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Donovan attacks Glasser. Why?

By On

Last year, the establishment Democrats, using the Democratic National Committee, worked to block the insurgent campaign of Bernie Sanders. After he bowed out, he urged his supporters to run for local office. One of the people he inspired is local social worker and activist, Amy Glasser, who at the beginning of this year launched her campaign for the brand new North Bellingham County Council district.

Unfortunately, the establishment is always looking for ways to keep the activists out. Todd Donovan, who is only one and a half years into his four-year term on the County Council, saw her run as a personal affront. So he decided in May to also run for the North Bellingham County Council district seat, entering the race five months after Glasser and two years early. As he explained in the Cascadia Weekly July 12 issue, “She is free, anyone is free, to run for office. But I think it should be understood in the context of taking someone who is on the Council off the Council. Because that is the effect . . . It will be interesting in future races, because some of us on the Council will not be viable, will not be elected, in the new districts. So we’re looking at a coming shift on the Council, a conservative shift, and I think the hope of many progressives was that progressives themselves would not complicate that shift.”

To fend off this progressive challenger, Donovan is pulling out all the stops. He sent a mailer to Whatcom Democrats accusing Glasser of not being a real Democrat because she had protested against Gov. Inslee (photo 2 above); he has assailed Glasser on facebook, accusing her of illegal election spending with a “shadowy PAC,” while neither providing documentation nor filing a complaint with the PDC (photo 3); he has badgered her on social media, whining that she wants him, personally, removed from the council (photo 4); as a WWU prof, he’s even used his access to the student database to follow the activities of a Glasser supporter and one of his critics (photo 5).

His latest election tactic has been to flood the district with mailers promoting the Republican candidate. This mailer includes a nice picture of Daniel Collick and states that he is supported by the Whatcom Republicans. It is an encouragement to vote for Collick if you aren’t aware there is a third candidate available to you: Amy Glasser. You may even assume that Collick paid for the advertisement. But you would be wrong.

Donovan is attempting to drive up Collick’s vote total to squeeze Glasser out of the “Top Two” primary. To promote his conservative opponent at the expense of a fellow progressive is deeply disappointing. This sort of heavy-handed dirty politics may be a sad fact of presidential races but it has no place in Whatcom County politics.

Glasser and Donovan have some key policy differences: their approaches to affordable housing, the jail, and how to protect Lake Whatcom. It would be a shame if, once again, the establishment buried a robust discussion of the issues behind shady electioneering.

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About John Servais

Writer • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

Stephanie Kountouros

Jul 26, 2017

Shameless promo:

Todd Donovan addresses these issues directly in the Cascadia News Now interview. Todd’s and Amy Glasser’s interviews will air again tonight (Wednesday, 7/26) at 5:30 pm, Sunday, 7/30 at 11:00 am, and Monday, 7/31 at 1:00 pm on KMRE 102.3 FM in Bellingham, kmre.org everywhere.

Cascadia News Now loves Northwest Citizen! We invite citizen journalists, comments, and story ideas at our website. 

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John Servais

Jul 26, 2017

Stephanie, we welcome your informational post.  We keep a permanent link to KMRE on this site.  Readers can scroll to the very bottom of any page and see links to many local news media, local causes, local information sites, our governments, and other links we think useful.  Try it now - scroll down from right here.  They are always there.  KMRE is in the left most column. 

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Stephanie Kountouros

Jul 26, 2017

Thanks much, John. I appreciate it, and NWC. 

I’ll write to you personally to see if you might consider adding Cascadia News Now as a local news source as well. :)

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David Camp

Jul 26, 2017

SO Mr. Donovan is explicit that he is a mainstream Democrat and portrays Amy Glasser as some kind of anti-Democrat - she even supports Bernie Sanders, a well-known non-Democrat!

For these reasons alone, the only possible vote is for Amy Glasser. Todd is on the wrong side of history in supporting a Democrat Party that sells out its New Deal heritage for Wall St. billions. 

For shame, Todd, and for shame the local Democrats for rigging the local endorsements just like the national party rigged the primaries for their losing candidate.  It’s no longer business as usual and I’m sorry to say that Mr. Donovan has shown himself to be part of the problem, not the solution.

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Michael Chiavario

Jul 26, 2017

Without commenting on the  specifics of John’s complaints about Mr. Donovan ( I will let Todd do that) I would like to take issue with the heading statement of paragraph 2: “..the establishment is always looking for ways to keep the activists out.” Implying that the Local Democratic Party is ‘Establishent’ and is fomenting division in order to stop real progressive change.

