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Posted by FredStembottom in General Discussion
Mon Jun 20th 2011, 12:07 PM
There is nothing of "purity" in what I want from Obama (and Democrats in general)!

I need the policies that will stop the slide into poverty for my family and friends.

I am only asking for: what we used to have in this country. Not asking for anything new. Nothing. Not a thing.

I am asking Obama to merely step away from radical Right Wing policies. I want the dis-mantling of the social safety net to cease.

Stepping back from radicalism isn't ideological purity. I am not asking him to get body piercings, ride a Vespa or invite Iggy Pop to the White House.

And the casual, and continual tossing of the "P" word most likely just demonstrates that some here at DU are living in a more privileged America than I am. What's "pure" is the destruction of my blue-collar world.

Some still have the luxury of seeing (the already completed) destruction of that world and the (continuing) destruction of the middle-class as interesting little details in the Grand Game of political sport..

But it may just be a matter of time before y'all are kicked out of your cubicles and join my desperate friends in the endless lines at the Job Center.

Please stop attacking those who are suffering! You don't tri-angulate with destruction and ruin!
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Posted by FredStembottom in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Apr 11th 2009, 12:06 PM
Today, I go to a protest rally. This will be my 2nd ever. The first being that day, unprecedented in history, when the world's first global protest came together to give George Bush the simple message: Attacking Iraq will make everything worse.

That's the level of threat that is required to get me, a timid, overworked, overwhelmed, aging blue-collar worker out into the streets. Protesting is a young person's realm. Not a place for a 50-something man, riddled with work injuries and chronic illness. Nor is it at all clear how the company I work for might react should I be seen protesting in the streets.

Anyone working for one of these large multi-national companies knows what I mean.
These huge behemoths operate with such impunity! They are virtually un-regulated. Supra-governmental. They dismiss millions of workers and their families into utter darkness with a single conference call. Those left behind do the work of 2 (or 3!) under relentless computer-monitoring and demands of 100% accuracy 100% of the time ("you've got 46.7 seconds for each customer - and they must leave completely satisfied. You spent 48.4 seconds on a customer last week and another complained that your smile seemed insincere. One more of these violations and we will have to put you into Performance Enhancement Mode").

And when we manage to do the work of 2 people, day after day, with 100% accuracy, at the expense of family, health and more, we are rewarded with a cut in our pay and hours. Starting and quitting times are dictated based on the amount the company feels like paying that day. Break times become "flexible" and unlimited - if no customers are present at the drive-thru, neither is your pay. Effectively converting hourly wages into piece work. Benefits wither. Health care is removed in stages by ever-increasing co-payments. Retirement benefits...... just a thing of the past now.

Mr. Obama, we are so proud to have you representing America to the world. You have done much that is breathtakingly positive. But appreciating these positive accomplishments is rapidly becoming a luxury. It is just too hard to watch so many families I know disappear under the economic steamroller. It occupies my mind entirely. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs comes home with a vengeance.

I can't do it, sir. I have tried for months to be patient and see trillions of dollars heaped onto the very people and institutions who caused this economic mess. I have watched one too many executives feel bitterly betrayed because they were asked to do with one less corporate jet or give up the oshibori towels in the men's room.

I can't watch anymore as those like me, the blue-collar workers of this land, are treated with such harshness and contempt. I refuse to be told anymore that national salvation is just one more wage-concession away. Sir, for those like me, the wage concessions began 28 years ago! In the 90's, as the wealthy partied on every magazine cover in the grocery store, our wages slid backwards! We have now lost something approaching 50% of our buying power right through the boom-boom years.

Maybe, Sir. Just maybe that has something to do with America's current predicament. In every gloss of economic theory I was ever presented with in high school, one basic idea was always present: that only money in circulation, through the most hands possible, does an economy any good. Vast amounts parked off-shore do nothing. Vast amounts passing between only a few, select hands is also stagnation. Economies are like car engines - they only work when mysterious balances of air-to-fuel, heat-to-cooling, combustion-to-inertia are reached.

Economies are not bon-fires.... or churches. They are engines that can fly apart as well as stall out if those mysterious balances are not reached. The economic enthusiasms of the past 28 years were simply wrong. Wrong on their face. Which a side-lined group as diverse as the goofy Ross Perot to the sober academics Bluestone and Harrison (The Great U-Turn) tried to tell us. And yet, these fringe-group economic theologies were implemented! Massively!( Which should remind you of a certain war and an earlier protest I mentioned above.)

