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Sorry for the short diary, but I was listening to Democracy Now! today and it made me  think about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and how both sides just want a home, so I wrote a little poem about it. The poem is below the squiggly.

Cross Posted on Progressive Ideas.

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Just when you thought the Arizona craziness couldn't be topped, Republican Rep. Terri Proud (Tucson) comes through with the most asinine thing I've seen to date in the Republican war on women. I present to you Rep. Terri Proud:

"Personally I'd like to make a law that mandates a woman watch an abortion being performed prior to having a "surgical  procedure". If it's not a life it shouldn't matter, if it doesn't harm a woman then she shouldn't care, and don't we want more transparency and education in the medical profession anyway? We demand it everywhere else.

Until the dead child can tell me that she/he does not feel any pain - I have no intentions of clearing the conscience of the living - I will be voting YES."

Emphasis added.

This is the entirety of the emailed response of Rep. Proud to one of her constituents who voiced their opinion in opposition to a bill banning abortion after the 20th week.

So let me get this straight...Ms. Proud wants women to have abortions so that another woman can witness someone else's abortion and are then deterred from having an abortion themselves? This vaults to new levels of crazy. I used to live in Tucson and I'm wondering just how someone this vacuous got elected from a city known for its relatively progressive nature.

Cross Posted on Progressive Ideas

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Cross Posted on Progressive Ideas

I got one piece of mail on Wednesday and it was hilarious. A fundraising letter from Scott Walker! I'm not sure how I got on the Republican mailing list, but over the last couple of years, I've received letters from the John Bohner's NRCC (twice!), failed senate candidate Sharon Angle, failed gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley (several times, but at least this was in my state), and the NRA (they offered me a tote bag to join! wtf?). Anyhow, to my great amusement, I got this letter yesterday and I'm now considering what to do with the return postage paid envelope. I sent Mr. Dudley a spelling and grammar "check" because there were at least 4 errors in his 4 page letter. The NRCC wanted me to fill out their slanted "survey" and send them a donation. I filled out the survey and wrote that I wouldn't send them a donation unless they changed their positions to meet mine. I figure it's someone's job to open and look at all the responses. Maybe they just toss the responses and take the checks, but whatever, it was amusement.

So here's what Governor Scotty McScandlepants had to say:

Friday Evening

Okay, first off, WTF is this? Why is the text "Friday Evening" even there? And why is it centered?

Dear Fellow Conservative:
Hahahahahah! Man, have they got me pegged wrong. I'm about as progressive you get. If you want to see where you fall, check out the political compass.
Conservatives are under attack in Wisconsin and that means...

There's BIG TROUBLE AHEAD where you live.

If the powerful labor unions get their way in my state...

They'll get their way in yours.

Our crisis today, is your crisis tomorrow!

This is the frontline in the battle to rein in the too-powerful labor unions which are using Wisconsin as a "test case" for their national strategy.

All methods of emphasis (all caps, underline, italics, bold)in original.

Yes, the entire letter is written with a double space after each sentence, 'cause, you know, conservatives, by and large, are old and they can't read so well. I love the overt admission that they're in trouble. It makes my bleeding heart sing. They're in trouble and they know it.

It's kind of ridiculous that they call the labor unions "powerful". If they were so powerful, why did you cross them? If they were so powerful, how come they couldn't stop the godawful legislation you pushed through? I'm not trying to knock unions, I really wish they were as powerful as all that, but let's face it, they're not. This is just a boogyman that Republicans roll out to scare old white men into giving up their money to defeat those big bad union bosses working people and their massive amounts of campaign cash people power.

Join me across the jump as I deconstruct this 4 page letter and other enclosures. Oh, Republicans make such easy and convenient targets of limitless ridicule.

Poll

What should I put in the Postage Paid envelope?

12%11 votes
16%15 votes
1%1 votes
19%18 votes
7%7 votes
39%36 votes
1%1 votes
2%2 votes

| 91 votes | Vote | Results

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In 2003, my older brother Jeff got married to one of the most kind and generous people I've ever had the good fortune to have met, my sister-in-law Karen. I was pleased to give them a humorous and lighthearted toast them at their wedding as his best man.

