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When I look at the Tea Party and the irrational Right, I can't help but note that conservative voices who fail to agree with their dogmatic approach are vilified as RINOs or conservative in name only.  Many former GOP members have left their party because they have found themselves less and less welcome as their views and the views of the rest of their party have diverged.

You know...the same thing happens on the Left.  How many open-minded progressives are finding themselves shunted out of the progressive movement by ideologues insisting on every liberal toeing the party line?

I've often found myself confounded by the harsh, strident criticism from the Left for daring to question certain beliefs and positions.  Such stridency and purity reminds me of the never-bending intransigence of the far right wing.  

The question I have to ask myself is can you be a true Liberal and behave in such a dogmatic, strident, insistent manner?  Is that even possible?  Aren't liberals the ones who are supposed to look at all sides of an argument?  Aren't we the ones who have cornered the market on empathy and compassion; in having a broad, nuanced understanding of the human condition?

Perhaps it's just human nature that people will aggressively and violently oppose any challenge to their dearly held beliefs.

But, for me, that is not what being a liberal, a progressive, is all about.  If that means I can no longer be a "member" of the Left, then so be it.  


With all this talk lately about income inequality and efforts around the country from cities and states to the half-hearted Federal proposal on raising the minimum wage, I thought it might be worthwhile to take a look at the conservative alternative to a minimum wage increase.

The Earned Income Tax Credit receives much support from typical conservative pundits whenever they are forced to discuss ways to address income inequality.  The EIC is, of course, the conservative solution; which sets my alarm bells ringing.  The claim, from the right, is that increasing the EIC without increasing the minimum wage is a much better solution to income inequality and directly benefits working Americans without the much touted job losses we're sure to suffer if we dare raise the minimum wage.

A cursory examination of the EIC and who is eligible shows why the EIC alone is hardly the panacea to income inequality the right would have you think it is.

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Via ThinkProgress, Arkansas House votes to end funding of the so-called private option they voted to put in place earlier instead of expanding Medicaid.  

Note that the funding of the private option was expected to save Arkansas around $90 Million a year.  This isn't about costs or budget or less government, this is about forcing 96,000 people to do without health insurance.  Arkansas' government has made it crystal clear they do not serve the people any longer.

This action falls short of genocide only in terms of degree.  I hope the Dems in Arkansas are savvy enough to take advantage of this in 2014 and 2016.


TPM links to an article from Tom Kludt at the Charlotte Observer reporting the firing of Charlotte grocery store worker Dave Swope after a brief encounter with Gov. McCrory.

His crime?  Expressing his displeasure toward the governor.  Way to create those jobs Gov. McCrory!

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Peter Beinart in his 'Liberal' is Good piece for The Atlantic makes the argument that many conservatives self-identify as conservative even though they support both cultural and economic policies more aligned with liberal positions.

While Beinart goes on to discuss the psycho-social underpinnings of why this is so, my interest lies in the statistics underlying his article.  Namely, he cites a 2013 paper by Christopher Claassen, Patrick Tucker, and Steven S. Smith at the Department of Political Science and the Weidenbaum Center of Washington University in St. Louis in which earlier research cited indicates  between 1/3 and 1/2 of conservatives actually are liberals in all but name.

Beinart discusses the reasons for this so I won't go into them here.  You can read his article for his take.

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Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 03:18 PM PST

An Open Letter to the Media

by SoCalSocialist

You guys have got to stop.  That's all there is to it.  No one really trusts you anymore.  I was fortunate enough to grow up during the age of Walter Cronkite when we, the people, turned to our trusted news sources for reliable information about the important issues of the day.

