Republicans Cave Under the Weight of their Own Glorified Ego’s 2

Poor Orange Boehner, he must have whiplash by now! First House Republicans say fine we will pass the payroll tax holiday. But once that word came down from the leadership, TBags and other Rockwell/Rothbard Libertarian goofballs then quickly took The Orange Boehner to the shower and sprayed off his newest tan.

“Oh no you didn’t”, they screamed from their perches as they watched for the 10,000 black helicopters that would be taking over the country for the UN, Mao and Kenya, in that order.

But they painted themselves into a corner from which they are unable to gracefully extract themselves, and now they have to capitulate, something quite foreign to these yahoos.

When Even their titular propaganda leader Karl Rove and the Republican stenographers at the WSJ tell you to suck it up, you’ve lost, wow, you’ve really lost.

Payroll tax cut has been extended for now, but expect Republicans to continue their attacks on Americans. It is how they roll.

The Evolution of Liberalism 2

Ultimately as liberals and progressives I think we get stuck in our definition of words. There are some people who define liberalism as a static rather than dynamic concept. But I would put out there that liberalism as a concept is dynamic and does nothing more than reflect the milieu of any given era in civilization.

Let’s take the oft talked about Greatest Liberal of all time FDR. FDR was a great liberal, but he interred Japanese Americans, which isn’t liberal at all. Social Security was a liberal policy, but just for white men when it began. Just saying.

Let’s look at R.M. Nixon for a minute, an arch conservative with fascist tendencies, who committed a political crime, that dude created the EPA and his signed into law NEPA thanks to  Scoop Jackson, another flawed liberal in Washington State politics, he supported Vietnam but was a great environmentalist. They usher in an era of deep research into ecological restoration. Nixon reflected his era,because of the pressures around him. That era  demanded some action on the environment, which was considered a liberal cause.

Let’s look at t Jimmy Carter for a minute, you define him as a liberal, but under his administration the airlines were deregulated, this is not what we would consider today to be a liberal policy position. Indeed he was reflecting his era, his time. And many of the Carter policies were liberal.

We all know that under Clinton, Welfare was effectively gutted, and that was an indication of what was to come, the deregulation of financial services. People love Clinton now, b/c the economy was so great back in the 90’s and everyone wants to go back to that, but at the time, Clinton’s policies were just reflecting the era, sometime his policies could be considered quite liberal, The Federal Acquisition and Streamlining Act of 1994, a very liberal policy that expanded the numbers of minority businesses competing for Federal Government contracts. It was a very important micro-economic policy.

Barack Obama is no different from those Presidents, he reflects this era. This returns us to my original statement, but what I am describing is our dynamic  concept of liberalism which has changed over time.  His agenda is mostly liberal. But not everything his administration proposes or accomplishes is liberal. I think that is because as people we too are more complex than that, we are not one dimensional and we are not static beings. We evolve and change as do our expectations of civilization. This is just another step up in our continuing growth as humans. As we continue to evolve as people, our government will evolve with us.

Crossposted at DAGBlog

GOP Debate IX – The Lament of Ron Paul 2

One thing we know for sure, Ron Paul hates the government, according to him it can’t do anything right, which is why he has spent so many years in government… err I think. He’s been in congress since 1976! And he says government doesn’t work, well maybe that is because he participated in making sure government is dysfunctional and by defunding everything he can, he will continue to assure its dysfunction. How many guys in congress are just like him, and how does he get away with saying this stuff.

So Ron definitely doesn’t want anyone to pay any taxes at all, and of course all government spending is eventually a tax, and all the Republicans in the audience clap, clap, clap. He is okay with state taxes I guess, because he truly believes that each state can have better solutions on their own and that there is no case that can be made for a federal centralized government. Ron Paul doesn’t want to go back to 1850 as many people have suggested, Ron Paul wants to return to pre-1791! He wants to return to the time when America was governed by the Articles of Confederation. He is a pretty interesting fellow, and a little bit silly, but okay let’s listen to him some more.

He is going to cut one trillion dollars in one year by cutting all the taxes I think, he isn’t really clear about this, but I know one thing for sure, he is cutting everything.

Health Care, we have too much! People are living longer and healthier, but we have too much health care. And there should be no government medicine, nothing, and doctors should be paid directly and torte reform! ObamaCare! He made the false claim that insurance premiums have gone up since ACA, but that simply isn’t the case.

He doesn’t want to fund the government but he does want to bring all the troops home to put on the border. I  wonder how he will fund this? Should be interesting. Will he just give back the bases we hold all over the world or will he sell the land on the free market before withdrawing all those troops from all over the world and bringing them home. Will they will all be moving to Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California?

He wants to cut all foreign aid, and even though he doesn’t believe in government programs he makes the absurd claim that money could be going to America’s poor. Can Ron Paul answer that question, would he really use the refund from no-foreign aid to feed and cloth and house poor people? Really? What government programs would he use to deliver? Unanswerable and no Paul follower can answer that question either.

Oh Ron Paul, you are so awesome, because my favorite part of the evening was when he did pwn them all when he told them straight to their faces that St. Ronald Reagan negotiated with terrorists! Oh no he didn’t, the look on their faces the rest of the debaters were stunned, silent, scared, you could see it, how would they refute him. It was spectacular.

Here is the video of Ron Paul’s hits last night.

