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Gender: Male
Hometown: Maryland
Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 10:39 PM
Number of posts: 69,425

Journal Archives

Republicans lose all the way around on this shutdown


...their entire calculation that Democrats would be blamed for shutting down government for protecting Dreamers, or whatever, is based on their belief that the public is going to react by blaming one side or the other, and the winner runs the table.

There's a question of how much the public will really notice or care, but right now republicans are taking the most heat, because of the obvious fact that they are in charge of all three branches of government. It strains credulity to blame Dems (as republicans have) for choosing 'illegal immigration' over Americans affected by the shutdown, because people can see Trump pulling the rug from under the Dreamers, manufacturing a crisis where there was already a productive solution in place. They can see Trump immorally risking making these young folks into criminals with his reversal of DACA - children of immigrants who were promised there would be no repercussions from registering under the immigration order.

People can see Trump and the republican party arbitrarily refusing to extend health benefits to children under CHIP. They can see republicans refusing to put the extension to a vote - that is until it was convenient to use children's health as a bargaining chip in their cynical scheme to short-fund the government with these costly continuing resolutions.

Thing is, republicans need government to open, more than Democrats. There's little reason for Democrats to grease the skids for republicans to further tear away at the benefits and protections the middle-class and working poor rely on to survive. There's no reason to open the door to more attempts to eviscerate health benefits, or stand aside so republicans can further loot the treasury for their wealthy friends - no reason to remove obstacles to business as usual for republicans if they're not willing to include Democrats in the decision-making process, and willing to allow votes on Democratic amendments.

If republicans aren't willing to, at least, keep their promises to Dreamers and children's health, there's no reason at all for Democrats to budge. The burden of responsibility for keeping government running in the interest of the American people is on the party in power, no matter who republicans blame for their ineptness and incompetence in allowing this shutdown to come to pass.

It won't be long before the public remembers how negligent this republican Congress and their president have been in producing and delivering anything of substance or value. If they think about it long enough they're going to realize these republicans haven't succeeded in anything more than feathering their own wealthy nests; republicans throughout government encouraged in their graft by the grifter-in-chief whose family flaunts their limitless wealth in front of our struggling workers - much of that wealth enhanced by exploiting and trading on their positions in our government.

Democrats have very little to lose by holding firm as the republican party soaks in this hot water they've drawn for themselves. Their dystopian fantasy ends here. They've thrown themselves, headlong, into this boiling kettle, curiously demanding that Democrats stop throwing more logs onto the fire. Time to watch them burn.

Republican Party has become the Klan

...every action is anti-women, anti-black, anti-immigrant, anti-minority.

The republican party is a good-old boys club which not only resembles the Klan, it's actually gone full-on racist, advancing policies and practices which are, essentially, revived and expanded Jim Crow with brown-skin immigrants targeted out of opportunity, residence, security, citizenship, and well-being.

Trump is the defacto Klan leader with republicans around the nation comprising a network of racism and discrimination, adopting all of the divisive rhetoric and demagoguery of the past under his umbrella of bigotry and hate.

This generation's Klan, unlike their forefathers, are on their own insular islands projecting all of their bigotry on a rapidly diversifying society. They're surrounded, and that may be the thing which makes them all the more insidious and malignant.

It's funny, here's a sizable swipe of America racing headlong into a storm of resistance which would, if successful, ensure these racist dinosaurs' descent into obscurity - a fate the Klan has been trying to engineer for women and minorities for centuries.

The Grand Wizard in the White House and his minions are under siege. Starving them out and banishing them from government and society is our moral and material imperative.

This poll is heartbreaking, says so much about the state of our nation

CBS This Morning @CBSThisMorning Jan 18

A new @CBSNews poll shows most Americans would let young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children stay in the U.S. http://cbsn.ws/2ri3fJY

For me, this poll is a no-brainer. Most Americans are compassionate and caring enough to understand that children should not be separated from their families and sent to countries many have never known; no roots, nowhere to live, no future. We are not as cruel and heartless a nation as Trump and most republicans who are threatening these children.

