Principles over politics key to principled politics

This may be about old history but it has to also be taken to be about something called principles and principles, if proper ones, do not get so old as to become obsolete and retrospect is a necessary aspect of any perspective that is legitimately principles, principles violated in the past proper exemplars for conduct in the present and future.

I remember really liking Bill Clinton and seeing him as the president who would take us into a better future (I was not paying attention to important details such as who Robert Rubin was or the polishing up of predatory capitalism that was going on or the make the streets safe for the haves by jailing forever those who made the haves feel unsafe). So, when the scandals were coming to light, I tried to make dim their significance.

I have wondered, more so now than before, but before too, about how I and others dismissed those who were making look ugly our pretty boy, our champion, thought about the fact that getting a blow job from a rather young woman in the confines of the White House, should be looked upon as deviant behavior, perversion, less so, foolishly, in terms of power dynamics, but wrong in so many ways, the enemies of the man right in their condemnation of the behavior, those enemies enemies of so many things I believed in, right though to excoriate Bill for his actions.

I remember cursing him for giving THEM, these self-righteous religious bigots (as I saw them), a reason for being self-righteous and I was righteously appalled by the sheen of dignity he put upon him by acting so disgracefully.

But I was happy that he stayed in office, continued to see him as the good against the bad and was angered by the accusations from other women who came forth to complain of his abusive behavior, dismissed them as surrogates for the bad people out there who wanted to have America be what they wanted it to be, not what I wanted it to be.

So, now, these many years hence, I really do not care to have Bill or the woman who stood by his side punished. I do want to have sensible people consider the principles and how they may have treated them then and how, now, they should consider that treatment and what it means for moving forward in a principled manner.

These days, some Democrats are willing to take a less forgiving look at Clinton.
THEHILL.COM

A polite fight is not the right fight, not now.

A person I truly respect wrote me a note in which she asked me to remember to effectiveness of marches in bringing about an end to the war in Vietnam. Having been a part of the anti-war movement and an avid and principled draft-dodger, I remember that along with the marches there were many acts of civil disobedience that, if nothing else, made people aware of the tragic nature of the war and of the real meaning of the cause the marches were meant to support. I do recall what happened at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the Chicago Seven trial that followed.
 
A lot of people went to jail in Chicago and a good number of people were arrested for doing such things as occupying president’s offices on college and university campuses, participating in teach-ins and sit-ins of all kinds, not going to classes and risking getting thrown out of school or not getting the semester credits they had paid for because they were protesting rather than attending classes. Personally, I remember shutting down the college I was attending, standing at barricades with members of the SDS, the Black Panthers, and the Black Student Union. I remember going off campus to find speakers who would inform us and fire up the student body.
 
I remember going to Angela Davis’ office at UCLA and getting her to agree to participate in our moratorium strike. I remember people getting hurt, some getting killed, a good many getting tear gassed and walked with billy clubs. I remember people taking action to make those who felt they did not have to listen, listen.
 
Even with all of the actions taken, both to end the war and change a social order that discriminated against ever one who was not white and male, and against males no matter what their racial or ethnic background who could not agree with the government order that they go off to be butchered in a foreign land, butchering those who lived in those distant lands for reasons few actually understood including those who were doing the sending off.
 
What we face now is at least as terrible as what we faced then, maybe worse because the current powers that be are doing everything they can to make this their country to do with–land, citizens–what they want.
 
There has to be a better strategy than to ask THEM to be nice to us. THEY do not care what we think and they really do not give a shit about our welfare.
 
As some have begun to notice. we are at war, engaged in real and meaningful class warfare and a real war against ignorance, greed, and arrogance. We need to understand that we are at war and fight with real force. Politeness will not this war win and losing this war really does mean for most a very bleak future.

In order to sustain “our” standard of living, we will live by their rules, and their rules become our standard way of living (and thinking) whether we like it or not.

In order to sustain “our” standard of living, we will live by their rules, and their rules become our standard way of living.

The conversation below began with my post calling for a post passing of the tax bill boycott of Christmas.  The response, in my mind, is a sensible one and one indicative of a future in which the moneyed will have their way every day on every issue, because it is the moneyed who we cannot resist, cannot fight because of what they can take away if we really do rebel against their usurpation of power that should be in the hands of the vast majority of people and not a very few.

