Why it's different this time

Most of the conflict I've had on C99P has been about my support of the new progressive insurgency in the Democratic Party, and those who think I'm being suckered.
Most responses have been something like "We've seen this before in 2008 and 2016."
I finally figured out a way to empirically prove to those doubters why it's different this time, and it should've been obvious to me long ago.

It's the money!

First let me say that if you think that money doesn't have a huge impact on politics, you can stop reading here.
But if you are like most people you will agree that money is the most important issue in politics.

Comparing 2008 v. Now

Obama fooled a lot of people. They really thought he was going to change things.
The Progressive Insurgents also promise to change things.
That's where the similarities end.

Obama was vague. Justice Democrats are specific with their plans.

Justice Democrats do not "take any corporate PAC or corporate lobbyist money."
Obama in 2008 took a mountain of Wall Street cash.

Illinois Sen. Obama, who captured the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday after a lengthy primary battle against New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, has received $7.9 million (4.1 million pounds) n contributions from the securities and investment industries, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

His opponent, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, banked a little under $4.2 million, putting him behind fellow Republicans Rudolph Giuliani and Mitt Romney, who have long since dropped out of the race.

Overall, Democrats garnered 57 percent of the contributions from the securities and investment industry. If that trend continued through November, it would mark the first time since 1994 that they have drawn more Wall Street cash than Republicans in a presidential election year, according to the data complied by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Do you think that this makes a difference?
It's the difference between politicians that have been bribed and those that haven't.

Compare 2016 v. Now

This is a bit harder, but there is still a clear difference.

2016 was almost entirely about Bernie Sanders.

All of the progressive insurgency groups were founded after the 2016 primaries ended.
JD was founded on January 23, 2017.
Brand New Congress was founded in late April 2016 as Sanders conceded the primary to Hillary Clinton.
Our Revolution was officially launched on August 24, 2016.

So what we are looking at is the difference between a campaign and a movement.

Even the WashPost recognizes that something is different this time around.

It’s been decades since Democrats had to confront a genuine challenge from the far left.

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Now you can claim that the outcome will be the same, but you can't use 2008 and 2016 as examples of why nothing will change.

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Comments

Alligator Ed's picture

The emperor putatively has new clothes--same as the old clothing--i.e., none. Any difference is only in verbiage. We will still be screwed by the "insurgents' who don't give a damn about anything except power, just the same way as their forebearers. If you think the Squad or other putative "progressive" far left group is any different, I beg to ask why about policy difference--not merely funding. Clearly the "insurgents don't gave an effort about immigrants as witness their principled stance over Trump's brilliant political maneuver, exempting persons traveling from a third country to the U.S. Oh, didn't catch that bit of McResistance, eh? Neither did I. Those mealy-mouthed fuckers don't care about immigrants--only about votes. Votes = power. So what changed? Absofuckinglutelutely nothing. Please tell me how I am wrong.

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@Alligator Ed
It's your right to ignore all of my points, but you should at least acknowledge it.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@gjohnsit I humbly apologize for misinterpreting any or all of what you wrote. To the best of my admittedly limited cognitive abilities, I did the best I could. The preceding question is often used in medical malpractice cases to defend a physician who committed an error so egregious as to fail any valid counter-argument. Again, please let me me profess my obvious inattentiveness to the core of your essay, the fault of which is mine, entirely mine.

According to my admittedly impaired cognitive faculties, how the influence of money upon politics has changed miraculously because this is 2019. By the purifying fire of Athena, I swear to smite and destroy any semblance of money--yes, money--influencing policy or politics decisions. May you please unconfuse this obviously confused communitarian?

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Cassiodorus's picture

also appears a lot more ridiculous now than it did in 2016.

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"I was Zuckerberging people before Zuckerberg's balls dropped." -- the Devil, on "Rick and Morty"

@Cassiodorus

It's not like there's an indefinite timeline to their being able to equivocate and play footsie with one half measure after another.

As much as I respect alligators' ability to survive the swamps, I'll place more faith in guys like Bill McKibben when it comes to the matter of organizing to combat the onset of global climate catastrophe during the 12 year window of opportunity we have left.

McKibben supports Bernie. And will probably be appointed by Bernie to an important position in his administration if he pulls off the miracle of winning the nomination. I really doubt that any other candidate would even consider putting a man or woman anything like McKibben in their administration, even if they might be capable of beating Trump (which I doubt).

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orlbucfan's picture

@Wally Anyone who has kids, grandkids, etc. who doesn't vote. Too many out there. Pathetic. Rec'd!!

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" Our solutions to the climate crisis must match the demands of physics."
c/o truthout

@orlbucfan

Or they're just a different brand of cranky old curmudgeon than me.

Maybe I'm wrong.

My selfie:

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Wally https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/20/joe-biden-age-2020-1374591

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"I was Zuckerberging people before Zuckerberg's balls dropped." -- the Devil, on "Rick and Morty"

@Cassiodorus

Lots of good points in the article but istm Biden first and foremost wants to project an image of cool-tempered likability. I don't think Abe cares much one way or another what people think of him. I can't imagine Biden waving his fist at anybody or anything.

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Money is one of ingredients in the conflict among Nancy Pelosi and the four congresswomen. Nancy is always described as super fundraiser. She uses that money to get congress members to fall in line. AOC and the other three ladies raise their own money so Nancy does not have that power over them. I read that AOC pulled in over a million last qtr.

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It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves that we've been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back. Carl Sagan

@chambord I read that AOC is the second biggest fundraiser in The House.

With No Time spent in "call rooms," incarcerated in the manner that the rest of the House Democrats are.

She doesn't owe much to The Speaker.

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NYCVG

So when someone claims to have evidence that yet another progressive is really a Trojan horse I consider the information very carefully as objectively as I can.

So far I haven't learned anything that makes me give up on her.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@entrepreneur

So far I haven't learned anything that makes me give up on her.

To whom do you refer?

