When “Stronger Together” Is Just A Campaign Slogan


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This morning as we all face a President Trump, Democrats across the nation are trying to understand how this happened. And who to blame.

For the past year, I have been pleading daily on social media and elsewhere – anywhere people might listen – for inclusiveness and empathy for the many struggles and experiences that were taking place. But it never happened. In fact, social dialogue moved even more deeply in the opposite direction.

You can’t fight fascism by trying to silence or diminish people. You fight fascism by listening to the people, by hearing them. The Democratic Party has a long history of not being able to read the room, of seeming incapable of feeling the temperature of the country and act accordingly.

This election, the DNC, Hillary, and many of Hillary’s most vocal supporters, chose to spend their time telling people to shut up. By painting pictures of them as deplorable or selfish, irresponsible, or simply getting in the way.

Until Democrats can recognize and comprehend their own vast role in the creation and perpetuation of Trump and Trumpism – and ultimately for this Trump presidency – we stand no chance of breaking our own destructive cycle.  Continue reading “When “Stronger Together” Is Just A Campaign Slogan”

When “Stronger Together” Is Just A Campaign Slogan

A Challenge to Democrats to be more Democratic


gavel and the US Flag

One of the more unfortunate accusations that I’ve been hearing lately is that Bernie Sanders supporters are tearing apart the Democratic Party. That Sanders needs to “back down” so we can unite. But Sanders supporters are fighting for the Democratic party to be more democratic. The media and others, however, have done a bang-up job framing real political challenges from the people (which Sanders represents) as “selfish” and “hurtful.” And a good number of Democrats are taking up those pitchforks and torches and joining the chorus without truly understanding what it is they are attempting to self-righteously snuff out.

John Nichols’ article in The Nation, A Contested Convention Is Exactly What the Democratic Party Needs, (an article widely forwarded by Bill Moyers) speaks directly to why it is so very crucial to continue to challenge not just Hillary Clinton, but the entire Democratic Party. THIS is what Democracy is all about! This is our job description! But so many people have lost sight of that – or never really knew what they could or should do beyond just casting a vote – or what the Democratic Party used to be, its history, and so they don’t recognize what it has the potential to do right now. Hillary might be the nominee in the end (though that’s STILL not a guarantee), but there’s more to be done and more to be gained by continuing to challenge her and those she surrounds herself with. At the very least to the Convention. Hopefully, a lot farther.

John Nichols:

“Prospective nominees tend to favor weaker platforms; Harry Truman would have preferred milder civil-rights commitments than were made in his party’s 1948 platform, and it took steady pressure from unions, liberals and Ted Kennedy to get Jimmy Carter to finally embrace spending on jobs programs. It will take similar pressure to get Clinton and her inner circle to accept a Democratic platform that Sanders says must include “a $15-an-hour minimum wage, an end to our disastrous trade policies, a Medicare-for-all health-care system, breaking up Wall Street financial institutions, ending fracking in our country, making public colleges and universities tuition-free, and passing a carbon tax so we can effectively address the planetary crisis of climate change.” Clinton stalwarts may want to keep things vague, but look for the Sanders team to demand specifics, such as an explicit endorsement of a national $15 minimum wage instead of the $12 proposal that Clinton initially offered, and an unequivocal rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that President Obama supports and that Clinton once championed but now criticizes.”

Continue reading “A Challenge to Democrats to be more Democratic”

A Challenge to Democrats to be more Democratic

DARK KNIGHT RISES Viewers Mistake Conservative Cinema For Liberal Agenda


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Spoiler Alert!

The most amazing thing to me is that people saw THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and accused it of being Liberal Propaganda because the “villain’s” name was Bane. Did they watch the film?!!! THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is the single biggest, most overt piece of Republican propaganda to come out of Hollywood in decades. The villain’s name is spelled BANE, not because it’s a thinly disguised mask for Bain, but because the villain is a plague, a pestilence, a burden. “The Bane of my existence.”

