Tag Archives: republicans

The President. Not My President.

Let me make it clear right now that this is not going to be some post to analyze who deserves the blame for the events of the 8th. As far as I’m concerned, there’s more than enough to go around.

Enough for Republicans, who sold their morals for political expediency. Enough for Democrats, whose back door dealings resulted in them trying to shove a detestable candidate down our throats and whose arrogance made them think that we would just take it. Enough for the public at large, who swallowed fear and prejudice in an attempt to resurrect a past that never existed.

This isn’t about that.

This is about personal vindication.

For whatever may or may not come, I want to go on the record now in stating that I am not OK with this.

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Retrieved from KnowYourMeme.com, originally created by KC Green and posted to The Nib. Fair use.

Make no mistake-

Trump Is Still A Monster

He was a monster before the election and he’s a monster now. Nothing has changed.

I say this, of course, because the savagely defeated Democrats are struggling for their footing. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has stated “If he’s serious, we’ll work with him,” a sentiment echoed by liberal darling Elizabeth Warren. Former candidate Hilary Clinton has declared that Trump “must have a chance to lead.

No, we ****ing don’t.

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An Open Letter To The First Lady

Mrs. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC, 20500

Mrs. Obama,

It was a few weeks ago that I received an e-mail from a progressive group trying to whip up support for Hillary Clinton. Specifically, the text of the message read as follows:

BREAKING: New poll shows ONE-THIRD of voters ages 18-29 plan to vote for a third-party candidate

These “protestvotes will put Trump in the White House!

If you agree with Michelle and Bernie that we CANNOT afford to throw away our vote as a “protest” and allow Donald Trump to become the next President, please sign your name today:

This e-mail focused heavily on a quote you made:

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Image retrieved via correspondence sent by Progressive Turnout Project, fair use.

In the days that followed, Mrs. Obama, I’ve had a chance to consider your statement. And after much and truly earnest contemplation, I can only arrive at one single, solitary conclusion:

**** you. Continue reading

47 Traitors – A Torrid Tale of Tumidity

Sounds like the title of a really good or really awful thriller, doesn’t it?

Let me bring you up to speed on what happened.

With a hotly contested election still raging in Israel, embattled prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to make an impromptu visit to US Congress, in a desperate bid to show his voters that he can dictate US foreign policy better than his rivals can.

Which, in his defense, is probably true.

After (yet another) fear-mongering speech on the dangers of a nuclear Iran, Netanyahu received the kind of tearful, thunderous applause that’d normally be reserved by preteen girls for their favorite boy band.

Like this, but so much more so…

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Culture War Correspondence: Russia and the Ukraine

GORDON: The Culture “War” has more often than not been used as a metaphor, but every once in a while (and with increasing occurrence) battles of the heart and mind start to include blood and iron as well.

Today we’re going to be discussing the ongoing Crisis in the Ukraine, both in regards to its roots and its implications in our society as a whole.

EVAN: I’m going to be one hundred percent honest with you, Gordon, and with all of our readers, I’m primarily going to be viewing a lot of Russia’s actions, and the responses of the other world powers, almost purely as if this were all a game of Sid Meier’s Civilization V.

putinthegreat

Consequently, I can only imagine Putin like this.

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Republicans, Marriage Equality, and Inevitable Social Change

Freedom to Marry has set up the Win More States Fund with the goal of influencing legislation in Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Washington. Interestingly, the fund’s largest donors so far have been a group of major donors to the Republican party.

Freedom to Marry is one of the many organizations in the US that support and fight for the legalization of same-sex marriage

And this isn’t just excitement over a few novel Republicans donating insubstantial amounts; the group collectively donated $1.5 million, which is half of the fund’s stated goal. Ken Mehlman, the former chair of the RNC (Republican National Committee) (I’ve heard that they’re a big deal). The group of donors, including Mehlman, has founded a Super PAC (American Unity), which defines itself as a PAC that “supports GOP political leaders committed to advancing the rights of gay and lesbian Americans”. The PAC’s first donation was $1 million from Paul Singer, hedge fund CEO and major donor to the GOP.

