t stray from the corp duopoly ….

    Elections do indeed matter – but not just because of SC appointments – egeregious SC decisions can be overcome by a Congress with the guts to do it – Citizens United could have been corrected some time ago with a Con Amend passed by Congress and sent to the States – why hasn’t it? And the most outrageous Justices were “consented” to by both parties…

    As for your accident analog – the first rule still applies – primo non nocere …..

    I do agree with you that the revolution is often the “easy” part – we have been wallowing through the difficult part since ’76, 1776 that is, but to demean the vote by using it for so much less than we could does our whole history and ourselves an enormous disservice to my way of thinking …

  • Anonymous

    Once again, I must add that I am not particularly positive about the thought of trying to merge Left and Right. The Left if defined primarily by its desire for increasing democracy (equality), while the Right distinguishes itself by propagating policies — implemented by the hand of well-funded “think” tanks pressuring Congress and ALEC pressuring Legislatures — that are very destructive to democracy.

    I don’t understand why people, even well-thought-of people like Hightower, continue to blather away with Left-Right coalitions and such nonsense. The RW is not any friend of the Left; if it were, there would be no distinction like “Left” and “Right.”

    The Right always has more dirty tricks up its sleeves. We know this because every time the Democrats have put up a candidate for president, for instance, they turn out to be more of the same austerity-wielding policymakers. This is a DIRECT result of cow-towing to the Right.

    Now, could we please stop this ridiculous and destructive rhetoric already? Enough. There are far, far more people on the Left (maybe why they call us the 99%???) than on the Right. We don’t need to waste time enrolling these leeches in programs intended for our benefit. We can do well without them, thanks. Let’s just move forward and progress with our own goals, and kick them to the curb, the same way the have done to us for the past — what? — 40 years.

    I don’t want any more austerity and free markets, thank you very much. And the Right will not cheerfully be giving those up any time soon, so please, let’s get real NOW.

  • Anonymous

    Viability is up to us – we decide, with our vote who is “viable” …

    Actually there was a 3rd party who won – some time ago – the guy’s name was Lincoln, i think ….

    Any 3rd, 4th, or 5th party can win – if enough folks vote for ‘em – you don’t have to “believe” it for it to happen – all you have to do is vote for it.

    I do confess i find it rather interesting that folks think my argument naive – what i find rather naive is the apparent belief that “3rd parties can’t win” is anything but a well implanted projection of TPTB – put out there to maintain their control – you do realize that that meme does precisely that, don’t you?

  • Anonymous

    So, if there are far more folks on the left – where the heck are they on election day?

  • Anonymous

    Look – I can’t take your blinders off obviously. Even Ross Perot didn’t stand a chance.

    All I can say is a lot of people traveled to Jerusalem during the 12th century – thinking they were doing Jesus’ work.

    I guess you have the right to go on your own crusade as well.

    I’m just not going to leave common sense behind like you have – and the Crusaders did.

    You are blind to the fact that the political process itself now is controlled by the Dems & Repubs and they won’t let any viable third party change that.

    Hightower is correct – it will take the bloodletting of a well organized grass roots movement. That is all that’s left now.

    A third party is just horseshit at this point. Keep your blinders on if it makes you feel better …

  • Anonymous

    I cannot quarrel overall with your assessment of the situation – it is well laid out – however I would argue that it need not be dispositive … And there still is the point of the fact that people do not translate their preferences in opinion polls to their choices in electoral polls – to say it is “the media” doesn’t explain how the media convinces us to betray our best interests – that is what i would like to see dissected, because once it is, I do think it will become obvious how bogus it is ….

    Your point about divide and conquer is quite germaine – and vexatious, to say the least. The left, methinks, tends to be especially mired in identity politics which lends its various selves to that tactic so well used by Dems in particular – that urgently needs to be faced and addressed – but, though that is also fostered by the media, i think there is a deeper dynamic there …

    We could be our own media – granted, not as flashy as the ole boob tube, but good ole fashioned flyers delivered door to door – with cartoons and humor could, I think, make a dent – after all TPTB must think so, or why all that political stuff in the mail … Shucks, Tom Paine covered the colonies long before TV or the internet …

    I agree that human gov’t is, by no means, the be all and end all, but it is what we, as humans, choose, over and over in our history, so methinks we should work on getting, as they say, the one that is most likely to effect our safety and happiness …

  • Anonymous

    Lincoln? Good Lord – that was what – 150+ years ago?

    Earth to Aquifer – Earth to Aquifer …

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, it has been a while, hasn’t it? Time, past time, to do it again, doncha think?

    Aquifers are generally pretty well grounded … :)

  • Anonymous

    LOL. Very clever, though somewhat corny. But it is my kind of humor for certain.

    One thing that must be pointed out, of course, and that is that the RP of Lincoln’s day was a very different ideology and movement than what it is today. It ended with the 5th party system of the US (FDR, basically), at least according to Gene Healy’s “The Cult of the Presidency.”

  • Anonymous

    No doubt – the Reps of today are not the party of Lincoln, for sure, nor are the Dems the party of FDR, but my point was that even in the system we have, which is basically the same as the one we had then – an “upstart” party can upstage a settled one ….

    Often what stands in the way of achieving something is simply the belief that it “can’t be done” ….

  • Anonymous

    You’re making the specious assumption that the campaign rules are the same for a third party as they are for the current two parties.

    They aren’t. Ask Ralph Nader if you don’t believe me.

    It’s an idealistic hope you have, but not a realistic one. Nor is it based on much rationality imo.

  • Anonymous

    I believe it IS possible, but only if certain things are taken into consideration before embarking on such a venture.

    The main problem I see with so-called 3rd parties in the US is that they are structured the exact same way as the corporate parties; namely, top-down. Top-down means that the more local sub-orgs are focused on the goals of the national parties.

    My advocacy is to turn that on its head and build parties starting at the municipal level and build up from there. This would be an opportunity for voters to gain confidence in a new party, partly because it IS local, and partly because they can see (or not!) measurable results.

    So long as these “alternative” parties structure themselves the same way as the corporate parties, nothing will change, as you say. I hold out hope for a bottom-up approach. The best part is that it is inexpensive to operate because local electoral activity is generally far lower than other races, such as the presidential race. (Besides, I am not a presidency cultist.)

  • Anonymous

    Naw – i am making no such
    assumption – I know the rules are different – the duopoly has made it much more difficult for 3rd parties – I was born at night, but not last night …

    You speak of Nader – shucks i voted for him 4 times – which means he was available, on a ballot to be voted for 4 times – so why didn’t we? For example – labor marched in the Battle for Seattle in ’99 – then voted for free trader Gore in ’00 – folks marched in NY and DC against the war in Iraq in ’03 and voted for pro war Kerry in ’04 – and I am guilty of “naive stupidity”?

    So tell me – how is it “rational” to vote in opinion poll after poll for stuff like single payer, and no war and avoiding climate disaster and then turn around and vote in electoral polls for the very folks who have made it clear they will do the opposite …

    If that is your idea of “rationality”, lord let me retain my “insanity” – it makes a lot more sense ….

  • Anonymous

    I have to agree that there does seem to be an all too human tendency to form hierarchies in parties – but that is true, ISTM, no matter at what level of activity you are – where there is enough structure to matter, to function – there will be a hierarchy of some sort … but as long as there as an awareness, and not a denial, that that is so, it can be mitigated, adjusted, corrected for – it is only where one pretends there is no hierarchy that it is a problem, ISTM …

    As for the politics – they are pretty much the same at all levels, methinks …..

  • Anonymous

    Bottom-up would still be a hierarchy. It would be inverted from what we have now. It’s a change that could have a profound effect on nearly every aspect of human life, as well as for the environment.

  • Anonymous

    Depends on your perspective, i suppose – reminds me of how i was thinking just the other day – who was it that decided that North was “up” and South was “down”?

  • Anonymous

    But see, that’s just my point. The Green Party often claims it is bottom-up, but that is only pedantic. They have done nothing to put in place STRUCTURE that ensures power from the bottom-up.

    What I am talking about is a wholesale change not ONLY in the way we THINK about power, but an actual STRUCTURAL change that permits this power structure where decision making is local. Those who “serve” will actually end up being the ones who serve! As opposed to us serving the elected as it is now.

    So this is not merely perspective. I mean structural change in political parties and government. (Think soviet/council approach.)

  • Anonymous

    I thought i had sorta addressed that in my previous post …

  • JonThomas

    Thanks for your kind words… it’s a good discussion all around…

    I just wrote a reply and lost it before posting… not a happy camper am I.

    Not going to rewrite… instead, I’ll try just to hit the bullet points derived, and expanded from my first comment, hope you can infer the details…

    - Media is a commercial enterprise..

    - Profit is the goal of commercial enterprises.

    - Influence, capital, and information are forms of power

    - Legitimacy allows the free use of power

    - Every living generation of Americans has been conditioned to accept the legitimacy of the media

    - Media ownership is the most influential tool of the power elite

    - Threats to the profit system is a threat to the continued status of the power elite

    - Legitimacy is bestowed through the phenomenon of transference

    - Politics is a reciprocal form of influence, and thus… power

    - Certain ideals, and political groups which espouse those ideals, are threats to the profit system and therefore a threat to to the power elite

    - The U.S. uses a winner-take-all, or more properly… a Simple Plurality System

    - Coalitions afford plurality advantage

    - The major parties consist of such coalitions…

    Republicans… (none of these groups threaten, although at least one strengthens the power status quo maintained through the profit ideology of Capitalism)
    * Religious Moralists
    * Moderately Conservative Economic Capitalists
    * Radical Laissez Faire (Free Market) Capitalists

    Democrats… (some of these groups do threaten the power status quo)
    * NeoLiberals
    * Classic Liberals
    * Moderate Environmentalists
    * Progressive Lifestyle Liberals
    * Progressive Economic Liberals
    * Moderate Socialists (usually, but not always, strict Socialists and Communists vote outside this bloc)

    - The Green Party is a threat to the profit system

    - Ralph Nader is a threat to laissez faire capitalism

    - Occupy threatens unfettered profit ideology

    - The power elite uses the transference power of legitimacy to either show approval, or disapproval through the media

    - Without capital, or even profit ideology, there is no access to the commercial enterprise system (re:media)

    - Even buying media access does not guarantee the granting of acceptance and legitimacy

    Ok… all that said…

    Is it possible the disruptions caused by the Tea Party, and the NeoLiberals within the voter-bloc coalitions can cause the coalitions to split and form a strong 3rd party of shared moderate ideals (as alluded to by Mr. Hightower?)

