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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Are liberals never satisfied?

In a word, no, which is a good thing in the sense that it keeps things going forward, another reason we're also called progressives.  Obviously it's a "bad" thing when it makes you always look at the glass as being half empty instead of half full, which is paradoxical to me because I feel liberals overall are optimists, not pessimists.
This discussion is prompted by Jonathan Chait's provocative article in New York Magazine, Debunking Obama's So-Called Leadership Failure.  While the article is not completely taking liberals to task --
Okay, so if Obama openly endorses a bipartisan plan, he’s killing it. And if he keeps his distance, he’s also killing it. What if he tries to directly negotiate a deficit reduction plan behind closes doors? Well, Obama did that, too, this last summer. Republicans opposed it as well.
-- it does most certainly do that.  "Various fiscal scolds have been scolding President Obama for failing to use his mind-control powers to force Republicans to accept a tax hike."

And it is true that many liberals look too fondly at historic Democratic Presidents, seemingly forgetting the warts and the fact that at the time we were just as critical and not satisfied with that President as we are with President Obama today.  Now, to be fair, that particular predilection is not owned by Democrats.  Republicans too have a tendency to view past Republican Presidents this way.  The difference is they view current Republican Presidents with the same rose colored glasses.
I think what's useful about this discussion is an effort in determining whether it is overall a good thing or bad thing that liberals are generally never satisfied.  I don't think there's much debate about whether we are, in fact, never satisfied, though you're certainly entitled to disagree.  What results from our tendency to view things the way we do is a much more accurate view of reality.  We tend to care very little (especially us Independents) whether there's a D or an R in front of your name; we will scrutinize your words and actions about as fairly as possible, given that all human beings have a lean towards their personal biases.

Also Jonathan Chait was interviewed regarding his article by Chris Matthews on Hardball along with Salon's Joan Walsh; and Joan Walsh makes a very good statement regarding our values about 3/4 of the way through this interview.  It's a lively and fun poke at ourselves, well worth watching.  (Chris doesn't interrupt as much as he usually does)

So I agree, we're never satisfied but I don't think that at all means we're not mostly reasonable.  Everyone's unreasonable sometimes.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Disgusting, ugly Americans

By now I'm sure most of you, even if you're not Nascar fans, have heard that an audible portion of the crowd at Miami/Homestead Speedway booed Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden yesterday.

They were there as Grand Marshals, which in Nascar speak means you get to say "Gentlemen, start your engines."  The First and Second ladies were there to honor the troops and get out the word about their troop related causes, which is what First Ladies do.
Now, I know all about free speech and don't even try to sidetrack the discussion.  If you can picket a soldier's funeral, you can certainly boo the First Lady.  That doesn't mean that these "expressions" are not classless.  Since when do we as a country boo the First Lady?  Well, since Hilary Clinton was First Lady, that's when.  When the right boos the First Lady, it's a free speech issue; but if the left were to boo a First Lady, which I have never heard happen, then it would be unAmerican, unpatriotic, disrespectful.  Well, I submit to you that booing the First Lady is all of those things.

Now, let's be clear that I have nothing against Laura Bush.  I'm just using her as an example.  If it isn't alright to boo someone who negligently killed a young man in an auto accident as a teenager but wasn't punished due to her family's political influence, then it isn't alright to boo this First Lady just because she's a Democrat at best and, at worse, black.  Can't we in this country at least show enough class to not boo the First Lady?  President George W. Bush's policies, actions, lack of actions and words made the left in this country every bit as angry at him as the right is at President Obama but I never once heard his wife booed.  Why?  I can only mostly speak for myself but it's because we recognize who's The Decider and who isn't.  And honestly,  on the right there is no limit, no guideline, no civil restraint, no modulation.  Name five of the nastiest, most hateful political pundits you can think of, and they're all on the right and have enormous followings.

