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Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 04:37 PM PDT

The Rape-ublican Platform

by rhetoricus

It's time to stick them with this label and not to let up. They never gave up calling us the DemocRAT party. They need their platform name to remind everybody, every day, including GOP women, what value they place on women's bodies, their safety, their integrity, and their lives. These rape-enablers are not getting rid of Todd Akin. Nope, they're doubling down with the thermonuclear idiocy that is Rep. Steve King.

They always double down on the crazy because it moves the Overton Window. Now we're no longer talking about abortion on demand, which was once the law of the land, but we're having to fight for it in cases of rape, for the love of Christ.

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If your local Occupy is anything like ours, it’s been challenged by harsh weather, police harassment, city ordinances, liberal armchair quarterbacks, endless right-wing attacks in the local paper, high turnover, and unintentional but sometimes overwhelming behavioral disruption surrounding the most ignored and under-served of the 99%.

If your Occupation is anything like ours, your General Assemblies have struggled to maintain focus and order amid inexperienced communicators, too many fires to put out, too many differing viewpoints, and distractions stemming from infiltration, and the ravages of addiction and poor impulse control. A week ago, we thought we were going to implode, that our own Occupation was going to tear itself apart from within.

Right when we were thinking of hanging it up, we made a desperate move and called for help. We reached high—we appealed directly to the creator of the Formal (Values-Based) Consensus model upon which most Occupation processes are based. We asked for him to come out to the left coast from Baltimore and personally coach us in consensus-based strategies in dealing with the problems plaguing our Occupation and our GA. And by God, he did. In a couple of days, our GA’s became productive, our mission and values grew tight, and everyone had new hope. We have a sharp new set of skills, and a much deeper understanding of Values Based Consensus process, thanks to its founder.

His name is CT Lawrence Butler. He also is the co-originator of Food Not Bombs.

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Our good friend Plutocracy Files has suggested that the bloggers, academics, and activists who spend a lot of time wonking it up and focused on communications should help the Wall Street protesters with some messaging.

Well here goes. The one message that will carry ALL the rest is:

Get. The Money. OUT. Of Politics.
It's simple. It's understandable. And it gets at the heart of everything.

A democracy for sale has been at the root of all our tribulation. It's the REASON people have been thrown out of their homes, cheated out of fair pay, forced to watch their jobs go to Mexico and China, to clean up Big Oil's pollution, to bail out the banksters and send their kids to die so that corporate thugs can expand their empire.

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Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 01:30 AM PDT

Yahoo Neighbors & Their Damned Guns

by rhetoricus

(Why do I feel like shit like this doesn't happen in civilized, non-Glenn-Beckian countries, because they actually have sane gun laws?)

So I'm all happy and exhausted from a week at Burning Man, and still on the playa in the middle of the Nevada desert in my little rig. Thanks to the technical genius of resident Burner hacktivists, we can pick up email, and tonight before sacking out, I noticed a rare frantic note from my sweetie in my inbox (sweetie isn't really an emailer). My partner is apparently nursing a badly hurt neck and leg, following an incident in which our neighbors had been shooting their guns way too near. Again. Now my desert high from the Burn is gone and I am pissed.

What I'm wondering is what can be done about these yahoos, if anything.

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There is currently a diary on the wreck list mocking Georgia for voting for a "Tough on Aliens" local regime that shipped out the migrant workers, and now Georgia farmers are faced with worker shortages. The diary claims that the farmers "got what they deserved." I'm not so sure.

The diarist is right that you can't predicate an economy on cheap labor, remove the labor, and expect the gap to be filled-in smoothly. But I heartily doubt that farmers who rely on migrant labor are the ones who voted in the leadership that sent the labor away.

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Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 12:21 PM PDT

M.K. Gandhi on Cowardice

by rhetoricus

"I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence... I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor."--MK Gandhi

In offering this quote, I am not advocating violence. I am pointing out that even Gandhi, the modern Prince of Peace, found violence superior to "compromise" that amounts to abject capitulation.

In Obama's tactics right now, we have two things that Gandhi utterly disdained: 1) the willingness to accept long-term damage and degradation in return for short-term relief 2) the willingness to abandon core principles to avoid a painful confrontation.

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Cesar Chavez, remembered today, was one of the great nonviolent champions of human dignity and worker justice across borders.

The bulk of his work and service came before collapse of the USSR and the explosion of the global “free market,” but he foresaw in the travesty of farmworker exploitation the great harm that the unregulated movement of labor and capital would create, in the absence of strong global standards of justice for workers.

Chavez saw that until solidarity movements achieve regional and international justice, the trafficking of labor and capital across borders would create such job scarcity and degrading labor conditions that workers of different nations would be set against each other, and the common people would be robbed to enrich the already-wealthy: “Who gets the risks? The risks are given to the consumer, the unsuspecting consumer and the poor work force. And who gets the benefits? The benefits are only for the corporations, for the money makers.”

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Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 11:13 PM PST

They Aren't Afraid of Us

by rhetoricus

As uplifting as "We lost the battle, but we are winning (WINNING!) the war" sounds, the grim truth is that Walker and his band of lackeys are not afraid of us. Not even a teensy weensy little bit, are they afraid.

These are made men. Like all Republican tools, they have no place to fail but up.

They aren't afraid of bad press. They own the damn press. They aren't afraid of negative polling. They'll handle that with new ways to suppress the vote. Recall--if it works--may even be a Palin-style relief for them, because governing is hard work. Walker has earned himself a permanent seat on FOX News, and the Kochs will be powdering his nose all the way to a presidential run.

This is the problem, of course, when all political leaders have to fear is falling into the luxurious arms of their corporate handlers.

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For some reason, small business associations too often still spout Sam Walton propaganda. As though small business and big, transnational corporations are on the same team, while workers, environmentalists, and consumer advocates are our opponents.

This is swill. We don't believe in the "worker vs. business" model. We know that demand
stimulates business and jobs, and only decently-paid workers generate demand.

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What is most troubling is that the "white privilege" diaries popping up are doing so in the context of the left (including the Congressional Black Caucus, btw) virulently speaking out against the President's latest tax compromise. (Personally, I think he did what he sincerely thought was best for the most vulnerable people, given a rancid set of choices.)

The subtext, of course, is the insinuation that anyone having a policy difference with Obama, and speaking up about it, is somehow a racist, or is operating out of racist inclinations.

This is what has people so angry.

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Call me desperate. Call me a hanger-on. Call me a starry-eyed believer in fairy dust and unicorns.

But there is a strategy that may be at work in the apparent "caving" on the Bush tax cuts.

Here's how it goes, as far as I understand it. (And please correct me if I'm wrong about how this all works.)

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Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 09:16 PM PST

"Free Market Demands Foreign Labor"

by rhetoricus

Really, Lawrence O'Donnell? Really?

MSNBC just hosted an interesting forum on immigration and the law, held at the University of San Diego.

Listening to the panel that Lawrence O'Donnell has convened, I have some questions, because I heard a number of specious claims that weren't challenged.

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