Archive for democratic infighting

VIDEO-BLUNT: Occupy Respect

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Blunt is a lot like letters to the editor. YOUR take, short, to the point.

You have a voice, now use it.

This webisode is based on a post I wrote that got a positive response and a lot of thoughtful feedback on Twitter. Thanks to all who contributed to the video:

For more information about how to contribute to Blunt, follow this link.

It’s your turn. Go.

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Some of those 1% are on our side

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The other day I wrote a piece titled Occupy Respect, something I hope you'll read before continuing on with this post.  There have been flurries of condemnation going on among people on the same side, against their fellow 99%ers or against those who are in the top 1 per cent who support them. It's a noticeable knee-jerk reaction by some against any 1%er, which is understandable, but not always called for.

Some of the open hostility has been aimed at Michael Moore, who IMHO, has been very helpful to the Occupy cause. He, among a few other notables, has been attacked for being one of "them" because he's made a whole lot of money, and is being accused of  opportunism.

Neither of those labels, whether accurate or not (he's donated film profits to charity, and he's donating some proceeds from his new book Here Comes Trouble to Occupy Wall Street), is all that relevant if he's out there speaking on behalf of those who aren't being heard, and attracting media attention that has resulted in more coverage of the movement. His presence, and that of other celebrities, has heartened and encouraged most protesters, and all in all has been a net positive.

What I'm rambling about is this: painting everyone with one big negative brush is not helpful. We're better, and more inclusive, than that... or so I thought. This isn't about us vs. rich people, it's about how that money is used, or not used, tax inequality, abuse, and more.

The L.A. Times makes the point for me:

While members of the so-called 99% take part in Occupy Wall Street protests, a new website lets some of the wealthy 1% declare their support for the movement.

The site, called "We are the 1 percent. We stand with the 99 percent," lets people post photos pronouncing their solidarity with the Occupy protesters in New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere. [...]

The site was created by two organizations: Resource Generation, which organizes wealthy young people to work for social change, and Wealth for the Common Good, a group of wealthy people and business executives who advocate for what they call fair taxation, such as higher tax rates on millionaires. [...]

"Those of us with more than we need and who believe in a more just distribution of resources can stand up and tell the truth about how the deck has been stacked in our favor," said Elspeth Gilmore, co-director of Resource Generation. "We need to say that we think it's wrong, too."

The Occupy movement has room for everyone.

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Occupy Respect

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In between writing posts for TPC, I study, read, respond, and post on Twitter. There has been a very spirited (if you're into childish name-calling and setting Dem against Dem) and no-holds barred feud between fierce Obama loyalists and those who criticize him, whether it be harshly, unfairly, thoughtfully, gently, or constructively.

I find myself somewhere in the middle. I often point out things about the president that seriously concern me, irk me, or worry me, but I also praise him when I feel he's done something worthy of my 2008 enthusiasm. (I miss that feeling.)

However, no matter how disappointed I get, the GOP alternative is exponentially worse. I will vote for President Obama in 2012, because the thought of an even more conservative Supreme Court is so repugnant, and I will do everything in my limited power to prevent that, and/or any inevitable legislative GOP disasters, from happening.

Protest voting isn't an option IMHO, because there is too much at stake. Voting against President Obama on principle may even be admirable but it's also self-destructive. I've heard many a time how it might be "good for America" to learn its lesson by allowing a conservative to win the White House.

Really? At what cost? And didn't we learn that lesson from 2001-2008?

It has been excruciating to watch the infighting among Democrats, those on one extreme or the other, pro-Obama tweeters that refuse to say a word against him and anti-Obama tweeters who are so angry, who feel so betrayed, that they claim they won't vote for anyone for president, or will vote against him via a third party candidate where allowed.

Both sides annoy me, both sides make me cringe, both sides piss me off, both sides cause me angst and pain, both even occasionally make me tear up.  We should be able to have a civil discussion about all of this and more, unify somehow, and make sure a Republican does not win the presidency.

And we should not be afraid to express ourselves.

Name-calling, belittling, irrationality, condemnation: None of this is helpful. These mindsets have sloshed over into attacks on anyone who calls out the president, including Michael Moore, Glenn Greenwald, and others. Are these people not allowed to have an opinion that challenges those who fully embrace Obama?

And to those who continue to seethe and reject President Obama, are those who support him (even people like me who who express both frustration and approval) deserving of unabated condescension and vitriol?

If someone tweets kudos to Michael Moore, they get pounced on; if another tweets their adoration of the president, they get an earful. Please understand, I'm not talking about friendly venting or healthy debate, I'm talking about outright hostility and disparagement.

If there's one thing we can take away, at least so far, from the Occupy movement, it's civility and discipline. Throngs of diverse citizens have managed to gather in large groups without berating each other... at least that's what's being reported.

Here are some Tweets that I picked up in the last few minutes. Wouldn't you know it? These are only mildly representative of what I'm discussing here, and some are more civilized and reasonable than what I'm used to seeing/receiving. Also, today they're concentrating more on Moore rather than on the president. Timing is everything.

I've included both pro and anti views of both the president and Moore:

 If GOP gains WH, shouldn't blame go mostly to Obama for failing to inspire by not delivering on his promises? I'll not vote 4 GOP.

Just don't feel like hero worshiping this time. Scandal free maybe but huge disappointment none the less

Admit it. It's true! RT @GottaLaff: President Obama’s miracle: A scandal-free White House

Yet another betrayal that convinces me I was a dupe for volunteering 100s of hrs for Obama2008 =(

We had two years of pro lefties like @MMFlint pissing and moaning about Obama, enabling #GOP resurgence.

It's self-appointed spokespeople like @MMFlint who split the left instead of unifying it around Obama.

the professional left = not your friend and damn sure not the 99%

 WAKE THE FUCK UP PEOPLE: @mmflint [Michael Moore] IS NOT PART OF THE 99%!!!! Stop your mooning over him, he's just another opportunist trying to co-op

Dear @MMFlint, you don't speak for me. I'm the 99%, I'm a lifelong die-hard Democrat, and I support @BarackObama 100%

Yes @mmflint is the 1% but he has been fighting against unfair capitalism for a while, and yes both parties are whores to rich.

Dear @MMFlint, study w/ @VanJones68. He could teach U abt advocating 4 progressive change w/out shitting on the Democrats.

How do you see him [Moore] f-ing up? He has legitimacy with both the movement itself & the populace with a proven track record that resonates.

@MMFlint: what a big hypocite....mr. millionaire at the occupy spouting out his hatred and poison.

@mmflint seems to have appointed himself leader of the #OWS movement. Opportunistic asshat.

@MMFlint stopping by? On the way to dinner. Such a nice multi millionaire fraud. Utter scumbag.

@MMFlint What do you have for them today, blankets infected with smallpox?

@MMFlint Thanks for Leading...!

13 more dead solders @BarackObama is doing a heck of a job.

I really wish I could have dug up some of the more emotionally charged ones (although, as you can see, I finally spotted a few), but that's all I could manage to grab on a lazy Saturday morning.

I personally think Michael Moore has helped draw attention to Occupy Wall Street and its goals, which to me is a positive. And I don't quite get why one can't be critical of the left and of the president and still support them/him.

lets all split of [sic] into groups split the vote and watch the right run off with our lunch

Don't both (left) sides see that this is exactly what they're doing?

Come on, Dems, Occupy Respect.

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If you hate taxes, here are 102 things NOT to do

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Addictinginfo.org has all 102, but here's a partial list of "do nots" for those who disdain what Marxist Muslim Kenyan French Commie Socialists like me stand for.

I've never seen such mass political foot-shooting as I have in the past couple of years. Paddy and I agree, start concentrating on promoting, finding, supporting congressional candidates, because they clearly make a difference. Vote. Do NOT sit out elections, as many did in 2010, because you see what that got us. We need to get the tea baggers out and Progressives in. And once and for all, be civil.

So, you’re a Republican that hates taxes? Well, since you do not like taxes or government, please kindly do the following.

1. Do not use Medicare.
2. Do not use Social Security
3. Do not become a member of the US military, who are paid with tax dollars.
4. Do not ask the National Guard to help you after a disaster.
5. Do not call 911 when you get hurt.
6. Do not call the police to stop intruders in your home.
7. Do not summon the fire department to save your burning home.
8. Do not drive on any paved road, highway, and interstate or drive on any bridge.
9. Do not use public restrooms.
10. Do not send your kids to public schools.
11. Do not put your trash out for city garbage collectors.
...
13. Do not drink clean water.
14. Do not visit National Parks.
...
16. Do not eat or use FDA inspected food and medicines.
...
18. Do not walk or run on sidewalks.
...
23. Do not use the judiciary system for any reason.
24. Do not ask for an attorney when you are arrested and do not ask for one to be assigned to you by the court.
...
26. Do not use cures that were discovered by labs using federal dollars.
27. Do not fly on federally regulated airplanes.
...
31. Do not listen to tsunami, hurricane, or earthquake alert systems.
...
33. Do not use the internet, which was developed by the military.
...
36. Do not ask for FEMA assistance when everything you own gets wiped out by disaster.
37. Do not ask the military to defend your life and home in the event of a foreign invasion.
38. Do not use your cell phone or home telephone.
39. Do not buy firearms that wouldn’t have been developed without the support of the US Government and military. That includes most of them.
40. Do not eat USDA inspected produce and meat.
...
43. Do not buy any vehicle that has been inspected by government safety agencies.
44. Do not buy any product that is protected from poisons, toxins, etc…by the Consumer Protection Agency.
...
46. Do not use Veterans benefits or military health care.
...
48. Do not apply for unemployment benefits.
49. Do not use any electricity from companies regulated by the Department of Energy.
50. Do not live in homes that are built to code.
51. Do not run for public office. Politicians are paid with taxpayer dollars.
52. Do not ask for help from the FBI, S.W.A.T, the bomb squad, Homeland Security, State troopers, etc…
53. Do not apply for any government job whatsoever as all state and federal employees are paid with tax dollars.
54. Do not use public libraries.
55. Do not use the US Postal Service.
...
61. Do not ask the Department of Agriculture to provide a subsidy to help you run your farm.
...
63. Do not ask for taxpayer dollars for your oil company.
64. Do not ask the federal government to bail your company out during recessions.
...
70. Do not ask the Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild levees when they break.
71. Do not let the Coast Guard save you from drowning when your boat capsizes at sea.
72. Do not ask the government to help evacuate you when all hell breaks loose in the country you are in.
...
79. Do not use public transportation.
80. Do not drink water from public water fountains.
81. Do not whine when someone copies your work and sells it as their own. Government enforces copyright laws.
82. Do not expect to own your home, car, or boat. Government organizes and keeps all titles.
...
85. Do not seek help from the US Embassy if you need assistance in a foreign nation.
86. Do not apply for a passport to travel outside of the United States.
...
88. Do not adopt a child through your local, state, or federal governments. [Laffy Note: Check that out, anti-choicers]
...
94. Do not use money printed by the US Treasury.
95. Do not complain when millions more illegal immigrants cross the border because there are no more border patrol agents.
96. Do not attend a state university.
97. Do not see any doctor that is licensed through the state.
...
101. Do not expect to be able to vote on election days. Government provides voting booths, election day officials, and voting machines which are paid for with taxes.
...

Please go here for the rest.

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The GOP's "up-is-downism", and the Dems' lines in the sand that they promptly erased

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Greg Sargent:

... Republicans — in perhaps the most remarkable example of political up-is-downism in recent memory — cast their willingness to dangle the threat of national crisis as a brave and heroic effort they’d undertaken on behalf of the national interest. Only the threat of national crisis could force the immediate spending cuts supposedly necessary to prevent a far more epic crisis later. [...]

Again and again, Dems drew lines in the sand that they promptly erased as the threat of default grew. A clean debt ceiling hike? Dropped. Cuts to Medicare benefits? They’ll likely be in that committee’s crosshairs. The insistence on revenue hikes? Withdrawn. [...]

Dems weren’t prepared to allow default — no matter what. Republicans, by contrast, treated the debt ceiling hike as a necessity, but one that had to happen on their terms. In a remarkable act of political cynicism, they recast the debt ceiling hike itself as a GOP concession — even though they had already agreed it had to happen to avert an epic national crisis. And Dems made this possible by accepting the dynamics of the situation as Republicans defined it.

Please, go read the whole thing here.

I can tell you this much: After monitoring Twitter day after day, I've observed a growing divide between not only Dems v. Republicans, but also between die-hard Obama defenders and those who criticize him. It's worrisome that people can't express differing opinions without being either attacked, ridiculed, or shunned... including by fellow Democrats. And to me, that is as disappointing and disturbing as this so-called "deal".

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Cartoon of the Day

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You know it's true. Via.

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