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Is This A Blog to Take Back the Dem Party?

From the Docudharma mission statement:

Passion, politics, poetry, prose and ponies. Silliness, snark and a serious effort to frame the future. A river of words, thought, philosophy and action that nourishes and transforms the political cultural and social landscape through which it passes. That is the spirit behind this “place”.

So I see we have politics as part of the mission statement.  Yet I see nothing about the Democratic Party, even as the party is certainly PART of politics.

Please bear with me while I try to formulate what I’ve been feeling lately into words.

I’m a Democrat, always have been.  I am extremely disgusted with my party — but beyond the emotions I am feeling a crystal clear knowledge that entering into discussion about what the Democrats are doing is no longer the way I want to go.  Because it’s already been said.  We all know it’s not working, don’t we?

A Love Supreme

I remember when I first heard Coltrane blowing on “A Love Supreme.”  Was in the courtship phase with my ex-husband, went over to his apartment uptown in Spanish Harlem for the first time, we smoked some pot and he played me some music.

Up till then, although I knew almost all the standards from listening to Billie and Ella during my early adolescence, I had been sucked into the disco age with its hypnotizing mechanical beats and desperado misfit desires to dance oneself right out of reality.

This was quite a different scene, and one I took to immediately.  The first record my ex played for me was John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.”  I had never heard anything like it.

My ex told me that all the musicians were tripping when they first recorded the tune – well that is an apocryphal tale, but perhaps it’s true.

I am not any kind of authority on jazz — even as I’ve listened to so much of it, heard the jazzmen talk endlessly about it, I don’t remember half the names of the folks or half the anecdotes I heard.

So this is a personal reflection on Trane.

Friday Night at 8: MANIFESTO!

My Unified Theory of Everything

Well not really.  It’s not anything so fancy as a theory.

My manifesto, by the way, can be expressed in one phrase:


Let us assess where we are now in the grand old blogosphere:

We have performed approximately seven trillion “gotcha” attacks on the media, reversing memes at the speed of light!

We have helped to elect a Democratic majority in the Senate and Congress.

We have spouted bloviations on every imaginable topic that if laid end to end would easily wrap around the circumfrence of the universe 50,000 times.

We have called to the media’s attention stories they would not otherwise have covered.

What we have NOT done is change policy in our government.  Bush and Cheney have more power now than they did before the 2006 election.  The War in Iraq is still raging, and I see no end in sight, no vote that points to our representatives ending this war.  We have seen no real opposition — NONE.

So, athough the blogosphere has accomplishments to its credit, ultimately we are all frustrated … which is why we are clamoring for a manifesto in the first place!

Audioblogging Test

Ok, so this is a test – if it doesn’t work, I’ll delete this diary.

Because I don’t know how to write music, when I do write a tune, I have to record it right away or I will forget the melody.

Wrote a tune, called “Carry On” and posted it at Gabcast, an audioblogging site.


They say no news is good news.

Unfortunately we’ve had all too much news.

Here’s a poem in the midst of all the news.

Monks Marching

Whooey — the intertubes really have changed things.

This week Jon Swift is a guest blogger at mike’s round-up at Crooks & Liars and I’m already impressed with yesterday and today’s posts.

Swift says:

Something seems to be happening in Burma or Myanmar or whatever, but it must not be very important because hardly anyone is blogging about it.

Never let it be said that DocuDharma shall let this challenge go unanswered!

Jon links to comments from left field which in turn links to the front paged New York Times story on what’s going on in Burma:

Myanmar’s military government has sealed off the country to foreign journalists but information about the protests has been increasingly flowing out through news reports, exile groups in Thailand with contacts inside Myanmar, and through the photographs, videos and audio files, carried rapidly by technologies, including the Internet, that the government has failed to squelch.

Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of an assassinated independence hero, Aung San, came to prominence when she became a leader in the pro-democracy demonstrations of 1988.

Her political party, the National League for Democracy, won a landslide victory in Parliamentary elections in 1990, although the junta, fearing her charismatic appeal, had already placed her under house arrest.

The military government annulled the result of the 1990 elections and held on to power. But it miscalculated the public mood again in 2002 when it released her from house arrest and allowed her to tour the country, visiting party offices.