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@Alligator Ed

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I just knew Obama would follow through with hope and change. Just knew. It's what we learned in school. FDR righted the ship of state, instituted new programs, made government responsive to the people. Obama had a blueprint for the economic meltdown and a way forward that had been forged 75 years before....and he put on an 8 year Mitt Romney impersonation.

I am not sure it's Bernie, maybe anyone putting forth his ideas would have been popular. Bernies Ideas are pretty small, but still he's labeled as Satan the Socialist.

Back to your point. OK. Who contributes how much to your campaign? What do they expect in return. That's the rock that needs to be turned over to see what crawls around in the light of day. As stupid as they think we are, the young today are the best educated and most tested by adversity since the great depression. The other side is the slow walking of both parties makes the time when things were better, when things worked for the 99% fades into myth. The personal history fades to be superseded by the 1%'s version of history.

As cynical as I am, I guess I have hope for the future...just not in my lifetime.

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lotlizard's picture

@Snode  
When I was in Philly, we drove to the Jersey shore with a friend. Retired now, well-educated, worked as a social services professional all her life. So we’re on the Expressway, and to pass the time the three of us in the car start talking politics.

First thing she says is, “So is Trump going to get in again? We [Democrats] don’t really seem to have anyone outstanding.” She thinks Biden has the best chance “by default” and inwardly I groan. I say I like Tulsi Gabbard but she knows next to nothing about Tulsi except that she’s from Hawaii.

So what about Bernie, I think to myself; surely she must like Bernie? But she more or less just dismisses him, saying, “Well, I’m Jewish, right, and in families like mine it’s sort of like everyone has a socialist uncle who you see at family gatherings, talking about what the country should do.”

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karl pearson's picture

As you pointed out, these grassroots movements, like Justice Democrats, grew out of the Bernie Sanders' campaign. The Dem establishment wants Bernie & The Squad to go away. Obama's campaign was a "fake" progressive campaign orchestrated by the Kennedy/Daschle/Durbin wing of the party. The 2008 Democratic primary was really a fight between 2 wings of the Democratic party, not Progressives vs the Establishment Dems. I didn't know it at the time. I guess I was like a lot of people. We were "shell-shocked" after Bush II, didn't want Hillary Clinton, and read too much into Obama's words. In all fairness to us suckers, the Obama campaign was quite a sophisticated marketing machine, so I understand the skepticism after that.

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@karl pearson @karl pearson split the Dem establishment vote, iirc. Obama got the majority of D senators' endorsements. So clearly Obama was no flame-throwing ultra liberal-lefty progressive of radical tendencies.

Dunno all the timelines of which D big name endorsed or encouraged him first, but Daschle had lost his re-elect just as Obama was entering the senate, and was considering a prez run of his own until very late in 2006.

According to one book on the 2008 campaign, Majority Leader Harry Reid may have been the first big D to encourage O to run, this in mid-2006, very early. Reid apparently called him into his office (O thought it was for a scolding) to tell him it was obvious he wasn't a good fit in the senate, and why not run, while he's young and the iron is hot, essentially. I think Reid above all others, the Majority Leader no less, was the most influential voice in O's ears that I'm aware of.

As for Ted Kennedy, recall that just before Iowa in 2008, Bill Clinton called him to get TK to back Hillary. Obama's name came up, and Bill unwisely offered some disparaging remarks, perhaps some along IdPol lines, that were not well received. This doomed Hillary's endorsement chances. (the Kennedy family overall split their endorsements between the two, O getting the big names of Ted and Caroline, while Kathleen endorsed Hillary. Can't remember who RFK Jr picked.)

Imo, the fact that Obama checked a few different progressive boxes, which in many cases made the white progressive left rather proud of themselves, and his fresh face and dynamic personality were overall too much for the relatively shopworn Hillary to overcome. But progressives went too swoon-y and lost their good judgment by overvaluing some superficial aspects. Most have realized the errors of their ways, but others are still smitten ...

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karl pearson's picture

@wokkamile I have also read that Harry Reid encouraged Barack Obama to run, but I have a feeling that Dick Durbin, Obama's fellow Senator from Illinois and Senate Majority Whip, whispered in Harry Reid's ear first. Probably Durbin had met with Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, Tom Daschle, and others from that wing of the party. These guys probably thought Hillary Clinton couldn't win the 2008 presidential election and Obama had a better chance. They were right.

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@karl pearson

were right. However, I believe, though, obviously, I cannot prove it, she cut a deal before she dropped out of the primary and not only with Obama.

BTW, I would bet my life that Pelosi also backed Obama, as did the DNC. I base my comment about the DNC on the DNC's penalties on Hillary for visiting Florida and one other state were draconian, I thought--and I was for Obama! I posted my thoughts about the deal once, but I don't feel like looking for it right now or recreating it.

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earthling1's picture

@HenryAWallace
for the SoS position to follow up with a POTUS run in 2016.
Or, her turn.
iirc.

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@wokkamile

supporting Obama. Among other "racially-tinged" things bubba said was that Ted was supporting Obama only because he was black.

Everyone in the Dem leadership was for Obama--Pelosi, Kennedy, Reid, Daschle, etc., supposedly because they thought she had too much baggage to win. So the DNC was also for Obama. Early super delegate leanings were for Her, until it became evident that she was not the pick of the power players. Then, many of them switched to Obama.

However, I would not be surprised if the power players also just didn't like her, as with so many voters. They weren't bowled over by her Billarycare efforts when she was First Lady, either.

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@karl pearson

as New Democrats (aka, DLC or Third Way types) and also both have described their policies as "progressive." The biggest two differences between them, from my perspective, anyway, were Obama's 2002 speech about Iraq, something on which he then had no vote anyway; and Obama's health plain supposedly was to have strong public option and no individual mandate while Clinton's plan included no strong public option, but did include an individual mandate.*

Moreover, Obama's first public act after the election was appointing Rahm, a Clintonite neoliberal thug if there ever was one, as his chief of chief, as had Bubba. There followed one appointment and nomination after another of Clintonites and Chicago machine cogs, including a Daley.
After that, it was mostly who I thought had the best chance in the general, because, after Bush and Iraq, who wanted a Republican to succeed him in the White House? In November 2007, I picked Obama; and 2016 proved me right on that point. I was, however, wrong about another Republican succeeding Bush.

