Kermit Gosnell, Eleventh Dimensional Chess, Michelle Rhee, Rand Paul and Other Bullshit that Pissed Me Off This Week 5

Sigh, the right wing media is having a major melt down about Kermit Gosnell, complaining on and on ad-infinitum that the Main Stream Media is not covering the Gosnell story. Of course this is absolute BS, since I first starting hearing about Gosnell in 2011. The question must be asked, where was the right wing media in 2011 when it came to Kermit Gosnell, serial abuser of women in need? Oh right, it didn’t suit their purpose back then to talk about this at all, in fact it was a non-story to them. Why? Let’s review the work that was done in 2011 about Gosnell and his arrest in January of 2011:

http://www.myfoxphilly.com/story/17533017/doctor-allegedly-killed-babies-with-scissors
http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/03/02/pennsylvania.abortion.doctor/index.html
http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Abortion-Doctor-Charged-With-Murder-114205094.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/us/23doctor.html?_r=0
http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/the-feed/item/11662-21tmmayor
http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20110128/NEWS01/101280337/AG-Beau-Biden-launches-probe-into-abortion-doctor-s-work-in-Delaware?nclick_check=1
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/23/kermit-gosnell-abortion-c_n_812702.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/01/19/national/main7261741.shtml
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1354889/Kermit-Gosnell-House-horrors-abortionist-1-8m-year.html
http://rhrealitycheck.org/tag/dr-kermit-gosnell/

There were just so many reports at the time of his arrest all about his clinic of horror. What we know is, that facility was not inspected by the state of Pennsylvania for 17 years. Of course the excuse wingers are using that the place wasn’t inspected in 17 damn years was because of a pro-choice policy, which is utter bullshit.  The Business Insider article does say that it was Governor Tom Ridge, Republican who ordered the Dept of Health to stop inspecting abortion clinics, and that isn’t because of  a pro-choice policy that is a direct result of conservatives not believing that the health of women is important. Let’s be clear, it seems Dr. Gosnell would have used hangers to give women abortions if he could have gotten away with it, the state of Pennsylvania was complicit. It’s disgusting but it has nothing to do with being pro-choice, it has everything to do with not believing women health is important. And now a bunch of men are enraged because they think the story isn’t being covered… more utter bullshit, and they don’t care one bit about the health of women, they care 100% about using this case to politicize the health of women. It certainly isn’t shocking.

Then we get to the 11th Dimensional Chess Meme, smh, really? The  I just hate the meme, it’s lame. Everyone who is using this term as though it has meaning, stop it, you sound stupid when you type it out day after day after day. Sheesh!

Michelle Rhee’s reign of error in the DC schools is finally coming under some intense scrutiny, in light of the big testing scandal in Georgia. See the test scores of those kids in DC took a sudden rise, and it just seemed highly unusual for this to happen.  Cheating on standardized tests is at the core of this scandal and Rhee selling her so-called methods to other school systems is on the periphery.  There is plenty of evidence that Rhee’s policies encouraged teachers to cheat. Here is some evidence from a Frontline Investigation:

The DC-CAS scores at Noyes, where 81% of classrooms were flagged for high erasures, are themselves circumstantial evidence that supports Cothorne’s allegation. Below are the Noyes DC-CAS scores over five years; 2011 represents the year that security was tightened.

  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Reading 44.14% 61.53 84.21 61.36 32.40
Math 34.24% 57.69 62.79 53.64 28.17

 
That represents a drop of nearly 50 points in reading between 2009 and 2011, and a drop of roughly 34 points in math. Note also that in 2011 Noyes students were scoring below their pre-Rhee level.

In all, data are available for 16 schools with erasure rates of at least 50%. DC-CAS reading scores rose in only two schools after security was tightened. Math scores rose in just 4 schools and declined in 12.