Crossposted at DAGBlog

GOP Debate IX: Herman Cain 2

Herb Cain has a 9-9-9 plan and he became target numero uno at the GOP debate, Cowboy Style. You knew the group would be all in on going after Herb’s 9-9-9 plan. Cain’s plan has been all the rage as of late with the punditry crowd and the blogging world.  These are the people, (yes like me) who keep Herb in the spotlight.  Although his 15 minutes may be up quickly or maybe not.

The debate begins with a weird commercial about the legendary western United States. It was cool, but it was pretty, well, um, weird.  From there we sing the national anthem and then move right to introductions, where the debaters seemed to be running to their podiums as though they were the quarterbacks of our favorite football teams,  I half expected them to raise both their arms in the sky and scream “Team” “Woo”. And so began debate IX – Cowboy edition.

Herb did get some time in the first 33 minutes of the debate, not a good deal of time, but he did get some time. At the 33 minute mark we get our first sponsored by ad… sponsored by Coal.

Let me draw your attention to my video, before we go into the 9-9-9 apples and oranges montage, we have to talk about Lawrence O’Donnell, the other evening he did a short montage to what Herb Cain knows about his 9-9-9 plan, it was so brilliant I did happen to record it, so I have spliced it together with the highlights of Herb Cain’s debate performance last night. It plays very well with his act, which I now believe is and act to sell his new book, and nothing more. I applaud him for using these debates to enrich himself even more, it is a Republicans dream scenario to become even wealthier doing little or no work something we all know as the “Limbaugh Economic Model or self Aggrandizement=$$$$$$$”, it works too, so I don’t blame him for doing it if it is his goal. So here we are, we are on to Apples and Oranges this becomes Cain’s response to the criticism of his plan.. apples and oranges, apples and oranges. He is an applies and oranges kind of guy. As Lawrence pointed out so well, Herman Cain aka Herb Cain has no idea how his tax plan will work and it isn’t as if he cares if it works. He only cares for the attention he grabs while he gets his 15 minute in the spotlight.

Even though he doesn’t know really how his own program works, he wants to throw out the current tax code and start with his plan, 9-9-9. His plan will liberate American workers and businesses and he definitely wants people to do the math on their own, even though he doesn’t offer any metrics to do so, because he doesn’t know, he just won’t say he doesn’t know.

He loves mixing apples and oranges, no wait, he doesn’t like mixing apples and oranges. According to Cain there are 5 invisible taxes on all products, he doesn’t say what they are, and his tax will replace those invisible taxes. It is a sales tax, but not a VAT tax.

But then Herb turns to Health Care and it sounds like he supports the President’s plan, even though he says he doesn’t. So here is the video of what good old Herman says about Health Care for American’s and as Herb points out some of those things included in ACA were propose by Republicans, yes but they cannot say they support ACA they just support what is in ACA up to and including having to purchase your own insurance.

Next up, Ron Paul’s Greatest Hits

Crossposted at DAGBlog

In Defense of Melissa Harris Perry 3

It all began with a Michael Moore visit to the View. It was nothing short of appalling. So we will call it Exhibit 1:

For the longest time I just didn’t know what to say about that clip, I’d certainly read all of the criticism of Moore after this episode. I’ve been formulating what I want to say since then, and reading as much as possible about onslaught of commentary that followed his outburst of what can only be called blatant racism. And in a sense I think Professor Harris Perry (ProfHP), was really responding to this, after being exposed to much of the diva outbursts that attempt to denigrate the Presidency of Barack Obama, in the so-called progressive blogsophere. I am going to introduce this clip as the penultimate example of racism in the so-called progressive community, and I am using Moore’s gaff first because it is a blatant example of employing a stereotype to describe ones disappointment in the President. Does Moore really believe this?    Moore definitely caused an avalanche virtual debate.  I did read much of it. However as a white person, I still believe I have much to learn about racism and how it manifests in the most blatant and subtle ways. Ultimately in order to bridge our racial divide white people have to listen. But in a deeper sense first and foremost ProfHP does have some real hard evidence of racism in the so-called progressive community and that begins with Michael Moore’s statement on The View. That does constitute evidence, it really does.   Why would you stoop to a stereotype to register your already well-known disappointment in the President? So we have one significant piece of evidence or outright racism, because unlike what Joan Walsh writes, evidence that is not in the form of a poll can also be relevant and serve as examples of racism at work, because most progressives don’t believe they are racist! They would never admit to it to a pollster, and that means we have to have other means of gathering data, come on, this isn’t that hard.

Exhibit 2: So after ProfHP’s original piece appeared in The Nation, Joan Walsh weighed in, with an okay blog, but it didn’t tell the entire story, and her blog required proof of racism via poll data.  Poll responses about subtle racism cannot be supported without actual working evidence, which is often the things people say and write. Joan Walsh used the conservative talking point, there is no evidence to conclude such things, when in fact there is evidence, first and foremost Michael Moore.

Exhibit 3: The leader of the group New Progressive Alliance, Anthony Noel, told an African-American blogger to get over being black and to start debating like a human. What? OMG, I don’t know how to respond to that kind of racism and I can’t believe this is actually happening and this does constitute evidence, cold hard factual evidence of racism among the so-called progressive blogosphere.

