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Veteran Advisor

Re: free speech

Citizens United does not have anything to do with charitable organizations.  You have never been limited to the amount of money you could give to charity!  DA

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Senior Advisor

Re: free speech


@KNAPPer wrote:

Could be so. That's why we need to change the law. We do not need foriegn or domestic interests buying our politicians - either side. Clear enough?


Ity's already ILLEGAL.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Communism and Socialism Explained

COMMUNISM AND SOCIALISM

According to historian Richard Pipes, communism -- a term that was coined in Paris in the 1840s -- refers to an ideal of "full social equality that in its most extreme form calls for the dissolution of the individual in the community." "Inasmuch as social and economic inequalities derive primarily from inequalities of possession," says Pipes, communism's attainment, by definition, requires the "abolition of private property." While this theoretical ideal has an ancient heritage, communism as an operational program is most closely associated with the names of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, authors of the famous Communist Manifesto of 1848.

In the profiles and analyses contained in DiscoverTheNetworks, "communism" refers to the revolutionary philosophies based on Marxism, including also Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism and Maoism. When the term “Communism” is used as a synonym for the political system of the old Soviet Union and the Soviet satellite states ruled by various Communist parties, the “C” is capitalized.

Marxist doctrine holds that just as society evolved from feudalism to capitalism, it will inexorably progress still further to socialism and eventually communism. Communists consider socialism to be an intermediary step between capitalism (out of which socialism is said to grow) and communism. That is, communism (whose motto is “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”) is deemed a further development, or “higher stage,” of socialism (whose motto is “From each according to his ability, to each according to his deeds”). Communism, in other words, is viewed as the more “perfect” of two systems that both advocate public ownership of the means of production, centralized economic planning, and the widespread redistribution of wealth.

The socialist principle of distribution according to deeds, or the quality and quantity of work that people perform, stands in marked contrast to the communist principle of distribution according to people’s needs. The former, because it accepts deed-based distribution of wealth, is considered easier to implement in a capitalist society without large-scale overhauls of existing political and economic structures. In essence, socialists view capitalism as a viable economic mechanism whose reins must simply be transferred from the currently dominant “oppressor class” that misuses capitalism to exploit workers, into the hands of the “worker class” which could use the system for laudable ends.

Communists, unlike socialists, believe that capitalism cannot be subtly incorporated into a new, egalitarian economic order; that it cannot be used as a convenient means to a more desirable end. Rather, communists call for the annihilation of capitalism by revolutionary means. They exhort the working classes to overthrow the “capitalist dictatorship” and to establish a classless society by force -- using armed strength to utterly vanquish the existing “ruling class.”

Journalist Matthew Vadum offers this explanation of the similarities and differences between socialism and communism:

"Karl Marx thought of socialism as a necessary way station on the road to the supposed utopia of communism. The question of socialism versus communism is a never-ending debate in academic circles, and it is one that is too involved to get into here. Suffice it to say that socialists and communists all want government or the collective to be master. They all subscribe to bad, un-American ideas, are all in the same ideological camp, and all tend to believe that the ends justify the means. In ideological terms, there is no bright line or safe harbor that neatly separates socialism from communism. They overlap and blend into each other.

"Communism, according to Marx, was a kind of heaven on earth and he was its foremost proselytizer. He argued that human beings could be changed and made to reject their natural, selfish, family-oriented impulses. When this happened, everything would supposedly change for the better. People would voluntarily work hard for a society filled with abundance so there would be no need for governments, taxes, armies, police, courts, and jails. In such a society the principle of 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need' would prevail.

"But before this (impossible) idealized condition can be achieved, there has to be socialism. The working class, according to Marx's theory, disgusted by the supposed evils of capitalism and the misery they feel it inflicts on them, transforms the capitalist nation in which workers are mercilessly exploited, into a socialist state. Under socialism, in theory the 'means of production' -- factories, raw materials, machines, the labor force and the system by which it is organized -- are controlled by the people through a powerful government. The 'relations of production,' that is, the relationship between those who invest in and control industries and those who work in those industries is forever changed. The government steps in on behalf of the people and imposes what some call 'economic democracy,' theoretically giving workers control over their workplaces."

