March 31, 2010

GDAE Podcast - Episode 29

Can Left & Right Unite?

  • Today's Question: Would it be possible for principled people on the left and right join forces to take on the consolidated power of the status quo?
  • Relfecting on the rising right wing populist movement that gravitated to McCain/Palin rallies in 2008, held tea bag rallies, and disrupted town hall meetings on healthcare.
  • Home grown Music: Voice of a nine-year-old and rough rendition of "Sliding Down"...
  • Prosecute Bush: "Arrest Blair dot Com"... as in British prime minister Tony Blair?

Play Episode 29 from this page:

Click to Download Episode 29.

Previous Episodes & 60-Sec Promo:
GDAE Podcast 60-Second Promo

GDAE Podcast Episode 28 March 7, 2010
GDAE Podcast Episode 27 February 21, 2010
GDAE Podcast Episode 26 February 7, 2010
GDAE Podcast Episode 25 January 19, 2010
GDAE Podcast Episode 24 December 31, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 23 November 29, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 22 November 11, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 21 October 18, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 20 October 9, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 19 September 27, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 18 September 16, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 17 August 31, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 16 July 30, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 15 June 17, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 14 June 10, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 13 May 22, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 12May 5, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 11 April 24, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 10 April 9, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 9March 28, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 8 March 15, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 7 March 1, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 6 February 17, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 5 February 6, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 4 January 24, 2009


March 29, 2010

A New Politics

After a discussion about commonalities on the left and right of the political spectrum, a friend of mine summed up a compelling new politics. The "party" of Principled People versus what he called demagogues... it's not about "left" and "right."

Aside: I think he used the term "demagogues" for effect and simply meant "unprincipled" people. Admittedly, on controversial issues the notion of one's "principles" breaks down; the subject of abortion is one such example. But one can recognize principled people who conduct themselves in a fair and honest way.

Today's political situation is in flux and this "new politics," were it to manifest itself in electoral party politics, would be temporary. It would be an instance of moderate elements of the populist left and right asserting control to refresh a corrupted political system. Common people on the left and right recognize the corrupting influence of big money in both legislative and judicial elections.

Other areas of common interest between common people on the left and right include:

Concern about...

  • Consolidation of wealth perpetuated by Wall Street's culture of anything goes .
  • Consolidated control of the mass media
  • Consolidation of corporate control ... Big Business that outsources jobs and makes it impossible for small businesses to compete fairly.... monopolies, cartels, oligopolies.
  • We're concerned with what some call "activist judges"... like those Supreme Court judges who recently decided that corporations should have MORE influence over the political electoral process when the Citizens United case before them should have been decided on more narrow grounds.
  • We share a concern about police brutality

In other words, we share concerns about the consolidation of power among a small sector of our society.

  • We didn't like the bank bailouts that perpetuated this power when we had a chance to put the bankers in their place.
  • We believe in national sovereignty, something we give up with so-called "free trade" agreements written by transnational corporate lawyers.
  • We share opposition to warrantless wire tapping and other privacy invasions of the USA PATRIOT Act
  • We're mutually concerned about the erosion of of Posse Comitatus Act, which places limits on the US military's use of police powers for domestic law enforcement.
  • Similarly, we share concerns about the CIA conducting domestic operations contrary to its founding charter.
  • We share concerns about joblessness and homelessness
  • We share the concern that the two major political parties are increasingly out of touch with real concerns of the people, in part because we recognize they have been captured by a dysfunctional political system corrupted by the consolidated power referenced earlier.


GDAE Podcast Episode 29


March 28, 2010

Middle Class

In the news:

For the 50 percent of families in the middle of the scale, household income ranges from $51,000 to $123,000 for a typical four-person, two-parent family.

The median is about $81,000. [half the families make more, half make less].

Median income for a single-parent, two-child family is about $25,000. [mostly women... they're hurting].

Those numbers are from 2008, and have probably fallen 5 to 7 percent since then, on account of the recession.


U.S. News March 23, 2010


March 21, 2010

High Drama in DC

It's amazing that the healthcare bill, which I'd say doesn't qualify as real "reform," is certainly competing for attention with the NCAA Basketball madness.

It's a difficult calculus. The right-wing, corporate-funded propaganda machine has had an effect. The Obama administration, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich, have felt the effect; "failure" to pass "something," with the potential of loosing the Presidency to the paranoid right wing, was weighing on Kucinich when he decided to vote "yes." I'm guessing he imagined the Sarah Palin wing of the Republican Party taking control if Obama "failed" to pass healthcare and he got scared... can't say I blame hem.

The positives: No more denial of coverage for existing conditions, no more dropping people, parents can keep their kids on their insurance until age 26.

The negatives: YOU MUST BUY HEALTH INSURANCE! YOU MUST give your money to evil health insurance corporations that, with their consolidated wealth, will further entrench their power over Congress and our democracy in the years to come.

