Sunday, December 2, 2007

Coming Back Soon

I promise.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Music Matters

Even though our politics are in the crapper, we still have great music. The sound of music can serve as either a balm to soothe our psyche through melody or ethereal notes. Or, it can be an industrial grade abrasive scouring the particles of despair from our minds. Here are some of the best of each type.

Calgon, Take me Away
Places- Georgie James
Burning Off Impurities- Grails
The Shepherd's Dog- Iron & Wine
The Stage Names- Okkervil River
Pilgrimage- Om
The Fragile Army- The Polyphonic Spree
Oblivion With Bells- Underworld
Night Drive- Chromatics

Pardon Me While I Scrub My Subconscious
Gone- Mono
Pink Mammoth- Pelican
S/T- A Place to Bury Strangers
Split- Ryokuchi & Fire Witch
Weighing Souls With Sand- The Angelic Process
Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky- Earthless
Void- Intronaut
Samus Octology- Irepress
Given to the Rising- Neurosis

Song of the Day*

Wild Mountain Nation by Blitzen Trapper

Come out from the world
and into my arms
like wind on the water with me
come out from the city
come out from the town
build stone by stone a wild mountain home

When the red moon wains
we'll be moving on the plains
through the tall grass out to the sea
and we'll cross that water
my wild mountain lover
like wolves running silent and free

So if your love won't grow
and the rivers won't flow
just join that holy desert tribe
is where we saddle up to ride
you know that wild mountain nation
on the rise of going home

Come out from the world
and into my arms
like wind on the water with me
with wings like the angels
and hearts like the sun
building stone by stone
a wild mountain home

*Though this is the song of the day, it has been one of the most played songs on my iPod over the past few months.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Finding a Voice

Congratulations to the progressive blogosphere for funding robocalls into the districts of five Bush Dog Democrats who voted against children's healthcare. The DCCC has been running their own effort to put pressure on vulnerable GoOPers and now the progressives have set their sights on the morons in our own Party. It's about time these Congresscritters realize that there is a price to be paid for siding with the President over the people of their districts. No longer will incumbents get a free ride merely because they have a D after their name.

(click here for more information)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

More Cowardice

Remember back a few weeks ago when the Democrats in the Senate (specifically Leahy) said they would not confirm a new Attorney General until the White House provided documents relating to the USA scandal? Well, surprise, surprise... they have caved already. In a letter made public Wednesday, Senator Leahy stated that confirmation hearings would go forward despite the White House's lack of compliance. So, of course, Senator Leahy got a letter from me.

Senator Leahy-
I am saddened by your cowardice in the face of the Bush administration. I refer specifically to the nomination hearings for AG nominee Mukasey. This administration's refusal to provide documents and honor subpoenas has dangerously undermined our American system of government. Rather than hold this administration accountable, you have instead folded. I'd like to say that I am surprised by this level of cowardice, but as someone who has watched an emasculated Democratic Party for the past many years, nothing shocks me anymore.

My only solace is that you and your fellow spineless DC Democrats are nearing retirement and we have been replacing your kind with actual fighting Democrats. I look forward to the day when we will be rid of our cowardly leaders such as yourself.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


This is what totalitarianism looks like- a dead Buddhist monk, lying face down in Rangoon.


... Bush, still an asshole.

Ok, so that isn't really news. But Chimpy did veto the bipartisan State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill today. The bill provided for an expansion of the program to cover an additional 4 million children. But, Bushie said to do so would move us towards socialized medicine.

Socialized medicine? Are you kidding me? That is the best the White House can come up with for a reason to keep millions of children without access to health care. It should come as no surprise that their worry was that children might leave private insurers in favor of SCHIP. God forbid anything happens to the precious HMOs bottom lines!

This administration has made it abundantly clear that their health care policy is driven solely by the economic interests of the insurance and Pharma lobbies. Just look at the monumental clusterfuck that is Part D. We could save billions of dollars if the government provided Rx coverage through Medicare, rather than lining the pockets of private insurers. But why think about things like efficiency when you've got corporate masters to satisfy?

