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Learning from the past & preparing for 2006

Your answers to these ten political questions will reflect your current thinking, but after reading this entire post, you may change your mind about some of them. Regardless, the most important influences on your decisions and actions in this coming year are probably still lurking out there. No one can predict the future, but we can all learn from the past.
Let's get right to it.

#1 By their actions, have U.S. government officials demonstrated to you, without any doubt, that the U.S. has firmly established itself as fascist regime? If your answer is no, would you at least agree that the U.S. government is quickly moving in the direction of fascism? (See:  http://www.oldamericancentury.org/14pts.htm for more information)

#2 If your answer is yes to either of the above, do you feel that the Bush Administration and the Republican members of Congress are solely responsible for this direction that our country is taking?

#3 Do you think that a Democratic-party President would have allowed the events of 9-11 to take place in the same or in a similar way that Bush has allowed them?

#4 Would a Democratic President have introduced something like the USAPATRIOT Act soon after these events?

The year 2006 is an election year for Congress. Almost immediately after January 1, we will subjected to political campaigning -- and all of the rhetoric that it entails. You probably already know that our current system of government relies on the hierarchical and dominant control of the people by multi-national corporations via their lobbyists and servants in Congress.

These next six questions offer options for dealing with fascism:

#5 Will you be putting your energy into supporting ANY and ALL Democratic candidates -- just to get rid of the Republicans?

#6 Will you instead be working to support third party candidates?

#7 Do you feel that the Democrats suck, but the Greens and the rest of the long-shots don't have a chance because of the total dominance of the two parties, so you're sitting this one out, and hoping for some big changes to happen between now and 2008?

#8 Do you feel that groups like the Bilderbergs and the Trilateral Commission are the people who actually run things?

#9 Thomas Jefferson said: "Every generation needs a new revolution." Do you support this concept, and if you do, will you be acting to further this goal in the coming year?

#10 Are you looking for more options because while you want to see some real changes taking place in this country, you are worried about the consequences of supporting #9?

The objective here is to avoid putting your energy into meaningless, cosmetic changes that, while they might seem to give us a brief respite, will only prolong our suffering. We're way overdue to begin looking for some long-term changes that result from our energies and our actions.

Questions #2 thru #4 are of particular interest -- mostly because of the dynamics surrounding them. These dynamics are not well known. And the Democrats would like these "dynamics" to remain hidden.

While the Democrats have only controlled the Senate from 2001 to 2003, these were nevertheless crucial years. The following are examples of the actions taken by the last two Democratic administrations (Carter 1977-1981, and Clinton 1993-2001). Also included are examples of strategic votes in the House and Senate regarding major issues.


FISA does not regulate the use of electronic surveillance outside of the United States. For instance, electronic surveillance of electronic communications like e-mail is only governed by 1801(f)(4) if the surveillance device is installed "in the United States." When e-mail sent by a U.S. person to a foreign person is intercepted outside the United States, that interception does not meet this definition.

Is there really a secret FISA court? Yes. FISA established a special court, composed of seven federal district court judges appointed by the Chief Justice for staggered terms and are from different circuits. Individual judges of the FISC review the Attorney General's applications for authorization of electronic surveillance aimed at obtaining foreign intelligence information. The proceedings are non-adversarial and are based solely on the DOJ's presentations through its Office of Intelligence Policy and Review.

The records and files of the cases are sealed and may not be revealed even to persons whose prosecutions are based on evidence obtained under FISA warrants, except to a limited degree set by district judges' rulings on motions to suppress.

There is no provision for the return of each executed warrant to the FISC, much less with an inventory of items taken, nor for certification that the surveillance was conducted according to the warrant and its "minimization" requirements.

What kind of surveillance can be authorized under FISA? Originally, FISA was limited to electronic eavesdropping and wiretapping. In 1994 it was expanded to permit covert physical entries in connection with "security" investigations.

In 1998, it was amended to permit pen/trap orders. FISA can also be used to obtain certain business records.

