Tag Archives: progressives

The morning after the morning after

So you think the election’s all over and you won’t have to hear the bullshit for another two months before the wailing begins for 2012. Nah, you don’t think that. You know that 2012 starts right now. In fact, it already started, back when Mitch McConnell said the Republicans’ primary goal for the next two years was making sure Barack Obama doesn’t get re-elected.

That’s a real “country first” attitude, ain’t it? Of course, it was never about country first. It was about making the other guy — the black guy, and us by extension, look like the enemy.

And hell, let’s get real. 2012 started on November 5, 2008, and the goal then, as it is now, was to do something about the black guy in the White House.

That and make sure their rich benefactors stayed that way. But an election for the real America? Depends on who you think that is.

House Speaker to be John Boehner cried, he was so happy to become the powerful speaker of the House (that is, if his new and nutty Tea Party colleagues don’t figure out he’s part of the DC establishment and run somebody against him. Mmm. I hear Eric “They shot at a building where I have an office where one of my consultants works” Cantor is thinking about tossing his hat in the ring.

But Boehner. He says the message to Obama is clear – “Change course.” True, but the course he needs to change to isn’t the one Boehner wants. Still, Obama will probably take Boehner’s advice. Democrats always do. Boehner, though, he said Tuesday night that “It’s clear tonight who the winners really are … the American people.” I guess that’s right if the American people are all millionaires or their toadies. Otherwise, that’s not us.

And it’s not even the folks who put the crazies into the House. Exit polls showed that Americans believe the top problem the country’s facing is the economy – 62 percent – with 19 percent saying health care. And the top economic problem – unemployment, by far.

America’s voters blame Wall Street for the economic crisis, overwhelmingly. So what do America’s voters do? They return the party that refuses to regulate Wall Street back in the House. Voters had exactly the same unfavorable rating for Dems (53 percent) as Republicans, and favored the Ds 43-41. But they sent the Rs back anyway.

The “American people” — not us, not the tea party, but people like Jamie Dimon and Meg Whitman.

And how did this happen? Senior citizens, who have bought the Republican bullshit about keeping government’s dirty hands off their Medicare, voted in droves. Young folks, feckless cynics that they are, stayed home and got stoned. Hey, that’s not a criticism. I mighta done the same thing if I were 20-something and hadn’t stopped drinking and drugging 30 years ago.

Meanwhile, my beloved colleagues won’t say a thing about any of that. They had their scenario all lined up well before even the early voters started casting their ballots.

Obama and the liberals overreached. The country wants them to return to the center right, where all is good with the world.

Except, as we know, that’s complete bullshit. Obama and the Democratic Congress, with the Republicans blocking their every move, have been pretty damned center right, if not outright right-right. That’s not good enough for the GOP, though, because that group has moved so far right that they’d probably drum Nixon out of the party, if he didn’t leave voluntarily. When they say “center right,” they mean to the right of, say, Charlie Crist, who clearly is too far left for the Florida Republicans. Hugging Barack Obama obviously triggers an automatic suspension of your “I’m a Card Carrying Conservative Bastard” card.

So flip on any cable news show this week and hear this: The voters are angry about Obama’s liberal overreach instead of taking care of the things that are really important, like jobs and health care …

And here’s the part you won’t hear: … like jobs and health care, which the Republican minority and the blue dogs watered down so far that it was barely recognizable just to protect the capitalist interests of the banks and the insurance companies (yeah, I know, and STILL they called it socialism).

And right after that, you won’t hear the discussion progressives have been having for months, if not years – how the fuck is it that the GOP can so completely hornswoggle voters like they do? Are this many Americans really that stupid? Or that glued to the latest episode of Dancing With The Stars?

No, my dear colleagues are already working on the script for 2012. Here’s a hint – they really want Sarah Palin to win. They want America’s first woman president to be somebody they can feel smug over, someone they know isn’t as smart as they are. That’s why they won’t stop paying attention to her even though she has dismal approval numbers across the country and her “endorsements” appear to be as much of a hindrance as a help.

But I’ll make my own prediction on that. It’ll be Mike Huckabee. He’s a cool dude, man. Plays bass guitar. You could have a beer with him, that is if he weren’t a Southern Baptist teetotaler. But he’s the perfect extremist white Christian fundamentalist conservative.