The engine blew apart as it had to. And fixing it requires ONLY that we RETURN to the regulatory environment we had before. The ones in place during America's greatest years. Back to the 50's!
I emphasize ONLY and RETURN not for your benefit but for the edification of the Cable TV harpies who try to cast a mere return to what we had as Socialism. Backing away from radicalism - the cult-like radicalism of the Free Marketeers - is not Socialism, it is America recovering from an injury done to it.

So, Mr. President, I protest today. I protest in hope of saving myself, my family and friends' families suffering worse than mine. But even more than that, sir, I will be out in the street trying to speak directly to you. To have a say in this country's affairs that an army of advisors surrounding you would never allow me to have. I want to give you courage. I want you to know that many millions are down here with me, never appearing on TV, never invited to policy forums. Let us appear! We wait to buoy you up on one of the greatest surges of support an American President has ever experienced.

Help those who were calculated right out of the policies of the past 28 years. Return to the policies that helped complete Nobodies like me get ahead a little each year - that helped us SPEND a little each year and spurred us on to design, innovate and manufacture for each other. Do that and watch America's engine fire up on all cylinders!

See you in St. Paul!

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Posted by FredStembottom in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Feb 09th 2009, 12:31 PM
By Fred Stembottom

I supported Barack Obama in the last election. I contributed what I could from my ever-shrinking truck-driver's wages to try and help him become the 44th president . He did.
I also supported a complete slate of Minnesota Democrats in all the other races in the 2008 election. And they won, too. (I include Al Franken in that declaration). In fact, a huge majority of voters very nearly turned everything that was available over to the Democrats. November 2nd, 2008 was quite a night. And the start of the Obama administration is quite uplifting.

But with the single exception of Joe Biden saying the simple words "Welcome back to the White House" to a group of Labor leaders(!),I have yet to feel any real joy over the turn of events. Believe me, I wanted joy. And I stayed quite still and quiet when it didn't come. I didn't spoil anyone's fun. I scolded myself for not having it.

I know now that I had good reason for not feeling what I didn't feel. I understand now what hole my joy disappeared down. The same hole that has held the hopes of millions of Middle Class and Blue Collar people like me for decades now. The grave of Democratic expectations.
What I secretly feared might come to pass, seems to be coming to pass (of course!). What the past 28 years have taught me to rolling out right on schedule.

Once again, the Democrats are losing.

Not the early procedural votes or committee assignments in Congress but the Argument. The Vision thing. Once again, the policies that might help people like me, the bills that need to be bold to be effective, those wither. As ever, Democratic ideas are diluted unto uselessness. Proven ideas that gave America it's best years are shunned like bad Peanut Butter.
Great ideas! Stuff that worked! Already! Every time!
All shrivel in the trembling hands of the Democrats we elected on November 2nd.

I am old enough to remember a time when Millions of Americans achieved a middle-class lifestyle working in factories, in rail-yards, in small offices. Things were set up that way. Everybody's work paid off. You got ahead. Now I watch people doing these same jobs (if still found within our borders) but each doing it in amounts that used to be handled by 2 or even 3 people. Each family with 2 or more family-members doing these crushing amounts of work. And still, they fall behind on the payments for their crumbling houses. Some succumb to the desperate hope of borrowing a bridge to the future. The dead-end route that closed last September.

We are now fresh out of private, patchwork coping mechanisms. And the future is here.

Something like 8 out of 10 Americans think America is on the wrong path. A huge majority of these people managed the mind-trick of imagining the Democratic Party as something other than a more polite and dissembling pathway to every radical policy that Republicans ever dreamed up.... and voted for that party in the slim hope that we might recover before too many more people slip into permanent poverty. It worked.
Now there are no real impediments to Democratic policies winning in Congress. We provided that. Huge majorities of people who drive trucks for a living (like me), who used to work in factories, used to own stores and restaurants and drive busses and write software, who used to design and build things here in the U.S. We paved the way for Democratic policy success last November. And yet, our elected Dems act like we handed them their W-4's. They don't cheer. They make troubled squinty-faces and wish they were somewhere else. That's where my joy went. My disappointment simply mirrors theirs!

So there is only one thing I need before I can close that hole in my soul forever and possibly feel the joy.

I need the Democrats to STOP LOSING!

Simply that. Enough with the failing!

Just why do you D.C. Democrats - newly triumphant - still grovel before
the Incredible Shrinking Other Party anyway?!?! Where is the normal human reaction to winning it all especially after having been beaten about the head with Freedom Fries for 8 years? What requires you to even _listen_ to the party that brought us such freaky, radical policies, conveyor-belt corruption and daily, milk-spitting outrages? Why do you lose?!?!? We simply can't figure that out out here (but, boy, are we ever filled with deep suspicions!)

