On Election Day, November 6, I worked the polls in my division, as Clerk in my division’s election board, helping my fellow board members set up for the voting, and helping people, citizens of our country, exercise their right to vote, which people have died for. It was a long and crazy day, but it was worth it, as I was part of a movement to take our country back from plutocrats and their deranged front man in the White House.
The election results? Not all I hoped for, to be honest; the Republicans, a reactionary parody of their former selves, still have control of the Senate, but the Democrats regained the House; and there are several new members of the House-many of them women, and young, Hispanic, and native-American, reflecting the reality that America is a vast, diverse country, and non-white people are taking part in the system.
Yesterday, I was at the meeting of Philly For Change, at Tattooed Mo, on 5th and South streets. There were no speakers, but we celebrated the victories of our endorsed candidates, Joe Hohenstein and Malcolm Kenyatta in the State House of Representatives. We also discussed he campaign itself, like how we communicate to voters, the campaign strategy of trump, and how to plan for the elections in 2019.
What concerns me is the temptation by the Democratic congressional leadership to think the old rules of politics-sit down with the other side, make deals, and work something out to get things done-are still in effect. This is no longer the time of Lyndon Johnson, who was able to meet with Republican leaders like Everett Dirksen to pass Civil rights legislation; the republican party had “learned” that the way to get ahead in politics is to slander the opposition, not just way they’re wrong but that they’re evil, and never compromise with them, and force your congressional leaders to take extreme stances-the tactics Newt Gingrich was famous for.
As we progressives are working inside the Democratic party, we must demand some backbone from our leaders, and not give in to their demands for greater tax cuts for the plutocrats; the destroying of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security; the weakening of regulations on the pollution of our air and water; and tolerance for discrimination against racial and religious minorities; we must also push for the end of being close to wall street, to gain campaign contributions, but to overturn the Citizens United decision and stop treating campaign contributions-to the millions of dollars-like “free speech.” We must prepare for a fight, for our families and our democracy.
This is democracy-people, working people, retirees, young people, claiming a stake in the political system that affects all of our lives. It is an opportunity where a neighborhood person, man or woman you know in your block-such as a retiree-can be a political player. I urge you, in this dangerous period in our nation’s history, to play your role in reclaiming our government and making it work for working people.
In spite of majorities in both houses of Congress, the republican leadership failed-again-to wipe out the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka “Obamacare;” all they had to replace it with was either tax breaks for billionaires, or nothing at all, just straight repeal.
Fortunately there were Republicans who paid more attention to their constituents that to their leaders, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan; as short as “Obamacare” falls in covering all Americans with health insurance, it was a great improvement over how it used to be, when fifty-five million Americans had no coverage at all. Still, we must continue to work towards a single-payer health insurance system, as in Canada-“Medicare for all.”
Public activism-people demonstrating in the streets, in town halls, and in congressional offices, phoning or e-mailing Congress-members-definitely turned the tide against the republican “plan,” showing that people power can override Washington power brokers and lobbyists.
It’s something to keep up; we can no longer count on the Democratic National Committee leadership to fight the republican onslaught, they being all to willing to try to make a deal-with people who don’t believe in compromise, and with a party dominated by the most extreme and violent elements of American politics. we the American people are the real opposition party; let’s keep fighting, and we’ll keep winning.
I’m approaching my sixth decade, and I feel great. I’m carrying on with my classwork at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in Labor Studies, and I will pass on what I have learned to other working and low-income people.
This has been the 241st anniversary of the founding of the nation-or is it? In June of 1776, the Continental Congress, meeting in what is now Independence Hall in Philadelphia (yay!), listened as Richard Henry Lee, delegate of Virginia, read his resolution “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved.”
That resolution put into words the reality of what went on at the time; the Continental Congress already authorized the Continental Army under George Washington, along with a postal system-the kinds of things governments do. In January 1776, Thomas Paine-a person that needs more mention in our nation’s history books-published the small book Common Sense, which also put into words the movement towards independence by the colonies. There were however still members of the Congress who hoped for some form of reconciliation with Britain, fearing catastrophe from an all-out war.
(Revolutions are not ONE spectacular event that makes for a great movie; a revolution is a series of events challenging the legitimacy and the power of the old regime, and eventually a political body forms to give it focus and a system of directing the revolution, be it the Continental congress of the United States, or the Bolshevik party of the Russian revolution.)
A “Committee of Five” was formed by the Congress to draft a formal resolution as to the reasons for declaring independence. In that committee were John Adams of Massachusetts, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, and Robert Livingston of New York; Jefferson, being known as a polemicist for the colonies’ cause, had the job of writing up the draft of the Declaration, with some changes recommended by Adams and Franklin.
