David Zephyr's Journal
Truth truly is greater than fiction.
Watching that right-wing, homophobic, xenophobic, Latino-bashing, sack-of-shit Senator Jon Kyle have to stand on the second row and applaud from behind while the crowd roared with a wave of love (it seemed like it went on forever) the heroic status given to that young, brave, gay Latino, Daniel Hernandez, in Tucson, Arizona yesterday was surreal. The power of love and decency publicly humiliating the perpetrators of hate as the entire world watched on television.
Witnessing Janet Napolitano, the former Governor of Arizona, being bathed in love right there in Tucson while that wicked, hateful and batshit Jan Brewer stewed with jealousy was also some sort of serious karmic, poetic justice.
There, right there in Arizona of all places, right on the front row sat America's first African-American President and First Lady sitting next to an Astronaut, a former U.S. Supreme Court Justice (who'd supported abortion rights and who voted to overturn the sodomy laws in Texas), along with that courageous young gay, Latino hero...while Arizona's three biggest bigots, Jon Kyle, Jan Brewer and John McCain, were placed in, shall we say, less prestigious seating!
Watching those three having to force smiles on their faces and to cheer for Daniel Hernandez was like seeing the most hateful boil imaginable being lanced right before our very eyes.
OMG! Jon Kyle and John McCain -- both who have stoked the anti-Mexican hatred and anti-gay bigotry with fever this past year -- had to stand and applaud (and applaud) while that beautiful young gay Latino man, Daniel Hernandez, was honored.
It was...well, it was like reading the Book of Esther and watching the wicked Haman having to see Mordecai the Jew being hailed just before Haman was marched off to hung on the gallows he'd built for Mordecai.
And to top it all, Sarah Palin, who wasn't even there in Arizona, but might as well have been, somehow managed to self-destruct as she provided the only sour-ass and "discouraging word" of the entire day.
That's the amazing thing about love, truth, courage and decency, beyond all of their glorious attributes, they also have the awesome power to really shame the living shit out of horrible people. I know. I saw it yesterday. And so did the world.
President Barack Obama clearly found his footing in 2010 after a rough start in 2090. The hell-fire of two wars, staggering unemployment, a housing crisis unparalleled since the 1930's and the collapse of Western capitalism that greeted him upon inauguration tested this man and his leadership skills -- all simultaneously -- in ways that no President since Franklin Roosevelt experienced.
I do know a thing or two about the American People and I can confidently tell you this: For two years now, Americans have watched and studied this remarkable young President, his First Lady and his two children as our First Family and I can tell without hesitation, and they are warming to President Barack Obama.
His quiet, deliberative manner proved that "No Drama Obama" was more than just a campaign slogan. It's really how the man is engineered and wired. And that "nice side" that so many of us on the Left sometimes are prone to consider as weakness, well, that really is how he is. President Obama is a gentleman...and there's nothing weak about him at all.
Our last President apparently beleived that showing strength was more important than demonstrating strength. Our country had to endure eight very long years of the former President's non-stop bellicose talk, fear-mongering, and conceited swaggering posture. It was the only card in his deck. Someone forgot to tell George W. Bush that although Ronald Reagan -- who Bush clearly attempted to imitate -- really did live on an actual ranch (not a former pig farm) and that he rode real horses, and unlike Bush, could actually be a gentleman and a statesman at times. Thankfully, the quarter's worth of time on George's pony ride in front of the supermarket finally expired and someone took his little rifle away from him.
I can't help but feel nothing less than relief to know that a dangerous fool was replaced by a grownup man, who does more than he talks about doing. He accomplishes, sometimes slowly, what others have only pretended to to or have only promised to do.
President Obama has overseen the creation of more jobs already than those created during the Bush Administration. That "bikini curve" is simply staggering to look at, and yet, the President is keenly aware that there's a lot more to be done. But, for pete's sake, let's give this man some credit. It's bad enough that Republicans will never give this man one word of credit, but it's even worse when many of us on the Left (I point my finger at myself first) can not or will not give him credit either.
As a gay man, let me say just this: this President has done more for my persecuted community than any living President in American history. And, of course, he didn't do it alone, but he did keep his word in ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell. He signed a federal bill including my community into the national hate crimes law. He's delivered. He's earned my respect and my gratitude.
As a life-long Democrat and activist, I will tell you that I was disappointed on many levels with the President during his first year, but that's ancient history to me because I see the makings of a historic, and yes, transformative President in Barack Obama. He's beginning to deliver the goods, he's keeping his promises, and he's putting this country back on the right track again.
There will be no credible political challenge to this President from the Democratic Party in 2012, and anyone that the Republicans choose to nominate will not have a prayer of defeating this good man that resides at the White House. And moreover, Obama will have coat tails in 2012 and we might just wind up with control of the House of Representatives again. Why? Because the American People know a good thing when they see it. And they are figuring out that we actually do have a very good thing with Barack Obama in the White House. A very good thing indeed.
