Republicans just don’t get this concept of rights…

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free … it expects what never was and
never will be.” — Thomas Jefferson

One of the most bothersome things about the Republican Party these days has to be their sheer hypocrisy when it
comes to the concept of liberty. Many claim to be “strict constitutionalists,” but really, which rigths do they seem to care about, except the right to bear arms.  When you look at their view of each Amendment in the Bill of Rights one by one, you can see a serious problem.

Amendment I — Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. 

Republicans really hate this one. They pretend to love the religion part, because they think it’ll get them votes. But it’s usually phony. What they really mean is they demand their “right” to preachify and annoy us with their religion, and to create lws they know will be struck down in court, because they want to impress their “base.” .I mean, God forbid we want to remove the Ten Commandments from the secular courthouse, or make sure our children don’t feel pressured to say a prayer before or after school. However, just try putting a “mosque” in an old Burluington Coat Factory “too close” to where the World Trade Center once stood. You’ll find out just how anti-First A

The problem is this (capital L) Libertarian streak they have, in which they value their own freedom to speak in their own freedom to say whatever nonsense they want in any forum they wish, but they really don’t value anyone else’s. In fact, when anyone calls them on their nonsense, they view any differing opinion as if the person offering the opinion is somehow stifling their freedom of speech. In their view, Rush Limbaugh must be allowed to scream as much racist, misogynist nonsense as he wants, but anyone who objects to certain sponsors helping to pay money for that nonsense is somehow violating his right to free speech.

Republicans also feel the right to free speech should be severely limited to whatever fits into their narrow world view. Consider this; Rush Limbaugh can spend three days calling a woman a slut, and Fox News is allowed to perpetrate any lie under the guise of “news.” in point of fact, Fox even sued one time to protect their right to lie on air. Yet, their first in line to demand a ban on certain types of art or pornography, even if the odds of someone seeing it and being negatively affected by it is almost nil. Few Republicans seem to have a problem with petitioning the government for redress of their grievances, but when anyone else does it, they throw a shit fit. They want abortion protesters to be able to block access to clinics, and they want them to be able to intimidate women who were entering a clinic for healthcare. But they refer to the people of Ferguson who protest the murder of Michael Brown by Ferguson police as “mobs” and “thugs,” and the applied the arrests of as many of these people as possible. If black people protest anywhere, Republicans will gather together and demand a “crackdown.” Of course when someone shows up at a tea party rally with a gun and assign comparing the president to an eight or calling him a murderer, we’re supposed to just forgive them.

Put simply, Republicans are not fans of the First Amendment in the least.

Amendment II — A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

This is the Amendment that most Republicans think is the key to the survival of the United States. Forget freedom of speech and the right to a trial and all of that; without a gun, our freedoms are in mortal danger. the funny thing is, it doesn’t actually say what they think it says. You know that first part, about the “well-regulated militia”? As far as Republicans are concerned, that clause has no real meaning, so ignore that. As Republicans see it, the Second Amendment creates an unlimited right to buy any gun you wish and shoot anyone who gets in your face. Period. No qualifiers.

Amendment III — No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without
the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed
by law.

This one doesn’t come up very much, so let’s skip this one.

Amendment IV — The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V — No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. 

Amendment VI – In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Right wingers absolutely detest this section of the Bill of Rights, because it’s not just nice and neat, and it requires work to enforce. Their basic premise is based on the concept that, “if you haven’t done anything wrong, you should have nothing to fear if authorities want to check you out. Of course, there seems to be an exemption for those who are doctor-shopping for oxycontin to feed their addiction. But for the most part, they believe, if you’re not doing anything wrong, you should have nothing to fear.

If you think I’m exaggerating, consider the drug laws they champion, and consider how many years they operated the NSA surveillance program in secret, without any oversight whatsoever. Take a look at the TSA setup at the airport, which would make George Orwell blush. For that matter, consider their blind worship of the almighty driver’s license. If it has a picture, then it proves who you are, right? well, it must, because you have to show it to someone in many Republican states before you’re allowed to exercise the most basic right you have — the right to vote.