Lastly, I want to challenge Nascar to come out publicly and denounce this as unAmerican.  They won't because they'll claim to be apolitical but they're anything but apolitical.  If the same sanctioning body that shoves the American flag, the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance down your throat at every race doesn't come out and call this unpatriotic, they'll be showing you just exactly where they stand.  Again, these ladies were there to support the troops (supporting the troops, something the right claims to own exclusively) and yet they boo her.  As someone said to me, "They might as well have pissed on the flag" because booing her in this instance is booing her cause, the troops.

And an added note to the right, now that I've searched the net in an effort to see whether Nascar had condemned this and seen the internet exploding with a disgusting display of the right, in typical fashion, lying about how if it's fair to boo George Bush or Sarah Palin, it's fair to boo Michelle Obama.  Listen fucknucks, look at yourselves in the mirror and see what you've become -- how nasty, ugly, disgusting, trivial you are.  You'll say anything to defend your ugliness.  Booing someone who is running for public office is NOT the same thing.  And I won't even begin to address and certainly not give examples of some of the name calling directed at the First Lady that I saw on some very high profile right wing blogs.  Thank you for continuing to scratch a big ugly scar into what once was the most envied country on the planet.  You should be ashamed of yourselves but I know it's not in your DNA.  Good people have the capacity to look in the mirror and fairly judge their actions and feel remorse accordingly.  All I see from the right these days is a never-ending capacity for ugliness and hate in response to being called out.

UPDATE:  And now one of the ugliest Americans of them all has weighed in, saying the reason they booed the First Lady is because she's uppity and they don't like uppity.  That's not very well disguised, Rush.  I'm surprised you just didn't say the N word because that's exactly what you meant and exactly what your dittohead listeners heard.

Class Warfare it is not

Pointing out that the policies and laws of this country favor the 1% over the 99% is not class warfare, no matter how many times Republicans and their paid wagging tongues say it. And kudos to the Democrats in Congress who FINALLY seem to be growing a pair, though to be honest they wouldn't be so bold (and never have been) if the American public wasn't overwhelmingly demanding it.

Another great article by Robert Creamer on this point:

Long-term, widely shared prosperity requires that the incomes of everyday people increase in proportion to their increasing productivity. If it doesn't, they simply won't have the money to buy the increased number of goods and services that they themselves have the ability to produce. That is the formula for economic stagnation and the end of the American dream.
The inability of the Super Committee to reach an agreement is not a reflection on the "intransigence" of both sides and "unwillingness" to compromise. The far right that now dominates the Republican Party insists on positions that fall far outside of mainstream views of everyday American voters. They want changes in the American social contract that will destroy the middle class.
To me it's not a coincidence that the rise in the U.S. deficit coincides with the rise in the corporate money influence in our politics through the Super PACs and lobbyists. Why is that? Look at the fall of the tax rates for corporations and billionaires over the same period. We would not be having the deficit problems, the rotting of our infrastructure, the cutback in education and services to the truly needy if those tax rates were even half of what they once were.  Fighting for something even remotely resembling fairness, a level playing field for all Americans, is not class warfare.

If you're not into words but would like to see things in a more graphical form.  This excellent article is just for you.  It lays things out for you pretty clearly.

And a report released just last week shows that the middle class in this country is shrinking.  Now, that would be a good thing if it meant those leaving the middle class were joining the upper class.  That is hardly the case though.  Those leaving the middle class are joining the lower class.  Being poor must be really popular because more and more Americans are choosing to be poor, at least according to the dimwits of this country who feel that people are poor because they're lazy and choose to be.

So standing up for ourselves is not class warfare.  What is class warfare is calling the opposite class warfare so that you can hide the class warfare that exists.  It's a tried and true tactic but I'm hopeful that the American people will finally see an issue at a better percentage than 60/40.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Who's Got Your Back?