But nevermind. Whatever it is that causes the inexplicable behavior (again!) I am here to tell you that this time is different. This time, people like me quite literally can't afford to watch the Party we elected compromise with those that brought us disaster. We will not watch you tri-angulate with failure and corruption.

This time is different. This time:

You. Work. For. Us.

Not for each other. Not for traditional monied interests. This time, Democrats, you work for those who voted you in. We require changes to the rules of the game in order to survive. We now demand that you represent us in that fight.

And...first and foremost...again... we demand that you:


And that begins with you, Mr. President. The Serial Failures in Congress can best be stopped by you at this point. You, who gave us hope must now devise and implement the bold actions, the big changes that are the only avenue left for people like me.

You are now finding out that the media deregulation begun by Ronald Reagan has resulted in a consolidation of the traditional media into a hard, flinty block that stands directly in the way of the likes of me, organizations that represent people like me and the one or two congresspeople still reckless enough to speak for Middle Class and Blue Collar workers.
And if you continue speaking for me and those like me, continue welcoming organizations that represent me to the White House, then that same Giant Cinderblock of congealed media will be placed in your way, too... You are already sensing that. I can tell. Even from here.

You see, people like me can easily be un-represented. Especially in the consolidated media where the default settings point to people and organizations that don't represent people like me (or don't represent people like me competently). But you. You are the one and only President of the United States! They have to cover any and every President of the United States or cease being any kind of News organization at all.
And, right now, that's you. They can't bring in some other President of the United States. What you say. What you do. It gets through. Every day. And it gets through on TV and radio. Still the only 2 media appliances that are ubiquitous.

So relax. Start using that happy fact. In new ways. The stodgy "press conference" with the Big Gold Seal and Olympic Sized podium? What could be more spoiled than that setting. After the past 8 years, It's quite clear that they'll let anybody stand there. Find a new setting and context to speak to us. Use the time the media must give you... your way. Doing what you want to do with it.

And what you should do with it is educate. Nealy 30 years of consolidated media has simply removed from the discussion everything having to do with people like me (those without private jets). Entire categories of possibilities were disposed of so completely and so long ago now that it has resulted in several generations who simply will not understand what you are trying to do. You must explain. Fully and at length.

Do so and we will respond. In the millions! No radio commentator can stop me and the millions like me if given a vision of a return to an America where working hard pays off. But millions of us need to be brought up to speed on your un-filtered vision.

Congressional Dems? You have 2 choices now. Represent those who put you there - and experience the force of millions surging to support and sustain you or be trampled by a different type of surge. No one out here sees Congressmen or Senators as precious commodities. Never have. But you have taken our past inattention as endorsement. We are quite threatened and wide awake now. This time it's different.

You now work for US. Out here.

And beginning today, you STOP LOSING.
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Posted by FredStembottom in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun Aug 05th 2007, 10:03 AM
Sure, some of our Democratic Congresskids voted to slow the destruction of the Constitution down while in the Hazard Zone of an upcoming election.

But I need results. I need the speeding car to stop hitting people.

I need some Republican-style Party cohesion used for Good for a change.

I need our Party leadership to see the emergency. To enforce discipline suited to the destruction at hand.

I need Democratic representatives acting with at least half of the pure, focused determination that delivery truck drivers, joggers and 19 year old college students showed at the scene of the 35W bridge collapse.

I demand RESULTS. The Least Spineless Democrat Pageant can resume some other day.
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Posted by FredStembottom in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun Aug 05th 2007, 02:00 AM
I like your casting of the "Clinton" surplus as a concept, like corporations, that assumed a type of "personhood" of it's own in the 90's. A threatening, stalking hun at the gates of the mil/indus complex. One that could ruin everything for a sector that very nearly prints it's own money!

I place "Clinton" in quotes since I have never been convinced that Clinton had any more to do with that surplus than Reagan had with the fall of the Soviet Union. For me, Clinton was just the prez-on-duty when the .com bubble boiled off excess, temporary tax revenue. Clinton was just lucky to be gone by 2001.

As far as his being a "Radical", I completely agree but for utterly different reasons. The weird-science that were the NAFTA/WTO/GATT experiments of his term continue to do radical harm to this nation! We live daily with the bitter fruits of out-sourcing, job cuts, near total elimination of our manufacturing sector (oh! except weapons, imagine that!), the increasing elimination of our information and technology sectors (except as relates to....weapons!). If you haven't been sent down the economic slide by these theories, your neighbor has.

