Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
All I hear from the progressives at this point is how the president isn't living up to the legacy of FDR. Well FDR had a chance to put health care for all in place and he bargained it away. He got nothing( I'm assuming those on the left would have been happy to do away with social security as well because getting only that would have been seen as a "compromise"). . Ted Kennedy had a chance to champion Jimmy Carter's deal for health care for all working Americans and he decided to go for it all we ended up with nothing. Kennedy did it because he wanted to run for President and didn't want to rubber stamp the Carter agenda. No one talks about that either. (But according to the left, that decision should be applauded because he stood on principle. Never mind the fact that he later in life said it was the biggest mistake he ever made in his political life.)
I have no idea what the standard is for this President. If he had stood on principle in the health care debate (meaning single payer), we would now have nothing. If he would have stood on principle during the fight for financial reform, we would have nothing. This president doesn't need to grow a set, he has a set. He has decided to set a course of attainable progress. It doesn't help him with the left (who want some progressive superman to take down the Republicans without so much as a nod to the procedural rules of Congress that wouldn't allow such a thing), the right continues to call the President a socialist, a communist, a traitor, a Muslim terrorist, etc. How much bravery do you think it takes for someone to act even though they know it will curry no favor with either supporters or detractors?
Frankly I'm of the mind that the President should just finish out his term and go on to become extremely rich as the foremost citizen of the world. Because even if those in the US don't appreciate him, he is without a doubt the most admired leader in the world today. If the US doesn't want him, then I guess we don't deserve him. I'm not defending his decisions. I've been just as disappointed in some of them as some of his most vocal critics have been. But I do understand political reality. And after the next election, when those on the left will be, I assume based on their current rhetoric, celebrating the end of the term of the great appeaser, we'll all get a dose of political reality, Republican style. And that, my friends, is all I have to say about that.
Friday, December 10, 2010
I ‘ve thought long and hard about whether to keep writing on politics because once again the American Left, the only alternative for sane people in the United States living outside of the community of the top 1% of wealth holders, are fighting with themselves again.
I’ve seen it happen over and over again, the Left, Progressives, Liberals, Pro Union workers, Socialists argue with each other, and the Right unifies in response to the turmoil. You don’t hear anyone on the Right saying, “We didn’t defeat healthcare reform passage, we need a ‘real’ Republican running the Party.” No. They patted themselves on the back for aborting the Single Payer Option and concentrated on what to sabotage next like Financial Reform.
Democrats, Progressives and Liberals who take an “all or nothing” approach to legislative progress for our society’s evolution, are only working toward the goals of their intended adversary: The Establishment and their self-approved Status Quo.
I’ve said it before: I’m not happy.
But I’m not willing to cede the reigns back to the craven, thieving enemies of this Republic, who rob every working man, woman and innocent child daily, just because we haven’t gotten as far as we wanted to go by last Wednesday. I’m certainly not going to handover control by hanging my hopes on some unnamed, principled, but ineffective articulator of my hopes who can’t get elected, and has no hope of nudging a swing state or hurdling any of the concrete barriers that destroy candidates in presidential races. This as yet unnamed, and somewhat imaginary ‘real’ Progressive (Liberal, Demorcat et al.) that my disenchanted fellow travelers on the Left are proposing is the respective gambit that the Republicans are trying to avoid on their very own side of the fence: Sarah Palin. Palin might be what their people want, but they know those people aren’t looking squarely at election night, and the way Palin would energize every person with an IQ higher than 90 to vote against her is the reason they openly express their opposition to her candidacy and influence.
It doesn’t feel particularly good to argue practicality, -ever. Especially when the future is on the line, and in politics it always is. But I’m arguing for it here at the risk of being called a sell out by my contemporaries. I’m taking the long view, further down the field, possibly as far down the line as the end of my life. I’ll stand with this President and his administration, and all the Democrats in office in the House and the Senate (even somebody I think has proven themselves to have been bought outright by lobbyists like Sen. Max Baucus), just as I criticize them for not going far enough, or not being tough enough. I remain a supporter of Democrats because resetting the clock and the score on Healthcare Reform (limited as it is), Financial Reform (weak as it is) is exactly what the Establishment’s political arm: the GOP and the Conservative base have always wanted.
