In the days of yore, say 1911 or so, the grandest designs for “Developing America” were more Skyscrapers, Sports Arenas and Suburbs. A mere twenty years later the boosters of these designs had led the nation into the Great Depression. Now, almost 100 years later, with abandoned shopping malls littering the countryside, the boosters of indiscriminate building are at it again. With no plan in hand, the city leaders of Los Angeles are chortling about how a new Football Stadium for an imaginary NFL Team will usher in an era of jobs, jobs, jobs for all Angelenos. And with even greater fanfare, they proclaim that it will not cost us a single nickel. Like a preening reality show star, with little oversight or vetting of the facts, L.A. Downtown Democrats are busily jamming this one down our throats. But what if it all is a mirage? Could there be a downside? Why has the public debate been buttoned up? Is this actually a “Deal with the Devil” in the clever old disguise of “Civic Improvements?” These are questions unanswered and worth asking. So, dear citizens, let us examine together this precarious proposition.
For the sake of this discussion I will divide our inquiry into three parts: The Imaginary NFL Team, The True Cost of a Stadium and Alternatives for Jobs and Development of Greater Los Angeles.
The obvious first question regarding the new and heretofore “Imaginary” NFL team coming to Los Angeles is ~ which city in America will it be stolen from? San Diego? Oakland? Indianapolis? You see, in order for us to have a team, some billionaire owner of a current team in the NFL would have to dislodge themselves from their current cozy home and head for the gold country of L.A. I suppose if the team snuck out in the middle of the night from some far-flung outpost of the NFL Billionaires Boys Club that we would not feel the pain of the fans and jobs it leaves behind. If though, it came from SoCal or NorCal, would the sharp stick in the ribs of our neighbors be more acutely experienced? Just think back to all of the hapless Rams & Raiders fans left holding their season tickets and soiled seat cushions, their commemorative jerseys and festooned hats, as the buses rolled out of town in the darkness for Oakland and St. Louis. Lest we forget, there are all of the jobs that left with the teams as well. So, Los Angeles would have to “poach, rob or steal” another cities’ team and then run the risk of losing that gregarious bunch of ramblers in no short amount of time. Déjà vu all over again.
Looking deeper into the fray of NFL real politik, we see that no attempt has been made to make the new L.A. NFL team “citizens-owned” like the current champions, the Green Bay Packers. Smug pols at City Hall and Sacramento chide us that “the NFL owners would never go for that!” How do they know? Have they tried? Go ahead, make a guess. If the big boys in the NFL want Los Angeles so bad then they should be made to pay our price ~ L.A. residents will own all of the shares of the team ala Green Bay. That will take care of the skipping out in the middle of the night issue. Even then, without sellout games local fans will not see the cherished lads in tights on any given Sunday. That is the NFL rule and who can afford the high-priced tickets in the first place? Beyond all of that lies the larger looming and most perplexing question of why are Los Angeles and California Big Wigs in the Democratic Party so anxious to get further into bed with Tea Bagger Billionaire Philip Anschutz and his AEG corporate colossus? Has it been lost on them that Anschutz, along with his Billionaire Boyfriends the Koch Bros., is actively supplying millions of dollars of his personal fortune to destroy the Democratic Party and the United States Government? And adding insult to injury, that Anschutz derives a large portion of those heinous funds from his ownership interests in L.A. Live and Staples Arena? Now that, dear readers, is a “Deal with the Devil!”
If that, my friends, is not enough to give you pause, then turn your attention to the question of the stadium itself, putatively monikered, “Farmer’s Field.” I could go on about the irony of that name at great length but it is crazily apparent. No, the heart of the matter regarding this new Cenotaph to Combat is how much it will cost, who will pay those costs (now and in the future) and just exactly how many jobs will it create, on how many days of the year and at what wage levels? If you were to ask those questions of any of the elected officials who voted for this project they will give you generalities - “about 10,000 construction jobs, lots of jobs during the games and more jobs at the businesses surrounding the stadium” (even the Farmer’s Field website uses the important word “could” to preface the jobs and environmental promises). This is how they have been selling the stadium to the Unions and the neighbors in the area.
AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke has been on a furious pace, all over California, to roll over any objections to the undertaking. More importantly, AEG is making demands and the L.A. & Cali Pols are complying like obedient children. Here is a blurb from the Farmer’s Insurance website itself, “SB 292, authored by State Senator Alex Padilla, provides Farmers Field with crucial protections against lawsuits by opponents of the project aimed at derailing the stadium’s groundbreaking, and the thousands of jobs that will come with it. It also makes Farmers Field the most environmentally friendly stadium in the United States. Farmers Field will be carbon neutral, and will have the lowest ratio of “cars per game day ticket holder” in the NFL.” So, everything looks great right?
Here are some of the other elected Democrats who think so and are pushing the project: California Governor Brown, Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, President Pro Tem of the State Senate Steinberg, Assembly Speaker Perez, Los Angeles City Council Members Reyes, Krekorian, Koretz, Cardenas, Alarcón, Parks, Perry, Rosendahl, Wesson, Garcetti, and Huizar, Los Angeles County Supervisors Molina, Ridley-Thomas and Yaroslavsky, California Assembly Members Feuer, Blumenfield, Brownley, Fuentes and Portantino, State Senators De Leon, Pavley and Padilla and a host of others across the state. Their names will forever be etched into this “Big Rock Candy Mountain” as the grease on the wheels of this boondoggle. I am sure they will be fervently hoping that it does not sink like a stone into the Pacific.
Also, we must consider all of the associated costs of a stadium this large in this part of our fair city. Who pays for the sewer, electricity, police, parking, traffic, air quality and so many other additional costs of this monument to the late 19th Century? Farmer’s Insurance, AEG and all the various politicians and Downtown interests have insisted that every associated cost will be borne by the owners of the stadium - AEG. You heard me right. No costs will accrue to Los Angeles citizens, now or in the future, only benefits. Mark Twain would have loved this Duke and the Dauphin grift. Can anyone imagine that this could be true? Not I. There are too many cities in trouble around the country because they bought this mirage, this desire for pro sports teams and their edifices to “revitalize” the city center.
When the monumental collapse of these schemes spread like a plague from Minneapolis to New Jersey to Seattle, the new mantra became “Privatize the Stadiums.” If crony corporate interests buy the team and build the arena then the public can rest easy, the new and improved canard goes. Here is an example. After failing to get the public to buy in, San Francisco, with Pac Bell, built a privately owned stadium for their privately owned baseball team. It looked like a sweet deal with the MLB title last year. But this year attendance began to fall. If they don’t win big again it will fall further. If it falls too far, like their public stadium Candlestick Park did, then the owners will not have the revenue to make the payments, will go into default, move the team to another city and the “public” will have to buy the “private” asset for it to retain any value at all. Remember, private stadiums and arenas have to borrow the money to build them. If anything goes wrong, the private interests will default and the public will have to assume the debt. Think of this entire social experiment as crawling on the edge of a razor. Or better yet, Privatizing the Gain and Socializing the Loss.
