The Future of the US Lies in Labor Unions

I’ve pointed out in great detail in a number of other posts that the United States is nowhere near broke. Despite the best efforts of the Republican Party, we are still the richest nation in the world, and the dollar is still the most stable currency in the world economy. What makes our country seem broke at times is Republicans incredibly irresponsible stewardship of our government and the economy. (And yes, right wingers, both of those are related.)

Look at what happened to Wisconsin after Koch-backed Republicans took over the state. What’s the first thing they did – well, after they cut the hell out of the budget and reduced taxes on the rich, I mean? They tried to kill the teacher’s union. Why would they do that? They claimed it was to save the state lots of money, but that isn’t very likely, since union teachers pay taxes, the people they buy goods and services from pay taxes and taxes are what make government work.

When Republicans took over, the state of Wisconsin spent less than the national average on education, they had a below-average pupil-teacher ratio (which is a good thing), and test scores were well above average. Their graduation rate was a very high 89.6%; well above the national average 71%. Meanwhile, The average public school teacher in Wisconsin made $52,644 per year, according to the NEA; entry-level teachers made around $36,000, and those with 20 years experience or more making as much as $69,000 per year, depending on the district.  That’s decent money, but it doesn’t make them the Koch Brothers; I wonder how many Wisconsin Republicans would handle 20-25 of those kids for upwards of 40-50 hours a week at that rate? Not many, I’m guessing. Continue reading

Why Hillary Bashing is a Stupid Idea

HillfaceI am a progressive. If you don’t agree with that assessment of me, well, you have a problem, not me. But that’s not what this is about. I have to admit that I am a little worried about much of what I hear and read coming from liberals about Hillary Clinton, especially since she announced yesterday.

Now, let me start by saying that I won’t be supporting her in the primaries. I’m already supporting someone else. And yes, there will be a full slate of Democratic candidates by the middle of next month. There will be people to support other than Hillary Clinton, and that’s a good thing.

What is not a good thing is this notion that many liberals seem to have, that the only way someone can win is by trashing the leading candidate in the primaries. Sorry, but that’s how the right wing thinks; it’s the reason they’ve been trashing Obama for eight years now. In reality, if the only way your candidate can win is by tearing down Hillary Clinton, you’re supporting a pretty bad candidate. Continue reading

GOP Partisanship Has Truly Jumped the Shark

HydraWhat the Republican Party is doing these days with regard to foreign policy is nothing short of disgusting, and it is, dare I say, “un-American.” I know, many people hate that term, and I’m one of them, but sometimes it fits. The federal government is supposed to protect the people from foreign powers, yet the actions of the current Congress are actually putting us in greater danger.

Look, I think most Americans have to agree that the concept of partisanship has jumped the shark when most members of a major political party in this country actually side with the Supreme Leader of Iran over the President of the United States.

I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not. We have people like John McCain saying things like, “I think  you’re going to find out that they had never agreed to the things that John Kerry claimed that they had,” in response to Ayatollah Khamenei’s suggestion that the United States had “misinterpreted” Iran’s intentions during the talks. We also have Lindsey Graham saying something similar, when he said, “The Ayatollah and President Obama appear to be talking about two separate agreements and unfortunately, I can’t say I’m surprised.” Continue reading

Help create a liberal alternative to the professional left…

Progressives need to change the country. We need to change the hearts and minds of most of the American people, and we’re not doing that now.

paperThings are becoming urgent. I know 2016 seems a way off, but it’s actually here. Ted Cruz was the first Republican into the Klown Kar, but Rand Paul and Marco Rubio followed close behind, and new Klowns will be coming into the race weekly. Hillary Clinton has announced, and a couple of other Democrats plan to join her within weeks, and we can’t afford another professional left disaster like the ones we saw in 2000, 2004, 2010, 2014 (and to a lesser extent, 2012). They are already handling this race wrong, and acting as if Rand Paul could win and supposing that Bernie Sanders could become the first Independent president in history, and they’re using rhetoric that will cost us the next election.

Ted Cruz and Rand Paul can never become president, UNLESS we spend the next year and a half trashing Democrats who aren’t perfect. The professional left is lining up to damage Hillary the way they lined up against Al Gore. If we are going to treat Ted Cruz and Rand Paul with the same gravity as Hillary Clinton, how can we expect to be taken seriously? Continue reading

Exceptionalism, My Ass!

I’m so tired of abject morons always droning on about “American Exceptionalism,” I actually want to barf every time I hear it. Do you know what we’re exceptional at? We are amazing at talking about our incredible greatness at a time when we do pretty much nothing great as a country.

Oh, we used to, but really… what have we done lately that makes us so “exceptional”?

Well, we are just about the only major industrialized democratic nation with a death penalty, so I suppose that “exceptional,” in a way. And we’re only about a century behind when it comes to making sure everyone has the right to see a doctor without being driven to the poor house. We’re also just about the only major industrialized democratic nation in the world that pays tribute to the fetus while ignoring the child once it’s born. For that matter, we’re the only such nation to not require employers to pay a living wage and then treat the resultant poor as if they’ve committed a crime. I suppose those make us “exceptional.”

But is being “exceptional” in those ways really something to be proud of? Continue reading

How We Blew Our Indiana Chance

You know what? We had it made. The Republican state of Indiana finally went too far and wrote a law that essentially sanctioned discrimination against people perceived to be gay, and allowing business owners to justify it by claiming “religious belief.”