The RESOURCES column located on the right side of this page contains links to articles, essays, books, and videos that explore such topics as:

the worldviews and objectives of communism and socialism;
the history and evolution of communist and socialist ideas, as well as the history of the real-world implementation of those ideas;
the concept of cultural Marxism, more commonly known as "political correctness";
socialism in the United States;
the collaboration between American and British intelligence agencies that decoded Soviet spy transmissions during the World War II era;
how Hollywood has become a bastion of leftist, socialist, and communist leanings -- a development that has greatly influenced the nature of the movies that the entertainment world's leading actors and producers make;
the immense harm that communism has inflicted on the populations living under its rule;
important books for those who wish to educate themselves about the history, ideals, and goals of communism and socialism;
the text, message, and influence of a number of communism's seminal writings;
the phenomenon of "McCarthyism" and its lasting legacy;
the extent and influence of Soviet espionage in the American press during the 1940s; and
the relationship between communism and the genocidal objectives of Palestinian extremists; and

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Senior Contributor

Re: free speech

You speak the truth, but if a foreign interest wants to give a ton of money to a US lobbyist and then the lobbyist wants to help a candidate out, or if a foreign interest wants to transfer a bunch of money to a US company, well then lobbyists are free to contribute and corporations are people, aren't they?

 

I would think you already know this is happening.

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Veteran Advisor

Democratic Socialism Explained

What is Democratic Socialism? Q & A
Democratic socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives.

Democracy and socialism go hand in hand. All over the world, wherever the idea of democracy has taken root, the vision of socialism has taken root as well—everywhere but in the United States. Because of this, many false ideas about socialism have developed in the US. With this pamphlet, we hope to answer some of your questions about socialism.

Doesn't socialism mean that the government will own and run everything?
Hasn't socialism been discredited by the collapse of Communism in the USSR and Eastern Europe?
Private corporations seem to be a permanent fixture in the US, so why work towards socialism?
Won't socialism be impractical because people will lose their incentive to work?
Why are there no models of democratic socialism?
But hasn't the European Social Democratic experiment failed?
Aren't you a party that's in competition with the Democratic Party for votes and support?
If I am going to devote time to politics, why shouldn't I focus on something more immediate?
What can young people do to move the US towards socialism?
If so many people misunderstand socialism, why continue to use the word?
Doesn't socialism mean that the government will own and run everything?

A:
Democratic socialists do not want to create an all-powerful government bureaucracy. But we do not want big corporate bureaucracies to control our society either. Rather, we believe that social and economic decisions should be made by those whom they most affect.
Today, corporate executives who answer only to themselves and a few wealthy stockholders make basic economic decisions affecting millions of people. Resources are used to make money for capitalists rather than to meet human needs. We believe that the workers and consumers who are affected by economic institutions should own and control them.
Social ownership could take many forms, such as worker-owned cooperatives or publicly owned enterprises managed by workers and consumer representatives. Democratic socialists favor as much decentralization as possible. While the large concentrations of capital in industries such as energy and steel may necessitate some form of state ownership, many consumer-goods industries might be best run as cooperatives.
Democratic socialists have long rejected the belief that the whole economy should be centrally planned. While we believe that democratic planning can shape major social investments like mass transit, housing, and energy, market mechanisms are needed to determine the demand for many consumer goods.
Hasn't socialism been discredited by the collapse of Communism in the USSR and Eastern Europe?

