Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Note to the Ideological Purists

This was written as a post in the comments on Alternet.:

I often wonder how many of those who post here are paid operatives of the Corporate Right. All of the concern trolling… ‘oh, I fell for Obama and now I see the light’; ‘both parties are the same’; Obama let us down and proved that he is beholden to corporations, just like dubya and Romney’; ‘I’ll use my vote to send a message to the Democratic Party’ [what message? That you are better than the rest of us? more ideologically pure? more reality based? All of these messages are good – but they are not morally superior, because any kind of morally superior judgment would know that no message will be sent and that every one of your friends, neighbors, family and fellow countrymen & women will be irretrievably fucked when Republicans are installed in office due to your morally superior message sending.]

I have been reading back through publications from early 2009. By April of 2009 many on the Progressive Left had already written off Obama and convinced themselves and others that he was a traitor because he did not live up to every single one of their ideals. I have felt the same way often, and have expressed the same concerns to the WH, my congressional rep, my Senators, my local government, friends, family and anyone else that would listen.

Now, however, during this election, I do not have the luxury of ideological purity. Neither does our country.

Obama said one thing during his acceptance speech that I have seen get no play in the analysis. “As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government.”

Catch that? Self-government. Hard and frustrating work of self-government. Not, I’ll send twenty five bucks to Obama, give him my vote and expect him to fix everything that has been fucked in this country for the last 35 years. And, I will give him, alone, 3.5 years to do it.

That is not how it works in self-governance. Not how it works. We must be involved every step of the way. We are the government. We send representatives to DC to represent us. However, we need to do the very hard work of staying on top of them every step of the way and ensuring that they are doing the work that we want done. This requires direct involvement.

I talk to a lot of Progressives and most of them are filled with the same dour frustration of the comments here. Most are rightfully and righteously frustrated with the BS that has not been fixed and the BS that has been continued. I get it. [Many of them also seem to have been only paying attention for the last 4 years and do not get the institutional structure or broken-ness of our congress, elections and campaign finance structure.]

However, to a person, most of them have not been involved. They do not attend party meetings. They are not involved in Progressive groups. They do not attend protests (or start them.) They do not sign petitions or write letters or make phone calls to their reps. They do not do, and have not done, anything to move the course of decision making in the right direction or the direction they want it moved. If we are not actively involved and do not continually use our voices and our power, then we lose our power and the moneyed interests are the ones who are heard. We need to be loud and louder. Our elected representatives need us involved. They need to be pushed by us.

I do not understand those, who have not pushed over the last four years, thinking that withholding their vote or voting third party will all of a sudden be the needed push. In self-governance you have a lot more responsibility than voting once every four years – yet many do not even do that. Your vote is powerful, but it is not your only responsibility.

The corporate masters are counting on you getting discouraged. They are counting on you thinking that ‘both parties are the same.’ They are counting on you sitting this one out or voting third party. They want this and need this. Michael Moore is right, they know that they cannot win if more people vote and so they are taking away the vote from whoever they can get away with taking it away from. We need to vote just to make up for the millions disenfranchised.

It is high past time for those of us who feel powerless to exercise our power where ever we can. Sitting out the election is not exercising power. Voting Green is not exercising this power. Not now. There is way too much at stake.

I am not a Democratic apologist. I am just as pissed about many, many things that have been done or not done. When I look at the Party Platforms, though, it is the Democratic Party that is closest to my beliefs. When I look at the demographics, it is the Democratic Party that most resembles true representation. When I look at the last 80 years of law making in this country it is the Democrats who have supported Women, Unions, Civil Rights, Peace and the Social Safety Net. It is the Democratic Party that says that We are All in This Together [The Right would have us jumping from windows of a burning factory because we are all just means to an end for the factory owner – not actual people, actual people all created equally.]

We are at a major fucking turning point. We do not have the luxury of waiting for the candidate who believes in everything that we believe in. We need to ensure that Obama is reelected and do everything that we can to get him a congress that will not block his every move. Then we need to be involved to push our representatives to enact laws for the people, undo the damage done over the last 35 years, enact laws that remove the power of the financial elite, restore our Rights and Civil Liberties and prosecute those who have screwed us. We need to elect them, then we need to push them.

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Republicans continue to deny that there is a War on Women, but when people like Romney praise Walker for being bold and courageous, then their denial is a lie.

Scott Walker is going for broke before his recall.

A Wisconsin law that made it easier for victims of wage discrimination to have their day in court was repealed on Thursday, after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) quietly signed the bill.

The 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act was meant to deter employers from discriminating against certain groups by giving workers more avenues via which to press charges. Among other provisions, it allows individuals to plead their cases in the less costly, more accessible state circuit court system, rather than just in federal court.

In November, the state Senate approved SB 202, which rolled back this provision. On February, the Assembly did the same. Both were party-line votes in Republican-controlled chambers.

(From HuffingtonPost)

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Personhood Amendment


Perhaps it is time that we introduce a new Personhood Amendment? Something to the effect that “Women are full human beings, with full rights over their bodies and complete freedom to make decisions respecting their bodies, health and futures.”

