My obituaries from Democratic Underground

I’ve been exiled from Democratic Underground after a decade of posting. I violated making it’s Third-Way ownership uncomfortable their Terms of Service if you look at it in the right light at just the right direction no trust me it’s there well I can see it sorta.

Some comfort in my banishment:

And this is amusing, responses for an appeal for money by DU’s owners:

 

 

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And here we are.

I remember where I was when I heard that my state’s Supreme Judicial Court had ruled that marriage could not be denied to same-sex couples under our state constitution: it was a grey November day, and I was driving along the Waltham Commons on my way back to the office for some night work.

I had zero idea that this ruling was in the works (my bad!), although to be fair I don’t think most other Bay Staters did, either. Out of the blue, here it was.

My first reaction was a full-body smile: “Hey! That’s amazing!

A moment later: “Uh-oh, this will not go well.

I grew up in the 1960s and 70s, during most of which time homosexuality was considered a bona fide mental illness in the official diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association. While I didn’t think much about it, I too vaguely suspected there was something wrong with it. I never knew an openly gay person until college, when I found out that one of my older fraternity brothers was gay. My first reaction was anger: “Why didn’t he tell me!” A moment later: “Ah, he’s a cool guy, he’s a lot like me, so what’s the big deal?” Enlightenment in under five seconds. It turned out that a bunch of my fraternity brothers were gay, some out, some closeted. It was all good with the guys in my house. But even at my college not all fraternities were so enlightened, and the campus LGBT group was tiny.

When our state court issued its decision that November day, I assumed that there would be a lot of angry people, and much yelling and gnashing of teeth. And, certainly, it was not a popular ruling at first: polling at the time showed that only one-third of the the state approved, while fully half were against it. Governor Romney, who had become a right-wing lunatic upon taking office, declared the ruling “wrongly decided and deeply mistaken” in one op-ed, and vowed, along with some members of our state legislature, to amend the state constitution in order to force the court to re-repress the LGBT community.

The plans for said constitutional downgrade were ambushed by the reality that ensued: We saw beaming people get married to beaming people of the same gender. We saw angry handfuls of the outraged, faces red and spittle spraying in hateful screams holding hateful signs, and the good people of our Commonwealth thought: “Are those the people we really want to be?

No, it wasn’t who we wanted to be.

Within a year, the poll numbers flipped. The politicians (besides hoping-to-be-President Romney, of course) STFUed, and it was a done deal.

Over the years, other states here and there have decided that they didn’t want to be those people either. And as of today, while those people still exist in our country in significant numbers, we are no longer a nation of those people. The unthinkable of 12 years ago became thinkable, and now the law of the land. We are a nation where there is more freedom and love today than there was yesterday.

Here we are!

As throughout our history, we Americans owe a profound debt of gratitude to the many unreasonable people who dragged us here. To Mary Bonauto, the unreasonable lawyer who convinced both our state court and the Supreme Court to do the right thing. To unreasonable former Massachusetts Chief Justice Margaret Marshall and her three unreasonable fellow justices who allowed themselves to be convinced, even though they must have known a @#$%storm could follow. To the unreasonable activists who refused to sit down and shut up when even many in the LGBT community warned them that they were playing with fire. To every unreasonable American who knew right from wrong, and helped to thaw hearts and cultivate a broader desire for justice.

Our country has come far; yet it has far to go. But on days like today, I think it will go.

 

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Hey, fellow Liberals: we’re scaring the right people.

Third-Wayer Rahm Emanuel was forced into a mayoral runoff, the first time ever in Chicago for an incumbent IIRC. And this despite having a zillion dollars in contributions from people who stand to make money from his reelection, and the backing of some notable (confessed) Republicans.

Two years ago, only four Senators voted against the rich Wall Street Banker that Obama picked to negotiate the TPP and the other international assaults on the 99%. Today, Obama seems to be having some difficulty in getting the thing slipped through in secret.

Heard much talk from Democrats about cutting Social Security lately? About the need to eat our peas and all that bull#%^*? Not really.

And this weekend, A new milestone: our newest always-was Liberal, Hillary Clinton, vowed to search tirelessly for the real killer people who stacked the deck against the 99%. (I can’t wait to find the bastards.)

