Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Aurora: I am not looking for answers in the Stars, I am looking at the Left. Yes, that is correct - the Left

I put this on my astro blog but thought it would fit on the Forum's as well.

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    Monday, July 23, 2012

    Aurora: I am not looking for answers in the Stars, I am looking at the Left. Yes, that is correct - the Left

    Saying Goodbye
    courtesy of arlenew.com
    I am in no mood to look at the planet alignment over Aurora, Colorado to try to find the malefics in place that would explain yet another shooting. Oh, I am sure they are there and I am also sure that if we found out the birth date of the shooter and the victims we would find some links..... Frankly, I am tired of looking for connections for shootings. I am sick and tired of it all.

    I am also tired of my fellow progressives who might be inclined to light some candles, sing some songs and move on. There is nothing wrong with either candles or songs. I am a huge fan of both. What I am not enamored with is a weak Progressive movement that refuses to stand up to the gun lobby.

    Yes, I know it is easier for corporations and the NRA to control members of the political right because if you tend to go right you ascribe to the more paternalistic, authoritarian structure and find it easier to follow rules set down from "on high." Yes, I also know that those on the right are more prone to follow a dogmatic religion and tend to believe things no matter how far-fetched if they appear authoritarian. They will follow rules, stick together, not question and buy information without demanding a lot of evidence. I do have a degree in Political Science - I get that.

    Now it is time for the Left to say we don't care that the NRA and gun lobby can shout "Communism", "Socialism" - words many of their undereducated followers haven't a clue about their true definition. I don't care that they can make placards saying, "Protect the Second Amendment" and know that thousands will rally around them even without a bit of historical knowledge about how it and why it was written.

    Now it is time for the Left to come together, put down their candles and their lattes and say, dammit we want it to be illegal for a person to get 6000 rounds of ammunition off of the Internet. It is time for the Left to demand the reinstatement for the assault weapons ban. It is time for the Left to say if you call yourself a patriot then you should care that police officers are not sitting ducks out there.

    We must cover the backs of our politicians by saying if you don't support gun laws you won't have our vote the same way the right says the opposite. We must call offices and write letters and make this an issue in this an every other election.

    Lighting candles after another tragedy doesn't do it anymore. We need to be proactive, demanding and mad as hell - and stay that way after the faces of the victims fade from the television screen.

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    Tuesday, January 11, 2011


    Tucson: For Once Let's Us Not Forget

    For Once Let’s Not Forget

    The anger will subside as will the shock and outrage. Tucson will go the way of the Kennedy assassinations, the King assassination, Columbine, Long Island Railroad and the other unthinkables we have endured. It will become a painful memory that we wish we could erase from our national consciousness. However, we must never forget. When we think of becoming complacent again let’s remember a precious little girl struck down while visiting her Congresswoman or a man shielding his wife’s body giving his life to preserve hers or a brilliant woman in a hospital with part of her skull removed. With those memories let us for once act and stay vigilant.

    When a politician or commentator puts crosshairs on map, when they tell people to “reload” and to take “second amendment solutions” or shoot a gun in the air and say this is what we must do to the Health Care Bill or any piece of legislation – we must remember. We must stand up immediately and demand that a civilized society will not tolerate that. These people should become immediate outcasts in normal society not awarded with votes or millions of dollars. We must demand the main stream media denounce these actions and stop elevating these people. They must be called out for what they are.

    When people use their political, media or religious pulpits to spread hate against any group they must be confronted immediately and continually.

    When those who spread hate and incite the deranged try to stop us from calling them out we should have MORE not LESS of a backbone to put them back in their place.

    When a Congress in the pocket of the NRA tries to remove assault weapons bans so that a deranged person can get their hands of thousands of rounds of bullets and a Glock we must not allow it as we did in 2004. Those of us who believe in sensible gun control MUST be as loud as those who misinterpret the 2nd amendment for their own good – and demand a Congress that acts in our interests and safety.

    AND WE MUST VOTE. Many on the Left sat and pouted this past November and now look at the balance of power in the House. While they pouted the radical Right voted. What are the chances of getting decent gun control passed a GOP House? Think back to 2004 when the assault ban legislation was allowed to lapse and there should be your answer.

    So please let us not forget, let us not fall back and allow hate and incitement to again be taken as political discussion. Let us demand gun control, let us act. Retreating into our comfort zones and winking and nodding at those who hate only works until the next unthinkable act enters our pages of history.

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    Tuesday, August 31, 2010


    Obama Achievements So Far

    Rescued US Auto industry.

    * SCHIP for 4 million more children

    * Ended tax benefits to corporations outsourcing American jobs.

    * Passed health reform.

    * Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

    * Withdrawal of 1//3 of US troops from Iraq.

    * Ended stop-loss enlistment policy.

    * Phased out F-22 and other costly outdated weapons systems.

    * Removed restrictions on stem-cell research, and funded it.

    * Funded high-speed, broadband Internet access for K-12 schools

    * $789 billion economic stimulus,

    * Rescued US financial and banking industry, which repaid most of TARP with interest.