    Perhaps, but if it happens, it will require some time and a good bit of nudging.

    In any case, such a coalition would most probably consist of NeoLiberals and Moderately Conservative Economic Capitalists. Such a coalition would receive the legitimacy provided through media.

    A coalition of profit-threatening 99%-ers, while holding the moral high-ground, faces many, many challenges. That’s another entire comment lol.

    I would applaud your efforts at grassroots media, as I applaud the “Grass Roots Grow Against Greed” theme of this episode.

    From my perspective, even though it is a bit presumptuous – even pompous – until people can individually and collectively grow past, and are able to let go of the need for human governments, such is what there is… and they are necessary.

  • Anonymous

    Just a clarification: You call one group of Republicans “Radical Laissez Faire (Free Market) Capitalists” without mentioning NeoLiberal, yet you call one group of Democrats “NeoLiberal” without mentioning radical Laissez faire…

    The only reason I call this out is to point out that significant factions of both major parties have a strong free market mentality. That could be missed if someone did not realize these are the exact same thing.

  • JonThomas

    Yeah, good catch. I spent quite a while writing the draft then lost it into browser abyss.

    I used the term ‘radical’ to distinguish the difference between ‘conservatives’ who want things to stay basically as they are, with some back peddling (some regulation acceptable,) and those who would strip every regulation from business and commerce (a condition which has never, ever existed in the U.S. and would indeed be a radical move.)

    I wouldn’t personally classify the NeoLiberals (who are definitely Democrats) as strictly Laissez Faire, but it is true that they did, and seemingly would continue to, scale back regulations.

    In fact, as you know, because they held the title of Democrat, they were able to succeed in rolling back banking regulations. Such moves contributed (along with policies and actions of the Bush Administration) to create the conditions that led to the Great Recession of just a few years ago.

    So, while I wouldn’t use the term Radical, nor label them strictly Laissez Faire, I do agree that they share many more traits, especially economic ideology, with the ‘Free Marketeers’ than with any other group in the Democratic voting bloc.

    I do think you made a good point. If I hadn’t got frustrated with my posting mistake hopefully I would have done a better job at balancing my use of descriptive labels.

    Were it not for their lifestyle ideologies, the NeoLiberals might well be considered, like many Republicans today, somewhere between Moderately Conservative Economic Capitalists, and Laissez Faire Capitalists.

    The key point of your comment though, I agree with wholeheartedly. When it comes to the Power Elite, except for small distinctions in lifestyle issues, and which business regulations matter to them more, there is no real difference in their allegiances. Party affiliation matters much less to them than profit ideology and maintaining the power status quo.

    Politically speaking, much of what they say and do is lip service is to appease the voter bloc.

    Thank you.

  • JonThomas

    Yes, well said…

    While ‘the medium is still the message’ (as Marshall McLuhan might say,) and legitimacy is found in the media of one’s choice, there is no denying that partisanship is dividing people more than in at least 3 generations… if not since the Civil war.

    As you focused on from my first comment, ‘divide and conquer’ is the rule of the day. Class warfare, and the related ideological trenches make up the real battle front.

    If, as you point out, we could focus on commonalities, instead of divisions, perhaps we could see the weapons used against each one of us… your own grassroots ideas you mentioned are founded on laudable goals and ideals.

    One thing though, if we could take this discussion a step further, as I pointed to in my first comment, depending upon how we define the term, we must focus beyond our ‘humanity.’ While that is indeed a good start, every human has a different idea of how the world should look, and according to what each one believes to be the best road to travel, what ideologies would best get them there.

    By looking beyond humanity, and perceiving “Principles, the Foundational Pillars of the Universe,” we would no longer be looking to ourselves for answers. We then all (well all who would understand their value follow them) begin to look at, and (hopefully) travel towards the same goals.

    Looking at what we want to see (or what seems attractive) directly in front of us, we get lost. Instead, to walk straight towards a goal, regardless from what direction one is traveling, focus on a sure point in the distance.

    The idea was encapsulated about 2000 years ago in the Letter to the Philippians, Chpt. 4 vs. 8…

    “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

    The problem would still remain though, that even when we understand the importance and value of principles, we don’t always follow them. Worse, there are those who would work against them, and against us.

    Thanks for the replies and the discussion… I probably should apologize… I ramble even more when I’m tired.

  • Anonymous

    The American dream for the many has faded long ago! The few that live it can quickly lose it! Ask the 50 year old’s who can’t get a job and those that do, working for far less than they use to! It’s not going to get better until we change the system of lawmaking! IT’S NOT JUST A MATTER OF TOO MUCH MONEY TO WIN A CAMPAIGN. IT’S A MATTER OF THE ABILITY TO OWN A FEW LAWMAKERS AND AFFECT THE LIVES OF MILLIONS! WE NEED TO LET THE MILLIONS MAKE THE LAW! IT’S HARD TO BUY THAT MANY VOTES!

    THE SOLUTION IS TO LET THE POPULAR VOTE MAKE LAW!!! This is the right path to improve and heal America! OUR DEMOCRACY HAS BEEN ATTACKED AND DEFEATED BY A DISEASE CALLED WHORING POLITICIANITIS!!! They are simply too sick too be trusted with lawmaking! THEY ARE WHY OUR ECONOMY IS SICK AND CAN’T EMPLOY ENOUGH PEOPLE WITH JOBS DECENT ENOUGH TO RAISE FAMILIES IN DECENT CONDITIONS WITH THE HOPE OF UPWARD MOBILITY! IT’S NOT A CASE OF LACKING THE MEANS FOR A BETTER ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL! IT’S A CASE OF MISMANAGEMENT TO PLEASE THE RICH! IT’S TREASON!!!

    CHANGE THE SYSTEM, REAP THE REWARD! TRUE DEMOCRACY AND PROSPERITY FOR ALL!

  • Anonymous

    WE NEED TO OPEN OUR MINDS AND BECOME BIGGER THAN THE OBSTACLES BEFORE US! We won’t get there with a congress compromised by money, making our laws! We need to take that power from them and give it to the American people in the form of a POPULAR VOTE MAKING LAW! This should be what Americans should be in the streets in protest for! March on Washington for! You won’t get the return of democracy by continuing to replace politicians in a cesspool where the same dynamics, at play, work on them like it did their predecessors!!! WE NEED TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM TO CHANGE THE RESULTS!!!

  • Anonymous

    WE NEED TO OPEN OUR MINDS AND BECOME BIGGER THAN THE OBSTACLES BEFORE US! We won’t get there with a congress compromised by money, making our laws! We need to take that power from them and give it to the American people in the form of a POPULAR VOTE MAKING LAW! This should be what Americans should be in the streets in protest for! March on Washington for! You won’t get the return of democracy by continuing to replace politicians in a cesspool where the same dynamics, at play, work on them like it did their predecessors!!! WE NEED TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM TO CHANGE THE RESULTS!!!

    The American dream for the many has faded long ago! The few that live it can quickly lose it! Ask the 50 year old’s who can’t get a job and those that do, working for far less than they use to! It’s not going to get better until we change the system of lawmaking! IT’S NOT JUST A MATTER OF TOO MUCH MONEY TO WIN A CAMPAIGN. IT’S A MATTER OF THE ABILITY TO OWN A FEW LAWMAKERS AND AFFECT THE LIVES OF MILLIONS! WE NEED TO LET THE MILLIONS MAKE THE LAW! IT’S HARD TO BUY THAT MANY VOTES!

    THE SOLUTION IS TO LET THE POPULAR VOTE MAKE LAW!!! This is the right path to improve and heal America! OUR DEMOCRACY HAS BEEN ATTACKED AND DEFEATED BY A DISEASE CALLED WHORING POLITICIANITIS!!! They are simply too sick too be trusted with lawmaking! THEY ARE WHY OUR ECONOMY IS SICK AND CAN’T EMPLOY ENOUGH PEOPLE WITH JOBS DECENT ENOUGH TO RAISE FAMILIES IN DECENT CONDITIONS WITH THE HOPE OF UPWARD MOBILITY! IT’S NOT A CASE OF LACKING THE MEANS FOR A BETTER ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL! IT’S A CASE OF MISMANAGEMENT TO PLEASE THE RICH! IT’S TREASON!!!

    CHANGE THE SYSTEM, REAP THE REWARD! TRUE DEMOCRACY AND PROSPERITY FOR ALL!

  • Anonymous

    THE SOLUTION IS TO LET THE POPULAR VOTE MAKE LAW!!! Republicans are concerned about profits and obstruction of job growth to make Obama look as bad as they can. They think it’s the road to a Republican Presidency. Americans would be the most outrageous asinine beings to ever put another Republican in office again. It’s bad enough putting a man of Obama’s persuasion in office. He talks liberal to get elected but plays the middle when the solution is liberal. Hillary will do the same. They play the big money instead of principles. We need another FDR! Better is to give more power to the people to make law!

    WE NEED TO OPEN OUR MINDS AND BECOME BIGGER THAN THE OBSTACLES BEFORE US! We won’t get there with a congress compromised by money, making our laws! We need to take that power from them and give it to the American people in the form of a POPULAR VOTE MAKING LAW! This should be what Americans should be in the streets in protest for! March on Washington for! You won’t get the return of democracy by continuing to replace politicians in a cesspool where the same dynamics, at play, work on them like it did their predecessors!!! WE NEED TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM TO CHANGE THE RESULTS!!!

    It’s no big surprise that higher wages create more jobs. The demand for goods and services go up and so does job opportunity. We’re talking about giving spenders more money which, in tern, goes right back into the economy to increase business transaction and likely the need for more people to supply and service those purchases.

    It’s a sad hoax played on the American people to allow the rich to lower their taxes when they are making more money than they’ve ever made because of technology reducing the need for workers and cheap labor overseas. They make a tremendous amount of money on credit card and housing debt. Yet it seems beneath them to give as good as they get so the needs of American jobs can be served. It’s nothing less than TREASON!

    We’re dealing with a Congress that has sold our democracy for campaign contributions and job offers. This in a time they should be getting more taxes from the wealthy and placing higher fees on imports that have destroyed jobs in America and use the money for job incentives and job training. It’s a dim future when you think technology is going to destroy more and more jobs and there are no plans to deal with it! Letting the markets solve it is how we ended up where we are. It’s a dumb market manipulated by greedy bastards! Capitalism has needed manual manipulation to function properly from the very onset. The problem is that they are manipulating it to more greatly enrich the rich and enslave the many!!!

