Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Oh, there's work.


Just look around: A housing shortage, crime, pollution; we need better schools and parks. Whatever our needs, they all require work. And as long as we have unsatisfied needs,


So ask yourself, what kind of world has work but no jobs? It’s a world where work is not related to satisfying our needs, a world where work is only related to satisfying the profit needs of business.

This country was not built by the huge corporations or government bureaucracies. It was built by people who work. And, it is working people who should control the work to be done. Yet, as long as employment is tied to somebody else’s profits, the work won’t get done.
- An old poster from the New American Movement

Monday, November 02, 2015

DNC changes rules to block Lessig from debates

In case you still haven't learned about Lawrence Lessig and how U.S. political corruption works, I urge you to see Lessig's TED talk from two years ago - well before Lessig ever considered running for president.

Recently I offered to be part of the volunteer tech team that would help Larry Lessig in his campaign for president - his campaign to fix corruption in Washington, having earlier donated to his campaign, and before that to his MAYDAY SuperPAC. But Lessig has faced opposition from the democratic party itself, which included Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee in the first debate but excluded Lessig despite his strong fundraising base:
Webb raised $697,000, while Chafee raised a paltry $15,457 (including $4,121 from himself). Lessig’s numbers put him in the same league as fellow Democrat Martin O’Malley, who raised $1,283,000, though they’re both well behind Hillary Clinton at $30 million and Bernie Sanders at $26 million.
Of course, there's a limit to how much money you can raise when no one knows your name. Lessig knew that getting in the debates was the key to changing the game. To get in the debates, you have to make at least 1% in multiple national polls - which is a big problem when some pollsters wouldn't include Lessig on the list of candidates. Even so, he recently managed to get enough exposure to qualify for the next debate. Clearly, however, certain powerful individuals had a trick up their sleeve. I was saddened to receive this message from Larry today:
I am writing with sad news that has forced me to end my campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. The Democrats have now changed the rules for the debates, making it impossible for my campaign to continue.

As you know, the critical step in this improbable campaign has been to get into the debates. Though we raised more money than almost half of the field, and with you, built a vibrant campaign for reform, the party was slow to welcome us to this race. The polls have been slow to include me on the list of candidates.

But last week, we were making progress. A national poll by Monmouth found me at 1%. Three days ago, an NBC poll found the same. HuffPost Pollster now lists three polls at 1%. Since the Monmouth poll, no poll that included my name found me with less than 1%.

Under the rules for the debate announced by the DNC in August — and upon which we relied when we launched our campaign — the standard was 3 polls “in the six weeks prior to the debate.” Depending on which polls CBS counted, we either have qualified or could be just one poll away from qualifying for the debate.

But at the end of last week, I learned from my team that the DNC has now changed the rules. The standard is no longer the rule announced by the DNC Chair — 3 polls “in the six weeks prior to the debate.” The standard is now 3 polls “at least six weeks before the debate.” That means, for me to qualify, I had to have had 3 polls at 1% before October 10! You can read the @full and sad story as described by the leader of my campaign, Steve Jarding. The consequence of this change is that it is now impossible for me to get into the second debate.
I recently started writing predictions for the future in my phone. Last week I wrote:

If serious reforms do not happen in the 2016-2020 time frame, some parts of the US government will collapse soon afterward, creating a large poverty crisis when some public services halt abruptly. Due to media manipulation by the wealthy, many U.S. citizens like my Mom and Dad will simply blame the Democrats again, but in reality the Democrats are merely ineffectual, pacified to inaction by wealthy donors, while the Republicans—funded by a fraction of the top 5% of the top 1%—will have been the true destructive force. Some states will remain largely functional, due to responsible management, but the long-term future is unpredictable. Edit: perhaps the disaster will occur earlier, but the current economic situation is unprecedented so I am not prepared to estimate exactly when things will fall apart.

I know that many, many people agree with me about this: corporations and billionaires may thrive in the coming depression, but the U.S. federal government and the U.S. economy is on the brink of disaster. And the DNC is killing one of the best chances to avert this disaster. So, what more can I say? Good night, and good luck.
I have been a Democrat my entire life. I have proudly helped elect many of the leaders of our party including Tom Daschle, Bob Kerrey, Mark Warner, Jim Webb, and Tim Johnson to high office and I have served nearly four years at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee as Communications Director and Senior Advisor. But I am sad to say that I have never experienced this kind of game playing and deception from party leaders in nearly 38 years of political activism. - Steve Jarding (campaign consultant for Lessig)
Say... who are these gatekeepers anyway? Who are these people that essentially get a sort of "veto" power to block grassroots candidates from running for president?