*Shrug*? I think we should keep pushing for Alan Grayson's option for anyone who wants to be able to buy Medicare at cost.

Now. Lets turn our attention to reforming the US Senate starting with the frigg'n filibuster.


March 17, 2010

When Frat Boys Rule

A Texan cringes at her college son's contemplation of joining a fraternity. She ponders the history of past frat boys who work their way into the system, in her example,

In my mind, some of those assholes are very likely among the smug bastards sitting on the education commission dictating standards for Texas' text books. They were all particularly jolly when Ronald Reagan came to power - them in their Izods and Topsiders.

She takes some solace in her mother's motherly advice:

"give them enough rope."

True enough, I think.

We gave the pledge bros, who ended up on Wall Street, "enough rope," they drilled the economy into the ground, we bailed them out, and they still continue to spew worn out mantras about "less regulation," "lower taxes," and, get this, "free market"... and the pledge brothers and sisters who ended up as celebrity talking heads on the TV machine blather on in the same way.

But as the high school popularity contest, or should I say "college" popularity contest, has worked its way into the upper echelons of society, I had to wonder:

Lots of rope out there, but I'm not so sure the fraternity pledge-crowd isn't using it on us.


Calling a Spade a Spade, Menopausal Stoner blog.


March 14, 2010

Breaking News: Glenn Beck Attacks GDAEman

It has recently been reported on CNNBC that Glenn Beck has taken a swipe at me. As if I care.

See Video Here. (skip the facebook thing)


March 12, 2010

Daily Kos' Marcos Moulitsas Asked to Recant

As you might have heard on the DemocracyNow! daily program, "progressive" blogger Marcos Moulitsas blasted Congressman Dennis Kucinich's principled position on healthcare.

    MARKOS MOULITSAS: [I’m going to hold] people like Dennis Kucinich responsible for the 40,000 Americans that die each year from a lack of healthcare. And I don’t care if you’re a Republican or you’re a conservative Democrat or you’re somebody like Dennis Kucinich. The fact is, this does a heck of a lot for a lot of people. And like I said, it’s not perfect, it definitely needs to be improved, but it’s a first step. And God knows, it’s taken us a long time to even get our toe in the door, given the corporate interests that are arrayed against any kind of real reform. So I think this is a first step. It’s definitely not the end of the path. It’s not the ideal solution. But we are—our foot’s in the door. And if somebody like Kucinich wants to block that, I find that completely reprehensible.

    And he’s elected, not to run for president, which he seems to do every four years. He’s not elected to grandstand and to—and to give us this ideal utopian society. He’s elected to represent the people of his district, and he’s not representing the uninsured constituents in his district by pretending to take the high ground here. What he’s doing, he’s undermining this reform. He’s making common cause with the Republicans. And I think that’s a perfect excuse and a rationale for a primary challenge.

Rep. Kucinich explained his steady principled position, explained that he has not been intransigent and had struck compromises throughout the process. Without showing any angst toward Marcos Moulitsas, and in his steady way, Kucinich explained that the ball remains in play and that tactics are involved that Moulitsas appears not to have considered:

I have a responsibility to take a stand here on behalf of those who want a public option. There’s about thirty-four members of the Senate, at least, who have signed on to saying they support a public option.

If I were to just concede right now and say, “Well, you know, whatever you want. All this pressure’s building. Just forget about it,” actually weakens every last-minute bit of negotiations that would try to improve the bill.

I hope you'll join me in telling Marcos M. of the Daily KOS that you support Kucinch's principled position. Here's what I had to say:
I'd like to register my solidarity with Rep. Dennis Kucinich in his principled stance on healthcare reform. He has enough pressures from the corporate wing of the Democratic Party that he doesn't need to receive it from Marcos Moulitsas.

From a strategic standpoint, we need Kucinich to stand on the end of the lever during these final days and weeks of negotiation.

I think it would be a good tactic for Marocos to publicly recant what he said about Kucinich. It would keep the issue alive, and maybe we'll get something other than a huge stream of dollars to the insurance industry that they will use to lock in the status quo.

For Your Convenience:


Thanks to GLH Blog for nudging me to post this.

DemocracyNow!, "Rep. Dennis Kucinich Takes on Democratic Leaders with Insistence on Public Option, Call for Afghan Withdrawal", March 11, 2010.


March 11, 2010

On My Mind March 11

On my mind:

  • Where has honesty gone? A culture of half-truths and down right lies has invaded our TV sets.
  • Common cause on the right and left. Don't trust the federal reserve? Think the bank bailout was an establishment bailout? Find the official 9/11 story to be spurious? Know that torture is Un-American? See through the excuses for going to war in Iraq and lament the profiteering? Then you must be a member of the right wing... no I mean the left wing... err... I'm confused.