    They are pretending they don’t see the destruction of lives in the poverty it creates. The crime it creates is very costly but they’d rather spend their money building jails and prisons instead of building systems that at least pay those participating in job training and higher education who stay fit for work. Until the economy creates the jobs we should at least have a system that pays people to stay prepared for jobs when they are created. Why spend that money on the crime this corrupt system creates when it’s better spent on crime avoidance and job preparedness?!!! It’s counter productive and creates demoralizing conditions that take generations to work out of once established!

    THE SOLUTION IS TO LET THE POPULAR VOTE MAKE LAW!!! This is the right path to improve and heal America! OUR DEMOCRACY HAS BEEN ATTACKED AND DEFEATED BY A DISEASE CALLED WHORING POLITICIANITIS!!! They are simply too sick too be trusted with lawmaking! THEY ARE WHY OUR ECONOMY IS SICK AND CAN’T EMPLOY ENOUGH PEOPLE WITH JOBS DECENT ENOUGH TO RAISE FAMILIES IN DECENT CONDITIONS WITH THE HOPE OF UPWARD MOBILITY! IT’S NOT A CASE OF LACKING THE MEANS FOR A BETTER ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL! IT’S A CASE OF MISMANAGEMENT TO PLEASE THE RICH! IT’S TREASON!!!

    The American dream for the many has faded long ago! The few that live it can quickly lose it! Ask the 50 year old’s who can’t get a job and those that do, working for far less than they use to! It’s not going to get better until we change the system of lawmaking! IT’S NOT JUST A MATTER OF TOO MUCH MONEY TO WIN A CAMPAIGN. IT’S A MATTER OF THE ABILITY TO OWN A FEW LAWMAKERS AND AFFECT THE LIVES OF MILLIONS! WE NEED TO LET THE MILLIONS MAKE THE LAW! IT’S HARD TO BUY THAT MANY VOTES!

    QUESTION IS, HOW DO YOU GET AMERICA ONBOARD TO ADMINISTER THE SOLUTION? YOU CAN START BY TALKING IT UP WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND TELL THEM TO PASS IT ON. MAKE THE NOISE ON YOUR BLOBS AND TWEETS. THE NOISE WILL REACH THE RIGHT PEOPLE WITH THE CLOUT TO GET THE PARTY STARTED TO GIVE AMERICA REAL CHANGE! NOT A FALSE HOPE IN THIS CORRUPT SYSTEM! CHANGE THE SYSTEM, REAP THE REWARD! TRUE DEMOCRACY AND PROSPERITY FOR ALL!

  • Anonymous

    It’s called the electoral college. That’s why only a D or R can win. The electoral college is designed for a two party system.

  • Anonymous

    One of the biggest problems with OWS was they had no charismatic leader who could motivate and who could get people to bond together to make real change. More planning, less drum beating.

  • Anonymous

    The problem is, they can’t change Washington so Washington changes them to conform to the greed agenda.

  • Anonymous

    It seems to me that red states will remain red in part because of gerrymandering that ensures that no Democrat can become a Representative. Any state with a Republican governor will likely remain red because the governor gets the final say on how districts are divided. The first step would be to outlaw gerrymandering. That may be hard to do because Democrats aren’t above gerrymandering either. I really think all states should have a nonpolitical committee deciding the districts. Iowa may be the only state that does that.

  • Anonymous

    Always voting in every election is the best policy, however, nothing will change until we over turn Citizens United. What we really need are publicly funded elections with no outside money allowed. I doubt Congress wants Citizens United over turned because of the potential benefit to their campaigns. We have to “make” them do it by putting the pressure on continually.
    For instance, at one time the only money a presidential candidate had was the money from the check box on your IRS return. IOW, publically funded elections.
    And while we’re at it we need lobbying outlawed. If you notice, whenever a vote is coming up on something that corporations want they throw money at the politicians to vote “the right way.”

  • Anonymous

    There used to be a rule about giving equal time (the law has slipped my mind at the moment) to both sides.
    The other problem that exists is all the major media is owned by a handful of powerful corporations who have an incentive to promote their own agenda and advertising dollars. In case you haven’t noticed, those powerful corporations are mostly owned by conservatives. The liberal media is a fantasy promoted by Republicans. Listen carefully to what the commentators say and you will catch a lot of pro conservative comments.

  • Anonymous

    Normally, I detest upper case posts. But you have carefully crafted your own, using caps to emphasize the specific points you want to make. So uptick for that…

    I agree that the power must be returned to the people — the meaning of “republic” in the first place. My own idea is to invert the political structure so that parties and government would be arranged in a way that would ensure the same goal you aim for.

    Personally, I am not for anarchy; my idea DOES, in fact, still hold on to the notion of hierarchy. It’s just that I’d prefer that those who “serve” ACTUALLY serve as opposed to the term being used as mere ceremony and pomp, kind of a sign of respect as it is used currently.

    My model starts with local municipal parties and devolves power upward. “Higher” levels of parties and governments would not make the rules, but would instead carry out the rules devised by the citizens. A muni party could join a higher level group if it determined that the goals were in line, and could secede at any time if those goals were no longer being met. No more embarassment; no more defending a party line that moved on long ago.

    If this sort of structure were in place for parties, it would not be long before government reflected the same idea because it would have to.

    ABC just started a series (“Rising Star”) which is totally interactive. The viewers literally vote for their faves. But I don’t think this would work for democracy because the issues are much more complicated. I mean, it is easy to vote for a performer whose final outcome is really of no great consequence. It is much more difficult to come up with, say, a budget that will work for some jurisdiction. You can’t vote for umpteen variations of budget. Some group has to sit down and figure it out and present it. But you could certainly have a few options in that regard.

    Something I’d like to see also is more referenda. But I’d like to see it get away from these binary choices and offer a half dozen or so choices. This would make legislators think harder and give voters more representation. Maybe each party in the legislative body could present a version of any bill, something like that, idk.

  • Anonymous

    I keep saying we need to start a “new” fashion trend in politics. The guillotine. I think it will look very attractive around the necks of many of our so-called “leaders.”

  • Anonymous

    Or we could get off our addiction to the elected monarch we prefer to call the president. We should be pressuring our elected reps in Congress and Legislatures to repeal those acts that have transferred power to the executive branch. And if they won’t do it, kick their asses to the curb. There are lots of good people out there.

  • Anonymous

    I agree, but OWS was intended to be a leaderless movement. So the suggestion is moot. OWS was hardly a success, aside from bringing some attention to realpolitik issues. Even there, it did not really cause any substantive change.

    That was one reason I couldn’t really support the way they were doing it. You have to have leaders in a movement. Otherwise you have a lot of people doing different things and mixing up the message, confusing the public and the ranks alike. You have to keep a movement on message or it doesn’t work well. (Or, if you think I am wrong, please give me an example of a SUCCESSFUL movement that didn’t keep its ranks on task.)

  • Anonymous

    Actually, states have committees, but they always manage to end up gerrymandering. The only people who are up to getting involved are from the larger parties, so they are apt to grind out maps that reflect their own party’s agenda. I know of one person who did some of the work on these, and the results were not pretty.

  • Anonymous

    “nothing will change until we overturn CU…” The word “until” is the action word in that sentence.

    Why not a bottom-up political party that starts at the municipal level? The Vermont Progressive Party started out that way and continues that way to this day. They are the most and only successful smaller (“3rd”) party in the country, holding seats in the state Leg for over two decades.

    Muni can work. Holding our breaths for the political winds in DC to change probably won’t work.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, like Rachel Maddow. She’s hot and very, very smart. But when is the last time she called out the Democrats on their big screwups, like Obamacare, probably the largest transfer of public tax dollars to private, for-profit interests in US history.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t want to go that far. That would be a waste. Jail them. It’s not all their fault. We let them believe it’s OK to treat us the way they do. We’re half the blame. It needs to STOP!

  • Anonymous

    I like what I hear. I’ve suggested to go with the popular vote we keep congress around as gloried debaters. They should be allowed no more power than that. If they can snow the people from that vantage, we’re in bigger trouble than I thought.

  • Anonymous

    a.) Gerrymandering, predominantly a Republican phenomena – begun by Tom ‘the hammer’ DeLay…often a small minority is all that is necessary to ‘win’. A Representative Democracy should be considered.
    b.) Many voters embrace liberal ideals yet believe (via ignorance and fear etc.) such ideals are destroying the country. i.e. the Right has a much better message that feeds off of, what most voters, would deem moral bankruptcy. The message of ‘social’ and progressive ideals has completely been made subserviant to corporate ideals
    c.) The current GOP platform is not sustainable and it is why they engage in the aforementioned. Yet, in the end, they don’t really care because it would suggest we live in a functioning Democracy (or Republic if one would prefer) and nothing is further from the truth. And until Americans educate themselves based on facts and not belief or meme we’ll see no meaningful changes.

  • Anonymous

    As a practical matter, unless election laws change, it’s quite improbable a 3rd party candidate could be elected – although, tragically, those chances go up for a fascists leaning candidate in times of national distress…That said. There’s no rational way to elect a 3rd party candidate until major changes take place (electoral college, how individuals are selected to take part in debates, funding, etceteras)

  • Anonymous

    Lets say a 3rd party candidate could win…What then? the notion that things will change via that process is beyond credibility at this stage.

  • Anonymous

    Stein was on enough ballots in ’12 to get enough electoral votes to win – all she needed was our votes ….

  • Anonymous

    I agree that we need all those things done – but i also agree that a Congress controlled by the duopoly will not do them – “pressure” from the peanut gallery not withstanding. We need to replace them with those who will – non-corp 3rd party folks. Although i admit it will be difficult to do this, it is not impossible – what it will take is our own “political will” to do it …

  • Anonymous

    You seriously think nothing would change?

    For starters, there is the enormous power of the executive branch itself – exercised or denied by the executive depending on his desire to do so …

    But aside from that – think about it – don’t you think the Congress critters would be coloring their shorts if we actually put a 3rd party in the WH – we would have demonstrated, for the first time in ages, if ever, that we were, in fact, prepared to “throw the bums out” and that they would very well be next if they didn’t straighten out and fly right – I suggest that effect alone would be monumental and more than worth the price – our vote – of admission …

  • Anonymous

    The trick, IMO, in referring to “first principles” is doing so without falling into the trap of sectarianism …

  • Anonymous

    And just how would that work?

  • Anonymous

    Even if Stein had won, it’s still very much a pipe dream. She would have been contending with two very adversarial houses of Congress.