Globalization was a nutty idea then and is proven so today. Clinton made it his signature project. Almost single-handedly, he paved the way for the Draining of America.

Lastly, I agree completely that we fight the good fight against the goliath of corporate person-hood through the Democratic Party. There is no alternative. And I back that conviction with party line votes in the General.

I share your view of what the Party should stand for - and once actually made manifest. But those wonderful days are so v.e.r.y. l.o.n.g. ago, now. This defeat from inside our own party has been going on non-stop since, at least, the Iran-Contra hearings when another Repub administration ran amok and Democrats who could have stopped it all - just kinda didn't want to, like, you know, all the way (also: see NAFTA above). Although they proceeded much further toward justice than our current team, the Washington Enablers, have.

Where I differ from most Democratic loyalists is that my affection extends to the traditional Dem values only. I find the modern Democrats we almost accidentally elect to be so unimpressive as to be indistinguishable from each other. A unending series of Prom Kings and Dairy Princesses. And throwing out the truly inept and cowardly ones (during the primary season) is a job more akin to un-clogging a drain than shooting a Duke.

We are here to fire these folks and do it with all the trepidation of Ivanka Trump dismissing a pool-boy. We are then saddled with the duty of knowing a better candidate when we see one. Something we have totally forgotten how to do as we tally weekend box office receipts or focus with laser-like disdain on a single poor shlump on Cops.

The day of casual voting is over. We have to all dig-in, every day, from now on and start sending who WE want up for consideration for high office. Once some critical mass of Americans gets the habit of daily citizenship we will see how so many of the grim realities we face are only several votes away from popping like that .com bubble. No Battle to the End of Time necessary

Let's value our congresspeople far less and ourselves more. Democrats everywhere, get control of your employees in Congress!
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That's the headline I see, too clearly, in my head.

It would be the headline to the following scenario:

Mainline Republicans sound alarm on Bush Administration over-reaching (Paul Craig Roberts)

Republicans organize to intervene (impeachment and/or "the visit")

Bush and Cheney removed (tried and removed/resignations)

Republicans in unison: They weren't Republicans! They weren't Conservatives!

"Real" Repubs/Conservatives hailed as saviors of our nation!

Republican landslide victory in '08.

This is where "Daschle-ism" has taken the Democrats. Ever worried about being "naughty" (trembling at the lever of the Filibuster for 6 years) and making sure that any Dem experiencing true emotions is given a time-out. The Dems simply get bypassed - for another generation.

Modern Republicans are evil - but they sure get things done.
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supposedly contrary ideas together for the first time to see if they can be friends afterall.

Conservatism is all about NEVER, EVER doing such a thing.

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Posted by FredStembottom in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Sun Jul 09th 2006, 09:46 PM
I think I meant something much narrower than that. It's logistical. I can get all fired up reading DU, ready to take to the streets, outraged to my toes - but what happens when I get up from my chair? My neighbor is cutting his grass. The other is watching TV. A third is sunbathing. Another is "making the Andrea Doria out of balsa wood", etc.

If I storm outta my house all in a rage.......I'm just nuts. I'm the nutty neighbor because they not only don't know what got me hot - they aren't even discussing anything at all.

I just wonder if Mexico might be just "behind" enough that the main entertainment is still the technologically simple one of neighbors in neighborhood watering holes. Where entire rooms full of folks can get all hotted up about the same injustice all at the same time! And storm out into the neighborhood where people say "what's Juan all upset about?" Because they actually know Juan. And so on and so on.

Remember how much of our history is tied up with pubs and beer and impromptu declarations inside pubs while drinking beer.

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I write this as a response to The Plaid Adder's original post here:

As a blue-collar worker, the Dem establishment seems like planets rotating around some other Sun in a galaxy far, far away.......

My whole political involvement (for my entire adult life) has been based on desperately trying to get the Dems to act like Dems and defend the policies necessary to a well-balanced, sustainable America (you know, things like jobs policies that sustain a middle class). Only to have to watch 26 years of Parakeet-like enthrallment with the shiny object of DLC "centrism".

The Republicans only won everything because our team was utterly hobbled. The exquisitely narrow, finicky and sophomoric arguments that we are told made the Republicans triumphant are like those road-side Jesus-grottos made of tin cans and pebbles by strange hermits on a manic swing. They crumble of their own weight and inscrutability.