That's a very good question that unfortunately doesn't have a good, strong answer.
We do know, however, who has the Republican Party's back and vice versa.  Check out this scoop by Chris Hayes
It's always been about power, influence and control.  These people have never cared for a nanosecond about the vast majority of us who don't have money or power or influence individually, but watch how they react when we gather together to exert what power we do have.  They will do anything and stop at nothing to keep what they have, much of it earned dishonestly; and they'll lie to your face in an effort to keep you on their side, while they're picking your pocket again.

Also, these folks talk like they have your back but everything they do, if you're really paying attention, says quite the opposite.I'm going to ask you to watch another video clip because I can't figure out how to do a screen capture from a web video but this clip is only three minutes long. It's from The Rachel Maddow Show from the other night talking about the obviously sick young man who shot a rifle at the White House. What makes me want to vomit though is what you'll see starting at the 1:15 point of this video, where she's showing the subtitle that Faux News used to tell this story, calling him the "Occupy Shooter." There is zero evidence that he has anything to do with the Occupy Movement or any movement. When is the 40% of this country that watches Fox's criminal behavior finally going to wise up that this outfit never has and never is and never will be about facts or news? They're only about keeping you scared, misinformed and on the side that pays them to do what they do.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

This N That

Or That N This, if you insist on being disagreeable.

How is it that Congressman and Senators dramatically increase their wealth while being paid by us to be public servants?  One way is the Newt Gingrich way, selling your status for money when all that money buys you is potential influence.  Another way is through insider information on stocks.  Watch this 60 Minutes episode and become upset that it's not illegal, even if we all recognize it as very unethical.

If you didn't already feel they weren't working for our best interests, this ought to seal the deal.  The more outraged we get about this stuff, the more we publicly demand change with our voices and our votes.  Are you outraged yet?

While we still don't have a jobs bill, Congress found the time to decide that pizza is a vegetable.  Why would they do that, you ask?  Because they were lobbied to do so by the companies that make money from pizza being served in our kids' school, whether it's healthy for them or not.

Dorli Rainey is my hero.  Who's she?  She's the 84-year-old woman who was pepper sprayed at Occupy Seattle.  She was interviewed by Keith Olbermann, who asked her how she was doing.  Her reply is priceless, "I'm feeling great," she said. "I'm so energized. It's amazing what a little pepper spray will do for you."  Watch the complete interview below.

This letter, written in response to yet another of those pictures you see with the fine young American's face and a letter held up next to it explaining how hard they work and everyone else should shut up and do the same, is the best and most thorough and completely logical response I have yet seen.  It's perfect, except it's too long; but I guess it has to be to explain thoroughly what shouldn't have to be explained at all.  If you have not read this response, whether you're inclined to agree with the 99% or you think the whole thing is bullshit, I beg you to read the response that's linked at the beginning of this paragraph.  Here's a very small sample:  "Do you really want the bar set this high?  Do you really want to live in a society where just getting by requires a person to hold down two jobs and work 60 to 70 hours a week?  Is that your idea of the American Dream?"  I'm also starting to wonder about the veracity of these letters supporting the 1%.  I smell a PAC, maybe even a Super PAC.

Did you hear about the reporter and camera person for The Daily Caller (yes, the right wing rag that's been overly harsh and unfair and inaccurate about OWS) being knocked down by police at Occupy Wall Street?  Guess who came to their aide?  Yup, the very same protesters Michelle Fields had been demonizing.  Read the story here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dishonorable Mention

What happens when one party doesn't care about deficits until the opposing party is in the White House?  What happens to deficits when one party only asks the working class to pay off the debt that that party helped build by giving tax breaks to the richest one percent and to corporations who pay no taxes?  What happens when one party convinces its base that deficit reduction at a time of zero growth is more important than creating jobs?  What happens when one party represents the 1% percent at all cost and at the peril of the 99%?
What happens when the other party doesn't have the balls to stand up against that first party and for the people they claim to represent?
You get a gridlocked, do-nothing Congress, an economy that's working great for the 1% and failing the 99% and a Super Committee proposing benefit cuts like these:
 If you hadn't yet realized that the Republican Party's mission of doing anything to make sure Obama was a one-term President was being done counter to what was in the best interests of the country as a whole or that "anything" was meant literally, then you should know it now.  Semper FU indeed!  If that doesn't piss you off and make your blood boil, nothing will.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Messrs. Duplicity, Grabass, Flipflop & Oops

