The REAL reason the Dems/progressives lost this election
Really. It dawned on me tonight why REAL reason the Dems/Progessives lost his election. And it can be summed up with this simple failure, they could not answer the question. When you look at the entire campaign, they failed to answer that simple question - What have you done for me lately?
You can say we fought against this, or we prevented that, but in the end, What have you done for me lately?
And, this will be the question going forward, not what can you do for me, but What have you done for me lately?
What the hell have you done for me? Have you given me a job? Have you provided me health care? Have you made sure my grandmother does not die in the streets? It's not enough to say you fought against policies that endanger me or my family; it's not enough to say you opposed the war; it's not enough to say you fought against 'x' legislation; it's not enough to tell what you are going to do; if you were impotent on every issue I care about, why would I trust you in the future?
What, you're planning on wearing a cockring next time? Who gives' a crap! What have you done...
That is the failure of the dems/progressives - not that they are the one and the same, in fact, I hope that the progressives don't identify with the dems; a party that is kissing cousins with the repubs. But, why should I vote for a progressive with no history of success?
So, there that said, what are the progressives going to accomplish? Because without any record of accomplishment, you are like a fresh college graduate, all grandiose intents, no history of success. Why would I hire you?
No, if the progressives are going to be a force, they must pick one issue
, one that resonates with the populace/voters and win it
. It might not be enough, but you have to have something on your resume, and that's what the dems lacked - they had a resume without any recent accomplishments. They just observed...They just attended conferences...They just yelled alot...But, they had nothing on their resume.
So, what issue can progressives win? It matters what it is, but the most important factor is they win. It will not sell to the American voter if it winds up being just a good idea; it must be successful; it must be a win.
I don't have a clue as to what issue they should champion, but regardless of what it is, they must win...They must be able to answer the question:
What have you done for me lately?
How to gain some power for 2006
More thoughts before the holiday
A very benign title I know, but expect me to re-post this on Monday - yeah, I'm sure that's bad form; as if I truly cared.
My initial idea, on how to effectively influence the mid-term elelctions of 2006.
As I stated in A post of random thoughts?
- which turns out to be an apt title, sort of - I'm trying to figure out how to retake, if we ever owned it in the first place, our country. I've stated that the dems have been completely marginilized, and they have. They don't have a message, and if they do, they don't know how to communicate it. I'm not presenting this idea to re-invigorate the dems; fuck 'em, they deserve marginalization. What I'm suggesting, for whomever has the where-with-all, is where effective communication can occur, and at least partially, what the message should contain.
If the religious right has learned to dominate the church, it's sort of pointless to fight on their home field. What I suggest is to move the field of battle to one more...the proper word escapes me at this point in time...but no matter, we need to take control of the job hunting networks. All of them. We need to 'embed' people in every job networking organinzation across the country; yes, including the local church. At every meeting of the job seekers - as opposed to the labor movement where people were called upon to fight and risk jobs they already had - we need to build a movement, one that is largely classless based on composition, of people looking for jobs.
That sort of sums it up. Rather than fight on moral issues, rather than fight on our ability to win an un-winnable war, we need to move to a grassroots movement that targets people who are not able to find jobs through NO FAULT of their own. I believe that would resonnate in all states regardless of colour, and with every family who has someone who is unemployed but actively willing and looking for work
That is a constituency that both parties have not captured. And in fact, based on their dependency on major corporate contributors, one they cannot capitalize on.
And, hence one ripe for recruitment to a cause that is trying to overthrow corporatism.
Enough for now. And, as I stated above, I will risk being borish and repost this on Monday.
Done for now; more to follow...
Some quick thought before the Holiday - Admin mostly
Well, another holiday tomorrow. Holidays are just depressing when you're unemployed. Just a chance to get together with your family and feel like a schmo. If I had the money i.e. if I was employed, the Wife and I would probably sneak off to a hotel somewhere. Anyway, holidays suck.