    Again, we need to elect a Congress that works for us. This cult of the presidency, the hope that one man will save us all, is just asking for a dictatorship.

    Aquifer, I think you are a good person. And I also fall into this trap, because it is so ingrained in the culture. I believe we need to start thinking the way they do in countries with a parliamentary-style system.

  • JonThomas

    From the moment I learned about Proportional Representation I realized its bottom-up potential.

    It became immediately apparent that any one group would have a more difficult time pushing its agenda, especially at the expense of any other one group.

    Is it perfect? No. Can it be cumbersome and slow? Yes, thankfully so!

    As long as humans individually allow themselves to be corruptible, or to continue to support a system which encourages individual advantage (aka: the breeding ground for greed) no system can provide security and immunity.

    The problems we face in this world emanate from within ourselves. We can discuss and argue all day about the system being corrupted, how it is corrupted, and what we might, or might not, be able to do to change it for the better.

    Every day, every moment, some person will have an awakening. These ideas must be rehashed over and over, not just for each newly awakened individual, but for ourselves… “Every time that wheel goes round, it’s bound to cover just a little more ground.”

    The problems we discuss today, while living in systems more “advanced” than those from thousands of years ago, are still under siege from the same ancient personal failings.

    As I’ve been saying… good discussion!

  • JonThomas

    Yes, good point. And it’s very easy to confuse a tenet with a principle.

  • Anonymous

    “Is it perfect? No. Can it be cumbersome and slow? Yes, thankfully so!”

    Thank you for this post, especially this passage. You have captured it pretty much the same way I see it.

    We don’t want to make laws easy to change or the public may not notice the law has changed. This has happened way too many times in the last 2 decades. Haste is one more way the oligarchs can avoid radar.

    As to it being cumbersome, I will add that it will be a wild, messy event with a zillion people talking at once. And that, to me at least, is what a real Democracy looks like. All those voices, while perhaps a bit frustrating to the process, reflects the fact that they are being given volume and ears to hear that sound, unlike today.

    I think that genuine democracy would look more like a stock car race than 2 orderly columns of soldiers vying for attention.

  • Anonymous

    I believe that what’s needed is a Kickstarter project to generate monies necessary to consolidate these efforts in to one massive organization with enough backing to produce national media campaigns. None of us can contribute lots of money, but all of us can contribute a little…

    American Citizens Unite Now!

  • Anonymous

    Or, you could just let people donate money to whichever of these causes they want to. The difficulty in trying to merger these efforts as you call them is that some of them may not be agreeable to everyone who support other efforts within the cause. Then what happens is that people start leaving the supercoalition because they feel marginalized or offended or whatever.

    Best to keep the focus narrow and allow these groups to coalesce as they will. Forcing the issue rarely helps.

  • terry printz

    all of these posts show that there are people that want change however the change that is envisioned is not possible without the willingness to put self above the cause and pay with the ultimate sacrifice today’s show refers to the 4th of july please remember how many people lost their lives in the pursuit of liberty see kent state see mlk take up arms against a sea of troubles that is when change will start

  • terry printz

    you are so right my definition of freedom of choice is buying sauce in the pasta isle of the grocery

  • Anonymous

    Money is corrupting our democracy but as more and more people become aware the movement to restrict its influence grows. When enough of us demand change those deaf politicians in Washington will suddenly have ears to hear. Hurray for those like Jim Hightower and many others who work toward the democratic ideal of equal access for all in our public democratic debate.!!!

    My performance art piece is on YouTube. It is about the corrupting force of money, a political satire, entitled “Washington Money Talk”, .
    Here is the link;

  • Anonymous

    It’s been my experience that narrow focus results in narrow results. Just my 2 cents…

  • Anonymous

    As I have said elsewhere – electing a 3rd party Pres would be a shot across the bow of all those corp duopoly congress critters – for the first time folks would have carried out their oft repeated, never acted upon threat to “throw the bums out “- the handwriting would be on the wall – “shape up or your next …”

    Of course we need to elect a legislative branch that works for us – that needs to be part of the package …. that is the only way to get a parliamentary style system, the only way that is, without bloodshed ….

    This is not about a cult of the Presidency – this is about refuting all those objections folks have to voting 3rd party as a way to bring change, not just as a protest or conscience vote – It could be done but not until folks know that it can …..

  • Anonymous

    And it’s been my experience that scattered, non-focused effort results in almost NO results, or very poor ones.

    You are correct, of course. I think it is better to get a few things done well rather than a lot of things done poorly, if at all.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, didn’t mean to upset you (upticked your post, btw).

    You know I’m a big fan of the alternative parties. It’s just that we create a cult of the presidency when we focus so much of our passions and efforts on the executive branch.

    You might like the book I’m reading about the cult. While I think the author has a little grudge about the progressive movements, I still think he is right in pointing out the flaw in the transference of so much power from the Legislative branch to the Executive over the past century or so (since about 1900 with TR).

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely is all I was saying. I’m not accusing you of being a cultist. But it’s easy for anyone trying to launch a new party by running a presidential candidate to get caught up in it, without realizing how they are helping to contribute to it.

  • Anonymous

    Hmm – not sure why you think you “upset” me – I am not so easily upset …. :)

    And i am not in favor of increasing executive power – too much has been ceded by a lazy leg branch already …..

    My arguments are intended to blunt the effect of the concept that basically there is no point in electing anyone at a higher level until we take over “lower levels” first – I don’t think working for victory at any level is a waste of time and effort – and the higher the level, the greater the leverage for change – as Archimedes (?) would say, give me a lever long enough and i can move the world ….

  • R. Millis

    The two men mean well, but they are delusional if they believe civilian unrest or protests will have an effect. The US govt-military complex and our immensely powerful banks, corporations have NO intention in allowing their status to be undermined by a citizen’s movement.
    Should a citizen’s movement become remotely powerful, there will be government infiltration (just like during Occupy) to crush the movement.
    Wake up, America. We live in a totally corrupt corporatocracy.

  • Russell Spears

    Even a dog knows when it is being kicked, but the poor don’t? might be too true for many to admit. We need to recognize we are being kicked down in America…

  • Anonymous

    Agreed.

  • moderator

    To the Community:

    Any comment with calls to violence will be deleted. Please avoid these in the future.

    Thanks,
    Moderator @ Moyers

  • De Neice Kenehan

    I will share it with my two FB communities: an 800-member Obstruct Plutocracy and my new community, called THE MOVEMENT. Thanks for sharing. Now I’ll go watch it!

  • Anonymous

    How are you being kicked? Explain?

  • Russell Spears

    Well a vast majority of the Worlds working poor are being reduced to poverty or near poverty despite creating all the real wealth. Sounds a lot like being kicked to me.

  • Russell Spears

    If you listen closer you can see a bit more to their strategy, that I really like. What they are doing is installing a sense of power by setting people up to raise their voice to this system, while advocating a none-resistance to police direction. The powerful get a nice glimmer of the growing tide of active resistance, they hear the vitriol and have only the day to come when the growing mass of people have to be addressed. The more they grow the harder it will be to ignore them in the media the more attention they get. The group should secure this non-confritational attitude by labeling any police plant or vigilant that wants to instigate or signaling their groups disapproval.

    OCCUPY is alive and well….

  • Russell Spears

    Washington is a bunch of sheep being lead in whatever direction the Wealthy wants to takes us.

  • Anonymous

    There will always be poor and working poor and rich. Being successful is not greed.

  • Russell Spears

    Really… is this your grand refutation? Look workers can easily begin creating Democratically Run Worker Cooperatives from that point on they keep their wealth and with it will come the the political parties. If success is holding trillions illegally off shore and forcing workers to accept poverty wages then you are either the beneficiary or slavish we are talking about.

  • Anonymous

    “American Citizens Unite Now” sounds really good. Have you done it?

  • Russell Spears

    Also you might want to commit to your key ideas. Using being successful is not greed tells me nothing about what it is and wastes out time with posts. But I suspect you really have not thought about that idea much. Feel free to clarify or append or refute your last point. Either way the historical March of ideas as passed that plutocratic meme behind in the 1990s where it belongs. Also you see how easy it is to kick the American Worker in the face and call it success..
    …A DOG KNOWS BETTER

  • Anonymous

    Democratically run workers cooperatives? Where does the capital come from? How about the idea’s ?

  • Anonymous

    Sorry that you feel the need to attack those who are more successful than you . I suggest you stop counting what is in another man’s wallet and focus on filling your own.

  • Anonymous

    Kickstarter proposal in progress…

  • Russell Spears

    Funny you don’t seem to notice the massive corporate subsidies that keep the few US business that exist today on life support. But either way your obviously unaware of how money is used to buy things. Come on make this a worthy debate.

  • Russell Spears

    Funny defense of corporatist. …. you really should try to appreciate the irony.

  • Russell Spears

    Are you implying that workers don’t have ideas?

  • Anonymous

    The capital, Dencal26, comes from the same place it ALWAYS comes from: community.

    You were not BORN a success, sir. Your community enabled you to become a success (with or without whatever impedances you may have encountered along the way, because we ALL do).

    Your mother’s womb was not a miracle; it was just like the billions of other wombs mothers out there have.

    Your community was a family, a neighborhood, an educational system, etc. They made you what you became, good, bad, or otherwise. Same with me, and same with Russell.

    You are not made of Superior Race White Blood or some other nonsense.

    All these workers want is to have a dignified life, just like you want to have (or perhaps do). I wish you and your RW peers would stop it with the superiority complex; this thread makes you sound sanctimonious and scary. You are not any more deserving than any other human being.

  • Anonymous

    Success seems to mean accomplishing leveraging OTHER PEOPLE’s SWEAT so you don’t have to do the work yourself.

    It also seems to imply, counterintuitively, that because one has accomplished this, somehow they deserve more money and the people actually doing the work don’t deserve as much.

    Intuition dictates that the persons doing the most physical work should be the ones making the most money, not the current arrangement.

  • Anonymous

    So you are saying that everyone pools their savings and places it at risk? If that were the case many of them would have tried a small business already

  • Anonymous

    I am implying that someone with only the skill set to pick lettuce probably does not have the skill set to read a financial statement

  • Anonymous

    In some cases subsidies are needed. In most cases I totally oppose them.

  • Anonymous

    I grew up in NYC went to CUNY and NYU in the 70s. You think this is my first exposure to populist and Marxist ideology? You act as if this things haven’t been thought of before? I had Communist professors before you were born. These collectivist idea’s rarely work except in small venues like the Kibbutz system in Israel and only because they shared history , culture and religion.

