Why are so many “progressive” blogs working against progressive issues & people?

nogopIt’s really kind of amazing, when you think about it…

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had occasion to peruse the liberal blogs and other media to a greater degree than I have in quite some time. I became rather disillusioned with “progressive media” a few years ago, and I only glance at them occasionally these days. For the most part, it’s because I found, sadly, that writers on the left tend to write their opinions and forgo fact almost as much as writers on the right. therefore, when it was forced to read so-called “progressive” thoughts and prose, it was with a heavy heart. When I was finished, I came away with an sickening feeling.

Do you know why Progressives lose?

Do you know why Republicans keep winning elections, even though they have no new ideas, and even though they don’t say anything that would make anyone new boat for them? Go read these blogs. if you have half a brain, you’ll figure it out despite reading the headlines.

One of them right now features an article about the things Chelsea Clinton will have available to her and her new baby that other (unspecified) women will not have. What follows is well over 1000 words explaining what Chelsea and her baby will have that many others will not. What’s missing, you ask? Well, exposition and context are completely missing, for one thing. There’s no reason to write an article like this, except to complain about how things are. Those people who are most affected by the lack of services already know about this, and they’re looking for progressives to help them elect politicians who actually give a shit, and will do something about it. Yet, it’s funny; there is nothing in the article about what anyone can do about it. Here we are, just over five weeks to go before a midterm election, and a supposedly liberal blog features an article full of complaints. However, there is no explanation as to why things are that way, and no indication as to the best way to change things. For example, we could stop electing Republicans, right? We never used to have these problems when Democrats were running the show, but now we do. Go figure.

Another highlighted article on the same site reports that low-wage workers confronted Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and suggested that he broke the law. Again, do you know what’s missing from this article? There isn’t even the slightest suggestion that the way to fix this problem is to make sure that Scott Walker and everyone else in his party is not reelected, and that the state needs to be run by Democrats again. there is no mention of an election in five weeks that could change everything. How is this possible? Why are progressive media types seemingly unaware that elections are the key to everything that happens in government?

Another progressive website features an article on the rise of charter schools and other forms of for-profit education. The article frames the issue as part of the “war on workers,” but not in the way you think. Instead of focusing on potentially less than stellar teachers, and the potential for a loss of educational quality, the article suggests that such schools well create “submissive” future workers, thus creating the image of past “progressive” educational endeavors apparently creating an entire generation of assertive workers. What’s the problem with this you ask? if the progressive school system in the past was so great, then why are unions becoming an endangered species, and why does the prospect of a living wage for all workers seem like a pipe dream? We can’t compare what’s happening now with something that never happened before and expect to be effective politically.

There’s another problem with it; one that is more politically treacherous. Nothing in the article even suggests who is conducting this “war,” or what we have to do in order to reverse its effects. if you’re going to talk about something like this, you have to make this about the Republican Party, because that’s who’s responsible. Privatizing everything that used to be done by the government is a Republican thing, and it has been perpetrated for a generation now. Charter schools are the natural effect of depriving of the schools of funds, and forcing other entities to fill the vacuum. If you have a hard time understanding why education is so messed up now, you need only look to the Republican Party. This is their baby, it’s a direct result of the fact that we’ve allowed Republicans to run the show for 30 of the last 34 years. and if something is causing a problem, then it is only logical that it be solved by getting rid of the thing that is causing the problem. Nothing in this article that suggests any solution, the loan the one that is offered in five weeks, when we all get to vote and remove the problem.

Later on the same blog, we find an article that asks the musical question, “Why do we lust for war?” This is a good question. However, the premise in this article hinges on ISIL, and suggests that we shouldn’t be bombing them, because bombing them is just like bombing everyone else and starting a war with someone. That concept is silly in the extreme. We are not starting a war with anyone. Korea was a war that we called a police action. Now, some progressives are referring to every actual police action as a war. It’s not a war. We are taking out people whose main goal is to create terror and quite possibly start a war with anyone who opposes them. And again, if you want to stop the war machine, it is clear what we have to do, and that is to vote out the current Republican Party. Five weeks before the election, this argument should be paramount in everyone’s mind. yet it’s nowhere to be found on many liberal blogs. Lots of complaints, no solutions. And we wonder why people don’t like us.

Go to another “progressive” website, and I found a lead story complaining that soon to be ex Atty. Gen. Eric Holder is uninterested in justice, and is all about ideology. Forget the fact that his ideology is actually pretty liberal, and what’s wrong with that? But consider; five weeks before an election, and a supposedly “liberal” blog is toeing the Republican line. In fact, I had to go through about 20 articles before I found one that would indicate that an election is coming up within a relatively short period of time.