She drew increasingly large and enthusiastic crowds until a band of government-backed thugs attacked a convoy in which she was traveling, killing several people. The government seized her again and placed under even stricter house arrest, cutting off her telephone and deepening her isolation.

The latest protests began Aug. 19 in response to sharp, unannounced fuel price increases of up to 500 percent, immediately raising the prices of goods and transportation.

They were led at first by former student protesters and other activists, but most of these leaders had been arrested or were in hiding when the monks began their protests last Tuesday.

The monks were apparently motivated at first by an attack on a small demonstration at which security officers fired shots into the air and beat a number of monks.

Since then, the monks’ protests have spread from city to city and have become more overtly political.

Please click the link in Jon’s quote to see an amazing video from Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi on non-violent protest.  It is quite astonishing — and so is she.

Various Ramblings

So I’m thinking about all the scandals, moral scandals that have rocked America in the past several years.  Bill Clinton’s blowjob.  Vitter’s hookers.  Gingrich’s, Guiliani’s extramarital affairs.  And I’m wondering about all this.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t care about someone’s personal vices when it comes to being a leader.  FDR was unfaithful to Eleanor.  JFK was unfaithful to Jackie.  Grant was a drunk.  Churchill suffered from the black dog of depression.

I am rambling about this notion of leadership and moral vices, or morality in general.  I am wondering if one of the problems we now have in government is because anyone who wants to run for office has to be so squeaky clean in their life that we may be excluding folks who would make damned good leaders.

Have we in America become even more Puritan than the Puritans?  Is the measure of leadership capability the notion that one has never been wild in their youth, did drugs, fucked themselves senseless, been in jail?

I don’t know.  I think there is a problem here.

Equal Protection Under the Law – What You Can Do

One thing I like about DocuDharma is that it is not just about party politics, about the Democrats, the 2008 elections, the usual drumbeat we all know too well.

This site is also about issues and ideas and values, and one of those values very dear to my heart is social justice.

I was over at Kai’s site, zuky – which by the way, is on our blogroll here, and who Nezua over at the Unapologetic Mexican (also on our blogroll) characterizes as the people of color (POC) blogosphere’s “Digby.”  In other words, her posts rank up there as a gold standard of POC blogging, and if you check out her site, you’ll see why.

The post I have linked above speaks about the phenomenal effort the POC blogosphere and grassroots communities made to put the story of the Jena 6 in the national spotlight — an extremely difficult task that the liberal blogs were late in covering, due to the above emphasis on party politics rather than issues and values and social justice — and helped create the amazing civil rights march in Jena that took place yesterday.

Kai writes about what should be done now, after the march, and there is indeed a great deal to be done.  We know now that mychal bell lost his case to be released from prison.  And we also know this story will not escape the usual racist spin.

I urge everyone to read the entire post as well as the links — it tells an amazing story of organization and commitment, one we all would do well to emulate and join.  Some of her reflections:

Now that most semi-conscious people out there have heard the basic outlines of the story, I see it as the job of (real) progressives to assert an anti-racist narrative frame in popular discourse. All too often stripped of historical and social context, the story can get fragmented and reduced to a random series of isolated incidents to be pondered like some cheesy Law And Order script, hyper-focused on legal technicalities and the minutiae of violence. But properly contextualized, the story neatly illustrates the fundamental realities of institutional racism in action: the white control of decision-making offices at all levels – school board, law enforcement, district attorney, judge and jury – and the draconian penalties which befall young persons of color who resist the racist social order, as hauntingly symbolized by the wide leafy oak tree in the center of the schoolyard whose cool southern shade was jealously reserved for white skin only.

In my view, the most striking element of the extensive CNN coverage I watched yesterday was the profundity of white denial of racism. Almost without exception, white Jena residents who were asked whether there was “racial tension” in their town suddenly looked as though a major chunk of their brain short-circuited and went dark, their eyes went flat, and they mass-hypnotically mouthed hollow statements such as “No we’re not that kind of people, we play football together.” And that’s because one of the effects of racism is precisely a sort of mass hypnosis which insidiously blinds people to the flagrant system of power and oppression under which they live by making the racist power structure seem as natural and invisible as the air we breathe.