I was also surprised by how many people hated this film. I thought it was the best of the trilogy, richest in character and far more socially, politically and morally complex than any movie of its kind in generations. I found it vastly entertaining and immensely disappointing in its severely Right-wing leanings.

dark-knight-rises1Nolan claims there is no political thought or agenda to the film. Say it enough times and maybe people will believe you. This film has politics oozing out of every pore and crevice.  And unlike the lazy schmucks a la Rush Limbaugh who accuse the film of being Liberal Propaganda simply because they don’t have the patience or brain-capacity to follow the actual plot of the film itself, anyone paying even the slightest bit of attention will realize that the whole Batman series has been a big promoter of conservative thinking. Remember that illegal surveillance system Batman builds and uses despite Morgan Freeman’s objections? The one he “needed” to use to get the job done? For the good of the people, the masses? Even though it was morally and legally wrong? Patriot Act, anyone?

Well, now Nolan’s “villain” seems to have more in common with Occupy Wall Streeters than he has with Bain Capital. Or the Tea Party. Joke’s on us. His “revolution” against the rich fails. Though he frightens the poor and huddled masses into doing his bidding and sentencing the rich to death, he is ultimately leading his “followers” to their own demise. He’s “using” them. He and his followers “demonize” the rich when, in fact, the film suggests by the end that the rich are the ones best equipped to save us, to protect us. He attacks Wall Street, for Christ’s sake! And in doing so, Bane cruelly drains the rich of their bank accounts and leaves them penniless. But when one character suggests they can afford it, another reminds us that it hurts everyone in the long run. And the rich aren’t really helpless are they? No. Through sheer will and belief, they rise up against their attackers, with pride, with dignity, heads held high, so they can go and live “good” lives, “clean” lives, honorable, straight, American lives.

Bain Capital is known for putting people out of work. Buying companies, increasing their debt, paying out handsomely to Bain itself while closing most of those businesses and displacing workers. Bane, in the film, offers those out-of-work, lower-class citizens a place to gather, to thrive, to work. Very little Bain about it. Meanwhile, Batman has developed a new source of energy that he is afraid to share. Much like the argument that we shouldn’t be sharing nuclear resources with Iran. “In the hands of the wrong person…” That person turns out to be Miranda (along with Bane), who gets control over the new energy source under false pretenses (wants to develop safe energy), THEN turns it into a bomb. That makes her a terrorist. And liberals have been accused by conservatives of being too lenient on potential terrorists. The argument with Iran is that they are building the means with which to build a bomb under the guise of wanting to create safe energy for their country. Sound familiar? Many conservatives, both here and abroad, think we should stop them now and not wait until it’s too late. Obama is the one who is accused of letting them “get too close” to having a nuclear bomb. Add to all this the fact that it is a Russian helping them complete their task.

Then there’s Commissioner Gordon who is accused of being a “war-time” commissioner. Because there’s no longer a “visible war” going on, he is considered outdated by his superiors who want to replace him. It turns out, of course, that Gordon is right and the city –the world– is attacked and his war-time thinking is now much needed. Always has been. But the public at large had been lured into a false sense of security. This is VERY much in sync with accusations that the Obama Administration is being too lenient, is not doing enough to prevent terrorism, wanting to cut the military budget, close Guantanamo, etc.

Catwoman. She ultimately joins forces with Batman, doesn’t she? And Batman’s comments about “no guns, no killing?” Catwoman gets the final word on that when she saves his sorry ass with a gun and some killing (of Bane, misunderstood leader of the OWS movement who is more motivated by misplaced anger, hatred and repression –slavery?– than by any real care for the people) and then lets us know that she’ll be keeping her guns and not buying into Batman’s gentler philosophy. Nice try, Caped Crusader.

great-marion-cotillard-was-talia-al-ghul-1And remember, Bane’s demise is his bleeding heart for that poor little girl he saved from poverty and repression, who grew up to be rich and powerful out of spite, and who uses her new power to finish her father’s work. Eerily familiar to accusations of Obama wanting to take on his father’s “anti-colonialism crusade.” Remember, she’s the one who pretends to be our friend, –so smart, so articulate– then, quite literally, STABS us in the back!