Exhibit 4: David Sirota’s response to ProfHP: Boy that guy is one mad upper middle class employed talk show radio host isn’t he, I had never read him prior to this, so I delved into his stream of consciousness, and that is what it was a stream of consciousness wrapped in white-hot anger. So let’s get to Sirota’s criticism, to which he claims not one person has taken on his so-called facts to challenge him, people have just called him a racist. Well Dave if the shoe fits buddy, I guess you will have to wear it. Sirota wrote this:

By seeing this record and then explaining away declining liberal support for President Obama as a product of bigotry, Harris-Perry exhibits the ultimate form of both denialism and elitism.

But does she really exhibit the “ultimate” form of both denialism (which is not a word for the record) and elitism, (hello pot, meet kettle). Because there is ample evidence of her thesis. Sirota doesn’t want to acknowledge it, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t evidence. First of course this elitism crap is being carried too far, Sirota by definition is a liberal elitist, he should quit pulling the faux populism card.  But what does account for the declining support of so-called progressives? Hell according to politifact.com the President has accomplished many of his campaign promises, in fact he has accomplished 147 of his campaign promises. Why are his accomplishments never acknowledged or if they are they are written off as tiny and not worthwhile and doesn’t make him progressive etc and so on. The list of his accomplishments are here: Politifact.com.  Was Clinton a surrender monkey when his health care bill failed and he never talked about universal health care again? Health Care was huge, and because of it more people are covered.

Let’s go over more examples of racism in the Progressive community and these do constitute proof, the proof folks like Walsh, Sirota and Lyons are demanding.

Exhibit 5: 2011 article by Robert Kuttner: Black and Bleak

The problem is less Obama’s failure to target black unemployment per se than his weakness on the jobs issue generally. Race comes into the equation because of an almost pathological aversion to conflict on Obama’s part, which has been widely attributed to his wish to bridge racial and ideological gaps.

What? It is as though Kuttner doesn’t realize that the President through policy implementation has successfully “strengthened  Small Business Administration programs that provide capital to minority-owned businesses, support outreach programs that help minority business owners apply for loans, and work to encourage the growth and capacity of minority firms.”  So actually the President is working to help minority communities by supporting the growth of business, which can only serve to help any given community by providing more jobs. So that makes Kuttner’s analysis not just wrong, but weird. Is it direct racism? Maybe not, but it is subtle, if Kuttner had done his homework he would see the President is implementing the same kind of policies the Clinton Admin for minority owned business. These were programs that were immediately ended when Bush took office.  No doubt African-Americans have suffered a great deal during this terrible recession, greatly. However, this is a statistic that never changes, it doesn’t matter who is in office or what his color might be. African-Americans have always suffered more during economic downturns and as a people we should attempt to address and make corrections. It is all our responsibility, and we should start by getting Republicans out of congress.   So  when I read this particular line made me feel uncomfortable; is it subtle racism? It makes me think Kuttner believes the President is just looking for approval of white, protestant men, otherwise, why is up with the sloppy statement based on some sort of ESP?

Race comes into the equation because of an almost pathological aversion to conflict on Obama’s part, which has been widely attributed to his wish to bridge racial and ideological gaps.

Exhibit 6: FDL sometimes is a hotbed for subtle and outright racism. Case in point: This is a blog post about labor unions, but then there is this the last line in the blog:

The basic problem is that the Rich ate all the pie. What do you intend to do about it? Snuggle up to their Democratic Party incarnation some more in the hope of getting some crumbs? There used to be a term for that, on the plantations. House N****r.

No one is going to tell me this isn’t evidence of racism amongst so-called progressives. Was it necessary to  head directly to plantation talk? Was it? How can anyone write that there is no evidence of some divisive racial language used by some people on the left?

Exhibit 7: Now let’s get to Gene Lyons, who perhaps responded like a bully and then pulled his own race card.  Lyons in retaliation asserted that ProfHP was a fool, and that was bad enough, but then came the most troubling paragraph:

Furthermore, unless you’re black, you can’t possibly understand. Yada, yada, yada. This unfortunate obsession increasingly resembles a photo negative of KKK racial thought. It’s useful for intimidating tenure committees staffed by Ph.D.s trained to find racist symbols in the passing clouds. Otherwise, Harris-Perry’s becoming a left-wing Michele Bachmann, an attractive woman seeking fame and fortune by saying silly things on cable TV.

If I didn’t know better, I would have figured this was written by one Rush Limbaugh, not just denigrating the Professors expertise but making a claim that she used her blackness to intimidate tenure committees, OMG, and yet there is no racism in the so-called white progressive community.  This type of commentary makes me nearly speechless. I said nearly.  When the President was elected I was naive enough to believe that so-called progressives would never ever stoop to racially insensitive speech. I.Was.Wrong.

Cross Posted at  DAGblog

What Is Your Plan Progressives! 4

Yeah this comes out of a comment yesterday and I want to know what the progressive plan is for getting more progressive legislators into the government, because that is the pertinent question here. So before I head out on a 50 miler today, I am going to ask the question, what is your plan to getting what you want?

Let’s revisit my first question and I will take out the part everyone keys on, about taking the President down, it’s snarky I know and too easy to fight about.  I’ve conveniently reviewed some other primary challenges to sitting presidents in our more recent history, here it is again in case you missed it:

“LBJ and Carter attracted powerful left-bent primary challenges.”
1968: Libs primary LBJ, lose general.
1972: Libs go down to worst defeat in election history.
1980: Libs primary Carter, lose general.
1984: Libs loose 49 of 50 state
2012: Libs: “Primarying Obama will make us stronger in 2016!”

