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Vermont Leads the Way for Progressives

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Posted on May 26, 2008
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AP photo / Gene J. Puskar

Progressive Paradise: The state of Vermont, often celebrated for its beauty, has long been a center of progressive politics.

By Chris Hedges

The Web site of the Vermont Progressive Party, with its moose silhouette as its party symbol, looks like something put together by a bunch of Eagle Scouts trying to earn a merit badge. One of its party stalwarts, state Rep. David Zuckerman, could not be reached during the day because he was tending his 16 acres of organic vegetable fields. And the party’s populist message, in the age of corporate money and slick campaign slogans, seems lifted from the era of Eugene Debs. But the party is slowly succeeding at a time when other progressive movements are failing. And maybe, just maybe, this movement in Vermont signals a crack in the political landscape that could allow American progressives to rise from the dead.

Here is a political party, founded in 1999, which really does not take any corporate funds and refuses to discuss any potential health care solution but a single-payer, not-for-profit system. Here is an anti-corporate party that seeks legislation to protect small business. Here is a party that demands workers be paid a living wage. Here is a party that calls for state investment in renewable energy. Here is a party that condemns the “two brand-name parties” because they act in concert to “serve the same corporate interests” by “taking the most important issues off the table and preventing discussion of issues important to most Vermonters: health care for all, property tax reform, energy independence.” The progressive candidates, one of whom is making a credible run for governor, seek to represent the interests of the working class. What a novel idea. 

“A lot of us do not believe that working within the Democratic Party is possible,” Zuckerman, who has served 12 years in the Vermont House, told me one evening from his farm in Burlington. “On a national scale the [Democratic] party is entrenched in the same money needs as the Republicans. This is not necessarily an individual fault, but it is the reality of politics today. They can’t change. I know many, many good small-‘p’ progressive or liberal Democrats whose philosophy is very similar to mine. They do believe they can change the party from within, but I think the institutional need for hundreds of millions of dollars to compete on the national stage makes it impossible for them to turn back into a populist party.”

  The rise of the Vermont Progressive Party, which has six members in the 150-member Vermont House, is another indication that Vermont, which has battled back everything from Wal-Mart to urban sprawl to billboards, may be one of the few sane states left in the nation. And the political lessons are important. If progressives want to regain political influence, we have to, like these Vermonters, think local. The corporations, through their network of oily lobbyists and infusions of cash, have a lock on most of the huge national and state offices, including, sadly, the seats in the Vermont state Senate. But Vermont now has the nation’s only independent, socialist senator, Bernie Sanders. Sanders got there by showing Vermonters that a progressive mayor could efficiently run the city of Burlington.
 
      Our hope lies in first capturing seats on city councils and town boards. Our hope lies in building a party from the bottom up. We will have to be patient. It will take time. But it might work. And that is why, in some ways, the campaign for Vermont governor, which pits the progressive candidate Anthony Pollina, a community organizer, against Democrat Gaye Symington and three-term Republican incumbent Gov. Jim Douglas, is one of the most important races in the country.

“If we can show people how to do it, then other people around the country, who are grasping for real change, even if they vote for Barack Obama, will see how to do it,” the 36-year-old Zuckerman said. “The idea will catch fire quickly. The tinder is out there. It is dry and ready to burn. People only need an example. We have an opportunity this year to become a nationwide presence with Anthony’s campaign.”

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Zuckerman, like many others in the party, supports Obama for the presidency. He does not believe Obama will make major progressive changes, but he argues that it is always better to have a Democrat in the White House.

“He at least inspires people, especially young people, to believe in the institution, that the institution can do good,” Zuckerman said. “This is positive for the country. Ultimately, Democrats are better than Republicans. If we have a generational shift, as [there was] with Reagan, this is a net positive. Is Barack Obama a great lefty populist? No. He is not much farther to the left than Hillary, to be honest.”