Amid all of the hoopla surrounding the impending arrival of the Imaginary NFL Team, stolen from another American city, and the great hollow celebration of civic pride based on Billionaire largesse, something has been lost. Where is the master plan for Los Angeles of the 21st Century? Where is the alternative to this 19th and 20th Century tarnished and tattered chimera of civic planning? Los Angeles sits on the Western edge of the Western World. California is an innovator of fashion, style, arts and entertainment on a global level. Does not this panegyric to the past make a mockery of the future? Is this not an abdication of leadership? What a stupendous failure of imagination and lack of perspective this represents for our elected officials and ultimately for ourselves if we allow it to go forward.
I am not alone in envisioning Los Angeles as, dare I say it, “Tomorrowland.” Yes, and why not! This is the city where two brothers and a close friend can draw a cartoon in a shed behind their house in East Hollywood and create the Mouse that Roared - Disney. This is the city of dreams and dreamers. Rather than having the Unions building another Tomb of the Unknown Player, let us put them to work manufacturing Solar Panels, installing them and maintaining them on every roof in Greater Los Angeles. Take all of the heavy industries making weapons of war and put them to work making Mass Transit Systems and then put the Unions to work making Los Angeles the showcase of Modern Mass Transit. Transform every mile of the Los Angeles River system into parkways with cisterns underneath and runoff reclamation so we can stop importing 50% or more of the water from other parts of the planet. Imagine all of the jobs that these ideas alone will create. Local, sustainable, renewable and humane jobs that Go Green and Go Big. Why not see our city and ourselves on the cutting edge of the possibilities of a new paradigm for cities, nations and the world? Let us escape the trap of the narrow-minded, self-centered, Wall Street, Sky Box Billionaires, their incessant arrogance and their obscene need for more buildings, more concrete, more gravestones to their greed.
I urge our politicians to rethink their support of this Stadium Swindle. I encourage my fellow citizens to educate themselves on the myriad of unasked and unanswered questions, the complexities of this turning point in the history of Los Angeles. We should slow down this entire process and spread the discussion around into every corner of the city at civic events. Every Angeleno should become part of the planning committee for the Los Angles Master Plan with input and study before we commit our fortunes to a shoddy future. We need a 100-year Master Plan for Los Angles and we need it now, before any new projects.
Then again, we could all just go back to sleep and hope that this “Deal with the Devil” all works out in the last frame of the movie. I guess it all comes down to your definition of - make believe…
October 31st, 2011
Mr. President ~ thanks for the lecture to the Left, who elected you, today. I know you are pleased as punch with your Incrementalism but I am among the majority who elected you who are not convinced that you are on our side on the core issues.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating Mr. President and you have delivered for the Republics, Banks, Corporations and the Right who vilify you, while you give the Progressives, Liberals and Unions the bum’s rush. You say you are the President of all America but you make a point of leaving your base out of that equation. I am deeply disappointed in you sir.
I did not vote for another term of the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush Crony shenanigans!
The only fight you seem to have the stomach for Mr. President is with yourself, your base and the Liberal Ideal that your mother was sure you would stay true to…
Left Turn Only
George Wallace’s Ghost
(or Baggin’ the Blue Dogs)
Roused from his troubled sleep and wandering the steps of the capitol buildings across the land comes the ghost of George Wallace. Indignant, proud and prejudiced he wails against the government and its intrusion into his life of obstinate refusal to change. Reanimated by the woman in the House and the black man in the White House it rages against the stormy night of inclusion. It all makes sense except that George repented from his wheelchair, humbled by the same hate he provocated, and finally gave up the ghost of the Confederacy before he went to meet his maker. Not so with the Tea Baggers, mad as the Mad Hatter’s tea party, who are gagging on the poison of “the government is the problem” merrily dished out by the Crony networks of Oligoplic Sludge.
Yes, dear readers, this is a season of revenge, murder, dark motives and unholy alliances made real by a return to the days of yesteryear when White World was lord of all of its stolen realm. Hope has turned to despair across the land as it always does. So, what is a Progressive Liberal Democrat to do? Act, organize and one day form a coalition that can return the Democratic Party to its roots as a bulwark of the Liberal Ideal. Meanwhile, there is a silver lining in the tempestuous thunderstorm unleashed by the craven casino capitalists upon the tremulous, displaced and aging White World.
Blue Dogs are now an endangered species.
Whatever the overall outcome of election day November, 2010, the night will be littered with the remnants of the fallen careers of the core of the fatuous Blue Dog Democrats disingenuous caucus. What the Progressives and Labor were never able to achieve by rational arguments, the Tea Madness night of tricks not treats will achieve by other means. Left in the Democratic Party will be the rest of the Left. If the courage can be summoned to Change the by-laws or rules of the Donkey domain, we might actually have two parties in America once again. We shall see.
The carcass of the Blue Dog caucus should haunt the Democratic Party for many moons as a cautionary tale of gaining the world but losing your soul. Don’t count on it though. We must remain vigilant and organize inside and outside the Democratic Party because some old ghosts never sleep. Just ask that one over there carrying the chains he forged in life - old George Wallace.
October 31, 2010
It will be a chilly wind blowing across the plains of America this November. Even colder will be the choice we face at the polls. Progressives, Liberals and Democrats like myself are caught between the Devil and the Deep Blue Dog. Greens and other Independents are being squeezed to the breaking point. Stark is the contrast that separates what we want to do emotionally and what we must do rationally. There is no choice on this ballot, as far as which major Party should be left in control of the Senate and the House. There is only “sideways’ - a vote for the Blue Dog controlled Democrats - and “backwards” - a vote for the Tea Soaked Republicans. This is a classic dilemma - a situation requiring a choice between equally undesirable alternatives.
However, the stakes are too high for a protest vote or stay home and don’t vote. So, it looks like the Progressives, Liberals, Unions, Women, Youth, Blacks, Browns, Yellows, Reds, Whites and other Lefties are going to have to save the Blue Dog Democratic Party once again, today, if we want to save ourselves tomorrow.
