The Scourge of the Progressive Movement

HeManWomanHatersLet me ask you a question. Now, this question is rhetorical, so I don’t expect you to answer it for me, although there is a comment section, so feel free. If there is something you should have learned about by now, after reading this and other blogs I have maintained over the last 15 years, it’s that I am not guided by my ego. There’s a reason for that, which I’ll get to. But here’s the question:

If someone is passionate about an issue on which you disagree, and they scream at you like a crazy person and call you stupid when they find out you don’t see the issue the same as they do, how likely are you to change your mind?

If you’re being honest, you know you won’t change your mind. In fact, if you are anything close to the average human being with a working brain, you are probably going to be more certain that you are right about your position. Rather than change your mind, you’re most likely to never discuss politics with that asshole ever again. No one responds well to insults and innuendo, and they are less likely to look things up to see if you’re right than to write you off as a crazy nutbar and speak badly about you to others.  Continue reading

Another Major Difference Between Parties: Sex Scandals

This primary season has been so long, it seems that a lot of people are forgetting that our ultimate goal needs to be to get rid of as many Republicans as possible.

So, let’s have a little fun, shall we?

Just yesterday, I was told just how sleazy Democrats were and how they have been the undisputed kings when it came to sex scandals. Of course, they mentioned the Bill Clinton impeachment for an admittedly salacious but consensual blow job. And of course, they always bring up John Edwards and Anthony Weiner, and it got me thinking; who really wins when it comes to sex scandals. No REALLY. Let’s look at them. Continue reading

Grey Shades

I really get it. I do.

Is there a human being on the planet who doesn’t want everything in life to be purely black or white? We want everything to be easy, not hard. everything in life should be either good or evil, love or hate, beautiful or ugly. Wouldn’t that make everything in our lives much more amenable? Isn’t that the dream?

Well, unicorn lovers, if you look at life that way, my overarching advice to you is to grow the hell up. There isn’t a person who is either perfectly good or perfectly evil and there is no issue that is either all good or all evil, short of rape, genocide or mass murder, none of which are political issues, so much as crimes.

This election season has reminded me that far too many people seem to think they live in a world with no shades of grey, which makes me wonder how anyone can live like that. How is it possible to live your entire life being outraged by everything you don’t like? Just as importantly, what does it do to a person’s psyche to praise someone and treat them like a demigod when they say or do something they like and then to lurch into hatred of that same person when they say or do something disagreeable? For that matter, how does a rational person support one politician without question at the same time they constantly denigrate another politician who agrees with the one you support more than 90% of the time? As long as both politicians are a major improvement over everything current Republicans, how can anyone be so passionately against any Democrat?

Scream 3And before you call me a “Hilbot,” let me assure you, my allegiance in this primary was with Martin O’Malley. When he lost, I didn’t attack either of the other Democrats and call them names. I recognized that everyone on the Democratic side was much better than anything the Republicans were offering. And frankly, I have seen the same thing from some Hillary people towards Bernie, although I have to admit, I see it less often.

This binary, everything’s-either-black-or-white type of thinking has progressives doing many stupid things. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are on the same side. If you choose a plumber to fix your toilet, is it necessary to trash every other plumber in your community? What would be the point to that? Why is politics different? We’re hiring people to run the country, that’s all. Supporting one passionately does not require that you trash the other one; that’s just childish. It is possible to like Hillary without trashing Bernie and it’s possible to like Bernie without trashing Hillary. I know, because I liked Martin O’Malley and have never trashed either Hillary or Bernie.  Neither one of them is all good or all bad. No, Hillary is nothing like any Republican that’s existed in the last 20 years and, no, Bernie is not anti-Democratic Party. Both of them would make a far better president than anything on the Republican side, by far and that’s all that should matter in the end.

Obama unicornLike all other people, no politician can be all good or all bad. It’s telling that many of the same people who labeled President Obama a “disappointment” for many years are now taking to task anyone who doesn’t praise everything he does. As this blog points out, Obama has done a lot, but he’s not perfect. Only a child demands perfection in anything. And let’s be clear’ Hillary is nothing like any Republican that’s existed in the last 20 years and, no, Bernie is not anti-Democratic Party. Though he’s never registered as a Democrat before, we welcome everyone. Also, nearly half the states don’t register voters by party, anyway. And either Hillary or Bernie would make a far better president than anything on the Republican side, by far, and that’s all that should matter in the end.

The same is true when it comes to what you have decided are “issues.” The wholesale trashing of “corporations,” “big business” and “Wall Street,” as if every one of them is the same and all of them are “evil,” gets really old and it just makes us look stupid. There are bad companies out there, but there are also good, responsible ones, too. I have worked for companies that were enormously generous and who treated everyone like they mattered, and I have also worked for a couple who treated their employees like shit and took as much as they could from the communities in which they operate.