“When a Democrat is in power, you can say, here are the people who said they were going to do great things,”  Zuckerman said. “You can say, where are the results? You can give them a threat from the left. With the Republicans in power, all the Democrats have to be is better than the Republicans. Everyone is so afraid of the Republicans. They say we can’t afford to vote for anyone but a Democrat. I’d rather have Democrats in power so we can challenge them to be better.”

The Vermont Progressive Party might seem like a natural ally of Ralph Nader, but it breaks with Nader on the issue of where to put political energy. Before worrying about national politics, the party is determined to show local voters it has the skills to govern. It argues that institutional credibility is vital for success.

“I have mixed feelings about Nader,” Zuckerman said. “I have tremendous respect for him and the work he has done. I was very frustrated after 2000 when he did not take his supporter list and his networks and say go forth and win local office, go forth and build a party from the bottom up. It is extremely difficult, given the media and the hundreds of millions of dollars you need, to do it from the top down. It is an impossible task.”

Rep. Chris Pearson, the head of the Vermont House Progressive Caucus, said that the party gradually built outward from its base in Burlington. In 1999, the first year of the party, all four progressive members in the Vermont House were from Burlington. Progressive members now come from around the state, representing seven of Vermont’s 14 counties. Pearson said the biggest inroads are among the working class and poor in depressed rural areas. These are voters who have traditionally voted Republican, but who are suffering economically and are increasingly open to populist politics.

“If you approach them as a progressive and talk about pocketbook issues, you can get their vote,” said Pearson. “And we do. Because we are not Democrats, they can vote for us. In a funny way, they are liberated.”

The party is especially critical of the Democratic Party’s refusal to support progressive taxation. Progressive representatives in Vermont presented a bill this year to reform the state’s capital gains tax. The unsuccessful legislation called for using 25 percent of the new money collected by the state to pay off bonds and add 25 percent to the roads budget, a move that would have created employment and addressed the state’s crumbling infrastructure.

“The Democrats have been too scared to talk about what regressive and progressive taxation means,” Zuckerman said. “In Vermont we have a capital gains tax loophole. We are one of three states that exempt 40 percent of capital gains from being taxed. That is a giveaway to the rich. We offered an amendment to close it. We got 30-odd votes, including the six of us and 20-something hard-core Democrats. The Democratic leadership did not work to make it happen. They worked to kill it.”

“The Democrats are afraid to talk about populist, class-based issues,”  Zuckerman said. “I don’t know why. Is it the 300 people that give $2,000 to the party in Vermont? In Vermont, one of the most powerful people is an investment banker in Chittenden County. He was behind [former Gov.] Howard Dean. ... A Democrat is not going to win statewide office until they kiss his ring.”

The party believes it can slowly build a broad base of support around the state, especially given the looming economic dislocation. It hopes it can begin to institute progressive reforms, reforms that will one day reach beyond Vermont’s borders.

“Get into those local offices and show people you can take care of the basics,” Zuckerman said when asked what progressives should do. “Success in one place on a moderate scale sparks inspiration.”


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By hexzerorouge, November 15, 2008 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

The Progressives have lost a little in the 2008 election thanks to Obama’s coat-tail effect. They are sure to have a better showing in 2010.

But I think the should try to merge with the Liberty Union Party or at least make a non-competition agreement. The LUP has been able to hold onto major party status but hasn’t been able to capture seats in the legislature.

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By Max Shields, June 1, 2008 at 5:33 am Link to this comment

Joseph Judge

“Imperfections” of the Democrats. How about 60 years of endless war. That alone is a whopper of “imperfection”. I don’t really think the Dems are anything but what they are and they are perfect about it; just not progressive.

And if that hasn’t been learned by now (I’m assuming you’ve been around for a few election cycles at least); than it will take an Obama to prove it to you.

