The Answers Are Never THAT Clear!

There is no issue that can be stated in black and white terms. None. Zero. Zilch.

Every issue anyone can name has a number of shades of grey, and it is really not possible to take a yes/no, either/or stance on anything and be accurate about it. I know a lot of people on the professional left think they sound smart when they talk about fossil fuels and carbon in absolute terms, but they really don’t. I mean, yes, we have to work our way toward using less fossil fuels, but it’s not as simple as ditching all of our cars and carbon-producing power plants tomorrow. Yet, many of the arguments you hear and read from the pro left sound like that’s possible.

PUB1Likewise, most of the PUB (Progressive Unicorn Brigade) and professional left arguments against the Trans-Pacific Partnership sound almost as ridiculous; they’re often left versions of right-wing absolutist arguments, and they’re not any smarter, really. I’ll get to that in a bit. For now, let’s talk about the intersection of fossil fuels, carbon and climate change, shall we?

Among the absolutist arguments I have been hearing lately are the following (these are paraphrased, but pretty close to exact quotes):

  • President Obama is violating his own admonition to Republicans he made in 2012 about drilling for oil by, well, drilling for oil.
  • Advocating for more drilling means we can’t wean ourselves off fossil fuels.
  • Because scientists say the best way to cut carbon usage is to leave it in the ground, we should leave everything in the ground.
  • By becoming one of the largest oil producers in the world once again, we undermine our overall goal, which should be to stop using fossil fuels.

Every single one of those arguments is asinine on its face, because they all require that we all ignore the reality of the day. Continue reading

The Future of Liberalism: Where is the Liberal Message?

Why do we fail so much, when we know, almost instinctively, that more people are on our side, politically speaking? More importantly, why do so few liberals seem to notice that we are failing?

BushKiss2Once again, the reasons are deceptively simple. People really are on our side, for the most part. Who wouldn’t be? I mean, for God’s sake; liberals and progressives want cleaner air and water, we want to switch away from dirty oil and coal to much cleaner solar, wind and geothermal. We want American children to have a better education. We want the workplace to be more egalitarian. We want the markets to be open and free and we want everyone to have the opportunity to do something great, for themselves and their families. We want every family that works to be paid fairly, at a wage that allows them to live without stressing over such things as how they’ll pay for food or a place to live. We believe healthcare is a right, and that no one should face losing everything because someone they may not even know sneezed in their vicinity and made them ill. We think food should be priced fairly and be healthy and as disease-free as possible. We think consumer products should be safe. And for God’s sake, we not only want those who are religious and those who are not to be free of the tyranny of those who think their religion and that everyone should be able to walk around freely, with little or no fear of being shot by anyone, especially police, unless they pose an imminent threat to someone else. Continue reading

The Future of Liberalism: Nature Abhors a Vacuum

When did we get to this point?

Clown CarI mean, look at the Republican Klown Kar for a clue. At some point, when everyone thinking of running actually throws their pointy little hat into the ring, we will have the richest vein of comedic gold in American history, and absolutely no one who can be looked at seriously as a contender for the White House. The closest one is the brother of the worst president in American history, by far, and the son of another president who is undoubtedly in the bottom five. It’s been that way for a while, because what Republicans believe is nothing even close to mainstream.

Consider: Just over just the past few weeks, we’ve seen the following; Continue reading

Help Create a Network of Progressives for Common Sense

GOP Klown KarYou can really tell who the professional left are these days. While the rest of us are seeing things like what’s happened in Baltimore… and New York… and Chicago… and Ferguson… and trying to learn how we can make a difference in the world, pro lefties are all over Bernie Sanders. Really. It just happened. When the story about the Baltimore prosecutor indicting some cops over Freddie Gray’s death, several PUBs/emos and pro lefties were posting screeds on why we need Bernie Sanders as president. I shit you not.

Now, I love Bernie. In a perfect world, he’d make a good president. And I’m glad he will be adding to the debate, as will Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb. But we live in a democracy that even has a difficult time electing someone center-left – a far lefty like Sanders has zero chance of doing more than being heard. If we really want to do something, we need to get Bernie and Elizabeth Warren a majority Democratic Senate and House, so that they can actually pass laws. That means, stop trashing Hillary, and stop supporting Bernie so damn hard that your panties will bunch when he doesn’t win the nomination.

Go here to help us create a new, unicorn-free liberal network.

Continue reading

Why is this Happening in Baltimore?

FreddieGrayPrecinctProtestI grew up in Baltimore. When I say “in Baltimore,” well, like most other white people, I mean the suburbs, although I was a lot closer to the city than most people I knew at the time. My high school, which was in Baltimore County, was literally walking distance from the city line. (Just as a point of reference, Baltimore City and Baltimore County are two entirely separate entities.) We used to occasionally break the rules (Gasp! One of my teachers will read this!) and go up to Gino’s on Patapsco Avenue, which was in the city, when we didn’t feel like cafeteria food. My parents’ first home was in the County, but only about a mile from the city line, their second was about a half mile inside the city, the third was about two blocks away from that Gino’s and the last house they bought there was in Arbutus, a little hamlet that still, to this day, looks like Mayberry, even though it’s about a 20 minute bus ride from downtown Baltimore.

Throughout my early childhood, most of my extended family lived in Baltimore City. My grandmother and an aunt and uncle lived near St. Agnes Hospital, which is across Patapsco Avenue from the former Cardinal Gibbons High School,  which was once the site of the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. If that sounds familiar, it’s where Babe Ruth went to school and learned to play baseball. My grandfather went there, too, albeit a few years after the Babe, but enough to establish my Baltimore pedigree. My grandmother, father and aunt grew up in a neighborhood north of Patterson Park, and I visited a lot when I was a kid, so I recognize the neighborhood to this day. My mother grew up in a neighborhood on the west side that was demolished a long time ago. Continue reading

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

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