I am as unhappy as any Progressive, or American who is not a member of the Ultra-Rich, at the incremental, glacial and cynical pace that the current Democratic Party leadership has been stalled at. None of the “Change” agenda we elected these citizens to do has been achieved. No Single Payer, No End to the Wars - Iraq, Afghanistan or Drugs, No Financial Regulation, No Voter Owned and Verifiable Voting Systems, No… you get the point. Well, that is how we see things. On the other hand…
Blue Dogs are grinning because they got what they wanted - gradualism that does not change the status quo hegemony of Profits before People that their Mega-Donors demand. The core issue behind each breed of malfeasance being perpetrated upon the public has been avoided in every case. For example; Health Insurance companies are still roaming the country with Big Pharma swallowing our paychecks unabated, Wall Street Banksters have not been broken up and are still too big to fail, while we are all failing. And in a whirlwind of delusion whipped up by Crony Casino Capitalists, the Republican’t Pachyderm, saddled with the Tea Baggers, is claiming we are suddenly a Communist state? The Oppressed doing the bidding of the Oppressors. Now, where do we go from here?
Since there is no “forward” in this election we must grit our teeth and vote for “sideways” - the Democrats. Why must we vote for the Democratic Party? Because - the only alternative to the Blue Dog Stall is the Devil - the certain Hell that will ensue if the Democrats do not retain control of the Congress.
More than any time in my memory, I am despising my choice in this election. My Democratic Party is gone. Replaced by a Crony network of corrupt internal processes, craven political strategies and hollow policy positions. You and I have struggled to change that these last many years. In reactionary response the Party leadership and majority of the “Incumbents Only Electeds” have pulled up the drawbridge and sealed off their Walled Garden, their private GOTV machine. In California, the Democratic Party refuses to make our candidates even “read” the platform much less enact it. I feel our pain. But I will put that aside for this moment to prevent the Right from stealing my children’s future.
I urge all Progressives and Liberals to join me in voting for the Democrats. Let us put them back in Washington D.C. and keep the possibility of change alive. Then it is back to the epic battle for the soul of America, starting with this lame Ass, this caucus that is just a carcass, this Donkey that is so frightened of “democracy” and its own shadow that it has morphed into a Mule.
Back where I come from, Iowa, they say the only way to get a Mule’s attention is to hit it between the eyes with a 2×4. All we need is the power of the truth, expressed in a free and open press and powered by an informed citizenry. This Mule is going to hurt but it will be good for it. We are building a Public Park and recycling the Walled Garden.
So, get ready you DC Do-Little Dems. We are going to send you back into the fire and then we are turning up the heat!
Left Turn Only…
It is only fitting that the avatar of the extreme right-wing political, cultural and economic prevaricators should stand in the shadow of the Dreamers nearly a half century since the eclipsing call to peace delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Where better to expose the Elmer Gantry of all things hateful, angry and victimized? Where better to show how much remains to be done to rid our inner selves of our primal urge to condemn, demonize and eradicate the “other?” Huckster in Chief - Glenn Beck is the mirror of how far we have come and how far we have yet to go. His rant was delivered in the Right place at the Right time.
Despite their all too human flaws, missteps and ambitions, Lincoln and King established the demarcation line between rhetoric and action. They rose above their inner demons to reveal the angels of their better nature. They set the bar high for “Change.” Not just the outward change of yearning for a better world for all but the inner change that makes all change possible. Peace, love and understanding begin at home and then travel the byways of life to bring each soul to its destiny. Like Malcolm X, John Lennon and Bobby Kennedy, Lincoln and King accepted their fate as they transitioned from the personal to the public world and brought with them not only the hope for change but also the act of change that is transformational. They each paid the solemn price for their social enlightenment. We owe them unfettered remembrance for their sacrifice and courage.
As for Mr. Beck and his band of rabid cohorts? Let them bask in the vibrations of peace that are anathema to their disposition. Let them revel in their dark demeanor under the watchful gaze of the Americans who made us better. Who better to stand, swear and pledge allegiance to the evil in men’s souls than this ragged company? Perhaps the radical avengers on the Left should join them the next time, as they are trapped in the same dark looking glass.
Somewhere in undiminished time and space, Martin, Abraham, Malcolm, John and Bobby are smiling. Look they are saying. Look at what you will become if you cannot heed our words and deeds. Behold the nightmare made real unless the Dream is kept alive.
Memo to Marta,
Marta, after I posted on Facebook the following status update: ”Marta Evry posted this recently. Riddled with misstatements (Marcy Winograd never reached out to CDP delegates and Jane did?) and fantastical assertions (Jane Harman is a Progressive?) two facts remain crystal clear = Jane Harman and her husband Seymour are WAR Profiteers & Blue Dog Democrats like Harman and Loretta Sanchez are shills for Corporate Plutocrats… Your thoughts? VOTE WINOGRAD! Marta’s post > http://veniceforchange.blogspot.com/ ” You commented: ”Brad, please point out where you believe I was factually incorrect. Not where you just have a difference if opinion, but demonstrable facts. Thank you.”
First, let me recognize your personal integrity in having the courage to comment on my posts, knowing that you and I are on opposite sides of this campaign. Now, as to the points that you made in the article and following it, here is my reply.
The second chapter in my book, Left Turn Only: Dispatches From The Progressive Underground, is entitled, “The Politics Of Capitulation.” In it, I analyze and rebut the DLC core arguments, which you have once again put up as a reason to discredit the Progressive Movement and Marcy Winograd by employing “Crony’s Triangulating Fog.” The Blue Dog reasoning posits that if a Democrat is a Liberal on a few Social issues, such as a woman’s reproductive civil rights, then they are as entitled as any other Democrat to proclaim themselves a Progressive. It goes further to state that gradual incrementalism, which Dr. King warned us against over 40 years ago, is in fact the best way to achieve results. Clinton/DLC/Blue Dog theorists, notably Bill Clinton, Elaine Kamarck, William Galston, Harold Ford Jr. and Al Frum, call this the “Third Way.” They have always believed that Pro-Crony Capitalism is the price we must pay as Democrats to win and stay in office. They label it “pragmatism.” Your argument in favor of Jane Harman goes right down that line including your mocking refutation of “you’d better be as pure as the Dalai Lama in a snowdrift” retort regarding your perceived hypocrisy by those on the Left with Big Ideas. That comes under the fantastical assertions I mentioned. We have heard this argument for over 20 years now and it is an artful but discredited dodge.