  • Russell Spears

    Funny you have a background with Marxist ideas and can’t recognize a workers cooperative is capitalistic? None of what I have said is about Marxist critique-Although I like David Harvey ‘s new book on some solid criticisms of capital in general.

    Look even if you wish to use a strawman argument here try to make it about the subject of capitalism at least, your still just throwing words to the wind. If you have a letegitimate point please make your boring me to death with your pedigrees. ..

  • Russell Spears

    No your once again beating around the issue. Your conflating education with having creative ideas. Both of which a worker can obtain. There is nothing significant about a corporatist that requires their necessity in a worker cooperative. No doubt they can all be replaced in due time.

  • Anonymous

    A workers cooperative with what capital? You still have not explained where the money comes from. From taxpayers and the state? . Let’s say I want to establish a workers cooperative for textile manufacturing. Where do I get the money? Do I ask a seamstress for her last $5000 in savings? How well do you think that will work out?

  • Anonymous

    I see. So an education in Human Resources or Finance or Law is useless and has no place on a board of directors? The unskilled worker who picks lettuce is just as capable? Do you know what you are talking about?

  • Russell Spears

    Again you fail to address the point at hand. There are massive subsides being funneled to corporations which you seem to think has some kind of significance in a debate about the value of worker cooperatives. Honestly your not justifying your degree. No subsidy is necessary unless it is good for the public from which it comes.

  • Anonymous

    Subsidies are needed for things that will serve the public good in the future but are currently unprofitable such as Solar Energy . Of course these pubic investments should require a higher level of due diligence than this administration had taken. Those are the only ones I support. Now please answer the question of capital. Where does the capital come from to finance a workers cooperative? Am I to assume you want state funded workers cooperatives? You failed to comment on Publix Supermarkets which is the largest employee owned company in America and pays lower wages than Walmart? Comment?

  • Anonymous

    Small business? No, I think this thread is about community-owned coops. Same idea, only bigger. Sharing, not pomposity.

  • Anonymous

    A true community cooperative could be funded by public money. So no poor seamstress would be out. Think progressive taxation.

  • Anonymous

    Funded how?

  • Russell Spears

    The state should end all subsides to projects that do not benefit the public and they should go back decade’s and reclaim the wealth wasted on corporatist . Now let’s get this clear… I support Democratically Run Worker Cooperatives you will notice that it says Democratically Run… if the workers own a business and decide on an income I am good with it if they are. My guess is the any employee ownership that does not also include employee control is bound to fail as most corporatist run business should and do.

    Again your lost in this argument. You challenged my point and have been running away from it the whole time.

  • Anonymous

    Another way of stating this (I think, forgive me if I am not in sync with your message Russell) is that the millions of tax dollars diverted to corporations in the form of tax cuts, tax credits, tax avoidance, and tax giveaways (like Obamacare, which is going to the healthcare industrial complex to make their bigwigs money) could just as easily be spent on direct subsidy for community-based coops.

    (I know you weren’t talking about community-based necessarily, but I personally think that is the best and most efficient approach.)

  • Anonymous

    Through the same diversions of our public tax moneys as are currently being handed over to the corporations currently. (See my other comments.)

  • Anonymous

    Unprofitable to whom? Unprofitable to the public, and I’d agree with you. Lining the pockets of zillionaires with the tax dollars of people who are barely getting by doesn’t seem justified.

    That is, if you REALLY are concerned about the public, which your comments do not reflect.

    As to Publix, I applied for work with them and my impression is that they are NOT democratically run. They hire their faves, not the most competent; the manager of the store I applied at was abrasive. I think we can exclude Publix for the sake of this conversation.

  • Anonymous

    Ah so “The State” would fund it and regulate it. Now we are getting closer to Communism

  • Anonymous

    I am for common sense. And yes it makes common sense to subsidize cancer research and solar energy . If not who would do it and with what funding?

  • Anonymous

    Ah so you want these funded by capitalists profits. Then the employee owner has no risk. Such a utopian view only exists in a class room

  • Russell Spears

    Not even that honestly. Once workers begin to keep the profit of their labor and our taxes are not spent on any subsides we will see real wealth quickly gather to the workers. The wealthy who don’t work and the unemployed CEOs will be pennyless and unemployable. I am confident worker cooperatives will cure this cancer. That is why a dog knows he is getting beat and American workers don’t.

  • Russell Spears

    It’s a shame we wasted good taxpayer money on your education. When we could have taxed workers less and they would be able to pool their money in creating secure jobs in the community.

  • Anonymous

    So you want to tax corporate business to finance these coops? So these would basically be state funded. And state regulated. Why do the shuck and jive and not just admit you are a Marxist who never risked a cent of his own and never employed anyone?

  • Anonymous

    no problem with me. But actually, it doesn’t have to be communism. This is a capitalist country and we already pay taxes to “the state” as you call it. So the specific political-economic system in place is irrelevant to this one point of the discussion. Not sure why you are including it.

  • Anonymous

    I have an MBA from NYU and own a business that does over 10 Million a year and employs over 200 people. I did it all from nothing. Basically a $25,000 loan from my parents and a 2nd mortgage on my home How many jobs have you created?

  • Anonymous

    If that makes sense to you, then why doesn’t community enterprises? If the public pays for the R&D of, say, the Internet (which began as a DARPA project in the 1960s), then why shouldn’t they benefit from it? Why shouldn’t there be universal access based on being a member of the human race, which paid for the R&D, rather than phony market-based systems that price the poorest citizens out of the benefits of the Internet?

    My point, which should be obvious, is that we ALREADY paid for the cancer research, the solar energy technology, the development of the Internet. Why should we have to pay for it a second time, in the “market?”

  • Anonymous

    Capitalists states do not fund businesses from tax revenue. Or shouldn’t.

  • Anonymous

    More of your pomposity. What if your parents had not had $25,000, and what if you didn’t have a home to mortgage?

    You sound like a spoiled little brat, and a very selfish one at that. I wish I could see your MBA. I’m out of toilet paper here.

  • Anonymous

    I agree in part. I guess it depends on the percent of government funding. If the government only funds 10% of the Cancer research then the businesses should be allowed to recoup their money with some profits.

  • Anonymous

    So you want capitalist profits funded by consumers. Funny, I am one of those consumers!

    Humanism anyone? It is very hard for me to listen to this pomposity, honestly.

  • Anonymous

    I do not disagree with you a bit. I just think that publicly-financed enterprises would take the concept to a new level. It would be a way to provide funding for these coops.

    Cities always seem to find money to give Walmart and Lowes and Petsmart a tax break to open another big box. So they are not REALLY out of cash, are they?

    Russell, we can do this.

  • Anonymous

    Spoiled Brat? My parents worked very hard and we were not wealthy growing up. My dad was a deli counter worker in Brooklyn. He slice cold cuts. Eventually he saved enough money to buy the deli but he couldn’t pay the notes and rent on our apartment so we moved into the back of the deli. Yes the back room. My bed was next to the cases of Pepsi. We did this for over one year. It was embarrassing to bring my friends home to say the least. Now get your head out of your utopian mindset and get into the real world.

  • Anonymous

    Yet, strangely, EVERY capitalist state does. What does that tell us?

  • Anonymous

    Yes of course. Profits encourage and motivate. Have you studied the former Soviet system and the shortages ? The lack of design etc.

  • Anonymous

    Why shouldn’t the workers be allowed to recoup their money from the profits?

    That is all a coop is.

  • Anonymous

    Who said it was their money? Did they have any financial investment in the company?

  • Anonymous

    Yes they do in a limited fashion. Overall the vast majority is not state funded.

  • Anonymous

    Correct. The vast majority of the “wealth” is created by banking accounting magic.

  • Russell Spears

    Look your debating a guy that has yet to realize that corporatist have to hire workers to write and read reports to them. He seems to suggest the owners of these corporations actually did it all themselves out of the goodness of their hearts puts up with the nagging poor uneducated workers

  • Anonymous

    You have an MBA and you are still ignorant of what the USSR really was?

    Sir, I don’t know what your history classes taught you, but the USSR was NOT communism, socialism, or any such related thing. It was a corrupt totalitarian system, not one I ever endorsed.

    And I didn’t know that you believed in design. I thought only planners and socialists believed in this. I thought capitalists only believed in planning for the next 90 days.

  • Anonymous

    Uhm. Sweat equity? You know, burning calories, performing work, as opposed to standing around telling everyone ELSE what to do and taking a premium for that privilege?

    You know, your small 200 worker business is not even what I am concerned with. You can have it. I am mostly concerned with multi-billion dollar businesses anyway.

  • Anonymous

    Oh I am very aware of what the USSR was. Yes it was totalitarian . So was Pol Pot’s Cambodia. That’s the problem. Communism cannot be accomplished without totalitarian enforcement except on a small scale like an Israeli Kibbutz

  • Anonymous

    Sweat Equity? Go back to the Middle Ages. We are in a modern world now where intelligence and ideas have more value

  • Anonymous

    WHAT? You are mixing up two diametrically opposed concepts, communism and totalitarianism.

    Communism is a form of socialism. Socialism requires democracy, not totalitarianism. Socialism is squelched in a totalitarian environment and that is why the USSR was such a failure in the long run. It is unfortunate that your education only included the official, corporate line about this topic.

  • Anonymous

    I am not confusing anything. Man is competitive. You cannot enforce communism without totalitarianism. It has NEVER been done.

  • Anonymous

    OK, so only YOUR brains have value, not the brains of the myriad workers who create all the material things of this modern world.

    Excuse me for calling it “sweat equity.” It no longer means just physical work, it means anyone who contributes to profit creation.

  • Anonymous

    Where do you see successful communism in a totalitarian environment? I have never seen that.

  • Anonymous

    Yes everything has a value. And yes Brains are worth more than physical work.

  • Anonymous

    Communism cannot exist without totalitarian enforcement. If I am wrong show me a major example?

  • Russell Spears

    I agree but giving money to a government who might give it back is backward. Normal healthy personalities can work cooperatively. Really think about it. .. who would work for sociopaths when you can work in ways that only profit you.

  • Russell Spears

    workers create those statements and have to read it back most of the time. Really just put together a string of coherent ideas….

  • Anonymous

    Then how do you justify that these people, who work to help YOU make profits, with a larger cut going to you?

  • Anonymous

    How in hell am I supposed to prove something that doesn’t exist? Now you are being completely disingenuous.