Our own leftist extremists will try to primary Obama, but they will be labeled racist for doing so. Many of them actually will be, but that’s not the real reason behind the move to get a more progressive candidate at the top of the ticket. Getting a more progressive candidate at the top of the ticket is the real reason. It won’t work though, and Obama will be renominated. He’ll keep Joe Biden. He’ll lose, because, golly gee whillickers, Mike Huckabee is just so swell.

And hey, maybe he’ll pick Palin as vice president too, and 10 years from now we’ll have completely forgotten what a creep she actually is, and she’ll win too.

All of that will happen because my colleagues won’t come anywhere near the truth about what happened on Tuesday. They’ll just sit around their tables and laugh at each others jokes and say stupid shit about how “cannibalism” kept not only Christine O’Donnell but also Christian Reconstructionist Sharron Angle from winning their Senate races. They won’t say it was because they are batshit insane, and, thanks to the spotlight that progressives – and in some cases even my dear colleagues – kept on them, the erstwhile voters in their states figured that out before it was too late.

The only place that didn’t really happen was in Kentucky, where apparently the voters are as crazy as the candidates and thought Rand Paul, the George W. Bush of the Paul family, should go to the Senate. Good luck with that, Kentucky. Hide your Social Security checks. He’ll be coming for them.

The Christianists are all whining that the Dems abandoned them this election, saying that led the fickle fundamentalists to go back to the Republicans who are the only ones who really care about them anyway. I say it had more to do with the abandonment of Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy, the kind of strategy the Republicans have been using for decades. The kind of strategy that got Obama elected and turned both chambers of Congress over to Democrats.

At any rate, America, caveat emptor. No returns, no refunds. The Republican-led House will keep its promises – to shut down the federal government, impeach the president, hold dozens of hearings on the first two years of the Obama administration, repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, privatize Social Security, increase defense spending, cut all social programs (eliminating many), extend tax cuts for the rich permanently, pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, decimate the First Amendments guarantees of freedom of speech and religion, expand the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and attack Iran. And that’s just for starters. They have a mandate to do all that, John Boehner says, just like George W. had a mandate when the Supreme Court gave him the presidency in 2000.

Oh and, when all that comes to bite Boehner and buds in the ass, they’ll blame the black guy.

And it’ll work too. As long as the Democrats keep up with their spineless response to all the lies and distortions.

But hey, at least half the blue dogs are gone now, replaced by bright red Republicans. That should make it easier for the White House to tell friends from enemies … oh right. Obama stepped in it when he inferred that some of the more wascally Wepublicans were “enemies.” Only Republicans are allowed to call their political opponents “enemies.”

Or “traitors.” That’s what we are to them. Certainly not real Americans. Never real Americans.

Vote — or else

The new line from some Republicans on this election is that a GOP victory is not a validation for Republicans (which it isn’t) but a repudiation of Democrats (which it is). But they’ve got one thing wrong. Jeb “Hey  I wanna be president too” Bush says its cuz the Dems went too far — that they “overreached.”

But he’s wrong. They didn’t go far enough. And a bunch of you thought it was wise to punish them for not going far enough, so you’re staying home. And, as GW Bush was foisted upon us by Nader voters, the next two years of noxious Republicanism will be the fault of the non-voters.

But not completely.  Not even close. There’s plenty of blame to go around. You non-voters can rest easy that you’re not solely responsible for the hearings and impeachment proceedings and the tax cuts for the rich and all that we’re getting, thanks to the Republicans getting more votes than the Democrats. But you do win the honor of being the worst of the bunch.

Let’s take a quick look at who else shoulders the blame.

There’s the non-voters favorite target … I mean, excuse for not voting, President Barack Obama. He gets tarred for insisting on playing nice with a political party that initially vowed to make sure his administration failed and has now declared its principle purpose to make sure he’s a one-term president.

Right up there with the president are the spineless Democrats who fled the administration like rats from a sinking ship when the GOP noise machines started up. They could have fought back, countered the lies and obfuscations the Republicans spew out with amazing regularity. But they didn’t. They just gave up.