Heads up: While our sons and daughters are dying, losing limbs, and being permanently physically and psychologically wounded in Afghanistan, the Chinese are locking up investments in that country's copper mines, railroads, coal-fired power plants, minerals, oil and gas. Our blood, another country's treasure.
If we have no pride, should we not at least have shame in that it is our nation's children that we are sacrificing to this insanity?
Adding insult to injury, our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with our entire massive defense budget and hundreds of military bases strung around the planet are hemorrhaging our "commonwealth" away like an Alka-Seltzer underneath Niagara Falls. And we are borrowing these funds from the Chinese, the Saudis and others and we get to pay them interest on the loans. Loans we pay to fund wars to protect their interests, not ours.
What sort of madness is this?
This, of course, is nothing new. In 1927, in his still-relevant book "Oil" (the motion picture, "There Will Be Blood" was based upon the book), Upton Sinclair pointed out that even after World War One had ended that our American soldiers remained stationed in Vladivostok guarding J.P. Morgan's property interests (railroads and munitions) all underwritten by the British Government.
Few Americans are aware that our young Americans in uniform have been in Colombia protecting a pipeline owned by the transnational conglomerate Occidental.
From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, the United States -- once the international titan in manufacturing and making products the entire world consumed -- is right in front of our very eyes is being reduced to exporting only one single commodity to the rest of the world: our children in dressed in military garb.
Jesse Jackson, in the 1990's, asked an audience to raise their hands if they owned a video recorder or television. Most everyone in the audience raised their hands. Jackson then posed a following question: "How many of you own an MX missile?". No one raised their hand and Jackson pointed out that the U.S. had quit manufacturing video recorders, but we that we made weapons. But, that is even changing.
The Chinese now boast their own home-spun aircraft carrier and jet airliners to compete with Boeing and Airbus. Yes, even that "military-industrial complex" that General and President Dwight Eisenhower warned us about is no longer an American monopoly anymore. U.S. Defense contractors are now facing aggressive competition in their once safe haven market. We are now even losing the weapon market.
And how, pray tell, will this play out? Our nation has no industrial policy and no longer looks out for its own self-interest. Where will this treacherous trend take us? It takes us to where we sell our children as hired guns, as the mercenaries of the world's oligarchs.
We are prostituting our children in wars that benefit other nations and the uber-rich of the world. Only the streets where we pimp our children are far more dangerous than Sunset and Santa Monica Boulevard or Times Square. We pimp our youngest and bravest to the bloody, bullet-strewn, and IED mined streets of Baghdad and Kabul. Now, we don't paint their faces and put them in dresses and make them dance for their john, rather we dress them up in fatigues and have them bleed to death marching tunes, don't we?
Perhaps some of our evangelical, Old-Testament Christian fellow-Americans might want to revisit their Bibles and read about the wicked God of Moloch who required the continual sacrifices of the people's children. Well, we have our own God of Moloch now, don't we?
Our only national commodity export is becoming our precious children, who we sacrifice in wars that benefit other nations and "royal families" who have financial interests that must be protected.
America is not just the world's 911 emergency responder, we have morphed into the world's foreign legion with our young people for hire.
The last manufacturing conveyor belt left in America seems to be a procession to the sacrificial altar of wars without end.
The next time you see a photograph of the caskets coming home draped in the star-spangled banner with our young men and women inside them, consider this: that is quickly becoming the only thing that we can say was "Made in America".
Not one American youngster should give their life so that Hamid Karzai and his drug-dealing brother can live like kings.
Bring our young people home to their families who need them. Let the rich, the oligarchs, the oil cartels, and the transnational corporations fight their own wars with their own children, not ours!
From the time they enter school as mere children, we teach them that George Washington, the "father of our country" had chopped down a cherry tree and told told his father, "I can not tell a lie."
We teach them that President Abraham Lincoln was also called "Honest Abe".
They are instructed early in life that the Ten Commandments in scripture commands them that they should not "bear false witness." Many learn that Jesus instructed his followers that "the truth shall set you free."
Asking our youngest, finest and bravest sons and daughters to participate in a policy codified into law by cowardly, professional politicians and that asks them to deceive and be deceived is contemptible, demoralizing and corrosive to their very souls.
This policy is un-American and vile.
We do not teach teens to lie. We teach teens that "honesty is the best policy".
During this holiday season, it is my hope that Americans will reflect on the fact that at this very moment there are young gay and lesbian soldiers and marines in uniform, saluting and putting themselves in harm's way along with others who have been wounded in conflict and are in hospitals and they can not have a single photograph of their beloved in a frame or in their possession for fear of being discharged.
We ask for their sacrifice, their blood, their limbs, their love of country, their patriotism and their loyalty. And they give it freely, without question. And what do we give them in return? A federal law that tells them not just to lie, but to live a lie.