We will not resist, there will be no meaningful rebellion because in doing so, because of the way the system runs, we hurt ourselves.  If we were to boycott, the made to be inevitable consequence would be punishment in the form of lost jobs and lower pay, a loss of what we have come to understand to be prosperity.

While we continue to feed the system that, because of the way we have allowed the system to develop, because we want to be able to live a life that we have learned to be the prosperous life, that is the kind of prosperity we have come to accept as the standard even though our acceptance of it has led to and will continue to lead to the degradation of democracy and planet and what we may, at some point, discover to be an unacceptably low real standard of living, life without natural beauty, without access to those places where natural beauty still exists, a place where poverty grows worse, affects even more people, where wages never move upwards, where education of the kind needed to be informed and thoughtful citizens is not readily available, where racism and sexism grow more virulent and…

You cannot fight those who in order to be fed and content (there are other ways to achieve contentment, but they have been advertised out of our consciousness) if we have to feed them in order to feed ourselves.  We can find better and more democratic and humane ways to feed ourselves, but it is very difficult to do away with the only diet we know.

Here is the telling conversation.  This is in no way meant to say that the individuals involved are the problem.  The problem is that they live within a system that is terribly problematic and unfair but, to contend with it in any meaningful way, in a way that might bring about the kind of change that would be right change, they would be forced to give up things the UNDERSTANDABLY do not want to give up, SINCERELY believe they cannot give up because of the way their lives would be affected, the way in which their children’s lives would be affected.

What is problematic about living what we got because it is enough is that the children might find, in the world that is the result of the pragmatic and cautious approach, a world in which we would not ever wish upon them.

Me (on poster): Tax Bill Christmas Boycott

Me (in comment following posting of poster):  Use the money to fund change. Go downtown and meet people in the park. Buy food for those without much. Buy Tax Bill Christmas Boycott shirts (proceeds going to the anti-wealth in the hands of a few campaign–somebody needs to make them), beer and wine only from non-corporate brewers and vintners, gifts only from non-corporate entities, and whatever else to make this the kind of holiday we need.

Respondent 1 Also a great way to hurt small businesses. I try to shop local and keep it small, anyway.

Respondent 2: While I agree with you, there also has to be a balance. My family relies on sales in a corporate store and if sales slump even more, hours get cut. The people who will lose hours (or their jobs) are the ones that are likely going to be hit hardest by this tax plan.

 

 

‪Me (to respondent 2): So Ms. _____, you prove the point that we are caught up in a system that hurts us that we cannot rid ourselves of or even adjust because it gives us back what we need and want. Indeed, the corporations will cut hours and do other things to show us who is boss and we will be somewhat made miserable by it. The cost, of course, is giving into a system that allows for corporations whose stockholders and executives make more off the workers labor than the laborers do. There is a better way but the path there is one that we probably never take for the very reasons you offer in your statement. The tax bill passed because we have chosen to empower, have chosen to give up our power to the corporations who use that power to buy legislation that benefits them at our expense. Merry Christmas. Keep feeding the monster and he will continue to eat us alive.

Respondent 3: I wanna spend my yuge tax break windfall.

Respondent 3: I don’t see what that boycott is going to do. And I might point out you are a big fan of pine of the most egregious offenders… Apple. And here we are on Facebook.

Me: The implied charge of hypocrisy should not be used to undercut the viability of my argument for a boycott. I do buy goods that are made by bad companies and Apple is but one amongst many that do what they can to insure that investors are made wealthy and by means by which I do not approve. I want things and I go where I can get what I want with some consideration of the significance of the brand in regard to decent treatment of people and the role the company plays in the world as a corporation.

That said, the call for a boycott is not contradicted or made unreasonable by my buying habits. I refuse to be a part of a boycott by one because such a boycott would do nothing to change the conditions I wish to change through a boycott.

What a massive boycott, and not a tiny one, would do is damage the economy. That is the purpose, to make the economy hurt, to make those who benefit most by the current economic system hurt the most, the investors and the executives who are constantly finding ways to make the system better for themselves by making life worse for others. Consider the post-Christmas scores that are rendered and the glee or tears shed depending on how much consumers spent. Note that, as Julie said, the slower the season the more the working people suffer. That is, the less they by, the greater they are in jeopardy of earning less money or being laid off. The American public has to spend the money it earns so that it can have the work needed to buy enough to keep the economy strong enough to support their employment!