This is the problem progressives have. Some of us think whining and crying about shit is how we get people motivated to take our side, and nothing could be further from the truth. We have to tell the truth. We have to not lie, and we have to talk about things that are relevant to the average person. We also must realize that only one of the two major parties is actually against the American people, and it’s not the Democrats. We have to make sure that people understand that voting against Republicans at this point in time is just as important as any issue we can name. There is nothing that can be done about any of the issues we supposedly care about as long as the government is being run by people who simply don’t give a damn about getting anything done.

  • If you care about climate change, and you should, then you should understand that taking power away from the deniers is extremely important. We can get policies changed under Democrats. We will never change policy as long as Republicans have enough votes to block anything we propose.
  • If we actually want to fix the educational system, we’ll have to stop electing Republicans, who can only cut the budget and turn every school function over to for-profit interests.
  • If we actually want to reduce poverty, and make sure that everyone with a job makes a living wage, we absolutely cannot do that as long as Republicans have enough seats in government to block the process.
  • If we actually want to end the drug war, and if we want to stop giving law enforcement so much unchecked power, then we have to stop electing Republicans, because everything about their ideology is authoritarian.
  • If we want more freedom, and less government intrusion in everything we want to do, then we obviously can’t have a government in which Republicans, given their current ideological makeup, is in charge.

The reason people don’t listen to us is because so many of us — especially the loudest of us — have so very little to say that anyone wants to hear. That’s why I started this blog. I wanted to say things no other progressive was saying, and I want to provide progressives with the ammunition they need to win elections, because winning elections is how you change policy. The most progressive period of time in this nation’s history began with the Great Depression and World War II. For 34 years after the war, we became the biggest superpower in the history of the world, and we had begun to shed much of our racist past. Life was good for most people, and it was getting better for those whom we had previously left behind. Progressives were a powerful force at the time, because we worked with Democrats to get things done. Then, in the early 1970s, we stopped working with Democrats and started working against them. We can’t do that anymore.

There are two viable political parties, not 12. No matter what else happens, in virtually every race there will be two candidates; one Democrat and one Republican. Republicans will rabidly vote for anyone affiliated with their party. Other voters are little more choosy, and they need a reason to vote for the Democrat. When progressives go after Democrats — and that means any Democrat — such voters will often stay home. That’s how Republicans win; when voters stay home.

There are five weeks to go before the election. If you consider yourself a “real progressive,” you have no choice but to play up the Democratic Party and let everyone know the Democrat is always the better choice. We need a Democratic majority for more than two years, and once we get a Democratic supermajority, then and only then can we start whittling away Democrats who are not up to snuff. Until that point, you need to be pro-Democrat in order to make progress. There is no other choice, regardless of your fantasies.

It’s really that simple.

Democrats are the donkeys. Progressives have to stop being the asses.

What I did on my late-summer “vacation”…

Let me explain what I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks, because you need to hear it, my fellow progressives…

I’ve been working with a select group of Democratic candidates on messaging that will help them win their elections six weeks from today. The six candidates running in various parts of the country, mostly at the state level. All six needed help, not because they were threatened with annihilation because of the GOP BS machine, but because they were being attacked incessantly by liberals, who are constantly on them for not being “progressive enough.”

That’s right. Six weeks before an election, and liberals who should know better are attacking Democrats incessantly. How is that possible? In what way does that make sense? Five of the six candidates are in districts that are actually majority Republican districts, and they have a good chance of winning, because the Republican Party is not very popular at the moment. The other one is in the district that is almost exactly 50-50. They’re not in districts that are 65-70% Democratic, where a candidate can say far left things and still be elected. These people aren’t Maxine Waters, who represents a district that will elect her almost no matter what. These candidates are running in districts where winning is actually something of a minor miracle.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been once again reminded that a great number of “progressives” really have no idea how politics actually works. I was listening to a progressive radio show late last week, and was astounded by the parade of “progressives” who called in to tell us what “the Democrats” message should be, as if there could be one message that would apply to the thousands of races occurring throughout the entire country. one guy was actually bravely positing that “the Democrats” should not have allowed the right wing to adopt the term “pro-life,” as if no one else has ever thought of that. In what way is that relevant to thousands of campaigns throughout the country? The answer is, of course, it’s not. And this is why we lose. this is why progressive citizen on the sidelines for 40 years. many progressives don’t understand politics in yet in their own minds, their brilliant.

Midterm elections are not pretty. They are difficult, and it is difficult to engage the public in the debate. One reason for that is, there are no presidential elections to galvanize the entire country around a few issues, and there is no single theme that will get them out to the polls. midterm elections are the embodiment of the phrase, “all politics is local.” If you think the Democratic Party should be “messaging” using a single theme or series of themes for the entire country, then learn about politics, because you don’t know anything. if you expect Debbie Wasserman Schultz to fashion a “midterm theme” that would make you ecstatic, then you don’t understand how midterms work, and you should probably sit down and shut up.

