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I remember being shocked when I read Molly Ivin’s assertion that Bush, George W. Bush, is not stupid. I believe she said he was a mean, petty, small-minded little man, but not stupid and it was a mistake to characterize him as such.
I’ve decided that I think I mean something different when I call someone, The Decider or anyone else, stupid. I consider Bush to be a stupid person, but I don’t mean that he necessarily lacks intellectual ability. He may or may not have average intelligence. And while I seriously doubt he would score above average on an IQ test, that’s not really my problem with him.
We’ve all known people who weren’t that bright. But, that doesn’t make them into the sort of person that George W. Bush, or a lot of conservatives, are. I don’t think all conservatives, including Bush, are incapable of intellectual or coherent thought. I just think they aren’t deep thinkers.
I know two conservatives. Okay, I know more, but I’m using these two as examples. One is a long time friend of mine. We went through college together and are now studying for the GMAT together. She’s going to do fine on the test, so she’s not stupid in that way. The other is a coworker. He has worked for 30 years in the computer field, keeping up with the ever changing technology. Again, not a stupid person in that way.
However, neither spends much time thinking.
If Bush were actually “intellectually, low-IQ” stupid, I would expect him to ask for help. Say, with the climate crisis issue. Maybe he could call up Al Gore and have him explain it to him. If not Gore, then someone with the knowledge and understanding to advise him.
But, since Bush isn’t a deep thinker, he just doesn’t care. He’s content to ignore it, especially when people tell him that addressing the problem would hurt his financial portfolio (for most cons, it’s that it will cost jobs). For a “shallow thinker”, that’s all he or she needs to know. One quick “reason” why they don’t have to or shouldn’t care about something and they’re good to go.
I think this is a major difference between people who end up being liberals and people who end up being conservatives. I think we liberals and progressives are just naturally deep thinkers. We ponder. We seek knowledge. We consider all sides of an argument. We reevaluate even long-held beliefs. We question. We want to understand. We aren’t always content with the first answer we get or the first conclusion we come to. We are just naturally, basically interested in the world and those around us. We just want to know for the sake of knowing and once we know something, we want to really understand it.
I think that trait is what leads us to be liberals. I think “conservative values”, especially how they are expressed by this administration, only hold up when you don’t really think about them. Poor people are just lazy. Environmental regulations hurt the economy. We are fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here. Any of those suppositions – such bastions of conservative “thought” – fall completely apart in the face of facts, evidence, and just plain old common sense. But, you have to think about it. You have to actually consider the statement, gather the facts, and then actually think about it. Even just for a moment.
I think conservatives – “shallow thinkers” – just don’t spend that moment of thought. And thus, we’re in the mess we are in today.
And that’s the sense in which I think Bush, those who support him and those in his administration are “stupid”.
This is in response to a post wondering how incompetent Bush got into the WH!
I have always thought that it was supposed to be Jeb in the WH right now, but it didn't work out and they had to go with Dubya instead, since he was a Governor at the right time. I honestly think * was forced on them (and by them I mean the neocons et al who wanted to take over the government). They needed their figurehead and they got someone who was completely wrong for it. So, they slapped a cowboy hat on him and hoped it was enough, along with their nasty voting tricks and SCOTUS' betrayal of the American people, to get them into the WH. Since then, they have been trying to make this dimwitted, mean, petty little man into at least being able to pull off a photo-op or two.
I think the corporate media is culpable like someone who witnesses a crime and cheers on the criminal. Yeah, maybe the person actually doing the crime is more to blame, but they are morally culpable because they helped it. They are the accomplice, witting or not, and thus Bushco's crimes become theirs, at least morally.
This rant is directed at those who think this Marriage Ban thing is okay -- not all of us cool people here at DU.
Here’s the thing. The only reason – and I mean the ONLY reason – to oppose gay marriage is basically because you feel that being gay is somehow immoral. Is it immoral like killing or stealing? No, because there are victims in those cases. Homosexuality is about being attracted to and loving another human being. No harm, no foul. So, why would it be considered immoral? Because a book that some people believe is the word of their god supposedly sort of says it is. I’m not going to debate that, since it has been done by others to a better degree than I could, but let’s just accept that for a moment.