See:  link to www.eff.org


Dozens of House Republicans -- led by Minority Leader Newt Gingrich (R-GA) said they would withhold their support until the President demonstrated his commitment to the issue. That commitment came September 14, 1993, when President Clinton --accompanied by former Presidents Ford, Carter and Bush -- issued a strong statement of support for NAFTA.

The NAFTA agreement between the United States, Mexico, and Canada was signed by President George Bush (senior) in 1992. But it still had to be approved by Congress. A tough battle would ensue despite high level support in both major parties. The following year, President Clinton mustered all of his political clout to push the measure through Congress. The office of Representative Gerald Solomon (R-NY) circulated a list of some 37 special side deals and pork barrel projects the Clinton Administration used to buy passage of the trade agreement.

The President's November 17, 1993 political victory in the House of Representatives came by a 234-200 vote. Opposition was greatest in the House and by most accounts opponents held the upper hand until the final week. The last-minute push was alluded to by the President: "We had to come from a long way back to win this fight." The Senate vote three days later in support of NAFTA (61-38) was anticlimactic.

Like the FTAA, NAFTA advocates titled their measure to mislead the public into believing falsely that the agreement was principally concerned with lowering tariffs and promoting free trade within a growing prosperity zone.

See:  http://www.stoptheftaa.org/ftaa/nafta.html

April 19, 1993

Eighty men, women and children died in an inferno at Waco, Texas. The clash was between law enforcement and a religious group known as the Branch Davidians. No one seems to be able to write about these events in an unbiased manner, since it seems that the whole thing was preventable.

April 19, 1995

The Oklahoma City bombing: unanswered questions and cover-ups

BILL CLINTON'S WAR (in Yugoslavia)

The great historian Gabriel Kolko, in his book Century of War, writes: "War, in essence, has always been an adventure intrinsically beset with surprises and false expectations, its total outcome unpredictable to all those who have engaged in it."

Bill Clinton is finding this out the hard way. His ill-conceived decision to prod NATO into bombing Yugoslavia in March has wreaked havoc. The hundreds of thousands of refugees, the civilians killed by NATO bombs, the U.S. soldiers captured, the solidification of domestic support for Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, the dangerous chill in U.S.-Russian relations -- all these have come to pass since Clinton made his fateful decision.

See:  http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Yugoslavia/BillClintonsWar_Yugo.html

Genocide in the 20th century:
Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992-1995) - 200,000 deaths

In the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, conflict between the three main ethnic groups, the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims, resulted in genocide committed by the Serbs against the Muslims in Bosnia. ...

Throughout 1993, confident that the U.N., United States and the European Community would not take militarily action, Serbs in Bosnia freely committed genocide against Muslims. ...

By now, over 200,000 Muslim civilians had been systematically murdered. More than 20,000 were missing and feared dead, while 2,000,000 had become refugees. It was, according to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, "the greatest failure of the West since the 1930s".

See:  http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/bosnia.htm

Democrats = Republicans, Republicans = Democrats

U.S. Aid: The Lifeblood of Occupation

Israel has maintained an illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Palestinian territories) for 35 years, entrenching an apartheid regime that looks remarkably like the former South African regime.

(Israel has put) Palestinians into small, noncontiguous bantustans, imposing closures and curfews to control where they go and when, while maintaining control over the natural resources, exploiting Palestinian labor, and prohibiting indigenous economic development.

The Israeli military (IDF) -- the third or forth most powerful army in the world -- routinely uses tanks, Apache helicopter gunships, and F-16 fighter jets (all subsidized by the U.S.) against a population that has no military and none of the protective institutions of a modern state.

In addition to nearly $3 billion in direct aid, Israel usually gets another $3 billion or so in indirect aid: military support from the defense budget, forgiven loans, and special grants. While some of the indirect aid is difficult to measure precisely, it is safe to say that Israel's total aid (direct and indirect) amounts to at least five billion dollars annually.