Too bad this isn't the law firm that it sounds like.  Unfortunately it's the best Republican candidates, at least based on the tastes of the voters,  for President.of the United States.
Newt Gingrich, Inc, is the worst of the lot, if you can imagine that.  The best you can say about him is he's the smartest one of the bunch but smarts has not been a prized attribute of Republican voters, and in this instance he's the type of person who's always used his smarts for personal gain.  He's not exactly a flipflopper but more like a spinning top that's always saying whatever is convenient and convincing.  Unfortunately for Newt, he's been around a long time and his record will catch up to him and in very short order.  He is the epitome of the word politician when used in its most derisive form.  Good thing he's a "history professor" because he's soon to be history.
Where to start and end with Mr. Ubekibekibekistanstan?  He's right, you don't have to know anything to get the Republican nomination or to even be elected President, sadly.  He "doesn't know anything about foreign policy"; his fiscal policies at best came from a video game; he didn't try to have sexual relations with those women and he's the leading man in the latest Koch Brothers movie release.  Many people on the left have found him to be charming and harmless (I suppose he is harmless from the standpoint that he won't get the nomination) but his smarmy nature is starting to show through his charm or perhaps what was seen as charm was always smarminess hidden by a nice, clever smile. "Gotcha!" says Herm.
From a moderate standpoint, Romney is the most palatable of these candidates but that's like saying sardines are more palatable than rotten fish.  True, he would likely govern from the center right, something you can't say about the rest of the candidates; though ask me tomorrow and I might change my mind, if necessary.  At best he's bought and paid for, and at worst he's bought and paid for.
Poor Governor Perry, doesn't he strike you as the guy who had the best of everything handed to him, guided and steered the whole time, who suddenly finds he has to do and think on his own and has no real experience in doing so?  He really should be the Republican frontrunner since most of his positions are in lockstep with the far right he covets.  The problem is that he's done a few nice, humanitarian things as governor; his jobs record is based on Federal funding and there's that rock in the front yard.
So now that we've covered the senior partners, the junior partners are waiting for their turn -- well, other than kooky Michelle Bachmann, who started out at the big table and quickly got demoted.  For someone who needs to say outrageous things to get noticed, to me she's actually been rather sensible lately.  That's because to point out the obvious errors of the frontrunners makes her look smart because she's saying things that are actually true for a change.
Ron Paul?  Honest, stable and truly not electable, even in this historically weak field; and that would be against the Republicans, say nothing about running against a moderate Democrat.
John Huntsman?  Eminently qualified, very smart, very personable and yet you've hardly seen him because in the eyes of the Republican voters he's more a Democrat than a Teabagger.
Then there's the guy who's name when searched on Google makes your butt cheeks pucker and a few others you never get to see.
Thanks for the laughs and the great theater, Republicans; but most of all, thanks for doing a hundred debates and showing America the many faces of the Republican Party, thank you so much.

After I wrote the rough draft last night, Stephen Colbert helped me out with a fitting skit. Unfortunately, they split it into two videos.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Call to Action