Problem is you’ll be so far along with denial that it may not be until after he’s out of office that you’ll get it…

Which is why some in the Progressive Party seem to think putting the Dems in will show everyone their true colors. McCain may actually be the answer to ultimately getting real change. In any case this gave has been going on for so long and yet as they say “a sucker is born every minute”. I think the suckers are going to start losing - just a hunch but it’s due.

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By Conservative Yankee, June 1, 2008 at 5:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Judge I disagree completely with your entire thesis, but particularly in regard to the Supreme Court. The Democrats gave us White, Ginsberg and Bryer, In the same time period, The Republicans gave us Brennan, Warren, Stevens and Souter Yeap the Republicans have given us some bad judges, BUT ditto Kennedy and Clinton. I’ll take an occasional Thomas and Scalia If I can also have a Souter and Stevens!

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By Joseph J. Judge, May 31, 2008 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Get real, people. In the immediate future the overwhelming need - for the world and the nation, as well as for ourselves - is to elect a Democratic president and a large Democratic majority in both House and Senate. Dems don’t wear halos and don’t always give each of us everything we want, but also Dems don’t put Scalias, Alitos and Thomases on the Supreme Court. For the longer term, I’m tired of all the whining complaints about individually perceived imperfections in our real world. E.g., the article’s approving reference to Vermont’s resistance to Walmart (I have no personal interest in Walmart, never worked there, don’t own its stock). People who think mindless, knee-jerk, reflexive rejection of all things Walmart is a sign of “sane” progressivism have never had the experience of living in a rural area where you had to travel 40 or 50 miles or more to buy some ordinary things you needed until a Walmart opened less than 15 miles away.

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By colin2626262, May 30, 2008 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

Misogyny is wrong.  Hatred of women is a sin against God.  Hatred of anyone is a sin against God.  I should know.  I’m a sinner.  But I try to believe in God.  God is all I have in life.  I have nothing else, absolutely nothing.

There’s a woman I work with.  I won’t use her name.  She’s attractive to look at.  She’s twenty-five, a year younger than me.  I thought she was a nice person at first.  In other words, I thought she was spiritual.  Then one day, we got to talking, and I asked her whether she believed in God.  She said she believed everyone had a certain energy, and she also said she believed in an underlying oneness to the world.  But she said she wished she believed in God.  She didn’t, though.  She didn’t believe.

Then I told her about my personal experience with God.  And when I was done, after I’d almost started crying, she said, “Maybe there is a God.”  I wanted her to believe in God, so she and I could be friends.  It’s impossible for those who believe in God to be friends with those who don’t believe in God.  However, I also am attracted to her, her body, the way she looks, her face.  She has a pretty face.

She also has a boyfriend.  And I feel insecure about myself, my body, my face, my ability to attract a woman.  I get angry and jealous and depressed because of her.  I shouldn’t.  It’s a sin.  Love is not a sin, though.  I need to believe in God, pray to God, in order to love her.  I don’t mean romantic love.  I mean loving God and my neighbor as myself.  Then I won’t have feelings of hatred for her, or for women in general.  God is the truth.  I’m interested only in love, which is the only happiness in life.  God help me to have the faith which you don’t have, my friend.  And God help you to have faith someday.  God help us all.

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By StepenL, May 28, 2008 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment

Natalie,  You mock forcing the poor to drive 30 miles away to purchase basic goods.  That’s 60 minutes round trip.  That’s most likely at least 4 gallons of gas in the heaps they might own.  So the poor, who can least afford it, have to pay a 12 dollar premium to buy cheap clothing. And they have to do it every time they shop.  The added carbon alone from keeping a large community on the road if they want to shop should be reason enough to see why this “wallmart victory” by liberals was really a loss. It hurt the poor, it hurt the environment, it hurt everyone.

