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  • That vote was one of the reasons I didn’t vote for him last time around.

  • MrSandman commented on the blog post Cognitive Dissonance Arising From Failed Self-Reliance

    2012-02-13 09:01:30View | Delete

    It’s difficult to educate them if you don’t have the means to do so. Since television, radio, and newspapers are owned by corporate (and often right-wing) interests, the “free” sources available to lower economic classes only offer a corporate/right-wing worldview. Progressive/independent media are largely confined to venues that require an ability to pay for access. Computers, cable, and the like require disposable income. It’s another reason why the middle class is under attack: it’s those with the means to do so that have the resources to seek alternate information sources. I don’t see a lot of poor, uneducated people with the means or will to seek out ways to educate themselves on the political and economic realities we face. Any education they are pursuing is for one purpose only: economic survival. A training program, a college degree, anything that holds out promise of avoiding the economic quicksand engulfing them.

    It’s why places like these are needed, but also why they’re echo chambers. You want to educate and reach the kinds of people that make these choices that are not in their self-interest, it’ll have to be in person or in ways that don’t rely on existing media.

  • MrSandman commented on the blog post Iran/Mexican Drug Cartel Terror Plot Disrupted

    2011-10-11 18:13:32View | Delete

    Just read the AP story on this, and rolling my eyes at the following quote:

    “We will not let other countries use our soil as their battleground,” Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said at a press conference in Washington with Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller.

    Oh, the irony…

  • MrSandman commented on the blog post Approval of Congress at All Time Low

    2011-08-07 17:09:47View | Delete

    I predicted this to friends a few years back. Junior et al so discredited the Republicans that a donkey could’ve won in 2008. At the time, I believed that the Democrats were being handed a real opportunity, but it was a *one-chance* deal; if they screwed up in any way, the voters would essentially declare a “pox on both houses” verdict, and go back and forth for a few more election cycles, handing power first to one party, then the other.

    Well, sad to say, black Reagan, as you know, not only screwed up, but screwed up royally. Whether he survives next year isn’t the question; it’s the “pox on both houses” election, and it’s all going to come down to how local politics is, I think.

    The system is irretrievably broken. At this point, either we continue to implode, or drastic changes will force the issue. It’s all going to come down to what the national breaking point is, and *when* that point is reached…

  • MrSandman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 18:05:47View | Delete

    This should’ve also been captioned/subtitled in English for the deaf and hard of hearing. Over the years, police have overreacted/panicked when dealing with deaf people, and it’s led to some tragic results at times.

  • The problem with many past protests (and the problem *I* have with them) is that too many competing messages are on display. You go to a protest, there are fifty different issues: end the war, save the environment, justice for Palestinians, jail the crooks, impeach a politician, etc.,etc. So instead of one coherent message, one unified voice, you get the whole spectrum of all the issues on the left (most of which are very valid issues, and deserving of attention, but it all gets lost).

    If you look at our history, a lot of the short-term changes that led to long-term policy changes came about when you had economic-driven protests. Think the Shays Rebellion, Coxey’s Army, the Bonus March. The union strikes were at their heart economic protests. Even the civil rights marches, initially about civil rights (and solidly focused on one message!) were starting to become economics-focused at the time of King’s death (The Memphis sanitation worker’s strike).

    Americans can understand and will get behind something they can wrap their minds around, and right now that’s the fact that Wall Street ripped us all off, wrecked the country, and STILL continue to rip us off. So where better place to protest than Wall Street? They’re running the country, not the bought and paid for puppets in DC.

  • The only way anything will change is if people get in the streets and stay in the streets. Anything less than that will fail, I’m sorry to say (and as much as I would wish otherwise!).

    It’s why, despite the early planning and exhortations, I have no expectations of the planned gathering in DC in October. For one thing, people will just fly, drive, bike, walk in to town. They’ll march, listen to speeches, then turn around and fly, drive, bike, or walk back out. Too many groups have done this over the years, which is why they’re largely ignored.

    For something like this to be effective and really drive home the point, the gathering should be in NYC, on Wall Street itself, and people should plan to stay. This would be far more effective, I think.

  • Back before the 2008 election, I saw it as a make-or-break election; a donkey could have run as a candidate for the Democrats and won. Bush and his administration had so ruined the Republicans that it was a foregone conclusion the Democrats would take the White House. However, due to the depression we were entering at that time, I figured the Democrats would get ONE shot at it. If they messed up (and we all know how that turned out!), the electorate would end up in a “pox on both houses” mood, and swing back and forth. This is exactly what’s happening now, and what I foresee happening for a few more elections at least. I see control going back and forth between the two major parties until either everyone with half a brain opting out of elections and completely surrendering control to the corporatists (and we implode), or resistance that leads to civil war/revolution, or some other sort of volatile response, successful or not.