Of course, Obama saved his announcement that he was a New Democrat until after he was in office, while Hillary, having been the ONLY female founding member of the DLC could not hide it during the campaign.

*ETA: And, of course, Obamacare is more like Hillary's campaign description than Obama's; and it's hard to imagine how he could have endorsed her warmongering more than by appointing her Secretary of State and bombing the hell out of the entire Middle East, except for our most favorite oil-producers, like the Saudis and Kuwaitis.

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@HenryAWallace

I haven't yet come across any thorough expositions on what donors of Clinton or Obama are giving what to which candidate in this Democratic primary towards the 2020 nomination.

I've seen lotsa Clinton heavyweights switching from Harris to Warren over time. Looks like a lot of Hollywood is anteing up for Warren. I gotta wonder if it's just a game for the moneybags and New Dem ideologues to pit the two women against each other, making sure Biden doesn't have enough delegates on the first ballot. I don't believe Obama was completely a New Dem during his campaign. I'm guessing Rahm and Hillary were part of the deal in Hillary dropping out. And then he just didn't have the backbone to challenge them after that.

Then there are Obama folks predominantly but not exclusively financially supporting Biden who I guess was pretty much a New Dem.

I'm just hoping against hope that Bernie can take advantage of this divide this time around. Hopefully, the Democratic elite in the DNC have outsmarted themselves by encouraging the large field of candidates which they were sure would act to Bernie's detriment. Let's face it, they ain't the sharpest tools in the shed.

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@Wally

However, even if he was, Obama filled many slots with Clintonites.

Other than being deceptive, I am not sure what it means not to be a New Democrat while you campaign, announcing it only after you are safely in office. Moreover, little Obama did as an Illinois Senator or a US Senator was inconsistent with being a New Democrat.

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@Wally as we're talking about 11 yrs ago and my memory is not perfect. Didn't Hillary drop out at the very end of the primary voting, whereas the delegate count months before her departure spelled doom for her campaign. So, get her to drop out? Did you mean not take her case to the convention?

As for backbone, regardless of any deal making, it was a no-brainer for Obama to bring in the candidate who got about as many primary votes as he did, to appease the Hillary backers and get them safely on board with him, party unity, especially after he decided not to choose her for his VP. This is just basic politics to bring the sides together after a tough primary contest.

But on the rest of the appointments, well didn't he seek input from Citibank, essentially allowing them to pick his economic advisers? Yeah, quite a backbone. So was keeping on the old spook from the Poppy Bush camp, Repub Bobby Gates, to be his SoD. I remember how Doris Kearns Goodwin got all weepy about this Team of Rivals cabinet, but it was a disaster for the DP and about as bad for the country. But Obama, Kearns and other bleeding heart bipartisan types patted themselves on the back for their bipartisan efforts at cuddling with the Rs and the big banks and corporations, and we were all supposed to applaud.

You would think Obama had won in a very narrow JFK-esque fashion, where he was almost compelled to include some Rs and conservatives. But Obama didn't win narrowly. He should have been more clear in the campaign that, if he won, he would be governing as a hybrid Demican/Republicrat, and we who voted for him should have been more clear-eyed in seeing the early signs.

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@wokkamile

News "leaked" into some mass media source or other that Obama and Hillary had had a very "secret" meeting at Difi's house at which Obama promised to help Hillary raise funds to pay off her campaign debts in return for her dropping out.

The news of a leak was itself a joke, inasmuch as the only ones who could have leaked the meeting and terms would have been the Clintons, the Obamas or Difi; and, reportedly, even Difi had left Obama and Hillary alone in her living room to negotiate.

However, if you believe those were the terms of the deal, I have an inventory of stunning and/or historic bridges in which I'd like to interest you. And, don't forget: Hillary's announcing that McCain and she were ready for the 3 am call, but Obama wasn't had inspired the PUMA movement, who rooted for the Alasakan twit after McCain chose her as his running mate.

At the time, I was posting on a supposedly bipartisan board owned by a woman who had been a Clinton fan and a daily defender of Democrats in general. She went full Republican after Hillary lost the nomination, even praising Bush for the rest of his term. I soon left that board as a result.

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@HenryAWallace

I'm enjoying a few beers in all this damn heat (no ac for me) and I'm not sure I have it in me to respond.

Rahm was a Clintonoid long before he was an Obamanite but yea, their relationship may well have been consensual on it's own given the Chicago connection:

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/clinton/interviews/emmanu...

So much wheeling and dealing goes on behind the scenes that we're never privy to . . . all us peasants can do is speculate.

Thanks to you both. I really enjoy and am informed by your insights.

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joe shikspack's picture

i think that your observations are completely fair.

i have seen no evidence that the current crop of corporate-money-eschewing democrats are not in earnest about their desire to reform the party and reorient it from corporate whoredom to serving their human constituents.

in determining whether there will be a difference this time (not in intent but in outcomes) the question seems to me to be whether this small movement can gain enough momentum quickly enough to overwhelm the party apparatus.

while it is quite comforting to see some people who think decent human being thoughts gain political stature, wielding the sort of political power needed to make real change is still quite a ways away.

then there is also the question of whether these folks will wind up being as radical as we need them to be, but perhaps that's another argument.

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@joe shikspack

I agree there is intent, difference,and energy. Is it enough?

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

orlbucfan's picture

@dkmich change. If not, bloody explosions like late 1780s France will seem like kindergarten.

