Sunday, March 25, 2018

Kaniela Ing-- Standing Up To Oligarchs In Our Own Country


Friday, DFA announced their endorsement of Kaniela Ing in the crowded congressional primary for the open seat in Hawaii's first district. DFA's chairman, Jim Dean, made the classic case for the candidate:
Kaniela Ing. Remember that name, because he is going to be one of the most important leaders in the Democratic Party-- if you can help him win his primary for Hawaii's 1st Congressional District.

Kaniela Ing is a Native Hawaiian and a progressive legislator who fights for working families because he comes from one. His entire life and career show how racial justice and economic justice are inextricably linked.

During his six years as a state legislator Kaniela Ing has always put people over profits, and refuses to take corporate money. He fought for marriage equality when it wasn't popular and has taken on the private prisons that oppress the people of color who make up the majority of Hawaii's population.

Kaniela Ing is running on a platform of Medicare for All, free college, criminal justice reform, and getting big money out of politics. He will be a transformative leader in Congress just as he was in the Hawaii legislature. But he needs your help right now to win his primary-- against a former corporate lobbyist and anti-LGBTQ state rep who opposed raising the minimum wage.

...If we are going to win in 2018, we need candidates who understand that our present national crisis is about much more than the greedy, bigoted man who occupies the Oval Office. Kaniela Ing gets that:
"I am running for Congress because everyday people are being left behind and need a representative who understands today's struggle of paying for college, buying a home, and raising a family. Standing up to Donald Trump is important, but "no" is not enough. Together, we will bring a new generation of progress beyond resistance and defeat big-money corruption."
We need to support candidates who reflect their communities and are committed to fighting for a just economy and society. Kaniela Ing is the embodiment of that vision.

As a student leader in college, Ing helped organize to make sure every student had a free transit pass -- eliminating a costly barrier to low-income students' ability to attend college and finish their degree. He understands what it means to build an economy that works for everyone, not the wealthiest few. Meanwhile, one of his primary opponents-- a pro-corporate, anti-LGBT former State Senator-- actively fought against raising the minimum wage at a time when so many Hawaiian families are struggling to make ends meet.

As a state legislator Kaniela helped stop a plan to use private prisons to incarcerate thousands of Hawaii residents, many of them people of color. One of his opponents in this year's primary was hired by the private prison industry to lobby for that bill.

With these opponents-- a corporate Democrat who worked with Republicans to block wage increases and marriage equality and another candidate who was willing to take money from and lobby for one of the most odious industries in America-- there could not be a clearer choice in this primary. We have a chance to support an amazing leader and legislator who can steer Congress in a truly progressive direction.

Kaniela Ing is a transformative leader who will help create a Democratic Party that is committed to an inclusive populism rooted in racial and economic justice. But he needs your help right now.
Earlier in the day, a top DFA staffer sent me a note with his own personal explanation of the endorsement-- open that mirrors my own thoughts: "Of all the amazing candidates DFA has endorsed this year, Kaniela is one of the ones I'm particularly excited about.  He's running a bold, grassroots campaign that's driven by the big, progressive ideas that Democrats need put out there to win in November AND, when he wins, he'll be a generational game-changer in Congress."

   Goal Thermometer

This isn't going to be an easy win for Kaniela. He's viewed by the establishment as "too young" (even though he's been successfully serving in the state legislature for nearly 6 years and has risen up the leadership ladder fighting for cutting edge, progressive values. Many people seem frightened to stray from the "safe" establishment candidates. And fighting for working families, Kaniela has made plenty of enemies in Hawaii's powerful establishment. They will fight tooth and nail to tear him down and drown him out-- as they always do with transformational figures. They don't want transformation. They want to preserve the status quo and see things remain the same because they're already at the top of the heap. And they own the mainstream media and they will attack Kaniela every step along the way and do whatever they can to put obstacles in his way. Please, if you can, consider contributing to his campaign by clicking on the Blue America congressional thermometer on the right. I can tell you one thing, oligarchs like Mark Zuckerberg sure aren't going to finance Kaniela's campaign. In fact, below is a guest post Kaniela wrote for BuzzFeed this week that explains that better than I could:
We Beat Mark Zuckerberg In Hawaii, And We Can Beat Him In Washington
-by Kaniela Saito Ing

Mark Zuckerberg is now working overtime to convince the American people to trust him with their personal data. Facebook knew tens of millions of Americans had their personal information stolen by Cambridge Analytica for the purposes of helping Steve Bannon and billionaire Robert Mercer elect Donald Trump, but only took responsibility for the breach after it became international news-- two years after the fact.