Then there’s the other Democrats – the blue dog variety that was never with the president in the first place. They didn’t have to flee because they we already hiding under the skirts of Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, who, as the only moderate Republicans left in the country, get the blame for thinking that the rest of GOP cares anything about them just because they put an “R” by their names.

Which brings us to the rest of the Republicans — complete tools of corporate America, which pays them for making sure the rich get richer and everybody else goes to hell.

Republican voters are next — political neanderthals who lack the foresight of a grasshopper, voting for the corporations because they simply can’t be bothered to learn the truth and learn what the think is the truth from lying gasbags who make more money in an hour than they’ll see in a decade.

Yeah, I’m talking about the right wing media — Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the radio Republicans and Fox News, the GOP’s PR group.

But the one group that should get almost as much blame as the non-voters — my own beloved colleagues, who have decided that balanced coverage means picking one from column A and one from column B and letting them have their say before going onto the next topic, again with one from Column A and one from Column B.

It’s a stupid way go do journalism, as if there are only ever two sides to any issue. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: When you have two options from which to choose, you don’t have a choice. You have a dilemma. And yet over and over my precious colleagues give you but two options, even if one of those options is completely insane.

But worse that giving you but two options is their maddening refusal to offer any contest or explanation for the two sides they present, leaving us with the equally maddening prospect of figuring out just what the spin actually means, if anything.

My colleagues have shirked their responsibility to not only give you the news of the day but to give you the context and background you need to make a responsible decision. And worse still is that they’ve absolutely refused to do the work you need them to do — to dig into what the spinmeisters are saying the dredge up the truth.

In other words, dear colleagues, you really need to be calling bullshit.

When a candidate lies, call her on it. When he uses faulty logic, call him on it. This means you’ll actually have to prepare before your interviews instead of sitting around sipping bourbon with the interviewees, but I’m sure it’s not that hard. I do it every day. I just don’t get the high profile interviews and the tv time to show how important I am that I got this senator on the show. Or how I couldn’t get that senator and so had to settle for a couple of assholes who call themselves “strategists” but are really just experts at bullshit. Those guys my colleagues let get by with saying any old thing cuz they’re part of the analysis “team.”

So, because of the analysts, my colleagues, the right wing noise machine, TeaPublican voters, the Republicans in Congress, the last two moderate Republicans in the world, the blue dogs, the supposedly liberal Democrats in Congress, the president and the idiot progressives who think they’re so important that they’ll stay away from the polls to “show them,” we’re in for a very rocky two years before the next election.

If you thought Bush was bad, just you wait. If we’re lucky, the Senate won’t fall to the crazy along with the House. And hopefully we’ll find a cure in time for 2012, or else our worst nightmares will be sweet lullabies compared to the fascist right wing utopia we’ll be living under.

And we’ll have this year’s non-voters to thank for making sure that when we stepped on that slippery slope, it was to the right that we slipped. Because the only thing worse than voting against your interests is not voting at all.

Thanks. Hope we all enjoy the worsening unemployment, pollution, wars, economic crisis, deficits, debts, foreclosures, catastrophic illnesses and complete lack of response to disaster that Republicans desperately want for us all.

I know I’ve spent my life dreaming I could be just like Bob Cratchit while my Republican overlords destroy not only the United States but the rest of the planet as well.

Meanwhile, rest assured that they’ll be getting theirs, along with their very rich friends.

But not you and me, and not even the deluded Republican voters who form their base.

Of course, we could just all get off our sorry asses and carry them down to the polling places and cast our ballots for sanity.

We can only hope, but that won’t get us very far. Voting will.

So, Wisconsin — do you really want Ron Johnson, a multi-millionaire who wants to eliminate Pell grants, would not allow abortions for any reason, and thinks that climate change is “crazy” to represent you in the Senate? Go vote Russ Feingold and prove the pollsters wrong.

California — come on. Carly Fiorina drove HP into the ground. Do you really think she’ll help your state? And Meg Whitman — who changes her positions depending on who’s asking — do you really think she can get you out of the cesspool the no-taxes crowd has put you in? Vote Barbara Boxer and Jerry Brown.