According to the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE), from 1949-2001 the U.S. has given Israel a total of $94,966,300,000. The direct and indirect aid from this year should put the total U.S. aid to Israel since 1949 at over one hundred billion dollars. What is not widely known, however, is that most of this aid violates American laws. The Arms Export Control Act stipulates that US-supplied weapons be used only for "legitimate self-defense."

See:  http://www.wrmea.com/html/usaidtoisrael0001.htm

"U.S. Aid to Israel: Interpreting the 'Strategic Relationship"'

Although Israel is an "advanced, industrialized, technologically sophisticated country," it "receives more U.S. aid per capita annually than the total annual [Gross Domestic Product] per capita of several Arab states." Approximately a third of the entire U.S. foreign aid budget goes to Israel, "even though Israel comprises just . . . one-thousandth of the world's total population, and already has one of the world's higher per capita incomes."

In the fall of 1993 -- when many had high hopes for peace -- 78 senators wrote to former President Bill Clinton insisting that aid to Israel remain "at current levels." Their "only reason" was the "massive procurement of sophisticated arms by Arab states." The letter neglected to mention that 80 percent of those arms to Arab countries came from the U.S.

See:  http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Middle_East/USAid_Israel.html


The Telecommunications Act sailed through Congress in February, 1996. The votes went 91-5 in the Senate and 414-16 in the House. Highlights include:

* Eliminates the FCC rule barring a single company from owning more than 12 television stations.
* Lifts the limit of a broadcaster's national TV station audience reach from 25 percent to 35 percent.
* Ends the FCC partial ban on broadcast networks owning cable systems.
* Extends TV and radio station license terms to eight years.
* Repeals the law against common ownership of cable system and TV station in a market.
* Eases one-to-a-market rule to allow ownership of TV and radio combos in the same locale, but only in the top 50 markets.

February 8, 1996

"I thank the Vice President (Al Gore), who fought for this bill for so long on behalf of the American people. And I thank the members of Congress in both parties, starting with the leadership, who believed in the promise and the possibility of telecommunications reform. ...

This historic legislation in my way of thinking really embodies what we ought to be about as a country and what we ought to be about in this city. It clearly enables the age of possibility in America to expand to include more Americans. It will create many, many high-wage jobs. It will provide for more information and more entertainment to virtually every American home. It embodies our best values by supporting the kind of market reforms that the Vice President mentioned, as well as the V-chip. And it brings us together, and it was passed by people coming together.

This bill is an indication of what can be done when Republicans and Democrats work together in a spirit of genuine cooperation to advance the public interest and bring us to a brighter future."

May 22, 1998

Since he took office, President Clinton has made the fight against terrorism a top national security objective. The President has worked to deepen our cooperation with our friends and allies abroad, strengthened law enforcement's counter-terrorism tools and improved security on airplanes and at airports. These efforts have paid off as major terrorist attacks have been foiled and more terrorists have been apprehended, tried and given severe prison terms.

Yet America's unrivaled military superiority means that potential enemies -- whether nations or terrorist groups -- that choose to attack us will be more likely to resort to terror instead of conventional military assault. ...

To meet these challenges, President Clinton signed Presidential Decision Directive 62. This Directive creates a new and more systematic approach to fighting the terrorist threat of the next century. It reinforces the mission of the many U.S. agencies charged with roles in defeating terrorism; it also codifies and clarifies their activities in the wide range of U.S. counter-terrorism programs, from apprehension and prosecution of terrorists to increasing transportation security, enhancing response capabilities and protecting the computer-based systems that lie at the heart of America's economy.

See:  http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/pdd-62.htm


For these next two examples, please try to concentrate on the message -- and not on the messenger. Both of these were written in 1998!

Monitoring by I.D. and Database
July 1998

Unknown to most Americans, coordinated plans are well underway to give the Federal Government the power to input personal information on all Americans onto a government database. The computer will record our school, business, medical, financial, and personal activities, and track our movements as we travel about the United States.