It is sickening just how little this band of corporatists care about our children, our elderly and our less fortunate. Compassionate conservatism my ass!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Food for Thought

"... aren't you ashamed to care so much to make all the money you can, and to advance your reputation and prestige- while for truth and wisdom and the improvement of your soul you have no care or worry?" -- Socrates

Thursday, September 20, 2007

F*ck the Senate Democrats

Twenty-two Democratic Senators voted to condemn MoveOn's General Betray Us ad. Of course, all but three GOP Senators supported the measure. That came right on the heels of an alternative measure that would have also condemned the folks who slandered Max Cleland in 2002 and John Kerry in 2004. So, in other words it is perfectly acceptable to question the patriotism of Democratic veterans, but not to criticize Republican generals.

That Republicans supported this patently ridiculous resolution is certainly not a surprise. But what is amazing is that Senate Majority Leader Reid even allowed this to come to the floor. And that 22 Dem senators were craven enough to vote yea. What a bunch of cowardly jackasses.

It's nice to know that the Senate finds it more important to condemn a fucking newspaper advertisement than to end this war. Shame on them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Plan for Progressives in '08

What do we, as progressives, do in 2008 if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama are our party's nominee? Do we meekly fall into line and toil in the hopes of an end to the GOP occupation of the White House? Do we work against our Party? Or, do we instead focus on Congressional races, leaving the race for the White House to be run by the typical DC insiders?

I would suggest that the latter is our best option. We ought not waste our precious resources electing a person who embodies the worst of our Party. Hillary Clinton is no progressive. If you weren't sure of that before, just look at her recent fundraiser targeted to homeland security contractors. These folks not only got access to Senator Clinton, but to other members of Congress who sit on committees that determine homeland security policy. Now, when Bush and Cheney do that we call it selling policy to the highest bidder. It is no different in this instance. Team Clinton has vacuumed up bundles of campaign cash from corporate special interests and their lobbyists. It is the classic case of insideritis. And it is beyond naive to believe that Hillary will clean up DC.

Although Barack Obama sometimes talks like a progressive, he suffers from the same disease that many Democrats contract once they spend time in Washington- lackus backbonicus. At times Obama comes across as bold and decisive, but more often he seems timid and unsure of himself. It should come as no surprise that his advisers consist of the typical DC Dems. It is hard to be bold when you're counseled by Tom Daschle.

Luckily, we have an alternative (assuming my own choice, John Edwards, does not win the nomination) and that is to use our power to elect more progressive Democrats to Congress. This means supporting progressive challengers to Democratic incumbents, as well as against Republican incumbents. We have the ability to defeat Bush Dog Democrats and Republicritters. A more progressive Congress is the only bulwark against both a triangulating, corporate Democratic administration and a Republican one.

A more progressive Congress would also equal more power for us in the long run. Breaking the stranglehold of cowardly, corporate DC Dems is a long term project. We cannot expect change overnight, nor can we afford to be discouraged by the short term failures we might encounter. In the end, we will be judged by the quality of the democracy we turn over to future generations.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What Have I Become

Something struck me the other day. I have become a radical. And it is an evolution that took a mere five years. What shocked me was that not only did it take such a short period of time, but it has happened while living in a purple and then a red state. Growing up in Massachusetts, and living most of my life there, made me no more liberal than average. In fact, much of my late teens and twenties were spent working in Republican politics in the Bay State.

But the past several years have simply left me with no other option than to embrace my newfound radicalism. See, it wasn't just the Republican control of our government with their trashing of the Constitution or their pathological lying to the American people that pushed me over the edge. It was actually the feebleness of the Democratic Party that sent me down this path.

With almost no exception the Democratic Party has been ineffectual, corrupt and cowardly. They have sit idly by while BushCo has sent our troops off to die for a war based on lies, while the real culprit for 9-11 bides his time in the hills of the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. They have failed to show even one iota of courage or convictions. They do not to speak truth to power. Not only are the Democrats weak-willed, but they suckle from the same corporate teat as their GOP comrades.

Where is the outrage? Where is the leadership? How is it that at this moment in time, when our country is in such a crisis, that one entire Party sits silently and fails to exercise its power to make change?

I am sick and tired of Democrats telling us to sit tight, that they will get tougher tomorrow. Too many tomorrows have passed and I, like many Americans, am out of patience. It is past the time for those of us who care about America to take the Democratic Party back. It will no longer suffice that someone has a D beside their name. If they vote to continue this war, to continue eviscerating the Bill of Rights, to continue to finance tax cuts for the rich on the backs of the poor, then they do not deserve our support. If they want to act like a Republican, then let them be a Republican.