Alaska — Joe Miller is a corrupt tool for Sarah Palin, the quitter. He lies, he cheats. Even Lisa Murkowski is a better bet. But vote, Murkowski or better yet Scott McAdams.

Nevada — really? Half of you want Sharron Angle, a Christian Reconstructionist who is fighting Sharia law in towns that don’t exist so she can save the country for her version of biblical law? That’s insane. Harry Reid is an ass, and I sure hope there’s a challenge for him as Democratic leader, but don’t let the lunatic into the Senate. Vote Reid.

North Carolina — Sure, Heath Shuler is a blue dog, but he’s far more progressive than Jeff Miller. Vote Shuler.

Minnesota — don’t embarrass yourselves with Michelle Bachmann for another term in the House. Vote Tarryl Clark.

Get the picture? There’s a huge difference between Democrats and Republicans, even more than in 2008 and certainly more than in 2000.

Vote. Don’t sit home and be part of the problem. Just vote.

The end of days

There is no political solution to the mess we’re in.

I’ve said it. Outloud. There’s not a political solution for us. None whatsoever. So all this partisan posturing a lot of wasted energy. But it won’t stop, because our “leaders” won’t accept that there is no political solution. They can’t. It would be like an evangelical coming to terms with there being no god. Not gonna happen.

America is in decline, precisely because of the political nonsense we’ve been subjected to for years, decades now. It’s not yet settled how we’ll eventually fall, and, ironically enough, it will be the choices our clueless leaders make that determine our fate.

Will we decline gracefully, like Britain, shrinking to a solidly contained unit that still battles on, but no longer the major player on the world stage it once was? Or will we crash and burn like an arrogant Rome, utterly certain of its own invincibility right up until the bitter end?

That’s the reason our political debate still has merit. I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking the British path is far better than the Roman one.

Funny, isn’t it, after the Revolution and all that came after it, that the United Kingdom is on much firmer ground now than we are, and still with a monarchy (of sorts).

Of course the UK still has its problems, political and otherwise. But it no longer sees itself as an empire, a shining beacon to the rest of the world. Not even David Cameron, the conservative prime minister, lays claim to that conceit.

Quite unlike our own conservatives, who, actually, believe America is declining but can’t see that it’s their own castles in the sand that are slowly deteriorating. Instead, the conservarati blame liberals and progressives for what ails us.

Pity that. It’s a rotten shame that the very fools who led us into this mess may well be the ones to whom we hand over the reigns so they can finish the job they started.

I know, I know, our so-called liberal president and congress (at least according to the conservarati) can’t tell their own asses from the holes in the ground left by the conservatives for the past 30 years. We progressives are rightly frustrated, angry even.

But if you think for one moment … y’know, never mind. I was going to give you that tired old screed about voting for the Democrats even though they’re fucking traitors and cowards, but just this moment I’ve changed my mind. Go ahead. If you want to stay home in November to show those fucktards a thing or two, go ahead. Vote for the other guy, even. But do so with your eyes open — the Republican Congress we get in 2011 will be the worst we’ve ever seen. And Obama will have no choice but to go along with them, just like Clinton in 1995, if he hopes to win in 2012.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • At least some repeal of the health care legislation, if not all.
  • At least some repeal of the financial reform legislation, if not all.
  • More Congressional hearings on “scandals” than you can possibly imagine.
  • More good people driven from their jobs because of the conservarati noise machine than ever in the history of this country.
  • Less protections for those who need it most.
  • More spying, more torture and no attempt to hide it.
  • Less regulation on business.
  • No enforcement on regulations already in effect.
  • Drilling in ANWR.
  • More offshore deepwater drilling.
  • No money for innovation and invention.
  • More war.
  • Less civility.
  • More hate.
  • An anti-gay marriage Constitutional amendment.
  • A hogtied Justice Department.
  • More tax cuts for the rich.

