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Democrat Troll Resigns

How did I become the "Democrat Troll" anyway? That came from my observation that ANY mention of the Democratic Party, no matter how objective and rational the statement might be, invariably draws flak from the anti-dem lobby here at PDX Indymedia. The flak always turned toward ad hominem methods, generally accusing anyone -- who even just mentions that the Democratic Party maybe exists -- of being an apologist for the Democrats and therefore a "Democrat troll." So, I decided to make the "you name it, I claim it" move -- in the old "Dozens" (that is the origin of the Rap category of music and poetry) "you name it, I claim it" was a well-recognized move that could be made whenever someone tried to taunt you with a tag. I should have known that the strategy wouldn't get me anywhere at PDX Indymedia!
So, of course, I've been having to play "you name it, I claim it" until I just don't play no more.

There's a pretty typical example of what I have been getting as the bogey-man or straw-man of Democrat Troll in a comment by "REd Neck" following a comment of mine after article "Captialism Has Failed Planet Earth" at  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/03/313191.shtml
What's wearing me out is the thing of being taken as saying what I never said. In this case, I started out my response by agreeing with the article that capitalism HAS failed the Earth. I even directed people to a major book dedicated to that thesis. Here's my comment:

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On second thought 11.Mar.2005 18:23

author: Democrat Troll

Yes, it has been demonstrated many times over that capitalism includes within its inherant structure an imperative to destroy the Earth. Google on "ecosocialism" and/or see, e.g.,

"The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World?"
by Joel Kovel

On the other hand, it has never been demonstrated that Soviet-style total socialism, with no room for small autonomous businesses of many types, will not also necessarily destroy the Earth. (And there is plenty of evidence that it too would, if it had the chance.) It has even been shown by numerous examples (China?) that revolutionary socialism reverts into capitalism. So, with the Buddha, may I suggest there may be a middle path?

Check out  http://www.davidkorten.org/

"When Corporations Rule the World" by David Korten

NO MATTER WHAT YOUR TAKE ON CAPITALISM, IT REALLY HAS NEVER BEEN PROVEN THAT THERE IS ANY ADVANTAGE, particularly when the country is moving toward one-party fascism, IN IGNORING THE OPPORTUNITY that is presented to us to work with the opposition party TO OPPOSE FASCISM. Let's see -- the Mountain did not go to Mohammed, so what did Mohammed do? Did he say "Piss on the mountain, I'll build my own mountain!" No, he said, "then Mohammed will go to the Mountain."

Think about it.
END "On second thought"
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The fact that I clearly wasn't apologizing for the capitalist world, that didn't save me from an attack by "Red Neck" as follows:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Troll, you're so saturated with propaganda 13.Mar.2005 00:05

author: Red neck

you really do need to say away from the truth. Have you ever heard of Hungary? Plenty of "room for small autonomous businesses". Not even going to mention Yugoslavia, freer than Amerika....Poland at least 80% of farms in owned by "peasants"... EU/Capitalism trying to destroy that. Socialism contrary to propaganda was far more 'environmentally friendly' than Capitalism. Why don't you go stand out on an expressway and figure that one out? Maybe the mountain will come to Mohammed.
How bout healthcare is that some sort of utopian dream?
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I didn't see Red Neck's comment/attack until the article (with comments) was disappearing down the archive but here's what I would respond --

------------------------------------------------------------------------
title: IT AIN'T ME YOU'RE LOOKIN' FOR

author: Democrat Troll

Dear Red Neck --

Why don't you read what I say and stop knee-jerk reacting to what I haven't said?

What I reject is BOTH what is called neo-liberal capitalist economics AND "Soviet-style total socialism, with no room for small autonomous businesses of many types". So, Poland's privately owned small farms are NOT anything that I have criticized. I haven't done that, and I wouldn't even criticize Russia's collective farms -- what I DO criticize is BOTH the massive state-run factory farms of the old Soviet Union AND the massive agricorp holdings that are becoming more and more dominant in U.S. agriculture. I criticize any and all systems of central planning by elitists of whatever ideology. I support a third way, a middle path. Call me an anarcho-sydicalist, if you must have an idiological tag for me.

