daily politics

A Sam Gamgee Democrat

Of all of the main characters in the Lord of the Rings, Sam Gamgee was, as you know, Frodo’s faithful companion duirng the Quest. While he never thought of himself as a hero, his bravery often saved the day for the quest. When the wargs (ghost wolves) surrounded the camp near the Mountains of Moria, it was Sam who reminded the group that they weren’t eaten yet and people took heart. It was Sam who kept Frodo going during the last stage. The point is that while he sometimes underestimated himself, he always managed to save the day.

So it is with us. We may not lead the marches, but we work hard to make sure they take place. We pour the coffee, write the blogs, make sure people get the resources they need to do the fight. And we don’t give in easily to despair. We know that victory comes from doing the essential things that need to be done, by taking that first step.

Many people seem to be unable to take that first step. They feel they aren’t King, or Malcolm. When I bring up meetings, the sense is that they need permission to do something or that they don’t have time. Yes, it seems overwhelming, but go to-or even set up that meeting.

I used to do that a long time ago (another subject).; I would ride an hour and a half to get there every week. Of course, now I’m a little busier, but I do what I can from home. I brought a cake for Hillary organizers. I gave to a blog. I’ve signed petitions. It all helps.

daily politics

Don’t Mourn-Organize!

Recently, I have been reading all of the blogs and so many of them insist we are doomed, that Trump will win everything, that there’s nothing we can do about it, et cetera. That we are inexorably headed towards Chile, or Nazi Germany, or something similar.

Me, I’ve felt the opposite. I want to resist and rebuild. Maybe it’s because I’m a Harry Truman, Samwise Gamgee Democrat who insists “we aren’t eten yet”, and because despite the whole condemnation of Trump voters, there are some folks who were simply bamboozled into supporting someone who they saw on TV (and TV presents people in a light better than they really are).

But most importantly, instead of focusing on whether or not they get it-why not start with some unity? And Organization? If we are unified, then the stragglers and the folks who get it later have a place to go that’s already humming. Also unity can help stop a lot of stuff from happening in the first place.

In a sense, (without getting too personal) I’ve been there twice. To do things that were beyond my capacity by holding out the promise that something will come of the suffering. In the end, I left abruptly the relationships it involved, and the only thing I really carried away was a pet cat I adored, and experience. And a long-standing feeling I was used. One of the people died, the other still lives and I’m just now feeling a desire to reconcile.

When it happens, a unified front will be needed.

Dont mourn, Organize

daily politics

Fiffteen years ago today

Laid off, watching morning tv on my WebTv like I always did. It was a sunny Tuesday Morning in Cincinnati. It was a non-descript day, The tv was its usual bland self, until I heard them mention a plane crash. My fust thought was some wayward commuter jet and hoping that the other building’s occupants would be allowed to go home instead of breathing in toxic fumes all day. That lasted until I saw the other plane crash, and I knew it was no accident at all. It was strange-I was old enough to sort of remember Kennedy, but I had never watched people die in real time. Yes, there was Challenger, but I remember that I saw the video later, having taken space flight for granted. There was a time when broadcasters would edit that part out, deeming it too painful or graphic. But this was too sudden, too quick for carefully placed graphics.

I lived then in an apartment that was in the usual path of jets going to the airport. After the attacks, I heard only one plane-at the time I thought it was a fighter jet of some kind-instead it was the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

Sitting there, not really grasping the scale of it all. And grasping how absent Bush was at the time. Not a word, not a speech. Clinton would have said something as soon as he was safe. Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan. Not this guy. No words, no action.I had remembered the mourning after Kennedy, this time it seemed rushed-3000 people had died, but instead of remembering them, there was this orgy of super patriotism that seemed so-well-more like anger than loss.

What was your 9/11 story and memory?

daily politics

On Third Parties



The older I get, the less logic I see in going third party. Third parties rarely win, even locally, so their influence is at best, marginal. Better to take that energy and become a coalition within whichever major party is compatible with your views. -A Green Caucus within the Democratic Party could at least put members into administrative or regulatory institutions or the bench, reach out to various constituencies for support. A Green Party will do nothing but attract cranks and the marginal.

It’s no accident that the groups who most need legislation and tangible results don’t go third party. Third parties in the United States are at best feel-good institutio, at worst, cult-like in nature. People who could win real elections don’t bother, and if someone like that actually joins, they soon quit and join the majors. So it becomes a continuous loop of failure.

The result is also a narrowing of political discourse in several ways. As a faction inside one of the two parties, at least certain issues could get a more general hearing and a wider audience, Yes, not everything will ever get enacted-there is such a thing as “impossible” in democratic discourse, but at least they will be discussed before being dismissed. And some things could work at least on a local level

daily politics

The Senate Game for Republicans

Right now, the game for Republicans is to keep the House at all costs. The Senate can’t be gerrymandered like the House, and with demographic shifts, Texas, Florida, and soon (Arizona) will be pretty wobbly not only on the Presidential level, but soon on the Senatorial level as well.

From drive we said…. http://drivewesaid.com/thread.php?id=569&postNum=42606

That was written 2 years ago. And I probably thought it was at least until 2020 before we saw Arizona as competitive. But back then, even people who thought that Trump would run didn’t think he would go that far-or was that toxic. An educated guess would be that the Republican would at least keep the low number of Hispanics they already had, and that nobody would bait that bear. Hispanic hating would be done by lower level bigots who could be dismissed as non-representative crazies.

But nobody asked Donald Trump anything…

daily politics

love wins

daily politics

This site is ready for Hillary

Sometimes things get better with age. I think Hillary Clinton is one of them. This time around, unlike 2008, she seems more self-assured and calmer. Perhaps it’s because she’s finally out of Bill’s shadow, so to speak. Secretary of State does that to you, giving you a chance to play on the world’s big stage. Perhaps that’s why up until Truman, the Secretary of State was third in line for the Presidency.

Hillary has worked hard, studied behind the master (her husband), and is ready to run and ready to govern.

And who knew that her competition would be the insane Trump, a reality show host with nothing to offer but arrogance and ignorance who traffics in fear and hate? And Bernie Sanders, barely a Democrat (became one this year)equally angry and barely more substance? This might be the year when a woman’s approach might smooth the anger, might be the solution to rage-a mindless rage that only seeks victims and a reason to rage against change.

Of course, nothing comes easy-the higher the stakes, the harder the work. I’m sure Hillary knows this-and knows she needs the help from many. I decided to become one of the helpers.I’ve already signed up to volunteer for the campaign, am already registered to vote, and have the necessary id. In later posts, I plan to do whatever little I can to help you do the same.


Obama’s Long Game: Cuba

Evening along the Malecon


One of the things that most of us Obamabots have noticed in Obama is his ability to take the long and patient road-and succeed with
impeccable timing. So how does the new opening to Cuba fit into this?

No failed state 90 miles away when the Castro brothers pass
away. One of the problems with the overthrow scenario was that folks don’t give up just because a few exiles show up at Castro’s funeral. The infighting between various factions would and could devastate the island for years and years.And with Cuba so close to America, such an
conflict could easily spill over into America’s streets as Cubans, both
expatriate and on the island, align themselves with various factions and fight for their positions.
Opportunities for U.S businesses, small and large and for everyday Cubans as these businesses will hire locals for various positions and expatriate Americans as managers during the first wave at least. These businesses will also use local resources as well, empowering local entrepreneurs
A more peaceful and progressive Caribbean and South America:as most of the military buildup was due to the horrible proxy wars (Guatemala,
Nicaragua) fought ostensibly to keep Communism- or Cuban influence-or more
likely a more equitable society away. The end of that will allow for better >relations overall. Reformers will be safer-the oligarchs can no longer cry “Communism” in the face of the need for change in the corrupt systems they benefit from. 

A second chance to show that the change from dictatorship to democracy does not mean empowering reactionaries who want to turn the clock back both economically and socially.In partnership with Cuban reformers, we can help Cuba keep its universal benefits, start on the right foot with worker and environmental protections and personal freedoms. Will there be obstacles? There will be. Some hardliners will balk at some of the changes needed to get to a prosperous Cuba, and the loss of some control that will entail. There’s a lot of bitterness due to the funding of violent exiles and assassination attempts-the reason why there has been only limited loosening for personal freedoms. Showing them that free enterprise and national sovereignty are compatible will take good will on all sides. But not every person who wants loosening up wants to overthrow the Government. I suspect the majority want reform, not rebellion, and if the Government reciprocates with a little trust and caring, then change can be beneficial to all concerned.

