The Party of Jackson vs. The Party of Obama

The Party of Jackson vs. the Party of Obama – NYMag

The above article is an interesting read about the history of the Democratic party.  It also deals with recent events and the friction between different elements of the party.  The other day I saw this map, which shows which areas of the country have the most racist tweets.  I was surprised, maybe not totally surprised having grown up around that region, but at least slightly surprised that the region that looked the worst on that map was Appalachia.  (I grew up in central Pennsylvania and went to college in West Virginia.)  Now there may be reasons that this map is slightly misleading, though I have no proof of that.  The fact that it is Twitter and not some kind of more scientific poll may change results.  There are also less blacks in that region than in other parts of the country that are more traditionally thought of as racist, so maybe people feel they have less reason to hide what they are saying?  Anyhow, anyway you cut it, it is deeply troubling for that region.  (I should also add that as someone that travels a lot, no one should be stereotyped just because of the region they come from.  There are great people in the South and Appalachia, just as there are terrible people in regions that are not as negatively stereotyped for racial issues.)

One of the things that the right has been so good at doing is dividing and conquering.  Economically minorities and white working class voters would both benefit from a less conservative agenda.  Having better access to good jobs, good education, and having more regulations, especially in areas of pollution, leads to a higher quality of life.  However, these social issues have always been used to divide our country.  United we stand, divided we fall, is now as true as ever.  If we can’t overcome our differences in this age, when jobs can move anywhere in the world and environmental issues require a united front, we are truly doomed.

10 States Most Dependent On the Federal Government

10 State Most Dependent On the Federal Government

I found the above list over at the Cheat Sheet business section to be interesting.  The article itself says that you can’t draw too many conclusions because states on this list often need money to protect the border or for military basis, among other needs.  However, I do think it is strange that so many red states appear on this list.  Not so much because of what it might say about the character of each state, but because many of these states also demonize the federal government.

2 Years After Raising Taxes On the Rich, The Story of Minnesota

2 Years After Raising Taxes On the Rich, Here’s What Happened to Minnesota

Minnesota put progressive economic policies in place when Governor Mark Dayton was elected.  The above article tells the story of what has happened since.

The article is extra enjoyable for the compare and contrast set up with Republican Scott Walker.

Thanks to Mr. Russell for the article.  

Scott Walker, God’s Gift to the Democratic Party

Scott Walker, God’s Gift to the Democratic Party

Matt Taibbi has been slam dunking it lately.  Here he takes on Scott Walker, which those of you that have been reading along know I can’t stand.  A sample:

Beltway Democrats may not deserve good luck, but it looks like they could have plenty in the next presidential race. Heading into the weekend, Scott Walker, a man born to be slaughtered in a general election, is suddenly leading the pack in the Iowa polls.  

Walker is surging thanks to his performance at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, where the union-busting governor inspired raucous applause with his “I was a dick in Wisconsin, and I can be one in Washington, too!” stump speech.

Walker’s address was a broadside against a litany of conservative bugbears, from Planned Parenthood to the media to tax day to the subversive act of voting without a photo ID, etc.

But the money line came during a Q&A session. Asked how he would take on radical Islamist terrorists, Walker referred to his experience taking on pro-union protesters in his home state:

“If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.”

Walker’s seeming comparison of peaceful union activists to head-chopping Islamic terrorists drew a predictable response, with progressive groups like American Bridge sending out alerts denouncing his comments, along with outrage from the Democratic National Committee.

But the National Review also called it an “unforced error,” with writer Jim Geraghty taking special offense at the fact that Walker had forced him into a place where he had to defend, of all people, union activists. Even Rick Perry, not exactly a kumbaya-chanting paragon of tolerance, chided Walker for crossing a line:

“These are Americans… You are talking about, in the case of ISIS, people who are beheading individuals and committing heinous crimes, who are the face of evil. To try to make the relationship between them and the unions is inappropriate.”

Over Half of U.S. School Kids Live in Poverty

Over Half of U.S. School Kids Live In Poverty

I just saw the above article over at Huffpo.  My senses were shocked, but I am not surprised.  Please remember that this is not because we are lacking sufficient wealth.  This is because we have allowed income disparity to reach ridiculous levels.  We also prioritize so many of the wrong things, like military might that far exceeds any sense of reality.  How can we let some people live like feudal lords, while so many children live in poverty?  It makes no sense.  It lacks all common decency.  I remember on the Daily Show when, in one of the bits, they mentioned that income inequality was higher here, between white and black people at least, than it was in Apartheid South Africa.  That is why for the rest of my life, and even if I was to die and be reincarnated several times over, I could never support the GOP.  I’m not saying Democrats don’t have their own issues, but the GOP seems to carry on as if this is not a part of an ever present reality for so many Americans.  It’s a flag, not a blindfold.

