In this episode of the podcast, I discuss perspective.
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Yes, I said BOTH SIDES.
Look, I am all for bringing in more refugees, but the issue is not whether or not we bring in 10,000 Syrians, but whether or not we bring in 10,000 additional refugees to the 70,000 we already accept every year. The other side is screaming loudly that we should be cowardly as hell and deny access to any Muslim who wants to come here, and that is completely batshit, but instead of countering with a rational explanation of why we should bring in 10,000 additional refugees, our side is attacking any politician who reflects the fear his or her constituents have, based in part on natural fears, as well as the right wing rhetoric.
Let me say that again, so that you understand…
Instead of allaying the fears of average Americans who don’t understand the issue and explaining it to them, our side is actually exacerbating the fear by essentially repeating the right wing rhetoric and “refuting” it by condemning everyone who doesn’t completely reject their position that we should just accept anyone. Not only that, but we’re also doing our damnedest to keep Republicans in power. Good job.
Case in point: the screaming on the part of a great many far left “progressives” (PUBs and pro lefties) when a bill passed this week that strengthens the restrictions on Muslim (Syrian) refugees coming into this country. The fact that a few dozen Democrats voted with the Republican majority on the bill and created a seemingly “veto-proof majority” had these “progressives” apoplectic and promising to work against any Democrat who voted for this bill, which is exactly what Republicans were trying to do by proposing this bill in the first place. Again, guys; good job.
Look, I’m not happy with the bill, which is pure Republican ideology, but you are fooling yourself if you don’t understand that the bill, rightly or wrongly, does actually reflect how the American people feel at the moment. Reacting like a bunch of screaming pre-adolescent kids doesn’t serve any purpose whatsoever. Yelling at the Democrats and threatening to not vote for any of them only serves one purpose; it helps the Republicans win.
Here are a few things you should think about if you’d like to keep this rational:
This is why progressives fail at politics; we’re too emotional and we tend to react to everything. Issues can be emotional, but politics never is. Bringing emotion into politics is a sure way to lose. What you should see in last week’s vote is an opportunity, not a defeat, and by “opportunity,” I do not mean an opportunity to complain. We have a chance to appeal to the people rationally and get them to realize what this issue is really about and to change hearts and minds. Instead, PUBs and pro lefties scream at Democrats, who literally have no effect on crap like this. If this type of issue continues next year, which is a possibility, since terrorists aren’t likely to take a year off, then these Democrats have actually made a vote they can point to, in order to show how tough they are on terrorism, without actually hurting refugees in any way, since this bill won’t likely pass. By the way, even if it does pass through some miracle, it will face years of court challenges, which will make electing Democrats to appoint Supreme Court Justices and other judges even more important.
In other words, as usual, “progressives” have succeeded in making it look as if Democrats are just as bad as Republicans again, and thus giving the GOP an opening in 2016. They probably won’t win the presidency, and their odds of keeping the Senate are slim, but we have seen that Democrats have to have the House, too, or we’re screwed as a nation.
One more dose of reality before I go:
We have a lot of work to do, folks, but we can’t do it as long as we’re reacting to everything emotionally and not using common sense. We live in a democracy; if you want things done, you need a majority. Instead of screaming at a few dozen Democrats and making it less likely that Democrats will take over governments all over the country, which really needs to happen, think about the various possibilities and make sure you’re working for the best one. The bill to block Syrian refugees will probably never become law, but the best way to guarantee it is to change the minds of the American people and making a vote for such a bill untenable.
This is getting sickening. If Republicans didn’t run the government in the first place, you’d never see bills like this. That’s right; put Democrats in the majority and no Democratic politician will ever have to make such a vote. You keep helping right wingers win elections and then seem surprised when they do right wing things and politics forces others to have to do things they don’t want.
Progressive politics is about making sure Democrats win, so they never have to “compromise” with wingnuts and make terrible choices.
If you have been following this blog for a while, you have probably figured out that I hate asking for money. It’s the bane of my existence. I wish I was independently wealthy, so that I could just do this in my spare time and leave it at that, but alas, that’s not how life works.
I used to do this twice a year, and that’s been cut back to once, so I suppose that’s something, right?
Click on the above button or the one on the right side of the page and donate what you can. If the total reaches $5,000, I’ll stop until next year, even if that only takes a week, so hey; there’s an incentive to help, right?
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Like I keep saying, it’s time we started calling the current incarnation of the Republican Party out for what it is if we are ever going to have a shot at taking our government back for the people. I’ve done this in a number of ways, of course. I’ve shown you just how incompetent they are by pointing to statistics showing just that. (Go here) And through a series of posts, I’ve shown that they simply don’t care about us.