As you know, the core principle of the Progressive Movement is “PEACE.” Progressives call for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq,
Afghanistan and the more than 700 bases in over 100 countries around the world, currently occupied by American Armed Forces as well as end to the Drug War. We demand an end to the doctrine of “Preemptive War.” “Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. Frankly, I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Peace is the center of our movement. It is the center of Winograd’s campaign. This is the opposite of everything Jane Harman has stood for, voted for and profited from her entire Congressional career. Harman has been Pro-War, Pro-Preemptive War, Pro-Torture, Pro-Wire Tapping, and Pro-Military Spending etc. We all know her record. For this alone she is not an acceptable politician to Progressives - anymore than any other Blue Dog or Republican. We are very serious on this point. It is not a minor detail. It is the central argument against Harman’s candidacy and for Winograd’s. It is a glaring misstatement of the facts for you to suggest that Progressives should overlook this paramount issue when they consider Jane Harman’s qualifications. I believe that the minor improvements in her stances in recent times, which you list, are mainly because of Winograd’s campaigns.
Again, as you know, our other core issues include Single Payer Healthcare. Harman’s support for the feeble watered-down so-called “Public Option” was a typical DLC/Blue Dog distraction aimed at keeping the Crony Casino careening along. I could go on but the point is this: Progressives demand Change, Big Ideas and Bold Action now. It is not a question of purity but of purpose. If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything. You are not alone in calling for incremental change; Many Democrats are dancing to that siren song as well. Even Progressives are capable of being co-opted into playing along if it suits their career plans. Why? Because the rigged rules and by-laws of an Incumbents Only Party prescribe compromise if you want to advance up the ladder. Finest example - Obama is the Compromiser In Chief. But I digress. Claiming that Harman would move us forward on the Progressive agenda more than Winograd is another huge misstatement and fantastical assertion. In fact, Harman is only moving on it because of Winograd.
Furthermore, on the “fantastical assertions” argument you try to get us to believe that because Winograd has invested in the American infrastructure as well as Harman, including some disreputable corporations, that Winograd and Harman are wallowing in the same mud. (I am curious as to why you didn’t compare and contrast Harman’s holdings as you enumerated Winograd’s.) Would it then not follow that we all use gasoline and are as corrupt as BP? We all use electricity generated by Coal and Nuclear power plants and are as corrupt as Duke Energy? Yes, all Americans are complicit in the uneven distribution of goods, services and use of resources on this planet. However, to say that it is all so relative and Winograd is as Harman is in all things is ludicrous but typical of the Third Way politics of distraction.
You support Harman due to your passion for her principles I hope and not blind antipathy to Winograd. Remember this though; Seymour Harman is a War Profiteer. That is a fact. Jane Harman aided and abetted that profiteering by her votes on the Intelligence committees and on the floor of the House for over 20 years. I am sure that she is having a change of heart today because the chickens have come home to roost. Winograd is probably the best thing that has ever happened to Harman’s conscience. Such is life. I am among many who cannot support that Imperial America - Always at War that Jane Harman is still beating the drum for. I applaud Winograd for giving the voters of the 36th CD a Peace alternative.
I never questioned your “factual accuracy” Marta but since you brought it up - Your facts are correct from a DLC/Blue Dog point of view but not a Progressive POV. They are right out of the Bill Clinton, Rahm Emanuel - Barack Obama playbook. They are not a Progressive case for Jane Harman. They are clever but contemptuous of activism, protest, dissent and the duties of citizenship to stand up, show up and speak up when the government is oppressive and misguided as Marcy Winograd and her supporters are currently doing. So be it.
Maybe one day we can work together on Democratic Party organizing. That would be good. I look forward to it.
Marcy Winograd is more relevant than most of us, today, right here, and right now. Through six years of campaigning to win a seat in the House of Representatives, she has revealed the true inner workings of the Democratic Party, both in California and nationally. Her epic struggle to unseat Representative Jane Harman, in the 36th Congressional District of California, has proven Winograd’s true grit and revealed the Party’s soulless Status Quo Establishment in inexorable decline.
Across the Golden State, this is the only race that has captured the imagination of Democrats of every stripe. Factions on all sides have ferociously fought to capture the flag and control of the once noble Democratic Party. Winograd has been hammered by parliamentary procedure and arcane by-laws at the California Democratic Party conventions and primary endorsement meetings. It was even proclaimed, by more than one Harman supporter at the recent CDP convention, that if Winograd prevented Harman from getting the CDP primary rubber-stamp, then all incumbents were in danger. Yes, that is true. In fact, Winograd’s mere presence in those proceedings spells the end of the old Imperator system of “Incumbents Only Rules” at the CDP - either that or the demise of the CDP as a meaningful voice of the Democratic Party membership in California. Everywhere she goes; Winograd is bringing introspection to a political process that has long been devoid of change, truth or competency.
The outcome of the Marcy Winograd versus Rep. Jane Harman race in the 36th Congressional District of the Golden State of California has been decided. Marcy Winograd is the winner. Yes, that is what I said - Winograd Wins! Even if Jane Harman takes the seat in Congress next January, which Winograd supporters are actively working to prevent, Winograd is still the winner. Just cast your mind back about six years ago to when Harman was riding high on the Blue Dog bandwagon of Perpetual War and Wall Street Gangsterism; then contrast that to the scene at the Progressive Caucus meeting of the CDP this past April. There, sat Ms. Harman desperately attempting to portray herself as, dare I say it, a Liberal.
As she gamely fumbled around denying that she was a Blue Dog and vainly pressing the point that she in fact is a Progressive but that the invitation to join the House Progressive Caucus must have blown off of her porch, all the chickens came home to roost. Without Marcy’s principled candidacy, across six years and two election cycles, Jane would still be absentee on the frontlines of Peace, Justice & Equality that the Progressive Movement has been championing these past six years. The Winograd run for Congress is already paying dividends to the American public in the Left Turn Only of the newly minted “Perhaps I Am A Liberal” Jane Harman. So, Winograd is the winner. Who then is the loser? The Status Quo California Democratic Party and National Democratic Party leadership appear to be the losers, with this in-your-face challenge to their crumbling contraption.
Sadly, there are other notable losers. The Progressive Caucus of the House of Representatives has been compromised at the highest levels. You would expect to see Dennis Kucinich, Alan Grayson, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters or other leading Progressives in the House supporting Winograd. But no, dear friends, none have lifted a hand or a dollar to support the Progressive challenger. To add insult to injury, House Progressive stalwarts Lynne Woolsey and John Conyers have openly endorsed Harman. Even the fact that Harman’s husband is a War Profiteer, with his many industrial interests in the War machine, could not persuade any Progressive in the House to break ranks and defy the hegemony of Incumbents Only that is rotting the body politic.
Marcy Winograd matters because she has shown the courage, vision and determination for change - real change that would transform the dying carcass of American Empire into a dynamic positive collaboration among We the People. Harman is irrelevant except to shine a light on the empty hollow vestige of a once Liberal Democratic Party.
Hats off to you Marcy Winograd. I have always been proud to stand up for you as you have always stood up, shown up and spoken up for all of us. May your light always shine. You are the best of us and that is a damn good thing!