I will only ask you this: How do you plan to actually get what you want? Conservatives seem to have a reasonably good track record of doing that, they get droves of crazy folks elected to congress, to governorships and to statehouses. Liberals’ track record on that is abysmal. I myself am not sure how liberals can do it, conservatives have worked for more than 30 years to convince the general public that taxes =evil=socialism=communisim=ungodly=democrats. But instead of counteracting that stuff, the consensus that seems to be building  is the best way to achieve liberal goals right now is to focus most of your energy on attacking the current President. Shades of 1968 indeed. I generally agree that the entire United States could use better politicians, (which is a pipe dream for sure)  I doubt that one can return to the heady days of the New Deal/Camelot/Great Society by ridding ourselves of this current President, but I could be wrong, stranger things have happened. However, I suspect the end result will be just another chapter in American Liberalism’s melancholy history of setbacks and self-defeat.

I say this because of the things I’ve seen in 25 years of participating in the process at the very smallest levels of government to our own statehouse where I was a Senate page.

How do we attain the goal of good governance? Does it require a plan? And that is my question, in a nutshell.

But what is true is there is no “progressive plan” to infiltrate the government at local levels on up which gets us on the road to forming a more progressive government. We are searching for a better way, democrats too, but we are fighting an uphill battle.  But the pertinent question is, how do you attain those goals? Don’t you have to begin by educating the public, by infiltrating government at all levels including the School Board, the PTA, County and City Councils etc and so on. Doesn’t it have to be done first from the micro level in order to impact the macro level which is the federal government.

I don’t know how much experience many of you have with school boards and PTA’s but I have to tell you, some of the most ideological folks on the right turn out candidates and voters to be heard in school districts and I am of the opinion it all starts right there at the very bottom levels of government.

I had the displeasure of having gone to school board and PTA meetings for years,  (3 children will do that to a person) and when I write displeasure, I mean displeasure emphasis on the dis. In general I would be there and one or two others more like me,  and a pack of conservative religious right-wing, mom pants wearing wait I mean lovely women who spent their time hijacking entire meetings with nothing more accomplished than the third word of the mission statement because they are afraid everything written leaves out god and you actually argue about this for weeks on end! So I get why lots of regular people don’t participate in this stuff, it’s not fun, it’s not a particularly productive thing to do with ones personal time. However the only way to be heard to effect change is to participate. I would occasionally force my husband to go with me, but he’d actually look for things to do at home to fix so he wouldn’t have to attend those tedious meetings. People would cycle in and out, but those ideologues sent there presumably by their churches always showed up, to every.single.meeting. which gave them some defacto power.  One time we spent what seemed to be several meetings arguing about whether or not Senior English should allow their students to choose books by Sherman Alexie, who is a home town boy for gods sake!  (I am reliving those nightmares now, ugh.) Those meetings were nothing short of torture enough to scare the most civic-minded away. But if we cannot even accomplish getting on school boards en-masse or just participating at that level, in order to infiltrate the system, how will things ever change?

When I worked for the local newspaper I covered county council meetings, another bastion of participation by the property rights crowd, at this time I was covering the GMA (growth management act, quite controversial among wingers) those people flooded meetings, what a nightmare, and of course later they were able to get people on the councils that were more amenable to their views… even though the GMA’s requirements are pretty explicit in that a plan is required, but there is always wiggle room with implementation. They were then able to get more ideologues elected, and I see some of those people working their way up through the legislature now, and they began on the school board and then moved to the county council, and are now in the Washington State Legislature.

And of course we saw that at work all over the nation with ACA, where senior citizens and angry white people came to protest government-run health care… what???? But that is what happened and those actions by those people did damage to the bill, they did damage to what could have been more progressive legislation. I know you think the President is to blame, but politicians respond to those who show up to their town hall meetings.

All snark aside, what is your plan to get more progressive legislators elected around the nation? It isn’t as if almost everyone at DAG isn’t interested in changing our polices and politics, but how can you accomplish these goals without a plan.

Crossposted at DAGblog

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane Hamsher? 11

Wow, things happen when you are on vacation, and by things I mean Baby Jane Hudson  Hamsher’s blog meltdown the other day has turned into a thing of absolute wonder.  It was very dramatic wasn’t it, her Baby Jane Hudson style meltdown, dumb m-fers, really? Yeah that is the way to win an election, start another big fight on the interwebzz between like-minded people, that definitely gets us to where we want to be, wait, wut?

This ridiculous behavior is just  all too familiar to me, I still haven’t really gotten over the 2000 election. I can’t tell you how many well-meaning people I argued with back then who said they wouldn’t vote for Al Gore, who had become one of the more powerful Vice Presidents of our time, in terms of his mastery of government and his ideas of reform and modernizing government via the ever-changing world of technology.  He brought in an era of reform among the ranks of government.  Most people may or may not remember his Reinventing Government initiative, it was a program that worked, it was the result of Al Gores hard work and his experience in congress. Yet what was with the crowd that insisted  Gore and Bush were essentially the same, and why are they doing it again after all they should have learned from the Bush fiasco Presidency.  We can safely say there would have been no Iraq War if Al Gore had been President during 9-11. And yet here we are, discussing one more time how awful times a million the President is and his supporters are soooo stupid to ruin his chances like this, by supporting him, err or something.  It has now reached the crazy stage, in fact since Hamsher and that other crazy irrelevant guy Pat Cadell are actively working to make sure this President isn’t reelected, how liberal could either one really be? Yes, we know the answer, not liberal.   These shoddy analysis are pushed by the media.  They rely on manufactured controversy to get better ratings, and that is their only goal. The problem with the “primary Obama”  as led by Baby Jane is they seem impervious to facts, they seem unable to understand party politics, they just hope that the President will be in a primary race. That isn’t going to happen and if anyone thinks it will it is because they actually have their head planted firmly in the sand.  The Party has her candidate and it will not be Alan Grayson or Dennis Kucinich.  It is time to accept this fact and move on.   I am hoping we won’t let a faction of “the always pissed off crowd” disrupt this election.  I don’t know if they have the power to do so, but they certainly believe they have the power to do so.