These plans were authorized by the so-called conservative Congress and are eagerly implemented and expanded by the Clinton Administration liberals. They plan to force all Americans to carry an I.D. card linked to a federal database, without which we will not be able to drive a car, get a job, board a plane, enter a hospital emergency room or school, have a bank account, cash a check, buy a gun, or have access to government benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.

Putting all that information on a government database means the end of privacy as we know it. Daily actions we all take for granted will henceforth be recorded, monitored, tracked, and contingent on showing The Card.

See:  http://www.eagleforum.org/psr/1998/july98/psrjuly98.html

Big Brother is monitoring us by databases
Sept. 1998

The hottest issue in America today is our discovery that the Federal Government is trying to tag, track and monitor our health care records through national databases and personal identification numbers. This is a priority election issue, and every Congressional and Senatorial candidate should be ready to answer questions from his constituents.

The 1996 Kennedy-Kassebaum law (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) gives the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the power to create "unique health care identifiers" so that government can electronically tag, track and monitor every citizen's personal medical records. The plan is that everyone must submit an identification document with a unique number in order to receive health care, or the provider will not be paid. A database containing every American's medical records, identified by a unique number, was a central feature of Clinton's defeated 1994 health care bill, but it reemerged in the Kennedy-Kassebaum bill. Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and Bob Dole all bragged about passing this law.

See:  http://www.eagleforum.org/psr/1998/sept98/psrsept98.html


June 2000

The US military today is a force of superbly trained men and women who are ready to deliver victory for our Nation. In support of the objectives of our National Security Strategy, it is routinely employed to shape the international security environment and stands ready to respond across the full range of potential military operations. But the focus of this document is the third element of our strategic approach -- the need to prepare now for an uncertain future.

Joint Vision 2020 builds upon and extends the conceptual template established by Joint Vision 2010 to guide the continuing transformation of America's Armed Forces. The primary purpose of those forces has been and will be to fight and win the Nation's wars. The overall goal of the transformation described in this document is the creation of a force that is dominant across the full spectrum of military operations -- persuasive in peace, decisive in war, preeminent in any form of conflict.

In 2020, the nation will face a wide range of interests, opportunities, and challenges and will require a military that can both win wars and contribute to peace. The global interests and responsibilities of the United States will endure, and there is no indication that threats to those interests and responsibilities, or to our allies, will disappear. The strategic concepts of decisive force, power projection, overseas presence, and strategic agility will continue to govern our efforts to fulfill those responsibilities and meet the challenges of the future. This document describes the operational concepts necessary to do so.

If our Armed Forces are to be faster, more lethal, and more precise in 2020 than they are today, we must continue to invest in and develop new military capabilities. This vision describes the ongoing transformation to those new capabilities. ...

The overarching focus of this vision is full spectrum dominance -- achieved through the interdependent application of dominant maneuver, precision engagement, focused logistics, and full dimensional protection. Attaining that goal requires the steady infusion of new technology and modernization and replacement of equipment. However, material superiority alone is not sufficient. Of greater importance is the development of doctrine, organizations, training and education, leaders, and people that effectively take advantage of the technology.

See:  http://www.dtic.mil/jointvision/jv2020.doc
Also see:  http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Pentagon_military/Space_Corps.html

October 18, 2000

Clinton is in the process of sending $1.3 billion in aid for Colombian President Andres Pastrana's $7.5 billion "Colombia Plan," a program to eradicate the countryside of coca crops, run traffickers out of Colombia or into jail, and rebuild the criminal justice system.

It's a bold plan, but warning signs were posted all over the map to limit U.S. involvement, and Clinton and Congress pushed forward in spite of them.

From 1996 to 2000, the Clinton administration sent Colombia an estimated $765 million to assist its war on drugs. But, as the report also notes, "coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia more than doubled" from 1995 to 1999.

Much of the U.S. aid is defense-related, including 60 attack helicopters and military training to Colombian troops by U.S. advisers. Military support of any form could be dangerous for civilians as well as the drug traffickers in Colombia.