First of all, Democratic Party messaging is a local affair, especially in a midterm election. Other than jobs, which is a given in every election where unemployment is above 2%, there is no messaging that applies to the entire country. Second of all, messaging doesn’t come from a party that exists way out there in the ether; it comes from us. Why do so many “progressives” always expect someone else to do their dirty work for them? Those of us who are politically active — meaning those of us who actually discuss this as a matter of course, or who write about it on a regular basis — are responsible for general “messaging.” It’s not up to the national Democratic Party to point out that the Republican Party sucks and why; that’s our job.

It always cracks me up when I see “progressives” on Twitter or Facebook or one of the millions of political fora that are out there claiming that liberals are the “Democratic base,” at the same time they talk about “the Democrats” as if there’s some sort of disembodied entity out there in space. We progressives have two choices, because there are two viable parties in this country; Republicans and Democrats. that’s it. Those are the only two parties that have a chance to win in just about every election. There is no smorgasbord of choices. Once every thousand races are so, one “independent” will pop up, but when they take their seat, they will caucus with either Republicans or Democrats, because it’s the only way to get things done.

If you’d like a new political party to come up, then build one. But you’ll have to build it into a second party, because simple mathematics makes a viable third party impossible. By the way, the last time that was done was 150 years ago, when the Republican Party took over as the second party. When I listen to these people wish for a third party, as if someone “out there” will simply create one for them, it makes me laugh. However, it makes me scream when they start attacking Democrats because they think they have to attack Democrats in order to create an atmosphere that will lead to a “third party.” Really? you’d rather replace the Democrats than Republicans? Is that really that progressive? The Republican Party, as it exists right now, wants to tear the country apart. Shouldn’t that be the party that we replace as a second party?

Someone else isn’t going to build you a new political party.You have to build it yourself, and do so from the ground up. Political parties don’t just exist, people have to make them, and many before you have tried and failed. There are currently 134 political parties registered in the United States, and few have ever gotten more than 1-2% of the vote nationally, and few have held more than 1-2 seats in any state or federal governmental body in the country. The overwhelming majority of Americans will always vote for either a Democrat or a Republican. And while you may think all such people are “brainwashed,” the fact of the matter is, they’re smarter than “progressives” who wish for a new political party, and seem to expect it to magically pop up out of nowhere. They understand that you can’t do anything politically without a majority. And the major political parties, while far from perfect, help to give our positions a majority in whichever governmental body is relevant to a particular election.

And that leads to another thing all progressives need to know. Trying to get five or six full on progressives elected in local elections is admirable on its face. However, if you are trying to elect five or six full-on progressives, at the same time you are trashing dozens of other Democrats for not being “progressive enough,” you are politically daft. Electing five or six full-on Progressives to a governmental body in which they are the minority is little more than political masturbation. Even the most progressive politicians can do nothing if they’re not part of the majority caucus in whichever body they’re serving. For example, progressives love to hold up Elizabeth Warren is a paragon of virtue; the greatest progressive ever created. However, as long as she is in the Senate, and the Senate has more than 40 Republicans, and as long as Republicans run the House of Representatives, Elizabeth Warren can do absolutely nothing. in other words, If you’re taking pride in both electing Elizabeth Warren and also making sure that enough Democrats lose so that Warren is part of the minority, you don’t understand how politics works.

The same is true of President Obama, the most progressive president we’ve had in many years. the reason he doesn’t seem so progressive is because he can’t pass progressive legislation without a compliant Congress. he had a compliant Congress in 2009-2010, but these same “progressives” blamed Democrats for not being up to overcome the filibuster during that period, and handed Congress to the GOP in 2010.

So here we are in 2014, and I’m  seeing the same damn thing again. It is political stupidity on the part of progressives that we Democrats have to fight so hard against these people. Our greatest threat isn’t the Republican Party, it’s the circular firing squad that is present on the left side of the political spectrum. Seriously, how the hell do these “progressives” expect ever to get a progressive country, if we can’t even move the country even slightly to the right because they oppose everyone who isn’t 100% full-on lefty? Moving the country left takes a lot of effort and time, and it will be a gradual progression, especially after 34 years of domination by the current incarnation of the GOP. I know some of these “progressives” dream of some sort of “revolution,” but that’s not realistic. We live in a democracy. Ultimately, that means that we the people get to make political decisions, so what the hell do they imagine people will revolt against? People don’t revolt against democracy, they revolt against oppression. The people of this country already have the power to remove any oppression they see, and we have the power to change the government every two years. Again, what do you imagine they’re going to revolt against?