Oh, man, it was brilliant. We had an opportunity handed to us on a silver platter. Right there, we had a chance to start a national dialogue on why it’s very important for us to extend protection to LGBT individuals. But…

You see, Indiana’s law could never apply to discrimination against anyone based on race, religion or sex, because there are specific laws on the books against that. The only group of people not covered are LGBT individuals. That’s what made the law so odious – more odious, in fact than the other so-called “Religious Freedom Acts” – It carved out a premise for discrimination that would only apply to gay people.

So here is the O’Connor family, appearing on TV and promising to never cater a gay wedding, as if any gay couple would serve pizza at their wedding in the first place: Continue reading

Distractions Like These are Killing Us

OzI posted yesterday about the danger of looking at the shiny keys; things right wingers do that get us all upset and hot and bothered, but which mean absolutely nothing in reality. The problem is, while we’re so busy occupying ourselves with crap, we’re not getting a progressive message out or promoting Democratic or progressive candidates.

There have been two such stories in the last few days, and both of them have completely taken over the professional left, to the point that anything important that may have gone on has been missed. And, like I said, while our side is engaging in our “Outrage of the Day” festivities over these, we just make ourselves look ridiculous and no progressive message is getting out.

In one example of “shiny keys,” an Arizona lawmaker kind of suggested during debate earlier this week that it would be nice if they could make church mandatory.

Yeah, I know. Asinine, right? Well, the professional left blew up, as they are wont to do, and another day went by without anything progressive being discussed. And it was much ado about nothing. Here’s the original story that started it all: Continue reading

The Peril of the Shiny Keys

The reason I started this blog in the first place, and called it “Please Cut the Crap” was because I wanted to do something a little different, and I will (hopefully) continue to do something different with the network I have planned. Instead of screaming about the “outrage of the day,” my goal is to present strategies for getting liberals and progressives a seat at the table, and to even get more of us elected.

shiny keysOur discourse is stuck. It’s not actually getting us anywhere, let alone where we need to be. And the main reason is that we’re always screaming at the screamers. For example, I am a huge supporter of President Obama, and I feel like I have to apologize for supporting him so strongly. And given that I would never apologize for anything I have said to a right wing Republican, guess who is making me feel apologetic. I expect heat from the right, but the amount of heat I take from the left is appalling.

President Obama is enormously competent (not perfect, PUBs) and his caring and compassion for the underdog is unmatched by any politician in my lifetime. In six years, with an opposition that is unprecedented in its willingness to stop progress, he has gotten more done than anyone could have imagined in 2008. The stock market is up more than 250% and the unemployment rate is at 5.5% after a peak of 10% at the height of the Bush Recession. The number of uninsured is down more than 35%, and medical inflation is at its lowest rate in a half century. And he has completely changed the way we conduct foreign policy after the Bush debacle, and the United States is again looked at as a leader. Continue reading

How Progressives Can Make Actual Progress

Why do so many self-described “progressives” not seem to notice that we’ve been standing outside the political fence for about a half-century? The PUBs (Progressive Unicorn Brigade) and professional left seem to like standing outside and shouting at those inside. What’s stranger is, they seem to think the people inside are listening to them. If they would just stop screaming for a moment, sit back and evaluate for a while, they would realize that the country has been regressing since 1981, which means we as progressives are doing something seriously wrong.

We have a tendency to blame our bad fortune on the far right because it’s easy. They’re not very bright, it’s true, but how bright are we, that we can’t seem to beat them in the key element of our politics, which is elections. We’re ineffective as a movement not because the right sells itself extremely well, but because we don’t sell ourselves at all. The most visible portion of the progressive movement – the professional left – spends all of their time selling to other liberals, at the same time they put down anyone else who isn’t “progressive enough.” Then there’s this notion that we’re not supposed to sell ourselves at all; that it’s somehow unseemly or some such nonsense. Continue reading

Ridding the Internet of Trolls

I started opining about politics on the Internet about 1995, which means I’m just about to mark 20 years of putting my opinions out there. I’ve gotten better at it in recent years. Back when I first started, I said a lot of shit I probably shouldn’t have. I didn’t always support my arguments, and sometimes, in the heat of the argument, I would make something up. Needless to say, I don’t do that anymore. I also used to engage in the art of the humblebrag, which I never do anymore as a matter of habit, because I’m afraid I might divulge something I shouldn’t. (Wait, that sounded a bit like a humblebrag. Sorry.)

Waiting For A RaiseBack when I first started, most of the Internet was a barren place; the only place to discuss politics was on Usenet newsgroups, which were a bustling place back in the late 1990s, when the idea of a blog was somewhat exotic. Now, we have more places to drop a load of “wisdom” than there are McDonald’s bathrooms. Usenet, for all intents and purposes, is dead now, relegated to audio and video downloads and porn. A few years back, so many were using it for porn, ISPs stopped providing access to it. Political newsgroups are now largely barren places where the only people discussing politics are a scant few cranks who are somewhat addicted, and their many sock puppets.

Anyway, I digress.

For 20 years, I have dealt with trolls, mostly those who considered it necessary to attack me personally because I have a differing opinion. I received my first death threat literally three days after I began posting. My first credible death threat came later that year, from a guy who targeted me and my son, because my name is Milton. You know, because that name meant I was a “Jew,” and he was a white supremacist who didn’t think Jews should live. That’s right;  I have never been Jewish, yet I have been victimized by anti-Semitism. Continue reading