Saturday, September 20, 2014

How to Transform Society

The world is in a state of crisis. Warfare, epidemic, economic disaster, and impending climate catastrophe pose existential threats to societies around the globe. Something must be done. For too long, the people of this planet have waited for our political leaders to solve our problems for us. Now is the time for us to take matters into our own hands, to empower ourselves to make the necessary changes. 

To ask an age old question: what is to be done?

First, we must create alternative instituions in order to recreate society. Banks must be replaced by credit unions, supermarkets by farmers' markets. Workers' and consumers' cooperatives must replace the corporate model. Neighborhood and tenants' associations must be established. Political parties that represent our interests, not those of the corporate oligarchy, must be built. Students' unions must be created in schools to raise the voices of our young people. Creating these institutions will empower us to take further, more fundamentally transformative actions.

Among these would be to take control of existing institutions through the democratic process. I do not mean the US Congress or the White House, at least in the near-term. More immediately, we must win back those bodies closest to the people: school boards, city councils, town boards, and eventually state legislatures. From here we can enact direct changes in our own communities, instead of operating according to the directives of corporate party officials. Processes like participatory budgeting would empower people and encourage them to partake in the new civic process. We must break the cycle of cynicism that has justifiably gripped the people.

The ultimate step would be to overtake the entirety of the government of our country. This would allow for us to finally dismantle those institutions that serve only the corporate interest. From there we can implement policies both domestically and internationally to redistribute power back to the people. This, however, is a very final step, and can only be achieved once popular institutions have been established and lower entities controlled. This is governing from below, a nonviolent revolution that must realize the limitations as well as the values of the ballot box. In essence, we must "overgrow the government", not overthrow it. Only then can a truly participatory economic and political democracy be established.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A New York State of Politics

Today's revelations by the New York Times regarding Governor Andrew Cuomo's interference with the Moreland Commission is not exactly surprising, but it has the potential to shake up the campaign for his reelection. As of now, this report can only strengthen the candidacies of Cuomo's three main challengers: Zephyr Teachout, who is running against Cuomo in the Democratic primary; Rob Astorino, the nominee of the Republican and Conservative parties; and Howie Hawkins, the Green Party nominee. All three campaigns issued statements earlier today condemning the Administration's actions, and Teachout is circulating a petition calling on Cuomo to resign.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

2014 Midseason MLB Awards

American League

Most Valuable Player: Mike Trout, LAA
Cy Young Award: Felix Hernandez, SEA
Rookie of the Year: Masahiro Tanaka, NYY
Manager of the Year: Mike Scioscia, LAA
Reliever of the Year: Dellin Betances, NYY
Comeback Player of the Year: Phil Hughes, MIN
Hank Aaron Award: Mike Trout, LAA

National League

Most Valuable Player: Troy Tulowitzki, COL
Cy Young Award: Adam Wainwright, STL
Rookie of the Year: Billy Hamilton, CIN
Manager of the Year: Ron Roenicke, MIL
Reliever of the Year: Pat Neshek, STL
Comeback Player of the Year: Josh Beckett, LAD
Hank Aaron Award: Andrew McCutchen, PIT

2014 National League WAR-Stars

C: Jonathan Lucroy, MIL; Devin Mesoraco, CIN
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, ARI; Matt Adams, STL
2B: Chase Utley, PHI; Dee Gordon, LAD
SS: Troy Tulowitzki, COL; Jhonny Peralta, STL
3B: Todd Frazier, CIN; Anthony Rendon, WSN; Pablo Sandoval, SFG;
      Matt Carpenter, STL
OF: Andrew McCutchen, PIT; Giancarlo Stanton, MIA; Jason Heyward, ATL;
      Carlos Gomez, MIL; Seth Smith; SDP; Yasiel Puig, LAD;
      Juan Lagares, NYM; A.J. Pollock, ARI; Marcell Ozuna, MIA;
      Hunter Pence, SFG
SP: Adam Wainwright, STL; Clayton Kershaw, LAD; Johnny Cueto, CIN;
      Jake Arrieta, CHC; Jason Hammel, CHC; Julio Teheran, ATL;
      Zack Greinke, LAD; Josh Beckett, LAD; Henderson Alvarez, MIA
RP: Jonathan Papelbon, PHI; Pat Neshek, STL; Rafael Soriano, WSN