Rhee is the epitome of an educated grifter. It pisses me off that people seem to believe that improving scores always equals firing teachers. It isn’t that easy people, and for the most part teachers are very dedicated to helping children learn. I’m sick of people like Rhee who present easy solutions to improving education for the underprivileged, Guess what it isn’t easy. There are no quick solutions, we have to have community based solutions that include a change in how we view education. Where all children are not hungry when they begin class, where families have access to help, want to better education children, well the community must come together, and that has little to do with test scores. Melissa Harris Perry has the right idea, but of course she is attacked for it. But I know one thing for sure, Rhee took advantage of the DC system and helped no child learn.

Oh Rand Paul, sure thing black people need to know just how great Republicans are beginning with Lincoln, because they would never know what he did or anything really, unless a white person tells them.  What a great way to recruit people to your party, condescend to them repeatedly!

Yes it makes me mad that people are attacking Melissa Harris Perry for saying the raising children is a community responsibility, it is, how is that so wrong? Oh conservatives on the one hand you always insist how great thigns were in the past, when you would get in trouble at home after getting in trouble with a neighbor for being a pinhead, but if a liberal suggests that is important to raising children suddenly it is communism, socialism, social engineering and all wrong. Idiots.

There are many more things that piss me off on an on-going basis, but we can’t go over them here, this would be a never ending blog. Have a good Sunday my tens of readers!

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Politics, the Kennedy Court and Health Care 2

If I were a member of the Supreme Court I’d be a bit embarrassed at how easy it is to predict Supreme Court rulings knowing only a few elementary political facts.
I expect a 5-4 ruling and i expect it to break down along political lines. It shows me this, the Supreme Court is only there to support certain ideology, making this less about the Constitution and more about what it is to hold power for more than 30 years.  This, whether the members of the court care or not this is the problem. They’ve become, based on Bush v Gore merely an arbiter that always errs on the side of promoting the political ideology of one side or another. Imagine if  Brown v. Board of Education, Bolling v. Sharpe, Cooper v. Aaron, Gomillion v. Lightfoot, Griffin v. County School Board, Green v. School Board of New Kent County, Lucy v. Adams, Loving v. Virginia had been left for this court to decide, shit, we be where South Africa was in the 1980’s in terms of civil rights. We’d be the largest segregated nation  on earth!

Well let’s get past the rant, let’s talk about Anthony Kennedy.

I’ve heard all the popular analysis about Kennedy, he is the swing vote, etc and so on. Well yesterday in a little noted exchange he seemed to be telling the government lawyer the route he sh0uld take to defend the Constitutionality of the law.

In an exchange with Paul Clement, (he is representing those 25 states) this went down:

Kennedy asked Clement this: Is the government’s argument this–and maybe I won’t state it accurately. It is true that the noninsured young adult is, in fact, an actuarial reality insofar as our allocation of health services, insofar as the way health insurance companies figure risks. That person who is sitting at home in his or her living room doing nothing is an actuarial reality that can and must be measured for health service purposes; is that their argument?

And just a short while later:

MR. CLEMENT: And with respect to the health insurance market that’s designed to have payment in the health care market, everybody is not in the market. And that’s the premise of the statute, and that’s the problem Congress is trying to solve.

And if it tried to solve it through incentives, we wouldn’t be here; but, it’s trying to solve it in a way that nobody has ever tried to solve an economic problem before, which is saying, you know, it would be so much more efficient if you were just in this market–

JUSTICE KENNEDY: But they are in the market in the sense that they are creating a risk that the market must account for. 

MR. CLEMENT: Well, Justice Kennedy, I don’t think that’s right, certainly in any way that distinguishes this from any other context.

What does this mean? It almost seems like Justice Kennedy is signalling the defense the government should be making, (and why aren’t they anyway??? WTF, seriously).

And a little later this:

MR. CARVIN: It is clear that the failure to buy health insurance doesn’t affect anyone. Defaulting on your payments to your health care provider does. Congress chose, for whatever reason, not to regulate the harmful activity of defaulting on your health care provider. They used the 20 percent or whoever among the uninsured as a leverage to regulate the 100 percent of the uninsured.

JUSTICE KENNEDY: I agree–I agree that that’s what’s happening here.