Conservatives Grudgingly Praise Warren, Pelosi For Opposing ‘Wall Street Giveaway’

Conservatives Grudgingly Praise Warren, Pelosi For Opposing ‘Wall Street Giveaway’

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/16/elizabeth-warren-conservatives-_n_6334528.html

Even if they only picked off a couple, this is exactly the kind of thing Democrats need to be doing.  They need to be using populist language.  Even more so they need to be trying to past populist legislation and instill their words with true integrity and meaning.  Thank heavens Elizabeth Warren is speaking out. 

Hey Don’t the Wars Come Easy, Hey Don’t the Peace Come Hard

Love junkies wanna change the world:
It quickly stays the same
Money junkies hire all the smart ones
Power junkies run the game

One step at a time
Polarity Hill
If the bad guys don’t get you, baby
Then the good guys will
With angels on the take
And the gangsters in the yard
Hey don’t the wars come easy
Hey don’t the peace come hard

– Excerpt from the song The Big Ones Get Away by Buffy Sainte-Marie.

Ever since the election I’ve wanted to bite someone’s throat out like a werewolf.  That is, until tonight.  I was listening to the great Buffy Sainte-Marie and those last two lines struck me.  Buffy Sainte-Marie is a singer who politically is also the real deal.  She was blacklisted personally by President Johnson.  She was an activist that put herself on the line numerous times.  When she sings the lines, “Hey don’t the wars come easy, hey don’t the peace come hard”, she knows what she is talking about.

I played a festival in Canada this year where I got to see Buffy Sainte-Marie perform.  She talked about how not enough people were saying how we treat each other is what’s important, and not the almighty dollar.  Such a simple message, but something we can’t seem to learn in America.

I worked hard to try to get Prop 1 passed here in Austin.  Prop 1 was a bill that was going to put in the first stage of urban rail in Austin and it also included road projects.  When I was canvassing I mostly talked to Democrats.  When I went into the more middle class and working class neighborhoods people seemed to get that this would help make the city a better, more livable place.  The richer the neighborhoods, the more people seemed to claim that we couldn’t afford it.  This was going to raise taxes a total of about $20 a month, and this was not even going to take full effect until 2020.  The price of four beers a month turned people off to doing something that was not only going to make the city better, but was also good for the environment.  And it seemed to be those that could most afford it that were the most against it.

The state of Texas elected Dan Patrick, a former conservative radio host, who makes Sean Hannity look like a Rhodes Scholar, as our new Lieutenant Governor.  That position actually holds power in the state of Texas.

The country as a whole seemed to vote for the most insane politicians possible, at a time when, especially environmentally, we can least afford it.  The oil and the gas industries won big, when we need to be electing people that will help us end our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels.  Women and gays are under attack through proposed policies.  Minorities and poor people are under attack at the polling stations.  I had to show an ID to vote in Texas, a move that some estimate might have disenfranchised 600,000 Texans.

The old, the white, and the scared showed up in large numbers, while the young, who have the most to lose, stayed home.  It’s discouraging that people that should know better allowed themselves to be duped, while those that need to know better were so apathetic.  All around no one comes out of this clean, for different reasons.

However, the one of my pet peeves is those that say there is no difference in politicians.  There is an ancient ocean of difference between Sarah Palin and Elizabeth Warren, for one example.  Those that have become so cynical that they are blind to that, I will never understand.

The thing is, even those that voted the opposite of what I believe they should have, are people that I think should be included in the dream.  I don’t want anyone to go without healthcare.  I don’t want anyone to go to a war that is senseless.  I don’t want anyone thrown in jail that doesn’t deserve it.  I wish these people could see that the things that we liberals want don’t just benefit us.

Meanwhile there seems to be nonstop attacks on those most vulnerable.  Why is there so much hatred for immigrants or homosexuals?  The lizard brain is running wild right now.  But at the center of all this are people that value money over other human beings.  And they know how to get those lizard brains in motion.

This week was a huge setback for this country, and because of our power, for the world.  But as Buffy sings:

Hey don’t the wars come easy
Hey don’t the peace come hard

 We on the left must dust ourselves off and get motivated.  There is a dark train coming down the tracks.  I don’t blame anyone for being depressed or discouraged.  Christ, I am.  But to do nothing is to give in to despair and desolation.  There is only two years until the next election.  Not that much time, but enough to get reorganized and hungry again.

Last time our people showed up to vote it led to 10,000,000 people getting healthcare that didn’t have it, to gays being allowed to serve openly in the military, and to the first Latino on the Supreme Court.  That is real and meaningful change.  I benefited from the healthcare law, but I’m a white male that likes girls.  I was happy to see people that were different than me realize their dreams.  in this interconnected world it has to be about more than your own tribe.  We sink or swim together.  There is water in the boat, but we haven’t drowned yet…