This shows quite the shift, especially compared to popular (if slightly under-informed) consensus about party alignment on the gay marriage debate.
Freedom to Marry quotes Mehlman talking about his decision to donate:

“Supporting the right of adults to marry the person that they love is consistent with Republican and conservative principles. A party that ignores reality and demographic change is a party that loses a lot of elections and becomes less relevant.”

Freedom to Marry’s Win More States Fund targets Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Washington State

There were a lot of predictions that opposing gay marriage would just cease to be a respected opinion in the US, and it seems that that’s what’s happening now. Mehlmen’s statement is practical – he does say that the position “is consistent with Republican and conservative principles,” but this issue would not be being addressed if not for the huge social movement over the past few decades. That IS sort of how democracy is supposed to work – but I think that we will always hear more people saying things like “Those people have to change in order to survive politically” than things like “They can take the job and shove it … I’m trying to do the right thing.”

But that’s how things work, I guess. People have a tendency to distrust things that are different and strange, and so social change with respect to accepting and adapting to differences usually has more to do with social pressure (and shame) than with lots of miraculously-timed personal insights. The fact that our opinions and actions are inseparably intertwined with the popular sentiment is not news. And while political moves responding to trendy or controversial social issues might be occasionally disingenuous, there’s no arguing that they can instigate actual change.

Social Service and the 2012 Election

I was sitting at a meeting reviewing cases of indicted abusers – I intern at a social services office near my college, in the second poorest county in New York – and one case involved a man who had served a few months’ probation for abuse and then, upon release, committed a horridly violent act against the same victim. “We failed this kid,” an officer at the meeting said of the victim.

I like working in social services because it simultaneously disenchants and inspires me in regards to the mechanisms of helping people. I work in an office that gives legal and practical assistance to domestic violence victims, houses a women’s shelter, and runs a food pantry.

Many of our clients tell us that they don’t know what they would do without us, that we were their last chance, etc. After these cases, there is a sense that our tax dollars are being put to good use, as it were – that the social service is doing what a social service is supposed to do. But some clients aren’t as easily rewarding. Some are demanding and abrasive; their accounts of incidences don’t match police reports and they tell scattered and narcissistic stories, the verity of which crumble when anyone asks them to repeat a statement. We get people in our office who are clearly victims, but we also get the conniving, the liars, and people who file abuse complaints just to be vindictive. Our services are alternately treasured and taken advantage of.

Whatever the makeup of social service is, it is definitely not black and white; working with the logistics of public service enforces the fact that there are no clear cut cases, and that every policy is going to, at some point, meet an exception of the rule. Sometimes these exceptions are people; sometimes they are failed by the system. Sometimes (oftentimes) people seek to suck as many resources out of the public sphere as they are legally allotted. A general sense of entitlement pervades the population, which often means that public resources are given out at a competitive, first-come-first-serve basis.

But does the fact that the system is occasionally cheated discount the help it provides others? This is a question that must be asked in regards to every public service.

Charity is not so simple as shelling out money to the poor – though money helps, the uncomfortable truth is that anyone (of any class) who receives money will often not use it to their long term benefit or to that of society. The other danger of charity is the possibility of using monetary donation to excuse ourselves from any personal discomfort or investment. If we consider money the thing that solves the problem (and, believe me, it does help), we can ignore the ugly logistics of how and when and why to distribute it.

This is why any candidate who proposes “simple” tax plans (Herman Cainn, Rick Perry) ends up looking kind of foolish. Perry recently called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” and called for the privatization of the whole thing. While basically everyone says that Social Security is pretty screwed up, much of Perry’s criticism of SS seems to be driven by a fad-like propensity for drastic calls for smaller Federal government, and the implications of such a trend on social services is worrisome.

Ron Paul, on the other hand, does have the advantage of actually sticking to his guns on the issues, it seems – but I can’t believe that his defense of less government in regard to social issues – that “increasing federal funding leaves fewer resources available for the voluntary provision of social services” – is practical at all. Calls for smaller federal government often cite the support of the power of state governments instead, but the basic philosophy seems like it would call for less state governments as well as federal.