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" Our solutions to the climate crisis must match the demands of physics."
c/o truthout

polkageist's picture

@joe shikspack
First I have seen little to convince me that these people are phonies or agents provocateurs. I like the fact that they take small donations. I agree with most of their decisions but recognize I will never find someone with whom I agree on every point and that everyone makes mistakes. It is important to watch carefully and to not allow our emotions based on suspicion to get the upper hand.

One thing people on the left do easily is savage their own. I think it basically comes down to authoritarian vs. non-authoritarian personalities. Right wingers have no problem following leaders. Lefties are more suspicious of those in charge. A positive trait until it becomes paranoiac. (By the way, to save myself from being hung from a figurative lamppost, I'm not accusing anyone here of being paranoid.)

Finally, we are facing an extinction event. Once again authoritarian people find it easy to follow people who tell them it isn't so and who minimize the danger as do the frightened, unobservant, disinterested, and stupid. I'm an old man and consort mainly with other old people. It's very disheartening to discover so many who think they are still living in 1950 or 1960; who think newspapers and TV tell them the truth; and consider the U.S. government to be what they were taught it was in the fifth grade. In short, we had better take some risks on new, young people who have humane ideas rather than be grumpy old men.

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Greed is not a virtue.
Socialism: the radical idea of sharing.

@polkageist Agree with all your succinctly made points. You should post here more often.

Extinction event indeed. You and I aren't the only ones thinking in these terms, along with a few others here (but not all). Prof Jason Stanley of Yale, author of recent book How Fascism Works, John Nichols at The Nation, Thom Hartmann podcaster, Jordan Chariton (Status Coup podcaster), and even, unbelievably Joe Scarborough and Donnie Deutsch, two confirmed centrists of Morning Joe -- all have called out Trump for his latest racist and fascist activities, using the Fascism word in all cases, and all but Nichols calling it reminiscent of Naziism. Robert Fisk of the UK Independent also is sounding the alarm.

I also take to heart Trump's former atty, testifying before Congress a few months ago, to the effect that, in his opinion, Trump will be likely not to follow our democratic traditions and laws and will not be inclined to give up power.

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lotlizard's picture

@polkageist  
for example the Greens, who historically were the anti-authoritarians and doomsayers, are like, “Trust the structures of authority, trust Merkel and the Christian Democrats and the E.U., everything is awesome, there’s a little problem with the climate but don’t worry, there’s plenty of austerity to go around, we just need some tweaks to these global agreements and trade treaties and you’ll see, kids, it’s all going to be great.”

The Greens are in the opposition in parliament. But in order to avoid the appearance of cooperating with the right-wing populist AfD who are the biggest opposition party, they aren’t really offering any opposition to speak of at all.

So, on the other side of this weird inversion, it falls to the populists, the supposed Nazi-minded authoritarians, to be the ones most sounding the alarm about mass surveillance, online censorship, middle-class impoverishment, trade treaties, banking, billionaires, U.S. tech monopolies, NATO, military adventures, the U.S.-Saudi-Israel anti-Iran war alliance, biased media, etc.

Sir, would you like your order of ideological conformity with ethnic and gender diversity garnish, or without?

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polkageist's picture

@lotlizard
Political calculation may well be our bete noir. The U.S. is in bad shape because of the foolish calculations of our politicians since at least Reagan's Presidency and certainly since Bill Clinton gave us neoliberalism. Why should German politics be any different? It's wearying.

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Greed is not a virtue.
Socialism: the radical idea of sharing.

magiamma's picture

I am also with you.

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

smiley7's picture

Thank you, gj.

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mimi's picture

@smiley7

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Centaurea's picture

@mimi @mimi

move into the future and leave the past behind, hopefully.

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

Alligator Ed's picture

@Centaurea I don 't know about her marrying her father. The only photo of her with her supposed husband also contains other male persons. A picture of her with her brother proves nothing. But charges of campaign funding violations in 2016 and 2017

Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar has been ordered to reimburse her campaign account about $3,500 and to pay a fine of $500 after an investigation found she illegally used campaign funds in 2016 and 2017, a report said Thursday.

The illegal donations date back to when Omar, who represents a district in Minnesota, served as a state representative.

They include a $1,500 payment to a law firm that her campaign hired to respond to unproven allegations that she married her brother as part of a “immigration scheme,” the Star Tribune reported.

Can you please show evidence of Ilhan's productive House career to date? I mean like all the bills she's proposed or co-sponsored. Did you say she's backing M4A? Where's the bill--it doesn't matter how much she or any other pol flaps their jaw, how about some action? Abolish ICE? Oh please tell me about her No Border stance's effect on legislation. Voting against the humanitarian aid bill, which is not ideal but helps out with the quasi-emergency at the southern border.

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Centaurea's picture

@Alligator Ed @Alligator Ed

Ilhan Omar's official record of actions as a congressperson may be found here:

https://www.congress.gov/member/ilhan-omar/O000173

To summarize, she's the original sponsor of 6 bills, 1 resolution, and 4 amendments, and has co-sponsored 355 bills.

The bills she has originally sponsored include: H.R. 3448, the Student Debt Cancellation Act of 2019; H.R. 3366, the No Shame at School Act of 2019 (to prevent schools from publicly humiliating students who can't pay for lunch); H.R. 3004, the Protect Democracy from Criminal Corporations Act (got to love the name of that one); H.R. 2832, the Frank Adelmann Manufactured Housing Community Sustainability Act; H.R. 2561, the Brunei Human Rights Act; H.R. 1467, the Protect Against Unlawful Lobbying (PAUL) Act of 2019; H.R. 780, the Federal Worker Childcare Protection Act of 2019; H.Res. 496, Affirming that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution; and House Amendments 593, 516, 418, and 170.

With respect to Medicare for All, Omar has been vocal about her support for it and actively campaigns for it. Just this past week, she co-hosted an M4A town hall with Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who wrote H R. 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019. Rep. Omar is a co-sponsor of that bill, as is Tulsi Gabbard.