But the thing is, there is something that all liberals should be making clear to every single voter out there…
This country faces a lot of challenges going forward and the ideology of the Republican Party is simply too cowardly to handle them. We used to be a country that fought for principles, but during their reign of error, they have turned is into a nation of wussies. We used to invest in ourselves and try things that no one has ever tried before. Now, Republicans have turned us into a fearful people, unwilling to do anything that may not work out perfectly. Continue reading
As probably should have been predicted by, well, everyone, the terrible attacks in Paris last Friday night brought out the xenophobic right in full force. With their idiotic cries of “American safety must come first,” they have responded with the cowardice and lack of humanity we have come to expect from this group of people. It’s yet another reason — perhaps reason number 1 million? — why we need to get these people the hell out of our government, but that’s another column for another day.
So far, about two dozen state governors have demonstrated their ignorance of the Constitution they swore to uphold and declared for all to hear that they refuse to accept Syrian refugees because they’re scared and their cowardice trumps (unintended pun) good sense, human compassion and, above all (?), Christian doctrine. Many of the same people who were deriding Starbucks cups as “anti-Christmas” a week ago are now refusing access to suffering people. You know, because that’s what Jesus would have wanted, right?
I happen to think the American people, if they’re going to make a decision about this, should know a few things that their cowardly politicians won’t tell them because it doesn’t match their primary objective, which is to engender fear and trepidation, because fear in a democracy makes the people more pliable and less effective. So, here are some facts everyone should know. Continue reading
Okay, folks, stop with the hysteria. Fear in the wake of the Paris tragedy is not helpful in the least. I mean, we did this before, in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and all we did was make terrorists stronger. That’s what they feed on; there’s a reason they call it “terrorism.” Their goal is to create terror among the people and make them afraid to be free and go about their business.
Now allowing refugees anywhere where “white Christians” are is not how Christians are supposed to act, and us reacting with fear and trepidation is feeding ISIL. There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind;
Imagine their unparalleled glee at the reaction of so many throughout the west, who think the proper reaction to terrorist attacks is to lock down every country that feels for the people of France. Imagine their joy at looking at right wing idiots in multiple countries calling to bomb whole countries full of oppressed people “into the stone age.” This is what they want.
They also want us to give up our principles, so imagine their sheer happiness at the right wing’s reaction to Obama shipping five Yemeni prisoners out of Guantanamo Bay prison to the United Arab Emirates, which is pure fear and hysteria. They are incensed that Obama is “playing into the hands of ISIL” by doing this, apparently blissfully unaware that we have held these five people for 13 years without charges and that the UAE is not only an ally, but they’re playing a key role in trying to defeat ISIL.
Of course, if these idiots actually cared about the borders and keeping them secure, they would pass comprehensive immigration reform that complies with American principles. Right now, because we don’t know who’s here illegally, there could be some people within our borders now who want to do us harm and the best way to identify them is to let those who want to be here legally do so. You know, like now. We are never going to deport more than 11 million people, so let’s put aside that fantasy for a while and stick to our principles as a nation.
So far, at least a dozen Republican state governors have declared their intention to refuse to allow Syrian refugees into their states. Besides the fact that they have no power to do so, they are really helping ISIL find a toehold in Western society and they are helping recruit more assholes than ISIL could with any social media campaign they could dream up.
As this video says, stop giving ISIL what they want.
There seem to be people out there in progressive pundit-land who believe that we either have to show solidarity with all countries who suffer through terror or none at all. Apparently, the ability to walk and chew gum at the same time is a skill that far left liberals believe is beyond our abilities.
Fortunately, this blog does not believe that. Of course we show solidarity with the French; they have been a stalwart ally since the early days of this nation. And deciding to comfort them at a time when they need it most does not mean that we don’t feel for the others who have been victimized by terrorists over the years. On the contrary; in my post from Saturday asking people to resist Islamophobia, I acknowledged the bombing in Beirut just hours before what happened in Paris. I even noted that it was once known as the “Paris of the Middle East.”
Like I said, blaming “Muslims” for terrorism begs the question, why is it that Muslims are most commonly the victims? More importantly, someone needs to explain why extremists who call themselves Muslim and attack innocent people are automatically called “terrorists,” while those who open fire during midnight movies are simply referred to as “mentally disturbed?
But there are articles all over the ‘Net right now taking people to task because they have chosen to demonstrate solidarity with the French by temporarily transposing their flag’s colors over our Facebook profiles and in other ways. They then note what we have all known all along; that terrorism is far more widespread than what we notice happening in Europe. Continue reading
The biggest takeaway from last night’s Democratic debate was about Republicans. Seriously, anyone who can look at the presidential fields of both parties and continue to claim both parties are the same has been proven a complete idiot. When they discussed anything, from “Wall Street” to immigration, the subject was taken seriously and the question was answered with more of a sense of caring about the American people in general than is ever expressed at a Republican gathering of any kind. Even when they misstep, as Hillary Clinton did with her rambling answer about “Wall Street,” it didn’t rise to Klown Kar proportions. Not even close.