Red Neck says --

<<Have you ever heard of Hungary? Plenty of "room for small autonomous businesses". Not even going to mention Yugoslavia, freer than Amerika.>>

You appear angry at me, but you are incapable of stating your position. Are you saying that, before the Hungarian revolution led to the demise of Soviet-style total socialism, there was, even back then, "room for small autonomous businesses" in the Hungarian economy? Are you saying there never was any Stalinism in the Soviet bloc? If that's what you're saying, then you're wrong! Or are you saying that Stalinism failed in the Soviet bloc? If that's what you're saying, then where is your disagreement with me? As for Yugoslavia, that is a very different case -- nonetheless, whatever you think about Tito's version of Communism, you have to admit that the Marxist theory that socialism would end ethnic conflict by uniting the working class (what the Marxists discussed as "problem of nationalities") has been disproven by the reality that there isn't even a Yugoslavia anymore! (But you are "not even going to mention Yugoslavia"!)

What gets me though is that you use me as a straw man and then say about Yugoslavia that it was "freer than Amerika". Well, duh, Red Neck, duh. But where did I say anything that would indicate that I was saying that there is no country as free as Amerika? Thing is, you shouldn't have any problem at all finding people who DO say that. So why project all that mess onto me? But I think I know why -- it's the word "Democrat", no?

<<EU/Capitalism trying to destroy that.>>

EU nations are most all of them social democratic compromises mixing socialism and capitalism. Hungary and Poland could not wait to get into that EU system, which was very well understood in both Poland and Hungary -- the people of those countries wanted social democracy to replace soviet-style economics. The people, according to you, are nothing but dupes. You have exposed yourself as an arrogant elitist who pretends to know better what people in eastern Europe should do than the people who are there -- after decades of living with Stalinist socialism. I'm sorry, Red Neck, but the people who have lived with Stalinist systems WANT social democracy! I'm just laying out some truth for you here -- I'm not saying that they chose right, or that they have overcome all the problems that they identified with the old Stalinist system -- just that the history of the thing is well known, so where are you coming from? You seem to be of the old "dictatorship of the proletariat" school of politics -- that is, OF the proletariat, but BY and FOR the elite revolutionary vanguard. You claimed it -- I named it!

<<Socialism contrary to propaganda was far more 'environmentally friendly' than Capitalism.>>

Yeah, right. As in Chernobyl. As in Kazakhistan.

<<Why don't you go stand out on an expressway and figure that one out?>>

I suggest that you go take a look at Shanghai -- where the Communist Party has been running things for half a century! (Read George Orwell's ANIMAL FARM!)

<<How bout healthcare is that some sort of utopian dream? >>

If you are avoiding the term, "socialized medicine," don't do that on my account. Social democracy and/or anarcho-syndicalism both move, of course, toward socialized medicine. Even in Canada. Where did you get the idea that I was attacking socialized medicine? You did not get that bogus straw man from Korten's website either. Korten has a Christian point of view -- the old fashioned kind of Christianity, that it's all about feeding the hungry and healing the sick. (Oops, sorry, you're probably really looking down on me now, since you're most likely an atheist.)

<<Maybe the mountain will come to Mohammed.>>

Okay, Red Neck, but don't hold your breath. (Guess you're not an atheist after all.)

I DON'T GET IT, RED NECK, IF YOU WANT TO ATTACK SOMEONE WHO BELIEVES IN CAPITALISM AS IT IS PRACTISED IN THE WORLD OF GLOBAL CAPITAL -- you shouldn't have any problem finding such a person! Look in any corporate media magazine or website -- write your comment to THEM, because . . .

