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August 2nd, 2008


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12:14 am - At last, a real article about politics
This article in Rolling Stone, titled It's a Class War, Stupid is the best piece of political analysis I've seen in quite some time. It's fairly bitter, but in no way untrue. At this point, I desparately want an overwhelming Democratic victory in November, in large part because that will allow actual progressives to push to elected Democrats to the left, because it removes the persistent excuse/justification that extreme centrism is needed to defeat the Republicans. A McCain victory looks fairly unlikely given how wretched a campaign he's running, and the obvious fact that unlike Al Gore or John Kerry, Barack Obama actually has a non-zero quantity of both charisma and speaking ability, but given the already wretched state of the US, the thought of John McCain as president is truly horrifying.

(17 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:bbeth89
Date:August 2nd, 2008 08:33 am (UTC)
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Hopefully the Democrats who drove their hybrids out to the polls for the primaries don't decide to "conserve" their vote and stay home. If Democrats feel too confident about Obama-they might not feel the need to get out and vote.
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From:alobar
Date:August 2nd, 2008 10:04 am (UTC)
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The only thing which will push the Democrats to the left is having third parties far to the left of the Democrats do really well. That is the reason FDR moved left.
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From:alobar
Date:August 2nd, 2008 10:52 am (UTC)
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Yes, it certainly is a class war. But both the Republican party and the Democratic party are controlled by the ruling class. No meaningful change will happen until one or more working class parties gain power as great as the ruling class now wields. Corporations control both Republicans and Democrats -- both as political parties, and individual politicians.
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From:slothman
Date:August 2nd, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
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That’s why I reserve my real enthusiasm for the effort to fix the system, such as with ranked choice voting and clean elections. Short of revolution, I don’t see another way to fix the problems of our current two-party cartel.
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From:heron61
Date:August 2nd, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC)
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I'd also love ranked choice voting, but given that it would take changing the Constitution to accomplish, I don't see it happening. Publicly financed elections with no private contributions would require a different supreme court (and a different and far more sane definition of "free speech", but is at least possible.
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From:slothman
Date:August 3rd, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
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There are ways to do end runs around the Constitution— consider the National Popular Vote movement. Public financing is already in use for state offices in Maine and Arizona; plenty of US cities have used the Single Transferable Vote technique in the past, though corruption has phased it out in most places, and IRV is in use in cities as large as San Francisco. We’re a long way from having that fix corruption at the federal level, though.
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From:alobar
Date:August 2nd, 2008 10:32 pm (UTC)
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I see two things which are also needed. The supreme court decision making corporations into "legal persons" and allowing them Bill of Rights protections must be reversed. And professional lobbyists need to curtailed or eliminated. Absolutely no gifts/bribes to legislators, among other things.

I have been a fan of ranked choice voting ever since I first heard of it back in the early 1970s.
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From:slothman
Date:August 3rd, 2008 12:41 am (UTC)
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Is anyone trying to push a bill on Congress that would make it clear that corporations are not persons?


Another worthwhile cause is the Change Congress movement.

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From:alobar
Date:August 3rd, 2008 09:31 am (UTC)
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> Is anyone trying to push a bill on Congress
> that would make it clear that corporations
> are not persons?

Not that I am aware of. Congress is owned by corporations. It will take third party politicians on Congress who are not owned by corporations.
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From:mindstalk
Date:August 3rd, 2008 05:53 am (UTC)
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IRV is only one form of ranked choice voting, and it's the worst. Range voting would IMO be better than be any of them, and wouldn't require changing our voting machines or centralizing how we count the vote. AIUI, the Green Party USA wants IRV for some reason; the Green Party Australia wants to move from IRV to PR, because *they can't get elected* under IRV. IRV only works in that you can freely vote for a third party that won't get elected anyway; if the party is actually competitive the election goes unstable in ways making voters better off betraying their favorite, and AFAIK no place with IRV actually has more than two important parties. So the fix doesn't fix.

Concrete examples
1: polls show Green 10%, Dem 45%, Rep 45%. Greens can safely vote G > D > R; G will get eliminated, and Dem will win 55 to 45.

2: Green 31%, Dem 29%, Rep 40%. Democrats get eliminated. But problably some of their voters are conservative enough to prefer the Republicans to the Greens. If 11% of the population votes D > R > G, then Republicans win, 51 to 49%. A shift left in the population causes the rightmost candidate to win, and the Greens would have been better off voting Democrat.

Approval and range voting don't have that problem; you can always vote for your favorite.

Among ranked preference systems Condorcet is probably most stable, but that's actually a whole family of systems based on how to break cycles, and anyway it shares the problem of all ranked votes that it forces you to rank the candidates evenly, even if you're in different to some and really loathe others.

Range voting lets you *rate* all the candidates, like surveys or the Olympics. "Rate or evaluate the candidates from 0 to 10, 10 being your favorite candidate among those running, 0 being your least favorite." Maximum expressive power to the votes, and easy to describe and count.
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From:anomali
Date:August 2nd, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC)
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Have you read Matt Taibbi's book, The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics & Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire? If not, it is definately worth a look.
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From:orangebeaver
Date:August 2nd, 2008 03:00 pm (UTC)
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If McCain wins, the Democrats should disband and become a wandering French-Canadian circus.
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From:silvaerina_tael
Date:August 2nd, 2008 08:05 pm (UTC)
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Only if they can speak Quebecois without an accent...
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From:kitten_goddess
Date:August 2nd, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
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I read the article. Nothing I didn't already know (except the bit about the defense contractors throwing away new aircraft parts). Instead of getting mad, thugh, I felt humbly grateful that we "had so much!" and was ecstatic with joy because we are not in dire straits, even in the middle of a recession. Articles like these tend to make me grateful to God that I am still employed, have a roof over my head, very healthy, and have plenty of food to eat. I don't feel bitter, because we and everyone we know are all OK. I am just very very grateful.
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From:rjgrady
Date:August 3rd, 2008 01:36 am (UTC)
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It makes me cry to think of how little it would cost to reinvest in our domestic economy and basic services.
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From:heron61
Date:August 3rd, 2008 07:05 am (UTC)
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Most definitely!
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From:rhiannasilel
Date:August 3rd, 2008 03:41 am (UTC)
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Excellent article. I wish that more people would get past their cold war upbringings where seeing things in terms of class is Marxist and Marxism=Communism=Bad mentality and actually stand up and do something instead of just handing it all away to people that have way more than they need to begin with. If you want to give away what little you have there are far more deserving people than the defense contractors and Waltons of the world.

I truly hope that McCain is not elected because as I said to a co-worker the other day, "I'm not ready to expatriate yet." My family is one of those rare pre-Revolutionary War families and I hate to think of just giving up that heritage, but at the same time I'm a mother and the well being of my child has to come before all of that. If I think that he will have a better life elsewhere then elsewhere it will be.

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