Now, I'll admit, I'm about as far left as you can get on a lot of issues.  Even so, I enjoyed watching William F. Buckley Jr. on PBS.  He and I didn't agree on much, but his arguments were at least rational and didn't pander to the lowest common denominator.  But I don't know what the heck you guys are doing to yourselves these days.  When did you, as a group, decide you were no longer going to have excellence in journalism?  When did you give up on being the best at relating the news, asking the questions, investigating the dark and shadowy corners of government and industry and become ranting, raving shills for advertisers and special interest groups?'ve go to stop if you have any hope of me ever being a consumer of your product again.  These days, and it's happening less and less, I only tune in briefly to see what lunacy is transpiring before turning away in disgust.  

No more of this false balance crap by juxtaposing a lucid, thoughtful pundit with a shrill blowhard intent on spewing talking points that are blatantly false and misleading.  You're giving credibility where it hasn't been earned and it's making you all look like fools.

No more soft soap.  Why you let your guests get away with controlling interviews and feeding you lie after lie while you do nothing but toss up another soft ball, I'll never know.  It makes you look feckless, unprepared and unprofessional.

Can you imagine what William F. Buckley would have done to the likes of Michelle Bachmann, Ted Cruz, or any of the Fox Network's bobbleheads had they the nerve to step on set with him?  

Don't get me wrong, it's not just Fox.  Across the board you guys have become the Junior Varsity cast offs.  And you've done it to yourselves.  I know you need to make a living.  I know you like the perks and the celebrity that come with the job.  You're only human.  I get it.  

But is that really the legacy you want to leave to the country?  To your children?  Can you picture a nation coming to a standstill with collective sadness upon hearing of your passing as they did when Walter Cronkite passed away in 2009?  Don't you think striving to be worthy of that legacy is a better use of your life than being a hack and huckster for any charlatan and flim-flam artist willing to go on television?


"Clearly, if we are going to save the middle class and protect our planet, we need to change the political dynamics of the nation. We can no longer allow the billionaires and their think tanks or the corporate media to set the agenda. We need to educate, organize and mobilize the working families of our country to stand up for their rights. We need to make government work for all the people, not just the 1 percent."  Sanders writes in his column for the Huffington Post.

Within this column, he proposes an agenda for the coming year that includes such things as reining in Citizen United, raising the minimum wage, actual banking/finance reform, creating jobs, safe-guarding Social Security, corralling the out of control surveillance apparatus, and tax reform for corporations and wealthy that use loopholes and legal legerdemain to avoid, in many cases, paying any taxes at all.

My question, the question that keeps me awake at night, the question that causes me to worry endlessly about this country?

When did concern for the citizenry become only the agenda of socialism?  How is it that few, very few, within the Democratic Party, bother to articulate, much less support, these issues?  

How is it that when Warren and Grayson stand up within the Democratic Party to voice their deep and abiding concern, they are lambasted as the far-left wing; out of touch with the mainstream Democrats?

I don't know the answer.

I became a Socialist for a very specific reason: The Democratic Party left me behind.  

They supported Wall Street policy positions, appointed former bankers and hedge fund managers to influential positions, accepted campaign contributions from the very people and institutions whose policies and agendas are antithetical to the welfare of the majority of Americans.  They allowed the national dialogue to be dominated by right wing bombast, put themselves on the defensive in nearly every major policy conflict in the last twenty years.

The Civil Rights Act was not passed by luke warm Democrats sitting back on their heels while the Governor Wallaces of the right controlled the national debate.  Neither was the Voting Rights Act, for that matter.  

How is it that Democrats in the House and Senate are not doing everything in their power to strengthen the right of the people to Unionize?  How is it that when SCOTUS gutted the Voting Rights Act, the Dems failed to introduce legislation the next day to codify and strengthen voting rights across the country?  How is that many, many Dems went along with a PPACA bill that failed to offer a true public option?

Democrats used to fight for their agenda.  Now they only fight against a conservative agenda, and don't even do that very well.  For far too long democrats have waged a war of appeasement with the right.  It hasn't worked.  It won't work.  It can't work.  You cannot negotiate with a cannibal how much of you he can eat.

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