And it’s Bane who insists imprisoned criminals are actually repressed individuals who should be freed. Again, a conservative interpretation of a common liberal agenda to end the death penalty, close Guantanamo, and be more “lenient” on criminals they don’t see as hazardous to the public at large (but who are, in fact, represented as an angry mob of killers and thieves who bring lawlessness to the streets).

All this said, there is enough acknowledgement of the flaws in today’s Republican Party and some of the choices that have been made. It’s not ALL black and white. There are some very interesting grey areas and that’s part of what makes the film so damned fascinating and conversation-worthy. Conversation-worthy! THAT must be why no one likes the film! Hell, who wants to be challenged to think? Thought-provoking as I found it and as entertained as I was, I also feel a bit dirty as the film clearly lands with a vision that far more strongly favors a conservative course of action. For example, the film acknowledges that people are out of work. But it suggests that their desperation and anger has led them to follow the wrong path. When Bruce Wayne is left penniless but still gets to keep his mansion, it’s his “enemy'” that comments when the rich suffer they don’t “really” suffer. But it’s Bruce Wayne who we sympathize with. If he loses his home, the Bat Cave, he cannot help us. We don’t want to see him lose any more than he already has. The film does a good job in acknowledging other viewpoints, courses of reason, it understands where the anger comes from, why people are disillusioned, but it suggests that the conclusions of those people –their chosen course of action– is ultimately wrong, misguided, and dangerous.

To call this film Liberal Propaganda is to have not actually watched the film at all. However, THOSE accusations against the film exist and persist. And as a result,  THE DARK KNIGHT RISES elicits an undesired and –I’m willing to bet– unexpected effect in that it unintentionally points out the ridiculousness and stupidity, the sheer lack of intelligent thought that goes into the accusations made by most of the Conservative Party’s loudest voices.

They don’t even recognize an ally when they see one.

 

DARK KNIGHT RISES Viewers Mistake Conservative Cinema For Liberal Agenda

Ever Wonder Why Some Republicans Think Sarah Palin’s Smart?


 

Republican delegate Gabriel Schwartz is interviewed on the floor of the Republican National Convention. 

 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Schwartz is an attorney and a fixture in Colorado Republican politics.

While not all Republican’s think like this (or at least I hope they don’t!), there is a certain mentality and a certain world view that would allow someone to watch the Sarah Palin interview and still come out thinking she knows what she’s talking about! It’s also why so many Americans don’t question John McCain when he tells them the economy’s strong as Wall Street crumbles.

And while I don’t wish anyone ill, I can’t refrain from posting this little addendum: According to TwinCities.com, a few hours after the above interview, the following occurred to Mr. Schwartz:

He met her in the bar of the swank hotel and invited her to his room. Once there, the woman fixed the drinks and told him to get undressed.

And that, the delegate to the Republican National Convention told police, was the last thing he remembered.

When he awoke, the woman was gone, as was more than $120,000 in money, jewelry and other belongings…

The haul included a $30,000 watch, a $20,000 ring, a necklace valued at $5,000, earrings priced at $4,000 and a Prada belt valued at $1,000, police said.

Mr. Schwartz later commented:

“As a single man, I was flattered by the attention of a beautiful woman who introduced herself to me. I used poor judgment.”

It’s not the first time Mr. Schwartz has used poor judgement.

Ever Wonder Why Some Republicans Think Sarah Palin’s Smart?

