November 9, 2009 archive

WTF was I thinking!?!?!

     Dearest Dharma Bums, I apologize for not being myself lately.

    I have gotten far too optimistic despite reality. That reality is not kind, nor is it full of much hope, rather it is very cruel and very full of shit.

    As many of you have probably read already I posted a diary here this morning that probably left you shaking your heads. I was on my way out to job hunt this morning, and I was trying to give myself a pep talk. Since I wanted to publish a diary before leaving I let that pep talk bleed into my thoughts, but that is a reality that exists in the bright sun of a new day only, and once the wind has hit your face and the ground starts to hurt your feet it is hard to ignore the hunger in your belly that has not been sated, nor is it possible to stay blind with hope forever.

    Therefore, I hereby swear to STOP putting a happy face on BULLSHIT. I have been misusing the Yell Louder mantra, and I promise to STOP the BULLSHIT and only Yell Louder for REAL CHANGE.

    And what we are getting from these corrupt Democan’t is faaaaar from real change.

    Until now I didn’t want to give up on hope. But I have finally realize that hope is for fools if it is not followed by ACTION. Without ACTION hope is just an empty promise, and I will NOT play the pied piper to fools who would happily swallow empty promises, nor will I call a Shit Sandwich a meal rather than starve.

    So, I first wanted to apologize to you all here, whom I love dearly, for enduring my bullshit these past few weeks. I have had problems with depression in the past, and I have taught myself to fight through it by remaining positive even when tere is no reason for doing so. I am now learning that this is not the right way to treat the problem. Putting a smiley face on my great depression and our national great depression for everyone but the top 1% isn’t helping me, you or anyone else. For that, I apologize. I have been trying to keep myself out of a depressive cycle by putting on my positive face, but I have had ENOUGH of it, and I am ready to do what I think I do best.

    And that is to get MAD!

    And boy am I pissed right now.

    I am on the verge of homelessness, I can’t find a job to save my ass, and even if I do I will still be a fucking wage slave, forever doomed, it seems, to live beneath the Iron Heel of the Corporations and their Corporatist puppets in political power.

    There is no happpy spin I can put on this any longer, no positive side to look at it from. I am tired of watching my fellow Americans, be they workers or women, LGBT activists or retirees suffer so that Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Goldman Sachs may live, and I am tired of trying to find the positive side to the shit sandwich we are being served rather than facing the starvation that awaits us if we follow this path, because even though Shit may be filling, it has no nutrition, and neither does this change or reform if that is what some would like to call it.

   So, I am fucking DONE with More and Better, I say it is time for Opertaion Chaos. Though I may get involved in certain elections and races, I am no longer buying an inch of the party line bullshit. I will vote my conscious, speak my principles, and compromise with NO ONE anymore while fighting for my beliefs.

    I want to thank you for having patience with me, and especially to those who were kind enough to hear me out and remind me where my heart truly lies.

    Becuase my heart lies with no party, but with the people it is supposed to represent.

Thank you,


Health Care Reform


According to Dr. Angell on that 😉 right wing rag, the HuffingtonPost, here’s what we get with the House bill before the Senate even touches it.

* It enshrines and subsidizes the “takeover” by the investor-owned insurance industry.

* It expands Medicaid.

* It eliminates denial of coverage because of pre-existing conditions, but since it doesn’t regulate premiums, the industry can respond to any regulation that threatens its profits by simply raising its rates.

* It does very little to curb the perverse incentives that lead doctors to over-treat the well-insured.

* It is so complicated, it’ll cost a brazillion dollars to administer and enforce it.


Please help The Democracy Foundation tell America about direct democracy

This is Mike Gravel, the chairman of The Democracy Foundation.  On November 10th, we are going to be organizing a money bomb to try and raise money à la Ron Paul.  We’re not deluding ourselves that we’re raising the millions, but we need to raise enough money to pay some videographers to be able to do a documentary on the National Initiative and how it will empower the American people to be able to vote on the policy issues that affect their lives, once it’s in place.

The National Initiative is very different from the initiative process that we have in the twenty four states around the country.  Those states – you just qualify, everybody throws money at it, and the people vote.  That is not a good way to make law.  Law requires a deliberative process where you have hearings, markups, proper communications, and the like.  And in that way, the people can make laws and properly deliberate the policy issues that affect their lives.  And that’s what the National Initiative will be – it’s a meta-tool which we put in the hands of the people, so they will be able to then have an affect on how they are governed.  It will be the first time that people will have a government “by the people,” because the people will become lawmakers.

The definition of freedom is the participation in power.  Power in representative government is lawmaking.  If you don’t make the laws, all you can do is obey the law or go to jail.  And so if you really want to have freedom, what we have to do is to make ourselves lawmakers.  And the only tool available to do that is the National Initiative.  And this is a tool that will not be enacted by representative government, because it dilutes their power and they’re not about to empower the people.  

And that’s the reason why we have been struggling with an organization called The National Initiative for Democracy, sponsored by The Democracy Foundation.  And so that’s the reason why we’re making an appeal now for your help, to donate whatever you can afford so that we can pay for this documentary and then use this documentary as a device to inform people so that they’ll be aware of the potential of the National Initiative as a tool to empower them to have a more meaningful role in the governing of their lives.  