The discontent of the American people regarding their ineffective, wasteful, corrupt big-money-owned government has been simmering for some time, boiling over at times with the rise of the Tea Party and then again with the Occupy Movement. Now I'm not saying these two divergent sides believe in the same things but they do, despite not realizing it, believe in some common things. One of those things happens to be the biggest threat to our democracy, the fact that our government more and more everyday is bought and paid for.
It takes an enormous amount of money to get elected to almost anything these days. To get the money necessary, it means you've obligated yourself to return the favor; and then those same power brokers spend millions on lobbyists to continue to manipulate the system in their favor. Once a person is elected to high office, the money and power become a drug, effecting their every decision.
Well, it may have taken far too long to happen but the American people are wising up, as it were, and they're mad as hell. As a result, we're starting to see a pushback and recently that pushback has started to produce organizations with the means to fight back with media exposure and organization.
Which brings me to the logo and link above. At last count over a quarter of a million people have joined this group and signed the petition to get behind possible Constitutional amendments to get the money out. I would encourage you to follow the link to Get Money Out and at least learn what they/we're about, and hopefully you'll be as impressed as I am and want to also sign the petition.  They may have the money but we have the power of numbers if we act.  The time is now.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Those of you who know me personally or have read enough of my writing know that I am nothing if not fiercely independent.  That means that not only do I not always vote for one party in elections, it also means that I strongly support maintaining my right to be independent, not affiliated with any political party; therefore, not having pressure from my chosen party to go along with something I disagree with.
Sometimes I find it important to vote for Independents to make a point, although usually I vote for Independents because I believe in what they stand for, and always support issues that make it easier for independents to get involved in politics or make it easier for all of us to vote, such as open primaries.
Aside from voting for an Independent, it can often be difficult for an independent like myself to find organizations to support who stand for the same things.  Well, there is an organization now here in Maine called OneMaine, founded and chaired by Eliot Cutler, who you'll remember I wrote about and supported during his run for Governor last year (very nearly winning and becoming our third Independent Governor).  He founded this organization to attempt to bring under one roof all the people in Maine who are of like mind about having less partisanship and more cooperation in our politics for the benefit of the people of Maine.  From the OneMaine website:
OneMaine provides a rallying point for people who think for themselves, who believe that our politics need to be more effective and less partisan, and who care less about parties and more about common interests and shared purpose. We are not a political party, but rather a big tent in which Mainers of all stripes – Democrats, Republicans, Greens and unenrolled, independent voters – can collaborate, share ideas and move Maine forward.
Mr. Cutler helped establish this organization following last year's gubernatorial election to try to take advantage of the independent momentum of that campaign and to provide a place for disparate people with a common goal of the best interests of Mainers.
I would encourage you to support OneMaine (you can start at the link above or like them on Facebook) or to look for like organizations if you live outside of Maine.  There are many of you out there like myself who have always been independent and have looked for a place to get involved without joining a party.  Now you have that place.
The other day I sent an email to OneMaine asking if they'd be so kind as to give me a progress update on OneMaine that I could share with you.  Kaitlin LaCasse, the media relations director, was gracious enough to get right back to me with the following:
"So far, the response to OneMaine has been fantastic. When we launched in Bangor a few months ago, over 75 people attended to learn more about OneMaine and to have a conversation about how to best move the organization forward. Since then, we've held events all around the state, and the enthusiasm for OneMaine continues to amaze me. At our Portland event (where there were over 100 people!), an older gentleman came up to me after and said, "thank you, I've been yearning for something like this." The best part is that the man hadn't ever connected with us before - he had read about the event in the paper and decided to come check it out! So, OneMaine continues to grow and mature and we're excited about the potential."
 Thank you!
 Cross-posted at The Hankster

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day open forum

On this Veteran's Day I'd like us all to remember the sacrifices of so many in all branches of the United States military, and supporting organizations; sacrifices big and small.  Patriots come in many different forms.  Remember especially that those who wore the uniform wrote a blank check to the people of this country, a check payable up to and including their lives.  It is because of that unselfish sacrifice that we have this great country and the freedoms it holds.

Today I'd like to open this blog up to the readers to say in their own words how appreciative they are of our veterans.  Leave in the comments of this blog a little anecdote, a remembrance of someone close to you, what it means to you to live in this country because of the sacrifice of our veterans, or just the names of veterans that are important to you, whether they be serving currently or in the past, whether they be your ancestors, friends or just someone you look up to.