This is, of course, insane. The purpose of the Fourth Amendment is to ensure that government works for us, and not the other way around. For our justice system to work at all, the government should always have the burden of proof anytime you’re being accused of a crime. The government has to prove you’re a criminal; you do not have to prove you’re not. and yet, consider how many times the current Republican Party stance that concept on its head. As far as they’re concerned, if a police officer accuses you of a crime, he or she must have a reason, and that cop is absolutely entitled to search everything you have. If the subject is terrorism or drugs, you have no right to anything, as Republicans see it. as far as Republicans are concerned, if they think it keeps you safe, any government run by them should have an unmitigated right to comb your personal records, whether medical, financial, or phone records.

Consider the Arizona “Show me your papers” law. In order for police to determine who’s here illegally and who isn’t, Arizona’s GOP lawmakers happily gave them the power to approach people randomly and demand proof of American citizenship, without any sort of probable cause, and without any knowledge that a crime has actually been committed. do you realize how oppressive that is. If we were to let a law like that stand (thankfully the court struck it down), it would set a precedent whereby you would have to prove you didn’t commit a crime. and consider this; look in your wallet right now. Where is your proof that you are a citizen? No one carries that kind of proof around with them every day. A law like that, which targets people who look a certain way, is the opposite of what this country is supposed to stand for. And yet, Republicans passed a law, a Republican governor signed the law and that Republican governor and her staff happily fought the federal government in order to keep it.

Of course, the Republican bastardization of the Fourth Amendment has been happening for more than 30 years as part of something called the “drug war.” For decades, law enforcement officials have been allowed to confiscate the goods and money of anyone who has even been accused of dealing drugs, and they’ve even been able to force the owners to go to court to recover it. According to the Fourth Amendment, that should be illegal. Yet, Republicans love the idea.

In all fairness, Republicans do like the last part of the Fifth Amendment, but not the rest of it.  For eight years, their last president, George W. Bush, violated every aspect of the Fifth Amendment, with the Republican Congress happily acquiescing. Capturing people, holding them in prison without benefit of counsel for years, and even torturing them, all became part of the “war on terrrrrr,” which was something of a bookend to the “war on drugs.” Apparently, as the current Republican Party sees it, if due process is inconvenient, and prevents you from throwing someone in jail because you think he or she is dangerous, then screw the Fifth Amendment.

Hell; President Obama tried to kill the “war on terrrrrrr” for four years, and return our system to something resembling sanity, but Republicans prefer having that boogeyman around, because they want to create a system that is easier for them to navigate, but more difficult for us. That’s not how it works, folks. It’s supposed to be difficult for those in power andto accuse us of a crime and prove it. Again, the burden of proof is always on the accusers/government. That is how we stay safe. Republicans don’t think that way. They want to be able to label someone a criminal, throw them in jail and be done with it. Due process is just a bother to them. Innocent until proven guilty is a major pain in the ass to Republicans.

Amendment VII – In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

This is another one Republicans kind of hate, given their constant chatter about tort reform. Of course, their idea of tort reform is basically to eliminate lawsuits altogether. no, actually that’s not fair. They want to eliminate your ability to sue a large company that does damage to you, but they want a large company to retain their ability to sue you for the damage you do to them. If you think I’m kidding, consider their attitude toward intellectual property, which used to place strict limits on trademarks copyrights and patents. over the course of the last 34 years or so limits on intellectual property have been extended to the point that nothing ever becomes public domain anymore. Yet, while they want large companies to make money off of their intellectual property ad infinitum, they don’t want you to be able to get compensation for those same companies neglect of the public. They have no confidence in the judiciary’s ability to determine the merit of a lawsuit, to the point that they refer to almost any lawsuit they disagree with as “frivolous,” and want to limit damages to whatever the defendant in any suit (except those they bring) can afford comfortably. For example, in 2011, the Republican House passed the HEALTH Act, despite the fact that they knew it would never become law. That law would have capped non-monetary damages in medical malpractice and other health-related torts at $250,000, even if the doctor who made a mistake was considered criminally negligent. That would effectively have ended the right to a jury trial for many people, as many cases would have just settled out of court for the maximum. it also would’ve taken away the jury’s right to determine what size penalty would be appropriate against certain companies. Let’s face it, about $250,000 might seem punitive against a company that’s worth less than $1 million, such a lawsuit against General Motors would not be punitive that all.