How could the Democratic party, the party that created seemingly everything of lasting American value (Social Security, Medicare, Minimum Wage, Voting Rights and on and on) ever be defeated by another party who's sole creation is the Santa Claus promise of various "invisible hands" about to arrive to make everything magically good.

How could the Democratic party, the party of Planning, Sustainability and Rule of Law lose to another party whose only action, again and again, is to tear shit apart?

How could the Democratic party, the party that won World War II lose to a party that attacks other countries based on thinking so convoluted, labyrinthine and magical that it rivals the writings of Bo & Peep?

How could the Democratic party, the party of America's greatest economic days (accomplished largely through heavy corporate taxation and the encouragement of collective bargaining)lose to a party that encourages corporations to lie, cheat, maim and eventually leave the country altogether?

The answer of course, is that something as freaky, childish and stoned out of it's head on phony versions of Christianity as the current Republican party could not even prevail at the city-council level.... without the Democratic party hobbling itself. Like a drunk playing pull-tabs, the establishment Dems bought the exciting promises of DLC "centrism" - never winning but giddily certain that the million dollar pay-off is in the jar somewhere, goddammit!

What is now taking place in Connecticut is what has been needed for 20 or more years. DLC "centrism" is now a vision gone stark raving mad. To cozy up to the policies of a criminal junta is "centrism"? To endorse policies that smash into the lives of nearly every person still living on the fumes of Democratic hope is winning? Torture? Totalitarian surveillance? Near-complete outsourcing of our jobs? We should "tri-angulate" with these things?!?!

It's over. The grand Democratic experiment is over. We need an intervention to get the party away from the pull-tab jar. We, the rank and file who have cowered and pleaded and begged for scraps from the D.C. Dems are now here to say for ourselves what the Democratic Party is all about! And if it means sacrificing a seat in Connecticut to stimulate the first real interest in the millions of us living through "centrism"...then so be it.

Such a sacrifice will be over and forgotten in a matter of days if it spurs the rest of the D.C. Dems into treatment.

Let the newly sober Democratic party once again address US and say:

-We want your job to stay here

-Corporations should pay taxes

-Collective bargaining made you strong. Resume.

-Globalization is an old, ridiculous, fossil-fueled dinosaur. Let's make American stuff for Americans once again.

-Let's transition to new sustainable energies beginning tomorrow at noon. Here. Here's a New Energy job for each of you. Let's go!

Under this type of vision - the type only real and brave Democrats can deliver - the weird, demented road-side architecture of the Republican fever-vision will simply fall to pebbles.

*edited for link

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John Kerry at the "take Back America Conference" today:

“It was right to dissent in 1971 from a war that was wrong and could not be won. And in 2006 it is both a right and an obligation for Americans to stand up to a president who is wrong today.”

" is time to end a war in Iraq that weakens the nation each and every day it goes on.”

That's it. 26 years later - after a billion dollars' worth of campaign expenses, polling efforts and consultants have been flushed down the toilet. After a seemingly unstoppable 26 year electoral decline. Today. That one, little, tiny thing I have wanted from my Democratic party for every second of every day for 26 nightmarish years.....arrived.

Finally....and I am a puddle of tears.

Such a small thing. Such a homely thing. Like the spark plugs in a car or the horn speakers behind a movie theater's screen. Common but vital to the very purpose of the device.

How could such a thing disappear so utterly from an entire political party? How was it removed from each and every one of our party's leaders with such completeness - as if a vaccination had been given or an organ had been removed?

26 years! Or was it a hundred?

And how many theories poo-pooing the necessity of it or endeavoring to substitute something else for it or displaying the very latest exquisitely expensive "improvement" upon it have I seen from my party?

And how many letters did I write to my party and petitions did I sign and friends did I harangue with everything from questions as to where it went to entreaties to try finding it again to sheer freaking , desperate bewilderment as to why ANY political party would go on and on and on without it?

But it was gone. Totally. Apparently it had no more chance than a very average squirrel when faced with the enormous SUV's of a thousand faceless, shadowy consultants roaring down America's political highways.

Secretly, I had effectively given up hope. That the one, little thing I wanted from my Democratic Party - in lieu of everything else - was never again coming back.

I lived in despair that no one in my Party would ever again simply SPEAK UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT. Clearly. Simply. And with no apologies. And then see if that just might be enough to win an election.

And yet......for reasons that are unclear to me (and on a 'bad news" day), it appeared. It came back! And it came through John Kerry. Why now? Why not in 2004? Or 1984? Or 1994? is HERE! A Democratic leader spoke clearly and forthrightly about what he believes!

