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DEMOCRATIC PARTY UNPOPULAR

The Democratic Party seems to have no earthly idea why it is so damn unpopular 
By Shaun King/ NY Daily News/ March 9, 2017
Hillary Clinton is just slightly more unfavorable than her own party, according to a poll.
Hillary Clinton is just slightly more unfavorable than her own party, according to a poll.
Shaun King

A troubling new poll was just released showing that the Democratic Party is significantly less popular than both Donald Trump and Mike Pence. My gut tells me that Democrats will ignore this poll, or blame it on bad polling, and continue down the same course they are currently on: being funded by lobbyists and the 1%, straddling the fence or outright ignoring many of most inspirational issues of the time, and blaming Bernie Sanders for why they aren’t in power right now.

As a general rule the Democratic Party doesn’t listen well and struggles to hear the truth about itself.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Republicans now control the House, the Senate, the presidency, and the overwhelming majority of state legislatures and governorships. This new poll from Suffolk University illustrates just how that’s possible. Here are the base results of the poll with favorable/unfavorable ratings.

  • Pence: 47%/35%
  • Trump: 45%/47%
  • GOP: 37%/48%
  • Media: 37%/50%
  • Dem Party: 36%/52%
  • Hillary: 35%/55%
  • Congress: 26%/52%

 

Part of the reason why the Democratic Party is so reviled stems from leaked emails in which former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz appeared to show favortism to Clinton over Bernie Sanders.
Part of the reason why the Democratic Party is so reviled stems from leaked emails in which former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz appeared to show favortism to Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

In other words, the Democratic Party has a favorability rating 11 points lower than Pence, nine points lower than Trump, and even one point lower than the GOP.

 

Their unfavorable rating is 17 points worse than Pence, five points worse than Trump, and four points worse than the GOP.

This is a disaster. At a time when Donald Trump is the least liked President ever measured at this point in his first term, the Democratic Party has found a way to be even less liked than him. This is how Donald Trump wins a second term. This is how congressional Republicans win the next midterm elections. This is how conservatives not only maintain their current power from coast to coast, but also expand it.

The Democratic Party is deeply unpopular – period. It’s a fact. Don’t look away. Don’t call me a Bernie Bro. It’s a problem that must be seriously addressed. Not a day goes by when I don’t have people reach out to me and ask if it would be worth it to start a credible alternative to what the Democrats are offering. Most people, I believe, would also be open to a brand new way of business for the Democratic Party, but core leaders seem hell bent on doing the same old crap.

When good people who are frustrated with the Democratic Party express their genuine concerns, I see them being told to shut up and unify. “Now is not the time for public complaints,” they are told. “We must all work together.”

But what this apparently means to the people who are calling for unity is getting behind the corporate, suit and tie, lobbyist-driven agenda of the establishment. But let me break it to you – the establishment has almost no grassroots momentum. Virtually every progressive grassroots movement in America right now is fueled by people outside of the Democratic Party establishment and this is a huge reason why the party is so outrageously unpopular.

Huge grassroots movements, made up of millions and millions of people, are fueling the fight for a $15 minimum wage, fighting back against fossil fuels and the Dakota Access Pipeline, fighting to end fracking, fighting to remove lobbyist money from politics, fighting to end senseless wars and international violence, fighting for universal healthcare, fighting for the legalization of marijuana, fighting for free college tuition, fighting against systems of mass incarceration, and so much more. But mainstream Democrats aren’t really a central part of any of those battles, and, to be clear, each of those issues have deep networks, energized volunteers, and serious donors, but corporate Democrats virtually ignore them.

In the past two months, I’ve spoken in a dozen states around the country and thousands of people show up. Wednesday night, in the freezing rain, lines were wrapped around multiple city blocks to attend an event I was hosting at a local Seattle high school. We literally formed the event a few days ago on Facebook and didn’t spend a single penny putting it together.

When I see these crowds, I don’t see them and think “Wow, I’m so popular.” I see them and think “Wow, people are hungry for change, and insight, and direction.” When I see those crowds, those polls showing how outrageously unpopular the Democratic Party is frustrate me even more. It just doesn’t have to be this way.

People show up in huge numbers for my events, or Bernie’s events, or for events put on by the organizers of the Women’s March, not just because we all want to stop Donald Trump. That’s a gross oversimplification of who we are and what we stand for. People are showing up, by the thousands, by tens and hundreds of thousands, because we have many of the very same beliefs, and passions, and preferences for how America can improve and be a better place for all of us.

 

JUNE 16, 2016 FILE PHOTO
The more progressive Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) narrowly lost the vote to become DNC chair, but he was crowned deputy chair by Perez.

The Democratic Party is not a fiery Barack Obama speech away from being popular. He may be beloved and mobs of screaming fans may follow him all over the country, but the party he represents simply doesn’t have that same type of support. And they won’t if they don’t do some serious soul searching about who and what they truly stand for.