But we're locked in a dilemma over a president and party who are determined to ignore the wishes of the vast majority of the nation to do the bidding of an ignorant and selfish few.

It's heartbreaking to watch these assaults by the federal government on people living and working here, and to be unable to just end the nightmare. I look at our nation through the eyes and hearts of those who are struggling to survive and prosper. It's painful to watch my own government be so deliberately hurtful to so many good people.

We are living under an increasingly autocratic Executive branch, aided and supported in that tyranny by the overwhelming majority of republican legislators. The will of the people has been abandoned for the narrow self-interest of a fraction of our population.

Nowhere is this illustrated more clearly than watching our government rounding up men, women, and children - jailing them and railroading them out of the country. The land of the free!

Home of the brave president whose fear and hatred is projected on the nation weekly with unbridled slurs and assaults on people of color, here at home, and around the globe. His weakness is our national shame.

Maya Angelou, the Dalai Lama & Stevie Wonder recite "I have a dream

BBC News (World) ‏@BBCWorld 1h
Maya Angelou, the Dalai Lama & Stevie Wonder recite "I have a dream" http://bbc.in/17latYY #MLK pic.twitter.com/mlte7EeSQ4

To mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech, BBC Radio 4 asked notable figures to record a recital of the celebrated text.

Listen to it in full, and see striking images from a period of American history which became a tipping point for social change.

Listen to interviews with the I Have a Dream programme contributors. Below is a full list of the contributors, in addition to Dr Martin Luther King Jr:

Congressman John Lewis: last surviving member of the big six leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement, who spoke at the March on Washington on 28 August 1963; Dr Maya Angelou: American author and poet, Northern coordinator for Dr King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Professor Muhammad Yunus: Nobel peace laureate, and Bangladeshi microcredit economist; Doreen Lawrence: soon to become Baroness Lawrence, the mother of murdered British teenager Stephen Lawrence; Wei Jingsheng: Chinese human rights and democracy campaigner, imprisoned for more than 18 years; Mary Robinson: former UN high commissioner for human rights and the first female president of Ireland; John Hume: awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize, the Martin Luther King Award and jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution to the peace process in Northern Ireland; His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader; Albie Sachs: anti-apartheid campaigner, appointed by Nelson Mandela to serve as a judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa; President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia: first female head of state in Africa, Nobel peace laureate and campaigner for women's rights; Raja Shehadeh: Palestinian lawyer, novelist and political activist; Ndileka Mandela: first granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, reading on his behalf; Ariel Dorfman: Chilean-American novelist, playwright, journalist and human rights activist; David Grossman: Israeli author and peace campaigner; Dr Shirin Ebadi: human rights lawyer, one of Iran's first female judges, first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize; Malala Yousafzai: Sixteen-year-old student and education activist from Swat in Pakistan, shot by the Taliban for going to school; Satish Kumar: Indian peace campaigner and environmentalist; Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu: Venezuelan economist, educator and musician, founder of the El Sistema project which harnesses classical music to the cause of social justice; Joan Baez: American songwriter, musician and activist who performed at the 1963 March on Washington; Stevie Wonder: American musician, singer and songwriter, campaigned for Martin Luther King's birthday to become a national US holiday.

The speech in full - text

Good God, They're Starting Talk About 'Preparedness' for Nuclear War

Carter Gaddis‏ @DadScribe
How is THIS abomination not @theonion? Good God, @CDCgov. Do you think it's 1958? HOW IS THIS A REAL THING IN 2018? https://www.cdc.gov/cdcgrandrounds/archives/2018/January2018.htm

Public Health Response to a Nuclear Detonation

January 16, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. (ET)

While a nuclear detonation is unlikely, it would have devastating results and there would be limited time to take critical protection steps. Despite the fear surrounding such an event, planning and preparation can lessen deaths and illness. For instance, most people don’t realize that sheltering in place for at least 24 hours is crucial to saving lives and reducing exposure to radiation. While federal, state, and local agencies will lead the immediate response efforts, public health will play a key role in responding.