Oh, sort of related - I have now heard the idea of selling drugs to get through these times from three seperate sources. This does not bode well. When people who were doing well suddenly find themselves desperate enough to consider crossing the law just to make ends meet, mind you, not to make a lot of money, well, that's a pretty negative indicator of the economy that you are not going to find in the reporting statistics. And of course, it makes for a really bad cycle - crime goes up as people get desperate, more people wind up in jail, more overhead for the tax payers with zero return to the economy, driving more people into desperation...Yeah, there will be jobs in criminal justice, but have you looked at their pay scales lately? And as the tax burden goes up, don't think that the states and communities will be looking to give raises to anyone.
Caught this last night - frontline: secret history of the credit card on PBS
, and thought it was excellent. I knew the banking/credit card industry were bastards, I just didn't realize how bad. We only carry two cards, and for years we've been able to pay them off monthly; now some debt is accumulating and what happens? The just raised my limit another $2500. That sounds good at first, but I don't want to carry any debt; especially now. Actually, I don't want carry debt PERIOD. I have friends carrying huge debts, and these credit card companies are basically acting like legalized loan sharks. And the public's defenders, the OCC - Comptroller of the Currency, Administrator of National Banks
, is doing less than nothing to help protect our citizens. Of course, I find ironic that a christian nation would have this problem. I would have thought they would have learned from Jesus's attack on the money lenders that this system is filled with immoral bastards, but we never learn.
Well, we have a severe thunderstorm moving in. I'll shut off the computer for now. Don't know if I'll get back to any blogging 'til Friday.
Anyway, happy Holidays...
Just a quick thought.
I caught a little coverage on the sports fiascos over the weekend, but the one that intrigued me the most, was some guy (clueless, but seemed to be a sports labor rep) on FOX (yes, occassionally I pause there) who had the idea of sports figures being barred for a year and fans going to criminal trials.
Why? Why is it somehow appropriate for sports figures' punishment to be reserved to the sport? Do we have the equivalent of diplomatic immunity for sports players? If you make $20m playing for some corporation, that sort of implies that you are not subject to the criminal courts for actions that are clearly criminal? Is this now defacto law?
I remember the basketball player who choked his coach, and how I kept wondering why he wasn't criminally prosecuted for assault. I still don't know why.
Have we, through precedent, created a class of 'sports immunity' to prosecution? I mean, I know that even when they go to trial, juries seem to let them off, but have we decided we as a society that we are no longer going to even attempt to bring these people before the courts.
If so, if a defacto 'sports immunity' exists, what does that mean?
The more I think about it, the more I am disgusted...
Note: I have a friend who used to take his converted old schoool bus to the infield of every NASCAR race with in driving range. He was the biggest NASCAR fan I knew. He no longer attends. More than that, he no longer even watches. The cost of attending went from $75 dollars to bring in his bus into the infield to $750 dollars plus ticket costs for everyone on his bus. Now it is $1500 dollars. I think NASCAR is going to destroy itself, like many other sports, by pricing out of attendance the very fans that made it/them successful. We'll see.
Oh, he didn't even know who was where in the ratings this year, and my other friends didn't have a clue how the new ratings system even worked. Bad sign for NASCAR in the long term I think.
"Why do I kill for you?"
This post started a few days ago under the title of "Corporate malfeasance". I was going to discuss Alternative Radio : Marjorie Kelly : The Divine Right of Capital
, which though I wasn't able to listen to in its entirety (errands, a flat tire, a flat spare, etc), I was able to hear Ms Kelly make two points that I felt worth posting: 1) Corporations are inherently class biased (all paraphrasing here, listen if you want true accuracy). They favor the rich by structure. Those that can afford to invest are protected, and labor is exploited by the very definition and structure of legal corporations. As she points out, every business school teaches that the purpose of a corporation is to provide maximum return to the investors. Since labor is classified as costs, the corporation endeavors to minimize the costs of labor; and since profits, paid to the share holders, are considered returns on investment, corporations are legally supposed to screw labor for the benefit of the wealthy who can buy the stock. The wealthy are supposed to get wealthier, and the laborers are supposed to get as little as possible. 2) Environmental costs, as overhead, are supposed to be passed on as societal costs as much as possible. If environmental remediation is overhead, the more that that can be passed onto the surrounding communities, the more profits can be passed on to the wealthy.