Conservative Yankee.  Your claim that greenfield does not need discount retail because the poor should all commute to New Hampshire is ridiculous.  The reason that Greenfield has not had alternatives is local politics.  The anti business bent of local politicians protecting existing businesses from an competition has done serious damage to the community over many decades.  Boiling it down to….let the poor hitch hike to New Hampshire is not a reasonable revue of the situation.  The turning down of WalMart was in the end a minor disaster for Greenfield as residents can be found fleeing to the Holyoke Mall, the Orange Ma Wallmart, the New Hampshire WalMart, and other places to shop. Taking their money and the jobs it’s creates to OTHER communities.  Meanwhile some couple pushing a baby carriage down the street in greenfield making 26K a year has no car and no discount shopping.

I believe I have accurately portrayed the situation because I live here.  The Anti business attitude of the local politicians has been disasterous for our increasingly impoverished community.

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By Max Shields, May 28, 2008 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

Thanks Chris for the article.

VPP Zuckerman: “When a Democrat is in power, you can say, here are the people who said they were going to do great things,” Zuckerman said. “You can say, where are the results? You can give them a threat from the left. With the Republicans in power, all the Democrats have to be is better than the Republicans. Everyone is so afraid of the Republicans. They say we can’t afford to vote for anyone but a Democrat. I’d rather have Democrats in power so we can challenge them to be better.”

First cogent argument I’ve heard for Obama. It is all about building a base and movement locality by locality NOT top-down.

I do have a quarrel with Zuckerman’s notion of tax reform and capital gains. It sounds good (as we have all been taught) to think of closing “loop-holes” to financial gains as a good progressive thing. Actually, these loop-holes are never closed because money is elastic and can be readily shelted even when we think the holes have been closed.

However, revenue from land is the only non-electic means to provide essential public funding. I think many Vermont Progressives agree, a land value tax is the fairest, most progressive and, I’d say, ethical means of providing for common wealth. If you’re going to take the energy to fight for tax reform and than spend it on the “perfect tax” - LVT. Learn about Henry George and the history of land rent in the US and throughout the world. Absolutely essential!

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By L'enfant terrible, May 27, 2008 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Apt point Colon, it is not always easy to believe in god, in fact I’d say impossible, and right again things do get in the way, namely….truth, reason, and logic for starters. Religion is the opiate of the masses to quote Chairman Mao.
I don’t mean to pick on you colon or anyone for that matter, but when will this country’s citizens realize that religion and religious leaders are all full of it.
It’s easy blindly follow for your “faith” it’s much harded tobe a reasoned thoughtful individual

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By Conservative Yankee, May 27, 2008 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The quality of life for those in Greenfield was REDUCED after they defeated Walmart.”

Oh please sell this to someone who does not know Greenfield Massachusetts.  NO ONE from Greenfield does any serious shopping in Massachusetts, Tax free New Hampshire is too close.

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By colin2626262, May 27, 2008 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

Hey, Tyler.  I respect your comment.  You make some good points.  It’s not always easy to believe in God.  Things get in the way.  I wouldn’t want to suggest that you put your faith in God, since that’s your choice, and I can’t make it for you.  I can only say that it’s been my personal experience that life has no meaning without God.  Existence is God, and God is existence, no matter how terrible and filled with suffering that existence sometimes seems.

I’m not a Christian or Muslim or Jew or any other particular label, so I can’t answer your other question.  I could only say what Thomas Aquinas said, that “Deus est esse,” or “God is being.”  There is a Being behind all beings, and it’s this ultimate Being that I believe in, even if I don’t want to at times. 

As far as violence and nuclear weapons, I also believe that “God is love,” and so if anyone would have faith in the God of love, the violence of the world would turn into love.  I surely am weak, and sometimes lazy.  May God help me not to have faith in myself, though. 

Peace.

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By i,Q, May 27, 2008 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

Once when i was younger i was a registered Democrat, now i’m independent, but have been to several Democratic functions this year. At one of those events i was asked by a party official why, if i had never voted Republican am i not a member of the Democratic Party? i thoughtfully replied that the Democratic Party has become too centrist and weak on issues that really matter to me, and in large part they failed to stand up against Bush and protect my civil rights.