Sadly, I had a personal experience at work today which illustrates quite well the “mass hypnosis” Kai writes about.  My comment to her post:

I think you are absolutely right that this is not the end of the story.

I took a call today for a lawyer (I’m a legal secretary), it was a fellow from Louisiana. I blog a lot about NOLA, so I asked him where he was from. He said Alexandria, and then made a comment about how that was near Jena. He made some sort of joke about how they all were making a lot of money because of all the folks going to Jena to protest.

Got a sinking feeling in my stomach, but tried to stay professional. I said I hoped things worked out for all, that justice was served. He made some comment that he didn’t like the “stereotyping” going on. The sinking feeling in my stomach grew worse — I responded, “well, I think a lot of folks in this country are getting sick of being stereotyped.” His voice became a bit colder and we quickly ended the conversation.

Equal protection under the law. That is exactly what this is about. Law makes no sense at all unless it is applied equally. In the case of the Jena 6, it is crystal clear that was not the case.

Thanks for the great work you have done — have signed the petition and will blog about this myself as well, to get more signatures.

Folks in the liberal blogosphere talk every now and then about “diversity,” as though it was sort of an optional value to Progressives.  I disagree — I think it is essential and it is not about party politics or the mechanics of same.  Sure, I will support local candidates I think are progressive, from Gilda Reed in Louisiana to Barry Welch in Indiana.  But there is more to being Progressive than supporting candidates.  There is something called solidarity, and we don’t read enough about that.

Read what you can do below!

Fuck George W. Bush — Look To New Orleans Instead!

I like to read the local NOLA blogs, one riffs off the other, you put ’em  together and get a wonderful kaleidoscopic view of life in the great city of New Orleans.

Don’t have much to say, just wanted to share this video I found at Ashley Morris: The Blog of Clint Maedgen and the Preservation Hall Band.

Fuck George W. Bush!!  Remember New Orleans!

Friday Night at 8

I don’t know what to say.  I read a diary over at Daily Kos by Robert Naiman saying that the death toll in Iraq has reached one million.  One million dead.  One million dead.

Lord Have Mercy, Feel My Temperature Rising …

Ok, so the top recommended diary at Daily Kos is the hard hitting speech by John Edwards immediately following Mister Bush’s address to the nation (which I did not watch — will never watch that man if I can help it).

So now I know that America has officially gone nuts.  The video of Edwards looks as though he is President, he’s sitting in a nice chair, an American flag behind him.  Except … except … HE IS NOT EVEN A SENATOR!  He is not in any position to make any decision in Congress right now!  Aaarrrrggggh!

All right, all right, I’ll calm down.  It’s just that this reminds me of the really creepy phenomenon of so many folks watching “West Wing” after Mister Bush was selected — this kind of fantasy-land where you could at least watch on the teevee what a President was supposed to act like, look like, talk like.  Not having a teevee (I stopped watching after 9/11), I was never gripped by this fantasy.

Surreal America

Read some of the live blogging here at DocuDharma and at Daily Kos.  As I told her, 73rd Virgin won the prize with her characterization of Petraeus as a “shiny, shiny hero!”  That ought to be our new catchphrase, I think.

But it doesn’t matter to me, the hearings, what the shiny, shiny hero said.  Nor does it matter to me what our elected Democratic representatives in the House and Senate said.  It’s all too surreal for me, all too surreal.

I think I’ve gotten to the point where rhetoric has become meaningless to me, be it in the media or from our government.  All I focus on now is what they do — what they say is so predictable as to be … well … surreal.

Mister Bush and his gang of crooks are utterly predictable.  We all know what they are going to do — try to continue the War in Iraq as long as they can, make it so the next President has a mess on his/her hands.  They can’t change their ways any more and they wouldn’t even if they could.

And from our own side we’ll hear about the investigations, find more and more muck to rake, hear more and more speeches, some so good they’ll be plastered all over the blogosphere in print or video, some so bad they’ll be plastered all over the blogosphere in print or video (plus snarky insults and outraged insults).

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