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Sun Nov 09, 2014 at 10:54 PM PST

Selma (The Movie)

by Words In Action

So UTvoter and I went to see Interstellar tonight (long, but recommended; good cast) and beforehand we saw the trailer for Selma, an upcoming film produced by Oprah Winfrey about "Martin Luther King, Lyndon Baines Johnson and the civil rights marches that changed America."

According to IDMB it's not due out until Jan. 9, but I wanted to give a heads up while it's on my mind and also to put a particular bug in people's ear.

Obviously it's an important movie but if you are like me it might be one of those serious movies you put off so you can watch lighter or more escapist fare.

The review raises some questions about whether the movie will do well or not based on a number of considerations. I can't begin to guess myself whether it will become a popular or critical success or not.

I bring attention to the release because I'd like to encourage everyone to consider making a special effort to see this film. In fact, I'd like you to ignore your aversion to overcrowded theaters--if you're like me--and consider going the first night or weekend at least, if simply out of respect for the subject and to show your support--for Oprah's commitment in financing the film and to the cast and crew (see link above) which created it--by contributing to its opening ticket sales. Maybe even make it a group evening with family and/or friends and even consider buying tickets for people who may not otherwise attend, etc.

Especially with what's going on in Ferguson and across this country with police militarization (topics I discovered are raised in the above Trailer Review, along with Occupy Wall St.), I think it would be a good message for us all to send out by showing our solidarity in part through our recognition of the significance of the subject and this film.


Discuss

Wed Nov 05, 2014 at 06:41 PM PST

Beyond Political Fatigue

by Words In Action

Hey folks, I am done with politics. I hope Republicans get a super majority in 2016. That will move the timeline for the second Civil War they want to about 2020, which means the country will have recovered by 2050. No, seriously, I am done.

I am exhausted and disgusted at how ignorant people are.

Someone I "know" on fb "liked" this comment so I got a chance to see it. I've seen a few other remarks like this today but I chose this one because there was a bit more to it.

First, I wonder how much of this sentiment is out there. I'm guessing enough to make a difference. Campaign donors and participants are not so few for no reason. Voter turnout is not less than 40% for no reason.

Second, I wonder how many people inside politics will internalize sentiments like this for useful purposes, or if they will essentially just toss them to the heap of the dismissed and disenfranchised because they have given in to their frustration, anger or despair.

I know there are many who think 2016 will be fine because Democrats do better in Presidential elections. Of course "well" in this context means that something a bit over 25% of registered voters will turn out to vote for Democrats. It also means that we should come out afterwards a bit more competitive with batshit crazy. When THAT suffices as the definition of doing well, when THAT is what the Party sets as its target, I personally am not surprised by the various emotions and attitudes people adopt when they choose not to vote. In fact, I am a lot less surprised by that than the fact that the Party never sets a landslide as a target and then develops a strategy for THAT, beginning with developing an offer no one can refuse.

But that won't happen for a variety of reasons mostly determined by the Serious People who must consider the "practical" implications. So maybe the winger Civil War thing will happen. And Climate Change. At the same time. That could very well turn out to be more practical.

Discuss

People. The Republicans have ratcheted up their fear machines, loosed a barrage of fear missiles. The MSM has risen to take the bait. Forget about corporate conspiracy. Fear brings traffic. Fear sells ads. End of story.

Ebloa. ISIS. Black and Brown people. Inner cities. Thugs. Immigration. Border Control. Voter Fraud. Socialism. Baby Killers. Rape Celebrities. Taking Away Your Freedumbs! Guns, guns, guns; they are coming for your guns!

You name it. They've got the meme for it, deadly, effective, base-riling memes that can control the narrative and win elections. And they aren't even guaranteeing any actions. Why? Because they know that voters know that Republicans will be Republicans once they get into office.

What do the Democrats have? The Democratic platform. And, regardless of what the Third Way says to defend lurching Right, the public supports progressive ideals in poll after poll after poll. Even on economics. They want to raise the minimum wage. They know the financial sector is corrupt, unstable. They know they are losing ground. They know the concentration of wealth is not only unfair, it is unhealthy to both society and the economy. They know that for every advance they get, such as ACA, the rich get more. Much more. And they know that over the long term, they're screwed.

Now the leadership knows this, and it will speak to these issues during elections. But, right or wrong, too many voters do not trust that their votes will translate into the kind and degree of changes they need to reverse these trends.

