Sassy Liberal Recommendations 2.15.13

A few things I thought were interesting:

Hubris

Rachel Maddow is hosting an MSNBC documentary next Monday, February 18, “Hubris: The Selling of the Iraq War.” The previews haven’t mentioned the book “Hubris,” on the same subject matter, by superstars Michael Isikoff and David Corn, but I can’t wait to watch it.

Robert Draper

I’m a massive fan of Robert Draper and basically consider him to be a political investigative reporting god. His recent piece “Can the Republicans Be Saved From Obsolescence?” is a classically good read, with a look into the right wing intransigence on new technological tools for campaigns. It was yummy. Draper always delivers.

The Next Economic Crash is on the Way

I don’t know if I’ll be sitting here in ten years wondering why no one read this Huffpo piece on the next crash, “Wall Street Setting Itself Up For Next Derivatives Crisis, Market Participants Warn”. Plenty of analysts have warned banks will just find a way around Dodd-Frank and we need Glass-Steagall back, but since Washington has its head up Wall Street’s ass, another crash is more likely than good economic policy out of the Capitol.

Athlete Ally

I was so encourage after seeing a segment on The Cycle with Ravens’ Brendon Ayanbedejo publicizing Athlete Ally, an organization aimed at supporting the LGBT community in sports. If professional sports is “the last closet,” Athlete Ally could be an effective and uplifting wrecking ball.

Turning Texas and Florida Blue

Texas blue, Florida blue, Ted Cruz red, Rick Perry fading, Hillary Clinton comingThis is a fun piece from The Hill about the Democratic Party taking Texas and Florida. This cannot happen fast enough and I really want to be a part of it!

Best Think of The Week: Rubio in Slow-mo

I haven’t laughed out loud so much at a political fuck-up since Romney’s eyebrow raise during the town hall debate with Obama. This Deadspin slow-mo video of the Rubio dry mouth horror is priceless. Stay thirsty, my friends.

Government IS Part of the Solution

If you’re a regular viewer of MSNBC’s The Cycle, and I consider myself a 25-30% viewer, you’ll witness co-host S.E. Cupp repeatedly present the tired, easily-refuted, main argument of the Republican Party. It never fails. Across the wide spectrum of discussion topics addressed during the show, S.E. Cupp can be trusted to assert that, no, government cannot solve the problem.

The latest iteration I can recall of her using this refrain was to refute the effects of gun control. Government can regulate guns, but murders will still occur!

Other than her support for marriage equality, S.E. is quite the mascot of Republican ideology: government has no part to play in solving the problems of this country.

Which is so hilarious, because THAT’S ONE OF THE MAIN FUCKING POINTS OF GOVERNMENT.

Drinking clean water? Why, thank you, government. Not drinking clean water? Well, who should you contact? The government!

Car deaths super high? Hmmm. Government: Let’s regulate car speed and require passengers to wear seat belts. Surprise! Car deaths greatly decrease!

Lots of airliner crashes and deaths. Government: Hey, airlines, get your shit together and here are some regulations to follow. U.S. airliner crashes diminish dramatically.

Obviously, I could go on and on.

Republicans believe in the fundamental free-market society. Keep government out of everyone’s bidness and it’ll all shake out the way God intended. Wall Street should police itself. Yes, yes, an unregulated Wall Street managed to dupe borrowers and investors across the U.S. and other countries, causing the global economy to approach collapse (which government prevented), but hey, DETAILS.

Corporations should self-regulate and we shouldn’t worry about oil-spills or fires at refineries. Civil rights totally woulda happened by now, even in the most rural of localities, if we had left it up to the states. Children’s toys wouldn’t have lead and asbestos wouldn’t be coating our living and working habitats. Restaurants would most certainly enforce health standards, no matter the cost, or go out of business after sickening or even killing how many people? But the restaurant is no longer in business. So, see, the system worked. Who cares about granny whose death could have been prevented? It’s all just part of the laisez-faire cycle our founding fathers intended!!