Okay, so what? That’s totally arbitrary. It’s fine for those who believe, but there is no intrinsic reason why homosexuality should be seen as wrong. I know that’s hard for some bigoted people or those who have simply never thought about it to get, but it’s true. So, this book that you personally choose to believe is the word of a god that you choose to believe in, as is your basic human right, tells you that something that two other consenting adults do is wrong. Therefore, the constitution of this nation consisting of a WHOLE BUNCH OF PEOPLE, some of whom are gay, some of whom are not, some of whom believe in this book and this god and some of whom don’t is supposed to be changed to fit in with YOUR BELIEFS.
That is legislating religion. That is against the Separation of Church and State. That is against the doctrine of the government not establishing religion.
Now, the fundies aren’t going to care. As I’ve been telling people for a long time, they want a theocracy and they have no respect for our nation or our constitution. They want to do away with the Separation of Church and State and start legislating their own brand of morality, which seems to have nothing to do with actual morals and everything to do with dirty, dirty sex. “Jesusland” was a joke, but these people want to make it a reality. So, they don’t care, but I’m hoping that the independents and the more centrist conservatives can see that this is wrong.
And I’ll tell you what is immoral: purposely making an entire group of people second class citizens and denying them a basic right that most of us have.
George F. Will is vile. I know this so I can’t say I’m exactly shocked by the particular article I’m going to dissect here, but I felt that it needed to be answered. I hate reading what these compassionless men have to say as they struggle to keep the masses under the control of the corporations and evil BushCo, but there are times when they offer a small bit of insight into their workings and I think that makes delving into the sludge that they try to pass off as “commentary” sometimes worth the effort.
What particular tangle of words spewed forth from his keyboard has made me sit down to write today?
It’s published at the following link as “GM Finding Promises Hard to Keep”, but other places it’s refered to as “GM’s Welfare State”:
Oh, yeah, this is going to be fun.
So, let’s get into this thing. First of all, almost off the bat, he has to bring up France. It’s like all these wingnuts have got. Very pathetic, but I think it is one topic they can bring up for consistent laughs from their base (sort of like the Clenis).
RW Pundit: France (or Clenis)!
RW Audience: HA HA HA HA! This guy must really be on our side! He talked bad about France (or Clenis)!
I think we’ve gotten immune to a lot of things from the RW these days, but this really is a low-functioning discourse. It should be embarrassing for the one pulling the stunt, but I think they hold their audience in such contempt that they are able to preserve their dignity by being self-aware of their pandering.
Another interesting item from this “article” was that Will referred to the French’s decision to withdraw the provision in a recent labor law that an employer can not fire a worker in the first two years of employment as “a triumph of mob rule”. Now, those were actual riots, but I am fairly certain that if Bush would have even tempered his march to war in response to the global protests that took place, Will and his ilk would have felt the same way. Listening to the people you’re supposed to be working for equates to mob rule in their minds. BTW, I have a theory on why they hate protestors so much – they fear the people. We need to use that.
But, those are both minor things when one gets to the meat of the article. The rancid, maggot-filled meat. He’s saying that GM is corporate welfare state. Oh, not in the way that we (people with brains) talk about corporate welfare, but in that GM, by promising workers a pension, made itself into a welfare state, which is BAD, of course. You see, labor drove GM into the ground by expecting it to take care of them, by providing jobs and pensions. Bad labor unions! They have a sense of “entitlement” like those young protestors in France. They expected things from their employer. But, we don’t have that right – profits above all else! Labor, the men and women who actually make the corporation able to produce profits, should never think they are worth anything, according to this reasoning. We peasants are not entitled to anything – not to security, not to a job at a livable wage, not the ability to feed our children. That is ultimately what this man is trying to say, what is at the end of and beneath his rantings, unspoken but shaping them.
Feeling entitled to a pension you’ve been promised for 20 or more years really isn’t a bad thing, Mr. Will. It’s just fair. But, here he is, selling this swill to people who are in the same predicament as the GM workers—relying on a pension for when they are too old to keep working. And these people are buying it, at least for now.
Now that I’ve spent some time typing this up, I’m wondering why I did. Here, we get it. I don’t need to point this out to any of you. Did I feel the need to write it up so we might have some pre-loaded ammo in discussions with those who don’t get it? What’s the point? You can’t explain absurdity to someone who doesn’t get it: Either they see it right away or they never will.