I am a progressive activist. I am also a PCO in the local party. I have never been ‘establishment’. I participated in the Party endorsement meeting and it was not rigged as some have contended. It was an exercise in local democracy. Local Democrats are probably around 80% Berniecrats. You would be hard pressed to find a more progressive organized group of any consequence in our county. In order to insure a progressive Democratic Party that can win in ‘18 and ‘20, I urge John and others who have criticisms of the local Dems to join up and work to ensure that we go in the right direction. Throwing mudballs from outside only serves to divide and weaken the only viable Progressive electoral organization in Whatcom county.  A third party is not going to do it folks. Looked what happened in ‘16 after the Repubs successfully divided the Dems at the national level. We can’t afford to let that happen again.

Please, if you are a progressive and  have criticisms of our local Democratic Party, join us and help us do better.

Michael Chiavario

 

 

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Dianne Foster

Jul 26, 2017

As a long-time PCO who was volunteering at the front table for the Dem county convention,   I can say that Todd was a Bernie delegate,  and that he has made statements in the past against the DLC corporate Dems.  He was quick on his feet to compose the 5-district county structure in the charter review process,  saving us from a permanent teabag/fossil-fuel-backed 3 member council in future.   (although the original idea was proposed at charter review meeting by a Vista middle-schooler whose dad is a history teacher in Ferndale;  all the same,  Todd crafted it into a sellable item that kicked butt,  using his expertise as a nationally known political scientist with specialty area on districting and elections. )        And he has opposed the big jail all along, preferring more spent on alternatives.   Having said all that,    I am sending a donation to Amy,  as I have been turned off by his snarky comments to her,   and now by his endorsement of the Repug in the race.     I attended the CAO council meeting yesterday for almost 3 hours,  and there was very little of any substance discussed,   mostly word-smithing, and this was the last meeting before that all-important update.    There will be a public hearing in 1 month,  but I’m not holding my breath that any of the public’s requests will be implemented,  especially if they don’t represent an economic sector.   We do need a shake-up on council.   Thanks for the article.

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Tip Johnson

Jul 26, 2017

I’m not going to argue that Todd is a corporate D.  After all, as mentioned, he was a Bernista. I find him refreshingly progressive on many issues, though I agree his snark toward Amy has not been helping him.  However, I suspect the mailer idea and verbiage originates with Ds far more entrenched and “establishment” than Todd.  Those glossy mailers have all the hallmarks - finger prints - of other such establishment campaigns I have seen for many years.

There are some other issues worth considering.

The first is that if Amy gets elected, we still keep Todd for the remainder of his term.  Aren’t two progressives better than one?

Second, Todd signed up for his seat and term and the electors chose him to represent them.  Shouldn’t he feel a responsibility to continue representing those electors on that seat for the term?  I can think of only one instance in which a locally elected official voluntarily resigned their term prematurely, and I felt it was a bit off then, too.  I’m of the mind that first you do what you say you are going to do, and then move on.

Third, if Todd wins, we lose Amy’s potentially valuable contributions.  Worse, Todd’s empty seat will be filled by an appointment made by six members of the Whatcom County Council.   Elector’s will have no direct involvement.  Sorry, but that is a far less democratic or progressive way to find oneself represented.  It also is a possibly risky gambit.

I like Todd and think he has a lot to offer the council and the people he represents.  I expect he regrets the mailer and will distance himself from the architects.  But I like what I hear from Amy, too.  In the formulation of public policy, the value of fresh people and ideas is often quite underrated.  In my opinion, we would do better with both candidates.

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David Camp

Jul 27, 2017

@Michael Chiavario - I’m sure what you say is correct but why would the local Democrats put up and endorse a candidate who has to resign his existing seat if he wins over a progressive who declared months ago? Could it be that they would prefer to appoint his replacement rather than have an election? How is this democratic in any way? - more like dirty inside baseball, it seems to me.  

If Democrats want more people to support them, how about endorsing progressives who will actually do something useful? When has RIck Larsen done anything the DNC didn’t tell him to do? Yet you endorse him every cycle.

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Dick Conoboy

Jul 27, 2017

I rest MY case.  :-)

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Elisabeth Britt

Jul 27, 2017

According to Mr. Servais, candidate Amy Glasser is being unfairly treated by her primary opponent, Whatcom County Councilmember Todd Donovan.

As a woman and a veteran of numerous campaigns, I find this argument speculative. But before I continue, I need to acknowlege that I am supporting Todd Donovan in his bid for the Council District 2 seat.  Readers should also know that Professor Donovan was one of my instructors in the Political Science Department at W.W.U. I believe Mr. Servais is supporting Amy Glasser for this seat. 