While both of those points might really be common sense, I had never heard them cited so succinctly. If you can do the streaming video
, you probably should. She says it better.
The other thing I was going to include in this post, was a discussion of the
Finance Committee Hearing - FDA, Merck and Vioxx: Putting Patient Safety First?
C-SPAN: Senate Hearing on Vioxx Prescription Drug (11/18/2004)
. And, it flat re-enforces what Ms Kelly was discussing above, but goes further. Why should Merck, or any other corporation, be able to kill people for profit? Really, if Merck knew that these drugs were dangerous to the very sector of the population most likely to use them, than shouldn't that at least fall under negligent homicide, if not murder? Sadly, I expect those that made the decisions that led to in excess of a 100,000 strokes, heart attacks, and deaths, to get away with it. The 'corporation' will pay a fine, but the people who made the decisions...Well, they'll retire wealthy.
Oh, for the five other drugs on the market that Dr. David J. Graham thinks should be studied, move to the 1hr 50 min 18 sec mark on the video
(which I haven't figured out a way to link to directly). His testimony is very revealing on how bought our regulatory system is. Orrin Hatch? Well, I'm not sure what to make of his tone, and I really should, but won't, try to find out how much his campaigns have been supported by the pharmaceutical industry.
If you didn't already know, this will convince you, I am a C-Span junkie. It's not actually corporate, but it is a great discussion of how pervasive fraud, plagiarism, etc. Pervades our country: C-SPAN Store -- Past Imperfect: Facts, Fictions, Frauds
But, I am going to move forward, at least I think it is forward. I have spent a lot of time posting on information, the value of information, and attempting to find a definition for value. But I have been doing it from an economic, if Radically Inept
, point of view. I have now decided to go more toward a sociological perspective. Probably just as Radically Inept
, but a different form.
Why do people kill for you? I think in early historical, pre-historical, terms, it would have been to benefit the family group. Then, perhaps expanded to include tribal groups and your village. I mean we all would fight to protect our family, and to the degree that our families survival was ensured by the survival of the tribe or village, well, the progression would have made sense.
I am planning on doing more thinking down this road - what makes people willing to kill and die for each other. I think there is something here, I'm just not sure what, though I suspect at least part of it to be that the powerful have figured out a way to use our basic drives against us for their own purposes. And, I think it ties into the very economic system I've been trying to understand. At it's base, I think, is obviously greed on the part of those who hold power, but I suspect exploring the pattern, and over laying on the economic pattern, will be like studying 'black holes'. You can't actually see the black hole to study it, but be looking at the effects and affects surrounding it, you might gain a deeper understanding.
I'm going to go ahead and post this not because the piece is worthy, but I think the links I cited above are.
Expect more posts in this area - Why do I kill for you?
It's an acquired taste
One of my comments to an ongoing discussion at Inspector Lohmann: A Martial Minuette in a Minor Key
Wow, what an optimistic and uplifting dialogue.
I guess this is sort of a parable?
I remember growing up, and even to this day, that when I 'taste' something for the first time, and remark that I don't care for it, I have often been told, "It's an acquired taste"; especially if whatever it was was expensive. I always had problems with that little statement, "It's an acquired taste". I mean, why should I acquire it? Especially if it costs more than the stuff I'm already consuming? It just always seemed like yet another way to make me dissatisfied with my lot in life - by getting me to like the more expensive things.
So, I've turned 'it's an acquired taste' on it's head. Now when I go into the local liquor store to buy whiskey, I buy the cheapest brand - currently that might be Kentucky Brand whiskey at $10.49 for the large litre and half bottle, and if I serve it to you, and you don't like it? Well, you know, "It's an acquired taste."
And that's what we have to somehow acheive, we have to get people to quit buying into wasting they're monies and energies pursuing someone else's agenda, and learn to create their own.