IT AIN'T ME, BUD, IT AIN'T ME YOU'RE LOOKING FOR.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


I want to thank all those who have beat up on the sorry-ass Democrat Troll for helping me to clarify my self-awareness. From now on I'll post as "Progressive Democrat." I guess I could post as "Anarcho-Syndicalist" but I much prefer posting about reality to arguments about abstract doctrine and dogma.

(signed)

"YOUR COMRADE (and I AM your comrade)
Progressive Democrat"
Troll.....get a grip!! 15.Mar.2005 19:16

alan

red neck... obviously only has one tooth!...by your comments I can tell you have a full set...so relax...your way ahead...no?

please keep your reponses to the thread in question 15.Mar.2005 19:47

reader

This kind of non-news post degrades the site for those of us who don't care about your argument. If everyone acted as you have this site would quickly become filled with posts like this. That's what the comments section is for. Use it.

DT 15.Mar.2005 19:51

George Bender

This is copied from another discussion, which disappeared from the newswire shortly after I posted it:

DT: "Here we go again, George. Kerry did NOT vote for cloture."

You've got me confused with someone else. I didn't write that. I always use my full (pen) name.

Clinton raised taxes on the rich, balanced the budget and expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit for poor people. The minimim wage was raised to a still very low level. His reign was marked by higher employment but I don't know that he had anything to do with that, and it turned out to be a bubble. What it meant for me was that I could find a shitty, low-paying job. He tried to do something about medical insurance but his and Hillary's plan was a complicated mess which pandered to the insurance companies and hardly anyone understood, which probably had a lot to do with it being shot down.

So all that is the "positive" side.

On the negative side, there was NAFTA. The budget was balanced partly on the backs of poor people through cuts in safety net programs. Clinton finally lost my vote when he signed the so-called welfare reform bill in 1996, which abolished welfare as an entitlement program and put a five year lifetime limit on it. Clinton also failed to do anything to help unions. Federal anti-union laws have made it almost impossible to organize new unions in the private sector if the employer opposes the effort.

Clinton and Gore came into office determined to drag the Democratic party to the right. It was no secret and was widely commented on, favorably, by columnists. The result was that both the Democratic and Republican parties moved right, pulling the effective "center" of American politics to the right, where it still is. And will remain, as long as Democratic voters select conservative Democrats, like Kerry, in the primaries. Plus the Democrats will keep losing.

As for Kerry, I found nothing visionary in his platform. He supported the war. His jobs program was tax credits for corporations. His medical insurance program was more tax credits for corporations. Incremental change, no bold moves that might inspire anyone, God forbid, nothing that I thought might actually make my life better, or the lives of people I know. Nothing in it for me.


Carry on 15.Mar.2005 20:07

Derf

Hey Democrat Troll,

You are doing fine. I am not much keen on the idea of working with the democratic party, but you are making good posts, writing interesting things and contributing to the site. There are always going to be some thoughtless posts. Sorta the nature of the place. Just keep at it! I have enjoyed some of your stuff!

My problem with the democrat antagonists 15.Mar.2005 20:17

March Hare

They resort too much to generalizations. It is not the case that all democrats are Republican lite.
Clinton and Kerry are centerists. I think the democratic party ought to through the centrists out and force them to either form their own party or stop fence sitting. They give the truly democratic democrats a bad name.

It's Good Cop, Bad Cop 15.Mar.2005 20:35

Bacchus Christ

The Republicrats and the Demublicans are both up to their ears in drug smuggling and money laundering. Clinton: Mena, Arkansas, Barry Seal--See GNN.tv "Crack the CIA". Bush Sr.: Iran/Contra, 'nuff said.

reader 15.Mar.2005 21:15

George Bender

You seem to be claiming the right of command here. I'd like to know what that is based on. Why shouldn't we consider you a pointless pissant and ignore you?

I like argument, or if your prefer, discussion. Without it this website quickly becomes sterile and boring. Argument is mainly what separates Portland Indymedia from establishment media, which allow little or no backtalk. Argument is democracy. It's how we process politics. I'm not interested in just being someone's audience.