To get anything done in this country, you have two choices. The first choice is to make sure you have a majority in whichever governmental body needs to do something. The second choice — and the choice the Republicans prefer — is to encourage people who oppose you to not show up at the polls on election day. Since the Republicans dominate the second choice, we have one choice left as progressives. We have to make sure the closest major party to us, ideologically speaking, which is the Democratic Party, always has a majority in every governmental body possible. We have to make sure we have a majority in the Senate (at this point that means 60 or more votes) and we need to have a solid majority in the House of Representatives. We have to elect as many Democratic governors as possible, and we have to elect Democratic majorities in every state legislature in the country.

No, Democrats are not perfect, but only a complete idiot would expect them to be. We live in a democracy, folks. By definition, that means we have to settle for something close to the middle of political spectrum. Success for progressives is moving the country a little bit left of the center; if you expect to ever move the entire country all the way to the left, you are a dreamer and have no place in politics.

I, for one, am tired of Democrats having to fight harder against so-called “progressives” than against Republicans. Republicans should be the greatest enemies of the progressive movement, and yet they’re not treated as such. Democrats rarely have to fight against Republicans; most voters understand that Republicans are nuts, and they have no intention of voting for them. But along comes some really nice, seemingly caring and knowledgeable “progressive” bloggers and “journalists,” who are more than happy to tell them that Democrats are just as bad as Republicans. Voters are told that Democrats are just as beholden to corporations; just as ignorant on climate change; and just as racist, sexist and everything else as Republicans. Then, we end up spending far too much time fighting against the absolutely false impression that these “progressives” provide. Because of these “progressives,” Democratic candidates too often have to swim against the tide, and prove to voters that it’s worthwhile for them to show up and vote.

This has to stop. Now. We have six weeks.

Dear PUBs and Pro lefties: either support all Democrats, or sit down and shut up

As of tomorrow, we will have seven weeks before the next election. That’s seven weeks, folks.

That’s 49 days to change our fortunes and make sure that Democrats win as many seats as possible. So why am I still seeing liberal bloggers and other liberal pundits constantly complaining about Democrats? Why am I still seeing PUBs (progressive unicorn brigade) constantly whining because “some” Democrats are less than perfect, progressively speaking?

We have 49 days, not 49 months. This is the time when voters actually start paying attention, at least a little bit. This is the time when progressive fortunes are made or broken, and let’s face it, progressives; our fortunes are tied to Democrats, whether you like it or not. You can harbor all the fantasies you want about third parties and fourth parties and fifth parties and having a smorgasbord of candidates, but they are fantasies. We have two parties; Republicans and Democrats. And we know Republicans won’t do anything progressive, no matter what. So what does that leave us with? It leaves us with Democrats.

And that does not mean a smattering of Democrats, one here and one there. It means that we have to develop a majority of Democrats in every governmental body we possibly can. We have Republicans in charge — or effectively in charge, since all they really want to do is block everything Democrats do, anyway — for 30 of the last 34 years. That’s right, PUBs; Democrats have been in charge of the federal government for two two-year periods since 1981. Therefore, when you complain that Democrats haven’t been effective, you really don’t know what you’re talking about. When you complain that President Obama has been ineffective, or “disappointing,” you display a galling lack of knowledge about how the political system works in this country. It’s not possible for any president to do anything without Congress helping him. If you have an image of President Obama as someone who can simply do something, then you don’t know how this works. Four years ago, in 2010, PUBs stupidly (and yes, I said stupidly) expended an enormous amount of effort at getting rid of his many Blue Dogs, or conservative leaning Democrats, as possible. The result of that effort removed half of the Blue Dog caucus, and installed Tea Party candidates as their replacements.

Over the last few weeks, I have been confronted by a great number of PUBs. I even had one who was offended because I dared to suggest that progressives have been losing for 40 years now. She couldn’t believe it. I was apparently a bad progressive because I noted that some progressives have been their own worst enemy for 40 years and we’ve been losing as a result. The level of delusion necessary to deny that progressives have been losing in the political arena for 40 years is truly mind-boggling, and it’s symptomatic of the PUB mentality. They’re no more interested in politics than a Fox news viewer is interested in the truth. they go to the “liberal blogosphere,” as the extremely rich Arianna Huffington coined it, to have their views validated. The professional left knows this, and they are more than happy to oblige, in order to make tons of money from many thousands of clicks per day.

Put simply, the constant complaining attracts attention. Many liberal “political junkies” can recite chapter and verse about the outrage of the day, but have no concept of how politics itself works. T ishe result is, a Republican Party that should be on the ropes based on its actual record, still has a chance to totally keep a majority in the House but to potentially take over a majority in the Senate. And it’s all because of this asinine concept that so many PUBs push, that both parties are the same. The underlying subtext, whether intended or not, is that when you vote for a Democrat, you’re getting basically the same thing you would get if you voted for a Republican.