    I hope I’m wrong, but that’s how I see it playing out.

  • There was nothing “astute” about running for president in 2008- an actual donkey could have run and won. That’s part of why Obama ran then, because it was the best possible time to run. I don’t find him “astute” at all- I see him as a craven political opportunist.

  • MrSandman commented on the blog post Senate Passes Tax Cut Bill

    2010-12-16 22:05:14View | Delete

    Hey- I’m coming back awfully late, but now that my office has discovered and banned Firedoglake, I am not going to be able to check until late at night, which effectively puts me in EPU territory for all time. As I said, my rare forays into comments will become even rarer…

    Anyway, yes, it was a brief comment you left. But I think we both have legitimate points, questions, and responses.

    I will say that the student strikes of the 1960s did not succeed in their primary achievement, which was to end the war. However, the single-message focus of those protests heightened and legitimized dissent, exposed and increased rifts in public opinion, and forced people to re-examine what was going on in Vietnam and why we were there. It helped we actually were in whatever passed for a “golden age” of journalism back there, what with Cronkite’s pronouncements after Tet, the NYT’s willingness to publish the Pentagon Papers, etc.

    Where the protests were successful was in borrowing from and expanding upon the civil disobedience of past generations and movements to the point that every cause, movement and group imitated them afterwards; the protests helped to politicize and radicalize a generation, and some of those protesters continued their interest and participation in politics- you can see that here on this site (it’s possible many would have gravitated to politics in the end, but possibly not); and the Civil Rights movement and student strikes of the 60s originated and inspired tactics and techniques that were used successfully by later movements (The 1977 HEW sit-ins by the disabled borrowed elements from their 60s compatriots, for example).

    I do agree the 1930s had more far-reaching impact, but that’s due to Labor– when you combined Labor and the young and other groups, you had a very powerful coalition. The antipathy of Labor to the youth movement and the anti-war protests in the 60s didn’t help, I don’t think. But what happened then, as I mentioned earlier, badly scared the Establishment (especially the riots in the late 1960s– everyone was scared there was going to be a race war…) enough that they immediately developed long-term strategies to reverse all this. They’ve since succeeded all too well, sadly enough.

    I also agree there was much violence. Sad to say, violence works, to a degree; violence helps the government and the Establishment to control things, to oppress people, but the same violence can also create powerful sympathies– look at the UAW strikes in the late 1930s, the attacks in Birmingham by Connor and his officers, etc.

    I’ll take your suggestion about working on a third party under consideration, but I suspect we may be several years late on that one.

  • MrSandman commented on the blog post Senate Passes Tax Cut Bill

    2010-12-15 18:44:00View | Delete

    Ok, let’s assume that you’re correct, and it’s a bad idea. What would YOU suggest? Because what we’re doing now isn’t working.

    Yes, the protests were a factor in ushering in Nixon, and the Vietnam War continued until the cease-fire in 1973, but they shaped public opinion, and in ways that were to our benefit. The student strikes certainly scared the establishment; much of what they’ve done from Nixon’s time onward has been a reaction to the events of the 1930s and 1960s, a reaction to both FDR and LBJ, a reaction to the labor strikes, the student strikes, and the Civil Rights movement. Unfortunately, thanks to the pushback that began in the 1970s, they have successfully implemented a long-term strategy to prevent this from ever happening again, short of revolution or civil war. Thus my comment about the choices that now face us.

  • MrSandman commented on the blog post Senate Passes Tax Cut Bill

    2010-12-15 18:29:31View | Delete

    Thanks– this is a nice community we have here, but in general, we’re all just preaching to the choir, or chastising trolls, or, unfortunately, lecturing newcomers on how they need to sit and be quiet and listen to those with experience, rather than welcoming them (not a great tactic, IMHO– we’re gonna need all the friends we can get!). If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen the phrase “torches and pitchforks” here, I’d have enough money to pay off my debts and start fresh elsewhere. Unfortunately for me, that’s going to have to be virtual dollars.