If you don't like these arguments, which are a very small part of the newswire, don't read them. Simple. You'll feel much better.


Bender 15.Mar.2005 21:56

reader

"You seem to be claiming the right of command here."

No, I'm making a request. A sensible and polite one.

"If you don't like these arguments, which are a very small part of the newswire, don't read them."

See, when I see something on the "news" wire I somehow get the impression that it might be "news". Believe me I would have avoided this if I could. But, since what I saw was a continuation of an argument discussing an article from a few days ago I merely suggested that it would be detrimental for everyone to take this approach. That is, what if I wrote a new "article" for this reponse, and then others wrote a new "article" responding to that? See where that leads. So instead, I suggest that people continue the discussions on the article they pertain to; I think we've all seen discussions that have continued long after an article has dropped form the newswire. I'm not arguing for this to be composted, I'm not arguing against discussion. Just merely pointing out that there seems to be a place for said discussion, that if utilized makes the site better for everyone.

APOLOGY TO GEORGE BENDER 15.Mar.2005 22:22

Progressive Democrat

I am ashamed of myself for mistaking someone else for George Bender. I humbly apologize. Should have recognized, it wasn't the same style.

I certainly cannot argue with remarks in the George Bender comment, above, about the Democrats since Clinton. For me, I am staying a registered Democrat because I hope to be able to enlighten the DP as to the positive aspects of changing the system to bring more parties to the table. It would be in the political self-interest of the DP and of individual Democrats -- except for those who are in it just to sell out.

The old duopoly is dead, and if the DP is to survive, it will only be in the context of a multi-party system. I ask myself, how will any of the needed structural reforms take place if not with the cooperation of the DP? And the fact that, at least on paper, the law suit against Blackwell in Ohio constitutes a de facto coalition of Cobb/Badnarik/Kerry, that fact encourages me. Maybe, I think, that is a seed which if nourished will grow into something like a united front against fascism.

But it may be right that the way to do it is to elect the right person from outside the two parties into the White House. After all, Perot came almost close. (I don't know what Perot would have done, but I don't see how it could have been worse than what has happened over the past decade.) The truth is everything now is out of desperation, and it looks like things are going to continue that way for the foreseeable future.

So I am hanging in there behind Kucinich and a number of other progressives, hoping that we will be able to get the DP to see that it's crazy not to reach out to all the people outside the two parties and look at the DP as just one part of a larger anti-fascist movement to restore democracy and even to bring in a new and improved democracy structure to correct the problems in the system that have existed for two hundred years. But I may as well admit that, IMHO, progressive Democrats would be just as happy to walk out en masse and join some other party as they would be to welcome people like Nader into a coalition with progressive Democrats in the congress. But there's nothing now other than Democrats and Republicans -- and we mostly have ourselves to blame for that. At present, there's just TWO people from outside the two major parties in Congress, both "Independents" from Vermont -- Bernie Sanders, a member of the Progressive House Caucus, in the House, and, James Jeffords, the former Republican who had enough honor to walk out of the Republican Party a couple of years back, in the Senate.

To me, the ideal incremental improvement would be for 10 or more Greens and Independents to knock out some Republicans/crats in the House and just a couple of people like Nader to take a couple of Senate seats away from Republicans/crats in the Senate. Then, with new progressive Democrats --like Mfume in Maryland and Obama in Illinois -- winning in 2006, it maybe could happen that neither party could form a majority except with the support of the small number of Independents, Greens and Socialists. The idea would be to force ALL the Democrats to accomodate the ideas of the outsiders if they wanted to form majorities. But, there again, some Democrats would probably split the DP in order to form a majority with the Republicans.

I keep dreaming of Nader being elected to a senate seat in 2006. It wouldn't matter whether he pushed out a Republican or one of the corporate-controlled Democrats. (It wouldn't accomplish much if he pushed one of the progressives, but that seems unlikely.) It would also be a postive step if Libertarians or refugees from the Republican Party could move some of those Republicans/crats out! That's how I think it's possible to see some changes coming out of the 2006 congressional elections. The problems, as always, are corporate money and media.