That concept, of course, is absurd. But in a country wherein the vast majority of people think Republicans and right-wingers in general, are ridiculous, every time progressives proffer the idea that both parties are the same, it keeps people home on Election Day. For most of the past 40 years, politicians on the right have not been winning because they attract more votes. They win — or rather, we lose — because such comments discourage voters from showing up in the first place. People who stay home are now the deciding factor in most elections.

Frankly, one reason this is a problem is because PUBs simply do not understand politics. Keep in mind, PUBs makeup a small subset of progressives. Most actual progressives are cool, and not very dumb, politically. PUBs are rarely poor, and they tend to have a college education, so shouldn’t be uneducated boobs. However, they seem to think they know more about being poor or a minority than those who actually are poor and/or minorities do. This small-but noisy minority within our movement is ruining it for the rest of us with their lack of knowledge of how politics actually works, and their inability to understand what actually moves the country forward.

That’s why I’ve taken it upon myself to teach PUBs a little basic civics. Here are five lessons that all PUBs need to know moving forward.

Lesson #1: We live in a democratic republic. That means those who gets the most votes win and get to make policy.

I can’t believe I even have to write this out loud. Our government runs on majority rule; those in the majority get to make the rules. If you want the government to do what progressives think should be done to help working people, the poor and downtrodden, we need to elect a majority of the party closest to us ideologically. The elected candidate should be the one most capable of listening to the people and giving them what they want. In some districts, that will mean something very progressive. In other districts — for example, those with around 55% Republicans in them — that will most certainly not be progressive. Put simply, it depends on the district.

Right now, the most important thing progressives need to do is to make sure Republicans are never in the majority. After that, we have to work on moving the populace to the left. That leads us to:

Lesson #2: To get a progressive government, you need a progressive populace.

Again, majority rules. Therefore, getting progressive laws and programs through requires a progressive majority. that will require us to change the hearts and minds of as many people as possible. That is not done by screaming at them and calling them “stupid” because they don’t think the way you do.

The most important step is to listen first, and then learn to frame issues in a way that makes sense to them, and makes them want to be on our side. A great example is climate change. “Climate change” is an abstract concept to most, and because people can see it and touch it, it will never be seen as a “crisis” by most people. The vast majority of PUBs spend all of their time trying to make them “believe” in climate change, and that’s just a waste of time. On the other hand, we can convince them that driving a safe vehicle that also gets 200 miles per gallon is a great thing. We can convince them that driving an electric vehicle, for which all they have to do is plug into an electrical outlet overnight would be so much better than driving a gas powered car. We’ve convinced millions to switch over to energy-efficient light bulbs, and recycling has become commonplace these days, not because we scared people, but because we explained it to them calmly and rationally. Most people are actually in favor of solar, wind, geothermal and other types of power, as long as their energy bills don’t triple. Everyone loves living in a clean place, breathing clean air and making a cleaner world for their kids.

We just have to discuss issues in a way that makes the average voter feel good about them, so stop trying to scare them. Most voters are not motivated by fear, and making them more stressed out does not exactly make them receptive to our side. And always keep in mind, you have to have patience. The Republican neocon era is 34 years old; it’ll take a while to move the goalposts to where we want.

Lesson #3: Until there are 218 or more progressive districts in this country, ousting “Blue Dogs” should not be a source of pride; it’s actually idiotic.

I mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again. If you’re one of those idiots who cause yourself “progressive,” and you were actually gleeful at the “silver lining” in the 2010 election results, in which about half of the “Blue Dog” Democrats lost, not really that progressive. and you’re actually kind of clueless. And there were two reasons why. One I mentioned; the rise of the Tea Party is directly attributable to you. If you spent all of 2009-2010 complaining about Democrats and complaining about Obama because he didn’t give you a unicorn, you’re the reason the Tea Party has as much power as it does.

Nancy Pelosi was replaced by John Boehner, and the progressive Democrats who chaired committees all went from being able to move progressive legislation through the House, to being part of minority, with an obstructionist Republican majority. As I said, Republicans don’t care about getting anything done. Their only goal is to stop Democrats from doing anything. That should’ve been abundantly clear in 2009 and 2010, when they filibustered 375 bills that were passed by the Democratic House. And thanks to the 2010 elections they had an even greater chance of doing just that.

