Cause and Strategy for Class Warfare; (with exerpts from Rothkopf's book Superclass)

(Crossposted at Daily Kos)

Often after Democrats propose a tax hike on the super-rich, or campaign finance and lobbying reform, pundits cry out "Hey, that's class warfare!"  Well, yes it is, but we didn't start this war.

The super-rich in America hold grossly disproportionate political power and wealth.  They use their wealth to buy political power, and then use that political power to acquire more wealth.  They use that newly acquired wealth to buy more political power which brings them more wealth and greater power in an upward spiral that serves them at the expense of everyone else.

When we consider climate change alone, through this strategy the super-rich are literally destroying our planet.  It’s time to fight back.

The bulk of this diary contains page-indicated excerpts from David Rothkopf’s 2008 book Superclass, an exhaustively documented indictment of the super-rich.  But before we get to those reasons for the poor, middle class and rich to join forces and wage full-scale political and economic war on the super-rich, let’s consider the nature of problem in more detail, and a proposed strategy for fighting this war. 

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That DeMint is vulnerable in SC spells BIG trouble for GOP in November

The conventional wisdom WAS that Republicans would make great gains in this fall’s election.  That perspective took a blow on Tuesday, May 18th when Democrat Mark Critz defeated Tea-Party supported favorite Republican Tim Burns by eight points in the PA-12 Special Election.

 Now we find that South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint, who had been considered so likely to win re-election in November that the race does not even appear on wiki’s April 27 chart of major Senate polling for 2010 predictions, is leading Democratic challenger Vic Rawl by only seven points.

Pollster SCIndex reports;

According to our May 18th telephone survey DeMint’s job approval and re-elect numbers are well below the marks of a strong incumbent. Only 53% of all voters currently approve of his job performance while only 48% of all voters are likely to support his re-election. In a head to head question with Democratic challenger Vic Rawl, DeMint gets 50% of the vote to Rawl’s 43%. It is important to note that Rawl has never run for statewide office and has not aired any TV ads during this primary season.

Keep in mind that DeMint won his first term in 2004 by ten points, and South Carolina voted for McCain over Obama in 2008 by 54 to 45.  Now we hear that DeMint is only seven points ahead of a candidate that “has never run for state statewide office and has not aired any TV ads during this primary season.” AND only 48% of voters support DeMint’s re-election.

Rawl appears to be a very strong candidate, but Democrats may now want to attract a well-known top-tier candidate for the race, and we can imagine what that will do to DeMint’s numbers.

With Republicans now having to play defense in Senate races in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and now South Carolina (total of 10 states), the 2010 Election is shaping up to mirror the 1934 Election, two years after FDR won the White House because of the Republican-created Great Depression, and Democrats went on to win 10 Senate seats and 9 House seats.  American voters don’t tend to reward a Party for destroying their economy.  That’s a lesson Republicans seem destined to learn big-time this November.

A "10%" plan to get big money out of politics

As has been noted, our Democratic Party often resembles a coalition of disparate groups, each working alone on its individual agenda and strategies.  Whether they represent unions, environmentalists or whatever, even when their initiatives enjoy broad popular support, each group too often loses the battle to get legislators to vote for their bills FOR THE EXACT SAME REASON.  Our Democratic and Republican members of Congress are pressured by a deeply flawed and unfair system to reject what is popular and in the best interest of the Country in favor of what will ensure their re-election; namely raising enough campaign funds and avoiding becoming the target of rich and powerful special interests.

The Supreme Court’s recent ruling on Citizens United v. FEC has made the above named problem a thousand times worse.  

Doug Kendall, writing for Huffington Post, succinctly describes the danger this legislation poses;

To see the significance of this, consider that in his historic run to the presidency, Barack Obama broke every political fundraising record, raising nearly $750 million from more than a million contributors in 2007 and 2008. This sounds impressive until you consider that during 2008 alone, ExxonMobil Corporation generated profits of $45 billion. With a diversion of even 2 percent of these profits to the political process, Exxon could have far outspent the Obama campaign and fundamentally changed the dynamic of the 2008 election, perhaps even the result.

But by so strongly and treasonously siding with corporations at the expense of individual Americans on who gets to govern our democracy, that Supreme Court ruling has forced our hand in addressing a "money in politics" problem that we should have attacked long ago. According to this article in The Hill, our Democratic Congress will work to pass legislation that overturns Citizens United v. FEC by July 4th, so that major corporations cannot commandeer our upcoming election this fall.

A powerful result of the 2008 global recession is that both Progressive and Conservative voters are now enraged with the rich banks and other corporations whose greed, selfishness, and recklessness have cost so many so much. This rare dynamic provides us the VERY RARE opportunity to go BEYOND nullifying Citizens United v. FEC, and ultimately pass much stronger campaign finance and lobbying reform.

But our Democratic interest groups can only take advantage of this huge opportunity if they are smart enough to agree to work together on this goal. Each group should agree to devote at least ten percent of their time and resources to fighting the battle to get big money out of politics. To fight climate change, or for a more fair economy, or for better health care, without also fighting campaign finance and lobbying laws is a recipe for failure. In other words, we can continue fighting, and mostly losing, a thousand individual battles, or we can come together to wage full-scale war to get big money out of politics, and begin to win those individual battles much more easily and at far less cost.

Democratic groups must band together to wage full-scale war to pass campaign finance and lobbying reform now when this very rare opportunity has opened. Our Democratic groups can no longer afford to go it along, fighting and losing battle after battle because our members of Congress are, by necessity, more beholden to the interests who pay for, or can prevent, their re-election than by the American public.

This diary is a call for organized, intelligent action by our Democratic groups. The time has never been more ripe for doing this, and the window of opportunity will not last forever. Let’s seize the day on, and come together to ensure that when Congress acts next month to reverse Citizens United v. FEC, the campaign will serve as a platform for getting our Democratic groups and the voting public aware of how important campaign finance and lobbying reform is to passing strong and effective popular legislation regardless of what that legislation is. We need to jump on the upcoming battle to nullify Citizens United v. FEC, and then swiftly move on to enacting stronger legislation as if all of the other issues we fight for depend on it. In a very real sense, they do.

Cross-posted at Daily Kos

Defense, Offense, and the Republican Delusion of Senate Gains

Conventional wisdom today is that the GOP stands to gain a good number of Senate seats this November.  In fact, Nate Silver’s 05/12/10  “current numbers only” analysis has Republicans in the top eight takeover slots.  Extending that analysis to before health care reform, through the Democrats playing defense for a year to pass that historic legislation, and forward to the summer and fall when Democrats will go fiercely on the offensive on various issues like jobs and financial reform, paints a very different picture.

Republicans are in for a surprise as the Obama political machine moves into attack mode for the last six months of the 2010 campaign. 

Let’s begin with two gimmes for the Republicans; North Dakota and Delaware. 

What about Arkansas?  Well, on April 29, Charlie Cook had the race as a toss up, with most other major pollsters placing it in the “leans Republican” column.   That was, of course, before Blanche Lincoln turned against Wall Street by introducing a provision Robert Reich called “right now the biggest battle in bank reform.”  Lincoln wants to end taxpayer-insured Wall Street banks’ very profitable derivative trading businesses.   Lincoln also has over 5 times more cash on hand than any of her Republican rivals.  She will side with the little people against Big Business during these next six months, and Arkansas will not be turning Red.

Indiana?  Again, most pollsters have it in the toss up category, and Research 2000 polled Democrat Brad Ellsworth behind Republican rival Dan Coats by only one point as recently as February 24th.  A fluid race, for now.  But Coats’ fundraising is best described as embarrassing, and his numbers will tank as the Democrats go into campaign war.    

Nevada?  Very recent polling has Harry Reid over front running GOP rival Sue Lowden 42 to 35.  And with Harry at about the half way mark to his goal of $25 million to defend his seat, (Lowden raised $500,000 in the first quarter of 2010), that Nevada Senate seat will continue to be a bright blue in 2011.  Go Harry, go!   

Pennsylvania?  Every major pollster but Silver has this one as a toss up (Silver does, of course, know the uselessness of “strictly current number” polling this early on).  Democrat Specter led Republican Toomey 53-33 in May of last year (you remember; before Democrats took dive after dive to pass that historic health care reform).  He’s now down 33-35, but has almost twice the cash on hand as Toomey.  Of course Specter might lose to Joe Sestak in the upcoming primary.  Sestak is under Toomey by only one point in the latest poll, 28 to 29, and also has substantially more cash on hand.  Toomey’s worst enemy?  Neither Specter nor Sestak.  It’s the Tea Partiers, whom Toomey will be scrambling to distance himself from as his numbers go more and more negative.  

Colorado is in every major pollster’s toss up column.. And they consider Illinois substantially less likely to turn Red.  Democrat Bennett has about 3.5 million cash on hand to top Republican rival Jane Norton’s $600,000.  Money?

Did I mention that the DSCC has $17 million to the RSCC’s $15 million cash on hand? Or that the DNC has about 15 million cash on hand to the RNC’s under $9 million – the RNC’s “worst cash flow in a decade”?   Or that late money follows early money as we count down to November’s election?