Again, the current Republican Party doesn’t seem to have the same regard for the Bill of Rights as its creators.

On the other hand, Congressional Republicans do want to sue the president, because they can’t get anything done on the legislative side of the government.

Wouldn’t that constitute the very definition of a “frivolous lawsuit”?

Amendment VIII – Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Once again, Republicans have never had a problem with excessive bail, and they don’t have a problem with excessive fines against those they don’t care for, such as those they label “terrorists” without a trial. But they also don’t seem to have a problem with imposing the death penalty, which has become increasingly cruel and unusual in recent years. for example, because a number of pharmaceutical companies throughout the world object to the American use of their drugs to kill people, they are now refusing to sell those drugs to our prison system. Republicans, instead of reevaluating the efficacy and humanity of capital punishment, are now considering the use of other means to execute people that have previously been determined to be too cruel and unusual because of their failure rate. Ask the people of Utah. Their Republican Party wants to bring back firing squads, which were previously outlawed as cruel and unusual approximately 30 years ago.

Amendment IX – The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

I’m not even sure most Republicans know what the above means.

What this means is, just because a right isn’t explicitly mentioned in the Constitution doesn’t mean the people don’t have others. In fact, you pretty have the right to do just about anything that isn’t expressly prohibited by the law. and yet, how many times have you been in an argument with Republican and then asked something like, “Oh yeah? And where in the Constitution do you have the right to (insert name of activity here)?” most of them seem to think that anything that isn’t explicitly mentioned in the Constitution is a privilege. This, despite the fact that pretty much every court in the history of the country has determined that there are no privileges in this country or this system of government. If one person has the right to do something, all others also have that right. Driving is a right, not a privilege. being treated when you walk into an emergency room with your arm hanging off is a right, not a privilege. Republicans don’t understand this.

Apply this concept to same-sex marriage. Republicans argue that marriage is defined as between a man and a woman only, and that same-sex couples don’t have the same rights as everyone else. But the Ninth Amendment (and the Fourteenth Amendment say otherwise. Just because marriage rights aren’t spelled out in the Constitution doesn’t mean they don’t exist. A marriage license is a right. If you don’t believe that, then explain why Charles Manson is getting one. NIot only that, but the tax benefits that derive from being part of a married couple are also rights.

Amendment X – The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

This one is deceptively simple, but Republicans either don’t understand it, or pretend to think it has some broad meaning under the umbrella “states’ rights.” Essentially. the way Republicans seem to interpret this Amendment aligns with their concept of state sovereignty, which is a bit skewed. Essentially, the average Republican seems to think this Amendment gives states sovereign powers, which is doesn’t. In fact, it’s almost the opposite. It simply says that states have power over any subject matter on which the federal government hasn’t already passed a law. Some right wing courts seem to be trying to relax that standard a bit, but for the most part, they have stayed firm. Except for a few functions specifically reserved to the states, such as voting, real estate and licensing matters, the federal government can take charge of just about any issue, and create a standard.

Republicans don’t like this, of course, when they find it inconvenient. Again, look at the Arizona immigration law. The southern border with Mexico isn’t actually a state border, but a national one.

Republicans are into power. When they’re in charge of the federal government, the federal government becomes all-powerful. When Democrats run the federal government, they become advocates for what they call “states’ rights.” Look at the difference between Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.  When Bush and the GOP Congress were in charge, the federal government took control of disaster relief, all but removing states from the process of recovery altogether, and putting FEMA and DHS in charge of everything. By the time of Hurricane Sandy, Republicans wanted states to take charge of relief efforts.

And that illustrates the problem with the current incarnation of the Republican Party. They are far more interested in power than rights and freedoms, so they tend to change their view of the Bill of Rights based on what will give them the most power.

They don’t really care about your rights, just theirs.

Podcast Number FIFTY! Talking about winning, in more ways than one.

In this podcast – the FIFTIETH! – I discuss what we need to do with regard to campaign finance, and what we have to do to get thee. First of all, we have to WIN! I also discuss how to do that, and why everyone has a voice, and how important it is, even if you think you’re just someone unimportant. In politics, there are no unimportant voices.