Posted in answer to a question about if classes would stop animal abuse.
toward people or animals. I think it depends on the abuser. Thinking about child abuse cases, there are times when, after the parents have taken parenting classes, they stop abusing. They didn't have the knowledge before of proper parenting skills, became overwhelmed, and turned to abuse, usually because that was the only thing they had seen when they were children. I think in cases like that, knowledge does end the abuse. I think classes might work for someone who, say, leaves a dog chained out in the backyard all the time. I had an acquaintance who was a fairly decent human being in every other way, but she got a dog and left it outside all the time, until her other friends and I found out and "schooled" her about it. She was very upset and taken aback. We convinced her to give the dog to a friend of ours since she just didn't want it in the house. She just never realized that dogs are social animals. She thought they were merely objects without feelings or emotions.
Now, with those cases, I think the education would work. Maybe they just don't know, as my friend didn't, and once she did, she did do the right thing by letting the dog go to a good home where it would be loved and cared for. I don't think everyone would change, because some people are stubborn, but I think there's a chance.
In other cases -- the really sickening cases of abuse, I think often times the abuser likes the suffering of the animal or child or spouse or random victim. That to me is a completely different situation and I doubt any sort of education would change that, unfortunately.
This totally just came to me. It seems infinitely insane to use nuclear weapons against Iran, although I would certainly not put it past *. Nothing is too insane or stupid for this administration and I really think they want to either kill us all or are just too wrapped up in their clubhouse PNAC childishness to look at reality.
That being said, I wonder if perhaps the plan isn't to actually use nukes against Iran, but let us get afraid that they are going to. Then, when they attack using conventional weapons, they're hoping we'll all be relieved and not as outraged at being dragged into another war of choice because at least they didn't use nukes.
Just another idea in my endless quest to try to make sense of all these bat-shit crazy people running our government.
A local radio station that I listen to on my way into work has been playing David Letterman’s Top Ten Lists in the morning for a while now. They usually do them right as I’m making the turn into my parking lot, so I just get to hear the whole thing by the time I’ve found a space and stopped the car. Last week, there was another list filled with jabs at Cheney and Bush. I found myself smiling and laughing, which is normal, but then I realized I was feeling something else, which was a little disturbing to me when I thought about it.
I was feeling surprise. Surprise and a little discomfort. What was causing these feelings? Well, I realized I was unused to hearing such jokes made about the pResident and vice-pResident on a mainstream show like Letterman’s. Even though he’s been doing it for some time now, I just still doesn’t seem natural somehow. I also had a twinge of fear for Letterman’s career, if not life (because I can’t help but be paranoid).
And that’s when it hit me that this was all part of Rove’s plan.
We joke around a lot here on DU and make some pretty biting and funny comments about Little Lord Pissypants on a regular basis. In fact, some people have complained that we do too much of that when we should be talking about something more important. However, I believe that being able to make fun of and laugh at the pResident is very important.
There are producers and writers of Saturday Night Live who credit (and yes, they think it is to their credit) themselves with bringing down the Ford presidency by their relentless (and not unwarranted) portrayal of him as clumsy. Politcal cartoons have been around since the invention of the printing press (and perhaps are scrawled on cave walls, for all we know). We have ALWAYS made fun of our politicians. And yet, somehow, with this administration, it seems as though it had in many ways become taboo.
As the Bushies are fond of saying, make no mistake: The Republicans are acutely aware of what humor can do. They saw what happened to Bush I, Quayle, and even their golden patriarch Reagan. They were more than happy to try to turn that against Clinton. That’s why they probably didn’t care that the Whitewater non-scandal didn’t go anywhere – they had all that “over-sexed” Clinton stuff to make jokes about. They did their best to turn Clinton into a punch line, although they seem to have failed miserably.
Still, they knew enough that when 9/11 happened, one of the many things they used that tragedy for was to make sure that it was no longer cool or proper to make jokes about Bush. Now he was a “war president” photographed with a saintly halo over his head while he presided over the War on Terror, in order to gain revenge for our stricken nation and ensure our safety from weapons of mass destruction. There’s nothing funny about that.
