With the realization that Sanders will probably not win the Democratic Party nomination, and that said establishment Party is corrupt beyond repair, there has been a spate of internet articles on what to do with the Sanders campaign machine. One option I hear frequently is to take all that momentum and organization and form a progressive third party, one that challenges both the establishment Democratic and Republican Parties. We've come to realize that the Democratic Party is too far gone to the dark side of corporate cronyism never to return to its own progressive roots. In the posts that follow I'll provide my jeremiad on this.

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Now may be as good a time as any to remind about what some research has shown about moral values. I have posted it several times over time at integral life because the TED presenter and author is succinct and effective in conveying that neither liberals (ergo, progressives) or conservatives have a monopoly on responding to the deep values of humans. I may have posted it here but don't remember doing so.

Jonathan Haidt's study slices through the topic in one way that captures some pithy realities about morality and ethics, but, of course, there are other ways of slicing through sociopolitical human life. Enjoy.


"Psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices, whether we're left, right or center. In this eye-opening talk, he pinpoints the moral values that liberals and conservatives tend to honor most."
From an "anti-establishment party", the first woman mayor ever was elected to the 3000year-old Eternal City, Rome.

"The anti-establishment Five Star Movement has won key mayoral races in Italy's capital Rome and Turin, cementing its role in Italian politics.
Virginia Raggi won 67% of the Rome vote and becomes its first female mayor.
Her victory is a blow to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's centre-left Democratic Party (PD), which won in Milan and Bologna.
The results could give anti-globalisation Five Star a platform for parliamentary elections due in 2018.
Five Star is aiming to establish itself as the main opposition party ahead of the vote, and its success on Sunday extended well beyond Rome. It won in 19 out of 20 towns and cities in which its candidates stood for mayor.
Another female Five Star candidate, Chiara Appendino, won the race for mayor in Turin, defeating a Democratic Party candidate who had come out on top in the first round of voting two weeks ago.
"It was not a vote of protest, but of pride and change, " she told supporters, promising to rebuilt trust between the people of Turin and its elected representatives.


I don't place much stock in Haidt. See this previous video debate between Haidt and Harris and the ensuing discussion. Note that because it's a video the discussion has the latest comment first and the oldest comment last.

Ambo Suno said:

Jonathan Haidt's study slices through the topic in one way that captures some pithy realities about morality and ethics, but, of course, there are other ways of slicing through sociopolitical human life. Enjoy.

In this article Taibbi rails against the corrupt Dem Party that expects our vote or we must be supporting the evil Republicans. They set up this false dichotomy and expect us to accept that taking dirty money that buys favors as just the way it is. Get real already! Taibbi is right, that it's the Dem Party that is wrong here. And the likes of Sanders is right that we need a fundamental change to our system of government. We the people demand it, and we are ignored. It's time for us to organize and fight back.

I haven't had a chance yet to check out Haidt, but if Sam Harris is arguing against him, those would be positive marks for Haidt in my knee-jerk reaction, just because of my distaste for Harris. 

On another note, for some reason I couldn't find the "Real and False Reason" thread I remember being on here somewhere, so I'll put this here. 

If Facts Don't Matter, What Does? James Hoggan, of DeSmog blog, writes about George Lakoff's ideas on "frames" in the context of Progressives and Conservatives. 


"The truth is, facts alone don’t change minds, said Lakoff, who wrote a book calledDon’t Think of an Elephant, which explains how to frame political debates in terms of values not facts.

He believes that the progressive community contributes to confusion in the public square because of an outdated understanding of reason and consequent lack of persuasive communication. During our interview, he told me that progressives need a mental model that goes beyond cold, logical messaging that’s directly correlated to reality — a model which should embrace metaphors, a marriage of emotion and logic.

Liberals have an unemotional view of reason that dates back to French philosopher Descartes. Lakoff explained that when conservatives want to go into politics they study business, marketing and what makes people tick, whereas progressives study political science, law and public policy. Progressives don’t study cognitive science, neurology or how the brain works. “They learn a false view of reason that goes back to the 1600s…that says reason is conscious, logical and unemotional.”

Edwyrd theurj Burj said:

I don't place much stock in Haidt. See this previous video debate between Haidt and Harris and the ensuing discussion. Note that because it's a video the discussion has the latest comment first and the oldest comment last.

Ambo Suno said:

Jonathan Haidt's study slices through the topic in one way that captures some pithy realities about morality and ethics, but, of course, there are other ways of slicing through sociopolitical human life. Enjoy.

Here's a link to the last post in the real/false reason thread. As for Harris and Haidt, I discuss their debate and where I agree/disagree with both in the comments. I have my complaints with Harris, specifically on Islam, but in this debate he's far more accurate than Haidt imo.

I listened a bit to the Norman Goldman show today. He admitted that both the electoral college and the Democratic super delegates are specifically designed because they don't trust we the people. And that the Dem Party is further designed to support itself over we the people. That it no longer represents we the people, and does represent their moneyed backers, is indisputable. And we're supposed to become a part of that?