And those 2 simple sentences delivered without the slightest hint of apology ring louder in my ears than anything else I have heard in 26 years.

I see the dawn.

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Posted by FredStembottom in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Sat May 27th 2006, 11:16 AM
My simple point has been that the media were increasingly being bought up and slanted by militant Right wingers. That this would change everything as RW messaging would gain near-exclusive access to America's TV sets. And that this would also be what needed fixing before America could recover from the damage that such unfettered propagandizing would bring about.

The entire Bushco coup was not possible - and can't remain standing - without the scaffolding of the Captive Media (my term for the MSM). The 24/7 support (which more often takes the form of the undermining and mis representing of progressives)that is delivered to every TV screen in the nation is what stands between us and our rights.

I even made my own foray into radio 20 years ago to try and have an influence against the rightward drive the entire industry was taking - but was not successful. Beginning in about 1990, I began a sporadic letter-writing "campaign" advocating for a network where lefty thought could be presented unfiltered and uncorrupted.

I have been hampered by chronic illness but still try and do my part. I cheered the creation of Air America - even though it differs in some respects from my vision of a lefty network - and feel that it is only the beginning. We must now find a way to get our voices onto the Captive Media itself.

So often, all that is needed is for the token liberals on any panel "discussion" on the Captive Media to reject the framing forced upon them by the Network spokesmodels. Today, a perfect example is available from Howard Dean on the Chris Matthews obfuscation-fest.

By simply refusing the framing Dean wins and Matthews comes off as a weirdly obsessed, trivial propagandist clearly grasping at any and all straws to try and tarnish any and all Democrats. This technique must be learned and repeated by all Democrats, Liberal radio hosts, bloggers and all folks of a liberal persuasion that might be asked to fill the Token Liberal Guest chair on network TV.

Remember, Liberals MUST be invited onto these shows in order for them to maintain the thin veneer of "objectivity" that they still must maintain. What has been wrong in the past is that liberals have not SEIZED every second of these appearances to simply reject the framing - if nothing else. And...if a bit more time is allowed by the Spokesmodel, to get one short and upsetting point in.

Something like:

Token Liberal guest:I think talk of the Clinton's marriage is pointless and tawdry celebrity gossip. What _I_ am wondering today, Chris, is if your news-staff here at _____ has any information on the originator of the anthrax letters that were sent to congress members back in 2001? I am surprised that such a story could so completely disappear.

Spokesmodel: Stuttering/stammering/unprepared.

TLG: I mean, the guy who did this killed people and he is still out there free and MUST be planning a report........yes?

This, of course, is done in the kindest, gentlest, most respectful way possible. And network CXYZ cannot possibly ignore a challenge like that can they. People died. The guy is out there.

And if TLG #1 is banned from that network, TLG #2 can take a different opportunity to say:

Token Liberal Guest #2: You know, Chris, it's interesting that you bring up this idea of relationships with your report on the Clinton makes me think of Jeff Gannon. You know, I'm sure, that he's the male prostitute who was given a fake name and fake press identity and went on to enter the White House nearly 200 times. Does your staff have any information on what Gannon's "relationships" (does the quote-fingers thing) might have been inside the white house?

Spokesmodel: stuttering/stammering/unprepared.

TLG: I mean, 200 times is a whole lot. And is the White House where male prostitutes should be found?????

Lather, rinse , repeat.

No yelling. No sarcasm. Just simple questions featuring simple, disturbing points that millions of Americans are also quietly wondering about all by themselves (or so they think!). Points that ANY real newsroom should be looking into. All the while rejecting the message framing that NO newsroom should be producing.

So, fasten your sealtbelts it could be a very bumpy ride!

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They comprise a completely closed society worried what might happen if they should accidentally do something that enables an army of bus drivers and massage therapists to arrive at real power.

And while they feel some genuine guilt for being part of a tiny, privileged elite, no senator wants to take rash actions that could spin out of control resulting in red leather Nascar jackets in the Senate cloak-room!

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I, too, am a blue-collar male Lefty.

I have felt just, plain "left" out of the Dem Party for about 25 years now!

I slid backward in income all throughout the Wild '90"s.

While the white-collar world partied on the covers of every magazine on the grocery store rack, my Blue-collar friends and I moved relentlessly backward in income.

I consoled myself with the thought "but it will happen to you, too, cubicle dwellers".

And so I remained a Democrat. Because a Democrat dazzled by the glare of globalization can only be a temporary thing. So I waited. And now the loading docks of my world are teeming with outsourced IT workers and project managers.