There are a lot of “issues” like that. Take the rhetoric about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The opposition to it is warranted in many cases, but many treat it as if engaging in it will blow up the planet. The problem is, there is a difference between fracking in the middle of Siberia, where there are no people, and doing so in upstate New York, where there is a pretty significant population.  And while drilling for oil is seen as bad, we’re only at the beginning of a transition away from oil that will take 30-40 years, at least.

Keystone mapSpeaking of which, there’s the “evil” Keystone XL. it’s kind of funny, really. I remember advocating against the pipeline before it was built, back in 2004-2005, and I couldn’t get a single significant progressive to pay attention. Then, suddenly, in 2009, it blew up as a major issue, after more than three-quarters of the pipeline had been built. Yes, that’s right. by the time they started noticing that this pipeline was a bad idea, it was too late. Yet, it became a quest, and Keystone became “evil incarnate.” The problem was, most of the pipeline had been built out to Oklahoma, and they were already building out the final stretch of pipeline to Gulf refineries. In other words, the pipeline already existed; they were arguing over a buildout of a second one. Most of the people complaining didn’t even realize it.

Again, shades of grey. Keystone should never have been built. If the Canadians want to ship their oil, let them ship it themselves; they have coasts they can use to send ships full of oil and they can build refineries. However, once they built two lines through our plains to Oklahoma, it was too late to take the moral high ground on this “issue.” The final leg of the pipeline made more sense than the thousands of trucks and train cars filled with crude oil or gasoline that were traversing the same areas and risking the lives of people along their routes.  Not that it mattered, because the “XL” portion was actually mostly repetitive.

No politician, no organization and no issue is either absolutely god-like or completely evil. Hell; even Dick Cheney produced one daughter who is very cool, and even George W. Bush did some great things when it came to AIDS relief in Africa. And while Goldman Sachs is often portrayed as the epitome of corporate “evil,” the fact of the matter is, even they have provided hundreds of millions funds to thousands of charitable organizations around the world. H

Eeyore 3Seriously, progressives, this Eeyore shit has to stop. We are PROgressives, whereas the current GOP is REgressive. If you want to talk about “corporate greed,” then talk about specific corporate greed. Don’t just write off every corporation as “greedy” and don’t just assume that everything they do is evil. When a corporation does something wrong, talk about it, but also talk about what they do right. And for chrissakes, people, get a grip; we have an existential threat in our politics, in the form of the current Republican Party. Attacking Democrats because they’re not as perfect you does nothing more than feed your ego, making you more like a right winger than you should be comfortable with. Here’s an idea; when a large company does something right, how about giving them credit and encouraging them to keep doing things like that. Walmart doesn’t pay their people enough; no one would argue with that, but what’s wrong with sending them praise when they announced a plan to increase wages? When Exxon denies global warming, we should mention that, but we should also note when the ExxonMobil Foundation helps charities fight the spread of malaria around the world.

If you truly believe that calling out a company when they do something bad is a great way to get them to stop, which is a strategy I agree with, then you also have to believe that praising them when they do something right encourages more of the same. That’s a rational approach.

Nuance is our friend. The world is not made up of only dark black and bright white. Almost everything in life exists in shades of grey. Enjoy it.

@SueinRockville Guest Post: Children of the Rove

BEWARE  of GOP Dirty Tricks or, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” — George Santayana

children of the roveWith just over 3 months to go before the start of the Democratic National Convention beginning on July 25, we have entered not the silly but truly STUPID season!
Stop by social media and see for yourself. There’s a Pro-Hillary post immediately followed by a Pro-Bernie one, then an Anti-Hillary, then an Anti-Bernie and so on and so on…
The mutual mud-slinging is endless. Occasionally, there are actual posts and memes desperately trying to remind Democrats we are all on the SAME SIDE. It is gratifying to see they receive a much higher likes/shares/retweets than any of the negative ones. Really smart people keep their posting focused on defeating Democrats’ common enemy, which is the GOP. Polls, thankfully, continue to show Democrats overwhelmingly will vote for our nominee, no matter who.

Continue reading

Yes We CAN! and We Have to!