Sanders only ran as a Democrat because if you're not in one or the other of the two major parties you have no chance. Since you like to get at the core issue, that's it: the two-party system itself is corrupt. To have a vibrant democracy of the people requires a multi-party system that allows for those other Parties to actually have a chance to compete in the system.

The Green Party, for example, has been around a long time and done all the required things to get on ballots etc. That is, they agree with you on taking the long view and working toward it. And they are very much aligned with the Sanders agenda. But after all that work they still have no real chance in the rigged two-party system. That is, unless the likes of Sanders and Warren realize that if they want to put people before Party they need to either join the Green Party or form a new one.

There is absolutely no hope left for the Democratic Party after a long, slow struggle to change it, to wit, the Progressive Caucus. Year after year their agenda and budgets are right out of Sanders' playbook and they never get enough votes to matter or even change the majority corporate Dems one iota. To suggest that even more long effort at Dem Party reform is part of the problem, not the solution.

In this video Thomas Frank reiterates points in his new book, Listen Liberal! Bottom line, the Democratic Party abandoned the unions and the working class to support the professional class because they had the money to support their campaigns. Yes, the current Party is all about money and money only. Party members still talk a progressive game but it's all spin designed to get votes and do nothing about progressive policies. Remember Obama while campaigning said that NAFTA was a disaster and that he'd change it. In office, quite the opposite with his adamant support of the TPP. Plus his Justice Department failed in criminally prosecute even one Wall Street Banker for crimes they admitted to. And it's still ongoing and even encouraged through revolving doors of the professional elite. It will be the same with Clinton and things will continue to deteriorate.

Sanders of course represents a throw back in their minds to the New Deal that cared for the working class. The corporate Democrats find that revolting and did their best to thwart the People's candidate and hence in their minds the crass, unwashed masses. As my mother used to say, watch not what they say but what they do.

See this article that details a lawsuit to be filed against the Democratic National Committee "alleging fraud and collusion with the Hillary Clinton campaign." Some of the evidence comes from DNC internal communications revealed by hacker Guccifer 2.0. I hope the suit gains traction and goes to court. Hitting the DNC's bottom line might be the only way to get it to actually obey its own charter and bylaws that forbid such behavior. The DNC, like Clinton herself, have always felt they were above and beyond the rules for everyone else.

I'm learning a lot about US political history from reading People Get Ready. Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican President (1901-09), initiated the Progressive Era and much of the infrastructure necessary for an effective democracy. After his successor (Taft) made a mess of things Teddy once again competed in the 1912 Republican primary as a challenge to Taft. But like today, "the final credentials of the state delegates at the national convention were determined by the national committee, which was controlled by the party leaders, headed by the incumbent president" (Wikipedia).

Hence he lost the primary and then ran for President on the Progressive Party he and others formed. He got 27% of the vote compared to Taft's 23%, while the Democrat Wilson won with 42%. Even though he lost he defeated Taft and kept the progressive agenda on the map which Wilson embraced, and set the stage for further progressive reforms later under FDR.

See this story about the DNC platform. Recall that in order to placate Sanders and his followers the DNC gave him 5 seats on the Party platform committee, which is of course only one-third of it. One Sanders rep wanted a commitment to withhold a vote on the TPP but was voted down by the corporate Dems. Another wanted a carbon tax and moratorium on fracking, also voted down. Single-payer was also rejected. 90% of what was agreed upon were neoliberal policies. Cornell West refused to vote for the final platform in protest. There were a few positive planks, like an upgraded version of Glass-Steagall and strengthening social security, but my guess is that these will be quickly forgotten when the corporate money rolls in.

Chris Hedges on the establishment Dem Party:

"During the presidential election cycle, liberals display their gutlessness. Liberal organizations, such as MoveOn.org, become cloyingly subservient to the Democratic Party. Liberal media, epitomized by MSNBC, ruthlessly purge those who challenge the Democratic Party establishment. Liberal pundits, such as Paul Krugman, lambaste critics of the political theater, charging them with enabling the Republican nominee. Liberals chant, in a disregard for the facts, not to be like Ralph Nader, the 'spoiler' who gave us George W. Bush.

"The liberal class refuses to fight for the values it purports to care about. It is paralyzed and trapped by the induced panic manufactured by the systems of corporate propaganda. The only pressure within the political system comes from corporate power. With no counterweight, with no will on the part of the liberal class to defy the status quo, we slide deeper and deeper into corporate despotism. The repeated argument of the necessity of supporting the 'least worse' makes things worse.

"Change will not come quickly. It may take a decade or more. And it will never come by capitulating to the Democratic Party establishment. We will accept our place in the political wilderness and build alternative movements and parties to bring down corporate power or continue to watch our democracy atrophy into a police state and our ecosystem unravel."

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

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