A:
Socialists have been among the harshest critics of authoritarian Communist states. Just because their bureaucratic elites called them “socialist” did not make it so; they also called their regimes “democratic.” Democratic socialists always opposed the ruling party-states of those societies, just as we oppose the ruling classes of capitalist societies. We applaud the democratic revolutions that have transformed the former Communist bloc. However, the improvement of people’s lives requires real democracy without ethnic rivalries and/or new forms of authoritarianism. Democratic socialists will continue to play a key role in that struggle throughout the world.
Moreover, the fall of Communism should not blind us to injustices at home. We cannot allow all radicalism to be dismissed as “Communist.” That suppression of dissent and diversity undermines America’s ability to live up to its promise of equality of opportunity, not to mention the freedoms of speech and assembly.
Private corporations seem to be a permanent fixture in the US, so why work towards socialism?

A:
In the short term we can’t eliminate private corporations, but we can bring them under greater democratic control. The government could use regulations and tax incentives to encourage companies to act in the public interest and outlaw destructive activities such as exporting jobs to low-wage countries and polluting our environment. Public pressure can also have a critical role to play in the struggle to hold corporations accountable. Most of all, socialists look to unions to make private business more accountable.
Won't socialism be impractical because people will lose their incentive to work?

A:
We don’t agree with the capitalist assumption that starvation or greed are the only reasons people work. People enjoy their work if it is meaningful and enhances their lives. They work out of a sense of responsibility to their community and society. Although a long-term goal of socialism is to eliminate all but the most enjoyable kinds of labor, we recognize that unappealing jobs will long remain. These tasks would be spread among as many people as possible rather than distributed on the basis of class, race, ethnicity, or gender, as they are under capitalism. And this undesirable work should be among the best, not the least, rewarded work within the economy. For now, the burden should be placed on the employer to make work desirable by raising wages, offering benefits and improving the work environment. In short, we believe that a combination of social, economic, and moral incentives will motivate people to work.
Why are there no models of democratic socialism?

A:
Although no country has fully instituted democratic socialism, the socialist parties and labor movements of other countries have won many victories for their people. We can learn from the comprehensive welfare state maintained by the Swedes, from Canada’s national health care system, France’s nationwide childcare program, and Nicaragua’s literacy programs. Lastly, we can learn from efforts initiated right here in the US, such as the community health centers created by the government in the 1960s. They provided high quality family care, with community involvement in decision-making.
But hasn't the European Social Democratic experiment failed?

A:
Many northern European countries enjoy tremendous prosperity and relative economic equality thanks to the policies pursued by social democratic parties. These nations used their relative wealth to insure a high standard of living for their citizens—high wages, health care and subsidized education. Most importantly, social democratic parties supported strong labor movements that became central players in economic decision-making. But with the globalization of capitalism, the old social democratic model becomes ever harder to maintain. Stiff competition from low-wage labor markets in developing countries and the constant fear that industry will move to avoid taxes and strong labor regulations has diminished (but not eliminated) the ability of nations to launch ambitious economic reform on their own. Social democratic reform must now happen at the international level. Multinational corporations must be brought under democratic controls, and workers’ organizing efforts must reach across borders.
Now, more than ever, socialism is an international movement. As socialists have always known, the welfare of working people in Finland or California depends largely on standards in Italy or Indonesia. As a result, we must work towards reforms that can withstand the power of multinationals and global banks, and we must fight for a world order that is not controlled by bankers and bosses.
Aren't you a party that's in competition with the Democratic Party for votes and support?

A:
No, we are not a separate party. Like our friends and allies in the feminist, labor, civil rights, religious, and community organizing movements, many of us have been active in the Democratic Party. We work with those movements to strengthen the party’s left wing, represented by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
The process and structure of American elections seriously hurts third party efforts. Winner-take-all elections instead of proportional representation, rigorous party qualification requirements that vary from state to state, a presidential instead of a parliamentary system, and the two-party monopoly on political power have doomed third party efforts. We hope that at some point in the future, in coalition with our allies, an alternative national party will be viable. For now, we will continue to support progressives who have a real chance at winning elections, which usually means left-wing Democrats.
If I am going to devote time to politics, why shouldn't I focus on something more immediate?

