Progressive populism

Populism

The debate over the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the US Supreme Court has increased the opportunity for the rise of a more progressive populism promoting justice, peace and real self-determination/democracy. It’s a very positive development for those who’ve been in an uphill struggle for years, if not decades, to shed light on the growing political influence of the super wealthy and corporations. It marks yet another turning point in the growing awareness that our government has been increasingly hijacked by corporate interests and the super rich. It also has expanded growing public awareness that the problem extends beyond a certain politician, political party, law or regulation. The fundamental problem is the governing rules thanks to activist Supreme Court decisions anointing corporations greater never-intended constitutional rights and equating money as free speech.

Liberation from past oppressions of women and people of color have occurred when social movements have formed to force constitutional changes. Overcoming the political oppression that literally the 99% face today will only happen if we follow the same recipe — the formation of a broad based, multiracial, intergeneration and transpartisan movement to force constitutional change via an amendment abolishing corporate personhood and money as speech.

It’s not easy. Past movements weren’t either. Yet they ultimately prevailed. So shall we.

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Democrats use Trump’s populism against him in fight over Gorsuch nomination
USA TODAY  |  April 5, 2017
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/05/democrats-use-trumps-populism-against-him-fight-over-gorsuch-nomination/100052604/

 

 

 

Cleveland initiative opposing Citizens United should have gone to city voters: Lois Romanoff and Chris Stocking (Opinion)

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Great piece posted on cleveland.com…

I offered many reflections in the comments section at the end.

http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/03/cleveland_democracy_day_is_wel.html#incart_river_home

Portman could pass on DeVos

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There is a major effort to pressure U.S. Senator Rob Portman from Ohio to vote against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary. The reasons are many.

One includes DeVos having “contributed” (more like invested) in Portman’s political campaign. Supposedly the vote is 50-50.

Portman, however, doesn’t have to vote NO for DeVos for her to be forced to return to oversee her failing for-profit charter schools in Michigan. Portman could sit on his hands and not vote at all.

The result would be identical.

Here’s a chance for Rob to show he’s above even the appearance of a conflict of interest. It would be a sign of integrity to recuse himself for being anywhere near the Senate floor when the vote comes up. He wouldn’t have to officially side with the Democrats — just go his own independent way by taking a pass.

Pay-to-play of Betsy DeVos

corruption

Last Tuesday, U.S. Representatives from Ohio Marcy Kaptur, Marcia Fudge and Joyce Beatty spoke on the House floor demanding that President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, pay the millions in fines owed to the State of Ohio for breaking campaign finance law. As Rep. Kaptur testified:

“These obligations total $5.3 million dollars, in unpaid‎ fines and levied late penalties. Her PAC, All Children Matter, owes the state of Ohio for campaign finance violations, the largest fines ever levied in Ohio history.

In addition, according to OpenSecrets.org, Betsy DeVos gave direct contributions to at least 20 current Members of the Senate. These are the same Senators who will now confirm her for the Secretary of Education position.

No one is above law. Betsy DeVos’ attempt to subvert the law and buy influence is diametrically opposed to everything the President-elect advised was wrong with America. He wants to drain the swamp. I call on President-Elect Trump to hold Betsy DeVos accountable.”

DeVos is a huge supporter of privatizing/corporatizing public education through the creation of charter schools and vouchers.

It should be noted that several recipients of the illegal political campaign contributions in Ohio from nearly a decade ago are still in office, including Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, Sec of State John Husted, Treasurer Josh Mandel, and current Ohio House member and former Ohio Senate President Keith Faber.

DeVos’ confirmination hearing is today. Our Senators need to hear that we oppose her confirmation as Secretary of Education.

DeVos has an estimated net worth of $5.1 billion. She, like so many others of extreme riches, use their wealth power to achieve political power. It’s a formula for corruption, cronyism, political perversion, economic misallocation, and public mistrust, cynicism, alienation and disempowerment. It feeds on itself as others feel they must follow suit to keep us in a cycle that leads to democratic decay, if not destruction. It’s the path we are racing down. It’s up to us to stop it. Knowing is the first step. Taking action, strategic action, mass action that addresses root causes – not just (un)electing public officials or (un)enacting laws and regulations — must be the next step. That’s where changing ground rules, constitutional rules, comes in. It’s not easy. It’s not necessarily quick. But it must be our quest.

Addicted politicians to political investments oppose importing cheaper Canadian drugs

 

corruption

A simple amendment to a bill in the U.S. Senate was introduced Wednesday night urging the government to permit U.S. residents to purchase pharmaceutical drugs from Canada. The practice is currently illegal.

Canadian drugs are much cheaper than those purchased in the US, not because of their inferior quality, but simply due to government price controls. The United States is the only industrialized country that does not use price controls for pharmaceuticals.

The amendment introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders failed 52-46. That’s not surprising in one sense given the political views of Sanders compared to the majority of the Senate. However, what was surprising was who voted for and against the amendment. Thirteen Republicans and a majority of Democrats supported the Sanders amendment, while 13 Democrats and a majority of Republicans opposed it.

A 2015 poll found that 72 percent of Americans support Canadian drug importation. President-elect Donald Trump also campaigned on a promise to allow for importation.

Those opposing the amendment claimed safety issues. This is a smokescreen.  Do we really believe Canadian drug standards are fundamentally different that here? Besides most Canadian drugs are originally manufactured in the United States.

No. A big reason for the vote was money – not the high drug prices, but the Senators drugged and addicted to political campaign donations…or investments from big Pharma – that is pharmaceutical corporations.

Leading the way among the 13 Democrats who opposed the Sanders amendment was New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, perceived as an early front-runner for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination. Over the last 6 years, he received $267,338 from Big Pharma. Many pharmaceutical and biotech firms reside in New Jersey. Other Democrats who opposed this reasonable measure were Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) who received $254,649; Robert Casey (D-PA) who received $250,730; and Michael Bennet (D-CO) who received $222,000.

By the way, Booker is also a Wall Street favorite. Securities and investment firms donated/invested $1.88 million to Booker during the 2014 midterm elections – ahead of all other 99 senators. Second was Mitch McConnell.

This behavior doesn’t do much for the reality, or even the perception, that politicians – Democrats and Republicans — are listening to average people. Another example of the disconnect between what people want and, in this case, the policies we don’t have. Another example of the hijacking of what’s left of our democracy through the addiction of corporate campaign cash. Another example why we need to abolish corporate personhood and money as speech through the Move to Amend We the People Amendment. And another example of why we can’t leave it to those we elect to represent us.

We must take charge – educate others, organize, mobilize and pressure politicians to do what’s just.

Giving limits for city candidates would more than triple since 2010 with new proposal

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By Doug Livingston / Beacon Journal staff writer
December 19, 2016
http://www.ohio.com/news/local/giving-limits-for-city-candidates-would-more-than-triple-since-2010-with-new-proposal-1.734533

The reporter didn’t quite get it right regarding what I said needs to happen — not just public financing, but ultimately a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood and money as speech.