MR. CARVIN: Okay.

JUSTICE KENNEDY: And the government tells us that’s because the insurance market is unique. And in the next case, it’ll say the next market is unique. But I think it is true that if most questions in life are matters of degree, in the insurance and health care world, both markets–stipulate two markets–the young person who is uninsured is uniquely proximately very close to affecting the rates of insurance and the costs of providing medical care in a way that is not true in other industries.

That’s my concern in the case.

I fully expect this to be a 5:4 decision based on the politics of the court. I have no faith that what-so-ever in the non-partisanship of the court. Sorry Bush V Gore cured me of believing in the non-partisanship of the court. And I know that 75% of the country is with me on that, this is something that the Court itself should be ashamed of and it is telling that they are not.

Oh well, we tried. Get ready for your health insurance costs to skyrocket.

CrossPosted @DAGBlog

Distorting Reproductive Health: The Anti-Woman Beltway Media 2

There has been a frenzy of media discussion about a recent Health and Human Services decision regarding birth control. Let’s go over some facts:

The regulation:

Requires employer who offer health insurance with prescription drug coverage that contraception would be required coverage. If and only if the insurance offered already covers prescription drugs. What they were saying is that contraception is one of those drugs that must be covered. This had nothing to do with a co-pay or any other media driven distortion of the issue. This is a fact.

The other fact that has been ignored by the majority male beltway media is this:

In December of 2000, the US EEOC made it clear that an employer’s failure to provide coverage of contraception, when it covers other prescription drugs and preventive care, is a violation of protections against sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; those protections for employees’ benefits include no exemption for religious employers.

Beltway pundits continue to present this issue as an argument about co-pays and that all religious organizations will have to buy insurance that covers birth control and that is all a lie, a huge god damned lie that those beltway pundits have deliberately twisted this issue, even though the issues is about prescription drub coverage. When we make the analogy that those plans cover Viagra but not contraception it is the truth, no matter how much yelling those men do, no matter how much they twist the issue, this is about prescription drug coverage, why the hell does no program on cable present this issue correctly?  It angers me. We also know this, cable tv shock jock shows are deliberately leaving women out of this conversation.

What happened? Why did the media grab this story and distort it until they controlled every aspect of it. They were fresh off the highs of the Komen Story, lots of people paid attention to that story and they realized how important and divisive is the issue of Reproductive Health, and how it is so damn good for ratings. This is a better issue than abortion which is like arguing religion, can’t.be.done.These kinds of media frenzies most often give the Republicans an advantage. They are always able to ragify their crowds. The president has a quieter group, far more enraged than those Republicans and this issue is going to bury Republicans in the fall. Sen. Roy Blunt (R) Mo is expected to offer an amendment that would permit any employer or insurance plan to exclude any health service, no matter how essential, from coverage if they morally object to it. This Think Progress report has the language of the bill. Suffice it to say it is Roy’s attempt to get some publicity for himself, knowing full well that this amendment is DOA.

We womyn can see exactly what is going on here. Another Think Progress report after analyzing guests on this issue on the cable shock-jock shows they prefer not to have women on their shows. The Think Progress report Of the 146 guests who have come on cable news shows to discuss the decision between Monday and Thursday, 91 were men. Congressmen, and I mean men went nuts, all over the beltway. Joe Scarborough and Mika couldn’t even be bothered to have a woman on their show to  balance the views, no, they took the dive into all the anti-woman rhetoric they could, they began the lie that this was about convents having to carry insurance coverage for birth control, whey convents are explicitly exempt. I expect Faux Gnus to distort and lie about the issue, but MSNBC let those men carry on the, allowed those men to distort the issue. It is disgusting what they did, they are supposed to report issues fairly, they are not supposed to control the trajectory of legislation or regulation over the American people, in particular over womyn. I never see them protesting the coverage of Viagra, Cialis, but women get the short-shrift because everyone seems to believe our bodies are not our own, but our bodies can be controlled by society at large.