And even the Democrats who, just a week ago, were baying about the political foolishness of Liberalism are now proud Liberals themselves, but not like us previous Liberals who are still merely dolts short a pony, haters, ratf#%ckers or whatever.

We’re not winning the thing yet, but we’re making damned good progress.

First they steal your money
Then they moon you
Then they steal your message as candidates, then moon you once elected
Then you win
Unless you let them get away with co-opting your message

– Mahatma Goldstein (with deep apologies to Mahatma Gandhi and all sentient beings everywhere)

Now comes the dangerous times. We Liberals are starting to mess up their plans for a fourth home here, a private plane there. They want their damned extra homes and planes, and they are rich, and they are smart, and they will #%^* up our *^%# to buy their doggies gold water bowls.

They are trying the easy way now, to co-opt our brand of political thought and action. I believe they will fail.

When the easy way fails, then things may get pretty ugly. They want our stuff, they think it belongs to them. They WANT IT, DAMMIT! Hell, we know they’ll even start wars based on fantasy just to get the gold water bowls for their doggies. They are that disturbed.

Don’t give it to them. Moon ’em back, instead.

If we hold fast, if we stay the course, if we’re tough and press the fight, we will continue to make progress, then we’ll win battles, then we’ll win the war. Because we’re right, and they’re wrong, and this is why history has a well-known Liberal bias over the centuries.

We. Will. Win.

Because we are Liberals. The real deal.

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“Weiss supporters in the White House and on Wall Street were stunned.”

Interesting article in Politico today on how Elizabeth Warren ended Obama’s nomination of rich Wall Street banker Antonio Weiss to be Under Secretary for Domestic Finance.  Warren led the effort to totally shut the deal down – she wouldn’t even meet with Weiss. Some choice bits:

The game in Washington had changed.

Elizabeth Warren, sometimes disregarded by the White House as a largely irrelevant nuisance, could no longer be ignored. Bolstered by grass roots groups eager for any anti-Wall Street crusade and a vibrant progressive media that hung on her every word, Warren succeeded in knocking out Weiss’ nomination

It was not a total victory. Weiss will still join Treasury as an unconfirmed counselor to Secretary Jack Lew. But in terms of symbolism, the Washington power game and the ideological direction of the Democratic Party, Warren won big. And the moderate, Wall Street- and business-friendly wing of the party — in past years happily occupied by Democratic presidential nominee-in-waiting Hillary Clinton — got punched in the mouth.

On the other side, the despair among Wall Street’s Democratic elite is growing acute. As is the belief that Weiss himself never mattered in this fight.

If it wasn’t obvious before, Warren’s speeches in Congress on December 10th and December 12th (required watching if you haven’t seen them!) made it clear that Warren’s at war with Wall Street Predators and their paid help in government.  Her speeches were in response to the White House and Jamie Dimon whipping votes from Democratic senators to enable the big banks to use FDIC funds (which guarantee savings bank deposits) as collateral for huge and risky Wall Street derivative bets.
Thanks Sen. Warren!
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1924: The KKK rallies in Worcester, things do not go well

Another reason for Massachusetts residents to have some pride in the history of our commonwealth; from a Daily Kos post The day the Klan messed with the wrong people:

“in 1924, the largest gathering of the Ku Klux Klan ever held in New England took place at the Agricultural Fairgrounds in Worcester. Klansmen in sheets and hoods, new Knights awaiting a mass induction ceremony, and supporters swelled the crowd to 15,000. The KKK had hired more than 400 “husky guards,” but when the rally ended around midnight, a riot broke out. Klansmen’s cars were stoned, burned, and windows smashed. KKK members were pulled from their cars and beaten. Klansmen called for police protection, but the situation raged out of control for most of the night. The violence after the “Klanvocation” had the desired effect. Membership fell off, and no further public Klan meetings were held in Worcester”

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“They should learn some lessons from Boston!”

The denouement to a couple of sad and very-public cases this week, cases where black men were pointlessly killed by police.

On Wednesday, a grand jury decided that there wasn’t enough evidence presented to indict members of the NYPD who’d asphyxiated Eric Garner to death for “resisting arrest”. In this case, when police touched Garner as they moved in to arrest him for the high crime of selling single cigarettes,  Garner moved his arms a bit and said “don’t touch me!”  Garner’s neck was immediately grabbed from behind in a choke hold, and he was tackled to the ground by a half-dozen or so cops. Garner died over several minutes as his plaintive cries of “I can’t breath!” drew ever quieter, ending when life left his body. One cop, in a green shirt, seemed to have had the task of staying focused on Garner’s windpipe from the initial take-down through the completion of the act. Watch it for yourself, if you can bear to, it’s horrific; the homicide (as it’s been ruled by the NYC Medical Examiner), begins at about 1:15 in this video.

