Friday, October 23, 2015

Get Out The Vote - Start NOW!

Democrats, progressives, liberals, whatever - just a thought. The election is a year away. When voter turnout is low, Democrats lose. When voter turnout is high, we win. We are the natural majority, but we don't vote as often as we should.

This next coming year is important - not just for the Presidential elections, but the downticket elections as well - city, county, state, boards of education, Congressional, gubernatorial. This is where we often drop the ball. This is how we lose the House and Senate, as well as the local elections that determine what goes on in our own communities, and where the right-wing fringe people get their footholds.
Mid-term elections - those are vitally important and we don't participate like we should. And when the only people who are paricipating are the fanatical true-believers, they are the ones who get elected.

Wonder how we got hijacked by the far-right religious fringe, and the ultra-Tea Party wackos who are hell-bent on bringing the whole government structure down, and don't care who gets hurt? Wonder how they got to set the horrific agenda before us and are seemingly unstoppable even by the leaders of their own party?

It's because we are not getting out the vote. We're not voting on a local level, we're not voting in mid-terms (which is where our Congress and governors get elected) we're not participating on a national level - and these people ARE. Remember that.

Please, please - start thinking and planning about voting and participating NOW. We have a year before the presidential election, and the primaries are coming up in the spring. If we're not happy with the way things are in politics, we need to do something about it now - not wait till after the elections and bitch.

So, in conclusion - VOTE! Get your friends to vote. Get your family to vote. Help people who are not registered to vote to register, and if they need help getting to the polls, help there too. 

I also recommend becoming a pollworker! It really helps get you involved in the process. It's fun. Your fellow pollworkers are other people interested in the political processes, and, whether they share your political persuasion or not, they're usually pretty interesting people. You get a sense of pride from perfoming an important public service - dare I say THE important public service in a democracy. You get to meet your neighbors and people you might not otherwise run into - plus, it pays! I really enjoy it and look forward to it. I've been doing it for 10 years, and now my younger son does it with me. He came for the check and stayed because he liked it. Now he is on the list to do it every election.

It's simple. When we vote, we win. Let's start thinking about this NOW.

Thanks!

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Hope You Like The Sh*t Show, Progressives - We Let It Happen.

Every single day, the Republican Party goes further and further into far-right-wing extremism - so much more radical than it was when George W. Bush was in office that it's hard to believe. Issues that we thought had been settled long ago are now under attack all over again - a woman's right to decisions about her own body, the separation of church and state, civil rights, voting rights, care of the environment, the right of workers to organize, Social Security, even the Department of Education and public schooling. Science itself is not just questioned, but utterly denied, both by religious extremist nutjobs and corporate behemoths whose interests are threatened by facts.

Remember that there are two major lanes to this Republican Highway to Hell: Far-Right Religious Extremists (FRREs) and Big Business/Big Money Repubs (BBs). Neither of them can prevail on their own, but they both believe they can use the other to achieve their ends - and so far, they have been right. They have separate agendas, and they will ignore their differences as long as possible for the 'greater good' of Republican Party dominance. Intersecting with those two major lanes are the Tea Party nutballs and the Libertarians, who can share some values of both, but can throw a monkey wrench into the agenda of the two majors as well.

Big Business (with a few exceptions) has absolutely no interest in the religious or social agenda of the Religious Extremists, but they sure do have an interest in an obedient, cohesive voting bloc that will pour all of its unmatched organizational resources into doing the bidding of whatever leader they believe in, so they will spout whatever the religious wackos demand of them - and those demands are getting more and more extreme and dangerous all the time. What does matter to Big Business are lower taxes and de-regulation, and they are willing to promise whatever they need to in order to get them.

Another basic divide is between the Right Wing Elites and the Right Wing Populists, and this is where the Tea Partiers and Libertarians come in. Big Business is mostly about the Elites, and the FRREs mostly come down on the side of the Populists, but the BBs want the loyalty of the Populists, and the FRREs want the power of the Elites.

Tea Partiers/Libertarians are a big factor here as well - they share some values with both sides. They are Populists (some religious, some not), but they want the lower taxes, military might and de-regulation that the BB Elites want - only more, and they are willing to pull the whole structure down to get it. BB Elites have no interest in pulling down the structure. They like it just fine the way it is, because it is specifically structured to benefit them at the expense of everyone else.

These 3 Populist fringe factions (FRREs, Tea Partiers and Libertarians) are not all-powerful on their own but, put together, are such a sizable portion of the Republican Party  today that Big Business Elites and old-style conservative Republicans have had no option but to go along and make whatever 'deals with the devil' that have to be made in order to hang on to power. Being the elitists that they are, they have looked down upon those factions as useful idiots that they can placate with promises and accessions to religious and social demands that don't affect the basic financial and corporate power structure (or so they think!). They have believed up to this point that they can control those fringe elements, but in the last few election cycles the traditional leaders of the party have lost any power they have over the religious and Tea Party fanatics, and are being pushed aside. They are still getting what they want - lower taxes, military spending and de-regulation - but the price they are paying for that is a drive straight through to Crazy Town.

