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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

Spreading fires

Added through the day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Truthi-Samuleson Strikes Again by A Siegel (Energy Smart, h/t energy tag)

Mitch McConnell Falling Fast in Western Kentucky by RDemocrat (h/t One America tag)

Gore: Mountaintop Removal is a CRIME, and ought to be Treated as a Crime by faithfull

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)

Original Sparks

Circular Firing Squads Of The Left Posted by Stephen Suh (Cogitamus)

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)

Landscaping as if Water Mattered by NoMoreLies (h/t ecology tag)

Gas Tax Holiday will Hurt the Economy by ThatPoshGirl (h/t Public Transportation tag)

Heather Ryan Fights For Good Jobs by RDemocrat

NAFTA - 20000 Tons of Mexican PCB Waste to Texas by LakeSuperior (h/t environment tag)

Urban Sprawl and Sustainability: a Tale of Northern Cities by Asinus Asinum Fricat

OH-16: John Boccieri for Congress (blog launch, h/t GARoach)

The Vermont solution: Bill McKibben's Deep Economy by: cassiodorus (Docudharma)

Gas Theft: Welcome to the End of Oil by dirkster42 (h/t Peak Oil tag)

Oil - I've had enough by taonow (h/t peak oil tag)

Seed Banking by Adrienne Shelton (h/t LaEscapee)

Whither Hybrid Minivan? by ebs42 (h/t Energy Independence tag)

McCain's gas tax holiday: Bravo! by Jerome a Paris (European Tribune)

Year of the Potato by ablington (h/t environment tag)

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

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 ...

Midnight Thought

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?

Yes, We

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
Nothing ever matters
No one ever tells me
so what am I to know

You wouldn't read about it
Read about it
Just another incredible scene
There's no doubt about it

Originally posted to BruceMcF on Sun Apr 27, 2008 at 08:56 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I've used megamedia for a long time ... (10+ / 0-)

    ...but I am stealing "oligopress."

    Another thought-provoking Diary. Rec'd.

    The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose. - Frederick Douglass

    by Meteor Blades on Sun Apr 27, 2008 at 08:57:27 PM PDT

  •  A recent one for your roll... (8+ / 0-)

    Let's start to end hunger right here at home.

    Think globally, act locally and all of that...

  •  A thought I had today (6+ / 0-)

    As we all know, one of the repeated themes we hear from across much of the political establishment, from the Broder type pundits and Beltway Liebermen all the way to Obama is that "we need to put partisan bickering behind us", "we need to reach out across the aisle" and similar themes taht progresives can only advance our positions by stopping our criticism of right-wing positions.

    What bothers me about this is it presents a prescription based on what I believe to be a faulty diagnosis. Does anyone ehre truly believe that this country is in the messes we're in because the Democrats ahve been "too partisan", "unwilling to unite with republicans to solve the nation's problems"?  that's what this diagnosis suggests, and I think that's exactly the wrong direction.  ISTM one of the biggest problems has been the failure of the Democrats as the opposition party, Congress as a coequal branch of government, and the free press as the people's watchdog and tribune to hold the right-wing establishment accountable for the consequences of their politics and policies, and to hold them liable for their undermining of the Constitution and the rule of law.  While it's a soundgood and feelgood soundbite, all this talk about "coming together across party lines" will only serve to set in stone the course that we as a nation have been on for the best part of the last 30 years.  Unless of course you truly believe that the right wing, both Republican and "Blue Dog", are suddenly going to change their spots, admit error and even criminality in their own actions and policies.  I see nothing that indicates any willingness to take mature responsibilities on their part.  I cannot believe that they can be "worked with" not because of some emotional itch for revenge on my part, but based on over a quarter century of irresponsible self-service by the American Right which shows no sign of letting up to this day.  In fact, they have already successfully used this "work across the aisle" thing to escalate the war in Iraq, convince Democrats to take the Bush tax cuts as well as impeachment off the table, to convince Democrats to suspend habeas corpus, a legal protection that has existed for almost 800 years.  This is hard, prima facie evidence that this theory of "reaching out across the aisle" only perpetuates and deepens the existing problems, and offers no hope whatsoever of resolving those problems, not to mention matters such as health care which the current course simply ignores.

