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It appears the the Republicans may have finally over-extended themselves. Their actions over the last few weeks have gone way beyond anything a sane person would regard as civil discourse and interaction. The reception has not been what they may have anticipated. Their overtures to Bibi not only have failed to energize people in the US, they have led to a unforeseen scenario where Netanyahu and Likud may actually lose next week. The election certainly is much closer than was anticipated. The open letter by the infamous 47 was such a break with protocol that even conservative media are referring to them as traitors.

While it there is some poetic justice in seeing the right wingers hoisted on their own petard, it is time to quit the extreme rhetoric. Some here are beginning to sound just like the other side with calls for mass arrests, court martial, and even executions. We are supposed to be the reality based folks. Enough with the over the top rhetoric.

Poll

Should the 47 senators who signed the open letter be prosecuted for treason, sedition or subversion?

41%231 votes
25%144 votes
32%183 votes

| 558 votes | Vote | Results

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Wed Jan 28, 2015 at 06:17 AM PST

The More Things Change ...

by slatsg

Back in the late 1990s I wrote for a small town monthly newspaper. This past weekend my son was reading one of my columns and commented that all I had to do is change a few names and the column could run with very few modifications.

I live in a rural town that votes mostly Republican, but there have been changes over the years, most notably in the 1990s and in the first decade of the new century. I am well known in the community for my leftist leanings and yet was elected to the village council and later was asked to serve as the school superintendent.

Follow me over the fold and see if you agree that the column remains accurate today.

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Fri Nov 07, 2014 at 05:16 PM PST

A Proactive Proposal

by slatsg

During the Civil War, General Grant is alleged to have said regarding General Lee, "Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do. Some of you always seem to think he is suddenly going to turn a double somersault, and land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command, and try to think what are we going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do."

Perhaps the Democratic Party needs to take Grant's advice and start thinking about what they are going to do for themselves instead of worrying about what the Republicans are going to do.
Take for example the issue of voter suppression. Back in the 1980s, Paul Weyrich presented the Republican viewpoint on voting and democracy.

"I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."
Republicans don't want more people to vote.  It is not in their interest. Their strategy has been to suppress the vote as much as possible. With control of many state governments and with the assistance of the Supreme Court they have passed laws making it more difficult to vote.

Now we can inveigh against the injustice all we want. The Republicans are not going to change their minds. In fact I will wager that when they hear the complaints, rather than feeling ashamed, they feel smug and proud.

So what do we do? Please follow me over the fold.

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Thu Nov 06, 2014 at 10:41 PM PST

A Modest Proposal

by slatsg

A famous quote from Paul Weyrich gives the Republican attitude on voting and democracy.

"I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."
Republicans don't want more people to vote.  It is not in their interest. Their strategy has been to suppress the vote as much as possible. With control of many state governments and with the assistance of the Supreme Court they have passed laws making it more difficult to vote.  

Now we can inveigh against the injustice all we want. The Republicans are not going to change their minds. In fact I will wager that when they hear the complaints, rather than feeling ashamed, they feel smug and proud.

So what do we do? Please follow me over the fold.

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Let me state right up front that I agree with those who believe that the Democrats continued embrace of neo-liberal domestic policies and neo-conservative foreign policies are contributing to their "shellacking" at the polls. They seriously need to abandon the third way DLC nonsense. But that's another diary for another day.

For this diary, let us assume that one agrees with the policies pursued by the President and the party leadership. Let's assume, for instance, that the ACA was the best we could have gotten in the area of health care and insurance reform. (I don't agree but let us assume that for the sake of argument.) Despite it's flaws, there are some good features in the ACA. For instance, one can no longer be turned down because of pre-existing conditions.

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Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 09:16 AM PDT

Ken Langone vs. Pope Francis

by slatsg

You remember Ken Langone, the founder of Home Depot, who compared those who spoke of income inequality to Nazis. (To be fair he also went Godwin on Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.)

Langone is back in the news. He has threatened to withhold his charitable giving to the Catholic Church unless Pope Francis backs away from the criticism of capitalism. He also doesn't appreciate the Pope speaking about income inequality. Perhaps the pontiff us a closet Nazi.

Billionaire Ken whined to New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan and suggested that he might withhold contributions for the restoration of St. Patrick's Cathedral. The good Cardinal assured Langone that the Pope loves rich people too.

It is rather apparent that people such as Langone have no allegiance to anything but themselves and their wealth. They were "good Catholics" and all gung-ho for John Paul II and Benedict, but when there is a criticism of capitalism, their faith appears to waver.