California is a curious place - full of dreamers, boosters, garrulous grifters and raconteurs. Many are madly striving, in search of Wallace Stegner’s infamous “Big Rock Candy Mountain.” Many more are lost in the shuffle and grind, ebb and flow at the Western edge of the Western World. Among these earnest seekers and sinners are the various members of the Left Body Politic. They range from conservative Blue Dog corporate enablers to the end of the world Socialist, Communist and Anarchist monkey wrench gang. Somewhere, lost in the mix, are the Democratic Party regulars and pusillanimous Progressives. As the sun rises in the east, over the majestic Sierras, they find themselves in the same boat, drifting down the river of no return, in the midst of a thick San Francisco fog. Sideways is the new direction for this bundle of believers, these frustrated yet sunny souls. Status quo has wrapped its stony fingers around the electoral apparatus of each ardent constituency. We are in a stall, a dead calm sea. And the natives are restless, very restless. But before we muster up the courage for a new direction, let us take a deeper look at the state of the State.
The California Democratic Party, the Progressive Caucus of the CDP as well as Labor, Environmental and other factions within the broader California Left have divided along regional lines, North and South. This was the inevitable stepchild of success in the 2006 and 2008 electoral cycles plus the simmering disputes from the last decades, like Water policy. All of this internal strife, such as the Union’s ongoing Civil War, has degenerated into turf battles and been exacerbated by the disconnect from the National Democratic Party - DNC, the various National Progressive Movement Organizations with their East Coast orientations and our general malaise brought on by little progress on Big Ideas across the board. Let’s face it folks - we’re in a funk.
The past is very persuasive; it is comfortable in expectation and in outcome. Better to wrestle the demons we know than to venture out to meet new demons, putative leaders of the factions sing in tremulous chorus. That is the conventional wisdom, which is the refuge of the rear-view mirror crowd. But that tired cant is insufficient to buoy this coterie, to bring us out of these doldrums. The future, as frightening as it has become, like true democracy, beckons. And the future requires a new organizing principle - since the mechanisms of the past are stuck in the mud of ladder climbing and feather fluffing, while the cities crumble. I put forward to all concerned that the current Marshall McLuhan predicted globalization, stealthily achieved by the virus of the Internet infecting every form of communication, has wrought a new possibility; change the world without leaving home.
Now, take a deep breath and consider this; there is a simple and bold way to go further. Remember - the future must never concede to the past what it knows to be true; and that begins with the cure for what ails us - Action & Change! We must act in a manner that will realize tangible results not bogged down by endless procedure and committee examination or the overreaching control from larger aggregations. Ergo, we must discover the scope or range of manageable expectations and coalesce around them to create progress that is achievable. The most direct route to that outcome is to act locally. The pawns must wake up and realize that old street saying - We Got The Power! - right in our own back yards, right down to your very own purchasing power. Don’t let the man get you down has morphed into don’t let the struggle get you down; act in a brand new and curiously old-fashioned way - act for change in your neighborhood.
Here in Southern California, we have come to know each other through the last decade of organizing; that includes, elected officials, their staffs, Democratic Party leaders from every level, grassroots activists, clubs, chapters of national Progressive organizations, Labor leaders and members, writers, artists, environmentalists, entrepreneurs and a cross section of citizens from every demographic description. It is time to form a coalition, here in SoCal, among ourselves, to work on the local issues that most vex us and that we can directly influence and change - energy policy, conservation, water policy, transportation etc. Change begins here, with each other, in our daily lives that are inextricably connected. Let us come together, as John Lennon proclaimed, and demonstrate to the world what local action can achieve. Then we can hook up with like-minded individuals, groups and regions, through the Internet, and across the state, nation and planet to create a vibrant grid of citizens in action.
Although this essay blooms from the California scene its solution can be applied around the world. The globalization of the Internet gives us all access to tools locally that were unattainable heretofore. The Democratization of Information broadens each individual’s reach. We can now affect our local politics, development, economics and environmental interests in concert with our statewide, national and global interests. And more importantly, the process can and should begin at home - locally first.
So, embrace your frustration, and do something about it. Imagine a new local, sustainable, renewable and humane life. Then, join with your neighborhood and create it. Don’t go Loco - go Local!
Crony’s Triangulating Fog:
Grifters, greed and the gullible Americans
By Brad Parker
Part I - A Tempestuous Bamboozle
Creeping across the heartland on velvet feet it came. Silent, maleficent and grinning it entwined the body politic - first to the right and then to the left. Decade upon decade it imperceptibly seduced the callow crowds, here and then there, a few at a time, building to a crescendo in the year 2000. Poised to render all in its path mere puppets in a tempestuous bamboozle, it had finally struck with all of its might. But by then the stupefied masses simply embraced the needle of narcotics like any willing junkie. The dope of greed and over-consumption had already done its job. Without alarm or notice, the grifters slithered from room-to-room, city-to-city, unseen as they sucked the nation dry. Comatose, the governed and the government were bound in a blanket of malignant fog. Thus begins the strange, sordid saga of the silent overthrow of both major American political parties over the last four decades. It is perhaps the greatest swindle ever perpetrated on the suckers born every minute - us, the gullible Americans. This is the story of Crony’s Triangulating Fog.
Our cast of characters, or perpetrators, is a small gang of big time swindlers. They are out to reverse the new order of the ages - Novus Ordo Seclorum - on the original Great Seal of the Republic of the United States of America. They are unhappy with the New Deal, Great Society and Liberal Ideal that took hold in America from 1932 to the present. Their strategy is fear. Their tactic is advertising. Their target is the government, local to federal. Their accomplices are the American people - in their somnambulant apathy. Their goal is the absolute control of money - all money. To a great extent their laconic racket has been successful. However, as in most plots, successes have bred complacency, inefficiency and now border on collapse. Our scam artists are known as Crony - crony corporate interests, aided and abetted by the lobbyists and politicians who represent them. Their names are probably unfamiliar to you. So, for our tale of willfulness and woe the only names to remember are - Lynde and Harry Bradley. First though, let us examine the background of this crime of the century.
Crony has one goal in mind - the marketplace: dominate and control the entire marketplace, if possible. Left to their own devices, it is a natural corporate objective to monopolize the market because it is the only way to sustain ever-expanding profit margins. Unfettered markets with no government regulation always consolidate power to fewer and fewer players over time. This is greed at work on the macro economic level. The current Healthcare system is but one glaring example of the Crony theology at work. Post World War II and through the late 60’s, this market consolidation was working well for the new American corporate giants - Crony. Then, beginning with the Civil Rights movement in the late 50’s, followed by the Peace movement of the 60’s and culminating in the Women’s Liberation, Farm Worker’s and Environmental movements of the late 60’s, the pressure to reform American governance began to erode public confidence and compliance with corporate objectives. It was during this time that Crony support was thrown to the Republicans, almost exclusively; in an attempt to maintain the hegemony of profits at all cost. It almost worked with Nixon but the counter culture kept gaining strength with its vision of Peace, Love and Understanding. Crony strategists needed a new plan to regain control of the markets and that is when the Triangulating Fog was first imagined. Here is how the fog works.
