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Member since: Sat Jun 26, 2004, 03:21 PM
Number of posts: 9,138

About Me

You probably think this song is about you.

Journal Archives

This election is not about nice

or liking a candidate. It is about working out really painful shit like institutional racism and figuring out the boundaries of our own endless consumerist appetites for oil, cheap food, and mindless entertainment.

There has been zero accountability for the economic crisis that was caused by the greed and irresponsibility of the financial sector, but the middle class is still paying and paying for their bullshit.

The consequences of global warming are becoming obvious (visit Houston, but don't forget your boat!).

Domestically, there is armed insurrection on the fringe-right and they used tanks and tear gas to put down the unrest in Ferguson.

Internationally, we are seeing a refugee crisis of Biblical proportions and the Middle East could devolve into the third world war without even trying hard. It could easily be dominos, one weird thing happens and BOOM, we will be all the way into a MAJOR military event, just like WW1.

We had hope and change last time, Dreams of my Father and the most talented, charismatic and intelligent politician of our lifetimes running or office. I really thought he could bring the entire country together, and we could be the UNITED States of America again, and we could skip a bunch of the nasty we are looking at right now. But it became obvious that the GOP would not cooperate, that they would run the country into the ground rather than compromise about anything. Their greed is just STAGGERING. And it brought the inherent racism out of the shadows and now we have to look at it and deal with it and that hurts, too.

So this is an ugly race. This is a race about dealing with our own national character defects, greed and racism. There will be no "good" candidates this time, because we do not need or deserve "good" right now. My personal opinion, what we on the left DO need is a soldier who knows how to fight in the trenches. We need to win the Supreme Court battle and deal with the gerrymandering problem. Nothing gets better until we deal with those two things. But we are right smack dab in the middle of a war already and it is not going to be pretty unless we can score a few more decisive victories.

This post....

OMG. So amazing. I want this particular post to LIVE FOREVER.

Yes, the party has a say

in who they nominate. People need to understand the rules of the game if they want to play. A bunch of the upset I hear is just sour grapes from people who are losing at a facet of the game.

But that said, I believe that the two main parties have made it waaaaay too difficult for third parties to compete. The lack of choice and the overwhelming power these two entities have on BOTH sides is part of the frustration that people are expressing right now. And the parties need to understand that, for the good of the country, we need to open up the process a bit.

I will take this moment for a public service announcement:

Instant-Runoff Voting or IRV will allow third party candidates to run without being a spoiler.

IRV is a preferential voting system in which voters rank the candidates in order of preference rather than voting for a single candidate.

You fill out your ballot, with the candidates in the order of your preference. Initially, the first choices are tallied. If no single candidate gets 51%, then the last finishing candidate is kicked out, and those voters 2nd choice is added in. This continues until on candidate achieves 51% or more of the popular vote.

That way, people can vote for a third party candidate without the fear of spoiling the election for the next best choice. People who have divergent political views that are not represented by one of the two parties can have a say.

I believe this would address the problem without the catastrophic upheaval that seems bound to happen if we don't make some voluntary changes soon.

What does "walked with John Lewis"

even mean to you?

THIS is the walk that John Lewis took.

Oh look, here he is with another Freedom Rider after being beaten by segregationist.

Here he is in the hospital after having his skull fractured by police.


Oh look, being pulled off a stool as he is trying to integrate a lunch counter.

There are pretty much endless photos of John Lewis beaten and bloody during Civil Rights once you start looking.

So no, Sanders did not "walk" with John Lewis. He showed up at the March on Washington. So did my MOM. But she never claimed that she "walked" with King

Nah. All you need is a politician

who is willing to walk through that door once the activists push it open far enough. That's the easy part. You gotta make them do it. That's the hard part.

Activist are responsible for giving the politician the cover they need to get the work of the legislation done. King famously pushed Kennedy and LBJ on civil rights. The depression opened the door for FDR. None of that groundbreaking legislation gets done without both timing and the right activists in place to agitate on the issues.

Sanders math on single-payer doesn't work. His job is to present a workable policy that we can move toward. He has not done that.

"And isn't that the entire point of the Democratic Party?"
NO. That is not the point of a political party at all. They are a tactic to allow politicians to win elections. Nothing more.

Y'all should quit dumping your responsibility to agitate the shit out of this issue onto Sanders or a political party's lap in the first place. Because it goes nowhere if you do that. MAKE THEM DO IT. Show up at every board meeting, at the state house and vote in every single election that you are eligible for. Write OpEds and register voters. Make the local pols who oppose you fucking miserable every time they see you coming until they pass your law just to get you off their back. Yes you can!

I believe it is worse than that.

The GOPs driving this mess are mostly old school guys, Art Pope (rich NC businessman and Koch brother disciple) and his crew. I think they understand EXACTLY where the demographics are going and that their time is limited no matter how many voters they disenfranchise. It is basically a smash and grab.