Human rights groups have accused the Colombian army and paramilitary allies of human rights violations, including civilian massacres. Congress had stipulated that the aid be conditional upon Pastrana taking action to prosecute military abuse and sever the ties between the military and paramilitary groups, but Clinton waived the stipulation.

June 2000

The Clinton/Gore proposal is a far cry from Ronald Reagan's Star Wars scheme, which was designed to fend off thousands of Soviet warheads at a cost estimated by former Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire at up to $1 trillion. In contrast, this missile defense plan is meant to deal with a few dozen incoming warheads launched by a "rogue state" like North Korea, at a projected cost of $60 billion.

But despite the NMD's seemingly more modest goals, it is every bit as dangerous and misguided as the Reagan scheme, threatening to unravel thirty years of arms-control agreements and heighten the danger of nuclear war.

The right-wing crusade for missile defense has received aid and comfort from Bill Clinton and Al Gore, who have decided that looking "tough" on defense is more important than protecting the world from weapons of mass destruction. Support has also come from the lumbering behemoths of the military-industrial complex: Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Boeing, which are desperately seeking a new infusion of taxpayer funds to help them recover from a string of technical failures and management fiascos that have cut their stock prices and drastically reduced their profit margins.

See:  link to www.fas.org
or  http://www.commondreams.org/views/060200-103.htm

The sad, last vote of a progressive Democrat:

The last major vote of Senator Paul Wellstone, before he died in a plane crash in October of 2002, was to approve the largest increase in the military defense budget since the Reagan administration. Not only did Wellstone vote for this huge increase, he also voted to give Bush over 90% of what was requested for Star Wars (missile defense) research: $8 billion. Go figure. Russ Feingold was the only democrat voting Nay. This one figures.

July 28, 2005

CAFTA, which would expand NAFTA to Central America and the Dominican Republic, would devastate farmers, privatize essential public services, and accelerate the race to the bottom on wages in the U.S. and all over Central America.

Nevertheless, 15 (FIFTEEN) Democrats voted in favor of big business by supporting CAFTA, while 25 (TWENTY-FIVE) Republicans defied the Bush Administration and voted against it.


Countless innocent Iraqis were murdered with the brutal 12 years of UN sanctions (1991-2003); illegal no-fly zones were imposed by two Presidents: a Republican and a Democrat; and a deadly and destructive invasion and occupation of the country was approved by the members of Congress.

See:  http://www.transnational.org/pressinf/2002/PF167_IraqSanctions.html


Concerning the most important matters affecting the planet's people and 'we the people' as a nation, does it really make any difference which of the two parties is in control of the White House or Congress?

Does it make more sense to concentrate your efforts supporting straight-talking mavericks running for local and state offices?

Definition of a maverick: a person who thinks and acts independently of others. Someone who will actually represent 'we the people', and not the corporations or the local Chamber of Commerce. Someone who will stand up to the federal government. Someone who will represent the environment, even if it means cutting jobs that cause harm to it. Someone who will prosecute and/or tax all persons who are responsible for environmental damage. Someone who would introduce a pollution tax that would not just be levied against industrial polluters, but against ANYONE causing environmental damage.

How many mavericks actually run for public office?
Shout Out From Minnesota 27.Dec.2005 17:15

Michael Cavlan RN

Thank you for a spectacular post and superior analysis.

One thought to add to this. President Kerry and his shameful political cowardice regarding the theft of democratic and voting integrity in Ohio. Not to mention the blatant cowardice of the corporate media on this central issue to American democracy.

I was an official Green Party Observor in Eire and Seneca Co in Ohio during the Ohio Re-Count effort. I am also a candidate for the US Senate in Minnesota. The same state that spawned Senator Gene McCarthy and Senator Paul Wellstone.

Is that maverick enough for you?
The time for political cowardice is over.

feel free to check out our campaign website

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Without IRV, third parties mean less, not more democracy 28.Dec.2005 15:17

g.d. dem

Why no mention of the underlying structural problem that is key to any solution?