First, there is much less gender bias in politics than one might think. In 2014, the Pew Institute  conducted extentensive research into the perceived bias against female candidates in America. Here in part is what they found. Women believe men have an easier time running for elected office than women do. In fact, 73% of women believe that it is easier for men to be elected, with approximately 58% of men agreeing that it is easier for men to be elected. 

Authors Danny Hayes and Jennifer Lawless disagree with the assumption that women have a harder time running for office. In a 2016 Washington Post article, they assert, after conducting national research, that voters and the news media treat female and male candidates the same way. 

In their book, “Women on the run: Gender, Media and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era.”  The authors tell us “that the vast majority of women who run for office are treated - by the media and voters - no differently than men. Women are under-represented not because of what happens on the campaign trail, but because they are much less likely to run in the first place.” 

Meanwhile, back to the argument that Amy is being singled out for unfair treatment. Perhaps former President Harry Truman summed it up best: “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

If Amy finds the strain of political campaigning overly taxing, perhaps she isn’t cut out to be an elected official. I’ve worked for female politicians. You need to be smart, strategic and tough, regardless of gender, in order to survive in this dog-eat-dog political world. 

Now, let’s move on to the ridiculous accusation posted on the Fourth Corner blog that Councilmember Donovan is “endorsing” his Republican opponent with his campaign mailer. 

A quick google search provides an overwhelming array of sample campaign mailers that include photos of the candidate and his/her opponent from the opposite party. That said, it was nice of the Republicans to give Councilmember Donovan the free media coverage.

Today, media coverage is largely driven by partisan conflict. In other words, both Democrats and Republicans are more likely to choose candidates based on ideological concepts, rather than gender. 

Hence, if I were running a campaign in a three-way primary election, I would also choose to hightlight the differences between myself and the opposing party’s candidate.  Increasingly, voters choose candidates based on the “D” or “R” placed behind the candidate’s name. Which in part, explains why the local Democrats voted to endorse candidates in the primary election.  It was hardly a backroom conspiracy. It was done in an open, public meeting where the members decided to take a vote to endorse Democrat candidates for the primary election. 

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Ronna Loerch

Jul 27, 2017

Amy is hardly showing signs of fatigue.  She is as energetic as shes was when I first met her.  I except she wil continue to be so.  IT is her nature.  This entire spectacle is unfortunate.  Does not bode well for the democrats as they pursue elected offices.  IF this keeps up and the dems want to just be CLinton wannabes in thrallof the corpoarate agenda  (neoliberalism) don’t expect much election success down the road. 

Also Todd chose the conservative candidate on this flier.  IT is a primary not the election.  He essentially does not have an “opponet” yet.    Both he and Amy could be the top 2.  Watch for it!

 

 

 

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Dick Conoboy

Jul 27, 2017

Elizabeth,

You said above “If Amy finds the strain of political campaigning overly taxing, perhaps she isn’t cut out to be an elected official. “ Why this strawman comment? I don’t remember this having been brought up by Amy.  She is one tough woman. 

As for unfair treatment, one can be a victim of it which is surely the case here with Amy, starting with the sleazy endorsement process by the Dems.  It has nothing to do with hot kitchens.  Unfair is unfair.

Dick

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Andronetta Douglass

Jul 27, 2017

When I went to the Rev meeting, I think Amy said herself that she is not a Democrat.  Maybe she was clarifying that the Revolution group is not a democratic organization. She seems determined to divide the left rather than unite us. I do not want to be a Bernieite or a Clintonite. I do not consider myself to be an Obamaite even though I worked very hard for his election. I am a Democrat and I am willing to work with allies that are willing to work together to reach our progressive goals. I think we are facing the end of democracy and small minded divisiveness will not win the day.

 

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Elisabeth Britt

Jul 27, 2017

Ronna, thank you for your comment.  Please know that I respect your right to disagree with me. As long as you play fair.  

Again, I have worked for elected female officials. None of them ever assumed during a campaign that they had a right to be elected, just because they announced their candidacy first. Nor did they  play the victim card during the election cycle.

Poor Amy, the local Democrats didn’t play fair. 

Poor Amy, none of the incumbents have any business filing to run against her. They should allow their terms to expire, then fight it out among themselves to see who should remain on the council…

I’m very happy to hear that Amy remains energetic, passionate and eager to represent Council District 2. Now let’s see if she’s mature enough to earn it.  