The Privatization Of America & Our Fear Of Change


Educate. Understand. The Republicans will try and grab you on the issues they think are important to you while avoiding the issues that will actually effect you. Afraid your children might be forced to learn about sex in school? McCain and Palin will create a scenario–an untrue one at that–that suggests that under Obama, you will have no control and that your kids will be forced to learn things you rather they didn’t until you felt they were ready. Well, believe me when I say that the powers behind the Republican Party at this point in time are treating you like those children; they don’t want you to know about anything too early. So they’re keeping you happily distracted. Meanwhile, they’re in the process of destroying the government as we know it–and not by accident–for which the only solution will be privatization, which would leave us with a government under private corporate rule. 

Actor John Cusak wrote for the Huffington Post:

McCain and the neocon ideologues won’t “reform” government, they will gut government and privatize everything in sight in the name of responding to the crises they helped engineer through Bush and Cheney. Their view of government is the reverse of the Hippocratic Oath: do harm and then when the patient is sick, give the wrong medicine, watch him die, and sell off the body parts.

They will destroy the Department of Energy, HUD and anything else they can get their hands on. With this crew, all you need to do is destroy government, privatize it and get out of the way, and then a magic utopia appears. Well, actually it doesn’t, but a lot of connected people get rich, and in the privatized war business, blood money flows and a fuck of a lot of innocent people die. The numbers and the misery are staggering.

The proof is in the pudding folks. Just yesterday our economy took another slam as Wall Street crumbled. As Barack Obama pointed out in his speech yesterday:

“We just woke up to news of financial disaster — and this morning [McCain] said that the fundamentals of the economy are still strong. Sen. McCain, what economy are you talking about?”

Obama continues:

“It’s the same philosophy we’ve had for the last eight years, one that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. It’s a philosophy that says even commonsense regulations are unnecessary, unwise. One that says we should just stick our heads in the sand and ignore economic problems until they spiral into crisis.”

Starting to see the bigger picture? Fear and distraction will allow this to happen if we don’t wake up now. This isn’t just theory, this is really happening. Today. In America. 

Deepak Chopra had some interesting observations recently on the strategy behind Palin’s popularity and attraction among voters:

[Sarah Palin] is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and exhorting people to obey their worst impulses. In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities
we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of “the other.” For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don’t want to express them. He is calling for us to reach for our higher selves, and frankly, that stirs up hidden reactions of an unsavory kind…

I recognize that psychological analysis of politics is usually not welcome by the public, but I believe such a perspective can be helpful here to understand Palin’s message. In her acceptance speech Gov. Palin sent a rousing call to those who want to celebrate their resistance to change and a higher vision.

Look at what she stands for:

–Small town values — a denial of America’s global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.

–Ignorance of world affairs — a repudiation of the need to repair America’s image abroad.

–Family values — a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don’t need to be heeded.

–Rigid stands on guns and abortion — a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.

–Patriotism — the usual fallback in a failed war.

–“Reform” — an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn’t fit your ideology.

Palin reinforces the overall message of the reactionary right, which has been in play since 1980, that social justice is liberal-radical, that minorities and immigrants, being different from “us” pure American types can be ignored, that progressivism takes too much effort and globalism is a foreign threat. The radical right marches under the banners of “I’m all right, Jack,” and “Why change? Everything’s OK as it is.” The irony, of course, is that Gov. Palin is a woman and a reactionary at the same time.  She can add mom to apple pie on her resume, while blithely reversing forty years of feminist progress. The irony is superficial; there are millions of women who stand on the side of conservatism, however obviously they are voting against their own good. The Republicans have won multiple national elections by raising shadow issues based on fear, rejection, hostility to change, and narrow-mindedness.

Yes, this country is being systematically bought and sold–as John McCain has been–and it is fear of real change that will bring it down. America has disastrously strayed. But it is through wisdom and a willingness to face our fears for what they are and recognize our mistakes, that will set us on the road to recovery. Anything less will lead us to ruin. And we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves. 

The Privatization Of America & Our Fear Of Change