Why no mention of the absolutely essential reform of IRV? (IRV = Instant Runoff Voting.) Until that reform takes place -- and it can be initiated from the grass-roots, state-by-state -- all the rest of this talk about escaping the two-party system is counterproductive ranting based on delusions of grandeur!

You don''t like the realities, but that doesn't change a g. d. thing. Get real and work for IRV.

Thom Hartmann has examined this issue in detail:

< Unfortunately, at the moment, third parties mean less, not more democracy when it comes to voting in most elections in the US (because they cause minority-supported candidates to be elected and majorities of voters are thus unrepresented). Yet third (and fourth and fifth, etc.) parties are also critical to bringing out issues that the two big parties don't or won't address.

< The simple solution is to institute IRV in the United States, a step that many communities across the country have already taken. But to do this at the national level will require the agreement and participation of at least one of the two major parties - which is why many Progressives are supporting the Greens and, at the same time, infiltrating and becoming active in the Democratic Party.

. . . . .

But first we must correct the misperception Nader is pushing that the problem third parties face is purely the fault of the existing two parties. While it's true they resist third parties as a challenge to their power, the real problem is a flawed electoral system left over from 1787.

And, as Australia demonstrated, a two-party system can be changed to a multiparty system - but only when the nation's citizens realize the true source of the problem.


At it again? 28.Dec.2005 22:19


"Why no mention of the underlying structural problem that is key to any solution? Why no mention of the absolutely essential reform of IRV?"

From our past recent exchanges on your posts, and on Joe Kay's recent post, you know very well that I'm not ignoring IRV as ONE of the solutions.

IRV will help, but it does not solve other problems. The purpose of the above post is to draw attention to other matters. The post is long enough as it is. It would take a book-length post to draw attention to all of the problems and possible solutions.

I suggest that we abide by your new year's resolution. If you have something new to add to a discussion, please do - in a polite manner. And I will do likewise. Otherwise...

To refresh your memory:

Christmas wish
author: g.d. dem

"I know I have been bad. I have been unreasonable and I keep getting into pissing contests at PIMC. But I promise that I will really try to be good."

US Senate passes budget bill slashing social programs
author: By Joe Kay

The gist of Joe Kay's article hits the mark

"...for me personally, that would mean supporting things like: (1) IRV, Instant Runoff Voting, where a voter selects a first, second, third, etc., preference among candidates, and if there's no majority winner, the "instant runoff" is instantly recalculated.

Under proportional representation -- in use in virtually all the other democracies of the world -- the percent of the vote a party gets determines the percent of seats they have in Congress or Parliament. See  http://www.fairvote.org/pr/uses.htm

(2) making Senate Rule 28 much stronger, or totally eliminating it for something better -- like common sense and fair play. I'll say it again: if the wimp-ass dems had any balls, they would throw any bills -- attached with totally unrelated provisions -- back at the republicans. See  http://www.truthout.org/issues_05/122105EA.shtml for a recent example of this often-used, childish, and damaging tactic. The dems get upset when the republicans do it, but when given the opportunity, they do the same damn thing. And we the people lose, no matter who is doing it."

G.D. Dem Response 29.Dec.2005 04:51

Michael Cavlan RN ollamhfaery@earthlink.net

G.D. Dem,
Glad to hear that you support IRV and I could not agree more on it's importance. Here is the kicker though, the Greens do not have the political power yet, to initiate legislation. That means that it will take Republicans and Democrats to initiate IRV. However, since IRV will not be beneficial to the current power structure, many of us feel sure that those in power will not be open to IRV. One of the goals of our campaign is to "encourage" those in power to open up to IRV. I fear though, that the Democrats would prefer to loose to Republicans than be open to IRV. Recent history has shown us that (Florida, Ohio etc etc)

G.D. Dem, you want to change the Democratic Party? The only meaningful way to do that is leave them. if political progressives start to leave in any real numbers, then you will see the change you crave.