They are passing rules that benefit their cronies, privatize public services, etc. They are pumping as much money out of public coffers and into their own pockets as possible and vandalizing all the nice public things the state has on the way out. White supremacy is really ugly when it feels cornered....

An example, charter school oversight is basically nil now. They increased the number allowed and weakened the fiscal oversight rules. A guy in Raleigh who is also a Civitas board member (Art Pope's political action group) owns a for-profit charter school chain. He owns a separate company that rents the school building and all items in it to the charter school group. And then he is the chairman of the charter school board of directors. And the state is not overseeing the money that is changing hands AT ALL. But if the charter school is not able to pay its bills, guess who is on the hook? You guessed! The state and the taxpayers! And guess who gets to keep his real estate and other assets? Yep. The guy who is politically connected and set up the whole disgraceful boondoggle in the first place.

And they are set on destroying our excellent public university system too. They have particular political beefs with UNC-Chapel Hill, the flagship campus. Despite being listed as one of the best values in higher education in the country, they have cut budgets and installed their own political puppet as the president.

And then there are voting rights..... And this is my personal passion too.... The Moral Monday coalition came into being long before Moral Mondays were a thing. We were a loosely organized progressive coalition group. Our members included a huge spectrum of individual interests, but we all agreed that we had the same enemies and that by organizing our efforts, we would all see more progress in each area. And it was agreed that the most efficient path to victory was to first expand the electorate to include more poor, young, black and latino voters. So we started doing tons of grassroots voter education and mobilization drives on the ground, and lobbying the Democratically controlled legislature for better laws in the legislature.

We got same-day voter registration, longer early voting periods, publicly funded judicial campaigns and ran some tests with instant-runoff voting (so cool, google it) in primaries. OMG, the GOP here hated Sunday early voting because we facilitated a Souls to the Polls campaign where black churches would do a BBQ after services and run vans to and from early vote sites all afternoon. All completely legit because no one told anyone which candidate or party to support. And no one was stopping white churches from doing the same, right? But it seemed to enrage the GOP. We divided up underrepresented precincts and would canvass during early voting to increase turnout (remember, we had same day registration too!). Um, we turned out the homeless shelters and through that effort got some low income housing built for that population. Ex-felons re-enfranchisement education. Registering new citizens. ACORN (and another organizer after they got disbanded) did turnout in public housing. On and on.... And we were successful! Voter participation increased.

But we were still under the radar. The power people would laugh and point, but didn't really take us seriously. Until Obama won the NC Electoral College votes. Since then, 10s of millions of dollars have been spent in this state to role back all the great strides we made. Democrats lost the state house in 2010 and as a result, we were brutally gerrymandered by the GOP to the point where we don't really have democracy in this state any more. Because sorry, when 51% of the citizens vote for a Democratic statehouse rep, but the GOP comes out with a veto-proof majority, something STINKS. My vote was still STOLEN, but they did it "legally" with fucking math and lawyers. Since almost no one pays attention to white criminals in suits, most voters don't even see that it happened.

Anyhoo.... I am blathering on.... Moral Monday, what I refer to as the Fusion Party now, is one of my most favorite topics. But this is what I want to say about our country's racist history. YES, it is bad, but there are rich people out there who spend million and millions to MAKE SURE it stays bad. In NC at least, the people always come back around to some sort of people's coalition group that includes black and white. It has been happening here, off and on, since reconstruction. So it seems like The People bend history toward justice periodically, but they through a combination of our own inattention and power the very rich exert over the system, we get bent back

Anyone who is really interested in the Moral Monday movement and fusion politics should take a look at Rev. Dr. Barber's book on the topic. I am about 2/3rds through. Since it is my state and I was there for some of the grassroots work, of course I love it. But anyone with a serious interest in progressive activism should take a look.

The Value of Fusion Friendships

This is an extended version of an op-ed by Rev. William J. Barber, leader of Moral Mondays, and Jonathan Wilson-Hargrove that should run in the News & Observer today.

They call out the cynical bigotry of politicians who wish to use legitimate fear of ISIS as a tool for racist political manipulation.

They also covers the history of fusion politics in NC, where black and white working people have historically been able to find common ground to fight political battles against entrenched political powers.

NC has a solid history of standing up to racist manipulation. It scares the crap out of the politicians, and there is always huge backlash. But we rise again. We keep fighting the good fight while trying to love our neighbors. The arch of history in NC is slooooowly bending toward justice.

A Southern strategy was developed in the late 1960s to pit us against each other, creating a “solid South” for the Republican Party by dividing poor and working people according to their worst fears about their neighbors. Black and white have a long history in this place, but political strategists worked carefully to “color” immigrants, members of the LQBTQ community, and religious minorities, casting them as un-American rather than non-white. The rise of ISIS as a real and credible threat means that this racist form of political manipulation can take the form of calling Muslims un-American.


