Podcast #19 – A Plea for Online Kindness, and for REAL Church-State Separation

In this episode, I use Kim Novak’s recent Oscar appearance as the basis for a plea to stop the online bullying and bring kindness to the web. Also, what is “objectionable” about an “8theist” license plate?

Here are links to the articles I cite in this podcast:

Kim Novak responds to post-Oscars ridicule: ‘I was bullied.’

NJ woman’s rejected atheist license plate violates First Amendment, lawsuit argues

If You Think Both Parties Are the Same, You’re Nuts

Those of you who have read this blog for a while know that it’s not a typical progressive blog at all. For example, instead of constantly complaining that Democrats aren’t perfect enough, I take the current Republican Party. I will continue to do exactly that until such time as we progressives manage to vanquish them politically.

Unfortunately, there is a group of self-described progressives that make that task extremely difficult. I have taken to calling them the Progressive Unicorn Brigade, or PUBs, because their quest for perfection can easily be likened to a child who has been given a pony but cries because it’s not a unicorn. We elected the most progressive president we’ve had in a generation – the first one not sanctioned by the Democratic Leadership Council, and which effectively should have killed the DLC, if we had played it better – and the PUB started whining pretty much as soon as he was inaugurated, because the stimulus wasn’t big enough. This small but very loud segment of the progressive movement has a tendency to be just as bad as the right wingers when it comes to flinging their rhetorical feces. They can be loud and obnoxious, and they like to portray themselves as the only “real progressives,” despite the fact that they constitute a small minority within the progressive movement, and often, their rhetoric actually hurts the cause and further entrenches the current Republican Party.

These “progressives” tend to be white,usually have college degrees, and often have above-average bank accounts, yet they seem to think they know more about what it’s like to be poor, working class and being a minority than those who actually belong to one or more of those groups. Continue reading

Podcast #18 – Why do Obama bashers have to lie?

In this episode, I dismantle two instances of Obama bashing that are completely ridiculous. It was fun.

I referred to the following during this podcast:

Graph financial prosecutions

And this article, as well:

Did Putin or Obama Say ‘We Don’t Have a Domestic Spying Program’?

 

Help the Please… Cut the Crap Blog Build an Arsenal of Anti-GOP Ammo with a Donation

The Please… Cut the Crap blog has become a major compendium of facts and figures and ammo that progressives can use to outgun the GOP and the right wing in a political debate. It’s about getting the word out about progressive politics, and not just a liberal complaint blog. Like the companion eBook, which should be completed in May, it is chock full of strategies for beating back the Republican right. We absolutely must win this year.

The newest version of the podcast begins Monday, and will run weekdays for now, and 7 days a week for the last few weeks leading up to the election.  I will also be adding pages and pages of information on voting records in key races, to help you give voters the information they need.

This is not a professional left blog. I’m just a guy with a big mouth who’s struggling to make ends meet while trying to create an information source that can put an end to the right wing’s domination of the political system, so that we can return this country to what it once was.

During the last election, this blog had more than 1.5 million hits during the four months leading up to election day, because what it had to say was useful in combating the GOP spin machine. I hope to do the same thing this year. Democrats have an uphill battle, but we can do it, if we try. I’m going to try…

If you can help out with a donation, it’s greatly appreciated. I don’t have George Soros or Pierre Omidyar cutting me huge checks; I just have facts and figures to impart. Every dollar that is invested in this blog goes to the blog, so the more I receive, the better the blog will be.

The President Finally Says What I’ve Been Saying for Years: GOP’s #1 Strategy is to Depress Turnout.

It’s about time the President finally said something about this. I’ve said it for years.

Over the weekend, in a speech to Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, President Obama said, 

“The real voter fraud is people who try to deny our rights by making bogus arguments about voter fraud. … There are well-organized and well-funded efforts to undo [the] gains (of the civil rights movement). … Just as inequality feeds on justice, opportunity requires justice, and justice requires the right to vote.” (Source)

I’ve said the same thing for many years. In fact, the last time I wrote about this was in January. Here’s what O wrote and posted on January 20, 2014. As you will see from the video contained in this piece, this is not a new Republican strategy:

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Have you ever noticed that Republicans only talk about Voter ID and attempt to purge Democratic voters during election years? Why is that? I mean, if their real goal is to limit the number of opposition voters, the best time to do that would be in odd-numbered years, when no one’s paying close attention. But here’s the thing: Republicans don’t pass voter ID laws and take other measures to suppress voters for the reasons you think. How many people in, say, Pennsylvania do you imagine are walking around without identification and intend to vote? Perhaps 20-30,000? In a state with nearly 13 million people, that’s not enough to swing an election. BUT… Continue reading

Changing Hearts and Minds to Get a Progressive Future

I spent most of my Saturday morning talking to “progressives” on Twitter who acted as if they’re political experts, even though they haven’t the slightest idea how things work. One actually tried to blame the NDCC for not pushing the Democrats in a certain direction, even though the NDCC’s only real job is to raise money and distribute it to candidates. Individual candidates decide their own messaging. Another spent a long time trying to convince me that progressives had nothing to do with the “Blue Dog Apocalypse” of 2010″ that left President Obama with a Republican Congress that has refused to let him do anything positive. They blamed “the Democrats,” “Obama,” “the media” and everything else they could think of, but they could not blame progressives for anything. In other words, progressives have apparently been losing for more than 40 years, even though we’ve been doing everything right. How is that possible? That’s some pretty terrible luck, don’t you think?