At the end of 2006 I got a call from Karen announcing that she was pregnant, and on August 27, 2007, their beautiful son Jacob was born. Jacob, is now almost 5, in preschool, and loves him some trains. He's a great kid, so when I hear of Rick Santorum calling him a criminal and slurring his mother, it makes my blood boil.

On May 20, 2010 at 2 am, Jeff passed away from brain cancer leaving behind his wife and young son. Jeff was receiving Social Security Disability Insurance and both Karen & Jacob now receive Social Security survivor benefits. Follow me below the fold for the whole story.

Cross Posted on Progressive Ideas

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Corporatism.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is the merger of corporate and state power." ~ Benito Mussolini
There are only two real parties in American politics, but perhaps not the ones you think. Our system promotes a two party state because of the mechanics of our elections. The winner take all system that we employ causes any major third party challenge to split votes off from the dominant party who's views most closely match their own, thus throwing victory to the party most opposed to their views. This is why it is extremely unlikely, and exceedingly rare, to have a third party candidate win. I'm all for making changes to the winner take all system, but while we have this method, we need to figure out how to deal with the reality of how it works in order to elect more progressives.

Simply put, our issue is that we have one party that is a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporations and another is a partially owned subsidiary of corporations. It's not so much the Republicans and the Democrats as it is the Corporatists and the Progressive-Populists. Or as Alan Grayson put it in reference to Occupy Wall Street on Real Time with Bill Maher:

...they're complaining about the fact that wall street wrecked the economy 3 years ago and nobody's held responsible for that. Not a single person has been indicted or convicted for destroying 20%, 20% of our national net worth accumulated over the course of two centuries. They're upset about the fact that wall street has iron control over the economic policies of this country, and that one party is a wholly owned subsidiary of wall street, and the other party caters to them as well. That's the real truth of the matter...

Bill Maher on WhoSay

This is why even when we get reform, it's usually watered down and full of corporate welfare (wealthfare). The much hyped and touted Affordable Care Act with its individual mandate is a huge giveaway to the health insurance corporations that are the problem in the first place. Yes, there are some good parts of the law and in the long run it may help move us toward a Medicare for All type solution, but with 60 Senators, a solid 257 seat majority in the House, and the Presidency, why couldn't Democrats pass something better? Likewise, why was there such a struggle against creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? Why were the Dem's so vexingly ineffective at creating real, lasting, and substantive change as a majority party? And why was 2010 such a bad year for D's at the ballot box?

Cross posted at Progressive Ideas

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Cross Posted at Progressive Ideas

There are only two real parties in American politics, but perhaps not the ones you think. Our system promotes a two party state because of the mechanics of our elections. The winner take all system that we employ causes any major third party challenge to split votes off from the dominant party who's views most closely match their own, thus throwing victory to the party most opposed to their views. This is why it is extremely unlikely, and exceedingly rare, to have a third party candidate win. I'm all for making changes to the winner take all system, but while we have this method, we need to figure out how to deal with the reality of how it works in order to elect more progressives.

Simply put, our issue is that we have one party that is a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporations and another is a partially owned subsidiary of corporations. It's not so much the Republicans and the Democrats as it is the Corporatists and the Progressive-Populists. Or as Alan Grayson put it in reference to Occupy Wall Street on Real Time with Bill Maher:

...they're complaining about the fact that wall street wrecked the economy 3 years ago and nobody's held responsible for that. Not a single person has been indicted or convicted for destroying 20%, 20% of our national net worth accumulated over the course of two centuries. They're upset about the fact that wall street has iron control over the economic policies of this country, and that one party is a wholly owned subsidiary of wall street, and the other party caters to them as well. That's the real truth of the matter...

Bill Maher on WhoSay

This is why even when we get reform, it's usually watered down and full of corporate welfare (wealthfare). The much hyped and touted Affordable Care Act with its individual mandate is a huge giveaway to the health insurance corporations that are the problem in the first place. Yes, there are some good parts of the law and in the long run it may help move us toward a Medicare for All type solution, but with 60 Senators, a solid 257 seat majority in the House, and the Presidency, why couldn't Democrats pass something better? Likewise, why was there such a struggle against creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? Why were the Dem's so vexingly ineffective at creating real, lasting, and substantive change as a majority party? And why was 2010 such a bad year for D's at the ballot box?

