Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “Republican Party”

Hope from Our Youngins – Roger Ingalls

I’ve been racking my brains trying to come up with something to write about for today’s post. I wanted to do something positive because we’ve just concluded round two of the presidential debates and I was appalled at the inaccuracies by both candidates. President Obama didn’t create false statement but he exaggerated many points while Romney outright lied in traditional Republican grand standing fashion. The Republican leaders knows their followship will believe anything they say so truth doesn’t matter (it’s the conservative authoritarian belief system that creates blind followship).

I was about to give up on a positive subject and write about the stupidity of California Prop 30 but then a Facebook post caught my eye. An old friend posted a question to teenagers on her Facebook page asking which presidential candidate THEY would vote for, without influence from their parents.

Their responses were interesting. They almost apologetically assumed they were supposed to say Romney. All selected President Obama and their comments were telling. They were very logical and actually saw through the Republican Party’s false sound bites. I was amazed!

Here are a few of their comments:

1)      “It’s taken me more than four years just to pay off my little car loan, how is Obama expected to fix a trashed economy in such a short period of time”.

2)      “Obama inherited Bush’s mess, why is the Republican Party blaming him?”

3)      “Romney doesn’t truly believe in equal rights for all and would push back gains made by LGBTQ”.

Again, I was amazed. These young people were thinking critically and were not blindly following like many of their parents. They saw through the false sound bites; their brains were engaged.

This gives me hope…it really gives me hope.

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The Third Choice – Roger Ingalls

We may have a legitimate third choice for President come November 2012. There’s an interesting movement underway giving all registered voters delegate power to select a candidate that will be placed on the presidential ticket. We’ll all have a chance to vote our choice during an online convention.

Before explaining further, I want to point something out about our traditional caucus/primary system that selects who goes on to the presidential ticket. California is the largest economy in the United States and if it were a country, it would be the eighth largest economic power in the world. However, California has no say when it comes to who should be on the Democratic or Republican ticket because the game is over before its primary takes place. For example: Mitt Romney is a virtual lock for the Republican Party but California’s primary is still six weeks away. The people behind the biggest U.S. economy have no choice… that’s ridiculous.

This new movement is called Americans Elect. Their goal is to nominate a presidential ticket that answers directly to the people and not a political system. Their slogan is, “select a president not a party”. To date, they have collected enough signatures in 25 states allowing the candidate selected during the online convention to be placed on the ballot in those states. It is forecasted that the signature quota will be met for all 50 states.

The concept behind Americans Elect is good. Our current process to elect a president is archaic and unfair to many regions of the country. Modernizing the process would save money, create election security and provide real choice and fairness for all. With that said, Americans Elect may be an elaborate setup to split votes in the 2012 election. Some of the original monetary backers behind the movement will not identify themselves. The Democratic Party’s demographic tends to be younger, more educated and open to change so they would be more likely to endorse Americans Elect. Conservatives may not recognize the true value of the movement or, in typical fashion, shy away from change. If only liberals and moderates jump onboard, it would fracture the Democrats and hand the election to the conservatives.

Conceptually, I like what Americans Elect is trying to do. It gives some power back to the people. Below are links to videos and their website. What do you think?

Website  http://www.americanselect.org/

Overview  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuYKHnAVJ-Y

PBS Report  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXPLYCPJnWU

CNN Report  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYjnmpBwYd8

The Republican Freak Show – Roger Ingalls

Is it just me or do others view the 2012 Republican presidential candidates as a bunch of creepy clowns interviewing for a gig at a neighborhood carnival?

Looks at these freaks. I can’t believe this is the best the Republican Party has to offer. It’s an embarrassment not only to the nation’s right leaning folks but all people of this great country.

Newt Gingrich, really? The morals-trumpeting hypocrite went after President Clinton with impeachment for having an affair and it turns out Newt is an adulterer himself. Not to mention, he’s a Jabba the Hut look-alike.

The Godfather of pizza, Herman Cain, couldn’t find Libya on a map if a fourth-grader was pointing at it. He may have more out-of-court sexual harassment settlements than Sarah Jessica Parker has shoes. At least he’s smart enough to keep himself out of jail.

Rick Perry is the crazy cowboy Ronald Reagan always wanted to be. Visions of mass pray-ins at Texas-sized stadiums are dancing in my head. Rick can be seen waving the Bible in one hand and shooting a gun in the other while praying with his snake charming buddies (click for video).

My favorite sideshow is Michele “pray-out-the-gay” Bachmann. She can’t open her mouth without tripping over the fake American history that drools out. A fourth-grader should be hired to proof her speeches.

Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann

Mitt Romney seems somewhat normal but he does more flip-flops than a trapeze artist in a three-ring tent. The conservative marketing machine – Fox News – doesn’t like Romney so he doesn’t have a chance. Maybe Rupert Murdock doesn’t like Mormons.

 

These clowns are freakish enough on their own but now there’s a ring master. Donald Trump is moderating a Republican debate in late December. Can this conservative carnival get any loonier?

I know this post sounds a little mean-spirited but let’s get serious; we need greatness in the Whitehouse not laughable personalities best suited for a 19th century traveling circus.

We deserve better.

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Roger Ingalls is well traveled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

Occupy a Political Party

Last Wednesday, I shared my concerns for the sustainability of the Occupy movement as we see it now – without an agenda, a strategic plan, or a leadership structure. I suggested that an agenda be built around the demands suggested by Roger Ingalls.

This past weekend, I suggested to a friend of mine that the biggest challenge should possibly be bringing the Occupy moment, with its agenda and values, into the Democratic Party.

A Leadership Is Needed

He strongly protested. “Barack Obama has failed us,” he said. “The democratic leadership is part of the 1%,” he declared. “Once we join the system, we will be compromised and become a part of it.”

I tried to take him to task. I don’t believe Barack Obama failed us, I think we failed him. We created a mass grassroots movement to sweep him into office. We cried with pride at his inauguration, and then we went out for sushi and two years later, the Republicans were in a position to block everything the President had talked about during the heady campaign days.

Why did we let up? What on earth made us think that one man could change Washington? Where did we find the arrogance to think that the Republican machine would simply roll over and lick its wounds in silence?

As we celebrated the amazing Change We Can Believe In, and told ourselves that Yes We Did, the Republicans were plotting how to fight back. I don’t blame them; we would have done the same, no?

Whatever you might think of the Tea Party, they have galvanized the Republican Party. Whether this is good or bad, might be highlighted by who becomes the Republican presidential candidate. Actually it might be bad no matter who is voted in, depending on your political perspective. But for the Republican masses, they want the Tea Party behind the candidate, because these are engaged and empowered people.

So where do we take the Occupy movement? We take it into the Democratic Party and we decide not to hand over the keys. We become empowered partners who work not only for four more years of the most visionary and intelligent President that most of us can remember, but we fight on to give him a Congress that will work with him and not against him.

Occupy. Obama, Tea Party - somethings gotta happen!

There are those in the Occupy movement who will have trouble with this. They have worked hard to create a momentum based upon commitment and values, rather than power and ego. But their biggest test will be to continue to deny their own power aspirations and ego without getting disillusioned by entering mainstream politics.

This is a win: win for everyone who believes in a left or liberal agenda. For the Democratic Party to do this, they need an army of grassroots activists who are feeling empowered despite the blows rained down on us from Wall Street and big banks. They need the energy of the Occupy movement and the Occupy Movement needs a political party to let our President do what he set out to achieve.

Most of all, this is what America needs. It is what a sinking Europe and a poverty-stricken Africa needs. It is what those seeking to throw off the chains of autocracy and fanaticism need.

A strong, democratic, and moral democracy must emerge for the world. And it can begin with the next step that the Occupy movement takes. I hope they are willing to take that first step. And I hope the Democratic Party has a strategic understanding that they must welcome a new generation into their hallowed halls.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/ and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

Occupying an Agenda

I have posted frequently about my excitement over the Occupy movement. The ‘uprising,’ if I may use such a term, is both a shift of consciousness and a call for grassroots action. I am proud of those who are creating micro communities on these sites and seeking an inclusive culture that allows for everyone present to feel involved and listened to. I am sorry that the mass media do not seem willing to give this aspect the attention it deserves.

Occupy SF

This is the crux of the movement. What mobilized people is the rising frustration that the vast majority of us are simple pawns in a game played with impunity by corrupt big business principles and a failed political system where those sent to Washington do not represent those who voted to send them (and those who didn’t), but rather represent those who paid for them to get voted in.

People need to feel listened to. They have a right to know that if they work hard, save for retirement, buy a house, and then they will receive a minimal social network. Their children will have a good education, their medical needs will be taken care of, law enforcement are there to protect them, and that they can retire with dignity. If you play by the rules and participate in the system, surely you have entitlement to basic human rights.

The rains are coming and it is unclear how the Occupy movement will cope with the coming winter. What most worries me is that, as far as I know, there is no strategic plan. It is unclear who is the leadership and we will revisit next week on this blog whether there should be an agenda.

Will people come out in the rain?

This past summer, ‘Tent Cities” were created in most major towns in Israel. There was a huge outpouring from a disenfranchised and disillusioned public (many of them under 40) with a myriad of social issues represented. Some were similar to here in the US, others more unique to Israel.