On the Democratic side, there are three candidates with whom I would feel comfortable if they sat in the Oval Office. Are any of them perfect? Oh, hell no, but then, even the greatest presidents in history didn’t seem as if they would be great as they were running. I mean, it would have been hard to look at FDR’s campaign in 1932 and see him as a transformative figure in any way. But all three Democrats this year seem as if they would hire the right people and propose the best possible legislation to Congress, which is really all anyone can expect at this point in the process. On the other hand, it’s impossible to see anyone on the GOP side who would not be a complete disaster in office. The fact that so many pundits praise someone as despicable as John Kasich as being “the most reasonable Republican in the field should demonstrate just how far that party has fallen.
There are a few critiques, though, based on what I saw. Continue reading
I went to bed last night after spending numerous hours looking everywhere for details about the Paris terrorist attacks, which were horrific in nature. I know a few people who are over there right now, and a few more who live there full time, and I was anxious for a short time, as I tried to find out any information I could. What slapped me in the face was the incredible religious bigotry so many people have.
Please, people, stop.
I mean, I’ve seen it many times before, but when something like this happens, it’s almost as if there is a child-like need to affix blame to a broad group that is easy to identify and that, whether you like it or not, is bigoted. We have to be better than that. About a week and a half ago, some liberal podcasters I listen to regularly went off on Islam, as if the entire religion was to blame for everything bad that happens in the Middle East, which is absurd, especially when you consider that most of the victims of terrorism are also Muslim. They got so bad, they accused Reza Aslan of spinning things. You know, because Azlan has a tendency to blame terrorist attacks on, well, the terrorists, and not Islam itself. Which, unfortunately, makes sense. Continue reading
One of the key points Republicans tried to make at the last debate on Fox Business was a fantasy in which someone making very little money makes more and it’s somehow disastrous for the economy. In fact, Ben Carson even claimed that “every time” the minimum wage increases, we lose jobs.
You should know that, just as philosophers actually make more than welders, Republicans’ notions of economy are just complete garbage, and you should take everything they say with not just a grain of salt, but the entire salt flats in Utah. In fact, you could make the case that a little bourbon would be worthwhile when you hear that kind of thing. Put it this way; how is it possible that giving extremely poor people more money is bad for a consumer-driven economy, while giving rich people tax breaks they don’t even realize they’ve received is great for it? That makes absolutely zero sense. Continue reading
Okay, so I was listening to the podcast of today’s Stephanie Miller Show (Good bye, Chris LaVoie, you will be missed!) and some white liberal who bragged about being affiliated with Occupy called in because he took offense at the notion that people like him were going to “take their ball and go home” if Bernie Sanders didn’t win the nomination. He denied that he or any other liberal would do such a thing, gave us a solid HARUMPH and proceeded to do exactly that. But that made me chuckle. His explanation for it pissed me off because people like him are THE REASON progressives and liberals can’t get anything done in this government.
He explained that he and others just like him (meaning white, college-educated know-it-alls who don’t really like democracy very much) were tired of the Democratic Party taking their vote for granted, and not doing anything for them in return. Seriously, he actually said that.
Permit me to cut some serious crap with this one. Continue reading
See, I generally don’t do that.
I don’t believe we’re better off being negative about much of anything, let alone everything. That said, once again we’re here, a day after an election where we are forced to lick our wounds because we progressives keep doing the same things that have been losing us elections for almost 40 years, while a certain strain of us is apparently waiting for the system to “work,” which is nothing short of ridiculous. Political systems don’t spontaneously change; you have to actually change them. And the only way to change them is by encouraging participation by more people; there’s a reason it’s called a democratic republic.
Let’s start with something that is just plain basically true… Continue reading
Tonight is another Republican klown show, er, “debate,” and there is little doubt that it will be long on chaos and short of proposals that may help the American people. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, of course; things have been this way for a while. If we want to change this country, we have to make up our minds and realize that the current incarnation of the Republican Party is actually the enemy of all that is potentially good about us.
Yes, I know. That sounds harsh. I even had a hard time writing this for a long time. But facts are facts, and it’s difficult to deny these days.
It is true that most American voters want to see bipartisanship, which means they want to see Democrats and Republicans reach across the aisle and work together for the good of the American people. That is one reason, during his first term, President Obama was trying hard to make sure the American people saw him doing that with Republicans. It was equally important for the American people to see that the Republican Party was only reaching back to bite his hand off. Continue reading
I can’t believe this “gerrymandering” crap still hangs on in October 2015. This is basic math, for chrissakes!
