June 15, 2012

REVENGE: Why I’m gonna vote for Obama in November

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 7:48 pm

This November, it goes without saying that most American oligarchs will gleefully vote for Mitt Romney — or whoever else the Republicans finally choose — because it’s clearly in their best self-interest to vote for a candidate who offers them every perk that they want. I understand that.

But what I completely don’t understand is why anyone who makes less than $5,000,000 a year would even consider voting for anyone besides progressive candidates such as the Green Party’s Jill Stein. If you’re not filthy rich and aren’t receiving Welfare for the Wealthy, then voting for progressives is clearly in YOUR own best self-interest too.

And then there’s Barack Obama to consider. Given his dismally neo-con-ish track record these past four years, why in the world would any American working-class hero ever consider voting for Obama again either? He has proven time and again to be a friend of the rich, an admirer of banksters, a happy supporter of oil barons, the corporatistas’ BFF, and a buddy-buddy-pal to war profiteers.

According to journalist Mark Karlin, Obama has recently come up with even more and better ways to help out oligarchs — not us. “Under President Obama and the Republicans, apparently we are about to surrender portions of our legal system that protect our health, environment, financial system and working conditions to a corporate-driven international tribunal.”

A vote for Obama is definitely not a vote for the Salt of the Earth like you and me and definitely not in our own self-interest. So why would I ever vote for him? Here’s why: REVENGE.

After repeatedly selling out the very people who elected him to office in a landslide in 2008, dontcha think it’s finally about time for Obama to finally feel the pain of our wrath? Yeah! And what could possibly be more painful than to torture Obama by getting him re-elected and forcing him to spend another four miserable years listening to racists, birthers, wannabe assassins, thugs and haters spewing out vitriolic, horrid and slimy things about him and his family again and again and again — like they have already done for the last four years.

But, ironically, it is these very same racists, birthers and haters who used to practically cream their jeans with happiness back when George W. Bush came out with all the very same “Bail out the Rich and kill everything that moves in the Middle East” policies that Obama now embraces. Go figure. You would think that these people would simply adore Obama just like they did GWB (and now Bush’s twin brother Romney).

I’m still surprised that they don’t.

PS: At the 2012 Netroots Nation convention last week, Van Jones gave a very stirring speech in favor of voting for Obama (for reasons other than revenge). And here is the gist of his speech, hopefully quoted correctly by me. But is Jones right? Should we actually go ahead and vote for Obama? Who knows. But I personally like my REVENGE reason better.

Here’s pretty much what Jones said:

“With regard to Wisconsin, you have to do a lot more than outspend us eight-to-one in order to beat us down. We are not giving up!

Our grandparents knew what it was like to march for change for real. They faced fire hoses and billy clubs. And now some of us want to give up after a really bad Tweet?

In Wisconsin, the local forces stood up — but they fought alone. Where was the national Democratic party? We did our minimum and the others did their maximum — and they won. Democrats, women, civil rights movement? They didn’t step up.

And now we have a quandary. We know we’re supposed to be all fired up. But we’re not. We like this President — but we don’t love him. We went from having a crush to feeling crushed. And we’re upset. Caught between a Barack and a hard place!

But if we try to teach Obama a lesson, let me just say a few things. If the Tea Party is allowed to score a trifecta and they govern America, they might use power a little bit differently than we do. They might use their power to decimate us! These people truly want to decapitate us — to eliminate the EPA for instance, which has probably saved more American lives than the Department of Defense.

When we had power, we went all bipartisan. But if they win, they won’t act that way. Do you actually think that if they win in November that they are going to be all bipartisan too? All the crazy stuff they say that they will do? They will do it!

It will be the worst.

Imagine a beach with a lifeguard, not the best lifeguard in the world — but not the worst. Then imagine a tsunami coming. Then imagine someone saying, “The more people who drown, that is a good thing — because then they will fire the lifeguard and I could get the lifeguard’s job.”

I respect Tea Party members. They are Americans. But I want to beat them in November! It’s time for us to stand up for what we believe in. It’s like when my kid plays soccer. I want my kid to win. But I don’t want my kid to win by biting the other kid and or to cheat and lie.