Recently, I’ve asked the crowds where I am speaking two key questions about the Democratic Party. The response that I get is always the same – mass laughter or audible frustration.

The first question is, “If I asked you, in just a few sentences, to sum up what specific policies the Democratic Party stands for, what would you say?”

People have no genuine idea. They know some things the party stands against, but it’s genuinely hard to be sure of what they stand for.

The other question is, “What exactly is the strategy of the Democratic Party to take back the government from conservatives across the country?”

That one always gets the most laughs. Nobody has any idea. Not once has somebody stood up and said, “Hey, I know the strategy.” Hell, I don’t know it. I don’t think one exists. Whatever the strategy was this past election, it didn’t work either. And again, I don’t just mean in the presidential election. Democrats lost all over the place in national, state, and local elections.

Losing is hard. It sucks. I hate losing. But this much I know – if the Democratic Party does not come to grips with why it is so wildly unpopular, many more losses will be on the horizon.

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It’s Gotta Be True

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For President’s Day

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Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity By 2050

By Drew Hansen/ Forbes/ February 9, 2017

Capitalism has generated massive wealth for some, but it’s devastated the planet and has failed to improve human well-being at scale.

• Species are going extinct at a rate 1,000 times faster than that of the natural rate over the previous 65 million years (see Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School).

• Since 2000, 6 million hectares of primary forest have been lost each year. That’s 14,826,322 acres, or just less than the entire state of West Virginia (see the 2010 assessment by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN).

• Even in the U.S., 15% of the population lives below the poverty line. For children under the age of 18, that number increases to 20% (see U.S. Census).

• The world’s population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050 (see United Nations’ projections).

How do we expect to feed that many people while we exhaust the resources that remain?

Human activities are behind the extinction crisis. Commercial agriculture, timber extraction, and infrastructure development are causing habitat loss and our reliance on fossil fuels is a major contributor to climate change.

Public corporations are responding to consumer demand and pressure from Wall Street. Professors Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg published Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations last fall, arguing that businesses are locked in a cycle of exploiting the world’s resources in ever more creative ways.

“Our book shows how large corporations are able to continue engaging in increasingly environmentally exploitative behaviour by obscuring the link between endless economic growth and worsening environmental destruction,” they wrote.

Yale sociologist Justin Farrell studied 20 years of corporate funding and found that “corporations have used their wealth to amplify contrarian views [of climate change] and create an impression of greater scientific uncertainty than actually exists.”

Corporate capitalism is committed to the relentless pursuit of growth, even if it ravages the planet and threatens human health.

We need to build a new system: one that will balance economic growth with sustainability and human flourishing.

A new generation of companies are showing the way forward. They’re infusing capitalism with fresh ideas, specifically in regards to employee ownership and agile management.

The Increasing Importance Of Distributed Ownership And Governance

Fund managers at global financial institutions own the majority (70%) of the public stock exchange. These absent owners have no stake in the communities in which the companies operate. Furthermore, management-controlled equity is concentrated in the hands of a select few: the CEO and other senior executives.

On the other hand, startups have been willing to distribute equity to employees. Sometimes such equity distribution is done to make up for less than competitive salaries, but more often it’s offered as a financial incentive to motivate employees toward building a successful company.

According to The Economist, today’s startups are keen to incentivize via shared ownership: 

The central difference lies in ownership: whereas nobody is sure who owns public companies, startups go to great lengths to define who owns what. Early in a company’s life, the founders and first recruits own a majority stake—and they incentivise people with ownership stakes or performance-related rewards. That has always been true for startups, but today the rights and responsibilities are meticulously defined in contracts drawn up by lawyers. This aligns interests and creates a culture of hard work and camaraderie. Because they are private rather than public, they measure how they are doing using performance indicators (such as how many products they have produced) rather than elaborate accounting standards.

This trend hearkens back to cooperatives where employees collectively owned the enterprise and participated in management decisions through their voting rights. Mondragon is the oft-cited example of a successful, modern worker cooperative. Mondragon’s broad-based employee ownership is not the same as an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. With ownership comes a say – control – over the business. Their workers elect management, and management is responsible to the employees.

REI is a consumer cooperative that drew attention this past year when it opted out of Black Friday sales, encouraging its employees and customers to spend the day outside instead of shopping.

I suspect that the most successful companies under this emerging form of capitalism will have less concentrated, more egalitarian ownership structures. They will benefit not only financially but also communally.

Joint Ownership Will Lead To Collaborative Management

The hierarchical organization of modern corporations will give way to networks or communities that make collaboration paramount. Many options for more fluid, agile management structures could take hold.

