Archive for the 'Political Rants' Category

March, Organize, Resist

February 5, 2017

It’s hard to believe that we are only 16 days into the presidency of a ‘person’ who lost the popular election by roughly 3 million votes and only won the Electoral College because of 77,000 votes. I use the term ‘person’ loosely, because the so called president is really an animated caricature of an actual human being. And I refer to him as the ‘so called president’ because if you account for all of the voter suppression tactics employed against us, then the so called president most likely wouldn’t have won the Electoral College either.

So here we are in what can be called a coup. Our democratic processes have been hijacked, our election stolen, and every single part of our government and all of its institutions are under siege. Forces beyond our shores have crippled our national dialogue through deceit and manipulation, and internal conspirators have fed into, and used for their own nefarious purposes, our distrust, our ambivalence, and our disorganization, to achieve the goal of rendering us voiceless and powerless.

We are a divided nation, a conquered people. For decades many, if not most, of us have bitched and moaned about bureaucracy, have complained endlessly about the tone deafness of D.C., and have watched with disdain as our tax dollars were pissed down the drain by a greedy and power hungry cabal of empty suits who always promise the moon but rarely deliver more than a few rotten crumbs for the huddled masses to fight over.

We have always known that there were people among us who wished to do this nation harm. But instead of focusing on the few who would rule us, we have often fallen into the trap that it is our neighbor who is to be feared. That the person who looks, speaks or worships differently than us must somehow be trying to take something from us. The tactics of fear and paranoia keep us at war with each other. Meanwhile the 1% steal our rights and plunder our national treasures.

Though most of us may have hated the way Washington works, few if any ever gave up on the notion of representative democracy. We never called for the complete destruction of the institutions that make up our government. What many of us have always called for is recognition and reform. We have fought for the recognition of all people, regardless of race, class, creed, or gender, as equal partners in, and equal members of, this self governing experiment. And we have striven to reform the system to make it better represent and serve everyone, not just a chosen few.

What is happening now did not materialize over night. It has been a long game, a campaign by the most craven and zealous fought both in the open and behind the scenes. While most of us are worried about paying the bills, the elitists concern themselves with their own enrichment at our expense. While we vote in each election with the hope that our representatives will use their time in public service to make life better, fairer, for everyone, an army of lobbyists representing the moneyed interests seeks to undermine democracy and shift the profits of our labors into the pockets of their masters.

I wish I could provide a sense of hope in these troubled times, say that our marches, our letters, our phone calls will save us. And maybe they will. If we find focus, if we become organized, if we stay engaged and don’t give into fatigue and despair, then we might just have a chance in hell of resisting the forces that have seized control of our government. The so called president, his minions, and the power brokers will not tire of the fight, so neither must we.

The history of the last century has shown us the dangers of fascism, of totalitarianism. It has laid bare the dangers we all now face. Unfortunately that history also shows us how easily people can be convinced to give into the worst of human nature. How in our longing for something better, something or someone to save us, we become willing participants in our own enslavement.

The question is, will we as a people unite in our own defense? Will we find common cause, realize that we are all in this together? That our greatest strength is unity? That regardless of whether you live in a small town in the mid-west or a coastal city, your rights, your dreams, your future are in peril? We breathe the same air, drink the same water, depend on the same structures and have the same fundamental yearning to live a full and meaningful life.

My goal over the coming days, weeks and months is to find that common cause, and to figure out how to voice it in such a way that I find unity with my fellow citizens. Screaming at each other is what got us here. Perhaps it’s time to listen to each other. To learn to speak with each other, not at each other. Because otherwise we all loose. Maybe I am being idealistic, but I do believe that the majority of people are decent, and that ours is a shared struggle. I refuse to be dragged into nihilism, to give up on my brothers and sisters.