2014 American League WAR-Stars

C: Salvador Perez, KCR; Yan Gomes, CLE
1B: Edwin Encarnacion, TOR; Brandon Moss, OAK
2B: Robinson Cano, SEA; Ian Kinsler, DET; Brian Dozier, MIN;
      Jose Altuve, HOU; Dustin Pedroia, BOS
SS: Erick Aybar, LAA; Alexei Ramirez, CHW
3B: Josh Donaldson, OAK; Kyle Seager, SEA; Adrian Beltre, TEX
OF: Mike Trout, LAA; Michael Brantley, CLE; Alex Gordon, KCR;
      Jose Bautista, TOR; Adam Jones, BAL; Desmond Jennings, TBR;
      Steve Pearce, BAL
DH: Victor Martinez, DET
SP: Felix Hernandez, SEA; Mark Buehrle, TOR; Masahiro Tanaka, NYY;
      Chris Sale, CHW; Garrett Richards, LAA; Max Scherzer, DET;
      Dallas Keuchel, HOU; Scott Kazmir, OAK; Yu Darvish, TEX
RP: Dellin Betances, NYY; Wade Davis, KCR; Koji Uehara, BOS

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My 2014 MLB All-Star Ballot

American League

C: Derek Norris, OAK, .309/.408/.509 (Leads AL catchers with 158 OPS+)
1B: Miguel Cabrera, DET, .311/.368/.542 (Would be Encarnacion if listed as 1B, w/ V-Mart at DH)
2B: Jose Altuve, HOU, .343/.383/.445 (Leads AL in average, hits, and steals)
SS: Alexei Ramirez, CHW, .294/.327/.421 (Aybar better by metrics, but can't beat Jeter)
3B: Josh Donaldson, OAK, .245/.325/.459 (Second in AL with 4.6 WAR)
OF: Mike Trout, LAA, .311/.405/.609 (Is this finally the year he wins the MVP?)
OF: Jose Bautista, TOR, .304/.431/.539 (Leads AL in walks and OBP)
OF: Michael Brantley, CLE, .312/.380/.500 (Top 5 in AL in Offensive WAR)
DH: Edwin Encarnacion, TOR, .281/.370/.603 (Leads MLB in homers, RBI and total bases)

National League

C: Jonathan Lucroy, MIL, .331/.399/.511 (Third in NL in batting WAR)
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, ARI, .305/.395/.536 (Leads NL in doubles and extra base hits)
2B: Daniel Murphy, NYM, .300/.351/.421 (Leads NL in hits with 104)
SS: Troy Tulowitzki, COL, .351/.443/.613 (Best hitter - and player - in baseball so far this season)
3B: Todd Frazier, CIN, .289/.356/.503 (Third in NL in homers, top 10 in steals)
OF: Giancarlo Stanton, MIA, .313/.412/.585 (Leads NL in homers, RBI and total bases)
OF: Andrew McCutchen, PIT, .313/.419/.519 (Reigning MVP leads NL in walks)
OF: Carlos Gomez, MIL, .306/.372/.516 (Top 10 in NL in WAR and OPS+)

Monday, May 19, 2014

'No Love Lost' Between Greens, WFP

A source with knowledge of the situation does not believe that the Working Families' Party will cross-endorse Howie Hawkins, the Green Party nominee for governor this year.

The source states that there is "no love lost" between the two parties.

Many on the left in New York, including the Greens, view the Working Families' Party as having 'sold out' progressives in years past for having endorsed Democratic Party candidates. The WFP ran Andrew Cuomo on their line for governor in 2010.

The source does say, however, that Hawkins himself, who was nominated in Troy on Saturday, expressed no "ill will" for the Working Families' Party.

Speculation has raged as to who the WFP would nominate since last month. In April, a Siena College poll showed an unnamed Working Families' Party candidate drawing 24% in a three-way race featuring Cuomo and Republican Party nominee Rob Astorino. Astorino also drew 24%, while Cuomo led with 39%. In addition to putting pressure on Cuomo from the left this year, the WFP has hopes of gaining 'Row B' on the ballot for future elections. This more prominent position could come if the WFP placed second in the election for governor.

Despite this apparent cause for optimism, the Working Families' Party is actually in a rather difficult predicament. Running their own candidate would likely split the vote on the left between the WFP and the Green Party. In addition, some unions have already stated that they may unilaterally endorse Cuomo even if the WFP (a labor-backed party) does not. An endorsement of Cuomo by the WFP would most definitely draw further ire from the left.