Or progressives could continue the cycle of abuse, in much the same manner as an abused spouse. You know acts of abuse or lack of respect that escalate upward till you threaten to leave (or an election) then love, kisses and presents (Dennis Kuchinich, Howard Dean) until the stress builds then POW, the corporate wing of the the Dems character assasinate Howard Dean, with the asistance of their political allies in the corporate media. Then POW, shut out all dissent at the convention in Boston (including no peace buttons or Code Pink scarfs, thank you Medea Benjamin for your courage)

This cycle has gone on since Senator Gene McCarthy in Minnesota, Jessie "Keep Hope Alive" Jackson's Rainbow Push Coalition and on and on and on.

To put it another way, we progressives AND people of colour are told by the Democratic Party, go to the back of the bus where you belong and SHUT UP.

We Greens on the other hand are looking at our Green Bus and saying "damn, come on board and help us drive this damn thing, will you?"

Let me be perfectly clear, the issues are too important now, from Voting Integrity, Global Warming, Peak Oil, the Iraq War, the Next War, the lies and manipulations of the "Fourth Estate" more commonly known as the media etc etc etc.

I will be quite frank, if the actions of the leadership of the Democratic Party regarding the last two election thefts have not shown you that, then I am afraid that nothing will. The leadership of the Democratic Pary have shown, by their actions (ignore their words and platitudes) to be the enemy of progressive politics.

Just as a battered wife is afraid of financial and emotional collapse by leaving her batterer BUT when she does, she gains a liberating sense of self and empowerment, so do we political progressives when we leave our batterer.

So G.D. Dem, again I say to you and to others reading this, you want to change the Democratic Party? Then leave them, it is the only way.

The time for political cowardice is over.


Burro, PUH-LEEZE, is PIMC your blogsite or what? 29.Dec.2005 13:11

g.d. dem

First there's the objection that since Burro previously posted a comment to an article by Joe Kay that acknowledges the importance of IRV, therefore I am not supposed to point out that IRV is conspicuous in its absence from this article! If I had remembered Burro's comment at the Joe Kay article, I would have mentioned it as making IRV all the more conspicuous by its absence!

Burro says to me: "you know very well that I'm not ignoring IRV as ONE of the solutions." What I know - and Burro knows it too - is that this article by Burro totally ignores IRV!

Burro, there was no pissing contest until you decided to turn it into that. What I did was present IRV as it relates to the main topic of your article -- the two-party system and how to end it. That wasn't unreasonable of me at all -- and the only thing that was possibly argumentative about my comment is that I POLITELY asked why IRV wasn't mentioned.

So, fine, Burro says that IRV wasn't mentioned because it would have made the article too long! Right. "IRV would help to cure the problems of the two-party system" -- let's see, that's about 10 words. Yeah, right, that would have been too much!

It's clear from the conclusion of the article that Burro is recommending "maverick" candidates as the solution to the problems. Okay, EXCEPT that it's equally clear from the article that anyone who runs as a candidate in a major party can only be part of the problem! So, what we need is an ability for people to run outside of the major parties! That means IRV!

Does that simple statement make me a bad or unreasonable person or someone continuing a pissing contest? Or does it make me someone who dares to post a comment that might possibly be read as critical of Burro? Or am I just someone that Burro wants to shut up?

Burro even implies that my comment was impolite! Whudafuk was impolite about it?

Burro considers that if I post a comment at one of Burro's articles, I am automatically being impolite! Burro, PUH-LEEZE, is PIMC your personal blogsite or what?

Response back to Michael Cavlan 29.Dec.2005 14:28

g.d. dem

Michael Cavlan,

Glad to hear that YOU support IRV, and I could not agree more on it's importance.

However, I do not agree that "it will take Republicans and Democrats to initiate IRV." Do you know even one Republican voter (let alone politician) who has ever found anything worthwhile about IRV? The whole Republican thing is about how to leverage 25% of the electorate into control of the Congress and the White House. IRV threatens to put an end to that kind of politics.