To obtain a majority in the House, you need 218 seats. In the 29 states that actually register voters by party, Republicans have 27 percent of registrations, which means three-quarters of voters are NOT registered Republican. Got it? Nationally, between 23-25% of voters identify as Republican. It is mathematically NOT POSSIBLE for such a minority to gerrymander themselves into a majority.
I originally posted this on January 3, 2013, and it’s still valid. Stop believing this gerrymandering nonsense. Not only does the math not hold up on a national basis, but espousing this very concept makes many voters think their votes won’t count. It’s one of many things we say that results in depressed turnout, which helps the GOP win. If you think about it; the GOP doesn’t actually have to gerrymander, because our incessant discussion of it probably cost more votes than they could steal.
And one other thing; anyone can come up with reasons why we “can’t” do things; that takes no effort or imagination at all. No matter what you think the problem is, we have to overcome it. Constantly citing it as a problem doesn’t help; in fact, it hurts us, because it makes people think the system is rigged and their vote won’t count. Low turnout is killing us, NOT gerrymandering.
Here’s the article once again:
The professional left’s latest chew toy is based on the concept of gerrymandering. Basically, the argument goes, Republicans kept a majority in the House due to gerrymandering. It’s an interesting concept, but what makes it interesting is that they are so SURE they’re right about this, despite the fact that it’s actually mathematically impossible. This can actually be proved by making a basic challenge; please show the math that gives a political party with 27% of all voter registrations nationally a Congressional majority over a party with 39% of registrations, at least in the 29 states and the District of Columbia that include party registration with their voter registration process. (21 states don’t) You can’t. Even if Independents broke 2-to-1 for Republicans, the parties would be dead even, at best.
Though I could end the argument there, the math itself highlights other problems, especially one constant theme I’ve been highlighting on this blog for years. Some liberals seem to want to believe that every problem is a conspiracy, and that it’s someone else’s fault, when the problem rests squarely on our shoulders. The problem isn’t a grand conspiracy, but a failure to play politics in a meaningful, intelligent way.
The concept of gerrymandering is about a legislature drawing Congressional district boundaries so as to favor one party over another. The practice is as old as (small r) republican politics. There have been laws against it forever, but it’s very easy to skirt the law just enough to make it look less than obvious, so it’s still quite common. This is one case in which “both parties” actually do engage in it. But in most cases, gerrymandering is used to consolidate power for a few select individuals. It’s possible that gerrymandering could be used to give a party a majority in the few states where party affiliations/leanings are close to 50-50. But it is simply not possible to take a state that leans 55-45 toward one party, and swing a majority of seats to the other party through gerrymandering. In order to strengthen one district, you would necessarily have to weaken another. Continue reading
Here’s the thing:
Before they are allowed to take a seat in the United States House of Representatives or the United States Senate, every single member is required to take the following oath:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me (God). (They don’t actually have to swear to God, because, well, the Constitution actually forbids it)
In other words, every member of Congress, before they can be seated, must promise God (or whatever they believe in) and the people of this country that they will faithfully protect and defend the Constitution, and to pledge “true faith and allegiance” to the Constitution.
Is it really too much to expect them to understand what they are swearing an oath to do? It never used to be a problem, but really, lately, more and more politicians (almost exclusively Republican, of course) don’t seem to have even the slightest idea what they swore an oath to do. They accuse people of crimes without even any probable cause, they don’t seem to understand what “equal protection of the laws” is about, they seem to believe they can pick and choose which Supreme Court rulings they might follow…
It just makes you wonder. Continue reading
Whenever Americans talk about the major societal overhaul this country needs, the most common refrain heard by the self-appointed “fiscally responsible” people in this country is, “How are we going to pay for it?”
It sounds like a really responsible and very intelligent question, right? Only it’s not. It’s the result of brainwashing in a system that true progressives have largely ceded to the Republican Party for a generation. In many cases, we’re talking about a more efficient way of providing opportunity for people, investing in the future and making for a better nation. In most cases, we’re already paying for it in the first place.
There’s a funny thing that happens when you talk about taxes to a great many Americans; the only ones they freak out about are those charged by “the government.” They’ll happily pay an extra $5-50 to an agency for the privilege of buying a ticket to an event, but raise their property taxes by $50 a year to pay for schools and they freak out. Likewise, our children are graduating from college with anywhere from $50,000-100,000 in debt, but when a Democratic presidential candidate mentions free tuition at public colleges and universities, and the first “responsible” question is;
“How are we going to pay for it?” Continue reading