Baby Jane Hamsher seems no different from Ralph Nader, she is a professional gadfly. She is a woman scorned no doubt about it,  I believe the blogger Eclectablog that he was sent an email from one of her employees basically saying she is going to crush him, and keep him from getting paid writing gigs on the internet..it is kind of comical in a sad sort of way. Does anyone really have that kind of power on the internet? I mean this isn’t William Randolf Hearsts era anymore, so the email comes off as ridiculous. I am not convinced anyone has that kind of power to crush a voice on the interwebzzz. How can anyone take her seriously after this kind of behavior? The over-the-top anger seems so like TBag in its apparent irrationality. And this draws us right back to the Baby Jane Hudson metaphor; Baby Jane Hudson, a former child star whose light went out long ago, her one and only goal in life was to become relevant again, one more time, this time she wouldn’t blow her chance, except that she did, because she always blows her chances.

What I don’t get is the end game, because certainly if they help sweep in more Republicans, progressivism will be even further from the doorstep of American politics. Because my instinct tells me that if you really are progressive you would want to prevent a Republican from being President, because in this day and age they simply have proven to be a threat to America. I mean hell, they are willing to play chicken with the economy, i.e. debt ceiling fiasco.  Republicans are holding a gun to their own heads and ours by their willingness to take the entire nation down in order to win a Presidential election, which is surreal and might I add unpatriotic!   And shouldn’t we be rallying people around this fact rather than fighting over whether or not there will be a primary challenger for this President?  (There will be no primary… it just isn’t going to happen).

Personally, I wish the war between progressives would end, ugh it is sooo tiring, and boring as the same issues are rehashed over and over again with no solutions in sight.   Baby Jane is relegating herself to obscurity, by her own actions, and for what? Just to be a contrarian, a gadfly, a rabble-rouser?  She never does explain why we are dumb mfers?  Nor does she adequately explain how supporting the President is really hurting his chances, is it opposite day and no one told me?  Well we will never truly be able to understand Baby Jane’s motives but I think they have more to do with making money rather than any real political agenda, she is just doing it the Rush Limbaugh/Scientology way, by building a base of fanatic followers who don’t ever think for themselves. Yikes what  way to make money.

Our Big Mistake 4

“Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile, I caught hell for.”

~Earl Warren

That sounds like a Lyle Lovett song, Our Big Mistake; we are repeating it over and over and over again, from the 1968 election to the present. Isn’t it sort of sad, we gave up working from the inside to continue to move government in a more progressive way?

  1. We turn on each other at the drop of a hat
  2. We keep our eye off the prize, remember this is ultimately about so much  more than one guy

Republicans currently seem to have a real death wish for the country! They will basically do anything to make sure this President is unable to function properly as the Chief Executive.  Certainly this demonstrates the power Grover Norquist has over Republican politicians. What is up with that? How is it these guys get away with this behavior. The whole debt ceiling debacle, can you imagine the outrage of the press and others if Democrats had held the entire country hostage like that? No, I don’t think so.  On the other hand the Hamsher, L. Ron Greenwald faux  progressives fight over who could be the leader of Shangri La., a leader for all, the liberal John Galt, the one who always makes good decisions, the man who never fails, the genius who saves us from ourselves. But he never requires we participate in saving ourselves, he does that on his own. So while the Hamsherwalds wait for their more perfect leader and the Republicans follow the Norquist lead, the country trudges on, but we struggle to maintain our optimism. But I am going to put this out there, why aren’t liberals/progressives working together to gain a foothold in government so more progressive legislation can be enacted at the federal level.

The extreme left is making a big mistake constantly making Barack Obama the issue and not Republican policies which are literally ruining the country.  How do we change the balance of power in the government?

There are few people more colorful in modern American history as Harold LeClair Ickes.  A man of America, he loved politics, and in his time he was a member of the Republican Party, the Progressive Party and ultimately became not just a member of the Democratic Party but was the longest serving Secretary of the Interior under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. From his perch he saw the rise and fall of the Progressive Party. His experience should give current progressives pause, because he offers clues to how to be an effective party in his critique of the Progressive Party of 1912.

Ickes was a young man in 1912, born in 1874; he’d begun his political life as a Republican. However, when Teddy Roosevelt changed parties, Harold Ickes changed parties. He was a Roosevelt republican, he believed in reform and he didn’t see W. H. Taft as a reformer. So Ickes promptly moved from the Republican Party to the newly formed Bull Moose Party, also known as the Progressive Party.

And so began a tumultuous time in the history of American politics By framing our ideas correctly we can wrest control of government from conservatives who flood the ranks of federal government.

By 1912, the progressive wing of the Republican Party had completely peeled off and begun their own party. It was ironically called, “A Contract with the People”. Wow who knew Newt Gingrich stole his Contract with/on America from some former disgruntled Republicans! I certainly did not know this.