So, for that reason, I respectfully disagree that "it will take Republicans and Democrats to initiate IRV." It will take only the Democrats - along with Greens, Libertarians and others - to do that. The crucial ingredient is educating the people about IRV and "first-past-the-post" voting. All progressive Democrats are already behind IRV as are all the Greens and probably most Libertarians. Really, the only thing that is holding back IRV is that most people do not yet understand the issue. That's why I objected to Burro leaving it out -- education on IRV is essential to any progressive platform!

I am also glad to hear you say that "one of the goals of our campaign is to encourage those in power to open up to IRV." However, I disagree that Democrats would prefer to lose to Republicans than be open to IRV. There probably are a few Democrats so cynical and uncommitted to democracy that they are willing to take a fall in return for bribes -- but most Democrats just do not want to lose, no matter how or why!

Politicians who prefer to lose? Is that really what you believe? I mean, I just wonder about the consistency of your argument. Your entire position is based on the idea that Democrats can be controlled because of their desire to win, no? So, from that, Democrats see that campaign money is necessary for TV ads and that means they have to go along with the source of big $$$. But that means that Democrats must want to win, no?

The problem, by your own argument, isn't that Democrats don't want to win, but that they aren't willing to risk losing! But when you take that to the extreme that Democrats categorically will never endorse IRV even if the people are clamoring for it, I JUST DON'T BUY THAT!

Michael Cavlan, you say that the only "meaningful" way to change the Democratic Party "is to leave them." The reality is that if I am registered Democrat in Oregon, I can vote for political candidates in the Oregon primaries -- but if I leave the Democratic Party and register Independent, I can only vote in the primaries on non-partisan offices like state judges and initiatives. So you seem to be suggesting that it would be "meaningful" for me to renounce some of my vote? I'm sorry, but I just don't get it.

All the various stuff that you list about your "cycle of abuse" -- from Code Pink to Jesse Jackson -- prove just one thing: that there is a battle within the Democratic Party. Nothing that you have said proves that the battle is over or that it isn't worth waging.

Michael Cavlan, if you're going to get into politics, you need to understand that politics is a continuation of war by other means. One of the basic rules of warfare is that you do not concede a large, strategically essential territory without a fight!

You can run outside the Democratic Party if you want to. But why would you want to run against the progressive wing of the Democratic Party? Makes no sense to me. If you really want things to change, then independents or "mavericks" like yourself need to do just one thing: pull in the people who currently do not vote at all! That really would change things! But, so far, "mavericks" who have been elected are mostly Republicans pretending to be populists -- such as Jesse "the Body" Ventura!

As for the Greens, you do realize that there is an alliance between progressive Democrats and Greens, no? I quote again from Thom Hartmann: "many progressives are supporting the Greens and, at the same time, infiltrating and becoming active in the Democratic Party." It's exactly because of IRV that we are doing that!

Yes, the inside/outside strategy. Not only inside/outside, but everywhere. We refuse to concede political territory to the corporatists! As you say: "The time for political cowardice is over."

something to add 30.Dec.2005 08:27


The CIA's controversial "rendition" program to have terror suspects captured and questioned on foreign soil was launched under US president Bill Clinton, a former US counterterrorism agent told a German newspaper.

CIA prisoner 'rendition' program began under Clinton: ex-agent
 link to www.prisonplanet.com

Political Gateway | December 29 2005

Disappointing 30.Dec.2005 13:07


This post is almost off the page, and basically only two comments: supporting ones from a Minnesotan, and rants from a deranged democrat. But no comments about: Would a Democratic President have allowed 9-11 to happen, and also have authorized the government to act against our civil liberties and intrusions into our privacy with something like the USAPATRIOT Act?

Number 9... number 9... number 9... number 9...

If this and if that . . . 30.Dec.2005 18:51

g.d. dem

If I could go back in time and change the world . . .

You write it, Burro! If you want to see it. To me, when it gets that "iffy" -- it's just a waste of time.

"C'mon 9!" . . . "C'mon 9!" . . . "1##*&!" . . . Burro rolls 7 and craps out! Yeah, it sure is "disappointing" when you can't always have it your way.

So here's my final on this string: 10-4!