Humor is often a form of dissent, and that was what Rove was trying to immunize Bush against. The façade is cracking now and maybe a day will come when the humorists of the early 21st century will talk about how they had a small hand in taking down the most corrupt and vicious administrations our country has ever seen.
Or Christmas. Or Easter. Or Lent or All Saint’s Day or All Soul’s Day or President’s Day.
Here’s what’s going on. Christianity has been the dominant religion in western society for a very, very long time. Due to this dominance, our culture has developed certain privileges associated with being Christian. Now, as we move (unless Bush et al have their way) towards a progressive, enlightened society, we are charged with accepting, acknowledging, and, I hope, celebrating the differences between each of us, including the fact that not everyone is Christian. However, as the privileges for being Christian are removed as we move towards this goal, some Christians who do not realize what is going on and what has been going on see this as persecution.
You see, the privileged or majority group rarely see the fact that they are privileged. As many have described it, it’s like a fish relating to the water it swims in. The water has always been there and the fish has always been in it, so it’s taken for granted and goes unnoticed. We see the same thing with white people who complain about how all the “good” jobs go to black people. We see the same thing when men complain about how women are taking over the entire world. Are either of those things true? No, with race and gender, we still have a long way to go before we have a truly equitable society, but that doesn’t stop those who see their falsely-attained privileges being removed. I say they were falsely attained because they were breed into society based on prejudice and, in many cases, hatred. They were not earned.
So, that’s the same thing with this whole ridiculous “war on Christianity” thing. Some people don’t want everybody to have a seat at the table and feel threatened when they sense somewhere in their being that they are being expected to be more accepting. Plus, it energizes the base because a group that feels they are being attacked from the outside is much more cohesive.
And it gives O’Lielly something to talk about. Because I think that dude is running out of topics.
What is Bush’s focus? Does he really care about his legacy as President of the United States or is this, for him, just another job, another CEO position of a company that he can run into the ground, loot, use to help his friends out, and then get out while the gettin’s good? Does he really think, as some of his supporters do, that he’s the God-picked savior of America, leading all the faithful to the rapture, or does he just know how to use that to gain loyalty from a certain segment of society? Does he want to be a great leader, loved by the masses, or is he just playing a role while he lowers taxes for himself and his friends, makes business the highest ranking value and goal in our country, untouchable by anyone, and plans to duck out from the public eye and go off, laughing all the way to the bank, to live out a life of utter luxury, mocking the institution of American democracy as something so easily manipulated?
Did he have visions of being touted as the greatest president ever, much better than his father, who fought a valiant war against terrorism and brought democracy to the Middle East or is this all just a ploy to him in order to do favors for friends?
This was inspired by this article that deals with North Korea’s reaction to Bush repeating his ridiculous “axis of evil” phrase:
Seeing that article and feeling, very acutely, some fear about what exactly North Korea’s next steps might be if they truly believe the U.S. is intent on attacking them, made me start thinking about preemptive war and the false illusion of control that it gives. I believe Bush and his ilk believe “getting them before they get us” gives our nation a level of control about when and where we fight, among other things. I think they feel they are acting instead of reacting and that is always a good thing.
However, I was just thinking today about how false that sense of control is. Now that North Korea has seen that the U.S. is not above being the aggressor in a war, they will feel justified in taking any actions they feel necessarily. After all, just leaving the U.S. alone isn’t enough to prevent a war. So, because the U.S. is now seen as a nation who will attack before being attacked, we have given up some power. Now, North Korea might feel defensive and as though they have to protect themselves before we’ve done anything.
So, we don’t have as much control as the neocons think. Preemptive war only succeeds in spiraling out of control, bringing on new conflicts even if the one-time aggressor nation would rather avoid them.
It seems as though our elected officials and perhaps a good portion of rank and file Democrats are laboring under the illusion that we are still dealing with the sort of conservatives that we have known our entire lives. They favor small governments, smaller social programs, a strong military. Yeah, maybe we disagree on the value of certain programs or how they should be enacted, some important issues like the death penalty, but in the end, we probably all want basically the same thing: a strong country and the ability for most of us to try to better our situation.
But, those are not the people we are struggling against. Although still a relatively small group, this “new breed” has extraordinary, unwarranted influence and power in the GOP and now, in our very government itself. The group I’m talking about right now look at George W. Bush as some sort of avatar of Jesus Christ, a savior of mankind on Earth, sent here to save the nation, and that’s a Christian nation to them.