The problem with this argument is that the politician, donor, or voter who believes it also generally places profit margin as their #1 priority. How else are we supposed to maintain superpower status? They do not concern themselves with the good of the general public if it interferes with money-making. They do not understand that the American economy fails or succeeds according to the status of the middle class, not the wealthy few.

The average American, however, does not have a seat in the boardroom to demand proper procedures are followed. An American living in downtown San Francisco cannot legally require the local legal system in Mississippi to prosecute a white men responsible for the murder of a black man trying to register voters.

Americans have only one concrete method to protect themselves and each other from corporate malfeasance and local abuse of power. The federal government. We have a Constitutionally-protected say in the make-up of our federal government. This is all we have. This is it. It is ours and it is priceless.

Americans have elected lawmakers to the federal government who have, many times, chosen to do the right thing. Is the federal government perfect? Not by a long shot. But perfection cannot be the standard for every government action.

Murders will still happen with gun control, but the death tolls will be smaller.
Deaths in car crashes still happen with seat belts and speed limits. But there are far fewer deaths than before the federal government required these changes.
Planes will still fall from the sky, but at a much lower rate.
More minorities vote because of federal government intervention.
Fewer factories spill their wastes into drinking water sources for neighborhoods.

Government is not always the solution and rarely solves any problem completely. But this is not the point. The government is the tool we use to make the country, the world better. We have done this repeatedly and will continue to do so.

This reality is one of the reasons Republicans continue to lose votes. People see, especially because of new media, that their votes matter. Government CAN and DOES help people. And when you place in charge of government those who do not believe in its appropriately-given power to run a country well, then government is handicapped and cannot help those who are in need. And we are all in need at some point.

It is not an accident Republicans are losing and will continue to lose. As long as they misuse the office they are given, as long as they stifle the entity which allows our country to be great and then blames the nature of the entity itself, more and more see through their erroneous ideology.

Government is not THE solution, but it can be part of it. Republicans, like S.E., are so hellbent on finding arguments that support their ideology, they are never in search of real solutions. To them, a solution cannot be 25% or 65% effective; it must be 100% or it is a failure. And no solution is 100%. They pigeon-hole government and then carnival-bark that government does not work.

This Sassy Liberal is now saying WE ARE OVER IT. WE ARE ALL OVER IT. We have access to information now and DATA and STATISTICS and the “spending problem” myth and “government is bad myth” have been debunked. No real solutions to offer? Then don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Done.

The Right to Offend

As a Texan, I am, by constitution, friendly and congenial to most anyone. I love to have a good time and I love for everyone else to have a good time. That’s why we Texans love Texas. No matter our political, religious or college football loyalties, we are generally polite and considerate of each other enough to get our party on and leave the inner bitch at the door.

This is quite the handy personality considering I live amongst and am related to heavily-leaning right wingers, Fox News watchers, Rush listeners, Alex Jones readers, Obama deplorers, firearm devotees and Bible beaters. Don’t get me wrong, I llloooovvvvveee Dallas. I really, really do. But everyone knows what our batshit-crazies in the ballot booth hath delivered to us as governor and that our state legislature is erasing decades of reproductive rights for women, trying to get Christian lessons taught in public schools, and also pissed off the Justice Department with voter ID laws aimed at handicapping the minority vote. Hoooray.

How do we, citizens and voters, be the change we want to see and push, pull, and shove our state and country toward the progress we seek to achieve? I’m a liberal atheist. How do I, as busy mom of an infant and toddler, have skin in the game, put my money where my mouth is and work for a better world for my boys?

Raise my voice. Raise all our voices. Be it blogs, be it conversation, be it my Obama/Biden t-shirt in the grocery store. The best way we can be a force for good is to be visible and audible in our goodness. But if others don’t like our version of good, or are even offended by it, are we still doing good?

Yes. Groupthink has been the anchor that has kept Texas and the rest of the South resistant to modernity and the inevitable arc of history. Everyone assumes everyone else is Christian and pro-life and Republican and anything outside those bounds is cold, uncomfortable and to be avoided.

Change is unavoidable, however. The DFW area has one of the largest, if not THE largest, groups of free-thinkers in the country. How did this happen in such a deeply religion-entrenched metropolis? An atheist or agnostic here started a group and then another and then another and then attendance at free-thinker meet-ups exploded. All because a few trailblazers raised their voice.

