Third Party & Independents Archives

Common Ground Found Between Tea Party and 'Occupiers'

A Washington Post article today suggest that the Tea Partiers and the ‘Occupiers’ are finding lots of common ground for grievance. The movement has grown through support from like-minded people in this country and around the world. What is striking to me is that so many people recognize the source of their economic plight. Sifting through the various comments by the ‘Occupiers’ a common thread stands out; the business/gov’t relationship developed over the last 40 years or so has worked to serve business and gov’t at the expense of the family or working persons.

The 'Occupiers' and supporters want to blame corporations and/or gov't in regard to their grievances. At first brush this seems logical. Did not large financials play loose with the mortgage industry, and did the gov't not 'bail out' the banks, insurance companies, and others? But, scratching the surface a bit leads me to conclude that 'we the people' are the bearers of most of the blame.

The combination of a lack of political awareness and failure for voters to take action But, you say, the protesters are out there, how is that a lack of political awareness. I would say where were the protesters back in 08 in the heat of recession. The Corpocracy usually just takes small bites at the apple (Constitution) and the people generally give them a pass. For example, if we had recovered forthrightly from recession would the protesters be in the streets? Where are the protests of late regarding this latest bite at the apple by Reid and the Senate? Went right past me, too.

Ron Johnson wrote an article for the Post relating that the Founder's, recognized how the unchecked power of a majority would be a constant threat to individual liberty. They acknowledged that gov't was something to fear and should be limited and that a gov't elected by majority vote could easily trample individual rights and freedom. This month Reid and his Democrat colleagues vote to change the Senate rules with a simple majority vote of 51 to 48. Historically, if the minority objects, Senate rules dictated that a supermajority vote of two-thirds was first need to cut off debate, before a simple majority vote could change Senate rules. In 1917 the Senate voted to end debate with the 'cloture vote' where debate could be ended with two-thirds (67)of the Senate voting to agree to end debate. In 1975 the Senate changed the rule to three-fifths (60 voting to end debate. Thirty-four years later, in 2009, the Democrats achieved super majority representation in the Senate. During this congress the Senate was able, through parliamentary maneuvering, to change the rule on 'cloture vote' using solely the vote of a simple majority. Thus, Obamacare passed the Senate without a single Republican vote. The $787 stimulus bill, the Dood-Frank and a three-year cumulative $4T budget deficit were made possible by the lowered cloture vote rule. Mismanagement so bad that for two years we have been operating a $3.6T a-year-gov't on a continuing resolution. The Senate was designed to make sure the gov't never became this large and intrusive. Press on Corpocracy, press on.

To the voting public such stuff is in the noise. Did the protesters come out when Glass-Steagal was gutted or, when Phil Gramm did a number on Commodities Futures? I can't recall being aware until it hit the fan. Few voters will ever achieve such political awareness much less take to the streets in protest.

So, we are now all aware that business is in bed with gov't and that protests are in full sway but, where will that go? We have a history of re-electing incumbents to office, currently some 85% of the time. Even if we had a few years of voting incumbents from office in large number I've no doubt that the situation would return to normal at some point. People have jobs, families, other things to occupy their time. Here we are in the 21st century with a list of presidential candidates having little affinity with the populace. There are no Harry Truman's, Eisenhowers, to lead us through the forest. I will probably vote for Ron Paul as he stands for downsizing gov't in a big way. And yes, I do realize there is a snowballs chance in hell of him being able to accomplish anything more than fringe.

Then, how do we address the problems threatening this nation, rule by Corpocracy, intrusive and implementing policies that are detrimental to the average person? We aren't likely to 'vote em out' year over year. Any results achieved through protesting will quickly be nullified soon as the streets quite down. The Tea Party will be 'dialing for dollars' right along with their Republican colleagues. A 'bully-pullpit' President doesn't have the clout required even if his heart is in the right place.