I'll start it off by remembering my Great Grandfather Stanley Basford Sr, who served during WWI in the Army, and my stepson Timothy, who served on active duty in the Army and is still in the National Guard.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, my band of brothers

 Happy birthday to all the Marines out there; those who are no longer with us, those who are retired, those who are currently serving and those who will some day serve.  But most especially a great big oooh rah, Semper Fi and a toast with my glass of scotch to those very special Marines who I had the great privilege to know and become friends with, who welcomed me into this very special group with open arms and who I still have a special bond with to this day.  You have some idea, I know, how it feels for me to be one of you but let me just say that feeling resides in a place in my heart and soul that no one else has ever entered.

Now enough of the mushy stuff and back to the scotch, a gentleman's drink offered in friendship and camaraderie, cheers as I share with you this video message from the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

I don't know whether, if you're not a Marine, that brings an ear-to-ear smile coupled with a tear like it does this Marine but I suspect it does.  But there is another feeling that only we feel.  Now, I never served in combat and would never act like I know what it feels like but I do feel like I'm there with them and I "bleed" when they bleed.
One final thing, since I'm reminded of this watching that video and being a proud native of the State of Maine, is to give a toast and an ooh rah to the fine people of Bangor who welcome all those troops, every one of them, when they arrive back home.
I would encourage you to leave the name of a fallen Marine in the comments, like a permanent honor roll.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

In Support of Unions

I can honestly say there was a time when I thought labor unions had worn out their usefulness because they were cocky and arrogant and too powerful.  Well, now that pendulum has swung drastically in the other direction and hopefully organized labor has learned from this.
Did unions go too far sometimes and go after worker rights at the expense of fairness and reason?  Yes.
Have there been union employees who have rested on their laurels and taken advantage of that system to get much more than they deserved?  Absolutely.
Have there been workers who should have been fired the first time for an offense but yet got three more bites at the apple because they were part of a union?  True again.
But if you think for one moment that you're not much, much better off today because of the sacrifice of union organizers and workers, you're the fool those who are trying to take away the right to organize hope you are.
I know it's easy to say things that sound purely American, like he who works hardest and smartest will get ahead and unions keep that from happening.  Well, you forget your history.  Before organized labor you weren't paid nearly what you were worth.  It mattered not if you were twice as good as the person next to you; you both got paid the same, next to nothing.  All of the things we take for granted in the workplace these days are there because of the sacrifices of labor unions -- word day length, breaks, benefits, child labor laws, you name it.
Now you have people on the right trying to pit you against your fellow worker in the middle class, getting you to believe that his decent wage because he's a member of a union is somehow unfair.  Look, all the while that you're believing that nonsense, the average standard of living of the working person has stayed the same, at the same time the monied interests in this country are giving more and more breaks to the people who are trying to take your rights away.  How foolish can you be not to see what is really going on?
More and more people are falling out of the middle class into poverty, more and more of us are accumulating insufferable debt that our wages can't pay, the jobs that are available don't pay a decent wage.  Your friend the union worker is not who's to blame for the fact that in real terms you make less than you used to; it's the fat cats who pay lobbyists to buy politicians who lie to you to get you to perpetuate a system that benefits those at the top and steals the rest of us blind.
And congratulations to the people of Ohio for fighting back and winning last night.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