(In a freak coincidence, the man who videoed the homicide was arrested by NYPD a few weeks later when police claim they saw him handing a .25 caliber handgun to a friend, and he was indicted. Life is filled with amazing coincidences.)

And of course, a week ago, a grand jury decided that the police work of Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, didn’t rise to the level of a likely crime either. Wilson stopped one Michael Brown for another terrible criminal act, namely walking in the street (or possibly for looking like someone who’d stolen mini-cigars earlier that day), and the stop turned into a fusillade of gunshots that ended Brown’s life on Earth.

The NYPD has been known for sometimes not playing by the rules, particularly when it comes to minorities and those who question the right of bankers to fleece the 99%. But the Ferguson PD wasn’t letting any moss grow on it in the competition to mess with citizens who look or act a little different, either.

The US Department of Justice is investigating both tragedies. But Eric Holder being Eric Holder, and neither Garner nor Brown being bankers, I’ll remind my readers not to hold their breath until justice is served by that route.

I happened to leave Boston on vacation a day or two after Brown was gunned down in Ferguson and the subsequent protests (and paramilitary response) began. One of my cabbies that day, a black man perhaps 40 or so with a slight foreign accent whose origin I couldn’t quite catch, was tuning between radio stations to soak in all of the news about Ferguson; I was interested, too!

Me: “It’s terrible what happened in Ferguson!

Cabbie: “They should learn some lessons from Boston!

He went on to tell me that he lives an a low-income neighborhood, and in his experience the Boston Police respects its residents, keeps an eye on nogoodniks without provoking trouble, and makes an effort to ensure that the neighborhood’s cops “look like” the residents, i.e., neighborhoods with a certain makeup of minorities will tend to have cops drawn from the same minorities. He had nothing but praise for the BPD.

That was a little surprising to me, in a good way of course. My dealings with local police in Boston and its suburbs have been excellent, but I’m white, middle-aged and middle class; I just assumed that things probably did not go as well for non-whites, the young, and the poor. But I’ve also known that Boston-area police departments are not cut from the same cloth as those of NYC, Ferguson, or many other cities and suburbs. For example, compare the way the Boston Bomber Brother situation was handled to how things go in cities like New York, Ferguson, Los Angeles and Albuquerque. I’ve asked a number of fellow Bostonians if they could even imagine incidents happening here like those that happened in these other places, and they cannot. Of course we can never say never, but… our cops just don’t do that stuff.

In the name of transparency and community involvement, BPD Police Commissioner Bill Evans, born and raised in Boston, even has a monthly “Ask the Commissioner” call-in segment on WGBH’s popular Boston Public Radio program. Evans comes across as a smart, low-key, sensible guy who I usually find myself agreeing with.

Look… I’m sure that every police force has areas where they can improve. And I’m sure that virtually every police force has been involved in abuses of power: whenever one party has great power over another, the occasional abuse is bound to occur, either accidental or willful.  And I can’t imagine that any praise of police in these dark days will embraced by many of my fellow Liberals, and I can understand the deep anger. But the more I see and hear of police behavior in much of the rest of our country, I can only agree with my cabbie:

They should learn some lessons from Boston!

During the Watertown manhunt for the surviving Boston Bomber Brother, Brookline PD officer John Bradley volunteered to get sustenance for 17-month-old Holden Wells, whose parents had run out of milk. “We wanted to pay him but he wouldn’t take money from us. He was just so generous,” said Holden’s mom.

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Impossible. They just *can’t* do it.

A couple of years back, then-senatorial-candidate Elizabeth Warren gave a great (and seemingly-impromptu) soliloquy on how nobody in America gets rich on their own – they get rich with the help of the American people, and they owe it to the American people to put some of their wealth back into helping the next generation of Americans.

“‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.’ No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

Now that demanding that the 99% eat our peas and other such crap is no longer considered fashionable among national Democrats, some of the Third Way crowd has been trying to duplicate Warren’s schtick — they stumble through some words that are sort of similar, but the effect is like an actor reciting lines they’ve not yet memorized, in a foreign language they don’t understand. It’s like a vampire convincing us they love sunlight.