And so 60% or so of registered voters, give or take, will not be voting. And the tried and true GOTV will not be changing that in any materially significant way. Even with all the sophisticated databases. Especially with the October Fear Surprise of the Right Wing and the mainstream corporate media.

We are battling for parity with batshit crazy, not because batshit crazy is popular, as some suggest. Batshit crazy is only popular in a relative sense among the 40% of most active voters. So long as we confine the campaign to 40%, we will struggle for parity with batshit crazy. But among the 100% overall batshit crazy is most definitely not popular. Even among many Republicans. The polls say so.

Forget whether the 60% who currently will not be voting are right or wrong. Of course they are wrong. All that matters is that a) 60% WILL NOT BE VOTING  unless Democrats do something drastic, and b) Democrats need a good slice of the 60% to change the narrative and win elections. Democrats cannot count on their own October Surprise to drop out of the sky. They have to create their own October Surprise.

Democrats have to bring out the big guns, change the narrative, win elections. Now or never. Why the hell not?

Fortunately, we have big guns, too. We have a popular platform. All we need to do is convince and assure people that Democratic representatives will represent once they get into office. Right or wrong, they don't trust Democratic representatives any more than they trust government, the police, Wall St., or any other authorities.

How do Democrats instill trust? Follow below the fold...

Poll

The Party should

10%2 votes
60%12 votes
0%0 votes
20%4 votes
10%2 votes

| 20 votes | Vote | Results

Continue Reading

It's not deflection, IMHO. It's the truth. She was no doubt more calculating in her decision not to answer Chuck "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?" Effing Todd's question as to whether or not she voted for Obama. Nevertheless there is an important principle involved and she should use it.

The privacy of a citizen's vote is a core principle in American democracy. I refuse to be a part of trivializing or undermining that concept and setting a precedent for requiring people to disclose and explain their votes, under any circumstances. Shaming people on this basis is inappropriate and, for a reporter, unprofessional. I stand by my decision on principle.


(Especially for Chuck Effing Todd.)
I think this an over-arching issue that really precludes the debate over whether or not she should be true to her affiliation with the Democratic Party and Obama, which, in general, I believe she should.

Publicly revealing your vote, simply because a reporter asked? Absolutely not. At least not in my view.

Poll

Grimes should

26%32 votes
6%8 votes
55%68 votes
0%0 votes
11%14 votes

| 122 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

And here's something to grease the skids! Carrots! A Bushel of Carrots!! Guaranteed!!!

Call it our October Surprise Bonanza!

Here you go! You vote us into the majority in both chambers and we will

Raise the minimum wage to $15 over three years!
Pass Equal Pay!
Pass Immigration Reform, with a path to citizenship!
Ensure student loans are available at the rate the Fed gives banks +.5%
Allow students to convert existing loans to that rate!
Forgive students loans for people 65 or older!
De-criminalize marijuana!
Lift the cap on Social Security, increase benefits 10% for those earning less than $40K!
Ban foreclosures on those who are less than three payments behind!
Commit $50B to provide modest but meaningful foreclosure reparations to those who were foreclosed for being less than 1.5 payments behind!
Buffet Rule!
.5% transaction tax, fund $280B jobs program, 50% Green Jobs, 20% Jobs for Young Adults (21-29), 10% Jobs for Seniors (55 and up!), 20% unrestricted!!!
Pass X, Y, Z improvements to ObamaCare.
Pass Voter Protection Reforms!
Block Corporate Inversions
Incent re-patriation of jobs
Penalize outsourcing of jobs
Eliminate Foreign Tax Shelters after 1-yr amnesty with 10% repatriation cost. Thereafter, 100% and jail time. Enforced.
Guarantee NET NEUTRALITY
Police de-militarization!
Intelligence/Surveillance reforms!
Forfeiture Law Reform!
See how easy this is?
Boost CDC Funding by $3B, a 50% increase.
Increased veteran's benefits, funding for vets services!
More protections for Planned Parenthood, women's reproductive rights!
Boost non-CDC NIH by $3B, a 10% increase.
Etc.
Seriously people.

On second thought, scrap that.

Here's a cattle prod and a paddle. Zap 'em and whack 'em. Some of 'em will make it to the polls. Hey, sorry, it's all we got. We're bought and paid for, can't give the people what they want.

Discuss

Sat Oct 11, 2014 at 05:14 PM PDT

A Worse Turnout Nightmare?

by Words In Action

Well, The Hill is reporting that concerns with turnout are finally dawning in the minds of the Party establishment. Just like the waning weeks of 2010.