    * Ended US torture policy.

    * EPA poised to regulate Co2

    * New consumer protections from credit card industry’s predatory practices.

    * Medicare may now negotiate price with drug manufacturers.

    * Increased pay and benefits for military.

    * Reengaged in diplomacy.

    * Established a new cyber security office.

    * Ended no-bid defense contracts.

    * Appointment of first Latina to Supreme Court.

    * $100 billion into national infrastructure and transportation system.

    * $60 billion in spending and incentives for renewable and clean energy.

    * Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act - equal pay for equal work for women.

    * Nuclear arms deal with Russia reducing both countries` arsenals by a third.

    * Global nuclear nonproliferation initiative.

    * Passed Hate Crimes Prevention Act

    * Passed sweeping financial regulation

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    Wednesday, April 28, 2010


    Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    "Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black" - Tim Wise

    Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure - the ones who are driving the action - we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

    So let’s begin.

    Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

    Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

    Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

    Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

    Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

    Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

    Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

    Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

    Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on freerepublic.com last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

    Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

    In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?

    To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

    And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

    Game Over.

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010


    Note to Fellow Progressives - Stop Complaining And Get Involved


    Barbara Boxer said it best earlier this week, "I need you to be as excited as the Tea Partiers." Progressives have done little but moan about well, everything, since we got rid of Bush and placed a man with a brain in the White House. OK, yes it is a big mistake not to be having torture trials of Bush/Cheney ET. Al and the stimulus bill could have been stronger and –no- the health care bill isn't perfect. Is that reason to sit in the corner and pout? Worse, is that any reason to elect more Republicans to the House and Senate this November? Our guys are not perfect - so let's put back in the people who screwed up everything. What kind of a motto is that?

    We got a health care bill passed people! No other Democratic President has ever done that. Is it perfect? No. Would we like to have a public option? Yes! BUT HE PASSED IT and he did it over a summer filled with screams of "death panels" and other nonsense.

    Oh and yes - and President did something else - a little thing really....he saved the country from another Depression. Have we really forgotten what it was like in September of 2008 when we were looking in the mouth of the economic disaster? The stock market is up 6.000 points and jobs are slowly- yes slowly - coming back. Did I say President Obama averted a total collapse of our economic system? It is worth repeating, don’t you think?

    Have you looked over at the Department of Education and seen any of the changes being made to our dismal education system? Take a peak you might be pleasantly surprised.

    Just because President Obama didn't have a magic wand to make all of our dreams come true in sixth months, just because he isn't doing everything we want exactly as we want, are not reasons to retreat and let the lunatic right fringe dominate the political conversation and worse, elect more people to Congress. We need to continue to hold the Administration's feet to the fire on issues and once in a while say thanks for what they have done for us against a media more fascinated by the 18 percent right wing fringe than real issues. All this requires us to stay active, stay informed and stay positive.

    Joan Porte

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    Monday, April 27, 2009


    And Susan Collins displays impeccable timing!

    Thursday, November 06, 2008


    Isaiah Berlin on FDR

    After the election, Scott McLemee, who blogs for Inside Higher Ed, asked some folks for ideas about what the new president should read before taking office. One that particularly struck me was Eric Rauchway's recommendation of Isaiah Berlin's essay on Franklin Delano Roosevelt. (Rauchway's focus as a historian is on the Great Depression and the New Deal; he just wrote a Very Short Introduction on the topic. I love the VSI series - it's like mind candy.)

    I thought that the following excerpts were particularly resonant - especially in comparing the campaign styles of Obama and McCain, and in laying out the kind of approach to politics that we hope the Obama administration will follow.

    He did not sacrifice fundamental political principles to a desire to retain power; he did not whip up evil passions merely in order to avenge himself upon those whom he disliked or wished to crush, or because it was an atmosphere in which he found it convenient to operate; he saw to it that his administration was in the van of public opinion and drew it on instead of being dragged by it; he made the majority of his fellow citizens prouder to be Americans than they had been before. He raised their status in their own eyes - immensely in those of the rest of the world.…

    But Roosevelt's greatest service to mankind (after ensuring the victory against the enemies of freedom) consists in the fact that he showed that it is possible to be politically effective and yet benevolent and human: that the fierce left- and right-wing propaganda of the 1930s, according to which the conquest and retention of political power is not compatible with human qualities, but necessarily demands from those who pursue it seriously the sacrifice of their lives upon the altar of some ruthless ideology, or the practice of despotism - this propaganda, which filled the art and talk of the day, was simply untrue. Roosevelt's example strengthened democracy everywhere, that is to say the view that the promotion of social justice and individual liberty does not necessarily mean the end of all efficient government; that power and order are not identical with a strait-jacket of doctrine, whether economic or political; that it is possible to reconcile individual liberty - a loose texture of society - with the indispensable minimum of organising and authority; and in this belief lies what Roosevelt's greatest predecessor once described as 'the last best hope of earth'.

    The full essay is available online from the Southern Cross Review.

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