8/18/2011: Let's create the FAIR AMERICA PLATFORM for politicians to pledge to. Isn't fairness the basis of honor?
I think that the time is right for liberals and conservatives to demand a different standard from their leaders, going outside the reach of corporate rule that is infecting both sides of the aisle. And the cornerstone of this movement should be a push to demand that politicians pledge to support the Fair America Platform.
While many of these concepts fit well within the Democratic party (when not ruled by the DLC, the corporatist wing of the Dems), many of these ideals can appeal to logical, compassionate, and honorable conservatives. And beyond that, most of these concepts are supported by rank and file Republicans as well as Democrats across the nation.
The name Fair America represents a sense of honor and justice that supersedes greed. Coming from an economic populist framework, it will embody reigning in corporate control throughout politics as well. That’s a great place to start. In order to be a viable alternative for Republicans, we need to define the goals as something that appeals to their sense of virtue and fairness. Why fairness? Because rooting against fairness can easily be seen as unAmerican.
In order for the pieces to fall into place for this potential alignment of both Democrats and Republicans, a fracturing of the current GOP is needed. Actual conservatives need to be seen as making a stand against today’s CORPservatives, pointing out the hypocrisy and corporate servitude.
The Fair America Platform will give this new breed of GOP legislators a place to reinvent their party, distancing themselves from a dogmatic past. It will give Democrats a place to put social, economic, and political justice center stage, just what America is clamoring for.
One of the keys is to minimize the GOP hot button issues, since those are always the red flags that Rove/Luntz/the Kochs always lead conservatives around by the nose with. Take them out of the dialog, and there’s room for logic. Here’s how the Fair America Platform would look, based around the concept that fairness gives everybody a chance:
-Create a new “1000 Families” top tax tier at 72% for those making $35 million or more per year.
-End all offshore corporate tax havens and close other corporate loopholes
-Stop allowing capital gains income to be separate from regular income for those making over $800,000 per year.
-Reverse the push towards privatization throughout government which adds a layer of profit to costs levied on tax payers, and also dilutes expertise and efficiency.
-Draw down all Middle Eastern conflicts, cut personnel at overseas bases in friendly countries
-Cut all new weapons programs by 80%
-Restore Social Security’s solvency by raising cap from $106,000 to $135,000 with two more doughnut holes. For those making over $2 million a year, apply the standard rate to annual income between $2 and $2.05 million. For those making $5 million or more, apply the rate to income between $5 and $5.25 million.
-Grant bargaining power for Medicare Part D prescriptions
-End all oil subsidies
-Mandate public funding of ALL national and state office elections, with paper ballots hand counted in each
-Turn back all laws aimed at limiting the ability to vote such as new “voter ID” legislation
-Severely restrict lobbying influence in Washington
Job Growth and Fair Business Practices
-End all tax incentives for sending jobs overseas
-Cap bonuses within companies receiving bailouts
-Create corporate tax rate incentives for returning workforce to America
-Create another stimulus geared solely towards infrastructure, education, and local police and fire services
-Strengthen EPA and all oversight groups
Notice that the platform doesn’t make a point out of marriage equality or other divisive issues. Work can be done towards those goals, but by not putting them front and center we expand our scope. Democratic legislators can still use this ideal of fairness to champion LGBT issues, of course.
Fairness. Honest people can get behind it. What of the above can Republicans find fault with in the context of fairness? If we link our agenda to honesty, integrity, and giving the average Joe a shot in the world, there are tens of millions that this could strike a chord with.
The Fair America Platform doesn’t have to start with bipartisan roots. It has that potential, and I’d like a world where Republicans see its adoption as a sensible alternative to tea party pandering. But if its only impact is to reshape the direction of the Democratic party as a whole, fairness wins.
12/3/2010: Watch how Senator Bernie Sanders puts GOP support of super-wealthy in chilling perspective on YouTube
Bernie Sanders, the independent Senator from Vermont, bundled up all the eye-popping facts about the parabolic growth in wealth of the super rich over the last decade and laid it all out on the Senate floor with all his usual passion. A true statesman, not just a politician, Sanders built the case well. The only conclusion possible is that anybody who supports the desires of the wealthiest 2% of Americans, giving them $700 billion over 10 years with no tangible benefit to the rest of us, is either pegging the meter in both wealth and selfishness or a lemming sociopath Dittohead. See it here:
Without even going through the whole clip so far I was inspired to add the following as a comment on that page.