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Sun Dec 25, 2011 at 12:00 PM PST

Healthcare is a Human Right

by Ross Lampert

Although disputed, Gandhi has been widely quoted as saying "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Whether Gandhi actually said this or not, the point remains that there are many supposed Christians who do not actually follow the teachings of Christ. Being Jewish, I'm no expert on these teachings, but as far as I understand them, Jesus was what many would consider a left wing "hippy" today. He believed in taking care of the poor, sick and aggrieved, loving your neighbor as you would yourself, countering hate with love, etc. In other words, he was preaching for social and economic justice. Jesus, and all those who follow him (or at least claim to), would most certainly believe that Healthcare is a Human Right, right? Right?

Maybe not everyone, but most people would agree that Healthcare IS a Human Right. Spreading that message is key to getting real healthcare reform. It's how the Vermont Worker's Center won a statewide Single Payer system, and it's how we intend to establish one here in Oregon.

Cross Posted on Progressive Ideas.

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The 1% has been busting our camps as they've busted our chops for years with economic warfare and "divide and distract" politics. Well, if they're not going to let us occupy the parks, we'll occupy houses. However, there are still a couple of houses we must occupy with committed 99%ers...and one senate. I suppose we actually need to occupy a set of these in every state.

Its high time that we, as a movement, start transforming our power into the political arena. We need to find qualified and committed people to run for office on all levels who subscribe to the first Declaration of Occupy Wall St. and any subsequent Declarations from the movement. Click through to Vyan's recently recommended diary for details on a continuing discussion on the grievances of the occupy movement and a proposed process for composing a more formal document and action plan.

In the meantime, how do we start organizing politically? How can we take this decidedly street based, internet savvy movement from the parks to the halls of power? Honestly, I'm not entirely sure, but I have some ideas. Follow me below the fold to hear my thoughts and please and get your thinking caps on to help brainstorm in the comments.

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I just read that Geithner has proclaimed that "dramatic enforcement actions" will be taken against Wall St. wrongdoing. Although I'm in the 'believe it when I see it' camp, it is certainly progress to have a top administration official even threatening to take an action that the 99% would love to see.

In the last couple of weeks, the constant chant from the mainstream media has been "what are their demands?" The fact that without demands, the administration is moving toward a more just position simply reinforces the notion that we don't really need demands. Our demands are voluminous, too prolific, too robust to state in a simple list; we want social and economic justice. Creating a list of demands would hem the movement in, make it containable and do more to harm the it than all the police in New-York, Boston and Denver combined.

Cross posted on Progressive Ideas

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The events in Greece show what happens when the public stands up to the austerity that's being imposed on them. It is a truly frightening spectacle and the kind of choice the Republicans want to force us into with a steadfast refusal to raise the debt ceiling. I wrote about the coming US debt "crisis" a week and a half ago. The following is a repost of the original:

Sometimes we're a bunch of idiots. As a nation I mean, not so much as individuals (though some would certainly qualify). I've seen people advocating for not raising the debt ceiling and I honestly understand the frustration that leads to that argument. Those who advocate this position are really just upset that the country is carrying a deficit and going deeper into debt every day. They are thinking that $14.3 Trillion is an unimaginable sum and scratching their heads as to why the ceiling would need to be raised even further. They figure that by not raising the ceiling, it will force the government to reign in spending and balance the budget. Unfortunately, this simply isn't true.

No matter what the final budget that comes out of Washington this year looks like, nothing changes the fact that we've already budgeted for the current year, and unless it's raised, we're going to hit debt ceiling. In fact, we already have, but Treasury Secretary Geithner took action to "create additional headroom" so that the department could continue to fund obligations and effectively extending the deadline to August 2. These are "measures" such as raiding government retirement funds for their treasury bonds. This is not good.

President Obama knows this is playing with fire saying:

"The full faith and credit of the United States is the underpinning not only of our way of life, it's also the underpinning of a global financial system. We could actually have a reprise of a financial crisis, if we play this too close to the line...."

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is also sounding the alarm, noting a failure to raise the ceiling could cause:

“severe disruptions in financial markets,”

Even former Fed Chair and fiscal conservative guru Alan Greenspan says in plain English that he's "scared" and calls the games being played over the debt ceiling an:

"extraordinarily dangerous problem for this country."