Policy change is what is really effective. The problem is that there is no one policy change that will fix everything; social programs need to be constantly restructured to adapt to a changing society. This makes policy changes less flashy and more complicated than large donations or huge influxes of funding, and so they receive less public and political attention than they should. The logistics of helping people can be terribly complicated, and a perfect policy will never be implemented, but public assistance is still a noble, if not a glamorous, necessity for society.

The Debt Ceiling: A Summary for People Who Don’t Know What The Debt Ceiling Is

So if you live in or have heard of the United States then you’ve probably heard lots of people talking about the whole debt ceiling deal, and if you’re the average internet peruser you probably have no idea what they’re talking about most of the time. Honestly, neither do I. So I’ve spent the last while skimming only the best Wikipedia articles, clicking on every relevant link on the New York Times website, and harrassing my one (1) political-science-inclined friend to get a very general idea of what all is going on – I call it The Grossly Simplified and Possibly Only Pseudo-Accurate Debt Ceiling for English Majors: A Love Story.source: www.sodahead.com

BackgroundDebt is accrued, kind of obviously, when the government spends more than its revenue.  In order to keep funding public programs and paying gov’t salaries, etc., Congress basically sells debt to people, and according to somewhere in the Constitution, Congress is the only thing that can borrow money on the America’s credit. So back in the day, like founding-of-the-US-through-the-early-20th-century-day, Congress had to individually approve every time it borrowed money.  During WWI, we were borrowing so much money on credit (i.e., selling debt to people and countries) that Congress decided to kind of streamline the process and just say, “eh, it’s all approved – just don’t go over . . . let’s say 11.5 billion dollars” [not adjusted for inflation].  Since then, each time the US debt was approaching the debt ceiling limit, congress would raise the limit – which has happened like 76-78 times, depending on who you ask.

And so the current debt ceiling (it’s like 14 trillion and something) was “reached” sometime in March, and the government can’t borrow any more money – so we’ve just been paying the interest on our loans. But we’re going to run out of money to pay that interest pretty soon, about August 3, is what’s been estimated, so we either have to raise the debt ceiling or default on our loans, which is basically saying “uh, hey folks, remember when we said we would pay you back? Well, we can’t. Don’t know what you wanna do about that.”

People argue about what would happen if we defaulted. Some say that the world economy would, if not completely collapse, definitely develop a very nasty limp. Others say that it wouldn’t be all that bad for reasons I don’t quite understand. Some people say that China (which owns more than half of all our foreign-held debt) will come over and shake us upside down so our lunch money falls out of our pockets. Rush Limbaugh says that Obama chose August 2nd as the deadline because it’s the day before Ramadan.

source: blog.cunysustainablecities.org

Since 1962 Congress has raised the debt ceiling 72 times

So what’s different now from all those other times that the debt ceiling was raised, as far as I can tell, is that Republicans, who hold the majority of the house of representatives, think that they can use the urgency of the situation to get the Dems and the White House to agree to a budget that they wouldn’t normally approve.  This is coupled with the fact that there is a bigger representation of the Tea Party, especially among junior representatives, than there has been before, and many of those junior representatives campaigned on promises to not raise taxes or do anything that looks or smells remotely like raising taxes ever in their lives. There are two ways to reduce deficit: reduce spending and raise taxes. The Republicans are pushing budgets that reduce spending but don’t increase taxes (or even just let the Bush tax cuts expire, or reform corporate tax laws that allow corporations to take loopholes and get out of paying taxes at all). This makes this difficult for everyone to get along.

So that’s the summary of what’s sort of going on. As the date draws nearer, things get sketchier – like, right now, it’d be impossible for anyone to write up a comprehensive budget by then. There was even talk of the Republicans just making a decision to not raise the ceiling, which the president can then veto, just so they can still say they voted against it. The closer we get to August 3, the hairier and more confusing things get. But that’s an attempt at a summary of the context of the whole issue.