I'm not so worried about the uninformed and ignorant, I'm worried about them acting as a unified force. If the left wants to achieve change, we need to constantly point out to these people how they differ, not necessarily with their leaders, but with each other. Divide and conquer. Remember, each religious grouping thinks they're right, and all the others are going to hell. Ask any southern methodist, and he'll tell you the baptists, the jews, and the catholics, and of course the muslims and the buddhists, and especially the mormons, and even the church of god, and the church of christ followers, well, they're all going to hell. Everyone else is going to hell. It's their own little elitist culture. Oh, and most southern methodists think most other southern methodists are going to wind up in hell, too.
If you can't teach them, than play on their biases and get them so busy fighting each other, that we can take over.
The social/ political/economic offense - "It's an acquired taste". Let's fight back on the low road of building discontent, which is in fact the problem that the democrats have had - they have failed to preach discontent. They've been scared to raise the spectre of discontent, because they are owned by the same corporations, and only material discontent, aswayed at Wal-Marts, is allowed.
Sorry, I keep starting with a purpose, then I...
Anyway, the point is that progressives need to continue to strive for the high ground, but they need to start taking the low road to get there. It's similar to what the corporatists have done so well - they have sold the rush for the bottom as the climb to the top and constantly use the divide and conquer tactics even among their own to attain and retain power.
We just need to get them in to serious infighting amongst themselves. They is always an opposing faction. They pretend they represent a united front, which they don't. We need to attack the gaps and break them up. They've been really successful in doing it to the left.
When is it human, and what does that mean?
Okay, here is a controversy that will be fascinating to watch as it develops - sort of combines the stem cell debate with the animal rights debate, "Of mice, men and in-between
: Scientists debate blending of human, animal forms"
By Rick Weiss" -
In Minnesota, pigs are being born with human blood in their veins.
In Nevada, there are sheep whose livers and hearts are largely human.
In California, mice peer from their cages with human brain cells firing inside their skulls.
These are not outcasts from "The Island of Dr. Moreau," the 1896 novel by H.G. Wells in which a rogue doctor develops creatures that are part animal and part human. They are real creations of real scientists, stretching the boundaries of stem cell research.
Biologists call these hybrid animals chimeras, after the mythical Greek creature with a lion's head, a goat's body and a serpent's tail. They are the products of experiments in which human stem cells were added to developing animal fetuses.
Living test beds
Chimeras are allowing scientists to watch, for the first time, how nascent human cells and organs mature and interact — not in the cold isolation of laboratory dishes but inside the bodies of living creatures. Some are already revealing deep secrets of human biology and pointing the way toward new medical treatments.
But with no federal guidelines in place, an awkward question hovers above the work: How human must a chimera be before more stringent research rules should kick in?
The National Academy of Sciences, which advises the federal government, has been studying the issue and hopes to make recommendations by February. Yet the range of opinions it has received so far suggests that reaching consensus may be difficult.
During one recent meeting, scientists disagreed on such basic issues as whether it would be unethical for a human embryo to begin its development in an animal's womb, and whether a mouse would be better or worse off with a brain made of human neurons.
"This is an area where we really need to come to a reasonable consensus," said James Battey, chairman of the National Institutes of Health's Stem Cell Task Force. "We need to establish some kind of guidelines as to what the scientific community ought to do and ought not to do."
I'm sure I don't have an answer, but the article is worth the read.
And the questions? What does it mean to be human? When are mankinds' various laws, morals and ethics applicable? As we blur the lines, and make an already ambiguous debate more ambiguous...Well, it will be intriguing to watch.
More computer displacement
Damn, I haven't even written a book yet, much less been published or cited in a mainstream publication, but it appears I've been displaced by a computer:
An Essay: Computers as Authors? Literary Luddites Unite!
"Occasionally you hear of a Luddite novelist who shuns computers, but the truth is that most of us would be lost without them. If I rail and curse at mine, it is partly out of resentment at our miserable co-dependence. Imagine, then, the blow to my scribbler's vanity when I discovered a while back that computers might get along just fine without writers.