So, it is harmful to save, to refrain from purchasing! That is quite an insane way to be forced to live. And, yet, we tolerate the system because we need the jobs that do more to insure a luxurious life for the wealthy than they do to enhance the quality of life those who are doing the work live. And, as our purchases make those millionaires and billionaires ever more wealthy, they use it to fix the system so that it works to give them always more and less to the rest if such is necessary to buoy the profits.

Something has to give and I think recent history shows what it will be, the people of this country giving into a reality they cannot affect without hurting themselves, a reality that is not the one they would have if they had the power to make change, but the reality they must accept if they are to continue getting along. To change the reality we currently have and complain about, we have to change the dynamics of the society and to do that we have to bear for a time the repercussions of messing with what is, what we are used to.

We won’t do that. Our children’s children will likely be beaten up by a system even worse than the one we have now. They will feel the pain of our not finding a way to do something about our odious present so that their futures will be truly good ones. Very sad.

Respondent 3:‪ I wish I had a realistic answer but this isn’t realistic either. It doesn’t have a chance to gain the numbers to make it effective.

Me: You are right. For this reason the reaction to the royal screwing we took the other night will maybe be a march or some phone calls but nothing that will really help to change the reality that allowed for such a travesty to occur.

Terrible Truths: One capitalist party that in not much fun for most of us.

From an article in The Nation on the At by Norman Solomon, Karen Bernal, Pia Gallegos, and Sam McCann.  The tax bill we should all be crying over is not purely the result of what republicans have been doing and until those who lean liberal realize this, the usurpation of the people’s power by the wealthy few will continue unabated.

“This “Autopsy,” in other words, is a text for rebellion and a rough suggestion of what a born-again Democratic Party might look like. This is the heart of its indictment: “The mainstream Democratic story line of victims without victimizers lacks both plausibility and passion. The idea that the Democrats can somehow convince Wall Street to work on behalf of Main Street through mild chiding, rather than acting as Main Street’s champion against the wealthy, no longer resonates. We live in a time of unrest and justified cynicism toward those in power; Democrats will not win if they continue to bring a wonk knife to a populist gun fight.”

The authors are clearly seeking a straightforward repudiation of the governing strategy on economic issues by the last two Democratic presidents. Neither Bill Clinton nor Barack Obama attempted to challenge corporate and financial interests, and neither did nearly enough to address the lost jobs and wages that led to deteriorating affluence and fed popular cynicism and distrust. Obama, for example, gratuitously appointed General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to the White House Jobs Council—an odd choice, given that Immelt’s company was a notorious pioneer in offshoring American jobs to foreign nations. Immelt subsequently admitted that he was motivated by GE’s bottom line: American wages were too high, he explained, so he intended to lower them. He succeeded.”

The autopsy is available free of charge 

 

TO A DARK CHRISTMAS AND AN UNHAPPY NEW YEAR

People marched a few times to show their disapproval for he who had become their president.  People felt happiness for the good numbers that showed up to chant and wave placards.  People called their representatives and thought that those calls we somehow the cause of moves to end the Affordable Care Act failing.  They thought there was power in petitions.  They heaped praise on the likes of John McCain, Lisa Murkowsk, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake for seeming to do the right thing.  There was even hope generated by Trump’s meeting with Chuck and Nancy.

Deception and self-deception.  Nothing good has come our way since the inauguration and many a terribly bad thing has been done to us.  There is no good reason for joy and there is no good reason to celebrate.

We should mark this season with the sorrow we should be feeling for what has been lost.  We should be taking down the festival lights, replacing them with symbols of the darkness that has come over this land.  Strip the trees of colorful ornaments and replace them with symbols of degradation and defeat, symbols that will remind us of how far we have fallen.

We have lost a great deal.  We have lost our democracy and we have lost our dignity.  Most of us are now living under the control a small group of very powerful people who hold power because they have bought and sold us.  They have stolen our wealth and they have destroyed our dignity and we, without dignity or wealth pander to them for the little bits they are willing to dole out to keep us at bay.  We work for their system, a system designed to make them wealthy by our work.

IF WE WISH TO RECOVER WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY OURS, THE POWER TO GOVERN, THE POWER TO BUILD A SYSTEM THAT IS GOOD FOR THE WHOLE, THAT INSURES PROSPERITY FOR ALL, THEN WE NEED TO THINK OF HOW WE ARE GOING TO GO ABOUT BREAKING THE SYSTEM THAT WORKS AGAINST US, THAT WORKS TO FORCE US TO WORK FOR THEM AND NOT THE COMMON GOOD.