Rolling back what little has been done is exactly what the GOP will do if they get into power. Taking everything back to a starting point, because you didn’t reach your goal in the time you wanted -- in the exact way that you wanted, still means you are further away from those goals, only with exhausted resources. You are back to the starting line as if nothing ever happened. The Obama Administration and the current crop of Democrats in office the last few years have moved the ball forward: on the environment; on consumer issues; on financial reform; on healthcare; on enforcing the Constitution. E.g. once you have passed a law making an activity, like rescission, or denial of covergae based upon pre-existing medical conditions illegal you can move forward and try to do other, harder things, like getting medical coverage for all college students, or lowering the Medicare entry point to age 50; or eventually a Single Payer Option, -unless...
unless you have to go back and fight issues like rescission all over again, -every single time-, every 20 years or so, as has been done since President Truman’s initial efforts to nationalize the healthcare industry (They defeated him by calling him a Socialist.)
Proffering a “real” Progressive as a presidential candidate, (which really is code for someone who is functionally, inflexibly uncompromising on principles central to 20th century Progressivism,) is unrealistic in proposed inception and possible practice in a country where Senator Russ Feingold was defeated by a Tea Party (Read rebranded Republican) candidate who publicly and unashamedly calls the assertion that climate change is a man-made problem, "crazy."
The best that could be done, somehow happened in 2008. Two men, who on paper scare the shit out of the duped reactionary masses and their wealthy and powerful masters made their way into the White House on the backs of a voting block that coagulated and solidified long enough to overturn the costly (and some will maintain illegitimate) election outcomes of 2004 and 2000.
As I write this, few are taking up FDR’s challenge to Labor leaders after his election in 1932: "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." I don’t have a single friend who complains about this administration calling their Representatives or their Senators on any issues. They voted, and they figured that their job is done; ignoring the fact that it’s the house and the legislature that write and enact bills into laws, the White House ultimately only has a direct power to say “no” and propose Supreme Court judges. To those who say there is no difference between what this administration has done, and what Republicans would have done in their place for the last two years, I say: Marshal your imagination to consider what the Supreme Court would look like for a different perspective. I ask that all of us think of Healthcare Reform and Financial Reform and whether they would have come up even, solely, simply, as proposed subjects for theoretical discussion under a Republican administration. -I doubt they would have even gotten a mention from the podium judging from the last 8 years of a Republican White House. But in our living reality, -they were proposed, and heavily promoted by this White House, and the overwhelming majority of the people who voted President Obama and Vice President Biden into office, immediately forgot they had a Senate and House of Representatives to bring into line if they wanted to get anything done, ever. That’s never going to change no matter who gets into office. Having the President you supported elected is never enough, he needs direction, he needs post election support. Replacing a Moderate, Liberal or Progressive President every cycle simply forestalls the ongoing problems and sustains the dysfunction between the Executive branch and the Legislative branch in our government; a dysfunction that benefits the Establishment, the wealthy, the powerful.
It’s not too late too late to make them do it. …Unless we want to just erase all this meagre progress and start over from scratch, just like the GOP keeps asking everybody to do.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
“The powers that be” don’t care if you’re Rich, Poor, Black, White, Brown, Man, Woman, Tranny, or a World of War Craft aficionado, -as long as you stay home on Election Day.
The dollars corporate interests and big business spent in the last presidential election and the last Senate and Congressional races go farther if we just act like nothing matters. This is why the Establishment always fights voter registration efforts, anywhere, from the Mission district in San Francisco, to Beverly Hills, to Compton, to Detroit, to Chicago’s Southside, to Park Avenue, to Harlem and all places in between, the non voter is the Establishment’s favorite kind of American: The defeated kind; The kind they don’t have to spend money distracting with ads or lying to in the newsmedia.
When you don’t vote, you have no say. When you have “no say,” you are no different than a royal subject in days of old… save that you did it to yourself.
Vote and vote hard.
Really think about it.
…And, if you do give it some thought, you’ll find there are plenty of reasons to vote for this candidate versus that candidate, or this proposition as opposed that bill… but there is no reason, not a single solitary one not to vote. EVER.
Many people died to set in motion this system, a still evolving one, which was more of an open-ended hope for a future that the founders were humble enough to know they could not imagine for us on parchment in perpetuity. Thomas Jefferson and others understood what they could not bring themselves to pronounce openly; namely that inalienable truth that says “us” means “all” or it just means “some,” and whatsoever was jotted down in the first drafts of our Constitution, -we were never intended to be a nation of “some.”
We’re still working it out. SO VOTE.
We owe them one.
The founders, despite their own criminal flaws, mendacity and self-centered motivations, didn't elect a new king, they laid down the ground work for a system by the people for the people, in an attempt at a “more perfect union.” –Those words were a dare of sorts to be answered by every succeeding generation, and some of our forbears have paid for it in flesh. Too many profited from its loopholes, its abusive legislation, its murderous and exclusionary protections… only to find those abuses and crimes the very reason for changing the Constitution, for the better, for the future.