"Republican denial cannot counteract the sad truths in the figures that Senator Sanders relays. The GOP ONLY CARES for MILLIONAIRES, a group they are often a part of. They unabashedly allow THEIR OWN GREED to SUPERSEDE their own oaths of office, commitment to their constituents, and personal integrity. When they WILLINGLY LIE to misrepresent these truths, Republicans in Congress are basically saying to their followers, 'You're just too dumb to know how badly we're screwing you. Thanks, suckers.'"
Now I'm going to go through that video slowly, pull out all the disturbing stats I can, then incorporate them into a flood of new miniprotesting main sign inscription sets to go up on the home page and the Inscription Suggestions page. If any of them jump out at you more than the rest, please feel free to copy them, enlarge them at Kinko's, and stand on the optimum street corners in you town with a few of your friends. Even though the elections are done, we need to capitalize on this brazenly blatant choice by the GOP to back millionaires while snubbing the unemployed in the same week. There can be no better indicator of their greed and alliances. Show Donny Dittohead those truths curbside through miniprotests.
11/2/2010: How to give conservatives brainlock when they heckle your miniprotests
Yesterday, the day before election day, we had an ace up our sleeve if somebody wanted to get confrontational from the safety of their cars stopped at the light. It had happened before. Last Tuesday while we held our signs harpooning Republicans for sending our nation down this selfish corporatist path, they would shout out, “Boxer sucks!” or “vote conservative!”
How should we handle this moment today, I wondered as our planned 90 minutes of curbside activism began. Then after the first cat call it came to me. The key would be to jump outside these established rolls. And I was wearing my orange t-shirt. They may expect reciprocated abuse, but they would never expect this. Our retort would be, “Go Giants!”
Their force field of hostility would be broken before they knew it, shattered by their own reflexive sporting fellowship. Their instinct would be to respond in kind, shouting back, “Yeah, go Giants!” as they closed in on their first World Series win in San Francisco.
This is where that moment of brainlock would occur. Foe and buddy in consecutive breaths. Which outranks the other? Is anger more satisfying than World Series victory? As they quietly drove away they would be confronted with these truths: the hate is so easy to fling out there in a generalized sense, hating liberals, hating Democrats, hating GOP opponents. But when they suddenly see us as individuals, and like the same things we do passionately, the dichotomy of rolls can’t help but make them aware of the folly of their hate.
So I stood there, waiting for my first opportunity to use my secret weapon. But it never came. Being a considerate, egalitarian fellow, this was a rare feeling in me, actually seeking out confrontation because I knew exactly how to treat it. I was almost disappointed when it never came.
So today, voting day, how do you employ this tactic? Unless you’re around here in Northern California (or New York for the pigskin equivalent) “Go Giants” won’t work. But pick your local football team, or if away from major cities go with the local college team. “Go Wolverines!” or “Go Gamecocks!” will work nearly as well in the appropriate areas. But if the local team isn’t a winner, it may be a harder sell.
It would be hard to match the effectiveness of my plan anywhere but around here, and anytime other than yesterday. Victory was in the air, and 56 years of baseball futility was about to end. I couldn’t have asked for a better scenario for this conservative cranial conundrum.
10/28/10: Tea Party pledges to the United State of Hysteria
Tea Party lunacy has the greatest punch when logic is nowhere to be seen. That's why they seek to create the United State of Hysteria, replacing cognitive thought with flailing, hate-infused rhetoric with less substance than freeze-dried rice cakes. Now Nevada's Sharron Angle chastises the evil ways of social programs that aid "the widow and the child." I guess her point was why let that darned government do the church's work. Maybe if churches spent their time and money helping the poor rather than supporting and promoting social misfits like Angle, perhaps the government wouldn't have to do so much.
