the end of the world as we know it?

(@9:30 – promoted by buhdydharma )

yes, that is a deliberately provocative title.  And I am afraid I have little of subgstance with which to support that question.  But in this, only my second post on this site, let me offer just a little bit of my current thinking.

I am not presuming the imminence anything catastrophic, like the immediate annihilation of the human race.  Nor do I presume that there will be seismic changes politically,even though one might well argue that such is what is required if democracy as we have known it is going to survive.

Instead let me posit something a wee bit different, and perhaps even arrogant.

The two-party system, mediated by the ‘gatekeepers’ of the main stream media, is now obsolete, dying off.    

It is possible that we will see a president elected who still fits the old models – after all, Hillary Clinton could still win Iowa, and if she does she is the likely next president.  But even that “success” would be little more than a last gasp of politics as we have known it.

Unless and until those currently in political office and those seeking higher office understand that there is a hunger for a different way of politics and governance, they will do little more than preside over the demise of an ancient and no longer productive system.  And either we will radically reform our current system to something that is truly democratic, or we can watch while we become either a fascist dictatorship or we degenerate into anarchy.

How do I know this?

Perhaps it is the young people who are no longer content to merely stuff envelopes and make phone calls.

Perhaps it is the many who have found freedom and empowerment through various electronic means.

It may even be some who straddle the divide between the past and the future, politicians like Brad Miller who recognize the importance of the netroots, not necessarily to the exclusion of the grass roots, but as a means of organizing and motivating people who are too often otherwise ignored, except for their votes and their money.

“We the people” is a noble sentiment.  For too long we have allowed others to tell us how we should act and think politically.

No more.  

Someone has to speak out.  Perhaps we need to lead our leaders.

When the response I receive from a sitting member of Congress after I speak out very forcefully is that s/he wished s/he didn’t so often go along to get along, there are things that need to be changed.

There is a hunger abroad in the land.  It is a hunger for real leadership, for those willing to stand for something, for people willing to put themselves and their careers on the line for something beyond themselves.   Why strive for power and control if you are not going to attempt to use it?  

Those who may by happenstance encounter these words can provide the examples of what I mean.  Certainly the cowardice of Schumer and Feinstein with respect to the Muaksey nomination is but one example, and even since there are many more to which all of us can refer.

I offer no list of particulars that have offended me.  There are too many, and I fear that should I begin I would inevitably offend by what I omitted.

I know this – it is not YET too late, whether we speak of civil liberties, of global warming, of tyranny, of economic disparity, of inequity, of increasing hatred towards this government and by extension to the people who have empowered it, which ultimately means all Americans.  It is not YET too late, but there is little time left.

I used to view myself as a raging centrist.  No more.  Consider me an extremist, and perhaps I will become little more than a nag, someone who annoyingly keeps pointing out that the emperor is naked.  But I will remain silent about nothing.  With whatever voice I may have I will ask why not?  What I do will not matter much, but as Gandhi has said it is important that I do it anyway.

What about you?


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  1. I think Ron Paul will do better than folks would like to think if he goes indy…..which we should all be praying for daily!

    Principled people are all reduced to nags in these times, I think.

  2. that I think also belongs on this thread.   I wrote it in response to a wonderful column by Bob Herbert.

    Anyhow, try this:

    I remember once in a conversation with a Democratic Congressman whom I admire that he worried that I would have so many litmus tests that eventually he would fail one.   It is not that I have multiple litmus tests.  I have but one –  do you uphold the basic ideals of the Constitution and Bill of Rights?  Do you evaluate the positions you take in light of the long-term interests of preserving this nation as a democratic republic which seeks to maximize liberty, whose language says “person” and not “citizen” when it speaks of the guarantee of rights?  Are you willing to stand for the principle of liberty and freedom being maximized for all, whether or not they are citizens, but merely because they are humans?  Are you willing to oppose the diminution of rights for anyone, whether because of religion or lack therefor, sexual orientation, national origin, immigration status, gender, “race,” political affiliation, economic standing?   In other words, do you stand for the principle that ALL of the people should be included, that the first step of exclusion, towards the dividing into “us” versus “them” is the first step on the road to a hell, one that has the possibility of an Hobbesian outcome of the war of every man against every other man?


  3. of Edwards going Indy if he doesn’t get the nomination?

    I’m not suggesting it, just wondering.

    • pico on December 16, 2007 at 01:24

    how do you introduce an alternative into a two-party system that has become so entrenched not only in the government, but also in the media and in popular consciousness?  Reform from within is especially problematic, since institutions of any sort (and the parties are institutions) place preservation and power of the institution above any other concern.  

    It’s a puzzlement.