First, Crony bought up the Republican Party and forced all of the Liberal Republicans to the curb. Next, they began in earnest to “message” the new paradigm - “government is not the solution to the problem - government is the problem.” Neo-con Messiah, Ronnie Reagan was the perfect messenger. As a former actor and advertising pitchman, he had just the right tenor to convince the gullible Americans to privatize the government. By privatizing the government, the Neo-Cons - new conservatives organized around corporate hegemony - could shrink it down to a manageable size and loot the taxpayers on a regular basis, legally, and with the pliable assistance of the Congress, White House and the Supremes. Reagan was the man for the job but the job was not getting done because of the Democratically controlled Congress. So, the Crony corporatists hatched another plan: buy the Democratic Party. With both parties Carny-barking the same business friendly campaign ads the public would be triangulated into only one possible choice - profits before people - while believing it was the other way around. Thus, the charade of a choice would create a fog cloaking the true objectives of the men behind the curtain. The search for a smooth undetectable method to bribe the Democrats became Crony’s focused rumination.
To pull off the purchase of the Democratic Party machine, Crony needed to craft an ideology that the cowering Liberals in the Democratic Party would swallow. So, they funded a little known group of mostly Southern Democrats who said they knew the way. These fine fellows, led by Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, formed the Third Way Foundation, which in turn spun off the Progressive Policy Institute and then the Democratic Leadership Council - the DLC, home of the Blue Dog Democrats. One of the most sizable contributions to get this ball rolling came from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Boy’s contrivance, along with other charlatans and gangs loosely aligned in the Crony corporate cartels, pumped money into these astro-turf Democratic think tanks, just as they had the Republican ivory towers, with one goal in mind - control the government and the legislation. The premise presented to the agitated voters was that these were the new Progressives who would make the Democratic Party more palatable to business and then use that new relationship to bring about social change. Of course, these New Democrats were neither Progressive, new or interested in social change. They were in it for the big bucks. They were Crony in Liberal clothing. Hos and Pimps as an organizing archetype had graduated from the streets to the suites. Now, the warm entrapping fog was beginning to work in earnest.
Let us look at this shell game from another angle. In order to steal the government from the citizens, you have to get the citizens to go along with the theft. That is how the grift works. Every flimflam man worth his salt knows that. The mark does the work. Here is the setup: finance the campaigns of select members of both parties, Democratic and Republican, then, finance think tanks that support these candidates and provide them with position papers and expert analysis. Most importantly, make sure that the candidates and organizations all fulfill the same pernicious mandate - privatize the American government at every level, in the name of the People. The privatization scam will seem to come from both sides of the political spectrum. The grift will appear to be a grassroots effort. The fog will set in disguising the outrageous theft of the assets of the nation that are held in public trust. Oh man, these crooks are organized!
Part II - Appearances Are Deceptive
At the center of our plot is advertising. Advertising is the principal tool in the Crony box of tactics. We tend to think of advertising as benign radio, print, Internet or television commercials for any number of products and services that we can ignore. However, advertising agencies realized many years ago that any information pumped through any media outlet could become an advertisement for any of a number of purposes beyond the product on display. Focus groups and demographic studies can then be used to sharpen and disguise the message and the source of the advertising funding at the same time. Finally, the Massage - messaging, propaganda or programmed disinformation - can then be consumed through any medium without the consumer becoming aware of its true purpose - Lie, lie big and lie all the time. Advertising theory now dominates Mass Media information in all of its categories. Politicians were successfully sold this bill of goods as the most reliable means to their end of - Permanent Incumbency. Hence, the Ad Men take-over of political campaigns in the 60’s.
Over time, Ad men and advertising agencies morphed into campaign consultants. They knew that the outcome of the consumption of information could be influenced, or polluted if you will, by the carefully disguised introduction of strategic themes. If you have enough money and clever creative staff, almost any result can be achieved. All that is necessary to succeed, as every artful dodger knows, is a gullible and greedy mark; Pavlovian dogs conditioned to accept less as more. The preconditioned pigeon or target of the crime can then be persuaded to participate by activating their weaknesses. Fear of the “others” is at the top of the list. This primal fear, shared by every human, is ginned up by politicians, talking heads on radio and TV and in editorials throughout print and Internet media. Fox news is the most obvious purveyor of this type of fear product. Eventually, the message in the information became imperceptible: hidden in the all-encompassing environment of advertising - an Orwellian twist on McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Massage.” The same fear-inducing memes were embedded in political policy advertising and woven into campaign slogans, speeches, movies, religious broadcasts and mass media outlet’s infotainment shows. Crony made sure that the context of the advertising - messages, news, policy and opinion - always said that all government is bad and all private, free and unregulated enterprise is good. Both Republicans and Democrats joined in the merry spewing of the fog over the timorous and twitching crowd.
Next, the deception required that front groups on both sides of every issue propagate false paradigms promoting the virtues of private versus public social structures. Charter schools and voucher education are the most insidious of these types of deceits. For-Profit Healthcare Insurance is another. These front groups then play upon deep-seated fears and prejudices at the heart of gullible working class and poor Americans. Most importantly - every tactic is aimed at inducing White (European) American Male queasiness and rage at the rapidly changing demographic makeup of the heartland of America. It is the new and improved Huey Long populism Redux, George Wallace’s ghost and Sarah Palin on steroids. Conservative Infotainment outlets are poking a sharp stick into this fear every day. Rally the People, while you pick their pockets - the old Three Card Monte, evil and effective.
Obviously, if you were a member of the Crony cartel that wanted to control the American government you would not advertise the fact that an assets theft was your true objective. Whenever you did advertise your grand plan for reigning in the government, you would claim that you were acting in the public interest. If you were in on the con then only you and your associates would ever know the truth behind the lie and its real purpose. At least that was the plan with our gaggle of casino racketeers, grazing in the halls of political power. Then unexpectedly, along came the true modern Progressive movement with the power of the Internet and the whole gerrymandered contraption began to disassemble and founder. That friends, is where we are today. The fog is clearing, revealing both sides of the political aisle in Congress to be in league with Crony and not the people. So, Crony, ever the resourceful extortionist, has decided, in a panic, to plump up the fog to an even greater thickness.