I can understand the need to be skeptical. In fact, my motto is "Question Everything". I figure that's essential right now, not just in politics but life in general.

You know those lines from Joan Didion's poem "Slouching Toward Bethlehem"? It goes like this:

the best lack all conviction,
while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

That's what being a "progressive" has felt like to me for the past several decades. The rightwing has had no qualms about speaking out forcefully, and bending the world to its passionately intense will.

Meanwhile, people anywhere to the left of center have seemed essentially neutered. Afraid of their own shadows. Scared to make a "peep" about anything. Seemingly lacking all sense of conviction that what we want is worthwhile and doable.

Finally, the American psyche seems to be stirring itself. People are starting to speak up and speak out, with a sense of passion and conviction, on behalf of the things we say we want and value.

What sense does it make for us to immediately rush toward those people who are finally speaking out, beat them over the head, try to tear them down, and scream about them being self-centered frauds and sheepdogs? How does it help to start out assuming the worst about them?

I don't worship Ilhan, or Tulsi, or any politician. We need to keep our eyes open and hold them accountable to us. But if they can help us deal with the problems we're facing, and create the kind of world we want to live in, let's use them for that purpose.

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

@Centaurea

does make you vulnerable.

When it comes to reps from districts other than my own, I cannot vote for or against them; and I am not donating to them. So, I'm not sure how much it matters whether I support them, oppose them or adopt a "wait and see" position.

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@HenryAWallace either but I do think it's important to support them, moral, vocal support and with contributions or whatever. They are more than just technically representing only their districts -- they represent a refreshing new wave of Dems in their principled stances and outspokenness, who have chosen not to follow the old feckless ways of keeping their heads down and speaking only when spoken to.

They have the potential to grow their small numbers and revitalize a long-dormant Progressive Left -- but only if those of us with similar political leanings decide the grim times are too urgent and consequential to sit back passively and wait, but instead speak out in their behalf.

Again, they aren't perfect -- who is?? -- and sometimes their remarks strike the wrong tone. But they are generally doing the good work, putting themselves on the line publicly, with a name and a face and a target on their backs, and shaking things up in the Dem political establishment, which badly needs shaking up and replacing.

They get my public support and some will get my donations. Meantime, my rep, one Ted Lieu, will get nothing, including my vote next time. I consider him another status quo backer, moderately moderate-soft liberal Dem, safely center-left, neither a mover nor a shaker he. Ignorant Russiagate proponent too. If you have some mostly worthless rep like this supposedly repping you in your district, consider taking the few pesos your local rep might have received had s/he been better, and tossing them towards some of the Gang of Four.

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9 users have voted.

@wokkamile

. As far as vocal supportI'm not sure how much good it does, given that I live nowhere near their districts and don't know anyone who does. Moreover, until I am confident about these people, I am not going to cheerlead for them. Been there with other politicians, done that, lived to regret it. This time, I'll wait and see. Besides, incumbents have such an advantage, they'll probably get re-elected based on that and their hype alone.

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3 users have voted.

@HenryAWallace We have a different attitude about them and the overheated events swirling in their midst. Mine is one of more urgency. These are national figures, no longer merely representing their narrow districts. They are no longer local politicians. And they are under fire. Death threat variety. Not the time, imo, to sit back and carefully weigh their progress with the pad and pencil in the home study.

In any case, sending money is just one way of supporting them. And this is not an argument about incumbents getting re-elected or the likelihood of that. It's about the urgency of getting behind them now, even at the relatively slight risk one or two may later disappoint. They're pols and human beings after all, and are bound to disappoint sometime. Goes with the territory.

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5 users have voted.

@wokkamile

members respresent themselves; and should the political climate change, will weathervane.

For example, at one time, Capuano and Lee were the furthest left members of the House, IMO. Ayana Pressley unseated Capuano by pretended to be to his left. However, Kerry has supported her since her entry into politics and the Boston Globe endorsed her over Capuano with the lamest endorsement editorial I've read in my entire life.

I am willing to be persuaded otherwise, but I'll wait and see. If Obama 2008 taught me anything, it was not to be seduced by rhetoric.

But yes, we come from two very different places. I am a leftist and you are Blue, no matter what or who.

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0 users have voted.

@HenryAWallace

. . . and when figures in, too. The where is national.

Why? Coz I figure we and the planet are all soooo phluckled if we don't support Bernie now.

And with a focus so that my money will only go Bernie for now, not members of the squad although I have sent AOC and Omar each $27 previously.

I have no qualms though with HAW in terms of determining how to vote in the primary. That is, waiting to see if Bernie has a chance of winning in this or that state. If no chance, why not vote for Tulsi or Gravel? It won't make any difference in that state. Strategic voting has always made sense to me on a state basis.

But if Bernie doesn't pull it off and get the nomination, I see no reason to vote anymore.

I just came across an excellent article by a climate scientist from Syracuse University that I will probably share and discuss via an essay in a day or two.

In it he makes the argument that Bernie represents our only and last chance to combat climate catastrophe. Makes sense to me.

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1 user has voted.

@Wally

readily. Nonetheless, in some cases, their posts make it unmistakeably evident, anyway.

So far, Bernie Sanders has not been a Democrat in his very long activist and political career, other than the months during which he has now run twice in the Democratic Presidential primary. Hence, being for Bernie is most certainly not an example of being blue, no matter who.

And no, national is not when "blue no matter who" matters. For one thing, it almost never matters if you vote in either a solid blue or a solid red state. For another thing, it doesn't matter if, in truth, the blue candidate differentiates from the red candidate primarily on pc issues.

This should have been evident from, among many other things, the number of Presidential hopefuls in Congress who voted for the Iraq invasion and Hillary Clinton's urging Trump to bomb Syrian airports, her putting a Constitutional amendment to overrule Roe v. Wade on the table, speaking out against same gender marriage until (suspiciously) very shortly before the SCOTUS ruled it unconstitutional and other things.