I’m talking about the so-called Religious Right. Crazy Pat Robertson. The eternally vile Jerry Falwell. Focus on the Family. Concerned Women for America and an army (and yes, they LOVE to think of themselves as an army) of weekly church goers who take their marching (and voting) orders from the conservative pulpit. These people are a particular brand of Christian Fundamentalists. It’s understandable to want to dismiss these people as “fringe” or “nutjobs” and “wackos” and in a lot of ways, we’re right to do so. But, they can’t be that easily ignored. They have succeeded in gathering a lot of power for themselves and it is the frightening possibility that they are poised to exert their influence in ways that could affect every single one of us living in the United States.
We talk about them a lot here on DU, but sometimes I don’t think we get the whole picture of what these people are really like. I think we still assume that if they only saw the truth about the Bush Administration and what it’s doing to the world and to our country, they would come around.
I think they know. I think they know exactly what Bush is doing and they support it, 100%.
You can’t turn them against Bush by exposing his lies and sins. They see him in a Calvinist, once-saved-always-saved sort of way. Even those who might tut-tut at his alcohol use or drug problems will not turn against him for those things. He is chosen by God in their minds. If the flesh is weak, what does it matter when he has a God-anointed mission to accomplish?
They don’t care about pre-emptive war. They are warriors for Christ. They talk about spiritual warfare, but they really mean physical confrontation with the “forces of evil”. Those are primarily in Iraq right now, soon to be in Iran, but they are also here, in the United States, in the form of liberals and Hollywood stars, and everybody who doesn’t think and live as they do. They are all for pre-emptive war – they have a god-given mandate to force “righteousness” down everybody else’s throats and doing it with violence doesn’t bother them at all.
You can’t shame them by pointing out that Bush has started a war against the middle class and the poor. If you are poor, according to them, you have not received God’s blessings, because God gives out McMansions and plasma televisions. Why has God forsaken you, if you are poor? Because you are weak and sinful. Bad things, in their worldview, do NOT happen to good people, therefore if you get sick and can no longer work, or if you are laid off because your job was sent overseas, or if you reached old age without “making it big”, it is your fault for being weak and sinning so much. Therefore, it does not bother them to watch you suffer and die in the street. That will not sway them.
You can’t point out to them the unfairness and bigotry in being against “gay marriage”. Homosexuals, to them, are sinners. They should not have any rights, according to these people. Do you think they will be appalled by the racism inherent in GOP policies? No, they want it that way. They do not want people whose skin or religion is not like theirs to have rights. Do you think that abortion is really what they are concerned with? What they want is the control of women’s bodies. They want women back in the kitchen, without an education or a choice about how many children to have. Bigotry and prejudice is all they have. It is not something they are ashamed of.
You can’t appeal to them on the basis that our democracy is being destroyed.
They hate democracy. I can not emphasis this enough: They do not want the United States to be a democracy. They want a theocracy and that is the antithesis of democracy.
What about pointing out to them that Jesus spoke of love and tolerance? They think that’s all liberal nonsense. The liberals have weakened Jesus and ignore the truth about him. He’s really a tough, kick-ass, macho type that will destroy his enemies like Bruce Willis with a holy sword.
The environment and global warming crisis? Why would they care? They’re going to be taken up into the heavens to be with Jesus soon. Animal rights? God gave us dominion over the animals, so being cruel, torturing them, shooting tame birds in pens, and using them in any way we want, is totally acceptable. Hey, it’s actually fun! Women being denied the vaccine for cervical cancer? They are harlots having sinful sex – they deserve what they get. Education and under-funded public schools? Those schools are interested in teaching evolution – let them fall apart. Education in general is a threat to them, what with all those liberal professors actually getting students to think. Knowing more about history and other cultures actually is about the best antidote for fundamentalism that I know, so, no, they’re not big on education. US policies causing instability in the Middle East? Good – that makes them get all giddy! That has to happen in order for their fantasy to come true – Armageddon and the rapture. Torturing and killing the enemy? That’s what we’re supposed to do. Those people aren’t saved. We’re doing it for their own good. The loss of so many of our civil rights? We shouldn’t have had them in the first place because they allow us to sin.