The latest Third-Way attempt to imitate an FDR Democrat was undertaken by one Hillary Clinton, the video is below. For reference, I’ve included Elizabeth Warren’s original below Clinton’s re-enactment. (Extra-credit question: on which one would you put your money on in a debate?)

 

 

(Thanks to DUer cprise for reminding me of this!)

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Yesterday, Elizabeth Warren assumed control of the Democratic Party

Yesterday, Elizabeth Warren assumed control of the Democratic Party in a bloodless coup. I’m not even sure she was trying.

I can’t prove it, but I’ve had a sneaking suspicion for a few days that Elizabeth Warren was about to take the reins of our party, and yesterday’s announcement has helped fuel this thought.

At this point, I think that few of us can credibly argue that the bulk of elected “Democrats” are behaving well or performing well. In some cases, they’re just grabbing as much cash as they can with both hands; but in many other cases, they just don’t know what else to do. They are very smart people, very socially adroit, who’ve gotten ahead in life by doing what’s been asked of them by wealthy people wearing impressive clothing. They eventually they became politicians, in charge of important stuff.

Excellent Sheep.

But no matter how excellent the sheep, they are still sheep, in need of a shepherd.  The wealthiest people in the most impressive clothing for the last few decades have been the Wall Street crew, with high-pressure hoses of cash to spray down anyone with the ability to spray back even more cash. So the excellent sheep followed Wall Street’s shepherds, passing law after law aimed at grabbing cash from the 99% and handing it to their shepherds, while taking a nice chunk for themselves and their families.

And the American Dream was destroyed.

And here we are.

I don’t think that the wholesale destruction of our country has gone unnoticed by our Democratic Excellent Sheep. They must surely realize that six years ago they held the Presidency and both house of Congress, and had a mandate from America to fix the @#$%ing thing; and that now they have no houses of Congress, a near-impotent Presidency, and things have only gotten worse for the 99%. I suspect that somewhere, deep inside, most of them feel terrible about it all when they lie in bed at night, or when they pass a homeless person begging for money to feed their kids.

They are powerful. They are adroit. But they are utterly clueless as to the way forward.

Here’s the thing that makes Elizabeth Warren special, the thing that made my brain boing! like a rubber band when I first noticed her years ago: Warren is as smart and adroit as any person alive – that’s how one gets to be a Harvard Law School professor. But unlike the Excellent Sheep, she also has a big heart, a big vision, and one helluva punch. In a few short years, that difficult woman from Massachusetts has set up an agency to protect the 99% from financial predation, publicly told Geithner, Summers and company to take a flying @#$% at a rolling donut, beat a popular incumbent Senator like a drum, fended off yet another attempt to unleash Summers on the 99%, got financial regulators to start thinking about doing their jobs, changed the conversation in Democratic circles, and won the hearts of FDR Democrats.

I don’t think that these things are lost on the Excellent Sheep.

I suspected that something was up last week, when three days after the elections Warren published an op-ed in the Washington Post instructing the President to not do what he does best, which is caving in to Republicans before they even ask in the bizarre hope that they’ll somehow like him one of these days. Instead, Warren wrote, he must get up and do the right thing for working Americans.

A Democratic Senator instructed a Democratic President, in public: when was the last time something like that happened? Something interesting was up: Warren clearly felt like she had serious mojo.

Then, yesterday, Sen. Warren was given some sort of leadership position in the Democratic Party, she’s now their “envoy to Liberals” or some such thing. It’s not clear what that means. But, this unclarity may actually make the intent clear: I suspect that Democratic leadership, particularly Harry Reid, just wants an excuse to bring a senator with only two years of tenure into their Mt. Olympus. Reid’s had enough of the bull@#$%, and wans the horror to stop. He understands that Warren knows the path forward, and he wants her to lead.

And Warren being Warren, she’ll grab a machete and plow through the dark jungle ahead until we find bright light and good drinking water. You totally know she will.

Great things ahead, I think. I could be wrong, but let’s hope I’m not.

Excelsior!

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A Rededication to the United States of America

The United States of America was never a sure thing, and it still isn’t.