Breaking free from the groupthink, from the borg of the close-minded, by simply speaking up is the biggest, most effective tool we have to exert change peacefully and effectively. It takes bravery to tell someone you do not agree with them.

Many times, this does include offending people – especially those self-righteous enough to consider their opinion sacred and untouchable as our culture has led many religioners to believe. But when religion has become a weapon of oppression, it is the responsibility of the rest of us to raise our voices and join together to illuminate a path to for those who wish to escape the bondage of their culture, family or groupthink – even if we risk offense to the stalwart ideology of those who live with certitude.

Jon Stewart once said, “I’m not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance.”

In a free society, freedom of speech bears with it the right to be offended and to offend. It is an immature, intractable mind that cannot tolerate disagreement. If we adhere to those standards and believe politeness to be our first priority, we slow our development and we inhibit the change necessary for a better world.

We cannot be afraid to say what we think or fear what others will think of us. It is not okay to hide behind a religion in an effort to stifle the rights of others or dictate the will of your neighbor. It is not okay. I will not bow to others’ expectations or cultural norms that would hinder a cleaner, freer, more humane society. We must do good by being good and talking good. Even if it’s bad.

I exert my right to offend others and appreciate their right to speak their truths. May we all find celebration in our mere ability to discuss and disagree without hate or violence or fear of imprisonment.

Ted Cruz a Texas Embarrassment

Ugh. Pouring cold water on yesterday’s Yay, Republicans! post.

As a Texan living in Texas, I slogged through the Republican presidential primary season with gritted teeth and utter upset stomach that the nation would witness the buffoonery that has served as our governor since George W. Bush was first elected president. Jesus Christ that was painful. The fact that I never voted for the Perry is little to no consolation since I’m surrounded by people who did. He won’t debate his Democrat opponents for governor – and the primary season fully displayed the reasoning behind his decision.

And while I haven’t agreed often with Phil Gramm, Kay Bailey-Hutchison or John Cornyn (who have served as senators since I came of age and truly awoke to our political process), they have comported themselves in a relatively dignified manner.

Following Kay Bailey’s retirement from the Senate, her preferred predecessor was the reasonably stately David Dewhurst. As you can guess, Reason won’t get you far in a Texas Republican primary and Ted Cruz (sigh) won. Democrat Bill White – an extremely knowledgable and adept former Houston mayor lost the race and Texas is much, much the worse for it.

Ted Cruz basically has the bio, aside from being born in Canada, Marco Rubio wishes he had. While Rubio is slowly attempting to navigate the murky waters of Republican politics to succeed in his natural habitat of Jeb Bush-style Right Wingery, Cruz may have the brain power to make good decisions on behalf of the American people, but lacks the judgment to pivot away from the swan-singing Tea Baggers.

Honestly, I hoped that honorable position of U.S. Senator might temper Ted Cruz’s more assclowish tendencies. This has not been the case. And it’s a good thing I don’t gamble much.

Only recently, Ted Cruz referred to war heroes and Vietnam veterans former Senator and our next Secretary of State John Kerry and former Senator and probable Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel as “less than ardent fans of the military.” Ted Cruz, shockingly, never served in the military. He voted against Kerry’s confirmation and has signaled he would vote against Hagel’s. Ahhhh, the repeated meme about men who never served in war being the first ones to trumpet it…

So, now we’re stuck for the next six years with Cruz’s mantra that government is evil, spending is evil, Obama is evil, healthcare for poor people is evil, the NRA is God and corporations are God and the whole, tired, failed schpeel that sent so much of the electorate begging for four more years of Obama.

I’m embarrassed for Texas. I’m embarrassed for me.

It’s time for Texans to get their shit together, start paying attention to local politics. Because most Texans do not agree with the inanity our politicians practice in and trade on (Louie Gohmert). A large percentage of eligible voters don’t cast ballots and the Democrat Party has treated us like grotesque stepchildren when this state is ripe for a color change. Now is the time. We cannot let boobs like Rick Perry and Ted Cruz define our state any longer. They represent our nightmarish past.