Whatever you do today, be kind to those around you. If they call you names, don’t call them names back. If they push you, don’t push back. Lead by example. Show everyone around you that decency and compassion are greater that hate and fear. Most of all, refuse to accept the notion that all is lost. This is my biggest challenge for sure. We are still here, every one of us. Our government may be currently infested with a tyrannical disease, but that doesn’t mean we have to give ourselves over to its sickness. Continue to speak truth to power. Your voice is your weapon. Focus its strike at the true enemy, not those around you acting out of their own sense of loss and desperation.

March, organize and resist.

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So That Happened

November 17, 2016

I have been trying to put to words my thoughts and feelings on the election. For now this video will have to do:

Aftermath November 2016 from Steve Cohen on Vimeo.

Updated – Just Another Riot in America

April 27, 2015

Oh Wolf Blitzer. It’s not amazing that this riot is happening in a major US city. It is amazing that riots like this aren’t happening in every major city as a response to the systematic racism, police brutality, imprisonment and overall disrespect and contempt hurled at minorities in this country. Do I condone this behavior? Fuck me. Who cares what this white man thinks. Who fucking cares what you think Wolf. Condemn away.

And this bullshit about “This isn’t how you bring about change.” Well then how? It’s not like things haven’t been screwed up since the inception of this country. And continue to be. And will continue to be, because the powers that be don’t want things to change. They just don’t fucking care as long as white privilege is maintained.

When Republicans say they want their country back, they mean they want an America that is pre-Civil Rights. They want a country where women, blacks, all others, know ‘their place’. Where a white man doesn’t have to compete against ‘others’ in the workplace. Where they can be sexists, homophobics, bigots and no one will dare challenge them on it.

I mean my god we elected a black man President and the Right has done nothing but try to delegitimize him ever since. Question his status as a citizen. Check. Claim he’s a Muslim. Check. Claim he’s a fascist. Check. Attack his mother. Check. Bring the country to a halt. Check. Circumvent the office of the President in international treaty negotiations. Check. Throw out every damn fridge ass conspiracy theory someone can pull out of their ass no matter how racist or insane. Check.

Never mind that people are hunting other people at the border. Or that the War on Drugs has ravaged the black community. Or that states are bringing segregation back in schools. Or that women still don’t have control over their own bodies. Or that the gay community is still fighting for basic civil rights. Or that our democratic process has been given away to the rich on a silver platter. Nope. Let’s believe that things will change if all the ‘others’ would just sit down and talk.

People have been talking for over two centuries. And things are still fucked up. Black men are still being gunned down. Women are still second class citizens. Gays are still vilified as child molesters. Immigrants are still blamed for all our ails. Maybe if things actually changed riots like this wouldn’t happen. But judging by the rise in militias, by the words spoken by Republican Presidential candidates, by the rise of the Tea Party in American politics, the Right just doesn’t give a fuck. They want their country back and to hell with everyone and anyone who they don’t deem ‘real Americans’.

This riot is a blemish Wolf? You want to know what’s a blemish? The fact that so many Americans not only seem completely ignorant of our shared history, but that they are proud of that ignorance. They wear it like a badge of honor. That is what a fucking blemish looks like.

But please Wolf, go back to the fainting couch and continue acting so shocked by this kind of thing. Yep, there probably are a bunch of provocateurs involved here. But why? What event or events occurred that gave them this opportunity? Why do these riots happen? Ask yourself that. Then look in the mirror.

Update 1: Apparently the Baltimore Orioles’ VP and COO gets it:

That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.

Update 2 – Steven D over at Progress Pond lays out a hell of an argument for how a militarized police force creates riots.

Thoughts on the OAS

May 16, 2014

Um, what? Read this article and see if you can figure out what exactly these people want to achieve. My biggest problem with this and similar movements is the conflicting, manic, and utterly incoherent nature of their stated grievances. They throw around words like tyranny, freedom, liberty, revolution and the like as if it’s a contest to see who can use them the most per paragraph. Yet they never seem to have a real answer for what would happen the day after if their little fits of rage actually achieved their purported goals.