    I asked YOU the question. Show me an example of successful communism in a totalitarian political culture. I claim it does not exist.

    Again, Socialism is one with democracy, and has to be! Socialism dies in a repressive environment, such as those found in nearly every nation on earth currently (a few exceptions like Finland, OK, but largely they don’t exist).

  • Anonymous

    Well, I am not talking about giving anything TO government, at least not the sorts of government real and existing. I agree the current offerings are not trustworthy since they are merely puppet acts for the oligarchs anyway.

    I am talking about bottom-up government that gives TO the people, not takes FROM as now exists. It takes our tax money and hands it right over to corporations and the wealthy.

    This is why I support coops and other worker-owned ventures. Heck, I don’t even care about Dencal26′s little company; good for him. I am more concerned — much more so — with the huge multi-billion dollar congloms that are controlling every aspect of our lives, effectively enslaving us to them.

    You are right that we need to find profits for ourselves. And that starts with charging the owners what we choose for the use of our skills, whether physical or mental. Or get rid of the whole lot altogether.

  • Anonymous

    I agree that no Communist nation exists outside that is not under totalitarian enforcement. Because it is NOT POSSIBLE

  • Anonymous

    I placed my money at risk and my home. If I went bankrupt they weren’t going to save my home .

  • Anonymous

    So then you admit you were incorrect and therefore you have to retract your claim about the Soviet system and admit that totalitarianism and socialism (in whatever form) are at odds with each other.

  • Anonymous

    boohoo. And I am supposed to care? Who CHOSE to take that risk? You did. As you sow, so shall you reap, right? Isn’t that the principle underlying your most beloved principle in life?

    the alternative would be to have the community (you know, that THING that provides workers, land, etc) create the enterprise and allow them to earn a damned living.

    If it weren’t you, it would have been someone else. No mother ever gave birth to a pariah or a hero. Only communities can create those.

  • Russell Spears

    look when i get home tonight I will take the time to answer you correctly you seem worth the effort.

  • Anonymous

    I refuse to debate with people who have no practical experience and live in some utopian classroom world. Trust me. I met dozens like you at NYU. All Clowns Get lost with your antiquated leftist idea’s that never work.

  • Anonymous

    Not at all . My original point is that you cannot have communism without totalitarianism. They go hand in hand. In fact you have proven my point

  • Anonymous

    That’s correct. I chose to take the risk. And I shall reap the profits. That’s life and fair

  • moderator

    Dencal26 and Russel

    It is time to agree to disagree. I have deleted comments that include personal attacks. Please end this discussion without further comment.

    Moderator

  • moderator

    Russel and Dencal26

    It is time to agree to disagree. I have deleted comments that include personal attacks. Please end this discussion without further comment.

    Moderator

  • Anonymous

    Thank You Moderator

  • Anonymous

    You have not proven anything. I don’t see how anything I have written proves YOUR point.

    Was logic part of your MBA school’s curriculum?

  • Anonymous

    If a communist nation can exist without totalitarian enforcement there would be proof of one. Show me.

  • Russell Spears

    Taxes are given to the government and from there they are given to the wealthy in thousands of different programs… without which you would probably see 90% reduction in taxes. Keep your money and make it work for you and your fellow workers.

    With a livable wage and less taxes, workers would easily recapture this economy within a few years. What worker would continue to labor for someone else who is obsessed with earning as much profit off your very life? None if they had a choice.

    These corporatist have nothing to offer this country and the working class should recognize this fact. You may notice they show the same contempt for workers as slave holders did for slaves. They were certain that slaves were dumb and needed the masters. Even Jefferson’s plantation almost did not make it “without him”….yea right.

    We should be very vocal in the support for Democratically Run Worker Cooperatives and realize we are the important part. With a controling majority in time, the politicians will be forced to suck up to the cooperatives…. Then we might collectively dismantle the remaining corporations with new laws that favor workers. The homeless will be the wealthy elite if they manages to avoid hard time in jails and labor camps (we can’t have any of that freeloader stuff in our jails can we?)

    Hopefully the moderator will not object to our discussion. You seem quite sane and sure of mind.

  • Russell Spears

    All we need is to be able to designate an alternate choice. Problem solved. If not Y party then X party and we need “None of the above on the ticket”…

  • Russell Spears

    If I were you just simply do not buy the assumption that the top is the where the talent and intelligence is. There is no reason to believe this absurdity….

  • Russell Spears

    Risk has nothing to do with setting up businesses. There are going to be tons of capital for investment once more people realize Workers can democratically run their own business. ie: fire the boss!

  • Anonymous

    There aren’t ANY. And that’s my point: No form of socialism (such as communism) can exist without democracy, and that is why it failed in USSR. It will fail similarly anywhere else, ultimately, if there is no democracy.

    How many times do I need repeat this?

    To the best of my knowledge, there have been exactly 0 (zero) successful communist or socialist nations. (Perhaps someone out there can correct me, idk.)

    Even China is a disaster thanks to the same basic lack of democracy. I would not call China socialist either. Venezuela comes close, but even there, there is not full democracy. They do fulfill some parts of the socialist agenda, true, but so long as they have political prisoners (under Chavez, now deceased) and market-driven economy, it is hard for me to endorse it as truly socialist. Bolivia seems promising, but I take a wait-and-see approach to it.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks. Same to you as well.

    I do think I am starting to lose it with this other poster, though. He continues to equate socialism and communism with totalitarian regimes, which in my mind is totally impossible. Socialism is rooted in democracy, and some people even equate the two (OK, I guess). Without democracy, socialism cannot flourish and thrive.

    I am 100% with you on DRWCs and I am keeping my eyes peeled for jobs in such companies; there is one with a store locally here and as soon as a position opens up I will apply.

    The moderator seems to be prejudiced against you. I castigated him/her for removing your perfectly good post that claims capitalism is responsible for more violence than any other system in history. I agree fully.

    You are right that real-and-existing government takes our tax moneys and transfer it directly and indirectly to the corporatistas. We do need to figure out a peaceful means of arresting that mode and manner of payment. It is unconstitutional. Funny the RW (including the OP) will tell us over and over again that social programs are unconstitutional even though the US Constitution is very clear about its admonition to “promote the general welfare…” yet they are just fine taking tax subsidies and cuts for their own benefit.

    This is why Obamacare needs to go away and be replaced with a single payer like nearly all other nations have. The OP and RWers will claim they are against Obamacare, yet they are the ones profiting from it!!! We aren’t.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t buy the assumption. Even if I did, still, what about all the workers, who perform the work that creates the profits? And what about the enterprise’s customers, some of them being the public?

    It’s total lunacy in theory, and nothing but violence in its real-world implementation.

  • Anonymous

    If we deprivatize the banks, we could have public oversight of finance AND ensure the steady availability of capital for DRWCs and the like.

    I think there is always some risk involved, but I believe if an entire community were involved in weighing those risks and figuring out how to best address them, maybe risk could be minimized. Bad ideas certainly would not be promoted, such as low wage jobs driving the fatty fast food industry.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you with one caveat. The reason there are none is simple. Very few people would CHOOSE that system voluntarily.

  • Anonymous

    So you admit there are no examples of an actual communist or socialist nation that survives as socialist (not totalitarian) in a political environment of totalitarianism, authoritarianism, or fascism.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t choose capitalism myself. I was born in the US, that’s all that happened with me. You didn’t choose it either.

    Look, the truth is, all of these systems are created by very few people in the first place; they are the only ones who were ever able to CHOOSE a system voluntarily.

    The rest of humanity lives with the decisions of the few. That in itself is completely diametrically opposite of democracy.

    If the textbooks and airwaves weren’t cluttered with all kinds of disingenuous attributions to nations that supposedly have these alternate systems of political economy, I am certain MOST people would opt for them. USSR was a very, very bad example for that reason.

  • Anonymous

    None of the above sends no message as to what we do want – only what we don’t …..

  • pinkie lynn

    It is not jealously of success, it is warranted concern of success that comes at a cost to the people whose labor builds that success. Whether it is shirking fair share of tax payment, or shirking of safety regulations to save a few bucks, it still comes down to greed.: The
    Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 still remains one of the most vivid and horrid
    tragedies that changed American Labor Unions and labor laws. The fire had come
    only five years after Upton Sinclair published his book The Jungle, which
    detailed the plight of the workers at a meat packer’s plant. BUT INSTEAD OF REFORMING THE
    WORKING CONDITIONS MOST PEOPLE WANTED TO REFORM THE HEALTH AND SAFETY
    REGULATIONS ON FOOD. THE TRAGIC DEATH OF 146 GIRLS, WHOSE AVERAGE AGE WAS 19,
    WAS NEEDED BEFORE THE POLITICIANS AND THE PEOPLE SAW FOR THE NEED TO REGULATE
    SAFETY IN THE WORKPLACE.

    Many people were outraged at the
    tragedy. The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire helped to solidify support for workers’
    unions like the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. The owners, Isaac
    Harris and Max Blanck, were tried for manslaughter but were acquitted in 1914.
    Though most people were disgusted with what had happened, THERE WERE NO
    REGULATIONS IN EFFECT THAT WOULD HAVE SAVED LIVES.
    BP Faces Record Fine for ’05 Refinery Explosion
    By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
    Published: October 30,
    2009
    The
    Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced
    the largest fine in its history on Friday, $87 million in penalties
    against the oil
    giant BP
    for failing to correct safety problems identified after a 2005 explosion that
    killed 15 workers at its Texas City, Tex. refinery.

    One
    Labor Department official voiced dismay that BP had four years to correct the
    problems identified after the settlement, yet OSHA still found hundreds of
    violations.

    OSHA News Release

    January 22 – [Region 5 News Release] – 2014 – 01/22/2014 -
    Illinois concrete company cited after temporary worker fatality

    January 22 – [Region 5 News Release] – 2014 – 01/22/2014 -
    PPG Industries cited by US Department of Labor’s OSHA after fatality at
    manufacturing plan

    January 22 – [Region 9 News Release] – 2014 – 01/22/2014 -
    US Labor Department’s OSHA cites American Samoa construction company following
    electrocution fatality

    January 21 – [OSHA Statement] – 2014 – 01/21/2014 – Statement by
    Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez on the catastrophe at International Nutrition
    in Omaha, Neb.