  4. than the current two party system.  There are many different reasons for the dysfunction of the current system, and I’m certainly no expert, but IMHO a lot of what seems to me that the driving motivation to be in office for many of the incumbents is personal gain.  I don’t just mean in the ego satisfaction sense, I mean in the material sense.  They certainly have a lot of connections and a lot of people with money are willing to provide payment–in return for favorable legislation.  Most of the players are too savvy, or maybe even too moral, to give/take direct bribes, but there are many other ways to give rewards:  Jobs for family/friends.  Promises of jobs after their Congressional terms.  etc.

    I used to be dead set against term limits for congress members, thinking that if the congress members’ constituents were satisfied with their representatives, they should be able to keep them in office.  Now, I’m beginning to wonder.  It just seems that power has corrupted too many of them.  

    Or maybe I’m still just too “shocked and awed” by all the Democratic cave-ins this week to see clearly just now.

  5. You’re right on again. I think we are going to have a growing people-powered movement in the United States and I’m not sure if it will have anything to do with ideology. With the internet and other new forms of communication the people have so much more power. Now someone who has no political experience can start a website, blog about it, add a petition, add a fund raising link make a YouTube video and if they have a semi-reasonable cause they could raise a few hundred bucks and get a few hundred people to sign on. Then you can make that into a community and the whole community gets involved and sooner or later you’ve got enough videos, blogs, names signed, money donate etc to make a differance.

    This doesn’t really touch on you’re topic ken so sorry if I’m straying off topic but for example the website A website which you can donate free rice to poor people by answering spelling questions.  I post a thread on a few blogs asking for people to use this website and post in the comments how many grains of rice they donated via FreeRice. It’s fairly late into Thanksgiving night already when I post this. By the end of the night over 25,000 grains have been donated by bloggers who did it if they were all honest. That’s enough to feed a person for a day.

    Just thinking about that astonishes me. I spent maybe half a hour or an hour writing, commenting and freericing. Overall only a few hours were spent and someone was feed. People on computers from across the world can feed someone they will never know because of some computer programmer that made a website. That kind of power has the potential to really change the world and as I am still fairly young I can only wonder what kind of world I will live in 10 or 20 years from now. It could be a world that has collapsed economically, were there is world war over everything, water, food, land and more. Were peoples homeland for thousands of years are disappearing, billions of people dead from disease. But then there is another potential world I might be living in were people capitalized on this new power and took back there governments and used all the new tools they have to make a just society. So much is in the air.

    I think I’m totally off topic now and should probably make this into a new essay but the future is just so fascinating and the power that we have is amazing.

  6.  there is no way I could vote for Paul – no way.  Trying to think even in ‘long term strategy ‘ terms , just could not do it .  

    here is why. The Environment – Separation of church & state – choice – minimum wage –  

    He is the antithesis of the principles that have guided me my whole life . I think I would vote for Romney, Rudy first.

    I understand the thinking, in the past,  I could go along with this – But NOT this man. NOT paul.  OY – what he wants to do to legal precedent just chills me more than the weather .  Just a few – and the link.


    — He has tried to repeal the Occupational Safety and Health Act:

    H.R.2310: A bill to repeal the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

    H.R.13264: A bill to repeal the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

    — He would like to make it much easier to decertify labor unions:

    H.R.694: To amend the National Labor Relations Act to permit elections to decertify representation by a labor organization.

    — He opposes the Minimum Wage:

    H.R.2962: A bill to repeal all authority of the Federal Government to regulate wages in private employment.

    — He would deny the prevailing wage to employees of federal contractors, and remove prohibition on kickbacks in Federal projects:

    H.R.736: To repeal the Davis-Bacon Act and the Copeland Act.

    H.R.2720: To repeal the Davis-Bacon Act and the Copeland Act.

    — He wants to severely weaken Social Security:

    the whole kaboodle at this link.

    not only has he signed on to these bills he has authored them and written and rewritten them – so, it’s him all right, these are his deepest beliefs. I would have to vote for the other repubs or just hang up voting.

    Angry, depressed, YES !! helpless, sic at heart, YES – there has to be another solution, for me at least .  

  7. teacherken from kos?  We have had our little exchanges before in days past.  You did not agree with my cynicism at the time if my memory serves me right.  My how you have grown.  Why do I recall you as solidly mainstream, and yes, the world as we know it is ending.

    • jim p on December 16, 2007 at 06:47

    The Parties are Over

    American political parties, as we have known them for two centuries, are disintegrating. They are being replaced by shifting coalitions that are forming and reforming constantly. This transition is leaving an awful lot of Americans adrift.

    Because most of our founders did not trust the idea of political parties, they came into existence only reluctantly. Parties seemed too much like the dreaded “factions” that had arisen in Europe, what today we would call interest groups, concerned more with their own good than the common good. America’s founders, steeped in the ancient Greek and Roman republican ideal, wanted their new fellow citizens to be concerned with the commonwealth. The more people fell into or formed narrow or special interest groups, the less they would be committed to the ideal of the new republic, that which was held in common by all and over which all were sovereign.

