Archive for the ‘Socialism’ Category
Organizing for Action (OFA), the nonprofit group created from President Obama’s reelection campaign, camped out in the nation’s largest labor union as it worked to set up shop, according to finance disclosures provided Friday.
SOCIALISM AT WORK “ON YOUR CHILDREN” AND YOUR PAYING FOR IT!
The group received an in-kind contribution of $15,466 in temporary office space from the National Education Association. The organization worked out of the fourth floor of the teachers union’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.
OFA on Friday released the names of 1,428 donors who gave more than $250 to the group in its first quarterly reporting period. The contributions over $250 represented 1.3 percent of the 109,852 donations that the group received during its inaugural fundraising quarter. OFA raised $4.89 million during that period.
Unlike the president’s reelection campaign, which saw top-dollar donations from Hollywood celebrities, technology executives, and major CEOs, Organizing for Action’s donors are not well known. The top donor to the organization was Philip Munger, a Democratic activist who gave the group $250,000.
READ MORE http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/293653-organizing-for-action-camped-out-in-hq-of-teachers-union
As a lifelong Democrat, I have a mental picture these days of my president, smiling broadly, at the wheel of a speeding convertible. His passengers are Democratic elected officials and candidates. Ahead of them, concealed by a bend in the road, is a concrete barrier.
They didn’t have to take that route. Other Democratic presidents have won bipartisan support for proposals as liberal in their time as some of Mr. Obama’s are now. Why does this administration seem so determined to head toward a potential crash and burn?
Even after the embarrassing playout of the Obama-invented Great Sequester Game, after the fiasco of the president’s Fiscal Cliff Game, conventional wisdom among Democrats holds that disunited Republicans will be routed in the 2014 midterm elections, leaving an open field for the president’s agenda in the final two years of his term. Yet modern political history indicates that big midterm Democratic gains are unlikely, and presidential second terms are notably unproductive, most of all in their waning months. Since 2012 there has been nothing about the Obama presidency to justify the confidence that Democrats now exhibit.
Mr. Obama was elected in 2008 on the basis of his persona and his pledge to end political and ideological polarization. His apparent everyone-in-it-together idealism was exactly what the country wanted and needed. On taking office, however, the president adopted a my-way-or-the-highway style of governance. He pursued his stimulus and health-care proposals on a congressional-Democrats-only basis. He rejected proposals of his own bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission, which would have provided long-term deficit reduction and stabilized rapidly growing entitlement programs. He opted instead to demonize Republicans for their supposed hostility to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
No serious attempt—for instance, by offering tort reform or allowing the sale of health-insurance products across state lines—was made to enlist GOP congressional support for the health bill. It passed, but the constituents of moderate Democrats punished them: 63 lost their seats in 2010 and Republicans took control of the House.
Faced with a similar situation in 1995, following another GOP House takeover, President Bill Clinton shifted to bipartisan governance. Mr. Obama did not, then blamed Republicans for their “obstructionism” in not yielding to him.
Defying the odds, Mr. Obama did become the first president since Franklin Roosevelt to be re-elected with an election-year unemployment rate above 7.8%. Yet his victory wasn’t based on public affirmation of his agenda. Instead, it was based on a four-year mobilization—executed with unprecedented skill—of core Democratic constituencies, and on fear campaigns in which Mitt Romney and the Republicans were painted as waging a “war on women,” being servants of the wealthy, and of being hostile toward Latinos, African Americans, gays and the middle class. I couldn’t have imagined any one of the Democratic presidents or presidential candidates I served from 1960-92 using such down-on-all-fours tactics.
The unifier of 2008 became the calculated divider of 2012. Yes, it worked, but only narrowly, as the president’s vote total fell off sharply from 2008.
Other modern Democratic presidents have had much more success with very different governing strategies. In 1961-62, John Kennedy won Republican congressional and public support with the proposals of his Keynesian Council of Economic Advisers chairman, Walter Heller, to cut personal and business taxes “to get America moving again,” and for the global free movement of goods, services, capital and people.
In 1965, Lyndon Johnson had Democratic congressional majorities sufficient to pass any legislation he wanted. But he sought and received GOP congressional support for Medicare, Medicaid, civil rights, education and other Great Society legislation. He knew that in order to last, these initiatives needed consensus support. He did not want them re-debated later, as ObamaCare is being re-debated now.