    January 16 – [Region 6 News Release] – 2014 – 01/16/2014 -
    US Labor Department’s OSHA cites Cypress, Texas, employer after trenching
    collapse resulted in 1 worker fatality and 1 injury

    January 16 – [Region 7 News Release] – 2014 – 01/16/2014 -
    MFA Inc. cited by US Labor Department’s OSHA after worker fatally injured at
    Missouri feed and farm supplier

    January 07 – [Region 2 News Release] – 2014 – 01/07/2014 -
    US Labor Department’s OSHA proposes fines of $236,500 for Forever 21 for repeat
    workplace safety violations at Paramus, NJ, and Manhattan, NY, stores

    January 07 – [Region 6 News Release] – 2014 – 01/07/2014 -
    Houston, Texas, plastic bag manufacturer cited by US Labor Department’s OSHA
    for exposing workers to amputation, electrical and noise hazards
    Death and dismemberment due to neglect; not a great deal has changed since 1911. This is the cost of greed for the people who produce, and the profit of greed for those who collect.

  • Russell Spears

    It means no one on this ticket won. Next round. It forces a line of real choices

  • Russell Spears

    It’s the centralized top down nature I will always object to. It always leads to totalarianism. Power wit DRWC subverts this whole paradigm we keep finding ourselves stuck in no matter what we call it. Socialism, communism or capitalism. All of these have created the most economic violence. If I had to label it something. .. I call it Cooperativism.

  • Russell Spears

    Socialism has way too many meanings and typically the same sociopath that runs corporations find their way into these movements. Communism does not account for the power of private ownership, Capitalism does not account for greed and sociopaths particularly. These all historically create Hierarchy and there after totalitarianism. Until we understand what democracy needs, man is not ready (I will get back to this point) However, I see a future when people can act democratically, and it will look like socialism. But right now we are not evolved enough and we should admit it.

    Cooperativism, where the power is horizontally distributed between workers is our next step. it will create America’s first democratic institution (Today we have no examples of democracy in any institution, we love the word but have no clue one how to make it function) Occupy was a great eyeopener, the most open group got together and practiced direct democracy. Ironically the media and America in General laughed and ridiculed the General Assembly as chaotic and a waste of time. I realized they were right.

    AMERICANS KNOW NOTHING OF DEMOCRACY

    it has been tested and proven to be the case. We are trained such that a dog can know better treatment. so where do we go? Create and practice democracy and no better place than where we spend 8 hours a day: Our work. Here can can build real power and begin a process of removing sociopaths from positions of influence.

  • Anonymous

    You make a great point about being born into a system. But there are some prime examples of people being “ born” into communism and choosing to move their nations into capitalism. Russia and China and soon to be Cuba.

  • Anonymous

    Yes I agree that none exist without totalitarianism. But that’s my point. Very few people would live under such a system voluntarily.

  • Russell Spears

    Honestly the amount of public resources and small business loans out there we can put this together FYI this source of funding can be from investment groups like the workingworld.org and crowd funding etc. Worker Cooperatives are a viable alternative to the corporate model we see wasting the valuable time and wealth of the worker.

  • Anonymous

    So, it eliminates everyone on that ballot? – necessitating all new candidates?

  • Russell Spears

    Yea why not.. allow the sitting president to extend their role until we get real canadates. This will trump the money that goes into campaigns… they can contribute to but parties and still the voters may make that a bad investment at the end of the day.

  • JJ042804

    Do you call successful, cutting your Employees Wages and Benefits and pocket them?

  • Anonymous

    No I call it creating 200 Jobs that didn’t exist prior. Good Jobs. 25 of them Union Teamsters. 50 Union Warehousemen.

  • Anonymous

    This, as far as i can see, would effectively eliminate 3rd parties – the duopoly has enough resources to wait this process out, but it takes so much energy for a 3rd party to get on a ballot the first time that asking them to do it repeatedly over a short period would quite exhaust their resources, methinks ….

  • Russell Spears

    it’s hard for third-party exactly because we don’t have a second option people will always hedge their votes

  • Anonymous

    But, ISTM, that “hedging” is what has gotten us into this mess in the first place in more ways than one … That is why I do believe it is time, past time, to stop playing games and just come right out and vote for what we want, not simply against what we don’t …

  • JJ042804

    Yes, that’s a great thing and that’s what a successful Company should do. Sadly, things like that don’t happen too often. What does happen more and more is cutting Jobs and only hiring part time workers or only pay at or just little above minimum Wage.

  • Anonymous

    I agree but sometimes there is no choice. My electric bill alone is 3 salaries. Bridge Tolls for my trucks runs $200 per day and I run no tractor trailers.

  • JJ042804

    I take you own a small Business?!
    It’s not the small Company’s that are the problem. Small Business should receive more assistance so that they can hire more People. I know it is hard for small Company’s, because they are being out-priced by the big guys.

  • Anonymous

    Well big guys react like battleships so if you handle a small company like a speed boat you can find a way to compete. We do 10 Million dollars in sales so it’s not technically a small business

  • Donald Kennedy

    How come when the rich is asked to pay their fair share its socialism but when the burden of taxes is laid on the poor and middle class its not.

    Just another propaganda catch phrase put out by the rich and their news outlets. Interesting how the rich prefer we have an every man for himself attitude just like third world countries.

    Its also funny the rich doesn’t call it socialism when the oil, gas and coal industries recieve 10 to 52 billion dollars annually.

  • Anonymous

    “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein does a far better job than I can of explaining the REAL reasons nations move into capitalism. It has little or nothing to do with “the people.”

  • Anonymous

    Right. And that is why I am saying that a successful system will require democracy, not totalitarianism. If the USSR had had true democracy, they might have succeeded; there are no guarantees of anything in this world. But one thing we can be sure of is that without democracy, socialism is sentenced to failure. I believe it can work, given enough democracy. But that will require some fundamental changes to our political system.

  • Anonymous

    I am all for dissolving term limits. They are foolish. This approach makes more sense. When the people get disgusted enough, they will vote a dictator out of office without the need for artificial and useless notions like term limits.

    Just because a president is forced to step down at the end of his/her term, does not mean that they will be replaced by someone “better” (whatever that might mean). Hillary Clinton seems to be the fave among Dems for 2016, and she is certainly NOT “better” (or worse, or any different) than Obama.

    I say let the people decide without the pressure of term limits. The current Obama dictatorship will likely continue into the next administration if Hillary Clinton runs and wins.

  • Anonymous

    People choose to. Its not very complicated

  • JonThomas

    Actually, more people living in societies which offer a measure of democracy in choosing their leaders and policies have opted for both socialist programs and leaders… including, by the way, the U.S. and it’s citizens.

    Even the majority of American Republicans reject the ‘-ism’ involved in Capital-ism.

    To argue over the dogma of these ‘-isms’, especially when there has never been any pure example, is an exercise in misunderstanding (at best.)

    Just try taking away Social Security or Medicare from the supposed ‘Capitalists’ in this country. You’ll find out real quick just how popular Socialist policies are in the U.S.

    In fact, while a measure of Capitalism is not forbidden in regulated forms, the Constitution does indeed empower the Federal Government to act with Socialist intent.

    Unfortunately, because so many people have been indoctrinated by self-interested forces to believe that Capitalism is sacred, most Americans do not even know how the Constitution secures Socialism. The Constitution is what makes the U.S. a Socialist nation, and the founders are the ones who chose to enshrine at least a measure of Socialism. The Capitalists, through self-interest, are who do everything they can to deny that fact.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, must disagree. I urge you to read this book.

  • Anonymous

    You are very brave to state the truth here, amongst some who hold quite vile ideas about socialism, including equating it with totalitarianism, which is complete anathema to the concept. Call it dogma, but I don’t give a.

    Anyway, it is interesting to note that the Pledge of Allegiance was written by a… *GASP* … a red-blooded, American… yup. Socialist. And what is even more interesting is that this minister was actually quite patriotic. He saw the US taking the wrong path which is what inspired him to write the Pledge. His original version included no mention of God, even though he was a devout believer!

    The preamble to the Constitution, which states the whole purpose for the USA’s existence, and is essentially the blueprint for what was SUPPOSED to be a democracy, emphatically states in no blushing words that the government is to “promote the general welfare.” So, maybe the founders were just a bit… socialist?

    And that is not too wild to consider, either. The founders were deathly fearful of the power of corporations. This makes sense, given they had just fought a huge civil war with Britain that was based largely on abuses by their corporations, such as the Tea companies.

    So, yeah, this country had socialist designs early on. Funny how the RWers are forever quoting the founders as if they stood for corporatism and capitalism when the reality is they did not. In fact, their vision was more of a pastoral, agricultural society and they wanted to preserve that vision.

    Ah well. Now you and I will be pilloried for speaking such… LIES!!! (They are all lies because they do not comport with the official government/corporate/Hollywood line. Jon and I are supposed to belieeeeeeeeve…)

  • Anonymous

    I don’t need a book. The evidence is everywhere. Russia and former Soviet nations. Eastern Europe. China and soon Cuba. They have elections. In Russia the Communist Party even attempted a comeback with no success.

  • Anonymous

    Actually not. The definition of Socialism is government ownership of manufacture and distribution . You are confused between socialism and public programs like police or fire which exist in EVERY economic system including monarchies and dictatorships.

    1 Socialism Websters

    : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

  • JonThomas

    Ugh… another one who is too prideful to ask.

    If you didn’t understand what I wrote, then instead of trying to argue back, why not just ask?

    Did you not read what I wrote? If you read, but didn’t comprehend, why not just ask?

    I opened my comment explaining that there has never been an example of a pure form of any ‘-ism’. What you are quoting is the pure-form definition of Socialism.

    I then went on and explained, using qualifiers, which you chose to ignore, to make the distinctions necessary to show where such ‘-isms’ aren’t applicable.

    If you want to argue that ignorance, than use the pure-form definition of Capitalism and prove the U.S. is Capitalist.

    The U.S. Government has every right to regulate commerce between the States, and with other Nations. The States have every right to regulate commerce within their borders.

    Pure-form Capitalism does not exist, and neither does pure-form Socialism. It’s an impractical debate.

    Ugh… I hate when people are disingenuous. If it’s ignorance that’s your problem, then ask, or learn.

    You are also confusing governance with economics. What does it matter if monarchies or dictatorships use police or fire? This is just another example that proves my point: There has never been a pure example of any economic ‘-ism’ used by any type of government.

    I drink beer made by a 100% employee-owned company. All of my utilities are provided by a Municipality. I live within a mile of a TVA Lake from which my water is taken and processed by the the City.

    “NoDifference” and Russell Spears were right… you’re doing a better job proving my and their points than you are your own. Try not to debate yourself into a corner. If you aren’t sure, just ask.