I hope that you will be generous and give whatever you can.  Thank you – thank you very, very much.

I will be taking questions and replying to comments for a few minutes later tonight.  Please post anything you’d like me to answer, although I might not be able to answer every comment.

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

37 Story Final.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Huge crowds mark fall of Berlin Wall

by Deborah Cole, AFP

1 hr 8 mins ago

BERLIN (AFP) – Tens of thousands thronged the route of the Berlin Wall on Monday for emotional celebrations to mark 20 years since its fall, but Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany still bears the scars of division.

World leaders joined huge crowds recalling the defining moment of the end of communist rule in Europe, when the embattled East German state finally opened the despised concrete border on November 9, 1989. Facts about the Wall

Merkel, who grew up in the communist state, attended a “very moving” memorial service at a church where pro-democracy rallies were held in the weeks before the end of the communist regime.

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Open Thread Alternate


Captain Jack Sparrow: Me? I’m dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It’s the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they’re going to do something incredibly… stupid.

I liked digby today:

Wise man Chuck Todd said that Nancy Pelosi was pretty much a genius for allowing the abortion restrictions so she could get the bill passed. That seems to be the consensus. There just wasn’t any choice. And anyway, health care is a “woman issue” in the first place, so they really need to stop their bitching unless they want to lose health care altogether.

Both parties are cavalier about women voters. Of course, women only make up over half the electorate so it’s not like it’s important. And needless to say, within the Democratic coalition, which is a large majority pro-choice female and voted 56% for Obama, they are even less important. They know their function is to sacrifice their needs for the greater good of the Democratic family. Isn’t that how it works?

Words Matter – Mainstream Corporate

Mainstream Corporate

The ideology and ideological reality that exists in today’s society should be called Mainstream Corporate. It is mainstream and it is corporate. Tying these 2 constructs together allows us to reframe the idea of the dominant ideological structure within our political and social understanding from Left vs Right to Property vs People.

Right now, many Americans are suffering from ideological propaganda, left, right and center. That ideological propaganda is Mainstream Corporate.

The Left, present company excluded, I’m sure, is told that the Right Wing Fascists want to take away your freedom. The Right is told that the “Left Wing Socialists want to take away your freedom”.  

YES WE CAN! But It’s NOT ENOUGH to elect a Progressive President, so here’s what we have to do next

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    I’d like to share with you all this comment that was placed in my diary yesterday by Dkos User lascaux, as I think it sums up what we as Progressive activists and the Democrtaic base MUST accomplish in order to effect REAL CHANGE we can believe in.

What I learned

What this reform fight has taught me:

it is not enough to elect a progressive president, we need to elect liberals and progressives in congress as well.

    The frustrating inability of this Democratically controlled Congress is PROOF that our job did NOT END when Obama won the Presidential election in 2008. In fact, our work has just begun, and we must face it with the same dedication, intensity and enthusiasm that we did in 2008, or we WILL lose, because we simply don’t have the money to compete with the special interests that control our Government.

    But we DO have the people, and they can’t beat that.

    So, here’s how we should FIGHT BACK.

Prepare to nonviolently resist Afghanistan strategy

By Jeff Leys

Co-Coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence

This past Wednesday, Admiral Mullen (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) announced that the Pentagon will seek additional war funds for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in 2010.  While he did not give a firm dollar amount, the New York Times reported that defense budget  analysts are kicking around the number of $50 billion.  The Times also

reported that Jack Murtha, Chair of the Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, indicated on October 30 that he expects the supplemental spending bill for 2010 to be in the range of $40 billion.  The final dollar amount won’t be known until the White House submits its “emergency” supplemental spending request to Congress, most likely around February 2.

In the immortal words of Coach Vince Lombardi: “What the hell is going on out there?”

We should be so lucky if it were a simple matter of the Green Bay Packers screwing up the power sweep.

Instead, it’s a matter of the Obama Administration now leading us down the path of the most expensive year in war funding since President Bush began the so-called “Global War on Terror” (now morphed into the “Overseas Contingency Operations” under President Obama).

If I had a hammer…

New Ideas Now Under Old Management

When it comes down to brass tacks, people in positions of authority seem often to be indebted to one of two sorts of leadership styles.  Some are devotees of the process school, whereby one embraces wholly a highly regimented and specific system, and in so doing does not deviate from it for any reason.  Process managers doggedly cling to a prefabricated strategy until resolutions and goals are finally reached.  Other people are of the idea/visionary school, and for them the big picture and a more creative means to an end are far more important.  While process people are frequently exasperating to idea people and vice versa, what is often forgotten is that there is a need for both of them in the big tent.  However, when the organizational structure of a political party is overwhelmingly dominated by process politicians, the discrepancy between the two is not only jarring and highly visible, it is also demoralizing and insipid.    