Dick, please see above.  As a woman, I am offended by the repeated claims by Amy’s supporters that the county council incumbents (and the local democrats) somehow owe Amy this seat.   Or that Todd  somehow did something wrong when he filed to run for the seat.  Even if it was at the last minute. Filing week exists for candidates to declare their candidacy. It serves no other purpose. Since when do we declare a winner based on who declared their intent to run for office first?

That said, fire away. I’ve stepped out of the shadows and I am willing to take on an entire array of insults. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tim Paxton

Jul 27, 2017

I am pretty sure that with 3 months of campaigning  and door belling available, Ms Glasser can still put up a good battle by  hitting the sidewalks in District 2 and perhaps even win in November.

It is possible that getting stuck with the first name of “Poor” and being a Victim or somehow entitled  to this Council seat is not going to be a compelling or winning strategy.     Heavy doorbelling and appearances can change that trend. 

Ms Glasser’s supporters may do better for her by not painting this campaign as over and her being the perpetual victim.    Elisabeth is right, we have seen lots of talented women politicians from Whatcom County.  They certainly didn’t win be declaring themselves entitled to any particular seat.  They worked and campaigned hard and smart and earned their seats. 

I look forward to more coverage and comments on this interesting campaign.

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John Servais

Jul 28, 2017

Nice Jedi tricks in some comments above.  Take what Donovan has been whining about - that Glasser dared to file and run against him - and put the words into Glasser’s mouth.  That is just twisting the facts.  The article was about Donovan’s deceptions but the comments do not address any of the three issues in the article. Maybe because the article is correct.  

As Conoboy wrote above, the commenters are putting up straw men to knock down - falsely claiming  actions by Glasser and then being disgusted that she would do such. There are several buried in several comments above. Truth is the whining and complaining is by Donovan.  He is the one who is upset that he has opposition.  Entitled Donovan even said Amy should have asked him, Barry and Ken for permission to run.  

Amy has not complained. She is conducting an honorable campaign on what she stands for. And she announced for the office six months before Donovan did. 

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Michael Chiavario

Jul 28, 2017

David Camp, 

 Come on, David, you have no knowledge of what, if anything, the DNC has ‘told’ Rick Larsen to do. I voted to endorse Rick in the last round not because he was the most progressive candidate in all of his positions, but beause I believed his opponent did not have the chops or skills to do the job.

 If you had been an active Party Member, you could have campaigned for and voted for somebody else. That is my point. We have only have only one political party with any hope to take back the Washington and Federal legislative bodies from the Republicans. Please join us and put your principles into action. We are a democratic organization. Make us even better with your participation.

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David Camp

Jul 28, 2017

@MIchael - sorry I think both parties are so corrupt that I see their current disarray as a hopeful sign. Thanks to whoever leaked the Podesta emails (and I doubt it was “the Russians” what a crock) we can see just how they fix things for their donors - you know, the people the parties actually work for. 

There are only 100 Senators - how is it that their Party is more important than the States they represent? Why would I join a party that would rather lose (to a game show host!) with their utterly compromised candidate than win with an actual honest progressive who can’t be bought?

Michael - neither of the parties does anything other than maintaining the status quo - the system is devoted to fakery and deception - cartels and foreign powers have more influence on our government than we poor citizens. Take a look at national stats - of voters, 25% are Dems; 27% are Republican; and a 43% plurality are independent. People have already figured out what the parties are - and are voting with their feet. And the parties don’t care because they have a 90% + incumbent re-election rate. RIck Larsen occupies the modern equivalent of a rotten borough - he’s a middle manager in a sclerotic system and doesn’t have to do any actual leading or representing because he has a safe job for life as long as he does what he’s told by the party managers.

Maybe you are right and the only way to the legislative or executive branch is via one of the two parties. That’s certainly what both Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders did - used the party’s organization to their own ends. Too bad the Democrats were better at dirty tricks to keep Sanders out and gave us President Trump as a result.

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Michael Chiavario

Jul 29, 2017

David Camp,

  I hear your frustration, although I do not agree that the party system itself is so structurally corrupt that the Democratic Party can’t become a truly progressive people’s party.

Even though I was a Sander’s supporter, I don’t agree that the Democrat’s gave us Trump. The Repubs were ready to take Sander’s down as well and he had plenty of attackable(I like to make up words) history for them to do it. They were prepared to go up against Hillary, having been setting the stage with things like the phony Benghazi hearings. They also briliantly put in place voter suppression laws and their Crosscheck system to kick voter’s off of the rolls. Those things were what gave the Repubs Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

 If, as you said in your last paragraph, that  I may be right that the party system is the only practical tool that we have to move forward, pease join us and make your voice a part of the solution.

