Valerie Carter with Jackson Browne:
Max Sawicky is back, with some interesting thoughts on how (and why) to break open the Democratic primary:
The sort of campaign that can have some constructive effect is one that imposes costs on the front-runner and by extension, the party’s national elite/big donor/consultant machine. One cost is to compete with Clinton in such a way that she is obliged to do things she wouldn’t otherwise do, spend money and political capital she would prefer to deploy elsewhere. A critique of her centrism that effectively alienates potential liberal supporters is the obvious approach. But this would have to be quite a critique, to discourage support to the extent of depressing turn-out in a general election with very high stakes. To be clear, the ideal outcome is not to sabotage her campaign, it is to force her to commit to positions that are hard to reverse later.
Of course candidates’ primary campaign promises are never worth very much. I have a different, principal objective in mind. The Democratic Party needs to reconsider its purpose, since (like the Republicans) it is presently committed to policies that harm the nation and threaten the very survival of humanity. It needs to abandon the religion of deficit reduction. It needs to get serious about public investment, not content itself with a sprinkling of additional money (on top of a reduced baseline). It needs to reject its love for the corporatization of public K-12 education. It needs to reverse so-called welfare reform. It needs to be serious about climate change, rather than embracing the bogus theme of energy independence. And it needs to get out of the Empire business, not the least of which should include refusing to indulge every new barbarity committed by its Israeli allies.
Go read the rest!
We can only hope. Go read:
Teachout and Wu are trying to place the citizen at the center of policy. They do that through their proposals for public financing, for antitrust, for social insurance, infrastructure and labor. It’s a callback, not just to 20th century Democratic presidents like Franklin Roosevelt, but to the politics of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other 19th Century anti-monopoly Democrats. Cuomo and de Blasio, though they disagree on how much the middle class should have, place the CEO and the Wall Street banker at the center of policy. For them, it is apparently just fine for Citigroup — rather than the public — to make all key decisions on how to allocate credit in society.
This is not the last election in which populists, with a fully fleshed-out program, begin to take on the people who have dominated Democratic politics for decades. Many people, including the institutional progressive establishment, wish Teachout and Wu would just go away. But elections like this can create power and influence even if the underdog loses, just by creating credible rhetoric and showing there is a hunger for a different kind of policy framework. And if, by some remarkable turn of events, Teachout and Wu manage to come close or even win, that would send shockwaves throughout the entire political establishment. The races and voter pool are obviously quite different, but Eric Cantor, the House Republican leader who lost to populist insurgent Dave Brat despite an apparent 35 point lead in the polls just weeks before the election, showed just how vulnerable an incumbent in this environment can actually be.
That said, the entire establishment is against Teachout and Wu. Though these two are credible figures, they have virtually no institutional support. Liberal figures within the Democratic Party have been getting crushed in primary elections for the last six years. Despite ample reasons for unions, activist groups and liberals to come out for liberalism, it has been the Andrew Cuomos of the world that have been getting liberal votes. Cuomo is even maneuvering to crush the Working Families Party itself, by putting forward a similar party that will draw liberal votes from the WFP and put them under the 50,000 vote threshold required for a New York political party to stay in existence. Cuomo is attempting to ignore Teachout and Wu into submission, and teach liberals to not even think of challenging him again. The odds are he’ll succeed, as Democratic leaders have been succeeding in suppressing liberals for decades. If he does so, the prospects of a Democratic party revolt will remain slim.
Still, populism is always a powerful force, even if it is latent and suppressed by fear. It is why a group of dedicated, principled activists can threaten entrenched interests. Arguments about antitrust, corporate power, unions, infrastructure, democracy and immigrant-run small business are in the DNA of the Democratic Party, even if they have been suppressed for more than two decades. And for that reason, this race is very much worth watching, and could be one of the most important elections of the decade. A Democratic Tea Party may be on our doorstep.
This still cracks me up. The Russian Police Choir covers Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”:
The Rev. William Barber gave a barnburner of a speech at Netroots Nation last week. If you’ve looked at the videos I’ve posted from North Carolina’s Moral Mondays, you’ve heard him. He’s the Martin Luther King of our time:
Robert Parry, who’s one of the better national security reporters out there, says there are reasons to take the media version of the Malaysia jet shootdown with a grain of salt:
So why hasn’t this question of U.S. spy-in-the-sky photos – and what they reveal – been pressed by the major U.S. news media? How can the Washington Post run front-page stories, such as the one on Sunday with the definitive title “U.S. official: Russia gave systems,” without demanding from these U.S. officials details about what the U.S. satellite images disclose?
Instead, the Post’s Michael Birnbaum and Karen DeYoung wrote from Kiev: “The United States has confirmed that Russia supplied sophisticated missile launchers to separatists in eastern Ukraine and that attempts were made to move them back across the Russian border after the Thursday shoot-down of a Malaysian jetliner, a U.S. official said Saturday.
“‘We do believe they were trying to move back into Russia at least three Buk [missile launch] systems,’ the official said. U.S. intelligence was ‘starting to get indications … a little more than a week ago’ that the Russian launchers had been moved into Ukraine, said the official” whose identity was withheld by the Post so the official would discuss intelligence matters.
But catch the curious vagueness of the official’s wording: “we do believe”; “starting to get indications.” Are we supposed to believe – and perhaps more relevant, do the Washington Post writers actually believe – that the U.S. government with the world’s premier intelligence services can’t track three lumbering trucks each carrying large mid-range missiles?
What I’ve been told by one source, who has provided accurate information on similar matters in the past, is that U.S. intelligence agencies do have detailed satellite images of the likely missile battery that launched the fateful missile, but the battery appears to have been under the control of Ukrainian government troops dressed in what look like Ukrainian uniforms.
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