Aside from those slight possibilities for congressional change, the action has to be very slow and very expensive. It's going to be a state-by-state fight, through the courts and state legislatures, to make changes in vote-counting and other necessary reforms. It has to be that way unless and until the Jackson amendment is enacted -- so you can figure the odds against that happening on this side of the Revolution.

Anyway, we're all in it together. I really think that there's almost one-fourth or even one-third of Democrats who see it that way, although such Democrats feel compromised/confined by their campaign finance problems. Too little and too late? Yeah, it looks like it. But I don't feel like quitting.

Thanks for posting your comment.

Response to "reader" 15.Mar.2005 22:24

Progressive Democrat

In this one case, and never in any other instance, I took comments to illustrate a point about PDX Indy that I wanted to make. I marked my article as relating to "alternative media" and "legacies" because when I pointed at those two categories, the bubbles listed exactly what I was wanting to do. So, I hope that I am not out of bounds for PDX Indy standards.

TO "Derf" and EVERYBODY 15.Mar.2005 22:36

Progressive Democrat

RESPONSE to "derf" --- Thanks for encouragement. Keep on keeping on.

I just read Nader's "Restarting the anti-war movement"

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/03/313469.shtml

and link to  http://www.DemocracyRising.US

Sounds like the way to go. Even progressive Democrats are mostly avoiding the war issue, afraid to be seen as against military families and such. So, Nader is stepping into the vacuum to provide focus and leadership. It's discouraging to get bogged down in all the election fraud stuff, trying to slow down the Repug juggernaut, medicaid cuts, etc. Maybe it's time to just DO THE RIGHT THING!

"See where that leads" 15.Mar.2005 22:53

George Bender

It leads, like everything else we do here, to the barely contained chaos that is Portland Indymedia. If you need a lot of order you may not be happy here. Different people need different amounts, and different kinds of order. Also different amounts in different situations. I can accept a lot of chaos in an online forum, even enjoy it; at political business meetings it bugs the hell out of me.

In complexity theory life is said to be "chaordic": it exists on the edge of chaos, the borderline between order and chaos, which gives it the maximum amount of energy and the most freedom, flexibility. This is where a successful organism grows and thrives. Portland Indymedia works that way too. If we had any more order it would probably die.

Much of the newswire is opinion, not news, or a mixture of the two. I don't read most of it, don't have time. It sounds like you're a bit compulsive about it. I tend to be that way about newspapers, which is one reason I don't subscribe to one. Much of the daily newspaper is not worth reading, especially if you've been around as long as I have. ("All the news just repeats itself, like some forgotten dream, that we once knew...." -- John Prine) Much of Portland Indymedia isn't worth reading either. Depending on your interests.

We will be having this Democrat vs. radical argument forever. It is a central issue among the American left. If you're not interested, just tune out.

You need to find some way to phrase your "suggestions" so they don't sound so much like orders. Radicals are not big on following orders.


Socialist environmentalism 16.Mar.2005 00:36

James

It's somewhat offtopic to this meta-discussion, I suppose, but I would like to point out that the Soviet Union was perhaps the most egregious polluter in world history. Some of the world's greatest ecological disasters ocurred in the Soviet Union, and it was the greatest per-capita polluter in the world.

In the Soviet Union -- and I suspect in all industrialized, collectivised societies -- the state is the most prolific polluter, as they own and operate nearly all the means of production. Thus, the state plays the part of the capitalist industrialist: it's against their own interests to reduce pollution, because it drives down quotas, which are the goal posts in a collectivised society.

The Soviet Union had virtually no environmental laws until the 1970s. Even into the late 80s, the Soviet Union has no environmental watchdog agency with the power to levy punitive fines against the government. Thus, the state ignored its own laws until just prior to its collapse.