I PROPOSE THAT WE BOYCOTT CHRISTMAS, THAT WE CEASE OUR FEEDING OF THE SYSTEM, THAT WE ACCEPT THE HARDSHIP THAT MAY COME OF SUCH ACTION, THE AVOIDANCE OF WHICH HAS PERPETUATED OUR MISERY WHILE MAKING US FEEL AS THOUGH WE ARE REALLY FEELING GOOD.  WE HAVE PURCHASED THE THINGS THEY SELL US TO KEEP OURSELVES HAPPY AND THAT SENSE OF HAPPINESS HAS KEPT US FROM DOING WHAT IS NECESSARY TO END OUR MISERY.

ON CHRISTMAS DAY AND ON NEW YEARS EVE TURN THE CELEBRATIONS INTO GATHERINGS WHERE A TRULY BRIGHT FUTURE IS DISCUSSED.  USE THE TIME TO TALK TO ONE ANOTHER ABOUT WHAT IS WRONG AND HOW THINGS CAN BE MADE RIGHT.  ADMIT TO THE DARKNESS, LOOK INTO IT AND TALK ABOUT HOW IT IS THAT WE HAVE ALLOWED SUCH GLOOM TO OVERTAKE US.

AND THEN BEGIN THE PROCESS OF RESTORING JOY, CONSIDERING WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO MAKE A SOCIETY THAT IS WORTHY OF CELEBRATION, A SOCIETY THAT IS KIND AND HUMANE, MORALLY UPRIGHT IN THE PROPER WAY, FOR THE PEOPLE AND THEIR WELFARE, FOR A FUTURE IN WHICH ALL WORK IS DONE FOR THE SAKE OF MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE IN WHICH TO LIVE.

Posted to Facebook: Acknowledge the darkness, not a time for festivals of light

I haven’t read the tax bill but I think a final blow has been struck and what it means is either that capitalism as we know it has finally gone too far and will soon be dealt a death blow or that we have finally been fully taken over by a few who are rich and own us part and parcel. What happened tonight is simply intolerable but so much that is intolerable these days is endured. Come on puppet classes, yank those strings, pull the puppet masters from their high places and give it to them good just what they deserve.

BREAK THE ECONOMY THAT IS BREAKING US. END THE HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON NOW. PURCHASE NOT ANOTHER ITEM THAT IN ANYWAY SENDS PROFITS TO THE CORPORATIONS. TAKE THE HIT AND TAKE BACK THIS NATION ALREADY!

REPLACE THE BULBS WITH BLACK ONES. LET IT LOOK LIKE SOMETHING HAS DIED. FOR IT HAS. FORGET THE PARTIES AND INSTEAD MEET TO PLOT STRATEGY. ON CHRISTMAS DAY, GATHER IN THE STREETS TO MARK THE DEATH OF DEMOCRACY AND MAYBE TALK TO ONE ANOTHER ABOUT HOW IT MIGHT BE RESTORED. NOT A TIME TO CELEBRATE BUT TO MOURN AND CONSIDER HOW WE MIGHT PURGE OURSELVES OF THE SCOURGE THAT IS THE GOVERNMENT THAT WE HAVE ALLOWED TO BE TAKEN OVER BY A GROUP OF SELF-SERVING, SELF-RIGHTIOUS SCUM BAGS.

Wealth cannot = power in a democracy. It does here. Thus, this is not a democracy.

Mira Sorvino‏

Following ‪@MiraSorvino

“How Donald Trump Could Build an Autocracy in the U.S. or, The Ghost of America Future – if we don’t wake up and stop him…- The Atlantic”

How to Build an Autocracy

The preconditions are present in the U.S. today. Here’s the playbook Donald Trump could use to set the country down a path toward illiberalism.

theatlantic.com

Replying to @MiraSorvino

Money moves to the top and the top use the money to buy political power so they can move more money to the top so they can buy more political power. The only way to break the cycle is to make it impossible to buy political power and there seems no will to do so because those with power do not want to prevent themselves from being able to buy power because they like having the ability to use their power to grab up more wealth. If they will not stop buying power with their money, then the people should act to take away their wealth.