    Worker cooperatives, employee owned businesses, and municipal production and services work just fine. Hopefully soon we’ll have other Socialist programs…. like Universal Healthcare, which works great everywhere it is tried.

    Even in the U.S., it’s not ‘the People’ who are against using Socialized Medicine, it’s the self-interested forces of a relatively few Capitalists, and their propaganda machines, which work against the best interests of Americans.

    I’ll tell you what… if you really are a sincere person, then why not allow Cuba, or any other country attempting a measure of Socialism, or Socialist policy to practice such policies without interference or hindrance.

    Stop meddling and let them experiment on their own… lift the embargoes. What are you so afraid of?

    You come on forums such as this and spout about such places being failures, while you know full well that self-interested, imperialistic forces wielded by the U.S. and it’s Corporations do everything they can to impede the efforts of those nations.

    If you are so sure of Capitalism’s greatness, then actually allow other nations to experiment without your involvement. Or is there really something you are afraid of?

  • Anonymous

    Apparently you get angry when proven wrong. Please be civil . So now I have established your definition of Socialism abandons the basic premise of government ownership of manufacture and distribution. Glad we established this. Your claim is that taxes collected to supply infrastructure is socialism. Public works are something one can find in ANY economic system and any form of government and does not make it socialist. Cuba has failed because a capitalist nation refuses to do business with them? They had a Soviet sugar Daddy pumping Billions into the Island for decades and still failed. The place is worse than in 1959. Imagine had the capitalist system continued in Cuba? Cuba is or was a full Socialist state with government ownership of everything. So the example you have provided does fit the definition I provided.

  • Anonymous

    By the way every poll I have seen on healthcare and not ONE shows a majority of Americans supporting a socialized single payer system like Europe. Do you make up your own polls?

  • JonThomas

    Thank you, maybe it’s courage… or maybe it’s just frustration with people spouting ignorance out of ideological programming. I don’t know lol.

    *Side note*… these people would probably have a fit if I told them I don’t, nor won’t, pledge allegiance to any flag. If anyone wants to do that, well… fine. That’s their business. Personally I think it’s a poor concept.

    From childhood we are indoctrinated with these concepts. It seems most people just carry on without ever considering the significance, or the genesis of what they believe are their own ideas.

    In the case of the Pledge… I remember sitting in class one morning and actually thinking about what I was saying… pledging allegiance to a flag? Huh? To the Nation of which it stands? What if I was born in another country? The whole moment was surreal! That was the last time I stood for the pledge.

    Now though, I’ll stand out of respect (the import of that concept took longer for me to comprehend,) but I still won’t say the pledge.

  • JonThomas

    Sir, just stop! You have been mischaracterizing the words and intent of every person who has replied to you! I see now why the moderator has had to step in!

    I shall no longer waste my time!

    Before you come back and accuse me of failing in my assertions, I will just leave my words to stand on their own. If any honest reader wishes me to elaborate or expound, then fine… I shall be more than happy to do so… but you sir are are neither sincere nor honest. I no longer welcome your discourse.

  • Anonymous

    No sir the moderator jumps in when the personal attacks begin after they cannot defend their position. What have I mischaracterized? Which form of socialism do you support? The definition used and as practiced in the example provided of Cuba ? Trying to iron down your position is difficult.

  • Anonymous

    Here is another example Daymon Worldwide 3rd largest employee owned company in America According to Payscale.com they pay 7% below market for the same jobs. So now the top 3 pay below market wage. Debate the issue and stop saying I mischaracterized anyone.

    Daymon Worldwide, Inc. typically pays its employees

    -6%

    http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Employer=Daymon_Worldwide%2c_Inc./Salary

  • moderator

    Dencal26,

    I think you have made your points quite clearly. I can’t imagine any minds are going to be changed from here on out. Perhaps it is time to move on. I will give this same message to those in opposition to you.

    thanks,
    Moderator

  • moderator

    JonThomas,

    Good idea, I think this entire discussion has hit a brick wall. Time to move on.

    thanks
    Moderator

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for your moderation and respect. I will respect your wishes and move on

  • Anonymous

    There are many, many definitions of socialism, and none are “official.” Socialism is more like a general concept, with various people and groups promoting a specific concept of socialism I think. The source you quote is just one of them.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I have the same bad feelings about the indoctrination and inculcation that underlies the Pledge. But did you know that when that socialist minister wrote the original poem in 1892 that it only said “flag” without “of the United States of America?” He wanted people in ALL countries to recite it. People should be proud of whatever land they live in. Whether that is a good idea or not is another matter, but that was his aim.

  • Anonymous

    ABC News Poll from 2003: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/living/US/healthcare031020_poll.html

    NYT from 2007: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/01/washington/01cnd-poll.html?_r=0

    More recent, from the Right, TPM: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/poll-americans-overwhelmingly-favor-universal-health-care-until-taxes-are-mentioned

    I can provide you with a much longer list, if you like. This is just a sampling from a simple google search. You do know google, right?

    Do YOU make up your own polls?

  • JonThomas

    Yeah, it is interesting to learn the history of such inculcated mantras.

    At 6 years old, it’s a mindless ritual. Regardless of maturity, a young person has little concept of what allegiance means, and absolutely no well thought out idea of what it can entail.

    Unless I am conversing with people who do, and I wish to actually communicate, or if I am contemplating issues regarding nations and borders, for myself I no longer really think in terms of nations.

    I see it as a relationship of sorts. For example… a person does well to get themselves in order, then think about marriage. Similar with ideological thinking, or thinking about one’s relationship with the nation in which they reside… at any given stage in life, absent outside influences (as well as possible that is,) a person does well to objectively examine things for themselves. Then, afterwards, they can be better prepared to address the concepts belonging to those choices they wish to make.

    I don’t really wish to belittle anyone, but to me, to be proud of a nation, just because you happened to be born there is a silly, childish idea.

    When I envision that thought process I see children on a playground saying… “my dad is bigger/stronger/faster than your dad.”

    Ralph Linton said it best… “Those who know no culture other than their own, cannot know their own.”

    Inculcating people with such immature concepts, especially children, is like trying to stack a deck before playing a high stakes game. There is no real objectivity, and any discussion on the subject (more so with those holding onto unchallenged inculcations) usually, and quickly, devolves into disingenuous arguments.

    If a person wants to find out, then an objective experiment is in order. However, given the self-interests in this world, and what is at stake, unfortunately that is an impracticality.

    Good discussion, thank you for the insight.

  • Anonymous

    It is still a matter of ‘left’ v ‘right’ unfortunately. The RW is responsible for the class divide, not the Left. The Left has been fighting for equality and fair treatment for centuries, maybe millenia.

    The RW is NOT part of the society that believes in classless society. The Right continues to enjoy lives of privilege and they are just fine with that thank you. That billions suffer while they sit on their asses does not seem to bother them terribly; this story is about this precisely, so the moderator has no business deleting these comments. If the RW did care, they would be taking social justice action to correct it. But what are the chances really.

    You are right that the Left needs to focus on creating classless society. Fortunately, the intelligent and informed portion of the Left is continuing to do so.

  • Anonymous

    A cooperative of, say, 200 workers might well constitute the size of the workforce of a small town. So in that case there would be no difference between government and the entire workforce.

    I understand your concern and fear. I just want to make sure that I emphasize that I do not look at government the way it currently exists. My desire for government is grassroots, bottom-up (a whole different discussion) unlike any political party or governmental institution we have currently. Mine is a government run by the people.

    If government is run by the people as opposed to corporations and oligarchs, your fears are completely allayed. Sorry I am not a huge fan of so-called anarchism. I do still believe in truly representative government, preferably of the Parliamentary form (no idiotic “separate-but-equal” executive branch).

  • moderator

    NoDifference,

    You and Dencal26 will have to agree to disagree and move on without further comment.

    thanks,
    Moderator

  • Anonymous

    Was it BP that got itself a $9.9B IRS refund check a few years ago? It seems they had a loss due to some leetle shpill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/27/bp-oil-spill-10-billion-tax-credit_n_661371.html

    So the American taxPAYing public is called upon to pick up close to $10B for their accident of Biblical proportions. It is our way of thanking them for their leetle accident.

    Yes, Donald, funny how this works, isn’t it.

  • Vera Gottlieb

    No, being successful isn’t greed – it is how you got there that is questionable. There is ‘making a living’ and ‘making a killing’ and this is where greed enters the picture. Live and let live.

  • Russell Spears

    I think there comes a time when the citizenry of a vast majority of the state has evolved a level of moral consensus to run under direct democracy. After spending time together in worker cooperatives America may be ready to reduce the power of the state.

  • Russell Spears

    I’m glad you are able to get this point. ..and you made it well I have to say

  • Anonymous

    What I am saying is why does there even have to be a “state,” this “THEM” thing that cuts us slowly to death, abusing us and intruding on our personal lives, and diverting our hard work to lazy people who prefer to be labeled the wealthy.

    Instead, we COULD have (note the emphasis) a republic where a REPRESENTATIVE body (not one based on highest bidder) executes the real desires of the people.

    Again, I do not thing perfect anarchism is possible; there must be some institution to approach when problems arise. I do not favor the current system of legal action on a one-by-one case basis.

    We should abolish the notion of “state” as you call it and replace it with truly representative government. If the people want it badly enough, they can create it — it was attempted once before, but it failed because the oligarchs managed to hijack the movement and made sure they ended up in charge all over again. That’s the key; we must take charge to the END.

  • Russell Spears

    Any business we gave any money to, should be represented by a proportional controlling interest of their Workers. At over 51% the workers can begin having a controlling position. If a business ends up collateralizing all their net worth, it should be given over to the workers to own and run as a Worker Cooperative.

    This will be a way to protect jobs without handing out money to big corp which only turns around and invests in labor saving efficiencies-which is good for them, but it is causing more unemployment and so runs contrary to the intent (To Create New Jobs).

    Today most Corporatist just use government money it to buy a new jet, put more in tax havens or in wall street gambling.

  • Russell Spears

    Representative State discourages democracy. If we actually love democracy as an idea yet run from any practice of it in our lives, I do not see the point of struggle. It has and will always be the route the powerful take to control the masses. The state is important to maintain the laws with letegitimate force and lawful conduct. But that power should not be greater than the majority and it’s responsibility should be reduced drastically to essentials.

  • Anonymous

    They simply cheat on taxes to fund it.

  • Anonymous

    You tell him! Capitalist love that kind of socialism. Love getting more than they give to the system.