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Archive for July, 2016

I’m not with her.

July 31st, 2016 No comments

A short interview with Bill Maher 7/29/16 where Bernie discusses next steps for #OurRevolution.

“Have you even read it?”

July 29th, 2016 No comments

This is the kind of thing you used to expect from Republican Conventions. I can imagine Ronald Reagan highlighting this kind of patriot. I am not a Hillary fan and I may not vote for her, but I will never vote for Trump.

True to their word…

July 29th, 2016 No comments

While the lamestream media gleefully pronounces our #PoliticalRevolution dead, this article, an interview with the amazing Jane Sanders, shows us why it’s not. It’s ain’t over. It’s just beginning.

“[It’s gratifying] how committed they are to the issues they believe in, and to bettering this country, and how a lot of them, really, are very pure at heart. And that’s what’s hard for them right now. To recognize that, yeah, you know, we didn’t get the presidency, but we made a lot of progress, and we’re going to keep fighting, and the world doesn’t change overnight.

We didn’t change the world overnight, but that’s never happened. And the amount that we have changed already — we have changed the trajectory of this country and the Democratic Party. So, good work everybody!”

Jane Sanders: Why Bernie Voters Shouldn’t Get Over It

On Tuesday, Bernie Sanders formally nominated Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee for president, officially drawing to a close a hard-fought, 14-month campaign that brought him within spitting distance of the White House.

It ain’t over…

July 28th, 2016 No comments

While the lamestream media gleefully pronounces our revolution dead, may I just interject that it ain’t over. It’s just beginning.

Jane Sanders: Why Bernie Voters Shouldn’t Get Over It

On Tuesday, Bernie Sanders formally nominated Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee for president, officially drawing to a close a hard-fought, 14-month campaign that brought him within spitting distance of the White House.

I might vote Hillary if…

July 27th, 2016 No comments

bernie victory

I wrote all of this down to try to grok what’s happening at the DNC.

History only makes sense in retrospect. When we look back on historical events, we can say, “Sure I can see how that happened.” Of course, there’s every possibility that the narrative we tell ourselves to make sense of things only satisfies our need for certainty. As Nixon once wrote, “The judgment of history depends upon who writes it.”

But I sure never saw this coming. My expectation was that the DNC would meet in Philadelphia, continue to diss and dismiss Sanders supporters, nominate Hillary, and set out on a campaign founded on the inspiring principle that at least Hillary isn’t Trump. Of course, all that did happen, but against a backdrop I don’t think anyone expected, and that is confirmation of what we really knew all along, which is that the primaries were rigged in Clinton’s favor. Given that the entire party apparatus opposed him, Bernie is quite justified in pointing to his showing in the primaries with enormous pride.

What difference does it make that what we felt was true has been confirmed? Does it make us dislike HRC and her cronies any more? Not really. If we knew the process was rigged, Bernie must have known (he said as much just this last weekend), and yet in the last two weeks Bernie has gone all in for Clinton, to the dismay of many of his supporters and the bewilderment of others, like me. Bernie raised the hopes of the people with the prospect of putting a semblance of integrity into our national government. He told us he wouldn’t abandon that goal, and yet now he’s advocating for tweedle-awful on the proposition that at least she’s not tweedle-awfuller.

Bernie Sanders has a decades long record of integrity and consistency in his views. He has stood up for his beliefs even when it has been politically difficult for him. He promised his followers that he would not betray us or the principles of his (our) political revolution. What could Hillary Clinton and the DNC possibly offer him that could persuade him to give all that up and sell out to the establishment? The answer, of course, is nothing. So what’s up?

Well, here’s something. On the day that Bernie announced, absolutely nobody thought he stood a snowball’s chance, probably including the Senator himself. I sent in my $10 donation (I never could afford the $27, but at the same time I had never donated to any other candidate) knowing that there wasn’t much hope; only a fool’s hope. What he did next electrified. He mobilized millions of people with a vision of an America that is truly as great as we tell ourselves it is (but isn’t). He showed us that you can run a campaign backed by just the people and not the fat cats. He gave us hope and unity in response to fear and division. And even with the whole system rigged against him he won 22 states and almost 50% of the vote. That is a testament to the strength of his (our) ideas.

Bernie told us from the start that the revolution wasn’t about him or the presidency, but rather about recovering our democracy. I, and I know millions of my brothers and sisters, are heartbroken that he wasn’t allowed to win the nomination. But given where we started, he has still won an amazing victory. And I’m not saying that just to make us feel batter. Our agenda is part of the national conversation now. And if we don’t blow it, we have the beginnings of a movement that can bring progressivism back to the center of American politics. Bernie has set in motion grass roots organizations that can fundamentally transform American politics from the ground up. None of that would have ever happened if Bernie hadn’t run, and we hadn’t stuck with him, hoping against hope. Us.

