Welcome to the Midnight Oil. This diary is open for discussion from a few minutes after midnight through a few minute before (maybe two days later, maybe three). The intro remains the same, but the body is always changing.
Populist movements don't build themselves, they grow from a process of people learning how to support a series of populist campaigns in a populist way, rather than as passive consumers of corporate political marketing campaigns.
It doesn't matter what the "horse race" outcome of the campaign is, if we fight the campaign. Fighting it, we learn how to fight. Learning how to fight political battles, we become citizens again. Becoming citizens again, we reclaim the Republic that lies dormant beneath the bread and circuses of modern American society.
Picture Credit: David Leeson (#8)
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Daily Diary Roll
Added through the day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Darkness Falls by: OPOL
A primary inspiration for tonight's Midnight Thought
How to Be a Climate Hero by Audrey Schulman (h/t LaEscapee)
Vegetables of Mass Destruction - Let's Start Ending Hunger Locally by Hardhat Democrat
(h/t Hardhat Democrat)
Grangemouth strike: Anglo Disease in action? by Jerome a Paris (European Tribune)
The UK and US have pursued one economic strategy ... put financial markets in charge of deciding how the economy should be organized ... this is an example of how it can go awry
Arrogant power: Rome and the US by Ted Welch (European Tribune)
OH-16: John Boccieri for Congress (blog launch, h/t GARoach)
Seed Banking by Adrienne Shelton (h/t LaEscapee)
McCain's gas tax holiday: Bravo! by Jerome a Paris (European Tribune)
High Tech Agriculture Has Problems by jgoodman
First time diarist, go drop some comments
Richard Hobbs for Santa Clara County Supervisor, Santa Clara CA (campaign site)
this is how we build our bench
EENR for Progress: Americans are Dying by sarahlane (EENR)
Speaking of Bill O'Niell and Doc Vic Wulsin, our two strong friends of UHC ...
Ed Fallon, Actual Democratic Primary Challenger for the nomination in IA-03 (campaign site)
The Generals are where we build Majorities ...
... the Primaries are we we build backbones Actblue
Elesha Gayman, Democratic State Legislator in Iowa, in her first big for re-election (campaign site)
Don't be confused by the thank you message on the site from her winning campaign last time ... the new campaign is getting rolling ...
Roiling through the blogosphere in a slow boil is the fact that the Administration has been caught red-handed engaged in the crime of the precise kind of torture that we tried and convicted Japanese for after WWII ... and for the mess media, the oligopress, its not really any big deal.
And of course it wouldn't be. Avoiding absolutes of right and wrong is precisely what the "he said / she said" style of journalism is supposed to avoid. And there cannot be anything more absolute than the question of whether you will engage in torture ... no ends ever justify means that do not work, so torture is not only an evil, but an evil that can never be justified on the basis of preventing any greater evil.
The abomination that is the Bush Residency of the White House is so deep and profound, it seems that I grasp for words to describe it, and come up empty. I turn to Yeats:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
And I am left with a question: what can we do about it?
The question of what I can do about it briefly flits into my mind, but a moment's reflection and it is gone. I, alone, can do nothing.
What can we do about it?
This is one reason to work to build a progressive populist movement. For surely, if we do not build a progressive populist movement, then reactionaries will move into the void and build a reactionary populist movement.
Now, goodness knows that my murmurings here have not been a complete sketch of a movement capable of fighting this battle (for complete sketch of someone kitted up, ready to fight a battle, see right) ... so this is not the first step, and not even the step before the first step, but only some of the steps leading up to the step before the first step ... but ...
What is needed for this fight?
As a first step, politicians with the political confidence to take the fight on. And unless that confidence is justified confidence, which is to say unless fighting the fight leads to a firmer grasp on more levers of power, then that first step is simply a vain effort to push back a tide, before being replaced in office by those willing to carry water for the corporate party (either wing).
So, as the step leading up to that first step, a political movement with the ability to reward politicians who fight fights such as the fight against the rank betrayal of soiling our nation's flag with the pointless barbarity of torture.
So, as steps leading up to the step leading up to that first step, building that political movement ... identifying the members of a workable reforming coalition, which can then act as a workable governing coalition in defending the reforms as they become institutionalized and entrenched.
So, what members have been sketched out so far? The core Blue-Green coalition between organized labor and people who do not want to see the planet unlivable for large numbers of humans within this decade ... which for sake of brevity we normally call environmentalists. Small-r, Small-n republican nationalists, fighting under the flag of sustainable Energy Independence. Small Business. Farmers.
The core members of the coalition for the fight against torture are Organized Labor and small-r, small-n republican nationalists.
Organized labor because the increase in state power beyond all constitutional bounds in service of senseless barbarism abroad naturally turns to senseless barbarism at home, and when that happens, Organized Labor is quite often given the choice between toeing the party line and being loyal corporatist toadies, and disappearing, or having reasonable organizing activity made illegal, or having strike funds confiscated on trumped up fines and penalties.
Small-r, small-n republican nationalists because ... well, because this is a rank betrayal of the principles that generations have fought and died for. And, yes, the lofty principles were often honored in the breach rather than the observance ... but since the end of slavery, rarely so egregiously as this.
However, two front members on such a pivotal issue seems a bit narrow a front. Which seems to indicate that there is missing member here somewhere. And, yes, there is.
They expect me to stand up for Democracy, for the right to jury trial, for the right for little people to be heard in the courtroom, and that is exactly what I stand up for ...
... yes, trial attorneys. As a consequence of legal rules concerning conflict of interest, one "industry" in our economy that is not collected into a few large dominant firms is the legal industry. Yes, corporations have their retainers with big name partnerships, that bring phalanxes of corporate lawyers into a trial where the corporation is at risk of actually being held accountable for people's actions on behalf of the corporation ...
... but there are also the lawyers who are on the other side of those legal fights.
Even taking those big firms representing big corporations, the trial lawyers are working in a skills-intensive industry populated by small and medium size partnerships.
And yes, for this fight, we need them.
How to get them on board, I do not know. Maybe that Edwards fellow up there has some ideas ... he seemed to know how to sign them up for a political fight.
|Midnight Oil - Read About It (1985, Oils in the Water concert)
The bosses want decisions
The workers need ambitions
There won't be no collisions
when they move so slow
Nothing ever happens
You wouldn't read about it