I like your article on the media. 16.Mar.2005 02:59

Red neck

You notice I didn't attack it, even though I didn't agree with it completely, it was too true to attack and I agree with 'indymedia workerbee' that it was one of the better articles in a while.
Hey,I'm not a troll even though I've been accused. I go out of my way not to disrupt or monopolize and try not to insult unless it's just some right-wing asshole. I use a lot of humor and satire, spiced with a generous amount of irony but there's nothing phony about what I do or say.. I am actually southern working class 'redneck'. I thought of retiring 'Red neck' many times, but it's just too perfect, even though most don't catch it even on the most basic levels(they mostly don't want to.) It's still has lot to say (Oh no,I'm talking about my persona in third person! Yes, I do have all my teeth, although I keep breaking one on popcorn seeds.) What I like about the IMC(this reconstitution of speech that was destroyed by mass culture) the most is that it's anonymous,a confession booth, that if one is smart only ruffles our virtual ego. I do wish you would retire 'Demorat troll" and take up 'Green troll" that's where you belong. Even while I'm a still a raving commie, I'm very tolerant, I can handle liberals just as long as they are still progressive and serious. BUT after 2004, spending a whole year being on the defensive and watching the whole American Left (I wasn't surprised)cave to ABB I'm not in a generous mood. I hate what the 'Democrats' have done to the Green Party, Antiglobal, Antiwar.. And you're going to hear about it from me.... Sorry
Sure there was Stalinism in the "Soviet bloc'(not much of a block since every country took its own route)But it was still progressive, that's how it got someone like Gorbachev and it did denounce and ultimately renounced Stalinism. Stalinism is easy to understand if it is taken in context (something the West never does) instead of viewing it from and ideological Cold War point of view. It should be viewed from a cultural situational reality. What do you think would happen in a country/empire stepping out of feudalism? That just lost millions of people in world war/revolution/civil war? That was surrounded by enemies, cut off and completely "backwards"? Compare that---What if the USA suffers an another terrorist attack? What if it loses another few thousand? How about tens of thousands ...hundreds of thousands....MILLIONS? We've already seen 'Homeland Security'...Go caveman on the Middle East.
My wife is Czech, she grew up under Communism, and she participated in the "Velvet Revolution"... She now roo's the day. She has seen her country complete raped and plundered, left without any future. Left with only platitudes about freedom and democracy....Not even the left talking about the massive failure and inhumanity of post-fall Eastern Europe...
I am sorry, I just don't have time for bullshit. You middlies need to wakeup and see that the party's over and that this system doesn't even offer the promise of a better world...For you or any one else
No, I really don't give flying fuck about grammar or spelling at least not on these chatterboxes...Especially after a few beers

Thanks to the last comment I have to add a little... The US had "virtually no environmental laws until the 1970" Amerika is so much better and now more responsible since it's has exported most of its industry, hence its most political charged pollution to the 'third world'. "Some of the world's greatest ecological disasters occurred in the Soviet Union"? You mean like massive oil spills and whole rivers catching on fire, mountain top removal ?..or just New Jersey or any other industrial area (Akron/ Pittsburgh/ Detroit ect.. )in AmeriKa (I think I left out sprawl)... What if Three Mile Island went up, East Coast Megatroplis still a glow.(I'd hate to see the real-estate market and I don't think we would give a damn about 9/11) Sorry, the Soviet Union never used 25% of the world energy. What percentage of the world's resources? You Left-Coasters if in doubt need to take a trip to Lost Vegas and feel the progress... But do you really need to go that far to get it..
See, what I've had to deal with, I can remember being in Eastern Europe after the fall and hearing a bunch of shysters from NY City (For one) shooting this shit ....that and their "civil society"....
At least they knew what public transportation, railway system, recycling, rational use of resources, efficient (maybe a little too efficient) housing was.... Not too keen on consumerism and cars....Although not as bad as you imagine....
The world we live in is too radical for status quo liberals.....

good comments 16.Mar.2005 05:02

eyes closed tight

You sound more like a libertarian leaning green if you ask me. See where you score on the political philosophy map in these quizzes:

 http://www.politicalcompass.org/
 http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz.html
 http://www.quiz2d.com/
 http://www.ontheissues.org/quiz.htm

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All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that for the efficient management of your common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositaries, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.

Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to MODERATE THE FURY OF PARTY SPIRIT(dem/rep?), to WARN AGAINST THE MISCHIEFS OF FOREIGN INTRIGUE(mossad?), to GUARD AGAINST THE IMPOSTURES OF PRETENDED PATRIOTISM(support our troops?); this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated."-excerpts from George Washington's farewell address to the nation, 1796

 http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/farewell/transcript.html

The Democratic party more than deserves the scorn! 16.Mar.2005 09:09

StevetheGreen

It is the ultimate oxymoron for someone to call themselves a "progressive Democrat".
It is analogous to a "generous mizer" or a "compassionate conservative" because you actually have to tag the word "progressive" on to a party affiliation (that used to say it all by itself.)

Democrats of conscience need to wake up and smell the coffee!
That being this!
The Democratic party is ran by corporatist militarists and "status quo business as usual apologists" who support the idea of empire and who have been insturmental in helping Bush implement his PNAC agenda every single step of the way.

Pointing to an extremely small and ineffectual fringe group of the party (with people like Dennis Kucinich or former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney) as being a good enough reason to support these bastards would be laughable if it were not so sad.

The Democratic party abandoned it's traditional base long, long ago and have proven time and time and time again that they are willing to sell out the interests of the people in favor of instituting "republican lite" policies.
One would have to ignore decades of history to actually believe that the direction this party has taken can be changed from within. No amount of Howard Dean's will change the basic fact that the Democratic party is a slave to it's corporate masters.

Continuing to vote for the lesser of two evils is the "lifeblood" of a corrupt system that depends on people voting their fears rather than their conscience. To align yourself with this band of criminals is to align yourself with everything that is wrong with America and this perverted out of control monster (otherwise known as the American brand of capitalism).

And you actually wonder why people are outraged at your party and what they stand for?
Hell! Ron Wyden is a member of your party!

If that isn't enough to make you reret the day you registered Democrat, I don't know what would be.

to: reader 16.Mar.2005 10:53

Dance

Re: "please keep your reponses to the thread in question" by "reader":

"This kind of non-news post degrades the site for those of us who don't care about your argument. If everyone acted as you have this site would quickly become filled with posts like this. That's what the comments section is for. Use it."

I (almost) completely disagree.

First, I don't know whether you really mean "comments section" as you, and now I, have posted. Or if you mean posting to the genre entitled Commentary rather than here to the "open publishing newswire". It appears to me that, of the two this is the more appropriate place to post this item. Progressive Democrat/Democrat Troll explained above that, "I didn't see Red Neck's comment/attack until the article (with comments) was disappearing down the archive but here's what I would respond -- ." So to continue the dialogue, Democrat had to post here. If you have a problem with that, address the lack of appropriate places on this site to carry on such discussions, away from the midst of news.

I would prefer that such arguments not be posted on this site, or if they are, to be given a place for them. (This does NOT mean shunted off to a second-class section whose creators intend it merely as a means of denigrating and segregating material with which they don't approve. Aside from the elitism of this, it's also ineffective. Making a section that's obscure and/or intended to disparage its contents does not draw people to use it.)

What is most important to me is that postings be labeled clearly and honestly so I don't get lured into reading someone's petty tantrum when I think I'm going to hard news. If it's a meaningful or interesting discussion about news, thought, or online behavior, I may be interested. But I don't like being jerked around by deceitful posters or ones too lazy or self-indulgent to consider the meaning to others of the title they put on their post.