They all seem convinced that America was paradise right up until President Obama got elected. That somehow everything suddenly went to shit in 2009. I’m not in any way saying there are no problems in this country. There are real issues that need addressed, both here and globally if humanity is to continue to survive, not just thrive. However, what these folks seem to be selling has more to do with listening to too much hate radio than actual facts.

What do they really want? What does their dream America actually look like? I am guessing the 1950’s is as best a vision as we can find. Back when women and minorities knew their place, the MIC was never questioned in their drive to kill us all, this country was laser focused on destroying communism to the point that things like human rights and democracy abroad meant nothing. A fever dream of American might, of industrial strength and fanatical patriotism.

The echo chamber they live in pumps them up more and more each day. And this I fear will eventually lead to real trouble. We worry about lone wolves, but at some point, especially if a Democrat wins the White House in 2016, this will boil over into more. One of these days a group of these angry white guys will actually try and follow through with their threats.

I am going to guess that these same folks all voted for the very politicians that have sold the heart of this nation to Wall Street time and again. That they cheer when taxes are cut but then bemoan the crumbling of the very institutions those taxes support. And no doubt their versions of freedom and liberty will do nothing to further the causes of civil rights, environmental stewardship or universal peace.

No, they are our version of the Taliban. Fundamentalists clinging to an ideal that never really existed, willing to take up arms and force their own view of paradise on the rest of us, with no regard to the hell they would in fact create. Revolutionaries who would in the end create another failed state, one where real tyranny would rein supreme. History books are filled with them.

Thougths On The Shutdown II

October 2, 2013

Maybe we should give the far right what it wants. Let’s sell off all federal land. Let’s get rid of all taxes. Let’s get rid of all regulations. Let’s make this a fundamentalist Taliban, I mean Christian, nation. No right for women, for workers, for minorities. Let’s make voting a privilege reserved only for the rich that vote the ‘rightway’.

Let’s wage wars for profit, because we will have to pay for that military somehow. Let’s all sit in our personal bunkers with our arsenals, at least those of us that can afford guns.

Maybe break the country up into tribal regions, where strongmen rule with iron fists. Hell, let’s re-institute slavery.

Because if you really listen to the far right that is what they seem to be pushing us towards.

Thoughts On The Shutdown

October 2, 2013

A small number of Congress folks, who are serving a small number of citizens thanks to gerrymandering, have shut down our government because of legislation that makes healthcare affordable to many who could not get it otherwise.

This has nothing to do with anything other than politics. The Republican party knows that the success of the ACA is a major political defeat for them. So they would rather throw millions of Americans back into a world where people can’t get coverage, are dropped from coverage when they get sick, and have ‘lifetime’ limits that really mean if you get really sick you will go broke. They want us to be at the mercy of real death panels, aka corporate boardrooms.

People were literally chained to jobs because they couldn’t change jobs if they had a sick kid. The rest of us picked up the bill when the uninsured couldn’t pay their bills. College students couldn’t stay on their parent’s insurance. Corporations could keep as much of the money we spent on insurance as they wanted to.

I wish I could say I am surprised, but I’m not. We live in a country where hate is the norm. We live in a country where people are fearful of their government, and each other, to the point that they need to build up personal arsenals. Yet those same people don’t seem to give two shits about domestic spying, a real issue that actually does infringe on our rights.

People scream for ‘small government’ without taking into consideration how those regulations make their lives better. We have a great, if crumbling, infrastructure, safe food, safe water, etc. Yet some would have us loose all that and any protection against predatory business practices. Never mind the whole ‘no taxes’ meme, which never seems to include how multinational corporations have rigged international tax laws to their benefit.

But hey, let’s just say fuck it. Let’s throw it all down the drain. Let’s return to the days before the Great Depression, when workers had no rights. When food made you sick, when we had no highway system, when women and minorities had no rights. When if and when you got sick you just died in the street. When once you got too old to work you were just trash.