Suddenly, because robots aren't quite ready to drive trucks, my workplace is becoming the ONLY workplace!

But look-out! Starving people from other countries can drive trucks, too! And they'll do it for 1/3 of my (your) wage. And rather than welcoming in these immigrants in a systematic manner and boosting them UP to my (your) wage, the plan is to let the levy breech, let America flood with desperate refugees and let them do the job for 1/3 of your (my) wage.

And "globalization" will then be complete.

And you and I saw what was happening 25 years ago. But it wasn't fashionable to talk to us.

Mr. Dean, is the party ready, now to talk to blue-collar people?
You should be.
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It's time to bury the "Secret agent Kerry has gone undercover to route out the election evil-doers" thing once and for all. His total disavowal of his own statements to Mark Crispin Miller that he, too, thinks that election fraud took place in 2004 should put the kibosh on all of your favorite fantasies about Kerry - and a boat-load of other official Democrats as well.

Admittedly, Harry Reid tantalizes us with his Rule 21 and John Conyers is a saint who waits night after night in the congressional pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin of Reform to appear.

But.......I am not sure we have even begun to grok what holds the vast bulk of official Democrats so firmly in place. So willing to watch crimes take place and corruption grow.

Is there some sort of uber-agreement with the Republicans that official Democratic actions will be only of the most ineffective variety. For what ultimate purpose? This possibility is too dark and requires an almost comic-book level of secret, evil collusion to be the most likely cause. We're discussing our poor, hapless Democrats here, after all.

More likely, Democratic paralysis stems from the simple fact that there has been no-one in D.C. like you or me for decades. People with the bad taste to eat McChickens and drive Fords. People with jobs that may require the occasional wearing of rubber gloves. We, the inhabitants of "Dumbassistan" (thought to be large and bear-like), we haven't been spotted there in years.

And look at what the Republicans have managed! By the application of constant heat to a couple of wedge issues thought previously to be just the useless by-products of debate, they have created enough smoke to keep us dependably quarried inside the forest of Dumbassistan. A majority of us have even been persuaded to vote the park rangers of D.C. ever-increasing amounts of well, everything (all in the hope that the noxious smoke will somehow clear and the salt-lick of $1.29 gasoline will be placed back out under the maple trees.

And we want the ones called Democrats to throw out that miraculous wildlife management plan and speak clearly and forthrightly? To confirm to us all the things we suspect have gone terribly wrong? Which could only get us all hotted up and lead us to make ominous, threatening noises and movements?

I think the Republicans' bold moves towards full-tilt, Soviet-style corruption leave the official Democrats of D.C. with only 2 options: 1) get along (and get paid!) by offering up only the weakest opposition imaginable when faced with the super-charged corruption of the Republican majority or 2) begin to speak out loud about the 1001 ways that Democracy is being removed from everyone without the good sense to be born into wealth .

Option 1 is easy and runs itself. Option 2 involves using prickly new words, each of which the verbal equivalent of an Improvised Explosive Device. And the effect of this drastic and new kind of Democratic speech on the vast populace of Dumbassistan, would be predictable in scope - if a little vague in detail .

After all, loose lips might unintentionally bring the wall around those Americans above a certain income level into too stark a relief. Accidents of meaning could make it all too clear that certain Americans no longer live in Dumbassistan - even if they are right next door. That within this other American community no one's job gets sent to Viet Nam. That disbursements from the U.S. Treasury simply arrive in the mail. That the beautiful teens inside the gates are never tempted into the maw of Operation Iraqi Freedom just to scrounge up dull and featureless commodities like money-for-college or health-care-benefits.

For cryin' out loud! Once the bears of Dumbassistan are roused and charge the Park Headquarters in D.C., will they be in a mood to differentiate between the Rococo mansions displaying a gilded, almost 19th century vulgarity and the sleek, glassy Mies-ian ones with the ironic furniture from the 1970's?

The corruption is that bad. Start speaking up in D.C. and how bad might the reaction be in Dumbassistan?

How discerning is an angry bear?
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Posted by FredStembottom in Editorials & Other Articles
Wed Oct 26th 2005, 11:54 AM
My wife is a Registered Nurse who specializes in Oncology care with an emphasis on Hospice care. She has a special touch with the dying that elicits the greatest of praise from families who have had to pass through the deepest valleys of sorrow and witness the passing of a loved one.