 Thanks for engaging with me on this.

   Michael Chiavario

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Larry Horowitz

Jul 29, 2017

Thank you, David, for writing exactly what I believe to be true.   Martin Maximino’s article (The influence of elites, interest groups and average voters on American politics) about  a 2014 study (Testing Theories of American Politics) confirms that average voters have a low to nonexistent influence on public policies compared to economic elites.  “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

Until campaign finance laws that limit the influence of the economic elite are adopted, I think we’re fooling ourselves that things will ever be different.  Everyone knows the definition of insanity.  Expecting different results without systemic change seems to qualify.

Is it even possible to have a two-party system when both parties are financed by essentially the same puppeteers?  We either need to support a truly independent third party or figure out a way to cut the puppeteers’ cords.

 

 

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David Camp

Jul 30, 2017

@Michael, & Larry,

We still have the mechanisms of democracy, and they are strong, but the party machines have mostly taken it over in favor of the cartels. They have created a sort of democracy show, where the “choices” are pre-determined by bought insiders. Yes a functioning democracy requires active citizen engagement - mostly by volunteers. However, both parties are so corrupt and their policies so far from what people want (thanks for the hard evidence of this, Larry) that they are a turn-off to any level of citizen activism (this may be a feature, not a bug, to them - why else would the parties have conspired to kick the League of Women Voters out of running the presidential debates other than to control the process and the message for their own benefit? WHy isn;t the Democrat party actively registering voters 24-7? Why did Obama shut down the 50-State policy?).

That said, there is more evidence of actual democracy in the Republican party IMHO - consider the Tea Party and the effect they had until they were coopted by the Kochs and their cartel buddies.

The Democrats are so corrupted they have effectively repudiated their New Deal policies in favor of de-regulating Wall Street (by overturning Glass Steagall), in favor of the War machine with their multiple invasions and regime changes, and in favor of the healthcare cartels by foisting the Republican-designed ACA on us and suppressing the most rational policy, single payer medicare for all (by arresting people who dares to call for it in public meetings held by Max Baucus). 

WHere is the party that aims for the greater good with true unversal healthcare?

Where is the party for peace? 

Where is the party that regulates the greed and self-dealing of the financial industry?

Why should I support a Democrat party that is against all of the above?

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Michael Chiavario

Jul 30, 2017

Larry Horowitz and David Camp,

  You continue to make my case for joining the Democratic Party. I don’t disagree with Larry’s point about economic elites exerting more influence over Party policy than average voters - in both major Parties. And David, it is true that the Tea party had a very strong influence on the repubs. 

 The flaw in both of your arguments is  your concluding implication that because of these and other problems the Party is unsalvageable and not worthy of Joining. What is your alternative?  

 A viable third party is not going to happpen, but there is a surge of Berniecrat energy in The Democratic Party that is making changes and will continue to do so. We have to look forward and bring  progressive principles and candidates to the fore and change the Party from within. It takes work and time. Frustrating, hairpulling work on the inside of the machine.  I know that both of you work hard in our community for causes in which you believe.

 I invite you to get involved with your impressive talents in making the Democrats a progressive peoples Party from the bottom up.

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David Camp

Jul 30, 2017

@Michael - it would be easier to devote time and energy to a party if one could believe that the leadership were principled and acting on the interests of the greater good - but can you honestly say that this is true of the Democrat party? Look, neither of the Clintons had any substantial job outside of government for their entire careers - but now they are both mega-millionaires. How is this not abuse of a government position for self-enrichment? And you will note that the Clintons are responsible for the repeal of Glass-Steagall (which caused the 2008 crash); mass incarceration (super predators!); and multiple wars (Kosovo; Libya). 

As long as the Clintons and their ilk run the party for their own benefit the Dems will continue to sink. 

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Michael Chiavario

Jul 30, 2017

How many times must I make the same point David?

The Party can be changed by it’s members. It is not a static entity. If nobody gets involved with good intnetions, thenof course it and all other political organizations will be taken over by self serving opportunists.

Keith Ellison is second in command at the DNC. He is a good guy. Not corrupt. Progressive. American musilm. Black. He got there due to a grass roots effort to get him there.

We can continue to make progress like this. Stop dwelling in the past and get on board the future train.

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Larry Horowitz

Jul 30, 2017

Michael, in responding to David and me you wrote, “The flaw in both of your arguments is your concluding implication that because of these and other problems the [Democratic] Party is unsalvageable and not worthy of joining.  What is your alternative?”