What sort of madness is this?
How much longer will this cruelty continue?
When will a policy that encourages a young American to discount truth and honesty finally come to an end?
Are we not better a better people than this? I would like to believe we are.
Posted by David Zephyr in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Thu Dec 02nd 2010, 10:19 PM
No American veteran in the history of this nation has milked (yes, milked) his time in the uniform more than Senator John McCain. I also come from a family of proud veterans from World War I and World War II to the Vietnam War and Desert Storm, but it is just awkward and embarrassing watching this angry old man still continue to leverage his military service for his own ambitions, his own accumulation of wealth and his own ego.
Memo to John McCain: Yeah, we got it. You served. But you were not the only one to have done so. You are nothing at all like most proud veterans who don't have the craven need to thump their chests every time they speak and point out that they had served. Why is it that you are so different than them?
John McCain, unlike 99% of all veterans who have served our proud nation in uniform, grew up in great privilege and under the shadow of a father and grandfather who both held powerful positions within the Armed Forces. John McCain was not just the child of privilege, but may be America's most famous military aristocratic brat.
John Sidney McCain III, grew up attending private boarding schools and was a legacy student at the Naval Academy at Annapolis where his singular achievement of notoriety was that he graduated fifth from the bottom of his class. Yes, let me repeat that. John graduated 894th in a class of 899 students. Only 5 students of 899 scored lower academically than John McCain.
Many of us, who are gay men, have in our lives known arrogant, rich and privileged white young men like John McCain when we were young. We recognize them easily. How? Because they bullied us. They taunted us. They loved to "roll the queers". They measured themselves by how non-queer they were.
Of course, this all relates directly to John McCain and the current Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy that the Senate is facing. Because the young rich bully is still the same hateful prick and bully that he always was.
Seeing McCain belittle the nation's Secretary of Defense, William Gates, as just a "man who sits behind a desk", during a Senate Hearing showed what a sniveling coward John McCain really is. Coward? Yes, I call him a coward.
I certainly don't consider him a hero. McCain has personally sucked up more "hero" status for himself than every service person in our country's history combined. His self-promotion is almost as relentless as his ambition and as constant as his political opportunism.
Leaving aside how McCain cheated on his wife, how McCain lied about his adultery in his "autobiography", how McCain should have been in prison for his actions in the Savings & Loan Scandal, and all the rest of his shitty life accomplishments, the one carved-in-stone characteristic that I see in this pathetic sack of shit is this: John McCain is a real, bonefide homophobe and he should be man enough to just say so.
McCain's opposition to ending DADT is not because he still needs "more studies", "more surveys", "more time", "more hearings" and other ridiculous obstructions. It is only because John McCain is hung up about homosexuality. There's some real "there" there on this issue with Johnny Boy.
Me thinks, as I'm sure millions others do, that John has something eating deep within him from his past with regards to homosexuality. But belive me: I don't think that even Thorazine and the best shrink in the world could pry John's head up from out of his ass where he buried it years ago in denial. But make no mistake, he's really, really hung up.
Senator McCain, let it out, just say that you despise homosexuals and get it over with. Cut the bullshit about your "concern" about the troops.
And most of all, quit insulting our brave women and men in uniform by projecting your own irrational homophobia on to them. The verdict is in now: Our troops don't have a problem with homophobia, just Senator John Sidney McCain III does.
Posted by David Zephyr in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Nov 30th 2010, 05:30 PM
Memo to Mark Pryor and any other Democratic Senator, regardless of how "conservative" or "red" you may think your State may be, understand this if you vote against ending DADT or should you not show up to vote when your vote is needed to for once and for all end this wicked, cruel and un-American policy, then your actions will not be lost on the millions of LGBT Americans, be they Democrat, Independent, or Republican.
Our gay and lesbian soldiers and Marines who love this country so much that they have volunteered to sacrifice their lives for it are now expecting you to show your own reciprocal courage, patriotism and decency.
We are watching.
This is not a negotiable vote. You can spend the rest of your life walking on water, but should you vote against ending DADT or should you not show to vote to end it, I will work to end your political career at the ballot, be it by primary or in a general election.
History is calling you now. You can not dodge it any longer.
Hear that noise? It's your roll call and your deliberation time is up.
As the dust clears, as our fingers hopefully grow tired of finger-pointing, I want to offer some perspective from an old guy who's had over 40 years of activism within the Democratic Party. Most of all, I want to tell you that the world did not come to an end last night, and that even though the corporate media wants to dance on the grave of the Democratic Party and President Obama, it will be our side that will be doing the dancing. Why? Because the tide of history is on our side, the tide of the changing of our national demographics is on our side, as most important of all, as corny as it may sound: truth, justice and the American way are on our side.