Why do so many (mostly white and not poor) progressives blame everyone else for our political ineptitude, as if it is just a fait accompli, and there is no way to stop it? Isn’t that much like attempting to drive to New York and ending up in Phoenix, and blaming the GPS? At some point, you have to look up and realize you’re doing something wrong.

This lack of introspection is enormously frustrating for the vast majority of progressives, who work within the Democratic Party to actually try to make things better for the American people, because we see what’s happening. It’s the main reason the progressive movement keeps spinning its wheels, and it’s why the right wing minority gets to make new policies or destroy existing policies, including some that were good for society as a whole. But what’s really frustrating is that the solution to our dilemma is incredibly simple, and it’s in front of every progressive’s face every single day. Continue reading

Republican Spending Cuts Are Increasing Deficits and Debt

I say this a lot, but this is an important concept that absolutely must be said and repeated ad nauseam, until the average person gets it.

The reason we have a record-high deficit is NOT because the government is spending too much money.

Now, let me explain. This is not to say the government doesn’t waste money. It does. The above statement is not an acknowledgement that every dollar the government spends goes to the right places. However, the government isn’t spending that much more, adjusted for inflation, than it did in 2001, when George W Bush and the Republican Congress were handed a $400 billion surplus. Government spending simply isn’t the problem; the problem is a lack of revenue. Our deficits don’t remain because we spend too much; it’s because we don’t have enough taxpayers providing enough revenue. Are tax rates too low? Not necessarily. Of course, creating more taxpayers lessens the need for higher tax rates.

While Republicans love to do so, It’s not possible to blame Social Security and Medicare for our deficits. Both programs are paid for, and don’t add one dime to the deficit. Social Security alone has a paper surplus that keeps it completely solvent for another generation, absent any changes to the law. In fact, a large portion of the national debt is owed to the Social Security trust fund. To be fair, we have to take Social Security and Medicare off the table. The deficit is more of a danger to them than they are a danger to the budget. Continue reading

Repost: Here’s Proof Republicans are Incompetent at Government

There are just an enormous number of examples of Republican incompetence at running government, and everyone needs to know this. It’s really simple; when we elect Republicans, or we even help elect Republicans (which many progressives tend to do often), we are putting the government in the hands of politicians whose most fervent followers truly believe government can’t work, so they struggle to try to prove that premise. That’s right, folks. If you are one of those who likes to equate one party that kisses your ass and does everything possible to get you to like them with a party that has a mandate to prove that government is always incompetent, you’re part of the problem. In no way are those two concepts in any way the same?

The Republican Party is far worse than we could have ever dreamed of a century ago, especially since they recruited the worst elements of the Democratic Party back in the civil rights era into the fold. If you think the latest government shutdown and the constant brinkmanship is something brand 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 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 the show for 30 out of the 34 years between 1946 and 1980. Republicans have controlled most of the government for 30 of the last 34 years, and it shows.

While I am a partisan Democrat and a liberal, 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 that Republican Party ideology is what’s holding this country back. Continue reading

Yes, of Course: George W. Bush Was the Worst President Ever

If you want to start a great, um, “conversation” with someone on the right, just say something that is brutally obvious and honest like…  

George W Bush was the worst president in United States history. 

That’s just my opinion, of course, and there may be a few historians who disagree with me, because there were a few pretty bad presidents. But I lived through the Bush years, and I can’t imagine anyone that incompetent surviving the political system in any other era. A case could be made for Hoover, because he did virtually nothing for 3½ years after the economy bottomed out, and we dove deep into the Great Depression. Nixon was pretty awful, too, as I’ll point out in a bit. And Reagan and Bush were also among the worst presidents ever. But it’s almost impossible to beat the awfulness of George W. Bush.

Bush, Jr. presided over the worst and most easily preventable terrorist attack in history – one that killed 3,000 people. He started two wars, and then completely bungled both of them. He financed them off the books with borrowed money, and used that money to line the pockets of his largest donors. He oversaw two recessions in less than eight years, the second one being the worst since the Hoover Depression. This, despite the fact that Bush had the benefit of a number of tools that were unavailable to Hoover, such as the SEC and financial regulations designed to prevent bubbles and market manipulations. The only one he didn’t have was Glass-Steagall, which Republicans managed to repeal before Bush became president.

Bush’s incompetence was pure, and what’s worse is, he seemed to have no desire to gain any level of competence. He seemed to simply not care about doing the job right, or even doing it at all. His last year, and especially the last few months, were notable in that, even as the economy was collapsing around him, and we were headed for another Great Depression, he seemed content to leave everything for the “next guy” to clean up his mess. Continue reading

The End of Progressive Defeatism

I had to run an errand last night. I had Norman Goldman on the radio. I don’t listen to him often, because I don’t trust a lot of what he says. But while I was listening, he asked his audience what they wanted to talk about; gun control or the Koch Brothers. His audience’s response made me sick to my stomach, and demonstrated why the progressive movement is a political loser these days.

The listeners (according to Goldman) chose to discuss the Koch Brothers; specifically Charles Koch’s whiny Wall Street Journal op-ed, which was published earlier in the day. Seriously. I wish I was kidding. But that isn’t even what pissed me off. No, what got my boiling mad was the reason, which had to do with there being no point in talking about guns, since the NRA has completely bought and paid for the political system, and no one will do anything about guns, anyway. Therefore, we might as well talk about those stupid Kochs. (Who, by the way, have exactly two votes between them.)

Why would something like that bother me? Because I’ve been actively advocating for better gun control for about 30 years now, and I always feel like I’m doing it alone. I know someone who lost a child in the Columbine massacre, and I made a promise that I’d never give up, and I haven’t. And I won’t. Continue reading