And that’s just what the national GOP has told us about. To really prepare for the coming … ah, I almost said “holocaust,” and even though it’s a perfectly legitimate word that is capitalized when referring to what the Nazis did, in America we’re not allowed to use real words to describe what the conservarati do. So, to really prepare for the coming conservative majority, you need to look at the state and local level. Fortunately for us, Tana Ganeva at AlterNet has already done that. Make that part of your recommended reading list. It reads like a Glenn Beck show featuring Michelle Bachmann, Tony Perkins and the conspiracy theorist down the street who has concrete barricades in front of his house.
Among the things these Teapublicans want is for the United States to withdraw from all U.N. treaties (along the way to withdrawing from the United Nations completely and kicking the organization out of the country), including the ones protecting children from things like abuse and being used as soldiers.

As Ganeva says at the end of the article, just how long do you think it will be before Eric Cantor and John Boehner bring this shit to a national platform? Think carefully before you answer, and look carefully at the direction the Grand Old Party is moving.

Remember that these are the people who think that the country can afford $700 billion in tax cuts for the rich but can’t afford $33 million for unemployment. These are the people who deny that the BP oil spill is a catastrophe and that we’re in an economic crisis. These are the people who want a year-long moratorium on regulation, on their way to a permanent moratorium. These are the people who want an offset for that $33 million for unemployment, during an economic crisis, but won’t even consider any of that offset coming from the $70 billion war machine, which we all know is one of the most corrupt and messed up systems in the world.

And no wonder. It’s run by these very same people and their friends.

If you understand all that, then you have my blessing to help them return to power. Maybe that’s what we need, to really hit bottom. Unfortunately, it’s gonna mean more innocent people lose their jobs, get sick and can’t get health care, die. But that’s OK, isn’t it? It won’t affect you, will it?

Will it?

It’ll affect all of us. You know that, I know that. The question to ask ourselves is whether that’s really what we want — to see America become the ugly, corporate-run monstrosity the conservatives want it to be — and no, it’s not quite there yet, but it will be, and soon, if we let the Republicans take Congress.

Either way, 2012 will be the defining moment of this country. If we let them take charge again, and they do what they say they’ll do, they’ll be tarred and feathered and run out of Washington on a rail in 2012. And they’ll be welcomed by the armed bands they’ve encouraged to be ready for a second civil war.

But if we stop them, America’s decline and fall will soften to something more bearable, more comprehensible. We’ll be on our way to assuming a more equitable place in the world, and we will survive it.

I don’t need to run a bunch of quotes from the crazies here to remind you. But I do need to remind you that we must take them seriously. I was visiting my parental units in their rural abode a couple of weeks ago. Political ads were all over the television, and they all boiled down to “I believe in god, vote for me.” That’s enough for the folks around there — for some of ’em, anyway. But even my “I-voted-for-Bush-twice” parents can’t stomach those ads. They’re voting for the guy who said simply that we live in troubled times, he’s led both a company and a city in troubled times and that’s what we need now. I don’t blame ’em. I’d vote for him too over the other guys, even though he’s a Republican too.

But elections and voting won’t fix the mess we’re in. That’s gonna take a long hard look at who we are and what we want. We progressives need to start and persuade the others to follow us. It’s happened before.

At the turn of the last century, the people voted in the same kind of “love god, love business, love the rich” politicians we have now. Thirty years later, they took a mighty turn toward the progressive. The conservarati, angry and shagrined, have been fighting it ever since.

It’s time now to put them out of their misery.

Progressive values

I spent last weekend unusually detached from what’s going on in the world. And when I clued back in on Sunday evening, the re-entry was rather painful. Not that I expected anything different.

I spent the weekend mowing the yard, feeding the fish, cleaning the filter in the pond where the fish live. I grilled some fish (not the ones in the pond) marinated in teriyaki sauce.

I learned that I could actually connect my non-iPhone to my iPad and dump the photos off the phone. I learned that I could download all three seasons of Cities of the Underworld from iTunes, and that it’s a lot faster to do that on the iMac than the iPad. iPlayed.

I fell asleep on the sofa while reading and woke up with the formerly feral scaredy cat sleeping on me. First time ever.

I did some coding, or writing poetry, as I sometimes call it. I plotted out my next electrical project and then decided to finish the patio first, before it gets any hotter.

I fretted over two very large dead tree branches and watered the hanging plant by the white roses that are trying to take over the world. I watched “Crazy Heart.” It was OK. The music was good. Jeff Bridges sings much better than Colin Farrell.