    •  And of course, that is where the oligopress ... (6+ / 0-)

      ... comes in on the strategery of the reactionary wing of the Corporate party that drives the Republican party.

      the free press as the people's watchdog and tribune

      ... by and large, there is no free press in the sense of a press free of megacorp ownership and therefore free to call BS on the corporate agenda.

      That is why one of the key abilities that the progressive populist movement must build is the ability to sidestep the press and communicate directly with the electorate.

    •  Thank you (6+ / 0-)

      "working across the aisle", "compromise", these sound no different than "capitulate" or "triangulate", the very things the netroots are supposed to stand against. There is no evidence in the last thirty years, as a benchmark, that the right is willin g to give ground without a substantial fight and someone willing to knock heads.

      They have never in the history of this couyntry given ground willingly. Any progress that has been made was when there was a leader was willing to demand comeuppance without worry of what it may mean to his legacy. When the Roosevelts' were willing to lay their collective souls on the line for the advancement of the people, Harry Truman or LBJ knew what they were sacrificing for the agenda they knew what was right and were willing to demand results no matter the consequences.

      "Post partisan", "new politics", it's all code for we take what we can get. I won't refer to an interveiw today but why anyone would be surprised is beyond me. As advertised, unfortunately some are only now waking up to the fact.

      Edwards Democrats ActBlue LA-01, NC-08, IN-06, KY-01, NC-09, IA-03, WA-08, DE-01

      by LaEscapee on Sun Apr 27, 2008 at 09:37:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow Bruce (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edgery, valsagem, lpeacock, Neon Vincent

    You have some great links, thanks. I have been doing entirely to many hours, who invented this work thing anyway? I think we need a recall on whoever came up with the concept. Here is another you kight find interesting, it's from one of my favorite places, Orion Magazine.

    How to be a Climate Hero by Audrey Shulman

    Edwards Democrats ActBlue LA-01, NC-08, IN-06, KY-01, NC-09, IA-03, WA-08, DE-01

    by LaEscapee on Sun Apr 27, 2008 at 09:53:53 PM PDT

  •  Remind attorneys (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edgery, BruceMcF

    Many attorneys were galvanized by the revelation of the scandals surrounding the brazen political opportunism of the Bush US Attorneys.

    Tremendous bipartisan effort had been made over decades to insure that US Attorneys were even-handed and locally respected despite being political appointments.

    Always remind attorneys of this. They find it deeply offensive.

    •  This doesn't apply to "civil trial lawyers". (0+ / 0-)

      Oh, yes how we have heard of their greed from Wingnuttystan, but when you look at the reality of a civil suit, a lawyer may put up $100 Thousand USD, of his own money, to fight for truth and and justice.

      I heard that snarkastic remark, "How noble of him!" Well, there are still civil lawyers who will fight for the "little guy" on the principle of "right and wrong", "fair and just". These are the lawyers that already share "our Progressive Populist" fight. They are the ones who will go "all-in" for a candidate who will go to "The People's Chambers" to fight. And, we do need them moving forward. They can vet a candidate out so much faster and on a much more sophisticated level than a simple gut check.

      You are spot on again, Bruce!

      "Greg, we went in, we raised some hell and kicked some ass. We're not gonna let up!" ~ John Edwards

      by GARoach on Sat May 03, 2008 at 09:14:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What a "Midnight Thought" worth waiting for! (0+ / 0-)

    I've been so steenkin' busy working OH-16's new Blog, i'm just now catching my breath. That Bo guy can make some stuff happen fast!

    I need to re-read and report back with my shackles off. ;))

    "Greg, we went in, we raised some hell and kicked some ass. We're not gonna let up!" ~ John Edwards

    by GARoach on Sat May 03, 2008 at 04:09:12 PM PDT

  •  May I borrow you (0+ / 0-) a guest Blogger on my 360 page, fully cited, of course and back linked? I don't think the people close to me to whom I speak of The Blue-Green Coalitition get it. This post is the setting of the stage. Just "The Midnight Thought", mind you...

    "Greg, we went in, we raised some hell and kicked some ass. We're not gonna let up!" ~ John Edwards

    by GARoach on Sun May 04, 2008 at 05:45:14 AM PDT

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