This is not science fiction. With little fanfare and (so far) no appearances at Barnes & Noble, computers have started writing without us scribes. They are perfectly capable of nonfiction prose, and while the reputation of Henry James is not yet threatened, computers can even generate brief outbursts of fiction that are probably superior to what many humans could turn out - even those not in master of fine arts programs. Consider the beginning of a short story dealing with the theme of betrayal:
'Dave Striver loved the university - its ivy-covered clocktowers, its ancient and sturdy brick, and its sun-splashed verdant greens and eager youth. The university, contrary to popular opinion, is far from free of the stark unforgiving trials of the business world: academia has its own tests, and some are as merciless as any in the marketplace. A prime example is the dissertation defense: to earn the Ph.D., to become a doctor, one must pass an oral examination on one's dissertation. This was a test Professor Edward Hart enjoyed giving.'
That pregnant opening paragraph was written by a computer program known as Brutus.1 that was developed by Selmer Bringsjord, a computer scientist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and David A. Ferrucci, a researcher at I.B.M."
Hell, maybe I should buy a copy of the program, and let my computer do the work. On the otherhand, I doubt the computer has my sense of humor.
While we were distracted - Ballistic Missile Defense System
Speaking of inflated defense budgets -
To Kodiak residents: Get informed on MDA
On Sept. 1, the Missile Defense Agency released the Ballistic Missile Defense System Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. Those who made written or oral comments on the BMDS last year should receive a CD in the mail from the Missile Defense Agency...
...While people were distracted with the presidential election, the Missile Defense Agency quietly, and still is, preparing to launch lasers and interceptors into space orbit (if there is not a nationwide public outcry). Imagine lasers and interceptors aimed at targets anywhere on Earth!
Since the Kodiak Launch Complex is a research and development test-site location under the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty Memorandum of Understanding, it is highly probable some of the technology hardware, payloads and hazardous materials associated with this “Star Wars” come-to-life program, will be launched from Kodiak. Local residents must get involved and insist a site-specific environmental impact statement is done for Narrow Cape by the Missile Defense Agency.
Also, residents should be very concerned as to what is going to be launched on future missile payloads from Narrow Cape, which requires restricting the public from being within viewing range of the launch complex or using binoculars from a distance.
I guess spending most of our money on better, more efficient ways to kill people is a good thing...Much better than, say, trying to improve conditions for human life.
Via the Center For Public Environmental Oversight
The US Budget explained in Oreos by the Ice Cream Man
This is a flash video put out by True Majority Action
that points to how 'imbalanced' our current spending is.
Let me add, much of our defense spending is based on the political whims of members of congress and to prop up local economies, and of course, to profit some of the largest corporations in America.
Anyway...You might enjoy the video, and you might want to join "True Majority Action".
Oh, I found the link at George W Bush and the 14 points of fascism - Project for the OLD American Century
via my buddy, DayTrader. I think you'll find the 14 Points of Fascism
worth your time also.
Oh, hell, just more _ The Wife
Alright, I wanted to post much earlier, but The wife was, well, doing Her thing on the computer. But lest you think that She prevents valuable posts, I need to confess tht She adds value to posts.
Point of fact: I asked her about the privatazation of Social Security. I asked Her a question I have considered before, but I recently heard someone else mention of some program [sorry for the lack of citation, but it was on a 'news' source]. Regardless, I had the same question in mind - If you dump so much money into the equity markets, what the hell equity are you going to buy???
If the companies on the market, those available for investment, and they are all represented in the market, where is the new influx of capital supposed to go? Are we going to drive PE ratios to 100 times earnings just because the capital is available?
So, I asked The Wife. She said, "We'll just buy Chinese companies."
And I realized She made real sense. If American companies aren't available for investment, well, we'd just look elsewhere, and China just made good common sense.
Actually, it makes a lot of sense. If the markets here are fully invested in, than when new capital hits a fully saturated market, it must find another market to invest in. So, as we lose our jobs to the Chinese market place, it only makes sense to invest in their compaies, as they are the companies that have the ability to grow.
I had other things I was going to post, but it's now late. I was going to post on...
Anyway, maybe I'll get to what I was going to post tomorrow, but...