Facebook’s lack of transparency is part of a broader pattern by its leadership. Mark Zuckerberg is an unelected, unregulated oligarch who controls industries and shapes the fate of our democracy without our consent. Congress must stop relying on his empty promise to self-regulate his monopoly, and take action to protect the American people.

Politicians shouldn’t be afraid to take on Zuckerberg-- I’ve done it myself, and won. In 2014, he bought 700 acres of beachfront land in my home state of Hawaii. He built a wall around the property and then tried to force hundreds of Native Hawaiians to forfeit their gathering rights to the land by suing them. This same tactic was used by sugar barons in the Gilded Age to displace thousands of Native Hawaiian families from their ancestral lands.

Instead of letting a billionaire buy another vacation home and displace local families, I introduced a bill that would keep Hawaiian lands in Hawaiian hands. We organized thousands of Native Hawaiians and residents to fight back, and we won; Zuckerberg dropped the lawsuits.

Washington needs to learn from the people of Hawaii. We need bipartisan congressional investigations into unregulated monopolies like Facebook, and once Democrats retake the House in 2018, we need to push for bold new antitrust policies that challenge corporate power.

Hawaii has a long history of dealing with oligarchs like Zuckerberg. After it was annexed by the United States in 1898, five families quickly consolidated control of the sugar industry and rigged the political system to their favor. The attorney general of Hawaii, Edward Dole, said that the government of Hawaii was “probably almost as much centralized as it was in France under Louis XIV." At the height of the Gilded Age, these ultra-wealthy monopolists had an iron grip on our island, much like the railroad tycoons and robber barons on the mainland.

Today, we’re seeing a new generation of billionaires take control of our democracy. The growth of unregulated giants like Facebook has given rise to a digital oligarchy and a new Gilded Age. Our democracy is on the brink of collapse because our economy is owned by a handful of enormous corporations and our elections are being manipulated by a small group of billionaire donors.

Facebook has grown into a monopoly the size and scope of which the world has never seen, and the lack of oversight and competition encourages reckless behavior, stifles innovation, and leaves the rest of us bearing the personal and financial risks. Facebook strives to be a public utility that informs and connects the public, but unbeknownst to many of its users, it acts like a surveillance machine that sells our data to enrich billionaires.

It’s not enough for Mark Zuckerberg to say that he’s sorry, or promise to strengthen privacy standards. The promises Zuckerberg made this week were the ones Facebook made after a major privacy breach in 2011. Those steps were never taken, so we can’t trust those promises now. Facebook is one of the most dangerous unregulated monopolies because of the central role it plays in informing the public and shaping our elections. We must take action now.

If we’re serious about fixing our democracy and creating an economy that works for all of us, we must break up monopolies like Facebook and regulate them like utilities. Congress should require Facebook to split off Instagram and WhatsApp, which would break its advertising monopoly. Then, Congress should pass data rules to treat Facebook as the "social utility" Zuckerberg once said it was.

It won’t be easy to get there: At this point Facebook, with its 2.2 billion users and $500 billion in market capitalization, is more powerful than many of the national governments that would like to regulate it. Even in the US, many politicians are scared to take on a global enterprise that decides what information their constituents see. There is nothing stopping Facebook from altering its algorithms to push negative news against activists or elected officials who call for more regulation.

But in this moment of rising oligarchy, Democrats have a choice: Do we stand with the American people against oligarchs like Zuckerberg, or so we continue to offer them aid, comfort, and impunity? I trust that my fellow Democrats will rise to the occasion, and join the fight against the oligarchy on behalf of the American people.

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At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ing may or may not be the real deal. But being a member of the democrap party, he will be impotent to affect anything. Maybe in 30 years, after he learns to play for pay .. or is it pay to play... whatever ... maybe then he'll have some juice to do stuff. But not until about 180 others, all bought and paid for, die.

In this shithole, it isn't the individual that matters. It's the system. And the system isn't going to change until we have an alternative to the corrupt democraps.

At 6:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep. Ing cannot stand up to the oligarchs because those oligarchs fund his party.


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