Join us for this session of Grand Rounds to learn what public health programs have done on a federal, state, and local level to prepare for a nuclear detonation. Learn how planning and preparation efforts for a nuclear detonation are similar and different from other emergency response planning efforts.

CDC’s Public Health Grand Rounds Presents:

“Public Health Response to a Nuclear Detonation”
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Global Communications Center (Building 19)
Alexander D. Langmuir Auditorium
Roybal Campus



We should be outraged by this GOP suggestion to 'purge' the FBI

...anyone selling this anti-democratic treason should be run out of the country.

Here's an agency that moved to discredit Hillary Clinton in the election by 'reopening the email investigation,' and these republican clowns want us to believe the FBI was some kind of anti-Trump cabal.

Worst is the way republicans (and the administration) are outdoing Russians in their efforts to remove anyone from government who isn't loyal to Trump. It's bad enough to have this open, ongoing campaign to criminalize his political opponent in the last election, but this talk of a 'purge' is one of the most anti-democratic notions ever embraced by national political leaders.

If we're to assume people in government who supported Hillary are unable to do their jobs fairly and objectively, we'd be free to assume the governmental actions of supporters of Trump are also biased and tainted. It's absurd, yes, but it's also tyranny in action.

The FBI agent who sent anti-Trump text messages to a friend, did so with a reasonable expectation that those expressions were private. It's not as if there was some open display of bias, on Twitter, for instance. More importantly, there's no process (thankfully) to determine the private conversations and opinions of anyone else at the FBI and make a similar judgment that they're unfit to serve.

This is an open assault, a witch hunt, on anyone who dares hold a different political view from the party in power. That's as dangerous a proposition as anything I've ever heard in politics. It's a direct assault on our democracy, our constitution, and our freedom from tyranny.

FDR in '36 DNC speech:

"In 1776 we sought freedom from the tyranny of a political autocracy - from the eighteenth-century royalists who held special privileges from the crown. It was to perpetuate their privilege that they governed without the consent of the governed; that they denied the right of free assembly and free speech; that they restricted the worship of God; that they put the average man's property and the average man's life in pawn to the mercenaries of dynastic power; that they regimented the people.

And so it was to win freedom from the tyranny of political autocracy that the American Revolution was fought. That victory gave the business of governing into the hands of the average man, who won the right with his neighbors to make and order his own destiny through his own government. Political tyranny was wiped out at Philadelphia on July 4, 1776."

Political tyranny was reborn on January 20, 2017. We are in a fight to regain any reasonable expectation that we can control government against a craven republican party determined to deny representation to all but their narrow political base of supporters.

'Constitutional crisis' doesn't even begin to describe this perilous moment in our history.

Happy Christmas, DU!

...it's a cold and windy holiday this year without any snow, but it's still a perfectly picturesque Christmas day.

I do miss snow on the holidays, though. I dug up a poem I wrote here last year for a bit of a dusting... Merry Christmas, y'all!

When You Smile at the Falling Snow

When you smile at the falling snow,
You're likely remembering joy and beauty,
Experienced over a lifetime.

From the very first time your parents,
Bundled you up with layers of long underwear;
Woolen trousers and several pairs of socks;
Oversized sweater over a turtleneck;
All crammed inside that impossibly small snowsuit.

You remember that first misshaped snowman,
Mixed with dirt and grass, and snot;
More brown than the white ground surrounding it,
Well-dressed in Mother's good scarf you borrowed
And perfectly natty in Father's old cap.

There's hastily erected snow fort on the front lawn,
Fully fortified with a neat pile of perfect snowballs,
Smoothed over by stiffening, soaked mittens,
Too precious, maybe too deadly to actually throw.
The fort is everything; only room for friends, and you.

Was there ever a truly safe hill for sledding;
One without the sharp drop into the half-frozen creek?
A sledding hill without that fence at the end,
Or that busy street with cars whizzing by past the curb,
Threatening to drown, decapitate, or drive over you?