Johnson got bipartisan backing for deficit reduction in 1967, when he learned that the deficit had reached an unthinkable $28 billion. Faced with today’s annual deficits of $1 trillion and federal debt between $16.7 and $31 trillion, depending on whether you count off-budget obligations, LBJ no doubt would appoint a bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission and use it to get a tax, spending and entitlements fix so that he could move on to the rest of his agenda. Bill Clinton took the same practical approach and got to a balanced federal budget as soon as he could, at the beginning of his second term.
These former Democratic presidents would also know today that no Democratic or liberal agenda can go forward if debt service is eating available resources. Nor can successful governance take place if presidential and Democratic Party rhetoric consistently portrays loyal-opposition leaders as having devious or extremist motives. We really are, as Mr. Obama pointed out in 2008, in it together.
It’s not too late for the president to take a cue from his predecessors and enter good-faith budget negotiations with congressional Republicans. A few posturing meetings with GOP congressional leaders will not suffice. President Obama’s hype about the horrors of fiscal-cliff and sequestration cuts, and his placing of blame on Republicans, have been correctly viewed as low politics. His approval ratings have plunged since the end of the sequestration exercise.
But time is running out for Democrats to get serious about governance. That concrete barrier—in the form of the 2014 midterm—lies just ahead on the highway, and they’re joy riding straight toward it.
Mr. Van Dyk served in Democratic national administrations and campaigns over several decades. His memoir of public life, “Heroes, Hacks and Fools,” was first published by University of Washington Press in 2007.
A version of this article appeared March 18, 2013, on page A13 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: My Unrecognizable Democratic Party.
There was a strong push in the last Arizona election cycle to disenfranchise political parties by turning the Arizona Primary election into a “round one general election” in which there would be a single ballot with all candidates listed on it without regard to party affiliation, but only the top two vote-getters from the Primary would be on the General Election ballot. Some very good political thinkers were involved at least in conceptualizing this ballot proposition. The proposition failed by a two to one margin
The main thing the proposition was designed to do was to give independents (voters not affiliated with any party) a greater say in the primary. There are certain good things about today’s party system; it allows people with common political views to identify their positions on issues (platform) and to select candidates who will run for office in the general election. The founding fathers were not fond of political parties; but parties in their times were specific special interest factions such as merchants, or lawyers, or veterans, or bankers, or planters. The political parties spoken of by Washington and his contemporaries were what we would now call lobbyists or political action committees (PACs).
Today’s parties are made up of voters with diverse professions, economic stations, races, educational levels, and lifestyle, and serve primarily as a vetting process for candidate selection. party) more say in Primary elections. To me that alone doesn’t make any sense because primary elections are elections in which political parties nominate their candidates. Independents are independents because they don’t support party politics. Arizona already does something that I think is very bad in that they allow independents to vote in one primary of any party they wish. To me nobody except party members should have a say in who the party nominates.. I’m glad it did because I think it was a very bad idea.
Even minor parties have played a significant role in shaping our politics. By presenting their views to the public they have caused the two major parties to adjust to attract those voters. Two examples are the Socialist Party who originated the idea of vast social programs and redistribution of wealth, and the Libertarian Party who has pushed for a more stringent compliance with the constitution and lest government involvement in the lives of citizens. Both of these minor parties have never reached the number of supporters needed to enact their policies, but the Democrats have adapted many of the aims of the Socialist Party, and the Republicans have adjusted to the right in response to the ideas of the Libertarian Party.
One problem with a top two primary is that it does not give the voter more choices but limits them to only two in the general election. A second problem is that in a district in which one party dominates, no other party has a chance to make it on the ballot, both general candidates could be from the same party. It would virtually illuminate all minor party candidates from ever getting on a general ballot.
Many independents say there is no difference between the two parties; however, even the most cursory review of their stand on issues reveals that as false. The main causes of independent discontent with the two major parties can be categorized as: 1) They are all professional politicians who are mostly concerned with feathering their own nest and being reelected, and 2) They can’t work together to get anything done.