Keep working to support the blog and help us create a pragmatic winning progressive network. Donate to ur fundraising campaign, click on some ads, or click on the link in the right column and do your Christmas shopping at Amazon! It all counts…

 

 

We cause our immigration problems, not the immigrants…

The problem with immigration is that too many people think there is one problem with immigration. Therefore, most of the solutions that are proposed are generally insipid. That’s why they would do little to nothing to actually fix the immigration system, which is beyond broken, for dozens, if not hundreds, of reasons.

It is estimated that as many as 11-12 million undocumented immigrants live in this country, although the number could be even higher than that. You don’t get to 12 million because people are streaming over the southern border. If that many people were doing so, they would hardly be able to do so “undetected.” According to most estimates, just over half of those who are here without documentation are from points south in our hemisphere. And no, they’re not streaming over our northern border, either; the Canadian standard of living has pretty much overtaken ours. There are probably more people from the US streaming into Canada than the other way around. Unless they/re in show business.

So, why do we have so many undocumented immigrants in this country? Where do I start?

There are a lot of jobs here that Americans simply don’t want to do.* (note the asterisk)

I know a lot of people really hate hearing/reading this, but it’s actually quite true. Go ahead and try to hire an American nanny or housekeeper for what you can afford to pay. Ask the manager or owner of any fast food outlet how hard it is to find people who are willing to work their asses off for less than $8 per hour. Even at higher wages, there are many jobs that Americans simply won’t line up to take, while Latinos and Asians will do them happily. Ask the growers in a couple of red states that thought they were doing something smart by restricting work by Latinos. Those growers couldn’t find enough people to pick their crops, even at a rate of $15 per hour, and many of them had to be plowed under. They would bring them in on buses, only to find that most would quit within hours and hitchhike home. Americans don’t want to pick fruit and vegetables.

*This is not a problem unique to the United States. Most industrialized countries have this problem, and they have developed strong guest worker programs that invite immigrants into the country to pick fruits and vegetables or do day labor. In return, they get free or subsidized room and board and many of them are rewarded with the opportunity to stay longer. We have a few small programs like that, but mostly, the attitude is, “either they come here legally, or we throw them back.”

That said, increasing the minimum wage to something livable would alleviate some of the problem. Americans tend to be more productive, and they would have a much better attitude about their job, and would make the hiring of undocumented immigrants much less appealing. It would also make it more likely that Americans would turn in more employers who hire such workers in order to save money.

Our immigration quotas are arbitrary and actually encourage people to remain here illegally.

Yes, that’s right. Most people who are here illegally really didn’t have a choice to come here or stay here legally. Allow me to explain.

Contrary to what most people seem to believe, our immigration system is incredibly complicated and convoluted. It is not a matter of coming here on a visa, deciding you’d like to stay and then heading to an ICE office to fill out a few forms. I know that’s what many right wingers think is the case, but it’s not nearly that simple. Actually, because of the way the law is written, coming here legally is damned near impossible.

For example, there are a number of arbitrary quotas in place, and the system plays favorites. I wonder how many people realize, for example, that the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), which was passed at the height of our isolationism during the Cold War in 1952, limits the annual number of legal entrants into this country (not tourist visas) to 675,000. That’s not an amount per country, that’s for all immigrants from the entire world. And most of those available visas (about 480,000) are apportioned to family members of US citizens. That means very few are left for anyone else to get. In fact, a maximum of 140,000 work visas are granted every year, and only 10-15,000 of those are for skilled and unskilled laborers. Our quota system is so pathetic, there is a limit of 10,000 visas a year for those immigrants who come here with $500,000-$1 million to start a business that hires at least 10 US workers. Now, why would we want to discourage economic development to that extent? (Source)

Think about those numbers within the context of a nation with a population of 310 million people. Now do you understand why there are so many undocumented immigrants? Here’s a clue; most don’t scramble over the border between crossings to get here. Most walk over the border legally, or fly here from other countries on tourist visas, and they end up staying, because there is no other choice available for them. In other words, many of the people who come here would like to come here legally, and become Americans, but the law, as written, simply won’t allow it.

This is why presidents from Nixon to Obama, have had to use their executive power to deal with reality. These folks are here to work, and they are a necessary cog in our economic development. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t make it possible for them to operate within our legal system. These quotas do not reflect reality, and actually do not serve anyone.

Penalizing businesses that hire undocumented workers would not solve the problem.