Soaked to the bone, soaked through seven solid layers,
Stubbornly ignoring frostbitten feet and swollen hands,
Struggling with your sled back up to the top of the hill,
Standing in line behind the big kids, you spot your sister,
Shivering from the cold; you're suddenly shivering, too.

I was able to recreate all of that winter magic, as an adult;
My own sons, layered and stuffed into impossibly small snowsuits.
We made our own dirty snowmen; sturdy snow forts;
And sledded down unsafe hills; scraping swollen knuckles;
Stubbornly shivering as we stayed too long.

It's snowing, and there's a family of deer in my suburban yard,
Taking refuge on the softer ground deliberately layered
With the trees' fallen debris and evergreen litter.
There's spirit here; they know it's safe from predators,
A perfect place to digest their food and nibble a bit more.

They startle when I open the door to scatter birdseed,
Standing perfectly still once more, when they hear my voice
Softly reassuring them there's no reason to run away.
They're covered with snow, and one is trying to lick flakes off of the other.
The snow is falling fast, and I'm smiling again.

Alabama is a turning point

...if Democratic voters can rally to win in Alabama, they can rally and win anywhere.

We had an inkling that the tide was turning against the republicans with the upset in Va., but there was still a lingering risk that republican voters would overcome the nationwide rejection of Trump and republican policy and, nonetheless, show up in numbers large enough to beat us at the polls.

Alabama is a major repudiation of the media's insistence that Trump's 'base' is fireproof and inviolable. You can bet there are more than a few republican pols quaking in their boots today, worried that their dwindled approval ratings are irreversible and can't be overcome by tried-and-true right-wing, dog-whistle appeals to their bigoted, racist electorate.

What's more, black voters are fully realizing the power of their participation at voting time. That's icing on the cake to have such an influential and loyal base of Democratic voters energized and active at such a pivotal point in our history.

These are politicians making political judgments about Franken, not necessarily moral ones

...and dirt-dumb political strategy, at that.

'Zero-tolerance' is being used here as a slogan, not a responsible policy which will judge accusations on merit and degree. There needs to be some system in place in which there are clear, defined guidelines for behavior and consequences which are mindful of the degree of the offenses or allegations.

Moreover, there needs to be more than just some semblance of due process, especially when making judgments about anonymous or unsubstantiated accusations. Due process isn't some dodge, it's an integral function of our system of justice.

Then there's still the matter of the precedent set for this forced resignation from Franken's own party members rushing to protect their political selves without regard to the almost certain exploitation by republicans of some Democratic pols' reflexive need to self-immolate, and their timidity in demanding accountability from their republican counterparts.

This isn't a 'line drawn in the sand' as some have mused, unless it's applied to more than just our own party, and unless it's applied with fairness, based on clear evidence of actual harm to someone, not just a bruise on a party's political profile.

They took down one of our best fighters against Trump with mostly anonymous complaints

...mostly unbelievable complaints, at that. At the very least, this should have been buttressed by a dual call for the resignation of the POTUS for his own 'admitted' crimes against women.

What happens next should be obvious to all. Republicans will continue to deny wrongdoing and evade accountability, still in power, still crafting legislation and advancing Trump's dismantling of democracy.

The right-wing has to be overjoyed. This is a formula that has worked since Iran-Contra failed to bring down Reagan-Bush, and has been a standard of republican politics since Democrats failed to hold Bush Jr. accountable for tortures, renditions, and for his lies leading the nation to war in Iraq (the consequences, a continued war).

We paid with 'Benghazi' investigations, and a phony email investigation which were allowed to mushroom as Democrats allowed both undue legitimacy, and even encouragement from some of our quarters, in the case of Hillary's emails.

If this latest self-immolation isn't part of a larger strategy of zero-tolerance for more than just our own party members, it will turn out to be a dagger in the back of every other attempt to hold republicans and their WH accountable, at least for the foreseeable future.
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