IMO, we are going to have to fight fire with fire. A third political party is required to fill Congressional seats with people having a different political attitude. (readers may want to turn to watching TV or doing the dishes at this point) But, not just ANY 3rd party, a party designed for 21st century politics, established in rules to prevent co-option of the party by special interest, with a prime agenda of removing the money influence from gov't. .A party that supports membership oversight of their elected/appointed officials, supported through good communications between members and candidates/incumbents. For example, incumbents would inform party members on such events as Reid's rule change and the political ramifications of such change would be debated. Failure to do so might invite oversight attention. Removing the money influence requires that 'Corporate Personhood' law be abolished. That accomplishment would be followed with REAL campaign finance reform where all donations are collected, bundled and disbursed through a private/public system.

Clean gov't and elections are required but will focus and some years of effort by some millions of interested voters.

Otherwise, we continue to deserve the Corpocracy we have.

Posted by Roy Ellis at October 23, 2011 5:14 PM
Comments
Comment #330935

Roy

The founding fathers, as you mention, understood that government, even by a majority, could become over intrusive and tyrannous.

Your third party solution is STILL a government solution. We have to think outside this government box.

A strong and efficient government is essential to any good and prosperous society. But as it get bigger and more intrusive, it not only starts to become troublesome but it also loses sight of its core responsibilities.

It was a much smaller government that built our sewer systems, our Interstate System, our basic infrastructure and big projects like Hoover Dam.

Government need not be big to do big things. In fact, big governments often end up doing petty things.

We have to get government to an appropriate size and with appropriate responsibilities.

Government spending is greater than it has ever been. Is anybody really happy with how that is working out?

Posted by: C&J at October 23, 2011 5:50 PM
Comment #330937

Expound on your post, C&j. I see a 3rd party w/a diff …. as a people’s party, a way of holding the reins on gov’t excesses and correcting past mistakes errrrr policies with intended consequences. I pondered the idea of ‘thinking outside the gov’t box’ and came up with naught. Beyond the 4 branches of gov’t; Executive, Congress, Justice and Corporations, the people is the only thing outside the box as I can tell.

I like the idea of using a control burn to fight a runaway fire. I can’t believe anybody would support a plain vanilla 3rd party. I can’t believe that, in the 21st century, people will vote for a candidate expecting that person to pursue their campaign promises but, they sure do, over and over and over. To flip, in the party I propose, one would first have to communciate with the membership, have them on board that the flip is a good idea, otherwise, risk the wrath of oversight.

I’m all ears re thinking outside the box.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at October 23, 2011 6:47 PM
Comment #330938

All money from PACs, corporations, unions, George Soros, the Koch brothers, everybody, should be taken out of politics and the election system. Political contributions need to be limited to $500 per person, or whatever is determined to be a number sufficient to support politician’s campaigning.

The insanity that is “Corporate Personhood” needs to be abolished, whether by act of Congress, or an amendment to the Constitution. Money =free speech? Why, that means those with more money get more speech, which perverts the idea of one person=one vote. Jack has said that some form of “Corporate Personhood” is “necessary”. This is a foolhardy notion; we need to dial back the scope of the corporate charter, or, where there is demonstrable malfeasance on the part of an individual corporation, revoke it’s charter. This way we can put the horse before the cart, and not the other way around.

Here is the dynamic the American political system is stuck in: Money=influence=power=more money=more influence=more power=yet more money…………… you can see that this is a cycle which could go on endlessly, as there is never enough money to satisfy the already-wealthy corporations.

There has been a shift in the power dynamic between the corporations and government. Government has always helped powerful corporations and their business interests. But with the advent of Globalization, the corporations can now say to the government “we will take even more jobs and capital out of the country if you try to “penalize our success” by asking us to pay taxes according to a progressive tax structure”. Never mind that this is the very tax structure that brought America to being the richest nation in the history of the world. The corporations are now in the position of being able to hold us hostage.

We hear complaints that taxes need to be lowered, the rates are too high!! And, if taxes were being paid at the nominal rates, it would be true. But none of these complainers are paying at anywhere near the nominal rate. It is a straw man around which they have convinced those whose interests are diametrically opposed to doing so into rallying around.