What good news can we draw from last night? I'll tell you: In a friggin' mid-term election when Democrats don't normally show up at the polls, in the middle of the crushing national unemployment status caused by George W. Bush, in spite of the hundreds of millions of corporate cash including undisclosed funding, and in spite of the media's deafening cheer-leading for the GOP, with very few exceptions, the seats that we lost were not lost in landslides. Listen to me: they won most of their races by the skin of their teeth.
For me personally, losing Russ Feingold as a U.S. Senator last night was the most disheartening news. For those of us squarely on the Left of President Obama, it would be very difficult to explain his loss in Wisconsin as the result of his being not liberal enough. I sincerely do not know what more Russ could have done. To the voters of Wisconsin, shame on you. And to my sisters and brothers there in Wisconsin, let me tell you, this Californian will always be grateful for Russ Feingold. In this you can be very proud.
Don't fall into believing that there was a sweeping mandate for the Republican Party last night. There wasn't! They won a lot of seats, but considering the circumstances I mentioned above, their victories should have been overwhelming. They were not. And the Republican Establishment knows it.
The President has owned up to making mistakes. But good grief: please, step back and just look at what he had handed to him to repair less than 20 months ago. He ain't perfect, but he's still my President and I will support him. I would take a bullet for him. Proudly.
If you want someone to blame, then blame this Supreme Court for their shooting down campaign finance regulations. In many ways, this election was stolen from the people by the Supreme Court just as the election in 2000 was. President Obama did not do that. He even scolded them in front of the nation for their "decision".
In spite of all of that, take heart: In 2012, there will be a much larger voter turnout than there was yesterday. There always is in with Presidential Elections and that bodes very well for us...especially in light of the razor slim victories the GOP took last night.
We still have the Executive Office and we still have the Senate.
We've come a very, very long way since the dark days of George W. Bush's Administration. Ponder that.
And everyone here at the DU, whether you are mad at each other or not, you all deserve credit for having made that change.
Ok, we have lost a battle. We have not lost the war. I've seen our Party in far worse times than this.
The goddamned glass is half full!
History is on your side. Take heart.
I'm not quitting. I will never stop fighting those bastards until the day I die.
Again: Truth, Justice and the American Way are on our side.
Let's get back into the ring and slug the living shit out of our opponents!
I love you all, and goddamnit, I am proud of you all.
It's no longer just a happenstance: When President Obama travels out on the campaign trail, when the crowds are, by any standard, enormous, when the power of that visual image does not conform with the corporate media's narrative, then one can now expect that there will be little to no coverage of the President's speeches, there will be virtually no sweeping camera shots of the sizes of the crowds, and if, by any chance, there is to be media coverage of the President, you can count on it that his message will be dismissed or talked over by some media spokesperson.
This week, a former President of the United State, Bill Clinton, stood alongside his former rival, former California Governor Jerry Brown, and with the Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, before a crowd over over 5,000 gathered at UCLA. If there was ever a local news story here in Los Angeles, that was it. At my home, we monitored the local KABC and KCBS television "news" that evening at 11PM in hopes of seeing some of the event. Well, guess what was the breaking news story headlining the evening news here in Los Angeles? It was Sarah Palin speaking to a few hundred people at a GOP rally down in San Diego, presented with breathless narration of how well she was received. And as for President Clinton, Governor Brown, Mayor Newsom and their rally at UCLA? Well, you already know the answer. There was nothing.
Think about that: An event with an eight-year President, a former eight-year Governor of the largest state in the nation, and the Mayor of San Francisco standing on one stage at UCLA does not rise to "news" priority level as that of a 1/2 term Governor of Alaska visiting down in San Diego. Well, that pretty much sums it all up.
When a teabag rally of a hundred crazies -- with the spelling attributes of a nine-year old -- gets prominent news coverage, when Glen Beck's "rally" is feverishly monitored by every news outlet in America along with echoing his "big lie" of a million people being in attendance, you can be sure that there's an undeniable, unprecedented collusion among our consolidated media moguls. Yeah, I know, I'm crazy, but even this fool can tell you there's been a corporate handshake and a wink.
President Obama could speak to a crowd of 1/2 million people tomorrow, but if Sarah Palin happens to twitter that afternoon, well, guess what will be covered?
There's an orchestrated, narrative that is being sent to every American within earshot or eye-shot of any corporate media today. And, apparently, it is very important for Americans to get the memo: the narrative is that the Republican Party, that has nearly destroyed this nation, is now, somehow, the darling of the American People. Anything that negates that narrative will simply not be reported.
It's obvious who the corporate controlled media wants to run the Congress now. And it's obvious that they will make no bones about presenting any fig-leaf of impartiality the next two weeks.
There is a job to be done. And there is a message prepared and to be delivered.
Call it by it's name: It's propaganda.
After reading many of the comments here at the DU, I was able to finally see the debate myself.