What a great day to vote

It almost felt like a summer's day when Todd and I struck out for the Town Hall to vote today.  They wouldn't let me register Todd...something about concerns over me influencing his vote.  I wonder why?
But the point of my post today is just to simply tell you how good it feels every time I go to vote (and to me it's a much more enjoyable and personal thing to do in person) because of what it means to be able to do this, and to also mention a few of the voting obstacles and restrictions of that freedom that we as a country have overcome simply by getting out there and exercising that most precious of all rights.
This ties in to Question One that we are voting on here in Maine.  Voting yes would overturn a law the Legislature enacted requiring people to register at least two days before voting day.  I can tell you that that would have impacted yours truly today because I moved less than a year ago.  Under the new law I would have had to make two trips, one of them completely unnecessary, just to be able to exercise my right to vote as a United States citizen and a resident of the State of Maine.  The more difficult they make it for you to be able to vote, the harder it is for you to use your vote to keep them under control.  Don't EVER let them start because it's always been difficult for some reason, here in the Land of the Free, to ensure that we all have our rights.
A couple of things that I am not quite old enough to have experienced but my mother, just one generation older than myself, did experience; and those things are:  You used to have to be a land owner before you were eligible to register to vote and there used to be such things as poll taxes, having to pay to exercise your rights.  Now why do you think those things were in place?  So that the wealthy would have control and the ability to yield power over those who were not so fortunate.  It is no different with Question One; they want to be able to keep the undesirables from voting, mostly because those undesirables tend to vote differently than those who want to restrict voting rights.
Let us also not forget that it was not all that long ago that certain segments, shall we say, of our society, even though they were citizens, did not have the right to vote and, therefore, were not fully vested in our democratic system; those people being women and people of color.   So just remember that the right to vote is precious and it is what gives all of us the power to not be controlled by the few.  They are always trying to weaken us; example being trying to restrict the rights of workers to organize.  They have the power of money, therefore influence; our power is in numbers and they know that.  Don't let them fool you into thinking it's in your interest to have the rights of individuals restricted.

Postscript:  After voting, Todd and I drove over to the Maine Store for a breakfast sandwich, personally made for yours truly by my cousin.  Yes, Todd got a smidge.  And we said hi to Unc and Auntie as well.

Second Postscript:  I'm lucky that I didn't have to drive back home before registering.  You need to have something with you that says you live in the town you're registering in.  Well, my driver's license isn't up for renewal, so it has my old address; and if I had remembered to bring a copy of a bill with my address on it, I would've been hard pressed to find one since I pay all my bills online and have gone paperless.  Luckily, I had already registered my car in town and they were able to verify that, saving me a trip home to look for something with my address on it.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Repeat the truth (over and over again)

Unfortunately in this echo-chambered modern world, it is very easy for lies to be layered upon lies and built into a seemingly-reasonable truth.  This is done over and over again by those who are always willing to put their self interests above the common good.  They are also cowards unwilling to stand up for their mistakes and take their medicine.  It's much easier to go to their issue-friendly echo chamber and say whatever they want to say because they know it will be supported by more lies and more lies, and believed by those who want to believe their side, until it becomes this massive entanglement of lies, half-truths, lies of omission and cherry-picked facts that not even the smartest and most dedicated person could untangle it.
It also means that it's very difficult to counter this nightmare with simple truth.  Put forth the truth in the form of facts and they'll counter-offer their own cherry picked facts.  They're willing to go further than you because they have more on the line -- their character is at stake -- whereas all you have going for you is truth; and that's a heavy, burdensome thing to carry around.  It gets very tiresome banging your head against the wall; doesn't it?  It seems as though they'll never get it.

This excellent article by Barry Ritholtz in the Washington Post, "What caused the financial crisis? The Big Lie goes viral," attempts to fight back against that echo chamber on the topic of what caused the financial crisis of a couple years ago.  You can sense his frustration in having to point out the same facts yet again that everyone should already know (and probably do if they were willing to examine it honestly.)
This political cartoon is a good illustration (pun intended) of the point I'm trying to make.  One complete segment of the country still doesn't realize this is the truth because so many out there don't want them to know who really ran up the deficit.
Every day we're being told by one segment of society that the people protesting in the Occupy Movement want a handout, when the reality is simply that they want to no longer be robbed by those in power; that they just want a more level playing field.  And what frustrates us so much is that we don't understand how a significant percentage of people are still being taken advantage of because they still don't want to believe their side has lied to them and stolen from them.  It also means they would have to admit that they've been complicit to some extent by continually voting for people who've made this possible and by echoing their lies.