Now i’m involved locally with a group that started out as the Young Democrats, but have decided to identify as the Progressive Alliance. Being in a Republican dominated region, we wanted to distance ourselves from the partisan identities to increase our chances of appealing to politically interested individuals on the basis of issues rather than party, much like the approach Pearson describes in the article.

i hope that Vermont will set an example for other states and that a boom in small-party politics will send a message to the 2 party establishment that America is ready for some real change whether they’re on board or not.

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By i,Q, May 27, 2008 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

i can only assume that you welcome the continued exportation of manufacturing jobs to China which compounds the need here for cheaply made things to be available from discount stores. This has the added benefit of increasing pollution in loosely regulated China, tons of which blows across the Pacific to settle over our West Coast. But China is sick of all that pollution themselves, so they will inevitably be increasing regulations, but that’s okay because there are still a great number of underdeveloped countries to take advantage of — in Africa maybe? And all this perpetuates a rigged system that allows a very few to hoard the world’s wealth and leave the vast majority in the position of “needing” to shop at discount stores.

God i love dollars so much more than my neighbors.

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By i,Q, May 27, 2008 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

This atheist seconds tyler’s sentiment that hoping for something or someone else to do it for you is a recipe for disappointment.

i would ask colin666 to consider that doing what’s right might in fact be (for some) governing under the tenets of progressive politics.

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By Purple Girl, May 27, 2008 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

We used to be called Dems (after the Dixie Craps realized they could CON the Republican Base easier with their hate & fear doctrine), then we were called ‘Liberals’. “Left Wingers”, then “tree Huggers’,‘Unpatriotic’ ‘Communists’ ....So the Dem party began to allow infiltrators into to discredit ‘their own’. lastest BS “Reagan Democrats” No such Beast ever existed Then Or NOW!
The DLC has been allowed to not only flourish - but commandeer our Party. funny Non have been able to ‘Seal the Deal’ since Bill- We can Smell a Covert opertive a Mile away, We voted Dem, but held Our noses in ‘00. & ‘04 (yes Gore has been a great champion for the Environment- but he SUCKED in ‘00- Tipper & her Censorship crap was a Dead give away fro ‘Neo CON’ status & ideology). Kerry Reeked of special interest and Special Priviledge, another Corp Whore. And Hillary’s Stench is far to over powering to ever get the REAL Dem Base, We’ve experienced this rancid odor before- I will NOT hold my Nose, I am far too nauseated - Cheney’s sweaty paws have left it’s makes all over her!‘Obliterat Iran’, then the 3 time Charm ..“RFK was Assasinated”- Is that only wishful thinking or is it a Request???She already has Blood on her hands from her Votes, Her inactions and Her Dereliction of Duty while on th eArmed Services Com(con). We have not Been ‘Dead’ We are being , and have been for 35 yrs, systemically Politaclly contaminated and infestated. Be we are regaining our strength- consider US the White Blood Cells, Our Constitutions Auto Immune System!
Basic REAL Dem Platform- Labor rights over Corp priviledges, Equal rights for ALL, Diplomacy over Tyranny,Stewards of the Planet and caregivers to those in need. OUr mantra “WE THE PEOPLE”- ‘for the People and By the People’.. anything less is Treason!

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By Conservative Yankee, May 27, 2008 at 6:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“This is what happens when progressive liberals “win”.  The common man loses”

Oh really?

Denmark, home to the most contented folks in the world, and without significant “poverty” is a liberal progressive, some might even say “socialist” country. 

I’m a “common man” and I say ANYTHING would be better than what we have here ... now. And before you use the too-familiar-canard” I HAVE lived in a communist country. and no it wouldn’t be my first choice for retirement, But, while there,  I didn’t have to meet a doctor surreptitiously and hand him an envelope stuffed with cash As I did here in Maine because I have no health insurance.