I fretted over the tree branches some more and decided that I could take one of them down myself but that I needed to call my tree guy for the other one. I dumped a bunch of graphite into one of the padlocks on my shed because it had gotten stuck.

And I sat out by the pond, listenin’ to the waterfall, and got some posts ready for this week. That’s when I started checking back in.

That may all be a bit TMI for y’all, I don’t know. I rarely get very personal here, at least as far as my actual life is concerned. But somewhere in the slipping gently back into the World As We Know It, I got to thinkin’ about values, things we value, things I value. iValue.

The conservatives are alla time talking about values, as if we libruls and progressives have none. I dunno, maybe it was hearing more bullshit from Pat Buchanan, who has decided to drop all pretense of being a decent human being and let his inner bigot hang out for the world to see. Too bad the rest of the conservatives won’t do the same. Instead they lie, giving my colleagues cover to pretend they’re something they’re not, while at the same time giving cover to fellow conservatives who aren’t racist, gay-hating, Christianist assholes to continue to walk in the same circles as the ones who are but won’t admit it.

But, dammit, we/I do have values. Good, strong, progressive values that aren’t based on money.

We value education and believe that our democracy is strongest when its people have access to solid, non-biased learning.

We value peace, not that secured at gunpoint, but that mutually uncovered because we also value the lives, thoughts and ideas of others.

We value equality, not arrogance or the false belief that anyone of us is better than any other of us for any reason.

We value sympathy and empathy. We value truth and honor. We value trust and hard work.

We value every breath we take and every living thing on the planet.

We value the planet that is our home.

We value time. Time for reading, playing, watching movies, singing, laughing, crying, taking walks. We value the friends and family we share those things with, or don’t.

We value the friends we have yet to meet.

We also value freedom. Freedom to worship, or not, as we please and to not have someone else’s brand of worship interfere with our daily lives. The freedom to work or live where we want and not have someone else’s bigotry tell us we can’t. The freedom to have the health care and medicine we need without someone else’s selfishness preventing it. The freedom to speak our minds without worrying we’ll be jailed for it.

We value having a government that can protect us from those who have a more restrictive idea of what freedom is. Can, but doesn’t always do since those with a more restrictive idea of freedom often practice interfering with the lives of people their bigotry and selfishness tell them are less deserving.

I could probably go on and on with things we value. Kindness, understanding, cooperation, collaboration, sharing. Things we teach our children about but then encourage them to forget when they become adults. Clean air, clean water. Songbirds. A kitten’s purr.

Nuance. We value nuance, shades of gray, because we know full well that nothing, other than the colors themselves, are simply black and white, and even the colors aren’t quite that — one being the absence of color and the other being all colors. Hell, all the other colors are just colorful shades of gray.

Ah, but what we don’t value, aside from the aforementioned interference, bigotry and selfishness. Greed, Wall Street. We don’t value greed. Lying, pretty much every politician who’s ever opened his or her mouth (knowing that, and still we fall for the bull every time). Hate. Not anger — we actually do value anger, although not the hateful avenues some choose to express it. War. There is never a value in war.

Cheating, manipulation. The free only for the rich free market. We’d probably value that much more it it really were free, but it’s not. With every ounce of its being, the free market and its all or nothing adherents fight against everything that would make it truly free — for the people. But then, that’s never been what they mean when they say free. Or freedom.

History — the real one, not the one Glenn Beck et al have made up out of whole cloth.

Above all, I guess, we value people. But the people can’t hold their value when the values of our leaders are antithetical to our lives.

Somewhere along this country’s road of discovery, some among us forgot that “We, the People” actually means “We, the People” and not “We, the lobbyists and corporations and the innocent Americans we’ve duped into believing that if we get richer, they will too.” It’s never happened that way, and it never will.

But this is the battle we’re now locked into. The battle of values, pitting a group of people who value freedom against another that really does, a group that values family against a group that really does.

I wish it weren’t this way, that this insane dualism didn’t have to be. But in order for it to die, I suppose, we must experience it to the fullest.

Only then will we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we humans aren’t meant to be one or the other and can never trod this path again.

Because, you know, we value our Selves too much.