The Platform:

The social platform is more than interesting, so here is a small excerpt of their platform:

  • A National Health Service to include all existing government medical agencies.
  • Social Insurance: which would provide for the elderly, the unemployed and the disabled.
  • Limited injunctions in strikes.
  • A minimum wage law for women
  • An eight hour workday
  • A federal securities commission
  • Farm relief.
  •  Workers’ Compensation for work-related injuries.
  • An inheritance tax.
  • A Constitutional Amendment to allow a Federal income tax.

The political reforms proposed included

  • Women’s suffrage.
  • Direct election of Senators.
  •  Primary elections for state and federal nominations.

Sound familiar? Yes it sounds like the New Deal!  Let’s just say the Gilded Aged suffered from many of the same issues America suffers from today, income inequality being a prime source of discontent, and as social nets are whittled down, there will be more discontent in the future. This was a time when Progressive could have had much impact on society and they could today too, but it takes organization and work, not just blogs bitching and moaning about the awfulness of everything.

Progressives didn’t have a big impact until Franklin Delano Roosevelt came into power. The Gilded Age, yes, there are many good comparisons to today. The Gilded Age in the US is marked by having the wealthiest congressional members, just like today.

Progressives today are failing in the same way independent progressive movements failed in the past, Ickes work “Who Killed the Progressive Party” gives us insight into those failures. Ickes point was the failure of the Progressive Party came down to one man, but it was so much more than that, through Ickes work we can see the ultimate failure in these words:

“The Progressive party contained few practical politicians in its ranks. The rank and file did not know how parties were run. They were blindly following Theodore Roosevelt, and they were not concerned about what machinery was necessary or how it was to be used. ” (Ickes, Who Killed the Progressive Party 309) Well our failure as Democrats and people who call themselves Progressives has been the failure to understand how parties and governments are run. It is within our best interest to understand how policies are made and implemented and to participate in order to be heard. Yes people are heard with their votes, but the failure to participate deeply by getting people elected and representing all levels of government is the only way to significantly change government policies.

By 1916, the Progressive Party was essentially dead.  It did not have any initial impact other than to break apart the Republican Party. I would hate to see Democrats, liberals, progressives, go this route.  Some progressive ideals did manifest in the next Roosevelt Administration, because it is here where people like Harold Ickes came to change America, and they did it by working from within the government. These participants were able to change the trajectory of laissez faire policies and help institute policies that benefited the working class of America.  Ickes himself was most successful in advancing progressivism when he was participating in the government as a man off all things to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Ickes held several posts simultaneously in the Roosevelt Administration, most famously of course, as the Secretary of the Interior a position he held from 1933 – 1946.  No doubt nothing like this can ever happen again, but it is an example of how to help craft big policies, and that is to get more progressives into government. My contention is, it should be done on a micro level as well as a macro level, i.e. the PTA and school boards are just as important as county, city, and state government. But I digress, Ickes was not just the Secretary of the Interior, in 1941 President Roosevelt appointed him the Petroleum Coordinator for National Defense (Ickes, Fightin’ Oil vii).  In fact he wrote a book called Fightin’ Oil based on his experience regulating oil companies. According to Ickes the Presidents objectives were stated clearly that his office was to; “make petroleum and petroleum products available, adequately and continuously, in the proper forms at the proper places …. to satisfy military and civilian needs (Ickes, Fightin’ Oil viii). ”

Here is the interesting passage from Ickes introduction:

There were two ways in which I might have approached the job. I could have said to the President: “Mr. President, you have given me a bunch of tough hombres to deal with, and the only way that I can get along with them is for you to give me dictatorial power so that I can tell them what to do, and see that they do it. That would have been Hitler’s way. In fact some people, including, I suspect, a good many oil men themselves, thought that it would be my way, too. But I fooled them. It just so happens, that in spite of contrary opinions here and there, I believe in the American system of free enterprise. It is also the fact that I believe that business can best do its part – in peace as in war – with the least possible direction, and with the least interference, by the Government.” (Ickes, Fightin’ Oil)

The point is, Ickes and progressivism had great impact because he and others like him worked from within the system to implement progressive policies and to defend those policies to the public. Ickes was an equally controversial Secretary of the Interior.

Right now, we, progressive and democrats, are fighting each other, and when we do that, like the former progressives did, we lose. We’ve lost ground for more than 30 years by giving up control of our power within the government, have you spoken to a federal employee lately? Have you heard the things they say  about the federal government…. But they work for the federal government!!!!! Oh man, I do plenty, so don’t we need to be applying for those positions, if you want people to think the government can do great things don’t the people who are employed their need to believe in the system too? Republicans have done a fantastic job of appointing their friends to positions of power in the federal government, in turn they hire more conservative employees, how else could someone like Michelle Bachmann work for the IRS? If we aren’t pro-active an attempt to infiltrate the government, our policies will never be implemented on a large scale.  Changing the system means participating in the system, and every single time we fail to do that, we lose ground to the Norquist crowd and we allow their message to become more powerful.

In short, we have to quit fighting with each other and we need to put our head down and work together. The President is just one guy, and he only serves for a short time, changes come from long term concerted efforts. If people want to see progressive change they must, must participate in the system.

Bibliography

Ickes, Harold L. Fightin’ Oil. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1943.

—. The Autobiography of a Curmudgeon. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1943.

—. “Who Killed the Progressive Party.” The American Historical Review 46.2 (1941): 306-337.