While remaining a gentleman throughout the debate, Senator Reid scored point after point with every key, voting demographic group in Nevada from the middle class, women, working men and women, parents, teachers, environmentalists, GLBT Americans, senior citizens, veterans, minorities including Latinos, and even old white guys like himself.
For all her annoying twisting and turning and frozen smiling, she still lost the debate on specifics, on atmospherics, and especially on personality.
Tomorrow as voters in Nevada reflect on this debate, there will be a comforting resolve favoring Senator Harry Reid.
Sharon Angle made a big mistake by mocking Senator Reid telling him to "man up."
Sharon Angle should watch the debate again. She clearly missed something: Harry Reid did "man up". He just did so as a gentleman.
Congratulations to Senator Reid. I didn't think you had it in you. You clearly did. And you just clinched re-election.
Posted by David Zephyr in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Oct 04th 2010, 05:46 PM
Remember the "Silent Majority"? Well, it's back in 2010, but it's not the old Richard Nixon voting base anymore. No, there's a new Silent Majority in America. Oh, it's still silent. And it is the majority. But make no mistake, there's been a tectonic shift culturally, racially and demographically from the America of the 1950's and 1960's. And that's not good news for the Republican Party. Why?
Because America's new Silent Majority is growing sick and tired of the of crude, loud right-wing, tea-bagging minority and their vulgar antics. You can take this to the bank.
So, just who is this Silent Majority? I'll tell you.
They are the quiet men and women in the grocery line when the right-wing cranky woman starts gassing her lunacy out loud about President Obama being a Muslim, being born in Kenya, or hating white people, or that he is cozy with terrorists.
They are parents, who attend school sports events with their kids, and are forced to endure hearing that same old, cranky man in the bleachers talking loudly -- and always loud enough so everyone can hear him -- about that "god-damned Nancy Pelosi" and the Democrats for socializing our health-care" and "taking away our constitutional rights".
This new Silent Majority of Americans includes not just whites, blacks, asians, latinos, but also families that are blessedly mixed racially, and who have a gay child, brother, sister, aunt or uncle that they love dearly. These Americans may not speak up in that grocery line or at the sports event, for not wanting to embarrass their children or because it's just not how they behave. But, believe me, their silence is deadly.
Americans are not fooled. They know that every town has these cranks, who are always the usual suspects, the same ones who quote Rush Limbaugh, who always get "worked up" about this or that, who harangue city council meetings with their right-wing crap. They know them.
Americans know that the racist at the end of their street is the same one they saw at at tea-bagger "rally" in their town or is writing letters to the editor. And they know that he's only one house on their long street.
Don't forget this: This new Silent Majority is the very same American people who elected Barack Obama, an African-American to be President of the United States, preferring him over a cranky white "war hero", and doing so by over a 9 million vote margin!
This new Silent Majority also took the reins of power away from the Republican Party decidedly in 2006 and in 2008 in both mid-term and in general elections.
Now, this new Silent Majority doesn't talk a lot at the grocery store. They may not argue back at a sports event. But they vote when they feel they need to. And it looks like they feel they might need to return, yet once again to the polling booth in November. Why? Because they are really beginning to get pissed off at all the noise.
The GOP "tea-party" got just a little bit too loud and now they've awakened this new Silent Majority.
Just look at the latest polling from across the country for these past 3 weeks as we approach the election. Democrats are rising and Republicans are tanking. Across the board. State by state, Democrats who were down double digits are pulling even or even ahead. What's going on? I'll tell you.
The American People remember.
The American People know good and god-damned well who caused the great financial collapse, and who caused the national wave home foreclosures. They know it was George W. Bush and his Republican Party.
The American People know good and god-damned well who caused the horrific unemployment in our nation, who cheer-led the outsourcing of their jobs to cheap foreign labor. No amount of Republican television advertising can make them forget who ran the Titanic into the iceberg.
The American People know good and god-damned well who started these two multi-trillion dollar wars that returned young boys and girls back to their hometowns in caskets or permanently maimed physically and mentally. And Americans know exactly who to blame for it.
And this Silent Majority, normally apathetic, typically apolitical has been holding their collective tongue for the last 12 months, as the right-wing rabble began their shouting, whipping up their pathetic, puny "loud minority" into harassing Democratic candidates at public forums, seizing town-hall meetings, stirring up hatred for immigrants and minorities. And they have not liked what they have seen.
Today's Silent Majority looks nothing like the one from the 1960's. It may be unhappy with the Democratic Party, but it is really doesn't like the Republican Party.
Look at the polls. The trends are clearly on our side, not theirs.
And the GOP has begun hedge their bets, to scale back on their bragging. As Bob Dylan said, "Now you don't talk so loud, now you don't seem so proud..." Oops, maybe they have awakened a sleeping giant that would have otherwise ignored this election and just sat it out. Oops, maybe the tea-baggers got too loud, you know, like an alarm clock.
