http://www.venturacountyfair.org/pages/3441/ Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 through Sunday, August 11th, 2013
Whatever happened to the STOCK act? The ban on congressional insider trading cleared both chambers of congress with overwhelming majorities, but was never signed into law.. Submitted by Mina on Mar 20, 12
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The Wall Street Journal Hagel Addresses Cuts on First Day as Defense Secretary. Submitted by Mina on Feb 27, 13
Third Party Salience in California 2012 Top Two Vote Getter Politics
“Salience” is a polling term reflecting the importance of an issue as perceived by the public. OccupyWallStreet hit a sensitive and salient nerve springing to the front of media attention six months ago. Its salience became clear as mainline media switched its attention from deficits and austerity to the arrogance and criminal behavior of unreformed financial institutions that continued to pillage the economy and to buy political power. Counter measures against that salience began immediately. Some counter measures such as brutality by security forces were boomerangs, but others, more subtle and gradual, continue, up to and including federal and local laws criminalizing or restricting demonstrations. The biggest gradual countermeasure has been the economic narrative offered by the mainline media—that the Big Recession is over, that the economy (GDP and securities markets) is recovering, and that the roots of the continued recession lay in the welfare states of Europe. The Great Recession, they maintain, was just a cyclical, not a structural event, implying that recovery is the next step in a natural cycle. Lastly, but not least, the Republican presidential campaigns have distracted the public onto cultural wars and the antics of Netanyahu.
Though media attention has diminished and Democrats want Obama policies to appear adequate and successful, Occupy, in real as opposed to perceived terms, remains as relevant as ever by pointing to structural problems that have not been resolved. Foreclosures are one of those ongoing structural faults pregnant with future salience. So are other predatory activities of the financial community, the overweening role of concentrated corporate income and wealth and its escalating investment in politics and political media. Abuse of corporate power in all its manifestations, whether in securities or pollution or genetic contamination, was midwife of the OccupyWallStreet movement and there is no sign of its decline even though the corporate “mediacracy” prefers other preoccupations. Unresolved questions of unemployment, resource degradation, and economic malaise promise to keep the Occupy message relevant and salient as mainline nostrums and gloss-overs produce more frustration and distress.
Big long term questions remain. Does the Occupy movement have to occupy a political party or political movement to remain relevant as a vehicle of progressive reform? In California, disaffection with the political apparatus seems poised to escalate as voters confront a new election system for which they, so far, lack requisite political education. Without that education, massive disillusionment with its results appears to be inevitable. In state-wide elections, the “top two” primary totally marginalizes third parties as a channel of dissent and creates machinery for sharp internal fights within the two majors. When its author, Abel Maldonaldo, appeared on the Colbert show in 2010, to push passage of the proposition creating it, he clamored repeatedly that the independent voter would be the beneficiary. Colbert’s repartee: it would guarantee election of the two richest candidates in each district, a judgment which awaits refutation, for it is certain that election costs will skyrocket. Despite its claims of replacing partisan gridlock with moderation, it and other anti-party measures leave untouched the root source of bickering deadlock in both Sacramento and Washington, the ability of a disciplined minority to thwart budgets and policies put forward by the majority. This election system clearly favors those with the most resources, especially incumbents, as long experience with this primary in Louisiana demonstrates.
Long term, the Occupy movement in California will have to deal with this flawed revenue system and an electoral system that facilitates the flow of concentrated corporate resources into legislation and budget making by propositions whose passage is tilted in favor of money.Addressing these issues now may detract from the current quest for salience, but long term, addressing California’s revenue and electoral system will become predictably inescapable. Given the potential for immediate public confusion, occupying the “top two” primary in protest might bear fruit in the not-to-distant future.
See Campaign finance reform poses some serious hurdles for third party candidates., also by Al Dirrim (May 2012).