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By Natalie, May 27, 2008 at 6:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh no, not a whole 30 minutes!

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By StepenL, May 26, 2008 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment

The quality of life for those in Greenfield was REDUCED after they defeated Walmart.  All their other discount stores fled town and Walmart who wanted in and could have provided them the discount shopping they still desperately need, was kept out.

So now the poor have to figure out how to travel 30 minutes down the highway to spend their money in some other town in order to buy discount clothing and other household goods.

No, it’s not just about taxes, it’s about cutting off ones nose to spite ones face. For a party that wants to raise taxes higher and higher I’m surprised you act as if having a solid tax base is a bad thing.  You figure America can survive with no tax base?

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By Louis Fuchs, May 26, 2008 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris’ column is very valid.  I feel the same way that the gentleman from the Progressive Party feels.  Most negative comments about Progressive politics focus only on the tax base and providing jobs.  That is not the only concern.  The quality of all of our lives is something that we should all focus on as a priority.  We can’t sacrifice quality of life issues to tax base and jobs.  That’s how we ended up with the healthcare mess we have.  That’s how we ended up the NAFTA and all of the tax breaks that favor corporations that promise jobs and benefits and then they forget their promises.  Profits take over as the determinant of who wins and who loses.  Quality of life issues should be the preoccupation of politicians who purport to represent their constituents.

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By Revere, May 26, 2008 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

The great thing Progressives can accomplish is action through local government. 

The worst thing they can do is promote the myth of the left – right paradigm.

Obama = Brzezinski = CFR = Trilateral Commission = Promotion of world government = Kissinger = McCain = Rockefeller / Rothschild = extreme threat to human freedom.  Left and Right arms commanded by the same body.

All mainline candidates are puppets to the international banking cartel ergo the private Federal Reserve / Bank of England.

Why no mention of traditional American values?  Congress shall make no law abridging the First amendment but it is under full assault by the heinous (democratically sponsored) homegrown terrorism act.  Perpetual attacks to the Second and Fourth amendments.  Why a standing ovation during Bush’s state of the union as Jonathan Turley pointed out regarding the promotion of government surveillance?  How about Habeas Corpus, Posse Comitatus and Torture?  Laying waste to other nations without congressional declaration of war.  PDD51.  Haliburton constructed FEMA internment centers.  NAFTA super highway taking land in Texas by immenent domain and to be tolled by a Spanish corporation, which Lou Dobbs pointed out on a couple of occassions.  What about the unspeakable threat to our people, farmers and environment by the way of patented genetically engineered seeds.  As Peter Finch exclaimed in the movie Network,  We’re in a lot of trouble.

By not speaking of these facts to any critical extent the candidates and media have put everyone to sleep.  That is not deomocracy, let alone a republic. 

I have no idea who Obama is except he has a gift of oratory.  He is a mystery.  A good manchurian candidate.  McCain is not even worth mentioning.  We are in a lot of trouble.

I have no interest in Party Politics.  But while we are currently beating up Democrats, most of us will admit that the economy is broken because we no longer have a manufacturing base.  We have gone from the largest creditor nation to the largest debtor nation.  The value of the dollar is plummeting worldwide.  Remember Mr. Clinton and NAFTA (announced at CFR meetings) and his “opening up China”?  Lets not forget the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 (designed to guard against another great depression) during the Clinton Adminsitration in 1999 which then removed barriers between Commercial banks and Investment banks which has led to unhindered speculation and the Bear Stearns collapse and others yet to come.  Oh but Clinton showed a budget surplus during two of those years.  Oh my, he’s wonderful.  Its smoke and mirrors folks.

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By StepenL, May 26, 2008 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

In Brattleborough Vt. they kept Walmart out, right.  It built across the river.  The town and the state lost the tax revenue, the town still has a Walmart, it simply doesn’t contribute to the tax base because it was forced to build in the next state just a couple of blocks across the river.