The Silent Majority in America is no longer Republican. Rise up with me and let's remind them that they may be loud and obnoxious as hell, but they are the minority now for a reason. Americans don't trust them and, really don't like them much either.
Posted by David Zephyr in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Sep 28th 2010, 08:04 PM
And it was great seeing both Senator Russ Feingold and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin united together with that young crowd.
The President seems invigorated. I like that.
And who knows? With Rahm Emanuel leaving, with Larry Summers leaving, with Tim Geitner probably leaving, and with sterling individuals like Elizabeth Warren coming on board, maybe the filter around President Obama will be a better one for him, the Democrats and for the American People.
In any event, today he showed he has it within him to do what a President has to do: not only lead, but to explain to the American People what is going on, and to tell them both where we have been and where he wants to take the country. He did all of that in Madison.
The White House should put this Presiden on the campaign trail all around the country. I can tell you this: Democratic candidates will not run from him, but to him. They will want to be on stage with him if he rolls this out again and again.
The American People are fair. If the media won't broadcast this speech, then do another one and another one until they have to.
Today, I saw a President who has learned (the hard way) that their is no "working across the aisle" with the GOP. I loved the fight in him today. He called the bastards in the Republican out over and over and over again.
Great speech. Kudos to the Prez.
Posted by David Zephyr in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Sep 21st 2010, 02:22 PM
Harry Reid and the vast majority of Democrats in the Senate are at this moment, just before an election, pushing to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which most of their political advisers would tell them is not a very wise thing to do. I've been active in political campaigns and activism since the 1960's and I can assure you that this took a lot of courage for these Democrat to do this right before an election. But they did. In another show of courage, they are pushing for The Dream Act these last weeks. Both DADT and the Dream Act will be used as red meat to stir up the right-wing crazies to get to the polls and to vote for the Republican candidates just weeks from now.
Why does this even matter? Because it should crystalize to everyone that there are real differences between these two American political parties. We may gripe about what Ralph Nader calls the Duopoly that exists in American Politics or about DINO's within the Democratic Party, but don't be fooled by your own anger about this: when the GOP is in control the nation moves quickly in a very dangerous harmful direction. Republicans never waste time when they have the helm of the country in taking us right to hell.
If you are working class, if you are elderly, if you are hoping to retire with dignity, if you have children, if you are in a racial minority in this nation, if you have loved ones or friends or children of friends with immigrant issues, if you are a gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or transgender American, if you are unemployed or worrying about becoming unemployed, if you own a small business, if you are upside down with your mortgage, if you are worrying about your health-care, if you give a damn about our environment, if you are sick of wars for oil, if you want to bring our military footprint down around the world, if you want more open government, if you care about protecting a girl or woman's right to control their own reproductive organs and their very health and life, if you want progressive judges appointed and more seated on the Supreme Court, then you have a real life and death stake in the outcome of the mid-terms. That is not hyperbole.
I'm not asking anyone here to hold their nose and vote for the Democratic Candidate on your ballot for Congress or for the Senate, I'm asking you to work for them...yes, regardless of whether they have let you down or not because should we lose either the House or the Senate, the Republicans will gain control of the committees, the subpoena powers and hearings that go with them. It will saddle President Obama even more than he already is. And if you can't find it within yourself to work for the Democrats, then do something constructive and work against the Republicans. Put your anger, intelligence, funds if you can, and your wit and energy into fighting them.
I am hardly a popular man around here. Anyone here long enough to remember, knows how fervently I supported President Obama throughout the Primaries upsetting a lot of Hillary Clinton supporters who can not or will forgive that. On the other hand, Obama's greatest supporters know how brutally hard I was on him throughout his first year in office in 2009, especially because I felt (and still do) that he should have focused on job growth immediately because I've been around long enough to know that it takes time to ramp up from unemployment to a healthy employment reality. And those supporters are equally upset with me.
I am among a few here who are DU'ers without a camp. And I can live with that.
But, if you are unhappy with the overall progress President Obama and Congress have made, consider what our alternative would be right now. Just look at what is going on with even Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the Senate.
We need more Democrats in Congress, not less. I write you this as one of a handful at the DU who opposed the initial invasion of Afghanistan, who began working as an activist in 1970 in Los Angeles for GLBT rights (we didn't say GLBT back then and our first service organization was called the Gay Community Service Center, so even our community has come a long way), I organized the moratorium against the Vietnam War on my college campus and was threatened with being expelled, and maybe some would say I pissed away a lot of my life being an activist. But I was not alone all these many years.
Our country's history is rich with contributions seen and unseen by millions of courageous women and men who have struggled for progressive causes and it may be a silly notion, but I am proud to have been a part of that "crowd" if even an unseen face.
As a proud member of The Left, I am also still wise enough to understand the enormous differences between what happens when the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are have control of this nation. I may be disappointed in the Democratic Party, but I know how truly wicked, cruel and destructive the Republican Party will be whenever they get the levers of power in this nation.