Brilliant.

A Gallup poll last week found that voters are less engaged in this year's midterms than they were in 2010 and 2006. Only 33 percent of respondents said they were giving at least “some” thought to the upcoming midterms, compared to 46 percent in 2010 and 42 percent in 2006. Even more troubling for Democrats, Republicans held a 12-point advantage  when those paying “some” attention were broken down by party.
Who could have foreseen? What could possibly have been done? Aren't voters satisfied with our Democratic leaders? Aren't they sufficiently afraid of Republicans? What's wrong with THEM??!!

Because 2010 didn't answer these questions. Not for the establishment. 2010 was simply the way mid-terms go. Blame the voters. Which is why nothing more could be done this year, either. Nothing. No sir.

And it was all completely avoidable by simply recognizing the situation for what it obviously is: one in which the Party struggles to compete with bat-shit crazy. The establishment could instead have developed a sufficiently compelling offering of red meat legislation to serve a variety of constituencies suffering from long-term neglect and experiencing understandable hopelessness, and then wrapped it up in a bow and guaranteed the legislation upon gaining control of both chambers. Provide motivation on THEIR TERMS, not the establishment's, and recognize THAT VOTERS HAVE LITTLE FAITH IN GOVERNMENT AND NO TRUST IN WORDS WITH NO GUARANTEE.

We will all pay for the corruption of the establishment--the real reason they cannot make and fulfill such a contract--and the blind faith and tone deafness of its supporters, willing to let the whole damn GOTV effort rest on paddles and cattle prods.

Every last living thing on the planet will pay.

Discuss

History tells us we can expect 38-40% turnout for the upcoming mid-term election. For both parties combined. That accounts for all the GOTV efforts we can reasonably expect. It does not necessarily account for ever-increasing voter suppression, founded firmly upon two rounds of the most egregious gerrymandering imaginable.

I see nothing on the horizon to alter the coming results. All the horserace tracking is focused on what is mostly predictable. No doubt there will be a few upsets, but basically everyone sees the Senate balance being a nailbiter and the Congress firmly in the grasp of the Republicans.

No one is proposing anything to radically upset expected outcomes, which are all based on traditional approaches to elections.

Poll

A Contract for Democracy would radically increase voter turnout

20%10 votes
24%12 votes
51%25 votes
4%2 votes

| 49 votes | Vote | Results

Continue Reading

Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 09:14 AM PDT

Chuck Todd MSMsplains A Poll

by Words In Action

So NBC has this poll that indicates 54% of Americans think President Obama is "unable to lead this country." Forget historical analysis, e.g., the Bush administration polling lows, you know, context, Chuck Todd says:

"This poll is a disaster for the president...essentially the public is saying, 'your presidency is over.'"
So I wonder what Chuck Todd thinks about the FACT that 99% of Americans not watching him truly means that Americans deem him "unfit to report the news?"
Poll

Will Chuck Todd and the MSM ever realize that they have a fraction of the national mindshare

17%18 votes
5%6 votes
0%1 votes
1%2 votes
1%2 votes
2%3 votes
14%15 votes
50%53 votes
3%4 votes

| 105 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

Actually, I read about this in a fb post from OurTime.Org. I searched here, no news from this week that I could find. Maybe I missed it? Ditto for HuffPo. So I googled it and found "Bennet, Tester Introduce Bill to Ban Members of Congress from Becoming Lobbyists, Close Revolving Door," posted on Bennet's Senate page. I'm assuming he won't mind me posting his announcement in full, below the GOS pastry.

Poll

Should the President and every Democratic incumbent and candidate sign a pledge to pass this Bill when we get majorities in both chambers of Congress?

83%213 votes
15%39 votes
0%1 votes
1%3 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes

| 256 votes | Vote | Results

Continue Reading

Following on the heels of his March To End Corruption, Lawrence Lessig, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and political activist with a bullet, recently kicked off the Mayday PAC (AKA May One). The Mayday PAC launched as an experiment to create "…a citizens' funded and crowdsourced superPAC — to end all superPACs."

The Mayday PAC/May One website pitch goes: "Help U.S. kickstart fundamental reform, by reducing the influence of money in politics."

Government has failed us. More than 90% of Americans link that failure to the influence of money in politics.

Yet the politicians ignore this influence. While America founders, they spend endless time with their funders.

These funders hold our democracy hostage. We want to pay the ransom, and get it back.

We're going to kickstart a SuperPAC big enough to make it possible to win a Congress committed to fundamental reform by 2016.

Or at least we're going to try.

Well, they came, they tried, they did.

With 18 days remaining in their first fundraising month, they have achieved and surpassed their $1M initial target. As I write at 7:45 PM EST, the PAC is now 101% funded at $1,015,249!! And growing.

UPDATE: 9:22 - $1,018,074!!

So the new call is to Keep It Going! Spread The Word!

Continue Reading

If You Don't Like Money in Politics there are a few things going on you may want to know about. And you may want to get involved along with me and hundreds of thousands of others.

May One PAC -- Lawrence Lessig -- "Help U.S. kickstart fundamental reform, by reducing the influence of money in politics... "…a citizens' funded and crowdsourced superPAC — to end all superPACs."

Government has failed us. More than 90% of Americans link that failure to the influence of money in politics.

Yet the politicians ignore this influence. While America founders, they spend endless time with their funders.

These funders hold our democracy hostage. We want to pay the ransom, and get it back.

We're going to kickstart a SuperPAC big enough to make it possible to win a Congress committed to fundamental reform by 2016.

Or at least we're going to try.

May One has already raised OVER $900K toward its initial goal of raising $1M by the end of the month. How cool is that?

March for Democracy, 99Rise, 5/17-6/22, LA to Sacramento -- demand that CA legislature call for an Article V Convention to produce a get-money-out-of-politics political equality Constitutional Amendment.

The voices of the 99% don’t matter now: as long as this is true, our needs won’t count and real change won’t come. From the nationwide "march against corruption" protest (Lawrence Lessig), to the statewide New Hampshire Rebellion, to civil disobedience in the chamber of the Supreme Court itself (Kai Newkirk, 99Rise) -- more and more Americans are stepping-up to the plate for democracy everyday.
Dolores Heurta will be in the contingent when March for Democracy arrives in Sacramento. Lawrence Lessig & Rootstrikers, Noam Chomsky,  Wolf PAC (below) and many others have endorsed the March.

Shockwave, some other kossacks and I are involved in organizing and marching in this action. There are a lot of ways you, too can participate. More on that in a bit.


Wolf PAC -- Cenk Uygur -- Organizing to petition states to call for a an Article V Convention to end corporate personhood and publicly finance all elections in our country. Here's the plan.

Near the turn of the 20th century the states wanted a direct election of senators, and Nebraska was the first state to call for an Article V. Convention in 1893.  By 1913 the movement had come within one state of reaching the necessary 2/3 threshold that would force a convention.  When it became clear to Congress that the 17th Amendment was going to happen one way or another they decided to preempt a convention  by passing it themselves.  The threat of a convention is the strongest message we can send and the most effective way to restore our democracy in the United States.  This can and must be done in a far shorter time period then it took for the 17th Amendment, then again, they didn't have the power of the internet and other technology we will be using in this battle.
Quite simply, you can sign the petition (72K) and get involved in organizing in your state, unless of course it is deep red...

Wolf PAC on fb.

Continue Reading

I don't think this qualifies as a diary so much as a heads up on some more atrocious behavior in TX and on the interwebs with an opportunity for you to help set the record straight.

I saw this story on Daily Caller: Texas Parents Balk When Transgender Teacher Shows Up To Teach Their Fifth Grade.

The article was actually more even-toned than I would have anticipated, but many of the comments are atrocious. I felt compelled to chime in. Et vous?

A substitute teacher in Lumberton, Texas is claiming that officials at a middle school fired her after parents expressed concerns that a transgender substitute teacher is less than ideal for a fifth-grade classroom.

...

The basic complaint parents have is that they don’t want a transgender sub  around their 10- and 11-year-old kids because the kids could be confused.

A bright spot was reported:
“I’m more concerned about straight predatory teachers rather than I am someone who lives an alternative private alternate lifestyle,” Jammie Marcantel, another fifth-grade parent, told KFDM.
HELLO!

Some comments:

Back into the closet please!
I am so tired of being polite, so _uck you! Close the closet door behind you!
Tolerating this person and trusting him/her are two different things.
School is tough enough for some without a confused wanna-be-other-than-I-am person standing before them. Students need to be taught the rules, the rules of logic, mathematics, the rules of grammar and punctuation, rules of right and wrong. Not the exceptions. Good for the folks. I'd go a bit further with a school that employes such as the likes of… of… him.
A minute of your time to pitch in?

UPDATE:

TDDVandy has reported below that she has been reinstated.

Discuss
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