I think Item one is partly true; I do believe that many people in congress have a genuine desire to do what’s right, but their view may differ from that of many of their voters. They have elevated themselves to a special class that is paid much more than the average voter, has amazing perks and benefits, and gives them special exceptions to things the rest of us live with every day. When congress was first given an annual salary in 1855 it was $3000; comparing the consumer price index of 1855 to 2012, that equates to under $12,000 per year in today’s dollar. Then, being in Congress was a part time job, they spent a couple of months a year mostly approving a budget.
This brings us to item two. As the founders intended, the federal government dealt with relatively few departments and programs, they didn’t enact many new laws every year, they took care of business and got back their farm, store, law officer, parsonage, etc. For the last 80 years congress has gotten along too well, they have passed way to many laws, creating way too much government, and spending way too much public revenue. Any congress that refuses to raise expenditures or increase taxes is a good congress. Democrats want to keep using the public revenue to buy votes, and Republics want to reverse that process. In a nutshell that is the difference between the two parties. I will vote for the senator or representative who refuses to go along with government programs, trillion dollar deficits, and forever increasing taxes. A “do-nothing” congress is better than a “do-something” congress unless the something being done is cutting spending, cutting government, and cutting taxes.
So since the main accusation is that Democrats and Republicans are the same, you better look again. And if you want to save the country you better hope the “do-nothings” outnumber the “do-everythings”.
We Are Watching The Downfall of The Old Democrat Party – Dems move to include gay marriage support in official party platform
The decision comes after President Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to voice support for gay marriage, and as party officials try to build the anticipation ahead of the convention set for early September in Charlotte, N.C.
Sources told Fox News that the Democrats’ platform drafting committee voted unanimously to include the language backing same-sex marriage at a meeting in Minneapolis over the weekend. The next step would be for the full platform committee to take it up in Detroit next month. From there, the plank would go to convention delegates in Charlotte.
The drafting committee decision leaked out shortly after officials revealed that former President Bill Clinton will deliver the nominating speech on Wednesday night of the convention. Obama and Biden are to speak on Thursday, the convention’s final night.
Several prominent Democrats began pushing earlier this year for support of same-sex marriage to be included in the convention platform, which lists principles the party supports. The effort got a boost in May when Obama voiced his personal support for same-sex unions.
New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen hailed the decision in a statement Monday.
“Equality and freedom are at the core of who we are as Americans, and that means freedom for all of us, not just some of us. Our party has long been a leader on issues of justice and this reaffirms to the country that we are working on behalf of all our families, gay and straight,” she said.
The president’s support for same-sex marriage, though, continues to stir controversy. As reports first surfaced of the drafting committee’s decision, an organization of black pastors announced Monday that they’ll be launching a national campaign starting Tuesday in opposition to Obama’s endorsement.
“President Obama has not given us the courtesy of a reply to discuss his support of same-sex marriage, and is taking the black vote for granted,” Rev. William Owens, president of the Coalition of African American Pastors, said in a statement. He said the campaign will urge black pastors and other black voters to “withdraw their support” of the president.
“We will see that the black community is informed that the president is taking them for granted while pandering to the gay community,” he said.
It’s unclear how detailed the language is on the same-sex marriage plank, and whether it calls for any legislative efforts like the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act — which defines marriages on the federal level as between a man and a woman.
Fox News’ Mike Emanuel and The Associated Press contributed to this report
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/30/dems-move-to-include-gay-marriage-support-in-official-party-platform/#ixzz22frQ7ILq
Collectivism is an inadequate substitute for true community.
Tyranny thrives by feeding on human necessity. It examines what sustains us, what we hope for, what we desire and what we love, and it uses those needs as leverage against us.
If you want safety, tyrants will take it away and barter it back to you at a steep price. If you want to raise a family, then you must accept the state as a part-time parent. If you want independence, then you are simply labeled as a threat and done away with altogether. Autocratic rulers are first and foremost salesmen; they convince us that life itself has a cost, that we are born indebted and that all bills must be made payable to the establishment. First and foremost, we are sold on the idea that in all of this, we are ultimately alone.
It is within these manipulated concepts of cost and isolation that we discover the foundation of all totalitarian cultures: collectivism.