The hospital she works at is in a first-ring suburb of Minneapolis that the passage of time has made surprisingly mixed demographically. I often think that her recognized ability to connect to Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, None-of-the-above alike stems from her avowed Atheism. Being a part of no-one's religion somehow makes her welcome in everyone's family as she administers her profoundly competent care.

She must deal as well with the complete spectrum of political adherents as the 1950's suburbs become - in a way - the new inner city.

That's where this story arises.

A she tells it, there is a point in Hospice care that every patient passes through. Some quite early in their stay. Others fending it off until the last hour. That point is the patient's own acceptance that all that can be done has been done. That they won't be getting well. That the hoped-for miracle will not be arriving. And that they, like so many before them, will be leaving.

If that point has been passed early enough in a patient's stay, many of them have a short time in which they often wish to talk over their lives. Many put in a last rally as they revisit wonderful and, and sometimes, regret-filled memories. My wife is always on hand at this time to listen, laugh and console - the families as well as the patient.

Just the other day, she tells me, she had been there to see a dying woman in her 70's pass through the acceptance point and move on to chat about her life in general. My wife left this nice lady to the intimacies of her family and turned to her other patients. Some hours later, after the woman's family had gone for the day, the nursing station received a call light from the woman's room-mate. Getting to the room revealed that the room-mate was worried about her neighbor who, after a fairly pleasant day, was now crying uncontrollably. This is not an unknown type of thing to happen in hospice care and my wife was on-the-spot to see what might have happened and how she could help. My wife was startled at what the woman had to say: "I've had a good life. I have no real regrets. But I worry now that I won't get into heaven." Unafraid of these kind of deathbed musings, my wife immediately asked her why. How can that be?

This was the woman's answer: "I voted for that damn Bush! ...Twice!

My wife assured her that no-one is denied peace for their mistakes in this life. Especially not on the basis of any vote for President! But the woman added that she was worried she would be punished for those 2 particular votes because Bush "has been such a disaster to the whole world".
My wife suggested that if answers are needed that there already is someone slated to answer for "that damn Bush" - Mr. Bush himself. This eased the poor woman's mind and she completed her journey much more at peace.

I find this story funny, in a way. Death-bed regrets have launched a thousand hoary, old jokes and ancient comedy sketches. Just change the name of the president and you can imagine the words "I voted for that damn Roosevelt! ...Twice!" as a punchline from a "dying"character with a name like "Harlequin P. Winstead III" on a scratchy recording of a 1940's radio comedy.

This, however, was real. And it shouldn't be. No real-life person should be having real-life deathbed regrets that involve lines better delivered by the character voices on The Fred Allen Show or The Jack Benny Program.

Among the more cherished prerogatives we have as Americans, despite going unmentioned in the Bill of Rights, is our presumed right to take politics lightly. That what happens in Washington stays in Washington and that reason (or more importantly reasonableness) will prevail among our Elected Representatives allowing the Represented to return, after only minor interruptions, to our bass-boats and scrap-booking parties.

Now...I'll argue that the very assumption of politics being self-regulating (thanks to some kind of Divine American Exceptionalism) is what has gotten us into so much trouble. It was just a matter of time before someone - or group of someones - would see the possibilities for exploitation of the political ignorance that is generated by living that assumption.

I have annoyed people for going on 30 years now , telling them that democracy assumes a populace that takes the time to check-in regularly and that voting is just the paperwork you fill-out on the first day of your new job: citizen. And yet, I still find a warm affection lives in my heart for that all-American assumption that our elected officials will still manage a certain minimum level of honorable behavior even if too many of us work too many hours at our jobs or watch too many DVD's.

If the the entire oversight committee known as The Citizenry should take a collective trip to Vegas, I think we still assume that the kids in D.C. are "good kids". They might use our inattention to have a kegger, smoke pot and generally stain the carpet but, we trust, they won't set the house on fire, strip the mini-van for parts or harm small animals.

Until now. This time, having over-stayed at the Mall of America, we return and immediately know that we have been away too long and too often. The house partially collapsed. An oily sheen on the reflecting pond . Men with rubber gloves and respirators tending to the dead and wounded.

Regrets. Shame. Enough for everyone and extending to all - including a dying woman worried that she may not enter heaven.

This must end. Soon. And returning to our First Job of citizen is the only thing that will end it.
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Fred Stembottom
2357 posts
Member since Fri Dec 3rd 2004
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Fred Stembottom is a 32 year truck driver in Minnesota. He also writes music. When not doing either of those Fred likes to fix up old tube radios. Fred used to BE on the radio years and years ago. Maybe again some day - once he has thought of a fake name.
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