If you’re going to stay home during this election I ask that you look at a portrait of Frederick Douglass while you stay home, wasting a precious chance to be counted, to be heard, to simply exist in the nation you live in. The shame might just kill you, be you Black, White, Hispanic, Fundamentalist or sane.
I won’t tell you who to vote for or why.
I have faith that if every registered voter came out and fulfilled their civic responsibility to the country, government would improve vastly. More would get done, -and more needs to get done because we’ve only started.
SO VOTE ALREADY.
Ignore all the noise, and cast your ballot and think of all the native nations that discovered this country millennia ago, the settlers, the slaves, the exploited, the immigrants and all who gave everything in return for nothing.
Vote because it’s your right, it’s your power and it’s the only way in which this nation can move forward into the light of its proper future.
Friday, October 15, 2010
If the glibness of this post’s title makes you angry, then read on. There’s actually a very important point to my sarcastic and jingoist-baiting statement above.
On April 19, 1995 the
McVeigh committed what was the single most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11, 2001 attacks. It claimed 168 lives, not counting an unmatched adult human leg that may belong to a possible, unidentified 169th victim who remains anonymous to this day.
The 168 death toll includes 19 children under the age of six.
Tim McVeigh claimed he initially wanted to destroy the Murrah building itself, but that he later came to the conclusion that his “message” would be heard only if there were many deaths. Most of the fatalities were directly caused by the violent collapse of the building’s structure, and not the bomb’s sudden instantaneous blast.
After April 19, nobody focused on any of the groups of which McVeigh was an identified member after his cowardly bombing with the ferocity, venom and prejudiced hate that Muslims have endured in
Yet this is the reasoning too many of us apply to Muslims in
You wouldn’t know that “guilt by association” is actually illegal in America from watching pundits on the Right, or by listening to the screams of protesters opposing the building of a Islamic learning center, (or mosque it doesn’t really matter which it is) in downtown Manhattan.
That’s all prejudice is at its core: the judgment of individuals based upon a belief applied to a group. The individual disappears, and all manner of injustice and violence is allowed. To paraphrase comedian Chris Rock, there’s always a lot of “accepted racism” when people start getting angry or scared or both.
We are angry and we are still scared in
Even Bill Maher, another comedian like Chris Rock whose powers of reason and ethical humanist clarity I respect greatly, -actually defended racial profiling to my shock a few short years ago. If you’re looking for someone who looks and sounds like Osama Bin Laden, it still allows everyone who doesn’t look that way free reign to harm. I don’t feel safe around anyone when I’m at the airport, because I know that persons looking a particular way, being of a particular race, creed or color doesn’t make them any particular thing for better of for worse, for good or ill. Maybe old people get a pass, but that might be it.
And this is my point, and the motivation behind the title of this post:
Fox “News” Channel’s Bill O’Reilly said that “Muslims killed us on 9/11” on the TV talk show, The View this week. While that statement in isolation remains a fact, its selectiveness as a statement lends authority to a lie because all Muslims did not attack the
I am an American and I am tired of pointing out what is still racism and what still amounts to bigotry and prejudice over the shouting of people like Bill O’Reilly. I am exhausted from pointing out just how hypocritically selective hate is in
Sadly, I am scared too.
Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the attack on the Pentagon and the failed run at the White House by high jacked flight 93, the United States is one terrorist attack away from a federal lock down that would make the Patriot Act look like a Civil Rights initiative (no matter who is in office.) The cultural and social repression that would emanate at street level is too monstrous to contemplate if we are hit again in sizeable measure. I know we’d lose everything valuable about this Republic because we’re not the nation we used to be. We don’t listen to smart people anymore, we call people who try to think things through “pussies,” and we call people who defend the powerless even worse names.
Just try and remember this:
The casualties on 9/11 included nationals from over 70 countries. That’s one isolated fact that Fox “News” Channel and Osama Bin Laden are glad we have forgotten.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
How else can you explain the popularity of someone as intellectually counterfeit and ethically suspect as Glenn Beck in America?
The problem with those explanations is that there are plenty of constant counter examples that don’t hold out. There are plenty of people that might be considered to be “dumb as posts,” who still vote rationally in line with their own interests and the interests of the country as a whole in mind. I’m talking about some of the poor people in my old South Bronx neighborhood, many of whom never made it past 9th grade, yet still understand the importance of labor unions and the need for regulation in big business no matter what they read in the New York Post every single day on their train ride to work. Most of these folks can’t even explain the structure of our government or its history despite being native born Americans, yet they can still spot opportunistic bullshit when they hear it:
These so-called “stupid” uneducated people still somehow knew that anything coming from the Right against Healthcare Reform was going to be the kind of lying you only see go down when corporate profits are at stake.