Separation of Church and State? They want to get rid of that more than anything. They want a Christian Theocracy based on their ideas of what “Christian” is and they want the government’s only role to be punishing transgressors.
Do you think you can compromise with these people? You can not. They believe that the United States, for the survival of their very souls, must become a Christian nation and, with the use of force, exert its control on the rest of the world. There is no compromise. The stakes are too high for them.
Does what they believe make sense? No, not to a rational person. Is it insane? Yeah, it’s pretty much bat-shit crazy. Is this really what Christianity or religion in general is supposed to be about? Not as far as I can tell.
But, you see, none of that matters because no one is going to be able to convince them that they are crazy or irrational or perverting the teachings of Jesus Christ.
What I think we need to do is first really accept who these people are, what they believe, and what they want to do to our country. Then, we need to come up with a way to stop them. Giving them the facts isn’t going to work –- they already know what’s going on and they support all of it and much, much more. I would love to find a way to make them see the error of their worldview the way I saw the error of my worldview, so many, many years ago, but I honestly don’t know if that’s possible because I always had doubts and I don’t know if these people do.
If getting them to change their minds is out, we have to find a way to expose them for what they are because I still believe the majority – and I mean a vast majority – of Americans like our democracy and aren’t going to go along with these grandiose theocracy schemes. I think the challenge is still in getting more people to understand the threat and that it is abhorrently real. Because this needs to stop. Now. Before it goes any further.
----A TINY sampling of the info available on the web----
www.yuricareport.com -- lots of good info here
http://www.yuricareport.com/Dominionism/Th... -- this one especially relates to my post.
http://www.harpers.org/JesusPlusNothing.ht... -- older article, but scary.
http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes... -- bat-shit crazy Pat Buchanan quotes
This was a post in a thread about the Dem party dropping their pro-choice stance.
Seriously, though, I want to respond without flaming. We need to be able to discuss issues without all that fire.
I understand that abortion seems like a wedge issue that keeps people voting Republican when they would otherwise be Dems. Maybe for some people it does work that way. I do know of a few people who justify their Republican voting with that. On the other hand, I've always doubted that abortion is really the only reason that they vote Repub. I have a feeling that they really just like the corporatism of the Republican party because these people feel that they have "gotten theirs" and don't want anybody telling them they might have to care about those who haven't. You have to listen very closely to these people. I really do believe that a lot of them like to claim that they have to vote Repub over abortion, because it's a safer, more respectable position than admitting that they're really voting Republican for all of the other things Republicans have come to stand for. Basically, I think it's an excuse.
The other problem is that I don't think some of us realize just how important the right abortion is for women. This isn't about "saving babies" because if it were, then those pushing to make abortion illegal would also be pushing for the funds for pre-natal care, for daycare centers, for schools. But, they aren't. This is about controlling the sexuality of women. Women die when abortion is illegal. This is about sexism in the worst sense, trying to legislate that women can not make decisions for themselves.
Another thing is that these people are not going to be content with making abortion illegal. They are going to move on to birth control (which has already started -- remember the pharmacists who don't want to give out birth control to single women?). Then, they are going to go on with their agenda, pushing their religious beliefs of what is and what is not sin on our nation. It's never been just about ending abortion. That's simply the first step, I'm afraid. I feel we can't afford to let them take that first step.
The last thing I would add is that this debate actually is greater than abortion itself as an issue. To me, the idea that a few cells growing inside a woman, even if the cells have the potential to become a human being months down the road, if all goes well, is actually a human at that point is a religious question, not a scientific one. What makes something "human"? I think those who feel that an early term pregnancy is already a human are basing that on religious beliefs and religious beliefs should not and can not be enacted into the laws of our country. That sets a bad precedent. Soon, all religious beliefs would be seen as being capable of being turned into law, such as adultery, homosexuality, everything having to do with sex for that matter, who and how and if we worship, etc. You see, to me, it doesn't just end at abortion. This is forcing a particular group's religious beliefs on us all and that is not what this country is supposed to be about.
My opinion is firmly that this is non-negotiable, just as gay rights, the right to marry, and the many other "wedge issues" that some feel the Dem party would be better off without are not negotiable.
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