To than attitude I say Fuck You very much Beltway Media and the rest of you anti-woman asshats, you’ve been pwned by the President. Here is the message you should take from our anger, we will not let this happen again. You will not create a political football with our bodies again without us (we womyn) banding together fiercely fighting back against the misinformation you willingly and happily spread.

Don’t Google The Santorum Surge 1

And so it goes, it is time for the Santorum Surge in the GOP Primary as each of the not-Mitt former front-runners flame out like candles in a typhoon. We should review what has happened in this season of Republican’s vying for the Presidency.

The Rise and Fall of Pre-Perry was great wasn’t it? Before Perry actually got into the primary race he was the greatest thing since moonshine and mason jars. But then the Rickster opened his mouth, and all that fell apart. His debate performances left people wondering if he was drunk and his refusal to prepare even for a debate sealed his fate as a a guy who will never-be-President.  He doesn’t seem to realize it though, but he should formally withdraw soon, he is just wasting his money now. And Pre-Perry was over with lightning bug speed.

Then there was the Christy Co-opt, which happened after Perry’s plummet. Chris Christy became a dream of the Republicans and he told them to stuff it. Wow, that ended before it began.

Then we had the Cain Mutiny! Oh it was grand, but then as quickly as he rose, his legs were cut out from under him, as women came out of the woodwork to end his campaign of selling books.

Then we had the longer lasting Newt Reformed, which had powered up the not-Mitt machine for what seemed like a lengthy political period of time, but then everyone remembered why the hell they hated Newt Gingrich in the first place!

The Paul Rocket has been building for quite sometime, I don’t know why. He is just another flash in the pan, because there is just too much negative information out there for him to be taken seriously as a candidate for President of the United States. Sorry Libertarians that is simply the truth. Google it.

So the next not-Mitt candidate is Rick “no one can have an abortion for any reason unless they are married to me” Santorum, he is moving up in Iowa like a dead fish floats to the top of the water. My prediction is, he too will be gone quickly. However, my advice to you all is to not google his name, and for that you can thank Dan Savage. Hah!

And that just leaves Mitt doesn’t it, my god, how is he going to be able to turn himself into the next not-Mitt candidate? I don’t know, but we are going to find out I am quite sure!

CrossPosted @ DAGBlog

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.

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

Chris Matthews to Joe Walsh (R) Il, “He’s Your President Too.” 5

Let’s get this out there, Rep. Joe Walsh is discrediting a good name. The Joe Walsh I remember, played guitar had his own band and sang songs like All Night Laundromat Blues.. this guy, well he just doesn’t seem like he is that much fun and he is trashing what is otherwise a very good name! I know I almost voted for the real Joe Walsh in 1980, the best part was I saw him in concert twice that year, man that was a great Eagles tour. Oh, I digress, because this Joe Walsh is definitely not that Joe Walsh.

May I present you with the video, Chris Matthews versus Rep. Joe Walsh, Illinois 8th district, dufus.

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.

GOP in HOR – Renewable Energy is Anti-Energy 2

As usual the TeaBag GOP is going out on a limb to protect Oil, Coal, and Nuclear energy producers. NREL – the National Renewable Energy Lab in Colorado is on the chopping block. I did an internship while in graduate school at the Washington State Energy Office in 1993. The program I worked for was the Energy Ideas Clearing House which was funded by grants through the Department of Energy. The funding source was through the DofE’s Office of Science and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs. NREL recieves their funding from those programs at the DoE.  Republicans in the house are seeking to have these programs eliminated in the 2012 budget. They claim of course that these programs offer nothing to the US and have by and large failed. What should be of particular interest to everyone is that Republicans seems to believe that Renewable Energy isn’t necessary to explore. Defunding these programs will essentially defund NREL, EIC, NCAT and other Alternate Renewable Energy programs in the US.

According to a report in the Denver Sun GOP lawmakers are pushing to defund the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy programs in the 2012 budget, because they “have failed to live up to their supposed potential.” This is an assessment they offer without supporting data, but what is most interesting is Tom McClintock from a TBag district in California, who states:

“We should not follow the president’s poor planning in increasing the funding for these anti-energy boondoggles.”