To my fellow DU'ers who are younger and to the few who are older than me, this is a time for us to unite. We can hold the Democrats' feet to the fire after November, but we will have no influence whatsoever with a Republican House or Senate or in the State Houses where re-districting will be done.
It's time to lay our differences aside for 5 or so weeks and unite. Is this something we can rise to? Can we set aside our differences for a few weeks? To Obama's staunchest supporters, you need the activist base and dismissing their concerns is not helpful at all. To those on the Left, at this point in time, we are not compromising what we believe by preventing the GOP from gaining power in November. We know we are not going to let them off the hook after November, if we are fortunate enough to still have them on the hook. What I am asking you is to keep them on our hook. At least it's our hook. If the GOP takes the House or diminishes our haphazard "majority" in the Senate, then the hook, line and sinker will be in the Republican's hands, not ours. They will have the fishing pole and it will be the radical right who has their GOP representatives "on the hook".
There is really so much at stake.I ask you to just remember the period from 2001 to 2009 and/or that stretch from 1981 to 1993 and pinch yourself. Hard. If you can't fight for the Democrats, then help fight against the Republicans.
Can I count on the majority of those here at the DU, many of whom I've known since early 2001 here? There's a Democratic HQ somewhere probably near you that is short one volunteer, that needs someone to help in a phone-bank, that needs a little money, that needs help with GOTV, and where you, a DU'er, can really make a big difference.
I am begging you.
Yes, yes, and yes. President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have not kept all of their promises, they have not delivered on many of the things they should have, they did not deliver a financial regulation law as strong as it could have been, they squandered much of 2009 fretting with health care, rather than the economy, they did not end both of the wars yet, they did not deliver comprehensive, forgiving and the healing immigration reform that Latinos deserve, they have not delivered on all the promises made to my GLBT community, they have not moved forward as quickly as they could have on pressing environmental matters, they have not lowered the cruel unemployment rate among our African-American brothers and sisters, they have not restored the respect for science that it deserves and the funding it needs, they have not dealt with the stupid drug laws in this country as they could have, they have not spoken up as loudly as they could have to face down right wing demagoguery, and too many, not all, Democrats are, well, they are "corporate whores". Yes, yes and yes.
President Obama and the Democrats did stave off a true financial melt-down that Americans probably will never appreciate, but the truth is...they did. Are we there yet? No, but I don't want to switch pilots.
President Obama and the Democrats have wound down Bush's war in Iraq, keeping the President's promise and he has promised an exit date for Afghanistan. Are we there yet? No, but I don't want to switch pilots.
President Obama and the Democrats raised GLBT Americans into full protective status of hate crime legislation, they have extended many benefits to GLBT federal employees and the President ordered a report of "how to" (not if to) end Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And he appointed a woman to the Supreme Court whose record of standing up for the GLBT community at Harvard is Supreme Court History in and of itself. She's on the Supreme Court now. Of course, there is still no ENDA, no marriage equality, and more. Are we there yet? No, but I sure don't want to switch pilots.
President Obama and the Democrats have opened up better relations with Cuba, they have sued the State of Arizona for their racial profiling "law", they have put the first Latina on the Supreme Court of the United States, and they are working on immigration reform. Are we there yet? No, but I sure don't want to switch pilots.
President Obama and the Democrats have turned around (and are still fighting) to have embryonic stem cell research, they have delivered on a lot of positive environmental laws and progress, and we have a certainly have far better Secretary of Energy than we've probably ever had. Are we there yet? No, but I sure don't want to switch pilots.
President Obama's Attorney General chose to allow California's medical marijuana clinics to operate without federal intervention. And President Obama is allowing our veterans to use marijuana now if their states permit it. There are still too many imprisoned because of stupid drug laws and there is much to do. Are we there yet? No, but I don't want to switch pilots.
President Obama and the Democrats have stewarded this nation from losing 700,000 jobs every month to where we are now gaining jobs. The "bikini curve" is there for anyone who has an honest mind to see for themselves. Is it enough? Of course, not. Are we there yet? No, but sure I don't want to switch pilots.
Senator Tom Harkin has said for years that his father told him the only thing he needed to know about voting was this: "If you want to go forward, put the vehicle in 'D'. And if you want to go backward, put the vehicle in 'R'. I always liked that.
Only now, after eight years of neo-fascism, after eight years of legalized and sanctioned corporate theft, after eight years of lying to make war, after eight years of domestic spying on the Left, after eight years of destroying this nation and bringing us to our collective knees, the "vehicle" in that metaphor is not an automobile, it is a jet plane, and if we switch pilots, we will not merely be going backward, but we will crash.
This nation can not afford to have the Republican Party in control of either the House of Representatives or the Senate and have the powers of those committees and subpoenas that go with them. Our national jet will crash, perhaps once and for all. We are already on the brink.