Watkins, T. H. Righteous Pilgrim: The Life and Times of Harold L. Ickes 1874 – 1952. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1990.

The Political Power of Cable TV Shock-Jockery 9

While the exceeding cool members of this nation were celebrating some success, the cable news media was at it again. Let’s review for a moment and be thrilled about the events that took place, leading to the exhilarating events of last night,   Roy McDonald broke with his party, when he told reporters June 15, 2011 this: “F**k it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing.” And with that, the line of demarcation was absolutely shattered. Then other members defected, and with a stroke of a pen Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law. Marriage equality now exists in NY State.  His speech was stirring. I predict he  will run for the Presidency in 2016, and he can win, if we don’t let the very powerful media destroy Democrats one more time. They certainly are attempting to

So, what happened to Rachel Maddow last night? Did she decide to take classes at Beck U, the propaganda arm of the Center for Shock Jockery? Umm humm, I am pretty sure she did make a stop by there to pick up pamphlets, because that BS meme she wants to push, “The President is against what happened today” (last night) is an outright lie. She too has crossed the line, one where she balanced on a thin line separating her from the other cable news shock jocks, and some decently researched stories. What the hell just happened? Did her rating reflect that the more Outrageous the story she can push about the President, the more viewers she gets? I would like to know, it seems to be a relevant question, is there a correlation between  a shocking bumper sticker slogan that says, “The President is against what happened today”, what? Come again? That is your astute analysis even though it is demonstrably wrong if we just take the DADT issue and the decision by the Justice Dept. not to defend DOMA on any grounds.  Geez, what trite, ridiculous drivel. I thought of  Maddow as one of the least offensive cable tv shock jocks, sometimes she even does some in-depth news-like stories.  She joins a list of people at MSNBC who take their shock-jockery seriously, first and foremost, one Chris Matthews, who is outraged on a daily basis, his new obsession is Michelle “wandering eye” Bachmann, “my hero! she is going to go all the way, he exclaimed excitedly to Bill Maher on Real Time June 17, 2011. What is that exactly, it feels like a dude who calls himself a journalist, is trying But the Matthews effect covers a large area at MSNBC, like its Fox nemesis,  outrage is the one and only agenda.  Keep this in mind, when I get to Ralph Nader and the Media.

When 1999 rolled around, scandal was everywhere, the country was eating up the Lewinsky scandal, it was on the News every evening still, we were being enveloped in scandal, the nations news were quickly becoming overblown National Enquirer Fluff.  I am convinced that the most conducted searches on Altavista, Lycos and Infoseek were all about blow jobs, casual khaki suits, Al Gore creating the internet, and Love Story! Al Gore was soon to be biggest feather in the cap of cable shock-jockery, he was a Beta Male, whatever that meant, I didn’t know, and he was certainly too wimpy to be President. While GWBush was quickly becoming the newest shiny object of these people, he was so upstanding they droned on and on about, his morals were exemplary! He was the epitome of what Al Gore was not, he even flew a plane during Vietnam in Alabamstan! He was a man! Al Gore, umm not so much. Rachel Maddow is just one more cable shock jock to pick up the reins of misinformation and run with them! If you don’t think I am right, type in Al Gore i and automatically you see, Al Gore invents the internet as a continuing top internet meme! Wow! It’s still a lie to this day, he never said that, and yet, it survives as one of the biggest lies of the 1990’s.  There has been a rather loud drumbeat by the press as of late to throw another election to yet another nutcase.It’s been happening a good deal lately,to this President too, and just as the wishy-washy lefties of that decade  failed to stand up for Al Gore, the same is happening today with our current President. In part we have to blame the shock-jocks of cable TV whose lives depend on the next manufactured outrage, and they are no better today than yesterday. Rating soar when there is a tinge of scandal or intra-party fight in the air. It is much more fun to discuss so called “moral failings than there were back then and their ratings soar when they can manufacture their next scandal. Name recognition is everything people,  Al Gore most certainly did not say the President has failed on Global Warming, he saves his most poignant criticism for media, notice how each and every one of them left that out! I’ll get back to the HuffPo’s take on Al Gore’s 7000 word essay after some background.

Things were great in 1999, the economy was still on fire, and it literally had nothing to do with deregulation, which as we now know would lead us down a path of returning our country to pre-Depression era nation! But that is another story for that others have covered far better than I.  We all know Republicans are trying to create their Libertopia! Well in the 1990’s the Clinton administration implemented smart policies, that stimulated the economy in a micro way, it was designed to broaden the number of minority businesses that could compete for government contracts, although it was a mere 5% mandated, it did work and stimulated a community minority owned businesses which of course effect their communities in the form of job growth, greater tax base it was part of the reason the economy of the latter 90’s was good, the Clinton administration implemented little policies that assisted job growth using a micro-economic model.  This policy was known as the The 1994 Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act.  Upon entering office, one of the first things the GWB administration did was roll this particular mandate back, using the power of executive order.  But I digress, certainly as so many people analyzed at the time, Al Gore=George Bush. Jokes on you folks! Al Gore was nothing like George Bush.   Al Gore as VP had his own successes to fall primarily his pet project, the Reinventing Government Initiative, which was a huge success, as it introduced modernization of the federal government, with the notable exception of  FBI director, Louis Freeh.    These were just some of the specific policies that Gore tried to run on, but guess what, it didn’t matter, because TV shock-jockery was going to have its way, and its way was to create a situation that allowed trivia to overtake a Presidential election, and that gave us the Presidency of George W Bush. Let’s remember this, the Bush administration was seeking to eliminate all those good programs implemented by the Clinton Administration that benefited our economy, and the media failed utterly to cover the important pieces of the Gore campaign that sought to discuss and explain just these issue, while instead they obsessed over Gore as Beta male and his khaki casual coat???? I still bristle at just the memory of this tomfoolery taking place right before our eyes.