Many of us would prefer a more dynamic leader in charge of both the House and the Senate.  I am among the many who appreciate a scrappy fighter who loves hand-to-hand combat and will not be bullied or cajoled into submission by anyone.  Within the Democratic party a few names fit that profile, but their overall limitations in leadership capacities keep them from reaching a wide audience.  For whatever reason, both Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid—perhaps Reid more than his House colleague—are beholden to process and the minutia of their jobs more than inspirational speeches, long range planning, or dramatic legislative success.  In contrast with President Obama, who is the consummate big idea politician, they both look tepid and dull by contrast.  When the base clamors for red meat, they are instead provided with bloodless Democratic leadership.  Thus, it is any wonder that approval ratings for Congress and for both the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader are exceptionally low?  Nor is it any wonder that Harry Reid is facing the fight of his life in 2010 and that Nancy Pelosi has proved a huge disappointment to those who, like me, welcomed the arrival of the first female Speaker?  

Having read the news today, I did note that with the passage of the House’s version of Health Care Reform Pelosi was forced to twist some arms and hurt some feelings, one notices this is hardly a role she relishes and one she performs only when absolutely necessary.  She and Reid both seem to prefer behind-closed-doors private negotiation and shrink from direct confrontation.  If I believed in that sort of methodology or in its inerrant ability to achieve results, I would be less skeptical, but I know that a balance between recklessly throwing forearms and elbows and sweet talk is what usually translates to legislative success and does not create enemies in the process.  Forgive me for believing that political people-pleasers might consider alternate careers as well as those who try to be everything to everyone.  Compromise ought to be empowering, not debasing.              

What we might want to ask ourselves is why so many process legislators exist in the Democratic party in the first place.  One explanation is that they were forced to take the path of least resistance while out of power for twelve years and in so doing concede ideological territory to the Republican majority.  Post-1994, the party was at its weakest point in decades and hardly fired up and ready to go.  Back then, Barack Obama was an obscure law professor who had yet to run for a single elected office.  Though certainly no one at that point would have ever speculated in print or in conversation as to whether or not the Democratic party was dead, to many of us, it did certainly feel that way.  Democrats shifted to a prevent defense kind of strategy, whereby they sought to stem the  bleeding and in so doing, ensure that the liberal stalwarts and left-leaning centrists did not get voted out.  What this did, however, is concede the middle to the Republicans, who continued to make steady, solid gains with moderates and independents.  Years of failure and failed policy cannot be easily overcome by two successful election cycles.  To be sure, ideology and party identification calcifies slowly but once set, it is difficult to melt away.    

Although this is now 2009, you’d scarcely notice it if you examined the conventional wisdom of the, need I state the obvious here, majority party.  It’s one thing to play like one is behind, but it’s quite another thing to not act like one deserves to be number one.  At the moment, the Republican party may be in tatters, but one cannot deny that there is a certain defiant spirit to the right-wing base at the moment that I never saw in the aftermath of 1994, nor even in 2002.  That it took a charismatic, genius public speaker with an inspirational message combined with highly incompetent incumbent President to bring that perfect storm to Category 5 status reveals some very key limitations within our goals and expectations.  Electing a President promising transformational reform is not sufficient.  We must also elect stronger, better, more effective Representatives and Senators, too.  We know, now more than ever, that a President can propose anything, but he or she cannot vote and cannot through force of will break up logjams or counter the inertia of committee and counter-productive partisan posturing.                        

Process is beholden to policy wonkery and, rest assured, I do not deny the importance of knowing the existing framework, also.  The best Senators, for example, are masters of that chamber’s rules and in so doing utilize their encyclopedia knowledge of said fact to push legislation in the direction they feel is best.  However, process can also result in stubborn inflexibility and a wanton disregard towards changing course when what is being tried clearly is not working.  Process individuals often feel utterly rudderless and lost when their carefully formulated theories prove insufficient or ill-equipped in a changing environment.  Complacency in any form is anathema to any movement or any organization.  What some fail to understand is that reform is a constant process with no end because those who oppose reform constantly redraw the battle lines to suit their own desires.  My own hope is that we may have recognized finally that letting things get this bad for so long provides us with challenges so large and so looming that even getting the minimum passed and enacted provides a supreme challenge.  Had we not buried our head in the sand all these years, our plates and portions would be of much more manageable size.  Above all, we cannot and must not ever assume for an instant that victory is owed to us based on moral high ground or that any battle can be won so conclusively that we have nothing else to do but swap combat stories and reminisce about the good old days.        

On Snow And Cameras, Or, Health Care Gets A Day Off

Whether you are deliriously happy, incredibly sad, or still uncertain about how you feel about what has emerged from the House this weekend, it’s probably safe to say that one thing everyone is…is sick of the whole thing.

Of course, we’re far from done-but just to give us all a break, I’m going to abruptly change the subject.

I have a Flip Video camera-which I am still getting used to-and last night we ran up the hill to Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, ostensibly to test the camera’s low-light capabilities…but really so we could drive around in all the fresh new snow.

There’s plenty of time to get back to the political wars in a bit; but for right now let’s head up the mountain, see some cool stuff, talk about what the camera can-and can’t-do, and, just for fun, we’ll answer the age-old Seattle question: “how long does it take to find three places that sell espresso at the top of a mountain pass in the middle of nowhere?”

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