Collectivism is a psychological prison derived from a beneficial instinct as old as humanity itself: the instinct to connect with others, to share experiences and knowledge, to build and create together. It is an instinct as essential to our survival as breathing. Collectivism uses this instinct as a weapon. It is a corrupted and poisoned harnessing of our intuitive nature. It is an inadequate and cancerous substitute for something that normally invigorates and supports healthy culture: true community.
In this age, our ideas of what constitutes “community” have been tainted and confused with the propaganda of collectivists. Our instincts tell us that the world we have been presented is hollow, while our controlled environment tells us that the world is just as it should be (or the best we’re going to get, anyway). How then, are we to tell the difference between natural community and destabilizing and destructive collectivism?
Common Aspects Of Collectivism
Looking back at the single-minded and highly dominating collectivist experiments of the past, it is easy to see the common threads between them. Certain methods are always present. Certain actions are always taken. Certain beliefs are always adopted. Here are just a few:
The Blank Slate: In order for the state to elevate itself in importance above the individual, it must first promote the idea that the individual does not exist, that your uniqueness or inherent character are only a byproduct of your environment. There are many methods to propagating this mindset. Junk science and establishment psychological theorists often treat the human mind as a mere bundle of chemicals and synapses.
Existentialism attacks individualism from the philosophical end, suggesting that all actions and reactions are random results of a purely chaotic universe, while at the same time peddling moral relativism and apathy.
Religious organizations that choose to abuse their positions of trust also feed collectivism by standing in the way of personal awareness, or even making it taboo to value the individual over the collective (though people tend to wrongly blame the concept of religion itself, rather than the corrupt men who sometimes misuse it).
Each one of these tactics is a tool in the arsenal of collectivists meant to degrade our social admiration for individual thought. Yet as desperate as elitists have been through the years to build an environment devoid of independent thought, they have met only with failure.
Centralization Instead Of Cooperation: Cooperation in society is often spontaneous and dependent on a number of underlying factors working together at the right place and at the right time. It takes a noble endeavor and even more noble leadership to inspire the masses to step onto the same path toward the same direction. This is why legitimate, large-scale cooperation is so venerated in the annals of history; such events are truly rare and miraculous. Tyrants and elitists have no endeavors that rank as “noble.” They serve only their own interests. So, instead of trying to encourage cooperation they won’t receive, they centralize various systems by coercion. If you can’t convince the public to abandon their own paths for yours, then forcefully remove all paths until the people have only one choice left.
Economic centralization is very indicative of this maneuver. While we in the liberty movement see a whole spectrum of possible options for markets and trade, many other people see only what is right in front of them: the same crooked fiat money system controlled by the same gaggle
of fraudulent central bankers. A large portion of our populace has been convinced that there is only one way to participate in the economy; thus, they act collectively and blindly.
Another obvious example is the false left/right political system. While there are as many political views as there are people, most people tend to affiliate themselves with one of two: Republican or Democrat. Even if you were to believe that the two major parties are honestly opposed,
you have still allowed the establishment to narrow your choices down to two. Add the fact that both major parties actually support nearly the same exact policies and goals, and now your choices have been narrowed to one. Millions of people jump on this one bandwagon every four years, thinking that they are cooperating voluntarily, when they have instead been centralized, and collectivized.
Constant Fear, Constant Threats: Fear and survival are powerful motivators. Without ample self-awareness and strength of character, these basic instincts can overwhelm rationality and conscience. Every collectivist feudalist system ever devised has used a “common enemy” or an iron hand to quell dissent in the citizenry and to forcefully unify them not under the auspices of an honest cause, but a terror so profound as to drive them to malleable despair. After a period of constant danger and distress, even fascism can feel comfortable for a while. Collectivist systems are always clashing with the bubbling tides of individual freedom. Because of this, they must continuously qualify their usefulness. There must always be an imminent threat over the horizon; otherwise, the strangling regulations of the state serve no purpose.
Individualism Equated With Selfishness: One of the inevitable conditions of collectivism is the demonization of free thought. In a collective, every person becomes a cog in a great machine. The majority begins to see itself not as a group of individuals acting together, but as a single unit with a single purpose. Any person who chooses to step outside of the box and point out a different view becomes a danger to the whole. A machine cannot function if all the parts are not working in harmony. Disagreement in a collectivist system is not considered a civic duty; it is considered a crime that places everyone else at risk. As a dissenter, you are not a person, but a malfunction that must be dealt with.