Another problem with the explanations of ignorance, or misinformation is that the truth and the facts are being promoted constantly in the media despite what my fellow Liberals charge: Someone who watches Fox “News” exclusively still walks around the same world as everyone else and invariably sees other headlines they have to actively dismiss. The devoted Fox “News” watcher has to walk the Earth in a constant state of denial, preemptively disbelieving anything that doesn’t match up with Murdoch’s brand of propaganda and wait for new Fox “factoids” to counter reality when they get home and can watch Hannity or whomever. There were for example far more years (decades in fact) of information on the dangers of global climate change, pollution, the importance of conservation, the dangers of continued and future oil dependence, than there have been of the relatively recent Right wing and corporate-sponsored anti-Environment movement propaganda. So just how did such obvious lies catch up to and overtake the truth for many in America?
-The way it happened was this: Lies, -the kind of lies that are invented to muddy facts and question truths inconvenient to the powerful, the Rich, the Establishment were created to be appealing to the believer. That’s the only way they could work. These lies gave the listener something in return for “buying in.”
“You can still lose weight and eat everything you want”
is a statement I see every night on TV infomercials in some form or another. This American desire, particularly the willingness of our desperate fat citizens to do absolutely anything in the world to lose weight (except eating right and exercising apparently) is the core of our problem, and it is what is behind the Tea Baggers today, and it is what was behind the Reagan revolution of 1980.
Tea Baggers believe that they can groundlessly oppose the Obama administration with criticisms they should have leveled at its predecessors (Spending, irresponsible economic governance, government intrusion, weak national security) because it makes them feel okay about claiming they’ve somehow lost their country now that a Black man is president.
Reagan’s supporters were told America could spend its way to prosperity; that we could deregulate big business and it would never create adverse consequences, -ever, because it allowed us to finally say what we felt was a long overdue “fuck you” to the poor. We believed it because it made us feel good. We believed it because it was allowing us to eat all we wanted, without any ill effects… that was the promise and that was the lie.
So the problem with America my friends, aside from our new impatience with any administration or any policy that takes more than six months to register a measurable improvement is this infantile desire to be lied to in place of an ugly truth, and the willingness to trade our safety and our future for just the right fantasy. Too many of us will buy into any lie, as long as the reality it promises let’s us get away with something. You can’t discuss policy with people who want to be lied to. You can’t have a conversation with someone who is lying about how they really feel, unless your goal is to waste your time. I don’t argue with Tea Baggers.
And that’s where we’re at today, Friday September 10, 2010, almost ten long years to the day after a homicidal fundamentalist asshole decided to make a point to my government with facile destructive attacks that only showed just how easy it is to murder people in an open society and an open nation and little else. The American Republic and its Constitution almost didn’t survive 9/11 and ten years later, too many of us are still taking the bait, too eager to hear lies that give us something in return for our credulity, like believing the lie that only allowing our government to operate secretly will keep us safe… or that the actions of the few can conveniently condemn all. -But that last bit goes for all of us, -the real “all of us” everywhere on the globe, whether we’re burning books, killing aid workers, denying people’s rights, or waging unending wars supported by some fake, self-inflicted distance from reality.
A lie is a kind of trade between the speaker and the listener.
We must always ask ourselves what someone is getting for our belief, and if it’s actually worth what we are getting in return.
Jack Jodell has written an excellently researched rundown of lies that should not go uncontested or unremembered going into the fall.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
As I hear poll after poll indicating that Republicans and the Right likely stand to gain seats, if not a functioning majority in the House, I ask myself:
“Who are these excited fools, and how exactly did they apply their amnesia so selectively?”
“Doesn’t the future of a country matter more to these “patriots” than their declared party’s influence?”
And I am dealing with other terrible, nagging feelings. Among them the suspicion that we may no longer lack the maturity as a nation of citizens to either wait for policies to take effect, or listen to reason of any kind. Emotion and fear consistently trump the facts; and our beliefs, no matter how archaic and unenlightened, drown out news and information. We won’t consider any single simple thing unless it comes to us from someone we want to hear it from at the podium. This is one of the things that is making it so difficult for the population to even agree on a common, concrete, empirical reality.