The income inequality is now at the highest it’s been since 1928? 1929? And we all know what happened then. I don’t necessarily advocate the government dictating what corporations pay their C.E.O.s, but certainly a little leveling of the playing field seems in order.

The quality of a given society is directly proportional to it’s equality. I don’t mean artificial “wealth redistribution”. That has already happened since about 1978 when the tax code started changing, and has resulted in a truly magnificent “redistribution of wealth”. Magnificent if you were a beneficiary, that is. None of the recipients, strangely enough, said anything about THAT “redistribution”. But they are sure howling now that we are demanding a reversal!!!!

Low tax rates on capital gains have not resulted in the great “job creators” “investing” in new enterprise. Slashing tax rates for the wealthy and big corporations have not resulted in general prosperity. Deregulating the “safety valves” we had, such as Glass-Steagall, have not made the economy better. Rather, they have all conspired to bring this country to it’s knees in an astonishing display of short-sighted greed which has crippled, and continues to cripple, this country.

I am the first to admit that Obama has proven himself a wholly-owned subsidiary of Big Money. He is however, less pro-corpocracy than are his Conservative opponents.

A third party you say? Not a bad idea, except that you will be playing against a deck stacked against you. I suggest getting behind serious campaign finance reform before even attempting this. Nobody is getting elected nationally without the backing of Big Money…..better to pressure the existing lawmakers, whether by demanding/petitioning for legislation, or a populist movement having as it’s aim a Constitutional Convention. If neither of these happens, all this consciousness raising and truth-telling goes nowhere.

Posted by: steve miller at October 23, 2011 6:56 PM
Comment #330941

Steve

The problem is concentrated power, whether it is in business or government. The power tends to converge. The only solution is to limit the ability to concentrate. Shrink the power of government and that of firms at the same time.


Roy

I like a free society w/o concentrations of power. We need to expect less from our political system in terms of what it can give us and more from it in terms of responsibility.

I don’t think we can make it happen in a revolutionary sort of way. Revolutions rarely work. We need to manage it piece by piece. We also need to recognize that power accretes. We will never finish the job of keeping tyranny at bay.

I have little confidence in third parties actually winning. Steve is right that the deck is stacked, but it is structural. Our system is first past the post, winner take all. That gives power to any group that can stick together. In a kind of game theory dynamic, the winners draw closer and closer to appealing to almost 50% until you get a two-party dominant system.

No party represents my view. I tend to go Republican because they come closer. But I am content if the two parties fight to a draw and do NOT “solve” our problems with more government intervention. IMO, nothing is better than the more Obama stimulus, for example.

Let me also assert the unpopular idea that things are not as bad as we all say. The problem, IMO, is that we have to go through a painful adjustment. No politician can officially accept this but none can do anything to stop it. Home prices have to fall and/or inflation has to meet them. Nothing anybody can do will “compensate” us. I lost money and you did too. We will not be getting it back through the political system, or at all as a matter of fact.

Posted by: C&J at October 23, 2011 7:35 PM
Comment #330944

“No politician can officially accept this but none can do anything to stop it. Home prices have to fall and/or inflation has to meet them. Nothing anybody can do will “compensate” us. I lost money and you did too. We will not be getting it back through the political system, or at all as a matter of fact.”

C&J,

Well, blow me down! A realistic conservative assessment of the economic problem.

Posted by: Rich at October 23, 2011 8:35 PM
Comment #330945

C&j, “thinking outside the government box”? “We need to manage (shrink gov’t) piece by piece.” “Sticking with the status quo” doesn’t get us to the outside of box, IMO.

“Things aren’t as bad as we all say”. This ‘occupier’ thing is nothing more than prelude. By 2020 we will be down close to $20T if we stick with the status quo.

“The only solution is to limit the power to concentrate.” Could best be done through a 3rd party, IMO. There has to be some kind of concerted power to change politics. I can think of a large gun or a 3rd party, nothing I can see beyond that.