Let’s reclaim rights for women, gays and minorities. Demand our education funds and disaster relief. Let’s send these ideologues with their harmful legislation packing. Let’s show Cruz that giving him six years in the Senate was a rookie, Tea Party mistake and atone for it afterwards by sending the best politicians our state has to Austin and to Washington.

Salon has a short, decent write-up on our new senator here.

Republican Future Encouraging

No. I have not been kidnapped by aliens or some clandestine Mexican drug mafia that wants Republicans to stay in power so the arms shipments south of the border can continue uninterrupted. Hear me out.

I’m not saying anything many haven’t said recently. The departure of Sarah Palin from Fox News was one of the many recent flares being shot by the Republican establishment to signal that they are taking their party back, gosh darn it! This little Tea Party experiment was a fun overreaction by old white people to the abysmal presidency of W and the ensuing ascendance of a, eeekk!, black man to The White House.

But, seriously. Actual, unadulterated, measurable lunacy can only survive the national political spotlight the same length of time a trashy reality show can hold the nation’s attention. Not long. At first, a stunned moderate and liberal audience watch the “grassroots” movement unfold with a little trepidation, and then a lot, as the ‘Baggers took the 2010 state and national elections to begin systematically suffocating (which is their intention) the government to inefficacy – which, unlike wealth, trickles down until the citizenry begins to feel the sting.

There are some areas where the illumination of truth and reason cannot penetrate the miasma of “Don’t Believe The Liberal Media” and “Marriage is Between 1 Man and 1 Woman” bumper stickers. In these areas, people’s lives can become as painful as Republicans can possibly make it and the electorate will still blame the “liberal” government.

But, for the rest of the country – Republican policy and practice simply became wholly unsupportable. It became mean – a dry remnant of W’s “compassionate conservative” ideals. It was as if the soul of Dick Cheney had been wrenched from his artificial heart and laid bare across the steaming residue left by the undeniable hypocrisy of the Moral Majority and the profits-at-all-costs economic vision of the right wing sugar daddies. Republicanism had morphed into a grotesque mockery of civics found unpalatable by most.

This Republican implosion has been a longtime coming. Since long before Obama’s first election and the foundation of the recent “Tea Party,” the marriage of the unscientific Conservative Christian to Ayn Rand-flavored economic “solutions” (cough, cough) that became the foundation the Republican Party succeeded with it’s incredibly effective TV and radio messaging.

Hee hee. But now we have the internet, bitches. Information is widely available and no longer in the hands of a few media conglomerates who control the messaging. Opinion, like this one, is free and encouraged and accessible. We can join politically online despite being separated by geography.

And so, we have tools, weapons, an arsenal of intelligence and facts and critical thinking and ambition that have shoved the ineffectual and oppressive Republican ideology to the curb. The 2012 election was like a baptism by drone for the Repubs as the whole nation watched Fox News and right wing media and politicians implode on their own balloon of hot air. I almost kinda felt bad for ’em.

Now, they must change or die. And they will adapt. Perhaps not as fast and far as we’d like. But global warming will once more be spoken of as fact. The growing legions of non-believers will show religion its proper place in the public square. The tax-and-spend debate will push and pull throughout eternity, but the right wing will find ways to wrap their tongue around the word “revenue.”

The states will be slow to come along, but they will. Republicans will eventually find themselves on the outs locally as well, cause we gots the internets everywhere, y’all, and people power will snuff that Tea Party batshit out like it was just a rich man’s fart after a long sittin’ at the dinner table.

We women, gays, minorities, AMERICANS are standing up and dragging the yocals into future. The lives of the RWNJs will improve because of our efforts. But they won’t know it, because Fox News won’t tell ’em.

I’m encouraged. And a little hopeful for those little baby Republicans. Welcome to the world of Reason. We’ve missed you.

Liberal Images 5/6/12

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Romney Will Lose. Republicans Want Him to Lose.

Mitt Romney

It’s going to be close. It may even be scary at times. We might be sitting on the edge of our seat, biting our nails and drinking heavily until election day.