This country does not have 218 progressive districts. The House Progressive Caucus has 78 members; when it was created 22 years ago, it had 76. If progressives want Congress to do progressive things, the Progressive Caucus needs 140 partners, at least. They don’t have that, and until PUBs get their heads out of their asses, and start realizing that we can’t do anything without Blue Dogs, and that voters don’t hear “Blue Dog,” they hear “Democrat,” we’ll never get anywhere. don’t take pride in removing a couple dozen Blue Dogs; you actually screwed every progressive who is actually in Congress by doing that. And if, four years later, you still don’t understand that basic concept, take up another hobby, because politics is not your thing, and you’re screwing those of us who are actually trying to get Democrats to win so that progressives can do more things. you’re not progressive anyway; it simply not progressive to get rid of Blue Dogs and replace them with teabaggers.

Lesson #4: There is NO SIMILARITY between the two political parties at this point in time. To claim there is demonstrates an enormous political ignorance.

I stopped counting the number of “progressives” (PUBs) who claim the “both parties are the same” tripe, and then demand that I defer to their intelligence. Many love to quote Harry Truman, who once said, “Given a choice between a Democrat who acts like a Republican or a Republican­, the people will always choose the Republican­.”

That is catchy, I admit. Of course, he said it in 1946. That quote is older than most baby boomers. It should be collecting Social Security by now. I hate to break it to PUBs, but the Republican party has changed a lot since then. Back then, a majority within the two parties saw each other as “the loyal opposition.” Nowadays, the current incarnation of the Republican Party sees all Democrats and any reasonable Republican as “the enemy.” They’ve declared war on the poor, and will do everything they can to help the rich get richer. The current GOP happily puts party politics ahead of country, which is something most Republicans in Truman’s day rarely did.

If you are unable to see a difference between how Republicans and Democrats run things, you’re not paying attention. There isn’t a single Republican who isn’t worse than the worst Blue Dog Democrat.  Blue Dogs vote with Democrats more than 80% of the time. I challenge you to find any Republican who has voted with Democrats even 10% of the time. It’s not possible to even imagine Democrats proposing the elimination of Medicare and/or Obamacare, and yet Republicans do it every day. No Democrat has ever proposed killing a highway bill that would create a million jobs and beef up our infrastructure, but Republicans do it routinely. Democrats have never proposed severe cuts in programs for the poor in order to pay for oil company subsidies, but Republicans passed all of this. Republicans want to return us to the same policies that led to the great recession, and they want to privatize Social Security. Democrats, including Blue Dogs voted to support these programs and reforms.

And yes, I know; occasionally, a stray Democrat might mention privatizing Social Security, or something equally as stupid, and the professional left will go crazy for weeks and demand that such a Democrat lose. There’s just one problem; no single Democrat can do anything on his or her own, so it doesn’t matter. On the other hand, when you take what that single Democrat, or even a handful of Democrats say as indicative of what the entire party stands for, you discourage people from voting for anyone and help the Republicans win. And that, my friends, is not progressive.

The differences between the two parties couldn’t be more stark these days, and to characterize them as the same is not only stupid, but it is killing the progressive movement, politically speaking. First off, it hurts our credibility, because it’s demonstrably not true. When people hear us say stupid crap like that, many of them investigate and find out we lied to them. That type of thing kills our credibility.

Lesson #5: Politics is a game of strategy. Issues are not “politics.” 

While it’s important to get all of the right people elected, it can often be just as important to get the wrong people un-elected. You know, like a Republican Party that wants nothing more than to take away everything we have right now. Politics is a game, and it’s not emotional. It’s the method we use to get the right kind of governance, and it’s the method we use to get a majority behind a great idea for policy. Politics is the tool we use to get to our goal, it’s not the goal itself. Being in favor of reproductive choice is not politics. Politics is how you get politicians in place who can work to protect your reproductive choice. Note the difference; it’s not really all that subtle, and it is incredibly important.

It doesn’t matter what your position is on an issue. What matters is whether or not you do everything possible to get where you need to go. That is the “politics.” This a distinction that PUBs seem unable to grasp, which is why they vote for third party candidates with no chance of winning, and crow about their progressive chops for having done so. If you vote for someone who can’t be elected and, therefore, will never be in a position to actually make policy or law, your politics is not progressive. The root word of “progressive” is “progress,” and you can’t fix the welfare system or cut off subsidies to oil companies, or increase the minimum wage, or do anything else that would represent “progress” if the candidate you voted for can’t win. in fact, even if you vote for a good progressive candidate who does win, if he or she is not part of the majority, they will also be ineffective. That’s why choosing a political party and supporting it all of the time, even when you sometimes have to hold your nose, is actually a progressive thing to do.