There’s a school of thought in which it is reasoned that rounding up scofflaw business owners who hire these immigrants would solve the problem. That’s just silly. As noted, some businesses need workers and the law as written, forces immigrant workers to stay here illegally.

In fact, such a move could simply drive the problem further underground. A lot of states have these laws on the books already, but we know from experience that law enforcement loves nothing more than a show. They would only go after the smallest businesses and the brownest workers who need the money the most. Many of the immigrants who are here and working illegally have high-level, highly skilled jobs and are very white, so they, um, “blend in.” But law enforcement won’t even look at them.

We all know Joe Arpaio wouldn’t shut down construction work on a housing development or an office complex in “Salt Lake Mesa,” and we also know Jan Brewer would never allow a medical company to be sanctioned or charged because they hired a couple of Irish MRI technicians? They’re going to go after a mom and pop restaurant for a couple of Latino busboys. And in doing so, they will only benefit organized crime, who probably already do a bang-up business providing false paperwork right now.

I’m picking on Arizona for a reason. That state already has such a law on the books, that requires heavy fines and strong sanctions against employers who hire these folks, but instead of enforcing that law, they essentially chose to instead harass everyone who “looked like an illegal” with their “Papers, Please” law.

Arresting, prosecuting and deporting 11-12 million people isn’t even within the realm of possibility.

I know there are many right wingers who harbor fantasies that the government (more accurately, Obama!) can simply round up all 11-12 million “illegals” and send them back to Mexico, which is where they think all of them come from. But that’s just pure insanity. Deportations under Obama are up about 80%, and he’s still only dealing with the tip of a huge proverbial iceberg. Yet the courts available to deal with the undocumented immigrants already in the system are already so clogged that they have stopped setting hearing dates in many cases, and those that have been set often happen five or more years in the future.

If you could set up 1000 courtrooms and find 1000 judges to man them, and each could handle 50 cases per day, you might be able to knock these out in a few years. But you’d also have to shut down the rest of the judicial system. We also don’t have the space to detain that many people, especially in California and Texas, whose prisons are already considered overcrowded.

Republicans talk a great game, but they largely ignore the problems or make them worse.

My favorite right wing argument against Obama’s decision to act unilaterally is the one where they suggest he “work with Congress on a bipartisan bill.” He did that. The Senate passed a bill with 68 votes that is lacking, but it’s far more comprehensive than Obama’s actions will be. But Republicans in the House won’t even consider it.

They call everything “amnesty” and condemn it, but their complete inaction actually creates a virtual amnesty situation right now. They don’t address any of the problems with our arbitrary immigration protocols, they don’t take into account any of the legal flaws in our immigration system, and they operate under the delusion that we can somehow deport all 11-12 million people. To make matters worse, they keep cutting the already-strapped budget for dealing with immigration issues, based on their pretend concern for “deficits.” Strangely, all of the “solutions” they propose would actually cost a hell of a lot more than simply acknowledging the necessary economic value they bring and figuring out a way to keep the good ones here.

Our immigration system is messed up, and there are hundreds of problems with it. The basis for these laws is arbitrary and capricious, and does not reflect realities in any way. Obama’s measures won’t fix all of the problems with immigration, but it wil at least return us to treating these humans as, well, human. And that’s a start.

PCTC Podcast #49: Immigration Thoughts and Obamacare Lies

In this episode of the podcast, I discuss how the president is finally doing the right thing on immigration (most of it, anyway) and I discuss the fact that many people still don’t seem to know what “Obamacare” is…

As always, I can only do this podcast and turn it into a professional sounding program with your help. This blog has more than 13,000 subscribers, and more than 3,000 subscribe to the newsletter, which will become more regular and more professional, as well. If 593 more of you could donate $25, we could make everything great. Please help out.

For better or for worse?

Smiley faceThere is a tendency to think our society is more screwed up than it’s ever been, and I understand that as a reactionary response. However, what you are actually witnessing is our society trying to un-screw itself up.

There are a lot of things available to us that disgust us, to be sure. Just this week, it was announced that a 26-year-old woman who has been working for years to exonerate convicted mass murderer Charles Manson would be marrying the scumbag instead. You know, because there is nothing that makes a woman hotter than an 80 year old prison inmate with a permanent swastika scar between his glazed-over eyes. Yet, how many right wingers will continue to cite “the sanctity of marriage” to make their bigoted case against gays getting married.