There are many similarities to Occupy. There was no recognized leadership because there was a desire not to exclude anyone and creating a power structure, however open and inclusive, runs the risk of marginalizing people. Furthermore, there was no central agenda, again because of a desire to promote different social injustices and issues, according to those who stepped up to join the Tent City. There were also clashes with police.

Israelis of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and religions came together for a summer.

When the summer ended, the groups slowly lost momentum. I am afraid that without a framework and platform, then it might not be able to sustain itself. I believe the Occupy system needs to decide one of two things:

i) To create an agenda – and they might do well to read Roger Ingall’s suggestions.

ii) Decide to create a leadership structure and strategic plan, or take the momentum into the Democratic Party.

More on this second aspect next Wednesday.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/ and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

Republican Debt Mantra: Build It Cuz They B Dumm

 

Tune into the news via the TV, radio or computer and all we hear is noise about the escalating national debt. We’ll hear the well-oiled Republican machine blaming President Obama and the Democrats for reckless spending. The conservative-speak by these silver-tongued devils is so finely tuned it makes Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address seem no more complex than a nursery rhyme.

I’m in awe of these self-proclaimed “Christian-valued” politicians that shift their guilt on to the innocent with such ease as if they were channeling Lucifer himself. I suppose this “self-proclaiming” is part of the facade. But how do they do it?  How do they sleep at night and how do they live in their own skin without wanting to crawl out of it? It’s creepy.

Michele Bachmann, US House Rep., MN, Republican

(click picure for scary surprise)

Surprisingly, this simple yet deceptive campaign actually works. Most Americans believe Democrats are the big spenders.

While at dinner with a friend this past weekend, we stumbled upon the subject of our national debt. He mentioned his amazement at the Democrats’ continued quest to add more to the huge debt they’ve already created—I almost choked. Wait, did I hear that right? Did this man, intelligent in many forms, actually say, “the huge debt the Democrats have created?”  Holy frickin’ crap, Batman, even he’s been brainwashed!

I knew, right then and there, something had to be done. These twisted words must be ripped from the devil’s mouth—torn out by its roots.  Many are trying to stop the Republican rewriting of history and I, too, must do my part.

Let’s keep it simple, let’s think like cavemen. Pictures, they’re worth a thousand words. These charts say it all (click image for larger view):

It doesn’t get any more obvious than this. As the charts show, Republicans historically increase spending and the national debt while the Democrats decrease them. The numbers don’t lie.

The purpose of this post is not to solely put the debt blame back on the shoulders of Republicans where it rightly belongs. It is also intended to highlight the importance of searching for truth. Don’t be led blindly by today’s politicians, they are salesmen for Corporate America—especially Republicans.

Whether you’re progressive or conservative, it should be vividly clear that we need revolutionary change within our political system. If a politician can tell a boldfaced lie without so much as a slap on the wrist, something is wrong.

-Roger Ingalls

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Roger Ingalls is well travelled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

The Pied Pipering of America

We’ve all heard the old world story about the Pied Piper—the one where the elders hire the colorful clown to rid the village of pesky rats and when there’s a payment dispute the Pied Piper plays the magic flute once again. But this time he leads the villagers’ naïve children to their death. Historians say it’s a symbolic retelling of the Black Death during the dark ages.

Is America being led into a new dark age? Some say we are and point to our increasing ills: a corrupt Supreme Court privately entertained by corporations, White House-sanctioned torture, economic growth based on the perpetual selling of debt, increased reliance on finite resources, political agendas financed by big business and the Reaganomic elimination of the middle class.

Who are the Pied Pipers leading the American death march? Who’s paying these pipers? But more importantly, who are the naïve followers of the piper?

The Republican masses can be likened to lemmings. They are easily manipulated into followship pacts even when the end result or cause is nonsensical. This is primarily due to a common education level and conservative conditioning.

The education breakdown of the Republican population fits into a Gaussian distribution curve that is centered at the high school level. Since the bulk of the Republican followship has a mid-level education there is a lack of critical thinking typically associated with higher education. In contrast, the Democrat population has a bimodal distribution with peaks occurring in the disenchanted and critical thinking areas— these groups lack a followship mentality.

In addition, Cognitive Science tells us that Republicans have an authoritarian mind set. Their hierarchical structure begins with God and descends to country, father, mother, children, pets and so on. This conservative conditioning creates obedience, especially toward authoritarian leaders.

The Pied Pipering of America has been made easy by the Republican Party. Their authoritarian conditioning and lack of critical thinking creates a simple-minded mass followship. This is a Pied Piper’s dream. With a single playing of the political flute the whole group can be steered toward the highest bidder.

How do we fix this? Should we fix this?

-Roger Ingalls

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Roger Ingalls is well travelled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

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