Similar to Greenfield MA that kept Walmart out.  What a brilliant move that was!  Then their Pennies, Sears, Ames, and Riches shut down or left and the town had NO discount retail AT ALL.  The poor people of the town are now forced to drive to the Walmart in New Hampshire that built across from Brattleborough or find a ride to the nearest town with a mall, a half hour in the other direction.

This is what happens when progressive liberals “win”.  The common man loses.

Wow, you guys really are giving us “leadership”.

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By Marc Schlee, May 26, 2008 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes, we will…

Direct Democracy

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By Pavane, May 26, 2008 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Look at the world. It is burning. Bush is responsible for much of the death and destruction. People are tired. Depleted financially. World starvation has begun. As gas prices rise, all except the wealthiest few will be badly affected. You know all the reasons why.

Obama offers hope. Change. Different policies. I will vote for him. Without him, there seems little to believe in. Hope matters.

These Vermont Progressives ... I support them too. I am for anyone who offers sound reasoning for people in terms of peace and prosperity. I am weary of the neo-cons and all their fear and torture and spying and killing. I am weary of their lies and spin and cruelty and greed.

They have made the world an ugly place. Dark. Polluted. Hungry. Homeless. Bankrupt. Dispairing.

It can only stay this way if no one fights back. So, I applaud Vermont. And, Obama. And all the millions of people inspired to fight with them through the energy of the hope they offer. Yes. Hope matters.

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By steve conn, May 26, 2008 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The idea that Nader is merely top down is ludicrous. For all of the decades I have known him, he has consistently nurtured grass roots activisits, especially those who are taking on powerful enemies in their own backyard. Ask Barbara Williams, for example, director of the Alaska Injured Workers’Alliance. Citizen activism and accomplishment is what he represents, whether in Washington or in Anchorage, Alaska. The criticism of Nader as a self-involved ego tripper is so much crap when you know how he operates when he is not running for President as a way of getting his messages out.

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By Pavane, May 26, 2008 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

this is a test.

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By tyler, May 26, 2008 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

colin, what god do you suggest putting our faith in?  i’m sure that iraqi civilians have a lot of faith in their god, and look how thats turning out for them.  But wait, aren’t our gods (and the jew’s as well) the same?  We christians, the muslims, and the jews all believe in the god of abraham, right?  so how does that work?  It looks like god supports the one with the most military power, doesn’t it?  and here i thought that god was fair and just.  good thing for me i was born in america then, right?  i wonder what would happen if the tides turned and the islamic countries in the middle east ended up with all the nukes, who would god support then?

i’ve got an idea for you colin, why don’t you try having a little faith in yourself, and take responsibility for yourself and your actions instead of passing the buck to ‘god’.  it’s a convenient, easy excuse for those that are lazy and weak-minded, and i promise you god ain’t buyin it!

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By Bubba, May 26, 2008 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

Good article, Chris. I hope it’s an indication that you’re moving away from supporting Nader. Nader is neither bottom-up nor top-down. He merely revolves, round and round, in his own universe.

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By colin2626262, May 26, 2008 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

You should go back to writing articles about God.  The talk you had with Father Berrigan was interesting.  He seemed depressed.  Why?  Seemingly because there’s been so little social change.  The Iraq war is just like the Vietnam war, which he did his part to end.  Putting one’s hopes in progessive politics is not going to change anything.  Everyone should follow the example of Berrigan.  Put your hope in the Lord and do what’s right—at least try.  Write an article about that in the future.

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By colin2626262, May 26, 2008 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

You should go back to writing articles about God.  The talk you had with Father Berrigan was interesting.  He seemed depressed.  Why?  Seemingly because there’s been so little social change.  The Iraq war is just like the Vietnam war, which he did his part to end.  Putting one’s hopes in progessive politics is not going to change anything.  Everyone should follow the example of Berrigan.  Put your hope in the Lord and do what’s right—at least try.  Write an article about that in the future.  This was was boring.

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