Then, there is former Jello spokesman and everyone’s model dad, Bill Cosby, who allegedly (probably) raped numerous women over the years, and who will get off scot-free. And what about the uproar over Kim Kardashian’s nude photos and Alyssa Milano Tweeting a breastfeeding pic. Or the sanctimonious shitstorm surrounding Honey-Boo-Boo and her mother’s alleged dalliance with a convicted sex offender. How about the ongoing drama in Ferguson, St. Louis and every other city where there are police officers and black people? It’s all a sign that we’re going to hell in a hand basket, right?

Consider the constant fretting over the fact that more people can name the “Real Housewives” or the Robertson clan than can name their Congressperson or the Justices on the Supreme Court. Or the viral videos in which stupid people are asked questions they should be able to answer but can’t?. We’re all becoming a stupid society, right? Continue reading

If 593 more people gave $25, we’d have a network, and Republicans wouldn’t win…

adimageOkay, maybe they would, sometimes… but they’d have a harder time…

In the wake of our second midterm election debacle in a row, it’s time progressives like us – the ones who want to WIN – had a place we could go to express ourselves. I want more writers to help out with this blog, to be sure. But I also want to see a network of blogs, all of them based in the real world, not some idealistic crusade for unattainable perfection. I also envision a network of podcasts, full of progressive voices who aren’t always poisoning the well and complaining about Democrats, and undermining every chance we have to get rid of the currently psycho GOP.

limbaughenqEverything costs money. Not a ton of money.  I’m not going to sit here and tell you, as some professional lefties do, that we need $50,000 or more per month to be viable. I’ve been able to do a lot with a little. But I’d be lying to you if I told you blogging and podcasting is free. It’s not. And the more traffic you get, the less free it becomes. That’s just reality. It really would be nice to expand this thing and not have to worry about how much it costs to do so. But the fact is, we progressives have to do something different. We’re not getting our point across to the American people. We need more voices.

By creating a network, we would spread the costs – and our vision – over a wider area. Call it a “volume discount.”

Isn't this the dream?

Isn’t this the dream?

With this network, we would also demonstrate the variety of thought progressives provide to the debate. The amount I am shooting for ($15,000) is for one year, and it will help pay for domains, hosting services, search engine optimization and basic marketing for the blogs, as well as basic equipment, hosting services and distribution for the podcasts. I have knowledgable people lined up to help me get the network started, but they don’t work for free. So let’s do this. But I can only go as far as my support takes me. I will put up a page and document exactly where all of the money goes, too, because I do believe in full accountability.

As you can see from the amount, this is not an attempt to become professional left. Once we have domains and hosting set up for the blogs and the podcasts, there will be some money for promotion and little else. And that is fine. The main thing is, we need to create something that can win elections for progressive Democrats in 2016, 2018 and beyond. Screw the professional left, professional pundits and the naysayers. This is about creating a progressive movement that does great things. If you can help, we can make a difference. This is about 600 people giving about $25 each, and that’s for an entire year. If this works, everyone who donates at least that much will get a t-shirt for their help, but it really must work first. If you can afford $25 for a year of progressive information sharing, you will be rewarded. If you can give more, you are wonderful, and you’ll get something even better.

Everyone who gives at least $25 will receive a copy of my e-book, “But I Wanted a Unicorn,” next month, when I finish an update I’m working on as well as a t-shirt. And everyone who gives that much or more will be entered into a drawing to win an official Obama 2008 button. (It’s my last one). Triple-digit donors will be entered into a drawing for one of two vintage newspapers I am willing to part with. One is a copy of the Baltimore News-Post from May 5, 1961, headlining Alan Shepard’s flight into space – the first step to the moon. The other is the front section of the Baltimore News-American from July 28, 1974, announcing the House Judiciary Committee’s 27-11 vote to bring articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon. I also have one more copy of the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald announcing the election of President Obama, which will go to the largest donor. All of these will happen only if we get to at least two-thirds of our goal, so tell your friends!