There may be some roadblocks for 3rd party efforts but nothing that persistence and hard work can’t overcome. If a party can’t get candidates on the ticket then push write in’s until those folks that get wrote in are in sufficient number to grease the skids from the inside.

Steve, just on this one point - “Political contributions need to be limited to $500 per person, or whatever is determined to be a number sufficient to support politician’s campaigning”. But, how would we pull that off? What is the mechanism, the force, etc to do that? Congress has established at least a hundred ways to keep the conduits open for dollars. Most congresspersons make no bones about it that they spend 2/3rds of their time dialing for dollars. The courts have secured the congress in their efforts. As you noted - money is free speech law and this latest citizens united vs FEC thing. Where in the world would we find a power source that could roll all that over? The only entity I can conjure up is a 3rd party w/rules. We must be able to put like-minded people in the seats of power. Only the people in those seats control the levers of gov’t. Through a 3rd party with rules we can ride herd on those seats using membership oversight authority. Rules, oversight and the communications to keep us informed and diligent. A 3rd party for 21st century politics.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at October 23, 2011 8:43 PM
Comment #330946

“Government spending is greater than it has ever been. Is anybody really happy with how that is working out?”

C&J,

The problem is not government spending, it is the failure of the private sector economy. Despite two wars, an unfunded Medicare Big Pharma giveaway and the huge tax cuts of 2001-2003, government deficit spending in 2007 was not outrages as a percentage of GDP. It was the collapse of the economy in 2008 that put the federal deficit, as a percentage of GDP, into dangerous territory.

Neither party seems willing to address the structural problems in the economy. Your comment that “No politician can officially accept this but none can do anything to stop it [painful adjustment]” seems entirely appropriate. I would differ only in your implicit assumption that it will eventually work itself out given time. In my opinion, it would be wiser to take a closer look at the factors that are causing chronic “jobless recoveries”, trade deficits, stagnant middle class salaries/wages, accelerating wealth gap, etc.


Posted by: Rich at October 23, 2011 10:03 PM
Comment #330962

Rich

2006 and 2007 were good years, although at the time our lefty friends said that they were unacceptably terrible. Of course the recession but taxes and cost jobs. But Federal spending in real terms (not just % of GDP) shot up to unsustainable levels.

We have two stark choices. We can increase taxes and government to European levels (which is not working out really well in Europe) or return to the American system of lower government and higher growth.

No matter which system we choose, we will NOT avoid shocks and recessions. Europe followed a different path and they are in worse shape than we are (and please do not point to particular countries unless you want also to point to particular states, such as North Dakota with a less than 4% unemployment). We have to look a the large system compared to the large system.

We also like to point to China or India. These are shit-holes that are improving. We don’t want to be like them. They want to be like us and are trying to catch up.

We had a serious financial shock with multiple causes, including government and private mistakes and some just bad luck. It indicates that we need to adjust, not that we need revolutionary change. IMO, the radical changes in the first two Obama years are now what is slowing our recovery.

Posted by: C&J at October 24, 2011 5:47 AM
Comment #330967

“IMO, the radical changes in the first two Obama years are now what is slowing our recovery.”

C&J,

Radical changes! What radical changes? In terms of the economy, it was just more of the same. Obama’s economic team was straight from Wall Street and neo-liberal in philosophy. His Secretary of Treasury appointment was a principal architect of the Bush bailouts coordinated by the Fed. The Chairman of the Fed, appointed by Bush, was reappointed by Obama. The TARP and auto bailouts begun under Bush continued under Obama. The stimulus package while larger than the Feb. 2008 stimulus under Bush, continued the same economic philosophy to management of the problem. The tax cuts of the Bush administration were extended under the Obama administration as a means of stimulating the economy.

So, where was the radical change? Was it the size of the stimulus package? As a number of commentators have pointed out, the stimulus package of 2009 had in reality only a minor impact on the size of final 2008-2009 fiscal deficit. The vast majority of it was built in by the Bush budget plan and the depression of revenues due to the deep recession.