Latte liberalOver the weekend, I was catching up on last week’s Stephanie Miller Show and I heard a “Bernie or Bust” type caller advise everyone that he will never vote for Hillary. I suspect he was a troll caller, since he said he was an Afghanistan veteran with teenage sons and that he was equally worried about the prospect of his sons going to war whether Hillary or a Republican won, which makes no sense. If Hillary Clinton wins, there is about a five percent chance of war, whereas any Republican represents at least a 95 percent chance. All these people talk about is “carpet bombing” and Drumpf seriously entertains the notion of “strategic” nukes, as if you can pinpoint the damage of a nuclear bomb strike. All they ever talk about is war and the military and they have convinced their voters that our military is somehow decimated. The notion that Hillary is anything like any Republican is nothing short of delusional. Continue reading

Republican Exceptionalism or, March of the Perverts

PUBsIn May, I turn 58. I have been going in to public restrooms by myself since first grade, so that’s more than a half century. In a half century, I can honestly say that I am unaware of anyone checking out my junk to make sure I was “qualified” to be in that bathroom and to have the “privilege” of peeing in that urinal or sitting on that toilet. Throughout junior high and high school, I played sports and went to physical education classes, after which we all retired to the boys’ locker room after, to shower and change back into our school clothes. Not once am I aware of anyone checking out my junk, but even if they had, who really gives a shit, since no one ever attacked me or sexually assaulted me as a result, ever?

What the hell is so scary about gay and trans people? For that matter, what is so scary about Muslims? What is so scary about Black people? Or Latinos? Good God, man; why is everything in Republican World that doesn’t fit their narrow view of “normal” so goddamn scary that good, solid Americans are being asked to give up their rights as… As what? Protection? Continue reading

All Anyone Can Ask: Get the Facts Right

Those who know me really well know that I obsessively check everything before I say it. Of course, what they don’t always know is why I do that obsessively. I have been burned by “facts” enough times in my past that they are hard to count. And given that I actually tend to be harder on myself than anyone else is on me, you can’t imagine the pain I feel when I make an assertion that turns out to be false. It’s probably the number one reason I no longer rely on the professional left; too many of them care more about “saying the right thing” than actually passing on facts.

One of the most amazing things that I encounter on a regular basis is the phenomenon of the self-professed “political junkie” telling me about their confusion over the “fact” that “no one” from the Muslim community ever comments on events when there is a terrorist attack and a so-called “Muslim” extremist group attacks people on behalf of Allah. It never fails; after an attack, my social media feeds will be strewn with people who consider themselves “high information voters” lamenting this missed opportunity by “Muslim leaders.” Continue reading

Caucuses are Undemocratic

Vote 2You know, one of the few areas where pretty much everyone to the left of hardcore Republicans agree comes with the idea that everyone should be allowed to vote. Everyone. We progressives are all in favor of stopping any attempt to suppress votes, whether it’s unfairly canceling registrations, purging people of color or Democrats from the rolls or demanding that everyone showing up to vote have “certain types” of picture ID. You know, because no one could ever possibly fake a picture ID.

Likewise, we progressives encourage making voting as easy as possible for everyone, so that more people can participate in the process. We praise the states that have adopted virtually 100% vote-by-mail because it’s incredibly easy for people to do. We love early voting and we happily encourage states to provide voters with as many precincts and voting machines as possible, in order to prevent long lines, especially in those areas with a lot of Democrats and people of color. And we righteously condemn the Republican Party for treating the right to vote as little more than something else they can manipulate. Continue reading

Informational Responsibility

I-19 signI’m currently living in Tucson, Arizona. Everyone who lives here knows all about Interstate 19, which is a relatively short leg of Interstate highway that goes from the southern part of Tucson and empties out in Nogales, Arizona, which is on the border with Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. The fact that it’s the fourth-shortest main highway in the Interstate system is not what makes the highway notable, however, but the fact that it’s the only highway in the United States that is signed using the metric system. I know it’s hard to believe, but there was a time in the early 1970s when there was actually a push to switch the country to the metric system, like pretty much every other industrialized nation on Earth. Instead, “the people” pushed back and they demanded that nothing change and that we all stick with systems of measurement that make no real sense. It is estimated that using the archaic systems we currently use costs our economy tens of billions of dollars every year, but hey, it’s traditional, so why should we ever change.? Right?

There is always a cost to sticking with tradition rather than changing to something proven to work. I started thinking about this yesterday, as I was discussing how backward we Americans are about how media works. For a great many years, we had access to very few news sources, and we basically got whatever news someone threw right in our faces. Think about it; if you grew up before the 1990s, most of us had access to one or two daily newspapers, and most had one delivered every day. There were three local TV stations that did some news and local radio stations had about five minutes of news every hour. There were about 3-4 weekly news magazines available on the newsstand and many cities had a weekly “alternative” newspaper. That was about the extent of it. The availability of news was incredibly limited. Continue reading

Your Vote is Not Your Own

A lot of people have weighed in on the Susan Sarandon statements on Chris Hayes’ show the other night. From the looks of it, Hayes’ audience must have tripled the other night. No, wait, I forgot; once again, it’s people on social media amplifying a message that is at once stupid and frightening and giving it more power than it would otherwise have. I’ll get to that in another post, but suffice it to say that Fox News, Limbaugh, et al, get their power from those who amplify their message, and not the message or the networks themselves.

Anyway, back to the Sarandon thing… Continue reading