I note the differences and have tired of being accused of the opposite. Therefore, I was happy to see a post on another board that put it in a way to which I can subscribe: It is not a matter of whether Republican and Democrats are the same; it's a matter of whether they are on the same side. (Or words to that effect) Far too often, they are, no matter what they say in public.

Hell, even Wall Street knows Democratic politicians, because of their base, have to have "a public position" and "a private position." Accustomed to "the bottom line, denizens of Wall Street ignore public bloviating and look only to results. It's past time we did the same--and stopped accepting Democratic excuses for why they just couldn't do better by us.

Of course, my original comment was not addressed to you, so I know you did not take it personally. I probably will not vote for Gravel in the primary because it's unlikely that he will still be on the ballot by then and I personally see no point writing in when write in votes get reported to the FEC and almost nowhere else, ever. The same may or may not apply to Tulsi by then. In that case, Bernie will get my vote, no matter how far behind he may be in the polls: Even if he can't win, I want him to make as a good a showing as possible.

However, IMO, there is always reason to vote for someone on the ballot in a Presidential election. For one thing, a Green vote tells people you want something to the left of Democrats--which, based on what you say, is indeed what you want. Why keep that a secret or let someone chalk it up to your being too lazy to get to the polls or, perhaps worse, too satisfied with the status quo?

And, for newer parties, ballot access is always an issue. So, if you care about helping a newer party break through the stranglehold Democrats and Republicans worked together to create, that's a reason. Besides, a pile of stuff is down ticket.

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1 user has voted.

@HenryAWallace

Yesiree. And it's the last electoral go-round for me unless there's a Bernie miracle.

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1 user has voted.

@Wally

But, let your conscience be your guide. You're the one who has to live with it. For better or worse, I only have to live with my own.

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@wokkamile Andrew Gillum was on a panel and he made the same point as you. They are not just representing their constituents, they represent all those who are sick and tired of the status quo.

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7 users have voted.

It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves that we've been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back. Carl Sagan

@chambord @chambord

Political kabuki is a high stakes game at which professional politicians are far more skilled than we are.

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@Centaurea

the lines you quote are from "The Second Coming" by W. B. Yeats.
Joan Didion lifted a line for the title of her essay collection.
Such a great poem.

By Nick Tabor April 7, 2015
On Poetry

The widening gyre of heavy-handed allusions to Yeats’s “The Second Coming.”
yeats

An undated photo of Yeats by the Bain News Service.

A recent Russia Today headline suggests that Europe is “slouching towards anxiety and war.” According to the title of Robert Bork’s latest best seller, the United States is Slouching Towards Gomorrah. A new book by W. C. Harris, an English professor, claims we’re Slouching Towards Gaytheism. A casual reader might wonder why the nations of the world have such terrible posture; is it that the earth is slouching towards bedlam? Have things fallen apart?

The only thing not doing any slouching these days is the “rough beast” in W. B. Yeats’s “The Second Coming,” the 1919 poem from which the phrase originates: “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, / Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

But Yeats’s beast, it must be said, isn’t deteriorating or dying in its slouching, as the many references to the phrase would have you believe; rather, it slouches in steady, dedicated progress toward a goal. It’s actually a terrifying sight: the poem’s narrator intuits that the beast is coming to wreak some untold havoc. (At least one blog got this subtlety right in a headline about the 2012 election cycle: “Romney slouching toward GOP nomination.”)

“The Second Coming” may well be the most thoroughly pillaged piece of literature in English. (Perhaps Macbeth’s famous “sound and fury” monologue is a distant second.) Since Chinua Achebe cribbed Yeats’s lines for Things Fall Apart in 1958 and Joan Didion for Slouching Towards Bethlehem a decade later, dozens if not hundreds of others have followed suit, in mediums ranging from CD-ROM games to heavy-metal albums to pornography. These references have created a feedback loop, leading ever more writers to draw from the poem for inspiration. But how many of them get it right?

Here’s “The Second Coming” in full:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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14 users have voted.
Centaurea's picture

@irishking Thanks for the clarification and for posting the entire poem.

I'm kind of embarrassed that I didn't remember the original source. I've read that poem so many times over the years. "The Second Coming" is one of the poems that speaks to me most deeply, along with Eliot's "The Hollow Men".

I guess it's a good sign that so many people have "borrowed" the poem, or riffed off it (used it to create derivative works), since that must mean it's speaking to a great many people.

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12 users have voted.

"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

@Centaurea

I agree with what you say-

What sense does it make for us to immediately rush toward those people who are finally speaking out, beat them over the head, try to tear them down, and scream about them being self-centered frauds and sheepdogs? How does it help to start out assuming the worst about them?

and I think your reference to the line "the best lack all conviction" is apt,fwiw.

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16 users have voted.

@Centaurea

What sense does it make for us to immediately rush toward those people who are finally speaking out, beat them over the head, try to tear them down, and scream about them being self-centered frauds and sheepdogs? How does it help to start out assuming the worst about them?

I'm not opposed to being critical of their politics and exploring their political shortcomings, but sometimes the vehemence of the personal animosity is offsetting, especially when so much of it is based on speculation.

I'm not at all prim and proper and puritanical, but I'm not so sure we want to become full of the same kind of "passionate intensity" we see in Trumpsters.

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15 users have voted.
TheOtherMaven's picture

@Centaurea @Centaurea

redacted Yeats poem

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6 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

@Centaurea

Meanwhile, people anywhere to the left of center have seemed essentially neutered. Afraid of their own shadows. Scared to make a "peep" about anything. Seemingly lacking all sense of conviction that what we want is worthwhile and doable.

Because if they say anything critical of Omar (or the rest of the squad), they will be accused of racism and fascism.

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1 user has voted.

dfarrah

Alligator Ed's picture

@Centaurea I am too busy cogitating about things to do research. My brain circuitry is hampered by too few neurons, making too few synapses. This slows my thought processes to little beyond the "see it--eat it" mentality which I usually espouse.