Well, one alternative, which I’ve already mentioned, is to adopt genuine campaign finance reform.  Why doesn’t the Democratic leadership put all of their weight behind that idea?  Is it possible that neither party could function without contributions from their largest donors (most of whom contribute to both parties)?

Another alternative, which you’ve claimed “is not going to happen” with absolutely no justification, is the creation of a legitimate, independent third party.   Given that there are more independents than either D’s or R’s, I find your dismissal less than convincing.

What I consider unsalvageable is the current two-party system, which only appears to provide a choice.  I have suggested over-and-over again that those who are interested read G. Edward Griffin’s THE CREATURE FROM JEKYLL ISLAND: A second look at the Federal Reserve.  In particular, pay attention to Griffin’s description of the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).    Note that virtually every elected and appointed official who has a nationally significant role is a member of the CFR, including the DNC second-in-command Keith Ellison.  https://www.cfr.org/membership/membership-roster-a-f

Nobody achieves a position of leadership in either party without first becoming a CFR member and being vetted by the leadership of these three organizations.  Virtually every recent US president, with a couple of exceptions, have been CFR members.

One of my favorite quotes from THE CREATURE relates to the history of conspiracies:

“We must choose between two paths.  Either we conclude that Americans have lost control over their government or we reject this information as a mere distortion of history.  In the first case, we become advocates of the conspirational view of history; in the latter, we endorse the accidental view.  It is a difficult choice.

“The reason it is difficult is that we have been conditioned to laugh at conspiracy theories, and few people will risk public ridicule by advocating them.  On the other hand, to endorse the accidental view is absurd.  Almost all of history is an unbroken trail of one conspiracy after another.  Conspiracies are the norm, not the exception.”

Anyone who has ever held a position of leadership in any group of any size understands that the leadership of these groups conspire regularly to advance their agenda.  To believe that the wealthiest and most powerful members of the global society would avoid conspiring to advance their agenda is, as Griffin describes, “absurd.”

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Michael Chiavario

Jul 30, 2017

Larry,

   Of course some conspiracies are real and some are not. I have not read ‘Creature’ although it looks interesting.

I agree that genuine campaign finance reform is essential and it will only happen through the legislative process which is dominated by the two major parties which each have well organized structures. If we progressives take over one of these organizations(The Democratic Party) we can change campaign finance law. Taking over the Party is the core of my argument.

Larry, you can argue all you want about who is in high office and what they have may have had to do to get there in the past or up until now. I am talking about what I believe is the only practical way to take power from the current ruling elites and that is to take over the Democratic Party. I believe that it can be done. If you don’t believe that it can be done, I will cease bothering to make my case to you.

As for your statement that I gave no justification for my contention that a third party is untenable:

-It has not happenned in any effective way (except as a spoiler force) in decades.

-Our electoral system makes it structurally very difficult, therefore it is easier to use an existing structure.

-I would love to see a progressive congress begin the process of ammending the constitution to create a parliamentary system of government where any party with 5% of  the vote gets representation.

Bottom line in my argument is that Parties are made up of people. Most of the people in the Whatcom Dems are decent honest people, not in it for power or personal enrichment. I believe that this is true in most county Dem organizations across the country. This reality can be telegraphed all the way to the top if we want it. If there is a conspiratorial elite in control of the Party, they do not ultimately have more power than the collective numbers of well organized and conscious Democratic Party members. If I am wrong about that previous sentence, I might as well just focus on gardening and what the next HBO offerings are going to be.

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Larry Horowitz

Jul 30, 2017

Clearly we have moved far afield of the premise of John’s article, so I’m hesitant to move even further.   Michael, it appears you believe it will be easier to achieve your goals by working within a system that hasn’t worked for many years.  You seem convinced that because a genuine third party “has not happened in any effective way in decades” that attempting to create one is less likely to be successful than fixing a broken system.  You may be right, but I remain unconvinced.   The pace of change is so rapid these days that creating something that has never existed before is commonplace.

Again, I don’t know if you’re right or wrong as to whether “the collective numbers of well organized and conscious Democratic Party members” can exert more power than a “conspiratorial elite.”   I certainly wouldn’t stop you from trying.  I agree that there is a greater chance of exerting power locally than nationally, but even locally I have seen people ‘act’ as king makers, providing little choice in who voters get to elect.

I don’t believe G. Edward Griffin has all the answers, but I appreciate the extent of his scholarly research, and I believe we can all learn from his discoveries.  For those willing to read on, I’d like to quote Griffin more extensively:

“Totalitarianism is on the rise because advocates of all-powerful government have taken control of the power centers in every society.  Power centers are organizations - such as political parties, labor unions, chuch groups, media centers, and professional societies - that hold political power based on their claim to represent their members and on their ability to lead public opinion.