Barack Obama was swept into office on a monumental wave of fear surrounding the neo-liberal financial swindles caving the global economy, disgust at the George Bush neo-con policies of imperial war with homeland neglect and the possibility that we could at long last - look forward to believing in the hope for change. A soft Left turn was underway. What was the response from our privatizing pals at the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation? Pugnacious Crony fought back. They switched sides once again, and started funding Freedom Works and the Americans for Prosperity astro-turf groups, among others. These are the folks that brought us the Tea Party, Bagger, Deather, Birther and No Government Healthcare outrages of the summer of 2009. Once again, Crony ginned up the gullible Americans through racial, social and economic fear baiting and set them loose on the new Democratic Federal government. Add in a dash of true Populist Rage borrowed from the Progressive Left and a dollop of Wall Street bashing, turn up the heat with Palin parties and voila - you have a perfect gumbo that looks like the people want to throw out the government - from the grassroots on the Right and the Left! But wait - who is that we see leering at us from the edge the curtain?
Appearances are deceptive. Recall where our conversation began - the one constant behind all of this apparent “political” theory and commotion eructed by the corporate ad men is a much more craven economic animus - recapture the markets that they just destroyed. As you can see, Crony is neither Left nor Right on the political spectrum. Political parties and politicians are only the shills trapped in the fog covering the cannibalizing objective - control the government, downsize the government and privatize the government. Reap the harvest of the working-class citizens taxes for Private Interests. Pillage the land for Profit. To this ignoble end, politics, mass media, even religion are mere tools for the false advertising employed to fool the manageable marks. The Bradley Foundation is only one of numerous organizations and individuals who are riding the grift train in America. This is no penny ante grift either, sisters and brothers. These scam artists are out to get everything we hold sacred, from the Constitution to your family’s fortune and future.
So, there it is fellow suckers. Crony bought the Republicans, then the Democrats and now pimps the fakeroots. Everyone is triangulated and down in the new Foggy Bottom. Government as the “problem” is the product of a very successful advertising campaign. All sides of the political spectrum have bought into the fog. Remember - Dick Cheney thought he had triangulated the fiscally conservative Republicans to go along with his imperial war machine. Before that, Bill Clinton thought he had triangulated social liberals into going along with his let us help the business people finance our New Democrats machine. In fact, they were both tools of a larger more insidious triangulation by the Crony corporatists to monopolize the American and then global markets and harvest all wealth into the bank accounts of the chuckling elite. Americans, behavior-modified to trust advertising, swimming in the dead pool of propaganda environmentally disguised as benign advertising and Infotainment, continue to cop to the Triangulating Fog Machine’s all sizzle no steak obfuscation. The only question left to ask, now that the confidence game is more widely known, is - will they keep buying it like a beaten dog or wake up and demand their money and government back? Stay tuned.
The LTO book tour continues with stops in Santa Barbara, Davis, Benicia, and Sacramento. Please join me at one of these Left Turn Only book signing and discussion events this February. Ahjamu Makalani will be joining me for the NorCal swing. We’ll be discussing the Power of the Positive Progressive Proposal including “How to Renovate the Democratic Party” and “Progressive Economic Principles.”
~ Many thanks to Jeeni del Rio Criscenzo for the SRO at UCSD and to Paul Burke, Dana Dean and Shirley Hunley for the NorCal events. Also, thanks to Lois Hamilton and Jon Williams for the PDASB gig!If you would like us to come to your hood let me know and we’ll see what we can hook up…
I hope to see you on the road with LTO!
Left Turn Only
Dispatches From The Progressive Underground
Progressive Democrats of Santa Barbara
Wednesday ~ 6:30 pm
Venture Tech Building
402 E. Gutierrez Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
The Avid Reader
Friday ~ 7:30 PM
617 Second Street
Davis, CA 95616
Saturday ~ TBD
Benicia CA - before the Solano County Dems Crab Feed
The Avid Reader at the Tower
Sunday ~ 2PM
Sacramento, CA 95818
Tel: (916) 441-4400
(If you have the book already :: Please consider writing a review on Amazon ~ http://bit.ly/1vOyjG ~ many thanks!)
Left Turn Only
available on Amazon & Kindle:
and on Createspace:
Change the Rules at the California Democratic Party, the DNC and across the Nation…
Recently, I got this question on a discussion group. here it is with my reply ::
Dante wrote:Brad, just so I know…what Central Committee rules are you specifically interested in changing? Do you mean the DSCC, or County Committees?
Here you go Dante…
Three Important CDP By-Law Changes
As Progressive Democrats we are as interested in getting more
Democrats elected to office, at every level of government, as anyone
in our Party. However, I believe that the processes for crafting
policy, endorsement and democratic representation within the central
committees needs reform.
1 - Replace the appointed members of the DSCC and Executive
board of the DSCC with twice as many delegates elected from the
ADs to both. Selected members with a vote equal to elected
members is undemocratic and amounts to continual rigging of the
votes in favor of the status quo. (We all remember Bush v. Gore)
Elected officials can still vote their 1/3 of the votes and the members
will have 2/3 of the vote. The best idea will carry the vote and this will
create new enthusiasm, involvement and investment of time and
energy from every AD. Also, the composition of the new AD elections
would be: 24 delegates (12 women, 12 men) and 2 E. Bd. Reps. (1
women, 1 man) creating balance and diversity within both the DSCC
and the E. Bd. The current system is undemocratic and non-
representational. It is fostering mistrust and apathy.
2 - Eliminate the pre-primary endorsement system by the CDP. This
system has created huge animosity in every large and most small
districts. It is counter-intuitive to encourage factions within the Party
to fight it out for the endorsement within the Party in the primary and
then expect them to come together in the general - they don’t. This is
fostering deep divisions in every AD. This is not about the
Progressives - it is Party-wide. Let every candidate win on his or her
merit in the primary. Let the voters decide. I would apply this to every
County Central Committee as well.
As proof of the efficacy of this proposal I submit the following:Attorney General Brown and Mayor Newsom have since responded. Both of them have agreed in writing that they will not pursue the Party’s pre-primary endorsement so long as other Democratic gubernatorial candidates play by the same rules. From Chair John Burton to DSCC delegates onBurton Sep. 10th, 2009.
3 - Change the venue for the DNC elections to the DSCC from the
E. Bd. 3000 people would elect and more representative and
balanced board than 300, especially with the first by-law revision.
Again, this change would foster greater interest, participation and
representation on behalf of the entire Party membership. The current
system is stagnant. Millions of Democrats deserve change not the
status quo of the same faces every four years. Even more Democratic and Representational would be to elect DNC members by AD or CD throughout the state.