I don't worship Ilhan, or Tulsi, or any politician. We need to keep our eyes open and hold them accountable to us. But if they can help us deal with the problems we're facing, and create the kind of world we want to live in, let's use them for that purpose.

I love Tulsi but, having been disappointed so many times (i.e., every time in the past when supporting politicians), I use the once bitten, twice shy approach. So her pedestal is not any taller than I can jump. I won't hesitate to take bites out of her when she displays neoliberalism or warmongering.

In honor (?) of my past political disappointments, e.g., political betrayals by once-supported pols, I present, for your auditory enjoyment--and certainly mine own:

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

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4 users have voted.
Centaurea's picture

@Alligator Ed

to get better acquainted with what Ilhan is doing. There's so much going on, it's impossible to be "in the know" about everything.

I've found that congress.gov website and database to be a handy thing, especially for a research "junkie" like me. For Reps and Senators who've had lengthy careers, you can see everything they've ever done. Also, you can quickly track legislation to find out its status.

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3 users have voted.

"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

@Alligator Ed @Alligator Ed remember about the 4 is that they are women of color, and, by definition, if you criticize them or question, them, you are a racist and fascist (just like Obama!! Recall the immediate accusations of racism, etc,., when Obama was criticized?)

Like they have reminded the public at least two times, they must be treated with deference because they are women of color.

Say it: they are women of color, they are women of color, they are women of color, over and over, like follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road.

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3 users have voted.

dfarrah

Alligator Ed's picture

@dfarrah

Like they have reminded the public at least two times, they must be treated with deference because they are women of color.

...because...Racism. We can say anything because we are correct and you disagreeables are ipso facto racist. And furthermore, any men who dare disagree with the Squad's Delphic orations are misogynist, even if they support a female for president.

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1 user has voted.
mimi's picture

@Centaurea

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2 users have voted.
Centaurea's picture

@mimi @mimi

There is no guarantee the human race is going to survive. There is no guarantee about anything (except Clint Eastwood's proverbial toaster).

There's a whole spectrum of possibilities between "giving up" and "guaranteed". I see hope as being one of the early steps away from giving up. Hope isn't a particularly powerful mindset, but at least it's not throwing its hands up and saying "never mind, forget it".

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8 users have voted.

"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

mimi's picture

@Centaurea

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2 users have voted.
Centaurea's picture

@mimi

in your comment. I'm not sure where you were going with it, but I think this thing about hope and cynicism is about power. Our authority as sovereign individuals, to accept our power and act powerfully, or to deny our power, be afraid of it, be afraid that we can never get what we want. So we give up, and even turn against those who are acting with power.

(I'm talking about the collective "we", we humans on Earth at this time.)

There's another comment of yours just now, in the thread about Meghan McCain, where you said she has PTSD. I replied that I think most humans do have PTSD at present. I believe that to be true, and I think it plays into what we're commenting about here.

(By the way, I edited my previous comment to change the title. Upon re-reading, I thought my original title was a bit contentious with no need to be so.)

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9 users have voted.

"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

mimi's picture

@Centaurea @Centaurea

I think this thing about hope and cynicism is about power.

Lately (since I came back to Germany) I lost all my power I had before. Since then I became hopeless and with some inner cynicism which I try to cover up with jokiness. But it's all there.

I can't have the old angle's views anymore. As much as I wished I could.

I had never lost my hope in my life before... but lately the hits were too hard and too many. I feel like Joe Luis in 1936, when he was knocked out by Max Schmeling.

So, frigging insanity, I wanna be out of here. My only hope is that there will be many angry people, who will finally do the right thing.

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7 users have voted.
Centaurea's picture

@mimi to know this, but you're not alone in feeling that way. My life experiences are different from yours, but I can relate. From what what I can tell (not just here at C99 but elsewhere, in "real life"), there are plenty of us around. People in general seem to be having a hard time emotionally.

I can't have the old angle's views anymore. As much as I wished I could.

Same here, and it is challenging. Try this on for size:

The world has been operating from certain mindsets, patterns of thinking, values and belief systems, whatever you call it, for a long time now. It is literally killing us and the planet. In order for the human race to survive, we have to change those mindsets (get rid of the old BS - Belief Systems), and it has to happen quickly, in a short period of time.

That means no one will be able to view things from the old angles anymore. The old angles are disappearing, because they have to.

This kind of change is very difficult for us humans, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Especially when the change is so sudden and radical.

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9 users have voted.

"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

mimi's picture

@Centaurea
before to grasp it correctly (distracted by life's inconvenient moments).

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0 users have voted.

@Centaurea

"I replied that I think most humans do have PTSD at present."

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1 user has voted.

dfarrah

TheOtherMaven's picture

@dfarrah

if not the outright expectation, of imminent nuclear annihilation. It leaves psychic scars.

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7 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

Centaurea's picture

@dfarrah @dfarrah

posting a full essay about this. I can point to recent events, of course, but I think it goes back much further. I've done so much genealogical research and learned about the power of family patterns over generations. Add to that my own experience with PTSD and my research into it. Over the past 15 years, I've also gotten interested in the new scientific fields of psychoneuroendocrinology and epigenetics.

I'm not a professional expert in these subjects, by any means. It's just something I've been ruminating about for a while now. You may have just given me the push I've needed to start writing something about it.

Edited to add: As a teaser about the events precipitating PTSD, consider the impact of Edward Bernays and his ilk. We as a society have been continuously and deliberately brainwashed, gaslit, and mindf*@ked for over a century now. That's the kind of thing that causes PTSD.

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6 users have voted.

"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

@Centaurea

You wrote:

There's a whole spectrum of possibilities between "giving up" and "guaranteed". I see hope as being one of the early steps away from giving up. Hope isn't a particularly powerful mindset, but at least it's not throwing its hands up and saying "never mind, forget it".