Having the “right position” on an issue doesn’t make you politically “progressive.” Voting for someone who says all the “right things,” but who can’t win doesn’t make you politically “progressive.” As the word implies, what makes you politically “progressive” is reflective in the “progress” you’re willing to work to get and maintain. Getting 10% of what we want every election cycle is progress. Getting 0% of what we want because we are demanding 100% is not progress. Worse, what we’re experiencing right now is essentially -10% every election cycle, because we’re demanding 100%. There is no way anyone can consider that progress .Obviously, something needs to change.

Politics in this particular democracy is about winning elections. That’s the central focus. Signing petitions and protesting and making demands only makes a difference if the government we’ve installed is amenable to it. If you had a petition with 200 million signatures demanding an assault weapons ban, it still won’t get through Congress, because the personnel in the current GOP House membership won’t allow it to happen. Again; it’s important, politically, to get the best people POSSIBLE into the government. In some cases, that means getting rid of bad people, and it means imperfection is likely. Imagine that. But it can’t be emphasized enough that replacing Blue Dogs with teabaggers was not progressive, it was regressive.

in seven weeks, we have an election to win, but we can’t win that election if we’re encouraging people to not vote because we don’t understand how politics actually works. It’s time for PUBs and the professional left to sit down and shut up, or to become cheerleaders for Democrats exclusively, at least for a while. Every time you put down a Democrat — any Democrat — at this point in time you are putting another nail in the proverbial coffin of the progressive movement. It’s been 40 years; how much longer before you get it?

The arguments against a minimum wage increase are all just Republican crap

I am so sick of all of the arguments against raising the minimum wage. None of them makes any sense. In fact, most of them are just complete crap, beginning with the notion that almost no one makes the minimum wage anyway. This is from testimony by some paid hack at the Heritage Foundation last year:

Relatively few Americans do so. In 2011 and 2012, 3.7 million Americans reported earning $7.25 or less per hour—just 2.9 percent of all workers in the United States. Those who do work in minimum-wage jobs fall into two distinct categories: young workers, usually in school, and older workers who have left school. Most minimum-wage earners fall into the first category; just over half are between the ages of 16 and 24. The rest are 25 or older.

I’m using this passage because it is just so much crap, and because it’s been repeated so many times over the last several years, some people actually believe parts of it, and that’s sad. I know what you’re thinking; it’s the Heritage Foundation — what else should we expect? Well, how about actual facts that are relevant to the issue? Continue reading

We need a new corporate tax code, but without GOP input

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Last week, fast food giant Burger King swallowed up Tim Horton’s, a chain of donut and coffee stores popular throughout Canada, and growing in strength throughout the northeastern United States. one of the main reasons Burger King purchased the Canadian company was so that they could move their operations to Canada and save money on taxes, because apparently Canadian corporate taxes are a bit lower.

A few weeks earlier, Walgreens, one of the largest drug store chains in he country, purchased a smaller British chain, and considered basing their country inside the UK, to — do I even have to say it? — save money on taxes, primarily on international sales.

In both cases, tremendous pressure from the buying public caused their corporate honchos to switch gears and “do the right thing,” maintaining their headquarters in the US. we have a serious problem. Sure, we can play whack-a-mole on corporations that do something like this on a grand scale, and coerce them into keeping their presence here, thus keeping the tax base intact, but really; what sense does that make? The fact that they even had a choice to make points up a major problem with corporate tax policy in this country. Continue reading

Republicans are job killers – get rid of them

If you even imagine taking a Republican seriously when they talk about jobs in this country, you should probably be committed. To be blunt, Republicans couldn’t care less about the average working American. For decades now, the GOP has worked hard to facilitate large companies in moving their factories and jobs to other countries, to save them money and increase their bottom line. It used to be, the top tax rate was 91%, and the only way to get tax rate down was to actually invest in the economy. But over the years, Republicans have gamed the system in a way that allows companies to benefit from low tax rates, and even be subsidized, without lifting a finger to help the American economy.

When any Republican complains about job creation, the initial reaction should be to laugh or cry, depending on the day. When Republicans talk about the “massive economic expansion” that began under St. Reagan, and supposedly lasted until the great recession in 2008, they seem little more than, well, delusional. The only people who’ve prospered since 1981 are the richest 1% of Americans; the people who didn’t need help in the first place. Continue reading

What has to happen before we get serious about gun control?

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Earlier this week, a 13-year-old boy was shot and killed as he slept in his own bed, because people who probably shouldn’t have guns had guns and decided to fire indiscriminately.

Also this week, a nine-year-old girl was at a fine little “family” establishment called Bullets and Burgers, we’re apparently the family that shoots together can also fire guns together. she was handed an Uzi 9 mm fully automatic, where she — and this is a shocker — lost control of the gun and shot the employee who was supposedly supervising her in the face, killing him and ruining the lives of two families in the process.

