Tag: politicians

“Public employees have become targets of anger and criticism.”

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

The quote “Public employees have become targets of anger and criticism” that was followed by “and that’s leading to a growing number of them calling it quits,” came from Lester Holt last night on NBC Nightly News.

John Yang reported from New Jersey where public worker retirement jumped 60% and nearly doubled for teachers in 2010. But it is not just Governor Chris Christie “mocking teacher benefits” who deserves all the credit. The report shows many states where politicians downgrading the value of public workers has become too much for the good government workers to continue. In 2010 California and Colorado each reported a 20% rise in retirees from the public sector. This year Ohio has reported a 34% increase and after the assault from Scott Walker public worker retirement in Wisconsin is up 96%.

One New Jersey teacher was the focus of the segment. Judy Cinnamond who has decided to give up teaching. This highly respected educator sums up the situation with “All of the sudden the teachers are the enemy and I don’t want to feel that way. Having dedicated my life to this job, I just don’t want to feel that way.”  

The Nicer the Nice, the Higher the Price

I encountered the phrase “humble dependence” in a book I was reading this morning.  Though in the context of the text it was meant to refer to a relationship between God and man or woman, I couldn’t help but wonder  aloud about our own human dependencies.  Are any earthly dependencies, regardless of the context or the situation, truly humble, deferring to superior judgment and guidance?  For example, how much of any romantic relationship in which we are a part is not founded on some degree of purely selfish need?  I myself know that the fear of being alone has driven me to make decisions based on impulsive short-term need, rather than long-term good sense.  Even if we are aware of it, even if we have the therapy bills and scars to prove it, and even our self-awareness is evident to all, is there still not a degree of self-interest involved as we search for others or engage in our own journey?

First Annual ! Official: “Welcome Home Day”?

Some four decades late, and the Country still in denial about, wants to Officially ‘welcome us home’, eight and nine years after cheering on two more extreme failed policy long running occupations, Still Ongoing, and quickly loosing interest in except when some words and phrases are needed as to political speak, of two innocent countries and peoples and bombing a third {and most here have the audacity to ask “Why do they hate us so?”}!

Want to Really ‘Welcome Us Home!’, Start Sacrificing and give these New War Veterans All That You Promised Them, that which you didn’t give us and the Korean Vets before and since, Pony Up Your End Of The Contract, Everything Promised and Especially Needed as the Results of the Wars you allow, and not only as to the Veterans of but their Families as well !!!

In Defense of the Filibuster 20100213

Recently we have seen quite a bit of controversy about the filibuster.  Most folks do not even know what that term means, and with good reason.  The rules for it changed, as I recall, in 1975, after damned old Nixon got booted, and, in my opinion, for ill.

However, the politicians, the pundits, and the public do not understand (or, if they do, are misleading folks) about its nature.  The Republicans mostly say that it was the will of the Framers, and that is just not only incorrect, but a lie.  In fairness, the Democrats said the same thing when they were in the minority.  Most of the pundits have it wrong as well.  Please follow and I shall explain what it was, and now is.

I love me some North Carolina loonie politicians

This is what I enjoy about living in NC: when the politicians are loonies, they are real loonies. The genuine article, madder than General Jack D. Ripper, madder than “Mad Jack” McMad, winner of last year’s Mister Madman competition.


First offering for your delectation: George Hutchins, who’s running against David Price for his congressional seat (which covers Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, etc). Note well the flamboyant and unrestrained use of color and, well, just “stuff” that gives his web site that certain je ne sais quoi that just screams “he’s mad as a balloon!” Looks like the web page designer got his mitts on the Big Boy box of Crayolas when mommy’s back was turned. The guy’s politics don’t matter; all sane people are morally obligated to vote against him on purely esthetic grounds.


And in this corner, we have long-time Uber-loonie Rep Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who states — with nary a hint of  irony (or goldy or bronzey, for that matter) — “I believe we have more to fear from the potential of that bill passing  than we do from any terrorist right now in any country.”  If she doesn’t get mad loonie props for that, then she should definitely get some for using the word “tarbaby” in an earlier public speech on the floor of Congress.

This is the kind of stuff that makes it worth dragging my butt out of bed in the morning.

Daring to Dance to No One’s Funeral

Taking the time to contemplate the vast amount of right-wing smears that have been either facilitated, advanced, or concocted by conservatives over the past several months is an overwhelming task.  Within each of these petty, partisan, often nonsensical parries and thrusts I am reminded again of the excesses of the Pharisees.  Wishing to have everything on their own terms and in accordance with every selfish demand, modern day Pharisees are found not merely in the opposition party, but regrettably sometimes among our own ranks, particularly in the form of people who fail to neither understand nor respect the vast amount of indignation felt when crucial reform legislation is watered down or vaguely outlined due to nothing more than political expediency and self-preservation.  If this sort of thing was limited to politicians, it might be more easily challenged, but one sees it everywhere.  Most recently, those well-connected business types who long ago lost their souls in selling the whole world are also guilty as charged.