Obama’s economic programs were main stream and hardly radical. He did not nationalize the banks. His administration resisted efforts to break up the big banks and resisted efforts for radical reforms in financial regulation. The auto bailouts were conducted through a structured bankruptcy procedure and also avoided nationalization of the industry.

Posted by: Rich at October 24, 2011 10:01 AM
Comment #330969
The auto bailouts were conducted through a structured bankruptcy procedure and also avoided nationalization of the industry.

You had me laughing myself silly with this line…

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 24, 2011 10:05 AM
Comment #330970

Rhinehold,

I may have had you laughing yourself silly, but the issue that I was addressing was whether Obama’s economic policies were radical in nature. My point was simply that Obama essentially continued the policies of what most consider a conservative or moderately conservative Bush administration. The auto bailout is but one example. They began with the Bush administration and culminated in the Obama administration with the structured bankruptcy filing for GM and Chrysler with federal support. Government bailouts didn’t begin with the Bush or the Obama administration. Both conservative and liberal administrations have initiated and supported bailouts for some time. http://www.propublica.org/special/government-bailouts

Posted by: Rich at October 24, 2011 10:51 AM
Comment #330984

Steve Miller | “as there is never enough money to satisfy the already-wealthy corporations.”

You’re right. But you miss the opposing point that is so amazingly valid:

There is never enough money to satisfy the able-bodied welfare pukes of society who walk around with their hand out.

The problem isn’t corporations, it’s responsibility. It’s easy to villify corporations because they have gobs of cash and ALSO have their f$@&ing hands out, but the problem spans all political, racial and socio-economic boundaries.

There is no personal responsibility. I submit that the only way to fix ANY problems in any meaningful way is from the bottom up. From the people. When you try to squash ideological movements, or change them, from the top down (government) the only ones you can change are ones where you are literally BUYING that change with welfare-life handouts, as politicans from both sides have been doing for decades.

That is why I think you should have to be a citizen AND pay taxes in order to vote.

Bailouts to the top (GM, Chrysler, Fannie-Mae - etc.) are just as appalling to me as extended unemployment benefits for someone who has to go bomb an interview once a week so he can just sit at home and smoke his weed. They are the same atrocity, just vastly different in scope.

Keep your hands to yourself, I say.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at October 24, 2011 4:49 PM
Comment #330985


Roy, the founders of the tea party have little in common with many of the members of the tea party and nothing in common with the occupiers.

The occupiers are more of a bottom up group whose goals are derived democratically.

The tea party is a top down organization, with the top singing the tunes that have the members dancing.

The tea party is almost exclusively a creation of the far right wing of the Republican Party.

The occupiers have resisted Democratic Party overtures, knowing full well that the party has been complicit. It is important that they don’t fall victim to the Democratic rhetorical propaganda, again. If they wish to use the Democratic party as a tool, they must do so by using the upcoming primaries to convince the Democratic constituents of the necessity to defeat and replace most of the current Democratic politicians. The party can’t be trusted until it is swept clean.

The tea party was able to influence the primaries and elect some representatives. Their anti business regulations, anti social programs, anti collective bargaining, anti government philosophy is turning people against the movement as fast as they adopted it. As a result, the tea party movement has basically become a born again Christian phenomenon, like the silent majority. To paraphrase, ‘a good and moral person is not good enough for a president, the president must be a born again Christian.’

When politicians are dependent on corporate wealth, they will govern in a manner that is conducive to the corporations with little regard for the general population. What the corporations want becomes what is best for all.

Roy, had the economy recovered rapidly, the movement may have still happened, but the Republican characterization of the movement would have more traction, and their anti Obama rhetoric would have much less traction. The Republicans resistance to government attempts to improve the economy works for them in the short term.

Neither of the two parties can stand on their own two feet. Either one of them would be thrown out on their rears. They can only stand up by leaning on one another, promote the same policies by leaning on one another.