March 10, 2010

Public Option Senate Letter

Has your Senator signed on to support the public option for healthcare?


Time to raise our mutual voices.

For Your Convenience:
  • Contact the US Senate
  • Contact the House of Representatives

  • Sources:


    March 7, 2010

    GDAE Podcast - Episode 28

    What Motivates Political Action?
    • Corporate Power: Supreme Court sides with Coal Mine Profits over People.
    • Prosecute Bush: The Chilcot Inquiry into Britain's role in the Iraq war, a window into a US inquiry.
    • MUSIC: Francisco Herrera mixed with poetry, "Casas de Carton"...
    • The Psychology of Motivating Action: Is "more" always better? Research suggests that isn't the case.
    • Experimental psychology: The Gaza Strip test case.
    • Hope: A key ingredient in a person's decision to join a cause.

    Sighted First Robin of the Season Today


    March 4, 2010

    Release Full British Foreign Office Iraq strategy paper

    Why should we be able to see the entire British Foreign Office Strategy paper on Iraq from November 2000? The British Foreign Office was good enough to explain why:

    "Releasing the paper would make Government more accountable and increase trust," the Foreign Office conceded. "There is public interest in being able to assess the quality of advice being given to ministers and subsequent decision-making."

    According to The Independent of UK, "The strategy paper was commissioned by Sir William Patey (right), then head of Middle East policy at the Foreign Office, ahead of the November 2000 presidential election which brought George Bush to the White House. "

    Thanks to the efforts of The Independent UK, "the Foreign Office eventually agreed to release a redacted version – with the views of the United States and other countries blacked out."

    Lets call for the re-release of a version that shows the views of the Clinton Administration. Lets call on the US State Department to give Britain the OK to do so. Here's my request to the US State Dept.:

    Subject: British November 2000 Strategy Paper on Iraq

    I'm writing to request that the US State Department allow the British Foreign Office to release references to US views in the the November 2000 strategy paper on Iraq that was commissioned by Sir William Patey.

    For further reference, See:

    Thank You

    For Your Convenience:

    The Independent UK, "Blair warned in 2000 Iraq war was illegal: Secret papers withheld by Chilcot inquiry reveal Foreign Office fears over invasion," March 2, 2010.


    March 3, 2010

    10 Steps to Start Taking Back Our Republic

    The more interesting ones come at the end of the list...

    1. Secure the Vote (Remove doubts from the voting process)
    2. Expand Voter Participation
    3. Increase Voter Choice with Instant Runoff Voting (Require the winner to have at least 50% of the voting public's support)
    4. Scrap Winner-Take-All Elections (Proportional Representation)
    5. Direct Election of the President
    6. Overhaul the U.S. Senate
    7. Reclaim the Airwaves
    8. Minimize Money's Role
    9. Reform the Supreme Court
    10. Restore Faith in Government of the People.


    Steven Hill book, "10 Steps to Repair American Democracy".


    March 2, 2010

    Noose Tightening for Tony Blair

    It might be true that Britain's Chilcot investigation is toothless, but such inquiries can take on a life of their own. On March 2, The Independent of the UK ran the headline:

    An invasion of Iraq was discussed within the Government more than two years before military action was taken – with the Foreign Office warning that an invasion would be illegal...

    Secret Foreign Office strategy papers drawn up by senior civil servants at the end of 2000 have been obtained by this newspaper and are published for the first time today. The Iraq: future strategy document considers options for dealing with the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

    The document also calls into question Mr Blair's claim that using troops to bring down Saddam Hussein was only discussed after the 9/11 terror attacks on New York – and will increase pressure on the inquiry to call Mr Blair back to give further public evidence this summer.

    At some point facts emerge that are an existential threat to a government's legitimacy. The potential loss of legitimacy forces the government into an inescapable calculus: Is it worse for the entire government to loose its legitimacy or is it worse to throw a former Prime minister under the bus? The calculus is easy, Tony Blair must be sacrificed for the greater good, for the stability of society that depends on preserving the legitimacy of the government.


    Credit to Ten Percent for drawing this to my attention.

    The Independent UK, "Blair warned in 2000 Iraq war was illegal: Secret papers withheld by Chilcot inquiry reveal Foreign Office fears over invasion," March 2, 2010.

    By Michael Savage, Political Correspondent


    March 1, 2010

    Tea Baggers Say "No Federal Role in Education"

    It's true. I heard a Tea Party activist say the feds have no role in education; should be a state function only.

    OK, in that case, I'd like to see the elected Teabagger turn back the money that Obama is proposing to direct to the states.

    President Barack Obama will offer $900 million in grants to states and school districts to turn around low-performing schools ...

    When you consider that the $900 million would go very far in helping state and local governments, help maintain jobs prevent further economic stagnation, and only equates to maybe a week of the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it gives a little perspective to the often simplistic views of the Tea Party hierarchy.

    For Your Convenience: