Friday, October 21, 2011

A Progressive Manifesto - Vol. 1

I'm trying something new. Please let me know if you like this format! This political digest may take over most of my blog from now on.

A Progressive Manifesto – Vol. 1

In This Volume: George Lakoff suggests a positive vision for the Occupy Wall Street movement. The LA Times ponders how the brutality of natural selection may be a bad match to underpin any sort of caring society. David Sirota has another great reason why there’s too much money in politics. David Frum makes Jon Huntsman look like conservative orthodoxy, but appears to have Stockholm Syndrome. Who knew—austerity is a disaster and the elites are for it? OWS considers firmly rejecting potential political allies – they should go ahead and do it if they want to fail as a movement.

Andrew Cuomo defends the 1%, ruins the legacy of his father. The rise of Herman Cain illustrates the nihilism of the modern conservative movement. Laurence Lessig at Daily Kos debunks conservative ‘class warfare’ rhetoric for all time…FOR ALL TIME! Robert Reich, as usual, provides some needed clarity and encouragement for progressive fellows. Occupy Wall Street considers more demands than Dr. Evil in Austin Powers or Dr. No in the original James Bond. And finally, The New Republic realizes that Occupy Wall Street is ultimately successful because, unlike the Democratic Party, it has a spine.

Lakoff: How Occupy Wall Street’s Moral Vision Can Beat the Disastrous Conservative Worldview – “The alternative view of democracy is progressive: Democracy starts with citizens caring about one another and acting responsibly on that sense of care, taking responsibility both for oneself and for one’s family, community, country, people in general, and the planet. The role of government is to protect and empower all citizens equally”

Paying a price for Darwinism in the marketplace – “But success in Darwinian terms typically depends heavily on relative performance, and attempts to occupy scarce slots atop any hierarchy inevitably provoke wasteful, mutually offsetting arms races. It's an important point, since the modern conservative's case for minimal government rests on the presumption that competition always promotes society's welfare. But our best understanding of how competition actually functions, as Darwin's work makes clear, supports no such presumption.”

David Sirota: W. enters my wife’s schoolboard race – “When the same elites who fund federal elections start pouring unfathomable sums of money into our community’s school board races, it robs us of the last promise of democracy: the hope that while wealth and power dictate federal and state policy, every person can still have a small impact on his or her own local community.”

David Frum: My Party Is Wrong On The Most Urgent Issue Of The Day…But I’m Sticking With It Anyway – “The pattern is this: Behind each professed rationale, offered as an objective statement of fact, there is one sort of conservative presumption and/or agenda item which is the real reason for Frum’s continued allegiance.”

The Very Serious Austerians – “I hope this piece is widely read among the Villagers, particularly among the journalists. I suspect that the vast majority of them simply think that deficit fever is some sort of received wisdom and haven't ever thought to put the pieces together before. This piece spells it out for them…Austerity vs Prosperity is the essence of the fight right now and it's finally being engaged. No thanks to the political class.”

Sophisticated Strategery – “I'm not a big fan of Ronald Reagan, but I thought he was very politically canny for saying "I don't endorse anyone, they endorse me." That's how the OWS should see it too. It's fine if those sympathetic to either political party endorse their agenda --- and it doesn't mean they endorse the political party in return. In a process like OWS, you can only be co-opted if you want to be co-opted.”

Religious Services – “Just in case anyone disputes the idea that protecting the wealthy is a religious commitment of certain politicians, think again. This man just compared a principled opposition to the death penalty to opposing taxes for the wealthiest among us. Is Cuomo a lapsed Catholic who's taken up Randian philosophy? She thought taxing the rich was immoral too.”

The Cain Conundrum – “Bipartisanship as we have known it is dead. It is not coming back…The issues that separate the country are much more fundamental than simple race resentment and minor disagreements over tax and spending policy, issues that could be resolved by a greater effort to listen to and understand the other side. The divide is profound and existential.”

Who is waging class warfare? – “Those striving for some measure of social and economic justice mean to hurt no one. Creating some balance in the income gap and the distribution of wealth will not cause anyone to go hungry or homeless or to lack adequate health care. Those using every possible means to deny some measure of social and economic justice are hurting people. They are deliberately and unconscionably perpetuating the causes of immeasurable unnecessary suffering. So who is waging class warfare?”

Robert Reich: The Rise of the Regressive Right and the Reawakening of America
– “Progressives believe in openness, equal opportunity, and tolerance. Progressives assume we're all in it together: We all benefit from public investments in schools and health care and infrastructure. And we all do better with strong safety nets, reasonable constraints on Wall Street and big business, and a truly progressive tax system. Progressives worry when the rich and privileged become powerful enough to undermine democracy.”

Occupy Protesters’ One Demand: A New New Deal—Well, Maybe – “Even if neither the blueprint nor the New New Deal goes anywhere with the larger crowd, they could still help Occupy Wall Street figure out what it wants to be. In many respects, they represent two idealistic extremes: a fairly concrete set of national policy proposals, and a looser, more localized set of goals. The ultimate consensus at Zuccotti Park may end up somewhere in the middle.”

Why A Majority of Americans Are Getting Behind Occupy Wall Street – “So what’s driving it? Broadly speaking, it’s the belief that inequality of wealth and power is out of control and is undermining the welfare and future of the “other 99 percent.” This is a powerful idea and liberals should welcome it, since it happens to be true and accords with much of what liberals have been arguing for decades. And liberals should welcome OWS’ popularization of the idea even more because, on their own, they’ve had shockingly little success making economic inequality a fighting issue.”

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