Are too many of our Democrats what we call "corporate whores"? Yes. Most all of us here know that.
But let me share this with you. Years ago, when I was "out" as a gay man as a corporate executive in the early 1980's (the only one "out" at the Fortune 500 company where I worked), I was sitting in a Board Room meeting when one of the participants there -- in a poorly veiled dig at me -- crudely commented about America's Olympian and Gold Medal Winner, Greg Louganis, "I hope everyone here knows Louganis is a queer." Well, you could have heard a pin drop.
As my face flushed red with anger, I heard the CEO utter the following: "Greg Louganis may be a 'queer', as you call him, but he's OUR 'queer' and he's made us all proud." Our CEO looked directly at me, smiled and winked and then went on with the meeting. The asshole who made that comment lasted about two months and then was one day no longer employed.
While it is true that too many of the Democrats are too cozy with big corporations, it is also true that with their numbers we maintain majorities in the House and Senate, we control the committees and all Congressional hearings. Yes, they may be "corporate whores", but they are ours and not they are not those of the GOP.
Our new national jet airliner just took off less than two years ago and our new pilot and his crew have certainly made some wrong detours and had their delays, but make no mistake about it, we are better off than many of us might want to admit we are, and we are at greater risk of losing everything we hold dear to us this November.
Who do you want in the cockpit for the next two years? Seriously.
We've seen what the Republican Pilots do when they are in the cockpit, where they take us, the risk they place us all in.
Knowing myself, I will probably keep asking "Are we there yet?" for the rest of my life, but I also do know one thing: I sure as hell don't want to switch pilots now. And neither should you.
Posted by David Zephyr in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Jul 10th 2010, 01:32 AM
I know a lot of you sense it. It's as thick as mud in the air all around us. It's like there's one bad story after the next, one blow following another.
This afternoon I told a co-worker that it's like there is a pervasive Zeitgeist of Unhappiness everywhere. Like a green, thick fog of chemicals choking the oxygen away from us.
Whether I speak to friends or business associates or family, it just seems like we are all living in a really rough edged piece of time/space fabric. Most of us don't like to complain because we know so many are far worse off than we are, but it really does seem like life is just a grind these days.
First, there's the "economy" (I'm just so sick of even the word). All of us now people who have been hit by this depression (another word I'm just sick of). Those of us who are fortunate to be working have probably never worked harder and longer hours in our lives...and yet we are grateful for it.
I notice people are less cheery when I'm out in public, it seems like the smiles are fewer, the stress is greater. Turn on a television or radio and it's a collective psychological soup of bad economics, two wars. And there are these creepy attention-seeking, teabaggers screaming for the cameras, we see racists, xenophobes and these vile "birthers" all barking and barking.
Touchstone institutions that we were falsely instructed were towering reference points in our lives and long considered "too big to fail" have failed and are failing: General Motors, CitiBank, Chrysler, British Petroleum, AIG, Wall Street, Fannie Mae, the Catholic Church.
Foreclosures. Joblessness. Destitution. Bad news all around.
And then, of course, there is the corker of this Gulf of Mexico catastrophe. The psyche just strains at the heartache. My brain hurts more than Xanax can every dull.
I feel like Gene Hackman hanging on that single piece of pipe at the end of "The Poseidon Adventure" screaming to the heavens, "What else do you want? How much more can you deal out?"
Oh yeah, there's a Zeitgeist of Unhappy out there.
And yet, as the Buddhists might ask: is this truly reality?
Tonight I came home from working fifty long, hard hours this week and will have to go right back again tomorrow for another 10 hours on Saturday. But something finally hit me tonight. I'm not going to buy into the collective swarm of bad energy anymore.
OK. Expectations are lower or have vanished. So what? We are not the sum of material things and how we scratch out a living does not define us.
Our character does. Our ability to love does. Our capacity to be a friend does.
I'm stepping out of the bad acid trip tent where it seems so many are gathering.
Yes, there is a lot of bad out there. But there is also a lot of goodness, too.
And all of my cursing the darkness is never as good as lighting a single candle.
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
The first smile we give out is the hardest, but they come easier and easier.
I can't change the world, but I can change myself. Voltaire told us in Candide that we can always tend our garden.
That's a great place to start.
The sun will come out tomorrow,
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow, there'll be sun
Peace to you all here at the DU.
Kudos to President Obama. He went where it wasn't safe to politically go today by speaking out powerfully for Immigration Reform now and not waiting until after the mid-term elections.
His speech was bold, courageous and moving. He framed the discussion perfectly and I was proud to see him step up like this.
Excellent speech. Excellent message. Excellent tone.
If you didn't get the chance to see it, please try to see it. A static transcript will not do it justice.
That's leadership. Great speech. This is the Obama I voted for.
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