As for the DNC :: ban any member of the DNC from work as a Campaign Consultant or Lobbyist during their term. There are far too many of these activites by DNC members. To Them, every GOTV effort is a “Profit Center.” To the Party members it is about Policy not Profit. This is a clear conflict of interest.
There are other changes that would of equal value in getting more
Democrats elected, like a minimum contribution from the CDP in
every state level race in the 58 counties but we can save that for
Valley Democrats United, President
Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles, Steering Committee
CDP-DSCC, Delegate, 42nd AD
Progressive Democrats of America, Board of Trustees
A.F. of M. Local 47
Art Torres once famously told us - as he shuffled our resolutions off to Buffalo - that the Democratic Party is a Business. Progressives know that there is a lot more to life than business, especially in this Holiday Season. But let’s follow that logic for a moment and see how things are working out.
Well, in business, “the customer is always right” is a motto you live and die by. Take Wall Street. We are their customers - at the end of their income stream - the business end. They are not putting out Goods & Services that we believe in anymore. They stopped delivering a reliable Product some years ago. They went so far as to lie, cheat and steal. Not good business practices. Hence, no confidence from the customers. Same for the Sickcare Insurance companies. They have become obsolete and irrelevant by their price gouging and willful refusal to deliver Goods & Services. We, the customers, no longer believe in them either.
Now it is the Democratic Party that is failing the “Customer is Always Right” test.
We elected this Federal government. We elected it Democrat. We, the customers voted for: Healthcare Reform, End to the Irag & Afghanistan Wars and Wall Street re-regulation. We are getting none of that. So, the Goods & Services that we paid for are not being delivered. How many times would you go back to a store where you paid for a Product and never received it? Fool me once etc.
If our former Chair of the CDP was correct, that the Democratic Party is a business, then it follows that it is also just another in the current line of American businesses that can’t or won’t Stand & Deliver on it’s Goods & Services. The Customer, who is always Right, or Left in our case, will drift away and eventually the store will close. Check out the current Democratic Party registration numbers in decline. The fact that the Republicans are deep-sixing even faster is of no solace.
To be fair there are some in the management of the Business of the Democratic Party who are competent and reliable. Also, the workers are a pretty good group. Unfortunately the top brass, the suits in the suites are precariously dancing on the edge of collapse. They don’t get that the business is failing and that they are responsible for this turn of events. But, they are taking their marching orders from their big donors, Crony corporate folks, and as I said earlier, they don’t get it either.
So, Progs, hang in there. Be of good cheer. This is not bad news - it is just the beginning of the good news. An era of Progressive Economics is already underway. If the Business Democratic Party wants to survive then they will have to adapt to it or they will perish. One way or the other - the Times they are a Changin’.
Take some time to spend with your friends and family this Holiday Season. Be thankful for what we share with each other and remember - there is a future and you are a big part of it.
Here’s to us!
Left Turn Only
You may accept the Democratic Leadership Council’s conclusions, assertions, attitudes and game-plans as promulgated by Bill Clinton, James Carville, Chuck Schumer, Rahm Emanuel and any number of growling Blue Dogs but I do not. To me, as a Progressive Democrat and a Liberal American, that is a failure of imagination. Bruce Hornsby wrote, in his song “That’s Just The Way It Is”:
That’s just the way it is
Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
Ah, but don’t you believe them
Now, that’s where I am coming from.
Most of my very large and diverse family comes from and lives in the so-called Red districts. All of my life I have worked on changing their minds about the truth of the Liberal Ideal. It has been and remains fruitful. One by one they have taught me never to concede to the past what the future knows not to be true. One by one they have changed.
As Progressives, we came together to reactivate the oldest and truest American virtues of tough-mindedness and innovation that breakthrough impossibilities and create new realities. We came together for dramatic Change.
The DLC/Blue Dogs make a lot of noise about their version of the facts. They say - That’s just the way it is. They haughtily claim that there are so-called Red districts, where the people are backward, religious, uneducated and prejudiced and that we must concede to that definition of these people and act accordingly. As I have said many times in the Progressive Caucus and anywhere I go - They are wrong, both in their characterization and in their approach to our fellow citizens. Every American has the potential to change. It is the great narrative of our history.
When I was a boy, in the Midwest, Far West and the South, Segregation was “the way it is.” My grandmother was a Suffragette, who was told that Women should not and will never get the Vote in America and that “that’s just the way it is.”
When Barack Obama once famously said that there is no red America or Blue America, only a red, white and blue America, I recognized all of the allusions he was referring to and I agreed. But that remark is only true if we rid ourselves of the illusions promoted and reinforced by Republicans from without our Party or Blue Dogs from within our Party. Among all of those illusions, continuously ginned up by Crony corporate lobbyists, the greatest is, “That’s just the way it is.” Say’s who? The men and women behind the curtain? It certainly serves to maintain the status quo. Again, that statement and political stance is a failure of imagination. It creates and maintains a monoculture that lacking diversity, even of thought, leads to dissipation and dissolution.
I lived for many years in Solano County, in the 10th CD. Many members of my family still do. The mantra there, for the last 30 years was that the 10th is a Red district, a conservative district. This accounted for Ellen Tauscher’s Blue Dog mentality and the reality that she had to do, in her own words, “a kabuki dance with the Progressives.” So it is with many Blue Dogs. To them everything is and should be a pretense, with both their constituents and the rest of us. On the one hand they pretend to be Democrats on the other they vote Republican. That’s just the way it is, they say - we must be pragmatic.
Suddenly, it seems, the dance is over in California CD 10. John Garamendi is the Representative. John is openly Progressive on Healthcare, the Wars, the Environment and a host of other issues. How is it possible that a Prog replaced a Blue Dog? Did the district change radically? I’ve spent considerable time there every year since 1970 and I would say no. These are middle class Americans with about the same traits that we see all across America. What changed was the reality that the leading candidate, who the Party could not refuse, is a Progressive Democrat who knows how to talk with everyday folks and show them the truth of Single Payer, Withdrawal from Iraq etc.
I believe that the only hope we can believe in is our Progressive Plan for the future. Let us, as Democrats and citizens, disenthrall ourselves from the old tired notion that “That’s just the way it is” and imagine, create and promote a new way - Progressive. Let us imbue that Progressive mandate with all of the vigor that makes America the land where Change is possible. Most importantly, let us take that message out, from the genial warmth of our Progressive organizations, to the People, all of the People. Let us never give in to the DLC-Blue Dog-Republican theology. Let them have one Party and let us have the other and then let us see who shall prevail. Never negotiate with yourself on principle. Always, Collaborate on the Positive Power of the Progressive Proposal.
Now, about those Superdelegates and Appointees to the central committees…
Left Turn Only