A:
Although capitalism will be with us for a long time, reforms we win now—raising the minimum wage, securing a national health plan, and demanding passage of right-to-strike legislation—can bring us closer to socialism. Many democratic socialists actively work in the single-issue organizations that advocate for those reforms. We are visible in the reproductive freedom movement, the fight for student aid, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered organizations, anti-racist groups, and the labor movement.
It is precisely our socialist vision that informs and inspires our day-to-day activism for social justice. As socialists we bring a sense of the interdependence of all struggles for justice. No single-issue organization can truly challenge the capitalist system or adequately secure its particular demands. In fact, unless we are all collectively working to win a world without oppression, each fight for reforms will be disconnected, maybe even self-defeating.
What can young people do to move the US towards socialism?

A:
Since the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s, young people have played a critical role in American politics. They have been a tremendous force for both political and cultural change in this country: in limiting the US’s options in the war in Vietnam, in forcing corporations to divest from the racist South African regime, in reforming universities, and in bringing issues of sexual orientation and gender discrimination to public attention. Though none of these struggles were fought by young people alone, they all featured youth as leaders in multi-generational progressive coalitions. Young people are needed in today’s struggles as well: for universal health care and stronger unions, against welfare cuts and predatory multinational corporations.
Schools, colleges and universities are important to American political culture. They are the places where ideas are formulated and policy discussed and developed. Being an active part of that discussion is a critical job for young socialists. We have to work hard to change people’s misconceptions about socialism, to broaden political debate, and to overcome many students’ lack of interest in engaging in political action. Off-campus, too, in our daily cultural lives, young people can be turning the tide against racism, sexism and homophobia, as well as the conservative myth of the virtue of “free” markets.
Join our student section, Youth Democratic Socialists!
If so many people misunderstand socialism, why continue to use the word?

A:
First, we call ourselves socialists because we are proud of what we are. Second, no matter what we call ourselves, conservatives will use it against us. Anti-socialism has been repeatedly used to attack reforms that shift power to working class people and away from corporate capital. In 1993, national health insurance was attacked as “socialized medicine” and defeated. Liberals are routinely denounced as socialists in order to discredit reform. Until we face, and beat, the stigma attached to the “S word,” politics in America will continue to be stifled and our options limited. We also call ourselves socialists because we are proud of the traditions upon which we are based, of the heritage of the Socialist Party of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, and of other struggles for change that have made America more democratic and just. Finally, we call ourselves socialists to remind everyone that we have a vision of a better world.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Communism and Socialism Explained

How about those commies in canada or britian, france, germany, denmark and sweden. Are they all going to hell in a hand basket?

 

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Senior Contributor

Re:trump is not immune!

Trump has enough self interest to pull the strings. He has already told you that he wants to eliminate Inheritance taxes. For a dude with supposedly 10 billion that is one helluva tax cut! And don't think for a minute that his rich buds don't share his objective.

 

So he has 10 billion net worth and how many billions of capital gains taxes will be avoided?

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Senior Advisor

Re: Re:trump is not immune!


@OKdon wrote:

Trump has enough self interest to pull the strings. He has already told you that he wants to eliminate Inheritance taxes. For a dude with supposedly 10 billion that is one helluva tax cut! And don't think for a minute that his rich buds don't share his objective.

 

So he has 10 billion net worth and how many billions of capital gains taxes will be avoided?


The only reason Trump does well in the polls is because of his willingness to build a wall and protect our sovereignty from those who ILLEGALLY cross the border and his willingness to keep terrorist from immigrating into the country. Helps also that he is not polically correct.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Re:trump is not immune!

It's all a scam. He has so damned many lies out there floating around and he has explained nothing, Mexico is not going to pay for that multi billion$$ wall. So get your checkbook out!

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Veteran Advisor

Re: free speech

He knows it knapp, but like everything else he and the rest do, he only wants it forbidden for the left, not his guys!!