It is easy to tell when your Nation is turning toward collectivism; you have to gauge only how often you are accused of “selfishness” every time you question the needs of the state over the needs of the individual.
Promises Of A Fantastic Future: “Innovation” and “progress” are alluring dreams that can easily be realized in a free society made up of intelligent individuals thinking in ways that go against the norm. The more unique insights present in a culture, the more likely it is to surpass itself and succeed. Strangely, though, it always seems to be collectivists who throw around visions of high-tech trains, floating cities and sustainability as benefits to relinquishing certain freedoms. The insinuation is that if people set aside their individualism, their society becomes stronger and more productive, like worker bees who strive for only one thing: the perfect hive.
Common Aspects Of Community
Now that we have explored the intricacies of collectivism, let’s take a look at what it is designed to destroy. What makes real community? What are its benefits and its weaknesses? How does it begin? How does it end? Why is it such a threat to collectivists?
Real Purpose: Communities develop in light of meaningful exchange. Their purpose is natural and common. Their goals are not fixed, but evolve as the community progresses. The beneficiaries are the citizenry — sometimes even those who do not directly participate, rather than a select minority of elites. Communities work best when purpose and destiny are self-determined.
Voluntary Participation: There is no need to force people to participate in a system that operates on honesty, conscience and individual will. In fact, many people today long for a
system like this. When men and women apply their energies to something they believe in, instead of something they are manipulated into following, the results can be spectacular. Progress becomes second nature — an afterthought instead of an unhealthy obsession.
Legitimate Respect: The purpose of a true community is not to keep tabs on the personal lives of its participants, nor to mold their notions. The rights of the individual are respected above all else. Again, the more varied the insights of a population, the stronger it becomes. For a community to attempt to stifle the viewpoints of its citizens would be to commit suicide. There is
strength in numbers, but even greater strength in variety. Individualism takes effort, time and dedication. A society made up of people who have made this journey cannot help but esteem each other.
Flexibility Leads To Stability: A wise man adopts what works and throws out what fails. He does not dismiss methods out of hand, nor does he hang onto methods that disappoint simply because he cannot let go. He educates himself through experience. Adaptability, flexibility and agility in thought and in policy create solid ground for a society to build. Communities survive by being able to admit when a mistake has been made and by being open to new options. Rigid systems, like collectivist systems, cannot function unless the people conform to the establishment and its deficiencies. Communities function best when the establishment conforms to the people and the truth.
Mutual Aid: Collectivist systems are notorious for promoting the idea that “we are all one.” However, they usually end up becoming the most antisocial and uncaring cultures to
grace the planet. You cannot centralize or enforce charity because then it is no longer charity, but slavery. Citizens of communities, on the other hand, actually seek to help each other — not because they expect immediate returns or because it’s “good for the state,” but because they value an atmosphere of benevolence. The generosity of community helps individuals detach from dependence on government, or bureaucracy. The less dependence on centralized authority, the stronger and safer everyone becomes.
Mutual Defense: While collectivism sacrifices its participants for some undefined “greater good,” communities defend one another, knowing that if the fate of one’s neighbor is ignored, the fate of oneself may also be ignored by others. No one is “expendable” in a community. Everyone is expendable in a collective.
Building Community In A Modern World
The task of constructing meaningful community today is daunting, but crucial. In an increasingly centralized and desensitized world, the only recourse of the honorable is to decentralize and to reintroduce the model of independence once again. This starts with self-sufficient communities and solid principles. It starts with unabashed and unwavering pride in the values of sovereignty and liberty. It starts with a relentless pursuit of balance and truth. It starts with an incredible amount of hard work.
The trappings of collectivism sometimes seem insurmountable. The mindless devotion of our friends and family to a system that harms them can cause us to lose hope and to lose focus. We must remember how collectivism operates: by removing the power of choice from the equation. If we return that power, then many people who we may have once deemed “lost causes” might awaken as well. By exposing the masses to another option, a better option, we undo years of lies and lengths of chain. If there was ever a perfect moment to begin this battle, now is the time. Americans are still searching for solutions, and they are not too fearful to pursue them once they are found.