Republicans are seeking to save money by defunding these programs while continuing to subsidize Oil, Coal and Nuclear Energy industries. Of course those subsidies are much larger than any monies spend on funding these energy research programs. NREL was founded in 1978, by the Carter Administration, and that was effectively the last time the nation attempted to develop solid energy policies to move us towards the future.  According to the NREL website, it is the only federal laboratory dedicated to the research, development, commercialization and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Backed by 33 years of achievement, NREL leads the way in helping meet the growing demand for clean energy.

So are renewable energy programs anti-energy boondoggles? Do these folks really believe wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuel research has no place in developing sound energy policy? So while progressives are out there hand-wringing about the awfulness of the biggest liar of all President Obama and how he hates the unemployed, the middle class, unions, who is also a closet Republican, is the second coming of Ronald Reagan, wants everyone to go to community college for no reason because they have already have mad skilz, Republicans in the House are getting away with destroying programs that are beneficial not just to the nation but to the world.

Until we the people are able to convince lawmakers that we would like to fund these programs the United States will never develop a coherent energy policy that can move us to a cleaner energy future, and while China is investing 54.4 billion dollars in renewable energy sources, we will cease to fund research into renewable energies, because they are deemed anti-energy by those whose political campaigns are funded by the oil, coal and nuclear industries. Until we pressure our law maker to do this we will continue to fight wars over oil.  We all know that we went to Iraq because of Oil and not for any other reason.

According to Open Secrets, Rep. Lamborn of Colorado, the guy behind eliminating the funding source of these programs, in 2010 he received the majority of his donations from:

Industry

Total

Indivs

PACs

Defense Aerospace $34,250 $0 $34,250
Oil & Gas $31,750 $1,250 $30,500
Defense Electronics $28,300 $0 $28,300
Mining $17,500 $0 $17,500
Real Estate $16,833 $9,333 $7,500

Over his lifetime as a representative Oil and Gas are among the top three of those contributing to his campaigns, so it is no surprise he wants to eliminate funding for NREL.  He received a lifetime total $191,762 total from Energy and Natural Resource Industries with $158,000 coming directly from PAC’s. We certainly know why this particular congressman is pushing to have NREL, NCAT, EIC defunded by eliminating the funding of the DOE’s Office of Science and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs.

The Republican leadership on the House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development are as follows:

Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) [Chairman]

Energy and Natural Resources: about $217,000 life since 1998 of which pac’s donated $190,000

Jerry Lewis (R-CA)

Energy and Natural Resources: $469,000 since 1998 with $419,000 coming from PAC’s

Mike Simpson (R-ID)

Energy & Natural Resources:  $535,797 since 1998 with $441,445 coming from PAC’s

Dennis Rehberg (R-MT)

Energy & Natural Resources Industries:  $659,599 since 1998 with $464,750 coming from PAC’s

Rodney Alexander (R-LA)

Energy & Natural Resources:  $279,446 $167,750

Steve Womack (R-AR)

Is pretty new to congress and has received $21,000 from Energy and Natural Resource Industries

Alan Nunnelee (R-MS)

Also a new member and he received $79,200 from Energy and Natural Resource Industries

I know for a fact my congressman Norm Dicks will vote against these efforts, however your own congress-person needs to hear from you if you care about it at all. They need to know whether you for or against these efforts.  If we truly are a government by the people for the people, your participation doesn’t have to end with voting. Blogging about how you hate, hate, hate every single thing about everyone in congress, isn’t as effective as contacting your congressperson. To me this is very important. Make some noise and implore your like minded friends and neighbors to do the same, especially if you care about moving towards building a green or sustainable future for future generations. They need to know where you stand on real issues. Write them a letter, shoot them an email, and let them know you understand the issues. Do it every day if you have to, but don’t let the Republicans get away with demagoguing renewable energy programs.

Cross Posted at DAGblog