And I am sick and tired of the ‘You have to take care of your own meme’. We are all in this together. Our country, and all of us in it, benefit when our sick are taken care of. We all benefit when children can eat, are healthy, and can get educated.

The government isn’t some other entity separate from everyone else, except when we don’t pay attention and let a small number of people manipulate it to their advantage at the expense of the rest of us.

Something is wrong when corporations don’t pay taxes yet make their money using the infrastructure we all pay for. Something is wrong when we have to cut school budgets yet can buy billions in weapons to fight unnecessary wars. And something is seriously wrong when people work their whole lives only to see their pensions stolen, or are forced into the Wall Street scam that is 401k’s while being told that Social Security is somehow bad even when it works.

There has been a long battle to return to the Gilded Age waged in this country. And too many have fallen for it. So here we are, our government shut down, our economy on the brink after barely surviving a major recession.

Oh but we can turn to churches or charities for help. Because that’s apparently the new American dream, begging.

A comment on the IRS:

June 11, 2013

Yes we need to pay taxes. You hate doing that? So you also hate roads, schools, police that come when you call, regulators keeping your food safe, shit like that? Cause that’s what they pay for.

What? They pay for shit you don’t like too? Join the club. You think you pay too much? Doesn’t everyone.

Calling for the abolition of the IRS is pretty fucking pointless. Even with something like a flat tax (bad idea) we would still need someone to collect said tax. The IRS by any other name is a bunch of people collecting taxes and, yes, doing audits.

I know, let’s privatize everything! Because no corporation has ever fucked people over to make a profit. Nope. Not once.

But the tax code is too fucking complicated? You can thank yourself and everyone else for that. Politicians have twisted taxes all to hell to get and keep your vote. And yes I know rich people and corporations do it too.

So why all of the IRS hatred? Easy target. Gets voters all riled up. You are told to hate them because they collect your taxes even as you benefit from the things those taxes pay for.

Just a thought…

May 11, 2013

Still waiting for those hearings on the invasion of Iraq. Any day now…oh look, Benghazi, that’s a foreign sounding place. Close enough I guess.

Something I need to get off my chest.

May 11, 2013

The argument has been put forth that we, the citizens of this country, need guns because one day (soon to some) we will need to fight off a, make that our, tyrannical government.

Here’s my problem with this notion.

The reason our government is so jacked up is because of ‘we’ the citizens. That’s right, we either keep voting the same people into office, or we don’t participate at all.

We never hold anyone accountable. We don’t study our own history. We don’t pay attention unless something dramatic, and usually pointless, happens.

So let’s say this fairy tale battle takes place, and we defeat, um, ourselves? I mean who the fuck are we going to be fighting anyways? The military made up of our brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, etc?

But that’s beside the point. Let us say we ‘win’. Tyranny defeated. Do you really think that somehow everything is just going to shit itself right?

Suddenly everyone is going to put on their magic thinking caps and actually change their ways? Please.

Give it a week and we will vote the same assholes right back into office in our new and improved super-duper America.

Guns don’t protect you from tyranny in a democracy (I know, it’s technically a federal republic but whatever). Paying attention, voting, participating, you know, doing something other than sitting around polishing your guns and waiting for the end of times, those things protect us.

That’s the genius of our system. And its weakness. Because it depends on ‘we’ the citizens, not guns, not war. Us.

A Must Read (or two)

October 18, 2011

Sums it all up pretty darn well.

Universal suffrage and liberal freedoms empower all citizens in a radically equal manner. But the one-person/one-vote principle does little to prevent oligarchs from exercising the power of money in a manner that is profoundly unequal. Formal juridical equality is essential to human freedom. But full political equality, even in the most liberal democracy, is impossible as long as concentrated wealth places grossly unequal political influence in the hands of a few citizens. Democracy fused with oligarchy is certainly better than no democracy at all. But there should be no illusions that it is anything other than a partial step toward full political equality and representation.

OK, this is a good one too. Glenn Greenwald at his finest.