On July 2, the Congress read and began debate on the Declaration, along with revisions and editing; finally, on July 4, 1776, the congress formally adopted the Declaration. (There was much political wrangling over the Declaration, this being a political event worked on by politicians; but that does not make it any less an important document.)
What do we have to be proud of this holiday? Not our “President,” a “man” consumed by his ego and ignorance, a schoolyard in the most powerful office on the planet, a man who uses his office to line his pockets in his real-estate holdings, a man who insults women and uses them as sex toys (including HIS OWN DAUGHTERS), a man who hints at violence in his rallies and in his Twitter tweets-
BUT, you say, all of this is a distraction, we have to focus on the substantive issues of the day, the terrible stuff his administration does-like pushing the “health care” bill that not only seeks to destroy Obama’s legacy, trump’s reopening of the digging of the Keystone XL pipeline and of the Dakota Access pipeline-environmental catastrophes waiting to happen-weakening environmental regulations on coal mining, and banning people from majority-Muslim countries (that is, those he has no business dealing with).
I agree, we MUST be on top of trump and his minions, and the policies they implement. BUT, let’s not be either-or here-EITHER focus on his bizarre behavior OR his policies. It’s these silly antics that show us the kind of man he is, how he views the world, how he would use the office of the President of the United States to carry out what he would deem to be “Correct”-but correct for WHOM, his family, his bottom line, or his country?
IF he is pulling all these silly stunts to distract public attention from his policies, could he NOT have found a more dignified way to do it? Or is dignity something he doesn’t understand? How does it look like, to have our commander-in-chief acting like a damn fool to implement policy?
Hopefully the trump experience ends the idea of having a “businessman” put in elected office to run the office, and the country, in a “businesslike” manner. A corporation is an organization formed solely to make a profit for those invested in it; a government is an organization formed to administrate the needs of society, answerable (hopefully) to the general public.
And what kind of business model does trump have? He purchased real estate in New York and Atlantic City, promising that everything he touches is grand and spectacular, and he is worth more money that God; and, when he went bankrupt, instead of being monitored and harassed like any of US who would be in debt, finds a way to cut a deal to satisfy the banks he owes money to, along with refusing to pay contractors who did work on his buildings. The bankruptcy laws of this country are twisted to the benefit of the rich deadbeats, and we little fish are at their mercy.
Still-I am pleased that the REAL patriots are stepping up, not intimidated by the trump regime, using both the internet and good ol’ shoe leather to let the members of Congress who precisely they are to represent-in town halls, in public demonstrations, in visiting Congress-members’ offices-when they’re not hiding from their constituents’ ire.
And what are we to make of trump’s supporters? The story goes in the commercial media is that trump’s voters are working-class people who are afraid of losing their jobs, or have lost their jobs, and trump is giving them some hope, however false. Another story is that trump’s voters are the same balls-out racists and haters who could not stomach an African-American man as President, and the traditional racial order is again attacked. Could BOTH be true?
The bottom line-BOTH parties have failed the American people. The Republican party has, since the Jimmy Carter administration, been a home of religiously based haters, fearful of the advancement of LGBT people, of honest sex education in schools, of the challenge to traditional gender roles and to what is a “man” and a “woman” in our culture, hoping that their attaining state power would restore “traditional family values;” and also, since the Richard Nixon campaign of 1968, a haven to conscious or sub-conscious racists fearful of the advancement of races they have been traditionally taught to consider less that human, fearful that THEY themselves would be in a subordinate position, and associating certain races to such social maladies as crime and drugs.
The Democratic party? Since the New Deal and the Great Society, the Democratic party has had the aura of carrying out needed social legislation and advancement of traditionally put-down people: workers and unemployed in the 1930s, African-Americans and other minorities in the 1960s. But the Democratic party sought to attain control of these groups and their activities, so that they would not go “too far” against the some political system that benefits BOTH parties, while adopting the proposals of the protest movements.
Now, the Democratic party is once again just as decadent as the Republican party. After the Mondale loss of 1984, “moderate” elements of the party sought to remove from power the so-called “special interest groups,’ a code word for unions, minorities, etc., forming under the banner of the Democratic Leadership Council, at one time led by Bill Clinton. And the same groups, labor, minorities, etc., are told they have NO choice but to still stick with the party, since the Republicans would be FAR worse (setting the bar pretty damn low).
To both parties, the American voter is ignorant, bigoted, and swayed by tough talk against some perceived enemy that really doesn’t pose a threat. Trump, just as much a product of the social-economic elite, thinks the same way about the same people who voted for him, picking up the “birther” movement and cheering on any assaults his followers make on protestors, calling for brute force at home and abroad, and he tries to connect with them-as does every other aristocrat seeking working-class votes-by acting like “I’m just as ignorant as you are” (and indeed, they’re not all that wonderful, in spite of their wealth).