Does the threshold to earnestly deal with global heating come in 12 years? If so, well then, we sure as hell better mobilize for Bernie or it's curtains. it ain't gonna happen all at once so if no Bernie come 2020, we are phluckled.

Maybe we've even passed the threshold in which case, as far as I'm concerned, maybe hedonism is the best way to go. For me, that would only amount to working class hedonism which would entail enjoying a few beers every now and then, satisfying relationships with family and friends, etc.

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5 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@Centaurea
not yet following. But hope dies last, so I understand where you are coming from.

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4 users have voted.
smiley7's picture

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1 user has voted.
mimi's picture

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smiley7's picture

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2 users have voted.

the normal, expected political missteps and imperfect statements from a new bunch of congresspeople, this Group of Four, not backed by big money interests, is a sorely needed breath of fresh air for a badly aging, out-of-step, bought off and cowardly cautious party, at least wrt to the leadership in both houses and many of its centrists.

Thanks again gj for your remarks here and all the rest.

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27 users have voted.

@wokkamile @wokkamile four expect to be treated with deference because they are women of color.

Didn't you see during the interview (with Gayle King, I believe)? The one in which that Tlaib said that if Nancy Pelosi is talking about them or with them, she needs to remember that they are women of color. And that was after they objected to Nancy's criticism of them saying that they are women of color.

That is almost a direct quote.

Not only are they oh, so very special because they are women of color, but NP can forget about her minority status as an Italian American. Apparently, being Italian American doesn't count; maybe some of the idpol drenched here can explain the differences.

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4 users have voted.

dfarrah

smiley7's picture

@dfarrah
and just because it's been used widely by racists doesn't change its true meaning.

The group of four expect to be treated with deference because they are women of color.

~ dfarrah

Respectfully wish you refrain from racist innuendo in future.

The congress women you attempt to shame are long on courage and i salute them.

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16 users have voted.

@smiley7

Is another man’s unvarnished truth. Pelosi attacked ideology, and AOC turned it into a racist attack. Then the master of chaos stepped in and became the biggest racist of all. In a news cycle, the brown kids in cages didn’t matter. AOC did this. No one else.

You are entitled to your opinions, Smiley, but so are others. This reminds me of Dee Oliver and the race wars at DailyKos. If you don’t agree and toe the liberal line, you must be a racist.

Those females are simply people. Not villains, not heroes. Well intentioned maybe, maybe not. Their color is immaterial. Their status, fortune, and humanity is not.

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5 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

smiley7's picture

@dkmich

The same author goes on to call them racists in his vile comment below. And, i am not playing i'm serious. Racism can not stand anywhere.

This reminds me of Dee Oliver and the race wars at DailyKos. If you don’t agree and toe the liberal line, you must be a racist.

~dk
You insult me in comparing me to your memories of dkos folks. But that's your opinion, you live it.

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11 users have voted.

@smiley7 @smiley7

So sorry, didn't know that. What do you think you do to other peoples feelings when you call them or their comments racist? Love how people are always entitled to their hurt feelings and umbrage but never give what they take.

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2 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

smiley7's picture

@dkmich @dkmich
they hang children, rape women and castrate men, dk; you are wrong here and growing more insulting by the post.

Next you may say that Cadillac women isn't a trope or agree with Trump that "there were good people on both sides in Charlottesville."

Read Maya's poem posted into today's OT. It is there on purpose because Omar chose it in response to trump's racist catcalls and it can be a guiding light for those who choose to understand it.

Your initial response to me above carries similar language to a PM i received from another c99er earlier today ... no blind sheep here. And you essay ready to fly after bating me into a response.

Truth is what it is and asserting black privilege is one of the oldest, subtle, tropes in our country's history.

I'll none of it.

edit for sp

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5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@dkmich

Pelosi attacked ideology, and AOC turned it into a racist attack.

You have stated that many times here in numerous essays and I have never agreed with it. I don't remember her saying that Pelosi is a racist. The animosity towards AOC is bewildering. Yeah she could be a sheepdog or she could be someone that somehow beat Pelosi's wingman which would give Pelosi a good reason to not like her. AOC has done and said some dumb things, but she is fighting against injustice and not only at the border.

And bringing in DoV is low. Smiley did nothing close to what she used to do.

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7 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@dfarrah

I'm no fan of IdPol and I even agree with many of your criticisms towards the "squad" but I don't think supporting Trump and his brand of White Nationalism is the alternative. It's just the flip side of the same coin.

Bernie has taken a lot of flak for being critical of IdPol and emphasizing a politics grounded in class struggle (even though he has shown he also understands the importance of intersectionality).

Finally, being middle class Italian-American TODAY is very different than being a working clase or lumpenproletariat POC minority today. Sure, there was a time when Italian-Americans were getting lynched even more frequently than African-Americans. But overall, Italian Americans are no longer subject to the same vicissitudes today that POC typically find themselves confronting. Tu capisci?

And Trump is just a WASPy grown-up spoiled af Little Richie Rich.

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9 users have voted.
hecate's picture

@Wally
identity politics is the original; it predates all others, and by centuries. It remains the most powerful, and is why The Klansman is today in the White Power House.

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9 users have voted.

@dfarrah @dfarrah interview, but as to the response on the vastly more consequential racist, xenophobic Trump tweets, followed by Trump's Nuremburg rally and the chants of Send Her Back!, Omar et al were on point and clear.

Doesn't it bother you that your boy Donald is trying to divide this country along racial/ethnic/immigrant background lines? Or did you just want to keep the conversation about some brief Dem Party infighting, to distract from Donald's display of Naziism?

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6 users have voted.

@wokkamile @wokkamile

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2 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

"It’s been decades since Democrats had to confront a genuine challenge from the far left."

I guess I missed that, but then with the Overton Window dragged to the right the USA "far left" is what I think the rest of the world would consider not too far left of center and pretty much mainstream. But even that is being eroded in what might have been considered more enlightened/sensible parts of the world by the ongoing neoliberal onslaught.

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19 users have voted.

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