Politics as usual is dead. The Republican Party has been hijacked by the lunatic right, led by a narcissistic and probably deranged demagogue. The Democratic Party is in the midst of collapsing under the weight of its own corruption as demonstrated in the leaked DNC emails. If you watched Bernie’s speech at the DNC, you will notice he put Hillary on the hook for his (our) entire agenda. Hillary is slippery and can’t be trusted, but backtracking now will only hasten the collapse of the Democratic Party establishment. In short, Hillary and her stooges and Paul Ryan and his stooges and the whole political establishment is collapsing. It is on the verge of being swept away. If I vote for Hillary (still not decided, and since I live in California it won’t matter either way), that will not be a vote for the arrogant contemptuous dishonest shill, it will be a vote to accelerate Bernie’s (our) revolution. I might be able to do that with a clear conscience.

I feel much better now.

#StillSanders

July 26th, 2016 No comments

During Jackie Robinson’s first season in the majors, a group of Philadelphia players led by manager Ben Chapman leveled torrents of racial abuse at Robinson. Consequently the press called out Chapman and he was in danger of losing his job. He called on Robinson to see if he could get his picture taken, and Robinson agreed. Grace and class in the face of the inexcusable. ‪#‎StillSanders‬

chapman-popup

Don’t take the bait!

July 26th, 2016 No comments

It’s a trap! The big story on these emails is NOT that the Russians hacked the DNC database but that the DNC STOLE THE ELECTION!

FBI investigating whether Russians hacked Democratic Party’s emails to help Donald Trump

The plot seems ripped from the pages of a post-Cold War espionage thriller: Russian spy services hack into the Democratic Party’s computers, pilfer reams of data and then leak damaging emails in the hopes of helping elect a preferred presidential candidate. Yet that is exactly the allegation the FBI confirmed Monday it is investigating.

Donald Trump is a unique threat

July 23rd, 2016 No comments

“The Republican Party has moved the lunatic fringe onto center stage, with discourse that renders impossible the kind of substantive debate upon which any civil democracy depends.”

Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy

DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance.

Dear Trump Supporters,

July 11th, 2016 No comments

distraction

I feel your pain.

If I was the kind of person to worry about these things, I would be as worried as you are, but not in the same way. You are afraid of a government conspiracy to take away the “real” America and force us all into a sort of Islamic Third Reich. Or, alternatively (or maybe even simultaneously), that foreigners are going to take away your job, the job you need so that “the government” can take away your hard-earned pay and give it to welfare queens, drug addicts, and foreigners. Let that sink in for a minute. Or, that godless liberals are conspiring to take away your rights, like your God-given right to go to Walmart with an AK-47 strapped to your back (read it, it’s right there in the Constitution), a right that can only be defended by unfettered access to firearms (because, you know, a good guy with a gun is going to be able to effectively defend himself against Obama’s Muslim army, which is currently distracted anyway making plans to invade Texas and declare martial law). It sounds crazy I know. That’s because it is.

Do you remember when you were in elementary school and some kid would start a rumor that spread like wildfire and pretty soon all the kids were running around hyperventilating about something that was made up or blown completely out of proportion? And when you realized it was nothing you were kind of disappointed because you really like drama and you were hoping to see something really fantastic? Ya. That. But you are on the right track in thinking you’re getting screwed. What you’re wrong about is how, and who’s screwing you.

First off, we should acknowledge that “the government” is not coordinated enough to effectively organize a kid’s birthday party, let alone engage in a vast conspiracy to deliver the United States to an Islamic world order. Watergate involved six of the most powerful men on the planet and they couldn’t keep a conspiracy going for two weeks. So all of the dark theories about black helicopters and the New World Order should be left to the X Files.

Next, it’s not Islam that’s screwing you, and it’s not Obama and it’s not immigrants or #BlackLivesMatters protesters or liberals. It’s not even Hillary really – she’s just a tool, albeit a willing one, as are almost all of the political class. The real threat is from the 1%, who control the vast majority of the wealth in the United States, and they don’t even try to hide what they’re doing. All they have to do is keep us peasants riled up, and they can openly fleece us and relieve us of our rights. And sometimes we even thank them for it.

Now, at some level you know this, because you’ve found a savior in Donald Trump, who claims to be standing up to the 1% so that he can “make America great again.” It’s kind of hard to figure out what particular time in the past he is aspiring to, because the “godly-white-freedom-loving-beacon-of-justice-and-liberty-that-the-liberals-and-atheists-have-taken-away” is a movie myth, not a reality. You fawn over Trump because he’s not owned by the billionaires, but that’s because he is one. It’s like Garth said in the movie Wayne’s World, “[Donald] is nobody’s friend. If [Donald] were an ice cream flavor, he’d be pralines and dick.”

But I digress.