    I agree with you– we either need to start formulating alternate actions, or just accept for the time being that this is how it’s going to be. It’s great to try to change the system the way Jane is doing, and I think she’s right, that it has to be done that way. But that doesn’t mean that we have to accept that as the only path; it’s time to start discussing Plan B, and maybe even additional paths. Sitting around here, seeing the same names and faces, is lovely, but it’s a choir, and a choir that is stuck within the old paradigms, the ones that don’t exist anymore. It’s nice we have precinct captains, campaign committee workers, etc., here, but that’s all from a 20th century American political system– one that doesn’t really exist anymore. Unfortunately, too many people still believe in this traditional two-party system and how it works, even people here. The sooner we face the fact that the system is irretrievably broken and the corporatists have won, the sooner we can abandon the old paradigm. In doing so, we free ourselves to try to create a new paradigm, one that we can actually try to use to our advantage.

  • MrSandman commented on the blog post Senate Passes Tax Cut Bill

    2010-12-15 18:21:48View | Delete

    veganrevolution and aldous, thanks. Would’ve responded earlier, but the site has now been blocked at the office (not too surprising), so my rare appearances here will become even rarer.

  • MrSandman commented on the blog post Senate Passes Tax Cut Bill

    2010-12-15 11:59:06View | Delete

    Oh, one more thing I wonder: why didn’t Feingold filibuster? Since he will no longer be in the Senate, he had nothing, really, to lose and quite a bit to gain by taking a stand, in addition to his vote.

  • MrSandman commented on the blog post Senate Passes Tax Cut Bill

    2010-12-15 11:55:37View | Delete

    Well, I guess that’s that. We’ll all go back to ranting about how this country’s going down the drain, how we will or won’t vote if they pass this, or if they do this one more time, and go back to our brand of slacktivism (which I’ve been equally guilty of).

    At this point, we’re going to have to suffer through an undetermined period of fascism before we emerge from the other side. The only way to try to immediately reverse what’s going on is to take to the streets, and with Labor so weak these days, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. So let’s just head back to virtual torches and pitchforks, shall we? It’s working so well…

    Now, before you pile on me, I’ve been here (mostly silently) reading for years, and I admire Jane, Marcy, Christy, et al as much as the rest of you do. But the majority of the Left, including many here, continue trying to work change through traditional rules of the game, and those rules don’t work anymore. Rallies on the Capitol Mall are a dime a dozen now, and have been reduced by Colbert/Stewart to satire. E-mail and phone calls can be easily ignored, since the only people who actually see/listen to them are lowly interns and staffers, and they’re so easy to replace, don’t you know? Petitions are highly overrated and meaningless.

    When tuition increases here in California are met by outraged verbal protests and nothing more, versus actual student strikes in Europe as a response to the same thing, you know things aren’t working.

    What’s needed that is “traditional” and “time-tested” is for the young and Labor to get in the streets and stay there. They still do in Europe, but not here anymore.

    I suspect we’re in the hallway facing doors: one leads to implosion and a steep further decline into fascism, another leads to revolution or civil war. Given the nature of Americans, the assaults on civil liberties and press freedoms, and the passive nature of politicking these days, I suspect it’s the first door. We’ll see…

  • MrSandman commented on the blog post Investigate the TSA, Not Tyner

    2010-11-16 16:21:20View | Delete

    Instead of a petition, why not links to the airlines’ contact people? We could just send letters/calls saying we will not fly, or we will only fly when absolutely necessary (I don’t know too many people planning month-long cruises to Europe these days), until TSA is abolished/reined in. That would be more effective, IMHO.

  • MrSandman commented on the blog post Darrell Issa Needs a New Baby-Sitter

    2010-11-09 19:56:33View | Delete

    Waxman is all bark, no bite. Issa’s just going to try to go for the jugular as much as he can. Congress is in sore need of real oversight, but it isn’t coming from anyone presently there…

  • Yup, except we still have the 2/3rds requirement for taxes, plus Prop 26 passed. Still, I think we have the potential to start crawling out, if not actually do it. Brown has a real challenge on his hands.

  • Great list– not enough to save this nation from falling apart, but I’m glad that all that was accomplished.

    Thanks for everything you do, Jane.

  • Not when you have one hundred different messages at rallies and protests. It’s why the early civil rights movement succeeded, because the message was one: desegregation, and desegregation NOW. While the anti-war movement was less successful, it endured because it too had one message: end the war NOW.

    The last couple of times I went to any protests, I saw so many diverse messages and signs, it became difficult to tell just what the demonstration was about. Single-issue messages/memes work best. It’s a lesson we need to re-learn.

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