“It has taken many years for them to achieve that dominance over society, but they have succeeded.  It does no good to complain or to theorize about what should be done.  

“We must not be like cats.  One of the differences between dogs and cats is that cats focus on effects, but dogs focus on causes.  If you toss a pebble at a cat, it will look at the pebble.  If you toss it at a dog, it will look at you.

“The decline of civilization is not the result of blind forces of history operating beyond comprehension or control.  It is caused by a small but well defined group of people who believe this decline is necessary for what they fondly call The New World Order but which we recognize as modern, high-tech feudalism.

“The identities of these elitists are known.  They belong to organizations.   They meet together to create strategies, and they work jointly to implement them…

“It’s not the identities or party affiliations of these people that matters.  It’s what they believe, what ideology they hold.  Their ideology has a name.  It’s called collectivism, a concept that government is master and people must obey because it’s for their own good.

“It’s time to stop acting like cats, stop being fascinated by the personalities and deeds of our leaders.  We must be like dogs and focus on their ideology, because that is the cause of their deeds.”

Griffin goes on to make the case for taking over ‘city hall’ through the election process, much like you, Michael, have proposed.  To me, it appears the difference between you and Griffin is that he recognizes that the leadership of both parties cannot be counted on for support.  Their agenda is to maintain the status quo, not to disrupt it.  In my opinion, it is more difficult to disrupt the status quo within either party than to build an independent third party from the ground up.  

Of course, as I have been many times, I could be wrong.

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David Camp

Jul 31, 2017

It loooks like Keith Ellison is riding the CFR future train, right up there with Mohammed El-Erian and 4900 other conspirators for the NWO! Dang.

But if you were Keith, an ambitious young politician, wouldn;’ you accept membership in the CFR? You’d meet several CIA directors.  And the CFR actually recommended that the State Dept work with Chairman Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam, who they concluded was primarily a nationalist and could be “helped” away from marxism. State was skeptical, and instead we got the Vietnam war debacle thanks to military Dr,. Strangeloves and Democratic Party leaders Kennedy and LB Johnson. 

Michael - strangely enough, while the one-party system of the USSR was destroyed, the US of A still has the cold war two-party system intact. You are right in saying that if you want to advance politically, or get anythig done politically, you need to work within the two party system, just as to advance in communist CHina you need to be a member of the Communist Party. 

The problem is that while the one-party systems have ruthless anti-careerist policies (in China corrupt officials are frequently executed), here it’s expected that successful politicians will enrich themselves and become part of the economic elite. Consider teh $20 million plus made by Mrs. Clinton “giving speeches” while “not running for President”. And the Obama’s now have it made in the shade with “book deals” (Pres Obama recieved a $60-million book advance in February once he was no longer President). 

IMHO what we need is more independents who run outside the party system - especially in the Senate. People who can fund their own campaigns, or only accept money directly from citizens, or both. People who aren;t bought and paid for. Maybe it’s you. I just can’t put my valuable time into an organization where my hard work is not appreciated and sensible policies like medicare for all are suppressed by leaders who are on the take.

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Larry Horowitz

Jul 31, 2017

David, I agree that - given the existing systemic problems - anyone who is interested in leadership positions within the status quo must accept membership in the CFR.  It’s not membership per se that’s the issue; it’s the brainwashing and acceptance of authority that goes along with it.

Only the good soldiers within the CFR - those who pursue the agenda and strategies developed by the leadership of the BG, TLC, and CFR (which themselves represent concentric circles) - will advance.  

Unlike you, I am less concerned with the rewards and enrichment these good soldiers (e.g., the Clintons and Obamas) receive.   We cannot prevent the powers that be from rewarding their faithful; but those rewards are trivial effects, not the cause of the misdeeds.  

Let’s not be distracted by ‘shiny objects’.  Let’s focus on the real agenda and the ideology behind the agenda.  That is how we can achieve good governance.

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David Camp

Jul 31, 2017

Larry - I srongly disagree that focusing on how the hidden masters control their proxies is ineffective. Consider how the Irish got the British out of the Republic - they didn’t target the British (generally) - rather they targeted Irish collaborators - policemen, businessmen, etc. And it worked. An occupation requires the active participation of a proportion of the occupied population. If you take that away by eliminating collaborators, the occupiers cannot continue to hold power - there are not enough of them.