So we'll just have to keep hammering the truth back at them until MAYBE some day we get back to a country that's more open to truth and fairness, instead of being interested in their side winning no matter the cost.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Vote Yes on Question 1

It shows just how far to the right the Republican Party has moved in 40 years when you consider the law that gives Mainers the right to register and vote on election day was sponsored by the Republican-controlled Maine Legislature in 1973 and that now it's a vastly different Republican-controlled Legislature that threw that right aside last year, using the fear of imaginary threats to the system in so doing.  (Have you ever noticed that there's seemingly always fear behind their tactics?  Why?  To mask their true motives...POWER.)
Just recently in ads bought and paid for by out-of-state interests and money, they're using the term "election ethics law," which is a term nonexistent in the law passed last year nor found anywhere in the minutes of the debates surrounding its passage, to try to define the need for suppressing voter turnout as a way to keep out-of -staters from somehow voting in Maine elections.
You're not so dumb to not see the hypocrisy here, are you?
There is not, nor has there ever been, any evidence of voter fraud in Maine.  So why do Republicans want to suppress voter turnout?  For the very same reason that in some voting districts in this country that are heavily Republican they want to make it easier for people to vote -- because it benefits the Republican Party and the Republican Party only.  They know that more liberals, Democrats, moderates and independents are new registrants than are Republicans and conservatives.  So if you make it harder for the opposition to vote, you lessen the power of the opposition.
I thought the point of having votes was to hear what ALL of the people have to say on an issue.  Remember, our democracy was designed as a democracy by and for the people; but when you let one party suppress the wishes of the people, then it is no democracy at all.  Vote yes on Question 1 on Tuesday.

I would encourage you to go to this page at Protect Maine Votes for a wealth of links to great articles and information on the issue.  There is also an excellent article by Bill Nemitz in today's Portland Press Herald on this topic; much more thorough and well written than what I've done above.  I'd strongly encourage you to read that article.

Make sure you get out there and vote on Tuesday.  The is one of the most important elections perhaps in my lifetime because to not answer the anti-democratic laws that have been instituted in the last couple of years means we agree, right?  And we most certainly do not.  This is not the only important issue being decided in this country Tuesday but it is the most important.  Without our vote, they can do anything they want whether we like it or not.  Remember, a democracy is only powerful if you exercise your right to vote.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Smoke and mirrors

Today Congress reaffirmed that this country's motto is "In God We Trust." Isn't that already our motto? Don't we need jobs more than reaffirming what already exists and isn't being challenged?
See, that's what they do:  ("They" being the ones who are always telling you what a real American is)  They tell the gullible portion of this country that there's a threat to America, even when no such threat exists. It's like these things I see shared on Facebook all the time about supporting the troops and that far too many people don't. You don't know a soul who doesn't support the troops; no one does. But we hear it all the time. It's a divide and conquer tactic. "Those liberals out there are trying to take your guns (while gun ownership and ease of ownership continue to rise); they're trying to take God out of the motto; they don't support the troops." If they don't create an enemy, then even the reasonable people on their side of the aisle will have time to start questioning some of the things their side stands for.
It's all class warfare. They're the ones who are out their echoing that the Occupy Movement is using class warfare, when in fact it's a retaliation to policies of the right that have created class warfare against the middle class. But if you tell your gullibles that the Occupy people are trying to steal from hard working people, you distract them from the truth.  It's been a very successful tactic by the likes of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, et al, for years; tell conservatives what liberals think and want and stand for instead of asking one yourself.  When's the last time you, Mr. and Mrs. Conservative, asked a liberal what they stand for?  Try it, you're very likely to get a big surprise.  We stand for the same things a lot more than they want to you realize.
So the next time you start to nod your head in agreement when someone suggests to you that there are people who don't support the troops, who use their welfare checks to buy crack, etc, ask yourself if you know anyone that that's true about.
UPDATE:  This Daily Show clip from November 3rd fits perfectly, plus as always it's funny as hell.