And this, my friends, is what has brought us to where we are today - to Donald Trump, to Dr. Ben Carson, to Carly Fiorina. To Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee. To the complete shutdown of a working government. To the eradication of the separation of church and state, and the dominance of religious belief over the rule of law, and over scientific fact. To out-of-control mass murders every few months - in the name of 'freedom'. To racism re-entrenched and intensified. To the literal destruction of the planet we live on.

We have allowed this to happen.

At some point, we - Democrats, liberals, progressives, whatever we call ourselves - must take ownership of OUR part in this.

We have not stopped them, nor have we even made any more than a token and half-hearted effort to do so.

When every few months innocent people are gunned down in mass murder-suicides, we don't stop those responsible - the gun lobby and Second-Amendment radicals who prevent any reasonable gun control legislation - any at all - from even being considered.

When union after union is shut down and neutralized, we let it happen.

When crazy laws are made like "Stand Your Ground" that allow people to murder with impunity, we let it happen.

When Wall Street and banking greed decimated the economy, and we allowed them to skate off with nary a slap on the wrist, and actually become MORE powerful, profitable and too-big-to-fail as a result, while the rest of us have yet to recover from the damage they inflicted, we let it happen.

When there are so few elected officials who stand up for real progressive values - and, don't lie; these ARE the values that most of us believe in - that you can count them on one hand, it's because we aren't electing them.

When institutionalized racism and white privilege is the norm, we are not challenging it.


What Bernie Sanders is saying is absolutely true.

We need nothing less than a political revolution.

What we are up against is too strong to change with a few rallies, slogans and Facebook posts.

It is going to take a real political revolution. From the ground up - from us. From all the people who have watched this happen. Standing by and hoping that our politicians will change this will not work. Expecting that if we deal fairly and respectfully with Republicans, they will meet us halfway will not work. It hasn't so far.

I have been afraid for a long time that things will have to get terribly bad before people will demand a change. This is what happened during the Great Depression. It took people literally starving in the streets for an FDR to be able to implement something as radical as the New Deal. Republicans fought against it tooth and nail, of course, but the public embraced it and those policies got us out of the Depression and gave us the strongest, biggest middle class America has ever known - the very era that conservatives think of as 'the good old days when America was great', and say they want back, but their policies have destroyed.

But without the devastation of the Great Depression, there would not have been the public will for the New Deal to happen.

So I fear that things may have to get worse.

Yes, I am supporting Bernie Sanders. I am sending him money. But, as Noam Chomsky says, Bernie Sanders cannot save America. Only a true political revolution can do that. Only a willingness to stand up and confront these Republican bullies toe-to-toe, which up till now the Democrats have not done. But they won't do it without the American people demanding that they do so. That was the first thing President Obama said when he got into office: "Make me do it." Mostly, we didn't.

Until the American people say, "F*ck you, NRA. You're not killing our children any more."

Until the American people say, "F*ck you, radical "religious" Republicans - we're keeping Planned Parenthood and giving them even more money because women have a right to affordable health care and you don't have the right to deny it to them."

Until the American people say, "F*ck you, for-profit prison industry - you are not going to get rich by destroying the lives of Black Americans to fill your occupancy quotas."

Until the American people say, "F*ck you, Wall Street and Big Finance - if you steal from us, you will pay us back AND go to jail."

Until the American people say, "F*ck you, greedy Congress - full-time work should pay a living wage. Don't deny us that and at the same time vote yourself pay raises, gold-plated health care and fat pensions."

Until the American people say, "F*ck you, corporate lobbyists - our government is not for sale. We will finance campaigns, not you."

Until the American people say, "F*ck you, Supreme Court - money is NOT free speech and corporations are NOT humans."

Until the American people stand up, say it and mean it, nothing is going to change.

So, until then, progressives - enjoy the show. Because we can't just blame the Republicans. It's OUR show, too.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Yes, I am #FeelingTheBern.

OK. Let me start by saying I love Bernie Sanders, and have for many years, long before he was on most people's radar. He stands for my values and the issues I think are important, and he always has. He has never been anything less than authentic, passionate and committed to liberal values.


However, when people would ask me what I thought about Bernie running for President, I was ambivalent. He is so effective as a Senator and a member of Congress, and I was afraid that with the political climate the way it is, that he would not get very far. I wasn't sure that America was ready for Bernie's message, even though I have been for a long time.

But, I have to say, I'm really excited about how America is responding to Bernie. He is bringing it like no one else. Whatever happens, he is getting the progressive message - the REAL progressive message - out there, without apology, without compromise, without fear. He truly is speaking for working people, for poor people, for social justice, for civil rights, for a fair and living wage, for real democracy for all of us, not just for the richest among us.


Click here for more about Bernie!

This is what I have wanted to hear from a Democrat for years - really, all my life -  and had just about given up hope that it would ever happen. And, unlike most politicians, he's not just saying what he thinks will get him elected - this kind of talk is not what passes for 'conventional political wisdom'; it's the exact opposite. He is saying what he has been saying all along, and his record shows that he is not just saying it but doing it. He is calling for real political revolution - and Americans are hearing him. If he is courageous enough to get out there and say what no one else - not Republicans, not even other Democrats - will say, then he has my support all the way.

I'm volunteering, I'm contributing, and I will be writing and talking. I'm ready for the revolution.

So - yes, I ‪#‎FeelTheBern‬. ‪#‎BernieSanders‬ ‪#‎Bernie2016‬