This is the task of REAL American patriots, to make our stand against trump and his minions, but raise American to a higher self, to make it great for all its people; and WW the people, the working and low income people of America, are the TRUE loyal opposition, and WE are the ones who can and will carry this work out.
(5) The Next Level with John Mason – YouTube
Hello, I have changed the name of my video blog to The Next Level, that is where I want to take serious discussion on current events.
I am appalled and disheartened by the shootings today in Virginia, where a gunman shot at members of Congress, injuring one of them, and the shooting at the UPS facility in San Francisco. Human lives are precious, and we need to sound the alarm for ending the gun violence that plagues the nation.
Unfortunately, some of trump’s partisans are making political hay out of the shooting in Virginia, during a fun baseball game among Republican Congress-members. The shooter supposedly took part in the Bernie Sanders campaign, and Sanders himself stood on the Senate floor to express his outrage at this tragedy and to state his opposition to violence. The right-wing media madhouse is raving that Democrats and liberals conspired to terrorize Republicans and trump; they were quick to jump on this tragedy to bash anyone on their left.
I have a fearful thought-might this tragedy be used by the trump regime to repress its opposition, just as Hitler used the burning of the Reichstag to call for emergency power and establish his dictatorship? I wouldn’t put it past trump or his allies, they don’t have the SLIGHT-EST idea of honor or decency.
The supporters of Donald Trump have indicated they would not graciously accept that they would lose the election; many have threatened violence and “civil war,” which I seriously doubt they are capable of. They would be, however, capable of localized acts of terror, like trying to destroy houses of worship or murder, on an individualistic basis rather than as part of a conspiracy. With the Internet, however, such terrorists could network ideas and information of events and tactics with each other.
And yes, I called them “terrorists;” self-proclaimed white “Christians” have been terrorists-look at the Klan and the medieval Crusades and the Inquisition.
Trump has been of no help; he had indicated that he may or may not make a concession speech or accept the outcome of the election WHEN he loses. His campaign has been one long trip of narcissism, barroom brags and threats passing as policy statements, assaults real and threatened upon his critics, and, worst of all, his welcoming into is coalition the most notorious racists and neo-fascists in the nation, bringing h=them back into the political mainstream, giving them a platform to spout from.
After the election, these are the elements who will scream that the election was stolen from them, and who threaten violence; this is the comeuppance of the Republican party, which has worked form before Obama was inaugurated to deny his legitimacy as President, who has fostered the “birthers” like Trump, who thought the “tea party” phenomenon would bring them back into power, but has instead turned on the party establishment. After the election, one fight ends, and another begins; let’s be ready.
April 26 will be the day of the primary election in Pennsylvania. I urge everyone within the sound of my blog to get their asses out and VOTE. Your candidate may not win, Lord knows I’ve backed some lost but noble causes, but it will show the political bosses we are paying attention to what goes on in the world.
With that in mind I hereby announce my endorsement for President of the United States-Bernie Sanders. I do NOT swallow the established media line that Hillary Clinton-who started as a Goldwater Girl back in the ’60s, and supports a pro-corporate agenda as bad as the Republicans-owns this or that voting block, or that she has the nomination in the bag just because the party apparatus is on her side.
The only real reason she became a Senator was by being first lady to Bill Clinton, who was as pro-corporate as any Republican Senator-he pushed the North American Free Trade Agreement, which took jobs out of this country, causing massive unemployment for American workers. Plus, after losing the 1994 congressional elections, Clinton hired Dick Morris, a conservative republican political manager, to be his political advisor in moving to the right, so therefore leaving American voters with no real choice in political options.
On the other hand, Bernie Sanders, a Democratic Socialist and proud of it, comes from outside the “two party” apparatus, (which to be is as much part of the government apparatus as the Army), and has a track record of pro-people activism, including work in the Civil Rights movement. Plus, younger people are coming up who have no memory of the Soviet Union, so the “Red Scare” of associating Socialism with Communism won’t work anymore. People are turned off anymore by the “two-party” system, whereby one party does not check or balance the other party, but they have the same corporate paymasters donating to their campaigns.
With the people on the streets, and the artistry going on-the kind of stuff you would not take place in any regular political campaign-it’s not just a campaign, it IS a revolution going on, a serious upheaval, a big change coming on in this country. Be a part of it and vote.
The “election” of Hillary Clinton last night in New York last night does NOT impress me; it was “won” through the deliberate removal of voters from the rolls, something that would shame the most backward county in Alabama. THIS is how the next President of the most powerful nation in the world will be carried out?
And should we go along with the “lesser of two evils” argument, that if we don’t vote for Hillary, right or wrong, Trump or Cruz will be elected? The entire two party system, really factions of the same ruling elite which does not care a whit about us working and low income people, is rotten with corporate money, and politicians in BOTH parties feel they have to put their hands out for the corporate grease. Politics is more than who runs for what office, it’s about movements for change over a period of time and effort.