But this attack on social services veiled in religious piety is just another ploy to make sure the poor stay that way, and the rich will continue to boost their percentage of power.
Angle presents this position in such a compassionate way, but the actions she yearns for are anything but compassionate. Send Angle and all the Tea Party loonies to universal defeat nationwide. We've had enough of them already.
10/27/10: Cantor, GOP stick with Bush model of "Events Without Dissent"
The coffee shop chaos at an Erik Cantor event where a protestor again is taken to the ground is more proof that Republicans think that in the political arena, they make and enforce all the rules. Cantor, and many other Republican politicians have adopted the Bush model of events without dissent. They treat free speech like an assault, an understandable conclusion coming from the perspective that freedom is not for everybody. Knowing their positions and actions could never stand the test of logical discourse, take-downs and handcuffs are their only defense when clearly words won't do.
10/25/10: Not Voting is Selfish
Withholding your vote for imperfect Dems is just selfish. Smug satisfaction is little reward for letting the sources of your worst fears take power. Any Democrat will be better than any Republican, because we all know where their marching orders come from. And not voting, either for the purpose of holding out for perfection or punishing flawed candidates, is making your world bigger than the one the rest of us have to live in.
10/15/10: Oregon's Robinson Personifies the GOP's Evil
Recently on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC, all of America got to see the living personification of all the evils rampant in the Republican party all rolled into one smug bastard. Maddow tried to interview the Republican vying for Peter DeFazio’s House seat in Oregon’s 4th District, Art Robinson, and was talked over, talked down to, and laughed at.
The laughter was telling, because it showed that Robinson felt that he had “won” the confrontation with the TV host by simply talking over her more loudly, successfully avoiding answering any direct questions, spewing his DeFazio talking points repeatedly, often when Rachel was talking, and by continually posing that he had the moral high ground while Maddow was “only there to smear him.” With his own words, not taken out of context. On his stated positions, taken verbatim from his own website and previous professional writings.
Along with denying global warming and the true scope of AIDS, Robinson has theorized that through the process of “hormesis” radioactive waste can be diluted enough to spread over the ocean, or even over American soil, harmlessly.
And when Maddow had the temerity to interrupt him, asking to clarify an unsubstantiated point on that theory, then Robinson pounced on her, as if nobody would remember the dozen or more times already that he had interrupted or talked over her.
Robinson’s laughing face was so condescending that you could see that facts and reality had no bearing on his self evaluation. It was only the game and how it was played. Indignant denial even when confronted with his own words didn’t phase his arrogant posture, that of a true elitist to whom personal and professional etiquette would be weakness in his both-barrels approach.
So what do we glean from the Republican playbook in the aftermath of this encounter?
-must strive to ignore or deny the facts stridently, since a strong offense wards off any need for an actual defense. And words don’t matter as long as they’re louder than the other guy.
-must talk down to their opponent. The posture of dominance is the only proof needed that their positions are right.
-have nothing to fear from their hypocrisy. It can’t hurt them if they don’t acknowledge it.
-have to avoid actual dialog at all costs. Truth resides there, and Republicans can never win on truth.
-cannot afford to listen to their opponent thoughtfully, as this validates them.
-must repeat their pre-designed talking points at every opportunity, particularly when their opponent is making an effective counterpoint.
-win only on style points, since no non-millionaire would back their actual positions if given the time and inclination to evaluate them based on their own life experience.
-thrive on the notion that their opponent is inferior, regardless of right and wrong.
Robinson showed that for Republicans arrogance is bliss. Contempt is victory. Power has nothing to do with facts. Corporate money is their lifeblood, so they don’t have to court or consider their base.
Today’s Tea Party loonies show no staying power. Logic will catch up to them. This election will be their one and only hurrah. Far more dangerous for the Democrats’ future is the kind of Republican that Robinson has willfully become. If elected they will rule with zero compassion, zero accountability, and zero sense of fair play. They will be the divas of Capitol Hill, answering to none but their giddy corporate masters.
We must stamp out this type of Republican. Send Robinson the strong message in Oregon that your past and even present, can indeed catch up with you. Complete humiliation is required, here, so Oregon, please defeat this scum by 20%.