The unquestioned consensus in America’s public square is that we can only be safe by figuring out who the un-American terrorists are and getting rid of them.

But where we're from in North Carolina, we should not be so naïve. We have a disproportionate share of homegrown terrorists.


When we look closely at the acts of terror that rend our communities and make everyone feel less safe, the common denominator is not a particular religion or culture. It is, instead, a violence that is perpetuated by those who use fear to gain political power. We cannot combat this violence by naming an enemy to eliminate. Instead, we must illuminate the sort of friendships that make fusion politics possible. - See more

Let's talk about small business and Hillary Clinton.

I'm a woman, I own one and I have Thoughts.....

Small business is good for the communities. We spend most of the money we make in the communities where we operate. We hire local contractors and pay local taxes. We shop locally and send our kid to the dance school around the corner. Corporations send the profits overseas to avoid taxes and do not reinvest much in the communities where they operate. So small business is a better deal for local economies and should be encouraged.

What I saw on Clinton's site on this issue that I really liked was this:

Improving Access to Capital:

.......And she will do that in part by easing burdens on community banks that provide credit to small-business owners and families looking to invest in their futures—without compromising protections for consumers or introducing new risks into the financial system. The big banks don’t need relief from Washington—small banks and small businesses do.


This is another example of her deep understanding of the needs of regular, middle class Americans. I don't need a handout to grow my business, but I do need CAPITAL. This is a basic thing that many people who do not run a business miss: If you can't get a loan, you cannot make the business grow, you provide fewer jobs, pay fewer taxes, spend less money locally.... It all comes back to the capital.

I JUST did a major business expansion. We used the SBA and COMMUNITY BANK LOANS. She GETS it! The big banks looked at my business plan (I own a quirky recreational business. We are very unique.) and they could not compute. The fact that my financials we rock solid and I had a strong private backer made no difference. They could not deal with the smallest deviation from the average deal. We went to a community bank next and they completely put the deal together for me. Got me together with an amazing SBA loan officer and did the rest themselves.

So I am impressed. It is one thing to make airy, high minded statements about the needs of regular citizens, and another to actually offer solid, actionable policies to make life better.

Both the Clintons are good at DOING things that help. I still remember Bill's Earned Income Tax Credit and how much that meant to me when I was broke, working a shit part time job and free lancing some other stuff while trying to get this very same business off the ground. I did the tax form that year and started to sweat when I saw what I was supposed to pay. And then I dropped the Earned Income Credit in. I get very annoyed with Bill Clinton sometimes, but I can never stay mad. That one, small thing has a lot to do with why. He DID something that helped me, personally. A bunch. Not just SAID. He DID.

These are examples of good ideas that work and can actually get implemented, even with a craptastic Supreme Court and Congress.

The community organizer and "lazy" Democrats kicked the big business candidate's ass.

It proves that they are not very good at what they do, that the inflated salaries and huge sense of entitlement are a symtom of their greed and ego. Just as I suspected.

We beat them on all business metrics. We were more efficient with how we managed our money, both with staff pay and media buys. Our tech team was the best the world has ever seen while theirs totally, I mean TOTALLY failed the big test. Our staff management and ground game was so fierce, even though they knew it was coming, they didn't know what hit them.

And the "lazy" Democrats. OMG! I have been volunteering 2-4 hours a week since mid-summer and I was one of the less motivated volunteers on my neighborhood team. There were these two retired women who appeared to volunteer full time. The paid organizer worked every second he was awake, near as I could figure. Some kind of lazy, right?

They are so full of shit. Their business model sucked. They are sooooo overpaid and over rated. I can't stop gloating

Voter fraud from an activist standpoint.

We don't need to cheat. Anyone who does serious turnout work for progressive causes knows that there is an almost unlimited number of dem leaning voters available if we can just convince them to vote. GOTV is hard, tedious work, but far easier and safer than committing fraud. So why would we cheat if we can win legit with less effort? We wouldn't. Serious minds on the other side know this too. They know we are not cheating, that our voters are legal. But they need to suppress them because they do NOT have an unlimited pool of conservative, white voters to mine. Their voter universe is finite and they are demographically running into a brick wall. But they are convincing their followers that it is ok to harass fellow citizens at the polls because of some paranoid, racist fantasy that people of color are always lazy and dishonest or for other unspecified reasons don't deserve to vote. The organizers are hoping that this will suppress our turnout just enough to squeak out a win. What total bullshit. I pray there is legal action taken across the board once this is all over.

Can you IMAGINE the rage if teams of black citizens were going into white precincts challenging large numbers of voters? Heads would be exploding everywhere.
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