Cable TV shock-jockery pushed the third-party run of Ralph Nader. To this day we often blame him and him alone for Gore’s loss, but I do remember how the cable TV shock-jocks could not get enough of Ralph Nader, they gave him a platform to sew the seeds of discontent among the electorate. They certainly never challenged his assertions that Gore=Bush, and that same meme goes around today among the many people who believe the world is black and white, that Obama=Bush, it isn’t any more creative or any more truthful than it was in 2000. Nor is it a creative analysis of our current political condition, however, the cable TV shock-jocks need more outrage,  for better ratings, and Nader being no different that the current line of go-to guests that parade daily on cable TV, who are most often known for their combative, bombastic personalities, in fact none of these people are any different from the Real Housewives that parade on BravoTV 7 days a week, as they’ve traded nuance for outrage and outrageous behavior. If this weren’t true, would Pat Buchanan still be a TV talking head? I think not! It is time we paid attention to these venues that seem go to for many people on both sides who are politically active, because they continue to sew the seeds of discontent and their intended targets are almost always Democrats. If things were equal, David Vitter would have been drummed out of Office for soliciting prostitutes, it is an illegal activity, yet, there he sits, in Office. My point is, Nader didn’t do anything that the cable TV shock-jocks didn’t continually push, the meme that America needed some drastic change, because things were going much too terribly in terms of our morals, and with that America elected a man, not terribly well suited for the Office of the Presidency.  Our cable TV hero’s saved us, or did they?

So now Rachel is the latest to  dip her toe into the very crowded “Outrage” pool, and you know she did it with some bombast of her own, claiming that the President “Doesn’t like what happened in NY”. This is a lie, an absolute complet lie, but she did it anyway. Why? That is the question. Why do they do it, they do it because it works and attracts a certain kind of angry viewer, one that thinks in terms of black and white, one that refuses to see the gray shades that direct our days and nights. Partly it is because of money, in order to remain on the air, one must stay relevant, and the way to stay relevant is to manufacture outrage to attract the angry believer. There is gobs of money in sharpening ones ability to manufacture Outrage for the sake of ones viewers, ask Rush Limbaugh, who I understand is a very nice dude IRL.  He lives a very comfortable life  because he is a master at manufacturing outrage. The rise and fall of Glenn Beck is the latest example of a dude who is a master at manufacturing outrage and literally selling it to his viewers via faux education programs, but his loyal listeners, viewers and readers have no doubt enriched him even more, by buying into his manufactured outrage, I don’t know what he is like IRL, but you know, no one is that bad, he just knows what works on his audience, well Rachel’s audience is no different are they, they thrive on outrage.

So let’s turn to the 7,000 word essay that Al Gore wrote in the Rolling Stone. My goodness, those on the left that manufacture outrage for a living were on a roll, they made assertions that Al Gore wrote that the President had “Failed”, he failed to lead on climate change, but you know who Al Gore took to task for the failure to educate people about the importance of doing something about climate change, our media, and these are the same people who are making claims that Al  Gore called the President a failure. A Time Magazine blog made claims that Gore “attacked the President for  his failure to lead“. HuffingtonPost never a place to be left behind in leveling attacks against the President made the claim that Gore blasted the President over failing to take the lead on the issue of Climate change. Each of these organizations hid the fact that Al Gore saved his criticism for media organizations, like theirs for failing to educate people on the truth of climate change. Al Gore  specifically indicts the media, corporate leaders, both political parties and by extension voters. To Gore their cumulative inaction on the serious challenges that lie ahead, which are exaserbated by climate change in some ways exonerates the President, because there is little one man can do to  alter the trajectory of our nation, where climate science deniers are granted equal status with the overwhelming evidence that climate change is occurring.

The fact is, Gore did single our the media not the president, in his excellent piece.   Reading the piece, one realizes he takes the media to task for indulgint in “debate” about whether the research indicates that climate change is real and human-made.  Gore goes on to make the point that the science is unanimous. But the serious subject has been changed into nothing more than entertainment. And the media has turned to manufacturing outrage about the subject rather than  devoting themselves to serious reporting on global threats, in search of bigger audiences. He specifically calls out Fox News as a 24/7 purveyor of disinformation and propaganda.  Instead of presenting the facts of Gore’s critique of their  methods,  the media prefers to say Al Gore is fighting with the President. It is just one more piece of evidence that as a whole our modern medias goal is to manufacture Outrage, as it keeps them relevant. And is seems no cable TV shock jock is exempt from the need to drive viewership through Outrage. Rachel, and her media colleagues seem unable to help themselves, and are more than willing to engage in the same tactics of the righties. They are leading us down the same path they did in 2000, they are trying to obfuscate their roll in driving politics, rather than reporting on politics.   If we continue to not call them out on this, we will end up like we did in 2000, with a politician of their choice, because it drives their ratings. We must keep our eye and them and force them to return to reporting facts.  Because at this point, they are merely a part of the problem.

Crossposted at DAGblog