Earlier today, there was an apparent workplace shooting in Greenville, South Carolina that left two dead.

Of course, a few weeks ago, an unarmed teen was shot dead by police in Ferguson, Missouri, apparently because he was jaywalking.

Earlier this year, a baseball player from Australia was shot and killed by a few teenagers who claimed they were just “bored.”

Of course, and there is the infamous case in which a likely mentally ill man was able to get hold of his mother’s AR-15, and shoot up Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, killing 26, including 20 under the age of 8. before that, there was the case in which a man went into the back door of a dark movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, decked head to toe in Kevlar, and shot people pretty much at will for several minutes. And then there is the shooting in Tucson, Arizona, when Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was targeted by a mentally ill man, who killed nine people and ruined the lives of several families.

Though we treat them as if they are isolated, they are anything but .Every single day, an average of 316 people are shot by a gun, with 83 of those dying as a result. That’s each and every day.  While no one expects that number to ever be zero, that should certainly be a goal, Recently, OSHA set new standards for workers’ exposure to silica dust, with the aim of saving 700 lives per year. The FDA also recently set up new standards for inspecting poultry, to cut the number of cases of salmonella, and perhaps a 1,500 lives per year. These are excellent ideas, because they save lives, and that is part of the mission of government. Continue reading

Predictions are not “facts,” and defeatism is not acceptable: election 2014

I am truly beginning to hate pundits. At least, the professional lefties who think they know everything, and declare everything they say that is actually opinion as “fact.” Case in point, Ezra Klein’s latest missive on his new website venture Vox. You can start with the abject arrogance demonstrated in the title:

The 9 most important facts about the 2014 elections

The first problem? Vox is run by Klein, a journalist who supposedly values facts above all else.

Call me crazy, but I would say that, since we still have just over two months to go before we even conduct the 2014 election, everything said about it right now would pretty much have to be a prediction. And predictions, by definition, cannot be fact. They are opinions, and they’re not even opinions based on facts. They’re based on “conventional wisdom,” which is mostly conjecture and almost always wrong. And I’m sick of this. I’m sick and tired of progressives pretending they know everything and then proffering ideas and notions that undermine real progressives’ attempts to create a better government and, therefore, a better life for Americans. I’m sick of the professional left telling me who’s going to win in November, instead of working to make sure the best candidates possible win. not only are these not facts, but what this type of article does is to undermine everything that real progressives do on a daily basis to try and get the best candidate into office.

Therefore, when someone says something so incredibly arrogant as, “Here’s what you need to know to understand the 2014 election,” and then proceeds to undermine everyone else’s efforts to get the vote out, my crap-cutting radar goes off, and I feel the need to rebut. Let’s look at these, shall we? Continue reading

Why Rick Perry’s indictment is in no way “bogus”

PerryMugShotI’ve been told by quite a few people just in the last few days that my support for the indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry was misplaced, misguided and completely partisan. Actually, it’s none of those things. I admit to being partisan, however Perry is not running for another term as governor, and he has less than a snowball’s chance in hell of ever becoming president, and I don’t care about party affiliation when it comes to this issue. This is about abuse of power, and nothing more or less, and those who abuse power should be drummed out of office, if not sent to jail.

The two crimes for which Perry was indicted included abuse of power and coercion of a public servant, and even on the surface there is plenty of evidence to support indictment for both of these crimes. These are serious crimes because, in order for someone to be convicted of these crimes, it must be proven that they abused some level of public trust. Within the state of Texas, the level of public trust doesn’t get much higher than Governor.

The details of Perry’s alleged crimes are that he essentially used his veto of a bill that included $7.5 million in funding to the state-funded Travis County Public integrity Unit, which is a group that investigates ethical problems and corruption. He essentially demanded that District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resign her position with that group, after she was convicted of DUI. Continue reading

Guess what, white people; America is not “Post-Racial”

If you are bothering to read this, you probably remember how you felt on Nov. 4, 2008, when Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, a black man, was elected president of the United States. To many, it seemed as if a country with racism in its DNA had become a greater nation, almost overnight. With that one election, we thought wehad overcome our racist past and become the “more perfect union” the founding fathers had dreamed of. Post-racial America had come at last, and it was going to be amazing.

Yet, we fast forward six years, and sit here in front of their computers watching events unfold in the unlikely suburban town Ferguson, Missouri. Obviously, those who thought we were entering a post-racial era had jumped the gun somewhat.

That doesn’t mean we’re not getting better. Look at young people these days, and you see hope for the future. Most people under 30 seem to see race more as a physical trait, much like hair and eye color, and less as a stigmatized social label. At a press conference on July 19, 2013, after the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, President Obama himself talked about exactly that: Continue reading