A little epiphany for me today, on Veteran’s Day:

240 or so years ago, British colonists in America rebelled against their mother country over an idea. An idea! An idea that had been much talked about but little acted on in that era, which is stated succinctly in our wonderful Declaration of Independance:

“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”

(We don’t need no stinkin’ monarchy! We pick our own leaders, dammit!)

At that time, America’s colonials enjoyed perhaps the highest standard of living in the entire world, and British subjects enjoyed political freedom that was unique among citizens of major powers. Benjamin Franklin, no lover of the British monarchy, thought that rebellion was @#$%^ing nuts to give up such a good thing, and it took him quite some time to fully buy into the idea of splitting off. But despite having much to lose, our country’s first army came together and took up arms for the right to turn that idea into practice. There was great hardship and suffering, ambivalence and antagonism from many fellow colonials, but in the end they earned what they asked for.

Today, we thank those brave soldiers and their families for their suffering in the service of creating a noble experiment in government of, by, and for the people.

80 years later, brave Americans were again at war, this time over the question of whether the young country was a country; were we The United States of America, with laws that applied to all inhabitants? Or were we simply a confederation of smaller states that banded together when convenient to each state?  Were we one, or many? The proximal cause of this war was the ghastly insistence by some states that man has an unalienable right to own another human being, and to use that human being in whatever manner they wished, and that this terrible practice should expand in contravention of our Constitution.

Would the Constitution hold? There is no more perfect description of that struggle than President Lincoln’s opening address at the dedication of a vast cemetery filled with the dead from one battle in that war. It begins:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”

and ends:

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us… that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

The noble idea again prevailed, through the blood, sweat, and tears of soldiers under arms, and today we thank them and their families for their suffering in this service.

After another span of about 80 years, our founding principle was again under attack, by oligarchs at home and fascism abroad:

“They had begun to consider the government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs and we know now that a government by organized money is just as bad as a government by organized mob.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Taking back our own government was effected virtually without bloodshed thanks to the revolutionary weapon given to us by our Founders: the vote.

But the situation abroad was another matter, and Americans again took to arms in a brutal global struggle against tyranny. And again, those Americans were successful, and today we thank them and their families for their suffering in this service.

Once again eighty years have passed, and again we find ourselves in a familiar predicament: government of, by, and for the people has been replaced by government of, by, and for organized money. America’s 99%, indeed our planet’s 99%, have become the the food, the pawns, and the playthings of a small group of people, many deeply depraved predators, more interested in filling the gaps in their wine collections than in feeding the hungry. They have purchased the majority of those who make and enforce our laws, and have spent vast amounts to divide and weaken the populace so that we have become unable to leash their depredations.

I have been watching our inexorable decline for decades, and it has been frustrating beyond words, so very, very sad. At first I tried to do what I could to stop the slide, but the thing was too large, and it was obvious that my efforts were but a flea fart in a hurricane. So I stopped trying.

And now we spiral the drain.

Month by month, things grow worse for the 99%, better for the 1%. We see the homelessness, the despair. The American Dream is now just a distant dream for most Americans. We once were a great country where each year brought greater prosperity for most, where there were wrongs, but these were righted with time. We are now the Hunger Games, the prey and the preyed-upon.

Sometimes I just want to walk away. To pick up stakes, to take my family and go to another place, to one of the few remaining countries which are organized around the collective good of all of their residents. I’ve thought about this a lot recently: today’s United States of America is no good place for our teenaged son to enter adulthood. Perhaps it’s time to seek better conditions elsewhere, as my ancestors did, and as did their ancestors before them.

But here’s what I realized today, on Veteran’s Day: I am surrounded by people, some alive and some as spirits, who went out there and fought the good fight. Some gave there lives, some returned with grievous wounds to body or mind, and some served at a desk. But they served. They got up off their asses, joined a cause, and they got the job done. It was never a sure thing, but they fought through the uncertainty and got it done.

What kind of a person am I if I quit the fight now? Not much of one.

And so, I will give it another shot. Instead of slinking off, I will try to live up to the ideals of our veterans.

I will fight. I’m not sure of what to do yet, but I will damned well fight.

And I hope that you will fight, too!

It will be tough, but we can win. We must win. We owe this to our posterity, to our future, and to the future of our children.

Excelsior!

 

 

 

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Hello world!

Welcome to my (online) world. Enjoy your visit.

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