All of this new controversy over requiring that health insurance plans, regardless of where they are offered, cover birth control without copay, is absolutely absurd.

I have heard enough from Newt & Rick & Mitt & Ron Paul about ‘religious freedom’ and what an attack on the Catholic Church that this has been. Well, for thousands of years the Catholic Church, and other male dominated power structures, have been attacking women and our autonomy and it is about fucking time for a little push back.

This is not about abortion. This is not about birth control. This is not about the group of cells that may or may not be duplicating in someone’s uterus.

This is about Women.

This whole bullshit argument is about whether or not women can be trusted to think and decide for themselves what is best for themselves and their body and their future - or whether they need the state, or a man, telling them what they can or cannot do.

Women understand how our bodies work. We understand, and can comprehend, the multitude of issues that arise from our reproductive health and, thankfully, there are [still] organizations that can assist us in getting the care that we need.

Despite all of the arguments to the contrary, women are capable of making these decisions ourselves.

It is very simple: either I have control over my body or someone else does.

These arguments have always been about controlling women and limiting their abilities to control their own lives. Take away a woman’s choice about her own fertility and you limit every choice that that woman will ever be able to make for the rest of her life.

When, in this country, will we finally decide that women are full persons with all of the rights of a full person? Oh, that’s right, we have been trying to get a women’s ‘personhood amendment’ passed for 89 years and counting.

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Monday, February 28, 2011

More Uncovered Protests

In addition to the uncovered protests on Saturday to protect worker’s rights, corporate media also blacked-out coverage of nationwide protests against the banks.

Interesting the crap that the corporate media wants us to know vs what they don’t want us to know about.

The Right Wing strategy is clear.

Thom Hartmann
told a joke this morning (see, it’s funny ‘cause it’s true…)

A Big Business man, a Tea Partier and a Laborer are sitting around a table with a plate of 12 cookies on it. The Big Business guy takes 11 of the cookies and gobbles them up. There is one cookie left. Big business looks at the Tea Partier and says, “Watch out, that Union guy wants part of your cookie.”

I wonder when the Dems will figure out that ‘bipartisanship’ is not the solution?

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Apparently THIS Revolution Will NOT Be Televised

As I watched the National protests in support of Unions and the people of Wisconsin, on-line, yesterday, I kept searching the teevee for evidence of coverage. The local news networks were not covering it, the national news networks were not covering it, the cable news networks were not covering it and – extremely disappointingly – CSPAN was not covering it. I even flipped periodically to Fox “News” to see if they were covering the national response to the attack on the used-to-be-middle-class. Fox had more coverage than any other network, however it was spun towards the myth of the Unions being greedy thugs and the protests as something to be feared. (CNN, sadly, were instead talking about the Tea Party and its two year anniversary.)

When it comes to the used-to-be-middle-class, we are left out of the national dialogue, despite the millions in the streets.

More on the flip side about why these protests matter,why America needs to be informed of them and about them, and why they are occurring.

This morning, watching the Sunday shows, the same black-out of the nationwide protests continued. MTP at least included Rich Trumka; a rare representative of actual people, on the Sunday chat fests. Though he was not given enough opportunity to really talk about what is occurring across the country. Emanuel Cleaver did OK but there is really crappy, if existent at all (though I find no evidence for it) Democratic messaging on the real fight here.

There are numerous reasons for these protests and numerous reasons that we all – left, right, center, independent, Democratic, Republican, Tea Party and Socialist – should be celebrating and supporting the protests and the protestors: they are fighting for the survival of our country which is contingent on the survival of its people.

First of all, this is not a budget fight. Public sector employees are not responsible for our budget deficits.
Bush tax cuts and the second Republican Great Depression are what is driving our deficits (PDF) and what created our massive National Debt. There is only one reason to even be discussing deficits now; the Right wants to blur the line and pretend that cash-strapped governments (state and local and federal) are the reason that the American people are broke. They are interrelated but the cause and effect formula is backwards.

The Right pretends that jobs are some gift from business owners and, now, governments. They have repeated the meme for so long now that business “creates jobs,” that our entire national debate centers around how best to blow the cocks of big business rather than the incredible shrinking wealth of what was once the middle class. Never mind wage stagnation “business needs certainty.” The used-to-be-middle-class would like some certainty too.

No business creates jobs just to create jobs – as evidenced by the shitload of money that the corporations are hoarding. The corporations do not “create jobs”; employees provide services to employers for a fee (payrolls); DEMAND creates jobs. There is no demand because the people are freakin’ broke. Or, I should say, the majority of the people are freakin’ broke.

In addition, lowering the deficit does not lead to jobs – unemployment leads to budget deficits. Somehow the Republicans believe that the more that they fire people, cut their benefits (which are part of a payroll package not some give-away) and lower their payrolls, the lower the unemployment rate will be. How many people do they have to fire before the unemployment rate reaches zero?

There were coast-to-coast protests yesterday. Protests of the American people standing up for the American people. Coast-to-fucking coast. My guess is that very few Americans know this and even fewer understand why the protests affect them and matter to them: Apparently THIS revolution will NOT be televised.

Update: John Nichols breaks down why this all matters much better than I did.

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Friday, February 25, 2011