Last year, there was a big flap over this racist guy who didn’t want to pay the taxes he owed for using public land to graze his cattle. It turned into a massive battle about the right to bear arms as dozens of members of rather heavily armed militias descended on his ranch to protect him from the Bureau of Land Management, that oppressive occupying force that politely asked him for twenty years to pay the fees that everybody else was paying according to the (completely constitutional) law that had been passed ages ago.
It was a big deal. The militias were ready to stand up for his rights no matter what, and they had the (completely constitutional) heavy weaponry to back up their words with action. And they won! The BLM wound up backing down in the face of almost a thousand armed and angry freedom fighters. It must have been a proud moment for the libertarians to finally have a chance to prove that guns could be used to fight government heavy handedness, although admittedly a battle over letting a guy use public resources without contributing to the public good and following constitutional legislation may not have been the kind of flashpoint issue that the nation could rally around. But as one of the militia members said, "If we don’t show up everywhere, there is no reason to show up anywhere."
The thrilling conclusion after the fold....
Cross-posted at The Huffington Post
You're going to read a lot of these today. I believe it's actually in the blogger manual, we're required to comment. So here goes:
On this date in 2001, I skipped math class and got away with it.
Ok, ok. Also on this date, I watched 19 religious fundamentalists do heart-breaking damage to the United States, then spent the next several years watching the United States government do everything in its power to make things much worse than they had to be.
There will never be a time when we will have a completely physically secure nation. There will never be a time when we will have finally killed the last terrorist. There will never be a time when we are perfectly safe.
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As I've become more involved in political activism over the past few years (prompted in no small part by the community here), I've found myself looking for ever more ways to play a part and help make a difference.
This year, I'm looking to take that another step further, and I'm working with a couple of local progressive candidates to help set up and manage both a community organization and fundraising PACs.
Trouble is, I've never done that before.
Cast your memory back to a not-so-distant time. Across the blogosphere, across the diaries, even splashed across the front page of this very site, the Progressive movement was united - single payer had been abandoned, but the public option was our line in the sand. This far, and no farther.
I was proud, and yet at the same time humbled, to be a part of that. At last, it seemed, we had our act together. Coupled with genuine representation, it felt like this time, finally, our nation could take its rightful place once again as one of the "good guys." And I worked and fought to push it along, as did so many of you. And we scored our victories, and we inched the ball leftward, day by day and phone call by phone call. This was going to be it.
As it turns out, a line in the sand only lasts until the tide comes in.
So that's that.
Decades of build up, years of campaigning, months of hard-slogging volunteer work, and who knows how much money spent by us regular people who can least afford it to counteract untold millions from health insurance companies (and where are they getting all this extra money, anyway? Isn't there some, oh, I don't know, health care they could be providing?), and when push comes to shove, the Democrats - with solid majorities in literally every area - completely drop the ball. Again.
UPDATE Looks like there is already a great diary on this; my apologies for the duplication. Please find your way over to Wordie's diary here: http://www.dailykos.com/...
Obviously, the best way to beat Stupak is to get it removed in conference or otherwise stricken from the bill entirely. But you know Congress. HCR IS going to pass, in one form or another. So let's assume worst case scenario - HCR passes, Stupak stays in. Then what?
I'm reading over the text of the Stupak Amendment, and trying to game out different work arounds to beat it. You guys are good at this sort of thing, so I figured I'd post it up here and ask for a hand.
Here's the text of the amendment: http://documents.nytimes.com/...
Possible workaround strategies below the fold... please contribute!
The Age of Vaccines
In the early '60s, there were approximately 450,000 measles cases and an average of 450 measles-associated deaths reported each year in the United States  . The disease had been a killer for centuries, and at its peak an estimated 3-4 million persons in the United States were infected each year, of whom 400-500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and another 1,000 developed chronic disability from measles encephalitis.  Despite its ubiquity, measles was nothing to sneeze at.
Last time I wrote in this space, I posted an article called "Why Do Conservatives Hate America?" As it turns out, polemic is not my strong suit. But the flaw was not necessarily in the premise.
When posing the question of whether or not conservatives "hate America," getting past the obvious irony, the answer (with a few notable exceptions) is fairly clearly "no." A better question, then - is conservatism good for America?
And here, the answer depends largely on what you mean by conservativism - and what you mean by "good for America."
The news that Rio has been chosen to host the 2016 Olympics, while disappointing for American patriots, could hardly be considered unexpected. No South American city has ever hosted the international competition; by contrast, the United States hosted the Summer Olympics as recently as 1996, in Atlanta. Chicago and the United States made one of the strongest bids our nation has ever presented, but as John McCain well knows, it's hard to stand in the way of history being made.
Of course, John McCain also knows all too well that no matter how noble the cause, there are people willing to cheapen it for political gain. In case you missed the, er, "controversy," Barack Obama - who, as you may be aware, is the President of the United States, and is consequently tasked with representing our nation to the world - took it upon himself to do just that, and represent our bid before the IOC to bring the Olympics back to the United States. In other words, we have the duly elected leader of the United States coupling with representatives from the third largest city in the United States seeking to bring a massive infusion of prestige, capital, and tourism into... the United States. Who could be against that?
Unless you've been living in cave for the past few months - to be fair, not entirely unreasonable these days - you've probably noticed the intense battle for health care reform currently sweeping the nation. While there are a great many aspects to the proposed reform, it's impossible to get around the fact that the flashpoint has been the so-called "public option." A public option - a non-profit insurance option with lower overhead and administration costs provided by the government with a startling lack of CEO compensation bonuses - is expected to drive up quality and drive down costs, and is consequently popular among doctors, academics, teachers, students, parents, the AARP, unions, business leaders, and everybody who isn't a Republican or a pharmaceutical lobbyist. So, obviously, it's causing a massive fight.
Horseheads, New York, August 31st - As I approached the latest town hall meeting in a divisive Congressional recess, I expected to face another divided crowd of thoroughly made-up minds spoiling for a fight with the well-versed and independant-minded Congressman Massa - complete with signs, shouts, sarcasm, and shaken faith in humanity.
Consider my faith restored.