“No bailout can stop the sinking”

Chris Hedges is a war correspondent and a Pulitzer Prize winner.   He is also one of the “truthiest” people out there, and is one of the few who actually has a handle on things.    Sad thing is, the truth is damn scary.  


Politicians Stuck on Stupid

And I’m losing my ability to care about them.

Politics is stuck on stupid.  Stupid representatives like Michelle Bachmann continually make headlines like some sort of comic relief.  She is not a serious politician to me.  Sanford wants to take on biblical proportions as a character.  Baucus wants to fight the good fight for corporate lobbyists and healthcare and before that he was the friend of corporate globalists.  Same thing to me.  He’s not for the everyday people.  Specter wants to keep his cushy senate job so he changes parties (both are essentially the same) , as does Cantor and Boehner and Graham. The Alaskan governor wants to stay in the spotlight.  People are really talking like she has a chance.  At the presidency in the future.  Just plain stupid.  

The Spider and the Ducks


This is an old Lakota myth as told by John Lame Deer in Lame Deer Seeker of Visions.1

I’m paraphrasing a bit here:

Iktome was an evil spiderman, a smart-ass who liked to play tricks on everyone.  One day he was walking by a lake and he saw some ducks swimming around.  He suddenly grew hungry for roast duck.  So he stuffed his bag with a bunch of grass and then walked over to the shore.  The ducks saw him and cried out, “Where are you going, Iktome?”

“I’m going to a big powwow.”

“What’s in your bag Iktome?”

“It’s full of songs which I am taking  to the powwow.  Good songs that you can dance to.”

The ducks begged him to sing the songs for them.  The tricky spider made a big show of not wanting to do it.  He said he didn’t have time for it.  Finally, he pretended to give in because they were such nice ducks.   “OK, I’ll sing for you, but you have to help me.”

“O yay!  We’ll do whatever you want. Just tell us the rules.”

“Well, first you must form three rows.   In the front row I want all the fat ones.  In the middle row go all those who are neither fat nor thin.  The scrawny ones go in the back row.  Now you have to act out the song.  Do whatever the words tell you.  Here goes the first song…   ‘Close your eyes and dance.'”

The ducks in their rows shut their eyes and started flapping their wings.  Iktome took a big club from underneath his coat.  “Sing along as loud as you can and keep your eyes shut.  Whoever peeks will get blind.”   He ordered them to sing so that their voices would drown out the “thump thump” of his club as he hit them over the head.  One by one he went down the front row bashing the ducks.   He was in the middle of the next row by the time one of the skinny ducks in the back row opened his eyes and saw what Iktome was up to.  

“Holy crap!     Hey wake up!”, it yelled.  “Iktome is killing us all!”

The ducks that were left opened their eyes and ran away.  Iktome didn’t care.  He already had more duck than he could eat.  

“They All Disappoint”

The best show on television today is “The Wire.” In subsequent entries, I’ll explain why I think so. Its new season, Season 5, starts in January and The Wire will be one of the things I write about. Season 4 focused on politics a good deal.

At the finale to Season 4, the new mayor of Baltimore, where the show is set, is faced with the dilemma of doing “the right thing” and doing what he perceives is the right thing politically (the plot point involves “eating shit” so the Baltimore schools get money it needs vs. what’s right for his shot at being Governor. You know what he does.

Afterwards, his close aide, who fought the campaign with him, discusses this with the chief of staff of the former mayor, saying “can’t believe he left the money on the table.” The former COS responds “they all disappoint.” And indeed, they do. They’ve all disappointed, even Lincoln, FDR and Bobby Kennedy.

As citizens and activists, our allegiances have to be to the issues we believe in. I am a partisan Democrat it is true. But the reason I am is because I know who we can pressure to do the right thing some of the times. Republicans aren’t them. But that does not mean we accept the failings of our Democrats. There is nothing more important that we can do, as citizens, activists or bloggers than fight to pressure DEMOCRATS to do the right thing on OUR issues.

And this is true in every context I think. Be it pressing the Speaker or the Senate majority leader, or the new hope running for President. There is nothing more important we can do. Nothing. It’s more important BY FAR than “fighting” for your favorite pol because your favorite pol will ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS, disappoint you.

In the middle of primary fights, citizens, activists and bloggers like to think their guy or woman is different. They are going to change the way politics works. They are going to not disappoint. In short, they are not going to be pols. That is, in a word, idiotic.

Yes, they are all pols. And they do what they do. Do not fight for pols. Fight for the issues you care about. That often means fighting for a pol of course. But remember, you are fighting for the issues. Not the pols.

More on this theme in a week or so. I’m traveling.  

A Reality-Based Agenda for the ’08 Campaign

Here it is.  It comes in three parts:

1) a “reality-based” political agenda for the future.

2) a discussion of the pragmatics (relation of discourse to hearers/readers) of political agendas

3) a critique of a successful politician’s agenda.

(crossposted on ecosocialism)