The time has come to challenge EVERY fucking Democrat complicit with this administration. The blood of thousands of our young men and women is on their hands. And they must be made to pay for their transgressions in primaries. We need to take back our party from the corporatists and the cowardly. America deserves no less.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Vote, Vote, Vote .... and Pledge

Tired of DC Democrats bending over for Bush? Then vote at MoveOn to support progressive challengers in primaries. And while you are there, be sure to pledge your financial support.

Friday Letter Section

To Congressman Brian Baird, the Democrat from Vancouver, Washington who since returning home from the Green Zone has become a surge cheerleader:

You should be ashamed of yourself for falling for BushCo's dog and pony show in the Green Zone. All objective evidence has shown that there has been no progress in Iraq. The surge has been a failure.

Your reliance on the Pottery Barn theory to justify our continued occupation of Iraq is simplistic and wrong. Certainly we are responsible for breaking Iraq, but to use that as an excuse to continue our failed policy is absurd. Do you believe that the Pottery Barn would allow you to keep breaking items so long as you paid for them? No, they would throw you out of the store.

Along with this administration and its enablers, you will bear the responsibility of your votes to continue this failed war. I do not know how you are able to sleep at night, knowing that the blood of US troops and Iraqi civilians are on your hands.

Friday Food for Thought

One virtue is more powerful than a thousand vices.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Party Discipline

The GOP has it; we don't. Not only do Republicans possess extraordinary message discipline, but when the chips are down, even those who stray from the Party's talking points come home to their elephant roost. Folks like Olympia Snowe, Sue Collins, Arlen Specter, Chris Shays et al express "independent" ideas on the Sunday morning talking heads shows only to fall right into line with BushCo when the actual votes are being tallied. (That the media constantly fall for this schtick just goes to show how incredibly dumb or lazy our press is.)

On the other hand, Democrats cannot even seem to agree on the color of the sky. There is absolutely no consequence for people like Brian Baird or other Bush Dogs to abandon the Party (and their constituents). It is simply amazing that Joe Lieberman still has committee assignments (not to mention a chair) from the Democratic Party. If he were a Republican he would have been purged a long time ago.

I wonder whether the leadership is either that impotent or is simply unwilling to play hardball with people who forget that the D after their name means something. Either way it only supports the meme of Democrats as ineffectual and WEAK.

Time for a Change

As alluded to in my post supporting John Edwards, it is time for drastic change in America and her politics. Our most obvious problems, things like the Iraq War and the economy, are merely surface manifestations of a much deeper malignancy. Our true ailment is the ever increasing power of elites to determine the shape of our society.

This power manifests itself in our government and in our economy. Powerful elites have always held much sway over America. And to ignore their historical power would be folly. However what we have witnessed in the past thirty or more years has been a centralization and consolidation of that power. Moneyed interests have not only gained access to our public institutions (government, universities, media), but they have, in some instances, purchased them.

Elites have come to amass so much power through a series of incremental steps. Little noticed provisions in spending bills or reauthorization bills or the tax code. On the surface they may seem benign to the average citizen, but their cumulative effect has been enormous. We now have a democracy that is enslaved to corporate and elite interests. Just take a look at our lack of universal health care or high-quality public schools or a truly progressive tax system.

Progress towards each of these three policy goals has been held up by corporate elites, whether it is Big Pharma and HMOs blocking health care reform, or multinational corporations more concerned with a steady supply of drones rather than informed citizens, or very wealthy CEOs demanding ever more tax cuts at the expense of those who labor. All of this has been wrought by a political system for sale to the highest bidder.

This bought and paid for government provides us with crony capitalism, no-bid contracts, and a yawning gap between the haves and the have-nots. And it is well past time for average Americans to take our country back from the elites. Let us not be ignorant of the reality of class warfare, for it has been with man since the dawn of time. It is being waged against the middle class and the poor, as it has been for over thirty years. And it will continue to be waged until either we all succumb or we fight back.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Food for Thought

No real posting over the weekend, but just a few words of wisdom to ponder.

A man of quality is not threatened by a woman for equality.