Not everything is a matter of opinion or belief, and saying so is an act of puerile desperation. But the desperate are outlasting the sane in America today. Voters are insisting on acting like children, citing their refusal of inconvenient facts as philosophical strength and ideological resolve.
The “news,” as it is today, it not helping. The global and national media apparatus is in fact providing the most effective means of disseminating lies, legitimizing contrived inaccuracies and promoting the distractions of the Establishment.
Months ago, I made a list of Republican Senators from around the country and called and emailed each and every one of them about Healthcare reform (some wouldn’t let me email if I didn’t place a zip within their state, so it took some doing.) I started with John Boehner’s office. My feeling was that I had to say something to contradict the lie they kept repeating over and over again, -that the overwhelming percentage of Americans did not want health care reform. I did not want to be unheard by these spectacular liars even if my communications were ticks in the seas of their blind supporters’ screams and yells at town halls.
I asked many writers online to do the same: -not that they call Democrats, but that they specifically call the “opposition” and make reality a thing that much more obvious to disavow. I suspect no one else did this, because I know how long it took me: 3 days.
Do not forget that "part" of a lazy public is sitting back and saying “Well, I voted” and doing little else since the White House changed hands.
...Now those masses who forever want someone to make them feel comfortable, those familiar millions who are always clamoring for some leader to tell them they can have everything they want if they only shut up, if they only listen, if they only follow like supplicants in the presence of God are excited again. The American Right’s goal is enchantment, belief, obedience, uniformity, a homogeneity all in the service of allowing the rich to get richer, and ensure the poor remain raw material for whatever purposes the ruling class see fit.
How could Democrats, Progressives, the Unions, the working class, the poor or the Left, ever have hoped to keep its resolve in the face of that kind of stalwart, idiotic devotion presented as a political movement?
Honestly, I figured it would last longer than a year and a half, but from what I’m reading online, I was dead wrong.
I was as naïve as the armies of suckers who lined up to hear a comedian “restore honor” this past weekend in the nation's capitol.
Somebody save this country from its stupider, short-sighted impulses.
Somebody wake it before this idiotic nightmare runs its toxic course.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
The most dishonorable and criminal thing that Conservatives, Republicans and all the hordes of Establishment propping shills in the media; like the whole of the Fox "News" Network, Newsmax and other purveyors of right wing fantasy, do is lie. The Right lies so brazenly and openly about their motives and their intentions and they do it with such sustained dedication, that the truth is often obscured by the simple exhaustion of journalists tired of reminding people of the facts.
Glenn Beck wants you to accept his excuse that his event today is just a coincidence in scheduling, but unless you are the kind of fucking fool who actually watches his cable show with the rapt attention more appropriate for actual news, -you can see this is a lie.
Can I or anyone read Beck’s mind and prove otherwise?
Of course not.
But childishly citing the absence of telepathy as the reason to accept this jackass’s excuse that he is trying to organize a “take back” of the Civil rights movement while unknowingly doing it on the anniversary of one of the most important dates in American history and Civil rights history, -is just more lying by Beck, Fox News, Rupert Murdoch and their PR teams.
The result and consequence of this rally is the same, -a desperate attempt at thinning and obscuring an important date in civil rights history with bullshit because there is an African American in the White House.
“Nice try, asshole.”
While Glenn Beck may have succeeded in fulfilling the wishes of Americans so scared to think for themselves that they’ll watch some unqualified jerkoff like him scribble Conservative paranoia on a black board, the vast majority of the world and Americans remain keenly aware that Glenn Beck’s time on TV, his public appearances, his “books” are all just one big publicity stunt. Like Sarah Palin, no paid hypocrisy, or promise of exposure is too immoral or dishonorable to turn down for Beck. …Otherwise why would Beck try to glom off of Dr. King’s legacy?
What I’ll do today, is what I do with all of the contemporary Right’s recent sad attempts at intellectual legitimacy, and political legacy: I’ll ignore it, just as I ignore the cheesy car dealership ads that pop up on Lincoln’s birthday every year.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Religion: It's not really for me, but if it provides some people with a level of comfort then I have no issues with that. Of course when it's used like a battering ram, then I feel it's my duty to point out my exact thoughts about the less than factual basis of said religion.
Music: I'm not a big fan of most of what's popular today. That is to say that I'm an old fart who thinks things were better when pop music was targeted towards him.
Movies: I think that Lawrence of Arabia and the two Godfathers are the best movies ever made.
Food: I'm partial to Chinese.
Superheroes: I'm partial to Superman. And I personally think that Captain America would kick the shit out of Batman any day of the week.
That's all for today boys and girls. Have a great weekend.