The hardline exiles have to give up the fantasy that that the Marines will overthrow the Revolution

and they will follow in that wake-and restore the old order both racially and

socially as if 60 years hasn’t changed Cuba. There was a Revolution for a reason, and if they had no answers for the misery then, they certainly have none now, living in the past and out of touch with world opinion and even opinion on the island. Other overthrown oligarchical groups have had to do this: to do this, and it’s time to stop funding their fantasies like Radio/TV Marti, which in a world of flash drive internets is practically useless anyway.

But Obama’s long game will make things worth it. A free and prosperous Cuba is worth it, in peace alone and the further demilitarization of South America.


Pasted from <http://disqus.com/embed/comments/?base=default&disqus_version=a4d38e7c&f=thepeoplesview&t_u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thepeoplesview.net%2Fmain%2F2014%2F12%2F17%2Fmi-pap&t_d=The%20People%27s%20View&t_t=The%20People%27s%20View&s_o=default#2>


daily politics

A Slideshow of The American Political Cycle

The off-year state and federal elections were meant to make these elections non-partisan. But such an approach doesn’t take into effect two things: the supposedly “non-partisan” elections get their candidates from partisan organizations, and instead of firing up interest in local elections, also make them low interest and low turnout.

Now the pendulum is starting to move back to making state and local elections coincide with federal elections. The reform saves money by eliminating the sheer number of low-turnout elections that hardly anyone votes in and the associated costs. Not to mention that giving time off from all normal politics would allow people a chance to chill out completely before re-engaging.

My reform would mean that the only political activity in odd-numbered year would be: intra-party (conventions, caucuses, organizational meetings) causes (think of a whole year available where causes would not have to share news cycles with votes) and pure civic stuff (voter registration, canvassing, and the like) and the rare Special Election.


Cuba Revision

Cuba Revision
Sunday, December 21, 2014
11:36 PM
There’s a movement in the wake of opening up diplomatic relations with Cuba that to me combines nostalgia with arrogance. That is the “oh noes, Starbucks is coming!, poverty-stricken Cuba will lose its shabby charm and embrace that crass capitalism that America has!” Some of it is by Canadians and Europeans who fear being crowded out of Cuba by fanny pack America and Spring Break America. Others are by people who fear that the “last pure bastion of Socialism” will somehow be spoiled.
Never mind what Cubans deprived of those things may actually want. Why can’t they have a choice of local or fast-food cuisine, steak or Spam? And yes, this stuff isn’t healthy, but neither is a lot of local cuisines around the world which can be fat-laden or worse.
Sometimes the fear is extended to the Cuban environment-a fear that Hiltons and such would erode the cultural heritage of certain spots. Yes, there’s a certain time in being a time capsule, but unless major investment is made, some of the spots may wind up crumbling away due to lack of cash. If Cuba becomes an American tourist destination again, many of these places may become trendy enough for serious rehabbing-even if it means having a Walgreen’s or Starbucks on the main floor. Many world treasures have been spared because people come to see them, and the old Cuban buildings would be no different. And if they are profitable to boot, there’s more of a local incentive to keep them rather than bulldoze them for things that seem better at the time.
Sometimes the fear goes to the right-that everything will go to the Cuban government and nothing to the people. That opening up Cuba will “reward” the Castros and their government. Trade is supposed to be mutually beneficial, and to expect the Castro family not to have a share of it is as ridiculous as demanding the same of the Chinese Communist Party when it was China’s turn to open up to the capitalist devils.
Rather we should be insisting on paying workers enough so that even after the government takes its cut, there’s plenty left over for the average Cuban worker. Perhaps we should be making sure (in a civil society way) that labor contracts and agreements with Cubans, and by extension the Cuban Government, have things such as a minimum wage, worker safety and freedom to organize and worker training. Perhaps we should partner with Cubans for environmental standards and incentives to preserve the cultural heritage while allowing Cubans to actually profit from doing so.
One thing we seem to forget in the lessons of the Arab Spring/Russia where democracy has at least temporarily failed: democracy is fine, but it doesn’t last unless it helps raise both living standards for everyone as well as open up avenues for political participation. When Russia stopped being communist, the safety net for millions was shredded and many dropped through the cracks. Here comes Putin with promises to better living conditions. Hence, Putin instead of the next batch of Gorbachevs.
On the other hand, Chinese can now travel overseas and take lessons in the United States, and buy homes here too. Chinese are learning lessons in business, in art, and making contacts with a much freer and much more sophisticated world. While the Party is still repressive, at least Chinese can develop lives that are not dependent on party largesse for everything, and learn the skills that create a critical mass of people who can eventually govern themselves without it.


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