Okay, but why is this such dangerous stuff?  Why doesn't it make sense to enforce the ceiling and let the government slash everything they need to in order to regain fiscal sanity?  Follow me below the fold to dissect the debt ceiling deniers.

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Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 11:58 AM PDT

Repost: I Was Weinered

by Ross Lampert

Last week I posted an essay entitled Hitting our Heads on the Debt Ceiling only to be overshadowed by the resignation of Anthony Weiner. The sensationalism involved in bringing him down was truly a crying shame, but I try not to get wrapped up in that type of sensationalistic tripe. I am reposting because I feel the debt ceiling is an important matter that should not be overlooked and that we need to understand the potential consequences of the Republican gambit around it. Here is the post:

Sometimes we're a bunch of idiots. As a nation I mean, not so much as individuals (though some would certainly qualify). I've seen people advocating for not raising the debt ceiling and I honestly understand the frustration that leads to that argument. Those who advocate this position are really just upset that the country is carrying a deficit and going deeper into debt every day. They are thinking that $14.3 Trillion is an unimaginable sum and scratching their heads as to why the ceiling would need to be raised even further. They figure that by not raising the ceiling, it will force the government to reign in spending and balance the budget. Unfortunately, this simply isn't true.

No matter what the final budget that comes out of Washington this year looks like, nothing changes the fact that we've already budgeted for the current year, and unless it's raised, we're going to hit debt ceiling. In fact, we already have, but Treasury Secretary Geithner took action to "create additional headroom" so that the department could continue to fund obligations and effectively extending the deadline to August 2. These are "measures" such as raiding government retirement funds for their treasury bonds. This is not good.

President Obama knows this is playing with fire saying:

"The full faith and credit of the United States is the underpinning not only of our way of life, it's also the underpinning of a global financial system. We could actually have a reprise of a financial crisis, if we play this too close to the line...."

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is also sounding the alarm, noting a failure to raise the ceiling could cause:

“severe disruptions in financial markets,”

Even former Fed Chair and fiscal conservative guru Alan Greenspan says in plain English that he's "scared" and calls the games being played over the debt ceiling an:

"extraordinarily dangerous problem for this country."

Okay, but why is this such dangerous stuff?  Why doesn't it make sense to enforce the ceiling and let the government slash everything they need to in order to regain fiscal sanity?  Follow me below the fold to dissect the debt ceiling deniers.

Continue Reading

Sometimes we're a bunch of idiots. As a nation I mean, not so much as individuals (though some would certainly qualify). I've seen people advocating for not raising the debt ceiling and I honestly understand the frustration that leads to that argument. Those who advocate this position are really just upset that the country is carrying a deficit and going deeper into debt every day. They are thinking that $14.3 Trillion is an unimaginable sum and scratching their heads as to why the ceiling would need to be raised even further. They figure that by not raising the ceiling, it will force the government to reign in spending and balance the budget. Unfortunately, this simply isn't true.

No matter what the final budget that comes out of Washington this year looks like, nothing changes the fact that we've already budgeted for the current year, and unless it's raised, we're going to hit debt ceiling. In fact, we already have, but Treasury Secretary Geithner took action to "create additional headroom" so that the department could continue to fund obligations and effectively extending the deadline to August 2. These are "measures" such as raiding government retirement funds for their treasury bonds. This is not good.

President Obama knows this is playing with fire saying:

"The full faith and credit of the United States is the underpinning not only of our way of life, it's also the underpinning of a global financial system. We could actually have a reprise of a financial crisis, if we play this too close to the line...."

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is also sounding the alarm, noting a failure to raise the ceiling could cause:

“severe disruptions in financial markets,”

Even former Fed Chair and fiscal conservative guru Alan Greenspan says in plain English that he's "scared" and calls the games being played over the debt ceiling an:

"extraordinarily dangerous problem for this country."

Okay, but why is this such dangerous stuff?  Why doesn't it make sense to enforce the ceiling and let the government slash everything they need to in order to regain fiscal sanity?  Follow me below the fold to dissect the debt ceiling deniers.

Continue Reading
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