Posted by: jlw at October 24, 2011 4:55 PM
Comment #330989

Rich

The Obama stimulus was a radical Keynesian stimulus. The Obama folks bet on a recovery based on this. They lost the bet.

Posted by: C&J at October 24, 2011 5:23 PM
Comment #330991

“The Obama stimulus was a radical Keynesian stimulus.”

C&J,

What were the Bush tax cuts? Why were they instituted? How much did they cost to stimulate the economy during a mild recession? How much have they cost in lost revenue since their enactment? http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/08/cherry-picking_season.html

Posted by: Rich at October 24, 2011 7:03 PM
Comment #330996

Pretty much agree, jlw. Time to ping from pong and by 2014 folks will be begging for ‘a change’ back to the Dem’s. Mind boggling, but that’s just the way it is.

Ron Paul sez he can cut a $T in his first year. Wants to axe college tuition loans as they are ‘unconsitutional’ and he didn’t have them when he went to college. Plans to axe something like seven federal agencies, audit the Fed, etc. The man had my heart and now has me by my shorthairs. He has been talking up abolishing corporate personhood and limiting the size of the federal gov’t for must be 40 years. The time is right, the time has come to give him a shot. And, right up front in saying that, if elected, he won’t be able to accomplish doodly squat. I realize that. But, it would be enuff for me just to hear someone, a real person, not a corporation person, mouth the words of a populist reformer.

Globalisation, outsourcing, has hit home in S. Korea. They are complaining of too many young people graduating college. Their 15 year olds rank 1st in reading and math and 3rd, behind Finland and Japan, in science. US teens rank 14th, 25th and 17th in those cats. 60% of young people have a college degree as opposed to 40% in the US. But, alas, they aren’t able to find jobs for all them.
They are making plans for some young people to train for blue collar positions, imagine that. 52% of domestic US companies say they have openings they can’t fill because of unqualified candidates. Some positions are welders, nurses and blue collar types. For example, care and feeding of electric generators/motors require technicians, not engineers. Engineers design and build things. Technicians operate/maintain things. I can’t help using the old clique ‘an engineer is just a technican with his brains knocked out’. Always like that one. Blue collar jobs can pay upwards of $80-100k. Are these jobs US workers won’t do? I don’t believe that.

Word is that corporations don’t like to hire from within, always looking for new blood that can dazzle the ‘home team’. And, corporations don’t conduct internal training anymore. No frills, just the profit please. I recall Bush wanting to import 40k nurses from the PI while some 47K nurses file application for nurse training and are rejected yearly.


Clear as a bell to me. The Corpocracy has used and is using cheap labor from all sources in breaking down the middle class worker so that we can, at some point, begin to compete in the global economy.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at October 24, 2011 9:54 PM
Comment #331018


Roy, you are right, we don’t need a corporate oligarchy to turn the American workers into third world workers, we can let Ron Paul do it.

Posted by: jlw at October 25, 2011 12:34 PM
Comment #331032

jlw, I think I fell off the fence re Ron Paul and his position on Corporate Personhood. I was sure he had made statements advocating the abolishment of corporate personhood law. But, I googled all around and can’t find anything specific on that.

Soooo! Guess I can’t vote for him. Back to square one. Not that I expect any one person to drive a successful bid to abolish cp. But, it would be real nice if a main stream pol would voice the words ‘abolish cp’. I do appreciate that he would like to abolish/modify several gov’t agencies. But, he won’t get my vote just on that. I’m holding out for someone who will throw their support behind abolishing cp.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at October 25, 2011 6:08 PM
Comment #331037
Roy Ellis wrote:

I’m holding out for someone who will throw their support behind abolishing cp.


In a field of Republican candidates?

You’re more likely to find humanitarian awards in Josef Mengele’s closet.

Posted by: Gary St. Lawrence at October 25, 2011 7:49 PM
Comment #331044

Gary, yes, even just wanting someone who will stand up and voice the words seems highly irrational on my part. Praise for Move to Amend and Reclaim Democracy.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at October 25, 2011 9:05 PM
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