For instance, newer companies are experimenting with alternative management models that seek to empower employees more than a traditional hierarchy typically does. Of these newer approaches, holacracy is the most widely known. It promises to bring structure and discipline to a peer-to-peer workplace.

Holacracy “is a new way of running an organization that removes power from a management hierarchy and distributes it across clear roles, which can then be executed autonomously, without a micromanaging boss.”

Companies like Zappos and Medium are in varying stages of implementing the management system.

Valve Software in Seattle goes even further, allowing employees to select which projects they want to work on. Employees then move their desks to the most conducive office area for collaborating with the project team.

These are small steps toward a system that values the employee more than what the employee can produce. By giving employees a greater say in decision-making, corporations will make choices that ensure the future of the planet and its inhabitants.

 

 
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Will Trump Step Down?

By Arlen Grossman

trump-2

President Donald Trump will soon resign, possibly in a matter of weeks. I don’t know any more than anyone else, and maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but that’s the feeling I have.

The drip, drip, drip of troubling revelations reminds me very much of Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal that forced the President to resign. Trump is even more unpopular than Nixon, so if it can be proven that his campaign colluded with the Russian government to sabotage the 2016 election, which seems more and more likely, the President will be in more than a heap of trouble.

Now it is true that Trump lives beyond the reality-based world, and can often position himself in a dense cloud of denial.  But we also know that he is a fanatical consumer of news media, and if developments point in the direction of a serious scandal, he may not be able to stand up to it.

We all know he does not tolerate criticism well, and a constant stream of it might just be more than he can stomach. He can’t be enjoying the media assault and the lousy poll numbers. Even Republicans in Congress can see the handwriting on the wall and may be compelled to call for an independent investigation. Trump may be asking himself, “Is this what I signed up for? Is it worth it?”

If the evidence points to a potential for impeachment, or completely destroys his credibility–what’s left of it–he may not want to continue spinning his wheels and pumping up his alternative reality. Trump can’t be having much fun, with a constant barrage of negative press and continuous damaging reports. He spent his whole life in business being fawned over, with people close to him pumping up his fragile ego. Now he’s up against a constant barrage of negative press. Can he handle this much intense pressure? He must have a breaking point, and it may come sooner than later.

It is quite possible that he will be out of office within weeks.Recent revelations combined with Trump’s narcsissistic and tenuous personality may be too much for him to deal with. I think he would rather step down and blame the press and other “enemies” than be impeached or forced to resign. 

We may be seeing a President Pence sooner than we would have thought possible.

 

Published in OpEd News February 17, 2016

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We Must Know the Truth

This is the worst scandal involving the White House and a foreign power since Iran-Contra. Demand the facts.

US President-elect Donald Trump (L) stands with Trump National Security Adviser Lt. General Michael Flynn (R) at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is holding meetings on December 21, 2016. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: there MUST be an investigation by an independent, bipartisan commission of Russia’s ties to Donald Trump and his associates and that nation’s interference in our elections. Emphasize independent and bipartisan. That commission must have full subpoena power to call witnesses and make them testify under oath or risk prosecution. Hearings must be held out in the open, and televised live for the nation and the world to see. That’s what a democracy is all about.

The resignation of national security advisor Michael Flynn makes such an inquiry even more imperative. On Friday, winging his way to Mar-a-Lago on Air Force One, Trump told the press he knew nothing about the previous night’s Washington Post report that Flynn had secretly discussed lifting sanctions against Russia with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. But on Tuesday, press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that Trump had known about Flynn’s phone calls – and his lies about it – weeks ago.

Why was nothing done until the media broke the story? And why did Trump lie? As the National Lampoon joked back during the Watergate era, rephrasing the crucial questions aimed at Richard Nixon: “What did the president know and when did he STOP knowing it?”

Is it possible Trump and Flynn had been talking all along and keeping it to themselves? Who authorized Flynn to speak with the Russian ambassador on Trump’s behalf in the first place? The president himself or chief strategist Steve Bannon? Or someone else? Was Flynn a lone gun? Who can tell with all the lies?

And another thing: if the White House has known what was going on for weeks, why was Flynn still attending intelligence briefings as late as Monday? That’s what White House resident spin doctor Kellyanne Conway told the Today’s show Matt Lauer on Tuesday. Otherwise,  Conway – who shortly before his resignation told the press that Flynn still had Trump’s confidence – was her usual duplicitous self.  Why the media keep turning to her for answers no one can trust is yet another indignity inflicted on the American public in this unfolding saga.

There is nothing as dangerous to democracy – with its need for checks and balances of power to protect the integrity of our system – as one-party rule. 

And where are the Republican patriots willing to come forward and place country and democracy over party and a venal lust for power? Other than John McCain, they’ve been mum or simply said ta-ta and thanked Flynn for his service. Late Tuesday, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it’s “highly likely” the Senate intelligence committee will investigate Flynn’s discussions with the Russian ambassador, but does anyone really think a Republican-dominated inquiry, with strings pulled back stage by McConnell, will dig for the truth and let the facts fall where they will?

Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight Committee, says he won’t investigate the Flynn affair – “I think that situation has taken care of itself.” How about that for respecting the public’s need to know?  And Rep. Chris Collins of upstate New York, the man with the dubious distinction of being the first member of Congress to endorse Trump’s candidacy, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Tuesday morning, “I think it’s just time to move on.” When asked why so many of his GOP colleagues were silent he suggested, “Well, [it’s] Valentine’s Day, and I guess they’re having breakfasts with their wives.”

Takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

There is nothing as dangerous to democracy – with its need for checks and balances of power to protect the integrity of our system – as one-party rule.  Unless there are responsible Republicans who will break ranks and join the Democrats in calling for an independent and bipartisan joint commission to investigate these astonishing developments in a fair and impartial way – with televised hearings – one of the greatest, perhaps the greatest, assaults on democracy in our 240-year history will go unpunished except for a few culprits like Flynn.

Americans must know whether the candidate of one party worked with a foreign power to influence the election against his opponent.

We repeat: This noxious scandal requires an open, independentbipartisan investigation with public hearings. Now. No patriot can settle for anything less.

 

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Is Our President Mentally Unstable?

Andrew Sullivan says journalists should be talking about Trump’s mental health

By Brian Stelter/ CNN/ February 12, 2017

 

“To have such an unstable figure, incapable of accepting reality, at the center of the world, is an extremely dangerous thing,” Sullivan said in an interview for Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” on CNN. 

 Sullivan’s view is that the president is exhibiting “bonkers” behavior — and that if they tip toe around it, journalists are doing the public a disservice. 

 

Sullivan, a pioneering blogger who is now a contributing editor to New York magazine, recently started what he’s calling a “weekly diary.” His first entry addressed what he called “the obvious question of the president’s mental and psychological health.” 

“I know we’re not supposed to bring this up — but it is staring us brutally in the face,” Sullivan wrote.

Chris Ruddy, a friend of Trump and the CEO of Newsmax Media, called Sullivan’s assessment “over the top.” 

“Are you guys really connected to reality?” Ruddy asked CNN’s Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources.” 

“To believe, as Andrew claimed, that because he got the murder statistic rate wrong, that therefore he’s a pathological liar, and therefore he’s mentally unstable, I really think that’s over the top,” Ruddy said in appearance just after Sullivan’s. 

Ruddy cited Trump’s history in real estate, reality television and his successful presidential campaign as signs of mental acumen. 

“If he’s crazy, he’s crazy like a fox,” Ruddy said. “So I would not underestimate his abilities.” 

In the CNN interview, Sullivan elaborated by saying that there’s a disconnect between on-air and off-air conversations. 

“Certainly, if you are not on camera or not writing, people are talking about this all the time,” Sullivan said. 

He defended his scrutiny of Trump’s mental health by saying he is not a shrink, “but I am a human being and I can tell if someone is saying things that we know not to be true and never corrects it.” 

He cited the president’s false depiction of the U.S. murder rate and bogus claims about widespread voter fraud. 

He said it pained him to raise these questions. “God knows, I wish I weren’t here having to say this,” Sullivan said. “No one wants to be here saying this. I don’t want to believe the president of the United States is just delusional or cannot accept reality. Of course not. It pains me. It gives me great pain and concern and distress. But at some point, being a writer or a journalist requires one to simply say what one is seeing in front of one’s eyes. And sometimes you have to say that in plain English.” 

A search of TV news closed captioning transcripts shows that the subject very rarely comes up on newscasts and talk shows. 

But several Democratic legislators and a number of liberal commentators have similarly questioned the president’s mental health. 

Rep. Ruben Gallego called Trump “mentally unstable” in a radio interview last month. Rep. Ted Lieu tweeted earlier this month, “Should he get mental health exam?” 

Over the weekend on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Senator Al Franken said some of his Republican counterparts privately “say that he is not right mentally. And then some are harsher.” 

Pressed for details on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Franken said “a few” Republicans had expressed that concern to him. 

Sullivan’s overarching point, in the “Reliable Sources” interview, was that democratic debates require a common set of facts. 

“When the central figure in our political system is creating an entire world of unreality, how are we supposed to respond?” he asked. “And I think we have to respond.  We have to respond by saying ‘Excuse me, Mr. President, with all due respect, you keep telling us things that are not true. Can you please stop this?’ And if you can’t stop it, if you simply keep asserting the world is one way when it really isn’t, because everybody else can see it, then we have a serious problem at the very heart of our government.” 

Writers and reporters, he added, need to “say and call it as we see it.” 

 
 
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What if…..?

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Trump Senior Advisor Makes Wild Claims

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