So, the Republicans take Democratic Senate seats in North Dakota and Delaware.  Meanwhile, Democrats are poised to take Republican seats in New Hampshire, Missouri, Ohio, Kentucky and Florida (if Crist caucuses with the Democrats.)  By 2011 Democrats will again have that filibuster-proof majority.  How are we going to take those seats?  You might believe me if I explained it.  But why spoil a surprise?

 

 

 

 

 

Next step; a political World War III

When the Supreme Court empowered corporations to spend as much as they wish in the months leading up to elections, they did the equivalent of dropping duel hydrogen bombs on the Democratic Party and the American democracy.  The American People will NOT be able to meet and raise that corporate ante in ANY future election.  And so President Obama and the Democrats must do whatever it takes to neutralize the treasonous ruling. 

President Obama gave a prelude regarding the extent of what’s at stake when he recently told Diane Sawyer;

I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president,

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Analysis of Smintheus’ solution to Citizens United v. FEC

A diarist named Smintheus posted on unbossed.com a very quick and simply remedy for this power-grab by corporations;

Congress should prohibit any corporation from engaging in this new political spending if it has any non-American shareholders, or owners. Because after all, foreigners have no 1st amendment protections.

This brilliant idea was picked up by PLS who posted the diary "How to hoist the SCOTUS on their own petards!!!" http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/1/23/829291/-How-to-hoist-the-SCOTUS-on-their-own-petards !!!  on Daily Kos. This stroke of genius not only undoes SCOTUS' treasonous decision, it seriously weakens the hold corporations CURRENTLY have over our democracy.

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Two new seats is the ONLY viable response to SCOTUS’ treason on Citizens United v. FEC

Only by creating two new Supreme Court justices can reverse Citizens United v. FEC.  The Supreme Court’s unconstitutional and treasonous handing of our democracy to corporations fully justifies this action.  And if we fail to take this action, and corporations begin spending unlimited sums to pay for TV ads for candidates of their choice, we can expect massive losses in November, in 2012, and in every future election at both the state and national level.  If we do not neutralize this ruling, it will mean the death of the Democratic Party, and the death of democracy in America.

President Obama recently gave the following rather weak response;

With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans. This ruling gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington--while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates. That's why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision. The public interest requires nothing less.

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IT’S TIME TO FIGHT THE SCOTUS TREASON

With their ruling in favor of Citizens United v. FEC, the Conservative members of the Supreme Court have committed treason far more dangerous and egregious than their having stolen the 2000 election for Bush.  This time they have gone too far by handing our democracy to corporations.  The way to remedy this treason is simple and straightforward.

The first step is for Congress to end or fix the filibuster rule so that Republican and Blue Dog Senators can no longer usurp majority rule in the Senate, and prevent the second step.

The second step is for Congress to create two new Supreme Court seats, increasing the total number of justices from nine to eleven.  FDR failed in this in the 1930s because he tried to create SIX new justices, and because he was not facing as great an assault on our democracy as we are now.  The American People would support Congress’s appointing these two new justices in order to preserve our democracy.

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Refuting free will to destroy the Republican Party

 

Causality is the basic process of our universe.  The state of the universe at one moment completely determines the state of the universe at the next moment.  The causal chain of universal states stretches back into the past to at least the big bang, and reaches out indefinitely into the future.  As a result, all that happens is predetermined by the causal past, and we human beings do not, therefore, have a free will.  .

 

The entire Republican ideology is founded on the myth of free will.  Republicans say some people deserve more money because these people have earned it.   They say some people deserve to be punished because they have earned it.  According to this “free will” perspective, rich people deserve the best health care, everyone else does not.  Rich people deserve to control the world, everyone else does not.

 

Explode the myth of free will among the American public, and you will destroy the foundation for the Republicans’ “survival of the fittest” ideology.  As we cling to the myth of free will, we continue to give the Republican Party an advantage that is very difficult, if not impossible, to overcome.

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The case for Obama wanting to lose the Mass. Senate seat

Politics is like an iceberg; the greater part is unseen.  Obama, Axelrod, and Emanuel are shrewd politicians.  A strong case can be made that they preferred, and even orchestrated, the Brown victory.  Here are a few reasons.

 1) Having 59 rather than 60 Senate seats is a better position from which to blame Republicans for their upcoming obstructionism, which as Lawrence O’Donnell, writing for Huffington Post, explains, does not require filibusters; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lawrence-odonnell/will-scott-brown-ruin-rep_b_426604.html

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