Just as many kinds of garlands can be made from a heap of flowers, so also much good can be done by a mortal being. - Buddha

Friday, August 31, 2007

Edwards for President

At some point we all have to make a decision. And for quite some time I have sat on the fence in the Democratic race for president. That was largely because even though I like John Edwards, I worried that he and Obama would split the anti-Hillary vote. I was looking for some indication that either Obama or Edwards would solidify their position as the alternative to Hillary. But the longer I waited the more I realized that it was fence-sitters like me who were further delaying this process.

I also believe that in making a choice to support a candidate we must look not only to issues like electability (let's face it, Rove got an inarticulate draft dodger elected twice), but to our passions and our beliefs. And only one candidate moves my emotion meter, and that is John Edwards. I feel that Edwards "gets it" more than the other major candidates. No one else speaks so passionately about poverty and the need for systemic change.

Edwards has said, "We cannot replace a group of corporate Republicans with a group of corporate Democrats, just swapping the Washington insiders of one party for the Washington insiders of the other." He has demonstrated that he understands the nature of the problems we face, and that simply electing any Democrat would be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Despite his wealth, Edwards is not a part of the elite class that has steadily increased its influence on the levers of our government for the past few generations to a point where it is now so rigged in their favor as to have established a stranglehold on our society.

John Edwards gives us the best chance to reclaim our democracy from moneyed elites. We will take back our democracy from those who have profited from their influence and status, while the rest of us have been shut out. We will again have an America that all of us can proud of- where hard work is valued over soft money; where the rule of law applies to all, regardless of their connections; where we come together because of our shared humanity, rather than driven apart by petty prejudices and those who exploit them; where our Constitution and Bill of Rights are respected and not made irrelevant by stoking our irrational fears.

In short, John Edwards will return America to her core values of liberty, tolerance, equality and justice.

What is Strength?

Democrats, or at least most of them in DC, are confused as to what the meaning of strength is. For at least the past thirty years, Democrats have been labelled as weak-willed, soft, lacking resolve, etc. Rather than fighting back against these stereotypes, many Dems have instead accepted this as their fate by adopting Republican frames and being cowed into submission by the Right Wing Noise Machine.

I give you, as an example, the current debate over the War in Iraq and what is soon to be another $50 billion requested for the surge. Before the administration has even made the request, some Democrats are falling all over themselves to support the request, lest they be labelled anti-troop or pro-terrorist or some other catchy slogan dreamed up by Frank Luntz and Karl Rove. For those who might have forgot, this is the same Democratic Party who said that they would get tough (or have tough votes or some other tripe) in September.

But, as always, they have misplaced their spines in another failed attempt to look tough for the American people. But supporting this ill-fated War (and make no mistake, by continuing to fund the War, these Democrats are supporting Bush's Iraq debacle), Democrats are actually showing their lack of resolve. Or their wimpiness, if you will.

What the American people see is a Congress afraid to stand up to a tremendously unpopular president and put an end to an extremely unpopular war. This despite what voters were led to believe prior to returning Democrats to power in November 2006. What is so baffling is that it does not take much courage to stand up for what is the position of a majority of Americans.

We are not looking to write a new chapter of Profiles in Courage. That time has long since passed. What we seek is a Party and leadership that is willing to actually represent the will of the people. Is that really too much to ask?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What's the Difference?

Imagine, if you will, a situation where two sitting US Senators have engaged in unlawful sexual acts. Both are members of the Republican Party; both are married. One senator paid for heterosexual sex with a prostitute (and apparently has a diaper fetish, to boot); the other senator was seeking homosexual action in a public restroom.

Arguably, both senators were engaging in improper and illegal acts. Yet, only one has been stripped of his committee assignments and called upon to resign. Can you guess which one? If you guessed the one whose transgressions were homosexual, give yourself a gold star for today.

But another difference has been largely ignored by the media- the gay sex senator represents a state with a Republican governor, while the diaper aficionado comes from a state governed by a Democrat. In other words, if Senator Craig were to resign, he would be replaced by another conservative Republican. But, if Senator Vitter goes, his governor would appoint a Democrat to fill his seat.

So, for those who worry that the GOP is obsessed only with gay sex, take heart. They are equally, if not more, concerned with their ever dwindling numbers in Congress.


This blog will contain my thoughts and takes on politics, current events, books and music. Some posts will be short and random; others will be meandering missives, complete with links, and maybe even citations. I hope you enjoy my new home. Posting to begin very soon.