IMHO, comments under an article are appropriately related to THE SUBSTANCE and/or
SUBJECT of the article, or, sometimes, the substance or subject of a comment posted to the article.

I certainly agree that most non-news postings to this site (including yours and mine) degrade the site as a news source. But this is true whether items are posted as "news" or "comments" or "commentary", etc. I'd suggest that what are needed are more mutual respect among site users of each other and of the site and organization of the site to allow for discussion in ways that don't detract from the site's primary function as a means of disseminating and gathering information. Perhaps this means providing meaningful ways for people to emote and discuss so that the usefulness of the information is either protected or augmented.

Reposting my questions for Progressive Democrat from the bankruptcy bill thread 16.Mar.2005 12:44

DJ Shadow

(I originally posted this in response to PD's defensive comments on the bankruptcy thread--about 18 Democrats voting for an awful bill)

Please tell me how the party as a whole (not Pete Defazio or some other Democrat) is so progressive? Why didn't one of the 25 Senators on your honor roll launch a filibuster to stop this assault on working people? And I think that ordinary citizens can think for themselves--and I want them to know that almost half of the Democrats in the Senate voted for this thing. Lots of people keep telling us that the Democrats are the defenders of the working class, or at least that they are better than the alternative, so we better keep voting for them. I am challenging those arguments. I am challenging the thinking of our "leaders", not the intelligence of the working class.

By the way, my point about Wyden was not that I wanted him to vote for this thing so it would pass, I wanted him to vote for it so that we could see once and for all that he is not so progressive. Many of your "progressive" comrades in the party have long realized that Wyden cannot be trusted on lots of issues. There has been very open talk about running someone against him in the primary. This is why I lamented his absence from the list of traitors. I want someone better to run for his seat.

In another post you talked about Kucinich and Jackson--do you seriously think that the party that thrust forward John Kerry, and sent people to sabotage Ralph Nader's attempt to get on the ballot will embrace someone like Kucinich as a national candidate?

A Beach Head 16.Mar.2005 16:33

Progressive Democrat

The great thing about progressive Democrats in congress is that they are in the Congress! They actually win elections. People -- ordinary working people -- respect them and vote for them!

So, you can see that as proof that they are all sell-outs OR you can see that as I do -- as a beach head in a political war with fascism!

The glass isn't even half full -- but it ain't empty either.

Nader for Senate.

Kucinich for President.

Tune out the corporate media!

March 19.

Bender on a Bender 17.Mar.2005 12:12

A Nony Mouse

George Bender says PDX Indy is "barely contained chaos" and "if it had any more order it would probably die". Then in the same breath he says he doesn't "have time" to read "most of it". Then he decides that most of it "isn't worth reading". WHO'S TRYING TO TAKE COMMAND NOW? Quit trying to define what's going on here, lay back, take a deep breath, and WELCOME TO CASCADIA, where at least people are TRYING to sustain a TRULY democratic on-line forum. With room even for George "I've been around a long time so listen to me" Bender. Dems vs. "Radicals"? Still defining those who won't ride the Donkey Train as "Radicals?" Just because you have taken it upon yourself to be declared some sort of "elder" of Leftist activism doesn't mean you're going to get any respect here. Your dismissive pronouncements about the motives and intellectual capabilities of those posting here betray a smugness that will never sell tickets at this circus. He says 'radicals are not big on following orders", but in other postings he urges voters to "follow leaders" as the only way to happiness. WELL, WHICH IS IT? I'll take Bob Dylan's advice myself.

A Nony Mouse 17.Mar.2005 20:03

George Bender

So far you score very low on reading comprehension. If you don't understand the point I'm making just skip it. Don't start typing.

I don't need your respect. What would I do with it? You come across to me as an incoherent dingbat who has no idea what is going on. If you want to be taken seriously, put your brain in gear and start talking facts. Do your fucking homework. Be logical. Make sense. Right now you're just farting.

Goodnight George 18.Mar.2005 17:24

Mouse

Sticks & stones may break my bones.......