But Romney is going to lose. Everyone knows this. The Republicans know this. It was understood at the outset that Obama would win 2012; this is why Repub Rockstars (Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, etc.) are keeping their heads low until 2016.

Even more. They want to lose the presidency. The Right Wing and their leaders raise enormous amounts of cash stoking the old, white people fears that this black liberation theology-loving AFRICAN, illegitimate president in office will turn our wonderful nation into a socialist, despotic autocracy. Republican “adults” know the economy will take significant time to recover and this will be a painful for much of the American electorate.

No matter how many Republicans are in office, the economic buck stops with the president. So, while the Republicans hold the majority of the U.S. House and state legislatures across the land, stonewalling, erasing civil liberties and introducing economically-harmful policy, it will be the President Americans turn to with their ire. Should Romney win, the Republicans will have to face inevitable American pitchforks as the economy continues its hard slog toward 6 percent unemployment. This eventuality is not in their playbook.

Furthermore, Romney is not a winning candidate and Republicans are well-aware of this. Romney has nothing to promise. He has no positive message, no image of a better tomorrow and certainly no new policies that would help “turn the tide.” He’s W. Bush all over again and involved independents do not want to hit the replay button.

His personality is as cardboard, vanilla and shallow as a candidate can get. His lack of empathy almost designates him a functioning sociopath. And, probably worst of all, his blatant willingness to say anything and do anything to win is utterly grotesque, even to the Republicans who will pull the lever in his name come November.

Romney is just not a winner. This is the worst combination of Gore and Kerry without their principles. Even worse, he lives in ever-present comparison to his father and falls far, far short of the memory of a man so many people held in high esteem.

Everyone will say it’ll be a squeaker and it probably will be. But Obama will win. Even with all the rich, corporate donors trying to buy out this great experiment in Democracy called the United States of America.

Let me say, however, this election will still likely be a loser for the American people – even if Obama wins. That’s my next blog.

Liberal Images 5/17/12

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Sometimes I Want the Republicans to Win

Sometimes, selfish devil me just wishes the Republicans would win the whole election and run the government again. Society would become more and more economically polarized, with the poverty class growing exponentially, creating a very unstable nation, replete with rich people cowering behind their fenced-in mansions as throngs of people throw day-old trash about their manicured properties.

Republicans screwing America (making Santorum)

Republicans screwing America (making Santorum) (Photo credit: EN2008)

More and more civil rights would be violated until they’ve run out of “lefty” civil rights to violate and they would start eliminating the civil rights of Republicans clinging to the lower economic echelons and then those RWNJs would get what’s comin’ to ’em because they didn’t stand up and protect the civil rights of those who disagreed with them in the first place.

One unfortunate eventuality is that they might mandate church or turn all educational institutions into religious structures and that would suck huge donkey balls; but even Christians hate church, for the most part, so that would suck for everyone. Again, the RWNJs would be like, “Holy fuck, what did we do? We liked it better when we were losing, but still able to wear tricornered hats and beat our Bibles as a public, psychological masturbation.”

It’d be like Bush all over again, when policy took this country into darker and darker places until the Republicans who voted him began to disown him and his tenure (of course, they did this only after burning The Dixie Chicks at the stake for the same thing). I thought they would have learned from his eight years, but they have actually doubled-down. And they deserve the fate wrought by policies they would like to enact. Eventually, only a very small few would benefit and the leader of this country would look like a grotesque amalgamation between Pat Robertson, Sen. Jeff Sessions, and David Koch.

Then I think of all the people who would suffer irreparable damage in most aspects of their life. And I stop being evil and don’t want the Republicans to win. And I remember what this fight is about. Republican victory would spell a continuing attack on freedom and liberty and further concentration of wealth into the hands of the few. For the sake of everything that is good and holy in the world, we must alight at the ballot-booth (those of us whose voting rights haven’t been restricted) and vote against the Republicans.

Sometimes it’s good to not be evil. I wish Republicans felt that way.

Funny Shit 5/8/12

Cause we need a good laugh (or whiskey IV) after North Carolina today.

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