    The pre-filtered by media candidates we get are all committed to global hegemony by force, which means endless high expense, and endless enemies, and endless suppression of rights at home, and a permanent, hefty, income for so many in the military-industrial-Congressional alliance.

    So what’s your problem? The system works.

    • jim p on December 16, 2007 at 06:55

    Italian youth facing the mafia are making US progressives look like a pathetic joke.

    Fri Nov 9, 3:00 AM ET

    Rome – This past August, the fatal shooting of six Italian men exiting a restaurant in Duisburg, Germany, informed the world of what Italian authorities already knew: Italy’s ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate had come of age as an international force.

    …after the assassination of a politician in the ‘Ndrangheta’s home province in 2005, the government vowed to crack down on the syndicate. An antimafia youth group – Ammazzateci Tutti – also rose up, vowing to hold the government to its promise.

    …Today, the ‘Ndrangheta has formed close ties with Colombia’s Medellin drug cartel and become the biggest player in Europe’s cocaine market…  ‘Ndrangheta’s operation generates ยค36 billion ($52 billion) a year in revenues. …

    Youths’ challenge to Italy: rise up

    For magistrates battling the ‘Ndrangheta, a welcome ally has been Ammazzateci Tutti – formed two years ago by fed-up young people. “The ‘Ndrangheta is an octopus which tries to control everything and to kill all of the fish,” says Bruno Marino, a student whose father was killed by the group.

    Since its founding, Ammazzateci Tutti has held regular demonstrations designed to pressure the Italian state into taking action against the ‘Ndrangheta.

    Last February, a protest in Reggio di Calabria drew thousands into the streets. .

    ..”The ‘Ndrangheta … is infiltrating the political system,” says Aldo Pecora, a law student and spokesman for Ammazzateci Tutti, whose taunting title means, “Now Kill Us All.”

    “Ammazzateci Tutti is a message that expresses both hope and challenge to the ‘Ndrangheta, saying ‘See if you have enough lead to kill us all,’ ” explains Mr. Pecora. “It’s also a challenge to normal people to rebel against the the ‘Ndrangheta.”

    …”I am not wasting time. I am doing something for my children, if I ever have any. There is nothing to lose and only the future to gain.”

  8. I only need to review his positions as a whole, to find that though I agree with him about withdrawing the troops from Iraq, most of the rest of his positions are very non-progressive.  Here’s a link that I’ve found helpful for a quick comparison of the Candidates’ Positions on various issues.  Here are some of Paul’s:

    “Question: What is your position on immigration in the United States?

    Answer: Build a fence along the border. I am opposed to granting legal status to illegal immigrants.”

    “Question: Do you believe the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts should be made permanent?

    Answer: Yes”

    “Question: Should federal funding of embryonic stem cell research be expanded?

    Answer: No”

    “Question: Do you favor or oppose the concept of universal health care in America?

    Answer: Oppose”

    “Question: Do you favor or oppose legalized abortion in the United States?

    Answer: Oppose”

    “Question: Do you support federal assistance for the production of ethanol and/or biofuel as an alternative to oil?”

    “Answer: No”

    “Question: Do you favor the concept of privatization of Social Security to any degree?

    Answer: No”

    See His Explanation–he doesn’t want privatization of social security, because he apparently just wants to do away with social security:  

    “Explanation: According to the Cato Institute, “Paul contends that Congress must stop spending in order to best fix the problem of insolvency.  Paul  opposes personal accounts because he believes Social Security is unconstitutional. Instead, he believes that individuals should have total control over how to invest their money and is in favor of cutting payroll taxes to allow this to happen.”

    Those are enough negatives for me to just say “No” to Paul.

  9. than Carlos Fuentes doubts the veracity of elections in the past century in his native Mexico (… ).

    We are doubting them in the US.

    I have come to the opinion that the function of the elections is for the ruling globalists to discern the public’s thought life, nothing more.  That there are no longer honest elections.  For that matter, dealing on numbers of such an incredible scale is obviously more easily subject to tampering than, say, county elections.  Once the paper ballots are gone, forget it.

    So why have elections then?  Oh, say, to find out which sectors voted for the wrong party en masse, after which they can be assigned a phony drug war to keep them in line.

    Sorry I’m so sour, but in Fuentes I abide with great company.

    • ANKOSS on December 17, 2007 at 00:46

    When I left DKos, in my last post there I said that DKos was a failure because Markos could never accomplish progressive goals by “electing democrats.” I think the events of the last few months have put a QED on that.

    Markos must be a very sad man today. But I expect he will pull himself together and find a better purpose for DKos. The Democratic party, apart from some worthy fringe characters, is part of the problem. We need to concentrate on real solutions. Electing Democrats is not a solution.

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