Saturday, July 05, 2014

Celebrating independence through anarchy

In this instance, defined as deviations from duopoly orthodoxy.

-- Howard Zinn, from 2006:

On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.

Is not nationalism -- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder -- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?

These ways of thinking -- cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on -- have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica and many more). But in a nation like ours -- huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction -- what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves.

Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy.

That self-deception started early.

It gets a little more intense from there, especially if you're a flag-waving, Fox-watching American exceptionalist.

-- "At some point, progressives need to break up with the Democratic Party", by the vaunted cartoonist I post here frequently, Ted Rall.  It's the yin to my yang of being as blue as I can be in midterm election years.

This one is going to sting, Democrats. Mostly because it describes Texas Democrats to T.

At a certain point, if you have any relationship with dignity, you're supposed to get sick of being used and abused. Speaking of which: liberal Democrats.

Democratic politicians act like right-wingers. Liberals vote for them anyway.

The Democratic Party espouses right-wing policies. Self-described progressives give them cash.

Comedian Bill Maher gave them a million cash dollars -- yet Democrats don't agree with him on anything. Why? Because he hates Republicans even more.

Why didn't Maher save his money? Or better yet, fund a group or a writer or an artist who promotes ideas he actually agrees with? Because he, like tens of millions of other liberals, are stuck in the two-party trap.

The relationship between liberals and Democrats is dysfunctional and enabling, abused pathetics sucking up to cruel abusers. Progressives like Maher are like a kid with two rotten parents. The dad drinks and hits him; the mom drinks less and hits him less. The best call is to run away from home -- instead, most children in that situation will draw closer to their mothers.

Voting-age progressives, on the other hand, are adults. When will they kick the Democratic Party to the curb, as Ricki Lake used to say?

Probably not in time for 2016. But they ought to.

You read what I wrote about Texas Democrats, specifically Wendy Davis, passing on having Hillary Clinton speak at their state convention a week ago?  And what a boost it could have been for the party's overall fortunes?  I say that as someone who does not care for Mrs. Clinton, will not be voting for her in the primary two years from now, and will not be voting for her in the general election in 2016.

But the reality is that I -- and everyone like me -- stand as much chance of keeping her from reaching the White House as the entirety of the Republican Party of the United States of America.  So there's that.

-- Finally and more gently than the previous two, from Ballot Access News, all those e-mails that you haven't been reading from Lawrence Lessig lately are summed up here.

Professor Lawrence Lessig is actively working to create a SuperPAC that would spend its money to help congressional candidates who will work to pass a public funding bill in 2015. The SuperPac has been soliciting pledges. The pledges will not be payable unless the effort reaches a goal of $5,000,000 in pledges by the end of July 4, Hawaii time. As of 1:30 p.m. Hawaii time, $4,778,325 has been pledged. *Update: they reached their $5M goal.

If the SuperPac, called MayDay, reaches its goal, the funds will be more than matched by various wealthy individuals, and the PAC will have $12,000,000, or close to it. That money could then be used for independent expenditures in favor of congressional candidates who will work for public funding. The plan is to spend the money in 5 U.S. House districts, and those districts will be chosen and announced by July 15.

See for more information. One possible disincentive for some potential donors is that the donation part of the web page asks donors if they wish the money spent on Democratic candidates, or Republican candidates. There is no option for the donor to ask that the money be spent on a candidate not nominated by either major party.

Meanwhile, the bill in the U.S. House for public funding, H.R. 20, now has 156 co-sponsors. It gained six co-sponsors in May, but only two in June.

Yeahno.  Not quite the degree of transformation of the political system I'm looking for.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to grill some chicken.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

Exactly, on the last part about Lessig.

When Dems regained control of Congress in 2007, they talked about a public campaign financing bill. Again, though it had no third-party provision.