What’s really screwing you is a rigged capitalist system controlled by the 1% and implemented and protected by a bought and paid for Congress. This is the capitalism you think offers you the best chance to prosper and so you believe should be completely unregulated. Because greed is good and if the 1% get wealthier some of the scraps will sprinkle down on the grateful masses. There are really complex theories that prove this; unfortunately, history tells a different story. Wealth doesn’t “trickle down,” it flows up. In fact, it is this system that keeps you in economic distress, and it is thoroughly insulated by “the government” from regulation ensuring fair play and free competition. This is the capitalism you will die (using your God-given right to an AK-47) defending. And you can bet the 1% are really grateful for your devotion.

The network right-wing talking heads who cook up the narratives of fear against liberals, foreigners, Muslims, #BlackLivesMatter and whatever, if they’re sincere, are being played like violins by their corporate overlords who want to keep us distracted and at each other’s throats. Ninety percent of the media in the United States is owned by just six corporations. Do you really think they’re flooding the airwaves with Trump and his shenanigans because they have a passion for news accuracy, for keeping the politicians honest and defending the nation by keeping the public informed? LOL. It’s entertainment. But more than that, it’s a distraction. It fosters division. And as long as we see each other as the enemy we won’t bother to look at the corporations and their owners, and even though we know how badly we’re getting screwed we’ll just keep blaming our dilemma on each other.

If you really want to make American great again, unite with your enemies. You are already taking a stand against establishment politics, now recognize that Trump is not the solution but part of the problem. Recognize that many of those you have been led to believe are your foes are really in the same boat as you, and they want the same things you want.

I can’t offer any easy solutions, but we need a new politics; one that doesn’t leave us with Clump: the choice of bad or not quite as bad. Americans have united against overwhelming enemies in the past , both external and internal, and overcome them by unity. Today we again have a common enemy who is keeping our government from being what really makes America great: of, by, and for the people. All of the people.

It starts with all of us reaching out to our natural allies: each other.

Post-Truth and the New “American”

July 9th, 2016 No comments

e pluribus unum

The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities. – Theodore Roosevelt

We unhappy citizens of the twenty first century have a problem with truth, which is that we don’t care about it unless it agrees with what we already believe. There is a certain emotional satisfaction to be had in accepting and responding to simplistic explanations for our dissatisfaction, focusing our anger and pointing the finger of blame toward the “other,” which is whoever we presently choose as our enemy. This will include foreigners, immigrants, people of a different skin tone, people with accents, people who differ with us religiously, socially, politically or culturally. At the same time it is embarrassingly simple to disseminate comfortable lies, either twisted to fit our prejudices or simply made up. Anyone with an Internet connection can do it. It is now possible for almost anyone to construct entire worldviews having only tenuous connections to reality — or none —  and to have them accepted by large numbers of people. The reader should note here that I am not referring to “them,” but to us.

Add to this that what were once respected sources of information are no longer believed.  Granted, they are not believed because their aim is not to report, but to profit. Keep the people riled up and they’ll keep clicking your ads. And this leaves aside that mainstream information outlets in the United States are controlled by only six mega-corporations, that are obviously going to look after only their own interests. There is little or no sense of responsibility toward the preservation of democracy, which is the basis for a free and unregulated press. As a result sources of a quality once reserved for tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorists now come to enjoy equal status with once venerable mainstream outlets. “News” channels that publish fabricated information are accepted as “reliable” sources of information; no need to fact check, these are the facts. If no source is legitimate, you might as well adhere to the ones that cater to your preconceptions.

Thus an alternate reality is formed based on lies, half-truths, and paranoia, and is soon populated by like-minded souls whose delusions are amplified by each reinforcing the other’s. This reality, a sort of secular Twilight Zone, comes into contact with the world the rest of us inhabit only when its denizens strike out in opposition to an imagined threat (Obama is a foreign-born Muslim mole intent on delivering the United States to a worldwide Islamic conspiracy, the police have declared war on black people, Obama’s coming to get your guns, The US Army is going to invade Texas and declare martial law). But in this striking out real people are harmed and too many die. And the rest of us scratch our heads and wonder what the hell is happening to our world.

A press that is controlled by the government is a threat to democracy. But a press that is free to publicize lunacy as fact is equally dangerous. “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities,” wrote Voltaire. The free press has worked in the United States without much restraint because in the past for the most part citizens recognized a fundamental same-ness. We recognized each other as Americans, even if those “others” were confused or misled. I remember my dad taught me “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” But today, I think in large part because of this unrestrained freedom of information, we have lost that ideological unity. There is not one America; there are as many Americas as there are imagined tribes claiming legitimacy to what America is supposed to be. Not what it should be but what it is supposed (assumed) to be.  If you and I differ, you’re not a misguided American, you’re not even American. You’re an alien, and more likely than not a threat to “real” America.

American unity has been threatened many times but has been maintained mostly because of our fundamental ideological unity. The one time that unity was irrevocably lost, the result was civil war. Is that what we want? I don’t think so. I think if we shook each other’s hand or gave each other a hug, we would remember that we are one. E Pluribus Unum.

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