Similarly, even though American capitalists are US citizens, and even though the US government has taken action countless times to protect their corporate interests, when the fat cats think taxes are too high, they move their headquarters to other countries. And even though working class kids have died in military actions to defend their wealth, they have no problem outsourcing their jobs overseas. So much for loyalty to one's country.

It will be interesting to see if the Pope will tone down his rhetoric to placate these corporate gangsters.

Discuss

Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 07:17 PM PDT

I Love Beer and Ice Cream

by slatsg

Yes!

I love beer ... and ice cream ... a lot.

And I don't go for the low fat ice cream. I want my ice cream to be crammed with tasty ingredients. There isn't a Ben & Jerry's flavor that I don't enjoy. The same with beer. No lite stuff for me. I want a beer that's a meal by itself. The microbrew explosion has been a boon for me.

Eating delicious ice cream and drinking a robust brew are delightful and pleasurable experiences. I make a conscious choice to eat ice cream and drink beer even though they are not necessarily the most healthy foods for me. My weight yo-yos constantly. Up in the winter and down during the cycling season in summer.  30 pound swings are not good. And yet I continue to eat my ice cream and drink my beer.

And if my blood pressure goes up there is a possibility that I might need to take a medication to bring it under control. So far it hasn't been necessary, but there could come a time when it might become more difficult to lose weight and I might need to take the medication so that I can continue to enjoy my beer and ice cream.

You may ask why I don't stop with these unhealthy choices. The simple answer: I don't want to. These are simple pleasures that make my life more enjoyable.

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Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 04:36 PM PDT

My Retirement Diary - A Year Later

by slatsg

A year ago this week, I retired after 42 years in education. I wrote a diary that I didn't publish. It was an emotional and frustrating time and I thought my judgement might be clouded. I decided to wait a year and see if the words still resonated.

They do.

Below is the diary from July 2, 2013

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Wed May 28, 2014 at 06:46 PM PDT

Maya Angelou with Branford Marsalis

by slatsg

When I heard of the death of Maya Angelou today, I thought of the track from Branford Marsalis' 1994 album, Buckshot LeFonque. Ms. Angelou reads her poem, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings", with Marsalis' band providing the background music and vocals. It remains a favorite of mine and I offer it as a tribute to America's poet laureate.

Thanks to JoanMar who instructed me on how to imbed this video.

Discuss

Rand Paul will not be President. He will not receive the Republican nomination. Though the Tea baggers create a lot of noise and have been somewhat successful on the local level, they were in essence created by the plutocracy. They've been convenient for the Koch brothers and their allies in creating issues for the President, but there is no way that the oligarchs are going to relinquish control of the Republican Party.

This does not mean that the Democrats are home free in 2016. I do not whether or not Hillary Clinton has a lock on the Democratic nomination. I hope not. I do know that she doesn't have a lock on the Presidency.

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On the eve of the opening of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, especially in light of the persecution of the LGBT population in Russia, it seemed appropriate to recall the courageous actions taken by Olympic athletes back in 1968 during the Olympic Games in Mexico City.

1968 was a year of protest, strife, revolution and tragedy across the world. It witnessed uprisings in the Western European countries of France, Germany and Italy, demonstrations in Spain against the dictator Francisco Franco, and the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia.

In the US, the civil rights and anti-war demonstrations were reaching a crescendo. Anti-war candidate Gene McCarthy challenged the incumbent President and when Robert Kennedy entered the presidential race, Lyndon Johnson chose not to run for another term. Kennedy seemed to galvanize working people across racial and ethnic lines in a way that hasn't occurred since. The assassinations of MLK and RFK, and the shameful conduct of the Democratic Party during their convention left many people disillusioned. The mainstream Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey actually allowed Nixon to emerge as the anti-war candidate and win the Presidency.

The 1968 Olympics did not escape the protest or turmoil. The racist regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia, faced with a threatened boycott led by African nations, were disinvited from the games. Then less than two weeks before the opening ceremonies, protests by Mexican students were violently put down at the "Tlatelolco massacre". Hundreds of students and workers were murdered by the Mexican authorities who hoped to eliminate any possibility of disruptions during the games. The massacre was covered up by the Mexican government, the US State Department (“The disturbances in Mexico City affected only a small part of the population and order is now restored.”) and the compliant media; and they along with the IOC hoped that the games would continue without further controversy.

Tommie Smith and John Carlos had other plans.

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Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 09:12 AM PST

Thank you, Mr President ... I guess.

by slatsg

President Obama's Race to the Top education initiative has not exactly been an improvement over his predecessor's No Child Left Behind; and despite the fact that the President has been supported by teachers and their organizations, he has seldom had our backs. So I was pleased to note a couple of positives in the President's State of the Union address, though I don't know if the President or Arne Duncan would necessarily agree with my viewpoint.

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