Our political system is infested with collaborators who are very well-paid for their traitorous efforts. WHo take hundreds of millions from foreign powers. Who feel no sense of fellow feeling or obligation to the citizens who they are supposed to represent. Only allegiance to their own pocketbooks. And it’s systematic. 

Follow the money. That is the reality. It requires exposing these critters for what they are. 

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Michael Chiavario

Jul 31, 2017

Geez Larry, you continue miss my point. You continue talking about the past and some current leadership of the Party while my point is that we can replace it with(Larry) a new ideology and non -corrupt leadership using the structure that exists. 

Larry, collectivism is a reality that has existed since people organized into village economies thousands of years ago. My concern is that Democratic principles and individual human rights be respected while we utilize some collectivist solutions (like single payer health insurance) amidst appropriate free interprise that is restricted from morphing to a Ruling Class.

I know that that last paragraph opens a whole new can of worms for digestion and discussion, but I would like to bow out of this fun exchange for now.

Thanks for the dialogue.

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Larry Horowitz

Jul 31, 2017

David, ‘following the money’ is exactly what G. Edward Griffin has done with THE CREATURE FROM JEKYLL ISLAND.  I highly recommend it (following the money AND Griffin’s book).  As I indicated in my previous comment, I have been wrong before and am likely wrong now, so feel free to disagree.  If you want to focus on “how the hidden masters control their proxies,” by all means, go for it!

Michael, I believe I understand - and have directly addressed - your point in my comments.  You believe you can replace the leadership and ideology of the Democratic Party.   I have suggested that attempting to do so without first addressing campaign finance is a fool’s errand.  Further, I believe that creating an independent third party is more likely to be successful.  We disagree, but I have not missed your point.  If there’s another point you were trying to make, perhaps you simply have not made it.

Again, I’ve been wrong before and am likely to be wrong now.  I’ve never claimed to be infallible.

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David Camp

Aug 01, 2017

@Larry - I don;t doubt that the global banking elite exert a disproportionate control over societies and economies. However, power is much more widely distributed over many power centers, of which banking is one.  The global oil industry, for example, which comprises trans-national corporations and also nation-states has immense global power, controlling as it does the basic motive force of the economy. It is also not a monolithic cartel- there are competing forces - and frequently, wars to decide matters of market share and control of oil.

My primary concern is that the mechanisms of our democracy have been subverted, inflitrated, and controlled by many different power players who not only have no allegiance to the USA, but are actively hostile to it, or at least parasitic. This includes both foreign powers such as Saudi Arabia, and also multinationals such as BP. And the way they exert control indirectly is by buying the political process. These are the hidden masters to which I refer. 

As long as both political parties have as their main objective raising money, because it takes money to win an election, they will be corrupt as hell. It’s a bad situation and it’s getting worse, with perverse incentives multiplying, including a filthy corrupt Supreme Court decision that granted first Amendment rights of free speech to fictitious entities that have no bodies let alone speech organs. 

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Larry Horowitz

Aug 01, 2017

David, I believe we’re in agreement that campaign finance is at the heart of the matter when it comes to exerting power and influence.   I also agree that banking and oil & gas corporations exert extreme influence; but, as you well know, above these corporations are major stockholders and the directors who represent them on the various corporate boards.  

These interlocking directorates who report to the major stockholders determine the actions the largest corporations take.  They also determine global macroeconomic and, to a large extent because of their political influence, social policy.  G. Edward Griffin claims that colectivism, which allows for top-down control, is the ultimate goal, and he advises his readers to focus on the policies and causes rather than the individuals behind the policies.  

Do I always agree with Griffin?  No.  But I have observed many activists who continue to focus on the effects and consequences rather than the causes that they spread themselves too thin while chasing shiny objects.

Global policies have created an infinite number of effects and causes.  We can continue to chase all of these effects and consequences down or we can focus on the policies / causes themselves.  

Whatever!  I have a head that needs to be buried in the sand.

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David Camp

Aug 01, 2017

Well, Larry, life is pretty good in the heart of the unsustainable empire of oil, at least for a couple of generations until the climate change bill will have to be paid for burning 200 million years’ worth of sequestered CO2 into the atmosphere! 

Yes the problems are systemic - we have a ruling class whose ideology requires of them no sacrifice or obligation to the rest of society (“There is no such thing as society” as that monster Margaret Thatcher opined) - and they are relentlessly using the levers of power to enrich themselves without hindrance.  When even Bannon is proposing a 45% tax on incomes over $5 million it’s clear we have a serious problem that if not addressed in a responsible civil manner will result in billionaires’ heads on pikes.

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Larry Horowitz

Aug 01, 2017

And perhaps a few trillionaires as well…

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