So, please help us reach our goal, so that we can create a network that will go a long way toward creating that progressive nation we all dream of. Help us create something great. Get rid of people like this…


bachmannbush

The Gunloons’ favorite arguments, shot between the eyes.

There is little doubt that the United States has a serious gun problem. The only problem is, we keep electing the NRA-happy Republican Party, and they will never d anything about it. Yes, there is a right to bear arms, but as is the case with all other rights, it is not unlimited. Gun rights seem to be the only rights we have that obligate no one to any kind of responsibility.  One way you can tell we need gun control is because the arguments against it are insipid. No one with a functioning brain can take the most common gunloon arguments seriously. They’re so bad, we have to stop repeating them, and just guffaw at the fol who brings them up.

Here are some of the most-used and most asinine gunloon arguments, and why they’re ridiculous:

Gunloon Argument #1 – Regulation of guns is a violation of the Second Amendment.
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A PCTC Classic: Data Proving The GOP Can’t Govern

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Republican incompetence at running government is becoming legendary, and everyone needs to know this, especially with three months to go before the election. When we elect Republicans, or help elect Republicans, we are placing the government into the hands of politicians who truly believe government can’t work, so they struggle to try to prove that premise. And it’s been that way for a while. If you think last year’s government shutdown and the constant brinkmanship is something new, think again. And if you think it’s all about the Tea Party, consider that there are 46 members of the Tea Party Caucus in the House, but this past October 144 House Republicans actually voted to default on the national debt. That’s right; 144 “fiscally responsible” Republicans voted to destroy the nation’s credit to prove something even they can’t explain.

The government actually worked well during the post-war era, when Democrats ran things for 30 out of 34 years from 1946 to 1980. Republicans have controlled most of the government for 30 of the last 34 years, and it shows.

I am a partisan Democrat and very liberal, but this isn’t just about my ideology. It’s easily provable through statistics. Democrats have a strong record of competence, and Republicans have an equally impressive record of incompetence. And since getting the most progressive government starts with state legislatures and a US Congress that is at least competent enough to get the basics right, it’s important that we understand; it’s the Republican Party ideology that is holding this country back.

The Republicanization of the National Debt: The Hypocrisy Burns Continue reading

Why didn’t “Democratic” voters vote? Here’s the REAL Answer

I’m going to try to make this short and sweet. Knowing me, good luck with that, right?

No final numbers have been released, but turnout for the 2014 election has been estimated to be just under 38%. Again. And, true to form, in the five days since that debacle, I have been bombarded with “analyses” from progressive media outlets like blogs and podcasts. They are all longing to explain for me why “Democrats” didn’t show up at the polls. There are sooooo many reasons being proffered, it’s amazing. Here are some of the most popular: Continue reading

The Inherent Danger of Distraction by the Shiny Keys

This country has to stop the contentious bickering that constantly occurs in our politics. We need to put aside minor differences, and get back to building this country into what we all know it can be. And while it doesn’t seem like it at times, progressives are the ones who should be making this happen. It all starts with learning how to ignore the shiny keys.

I started this blog because the “progressive blogosphere” is killing us. The professional left loves to scream about everything. They seem convinced that voters are motivated by outrage. They imagine that every voter is as outraged as they are, and they imagine all of those pissed off people marching to the polls and voting against… what, exactly?

I only ask that, because the bulk of the ire produced by their “Perpetual Outrage Machine™” seems directed at Democrats, who are closer to our natural allies. Republican atrocities tend to be ignored, in favor of a magnification of some minor gaffe that a Democrat has made. Democrats get skewered for not being perfect, while Republicans are hardly discussed at all. Think about it. Whenever the Perpetual Outrage Machine™ talks about a vote on a bill, they focus their ire on the 5-6 Democrats who voted with Republcans. They barely talk about the Republican who either wrote the bill or led the charge against it, or the 232 Republicans who voted in lockstep to pass the bill. The 5-6 Democrats are treated as traitors, even though the bill would have passed/failed if they hadn’t voted. That’s the “shiny keys” effect. Have you ever tried to stop a baby from crying by pulling out your shiny keys and waving them at him/her? Well, as far as the professional left is concerned, we’re the babies who are too easily distracted by them. Much of what they publish is not “the truth,” it’s a distraction. And the GOP loves it when we get distracted like that. Continue reading