So we are in a quandary. We’ve been dealt a tough hand. But we have to be as strong as the opposition. So. What to do? Re-elect the president — and then hold him accountable too.

But before you can get a president to do what you want, you have to have a president who can be moved — and then you’ve got to do the moving. And Obama can be moved. But if the Tea Party gets a president elected, you can bet that their president will not and cannot be moved. So we have two fights here — first, to stop the Tea Party in November. But also to stop the budget committee in December as well, when the Bush tax cuts and the Pell grants expire. And we can do it. Occupy Wall Street was able to stop the SuperCommittee. Remember that.

We are dealing with ham-and-egg justice here — where the rich only have to give up a few eggs but the rest of us have to contribute the ham for breakfast. And in the process we, like the pig that contributes the ham, have to be killed.

In 2000, we had no idea that Bush would bankrupt the nation or crumple our international esteem. But in 2012, we now know. They have a wrecking-ball agenda. And we know this now. Education, clean air, unions. They have a brutal willingness to destroy all we have fought for. “I want to drown America’s government in a bathtub.” Who even thinks like that?

Kids coming home from wars are killing themselves — one a day. They’ve been nation-building in other countries. Now do it here at home!

You need to take yourselves very seriously now. We’ve got to take a time-out from our pity party. The stakes are too high — and you have the power. Our grandparents fought worse things than this and they won. Somebody has got to stand up now. Fight back. The fight to take back America has to start somewhere. Why not here.

PPS: Was it Plato who first got all excited about Beauty being the most important thing in the world? Beauty. That’s right.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” Keats tells us.

“Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out-values all the utilities of the world,” says Ralph Waldo Emerson.

But no matter who you personally plan to vote for in 2012, please remember this: There is no beauty in greed, no beauty in poverty and no beauty in war.


June 22, 2011

No Fear & Loathing in Minneapolis: Cheap patriotism vs. Deep patriotism

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 4:56 pm

I was supposed to go to the Netroots Nation convention in Minneapolis last week, an annual event designed to appeal to progressive bloggers, progressive activists and progressive wannabes. However, 24 hours before I was scheduled to leave for Minnesota, I started to get cold feet. Why even bother? Trying to speak up for freedom, justice and democracy in America just seems to be an exercise in futility these days. Obviously the corporatists and their Fright-wing minions have grabbed hold of all us progressives by the short hairs and aren’t letting go — so why even bother to fight back? I started to reach for the phone, to cancel my reservations.

But then I didn’t.

It’s time to man up and not let those bastards get me down!

So the next day I bravely put on my “We sail until Palestine is Free” T-shirt, ignored all the suspicious looks from passengers who appeared to think I was about to blow up the plane in the middle of some grade-B movie by Adam Sandler, flew off to Denver, spent the night attempting to sleep in the DEN airport and finally flew on to Minneapolis to the tune of “This land is your land…” playing in my head.

This land was made for you and me.

And that’s pretty much what they tried to tell us at the Netroots Nation convention.

America doesn’t belong to the corporatists and their brain-washed Fright-wing minions. This land STILL belongs to you and me. And there are still a lot of us who still believe this — that America is still ours.

And I learned that we all have to stand up and fight for our country. And I also learned that I’m not in this battle alone.

Over 2,500 progressives attended the NN convention. It was inspiring! I really am not alone. And not only that, but I learned that the people of Minneapolis are really NICE. Got immigrant problems? No problem here. The people of this great city embraced their immigrants, educated them, made them productive citizens and put them to work to make Minneapolis stronger — not becoming just one more bastion of Fear and Loathing and hate like in Arizona right now (and Warsaw in 1944). America is bigger than that.

At the convention, Van Jones gave a speech about “Cheap patriots vs. Deep patriots”. Here’s a video of that speech: This speech is like the Gettysburg Address of modern progressivism — short and moving. I left the auditorium completely inspired. Screw the fright-wing media and the corporate Big Boys who tell us that progressives are un-American fools. I’m gonna go back out there into the blogosphere trenches and fight for my country!

“Don’t you tell us that progressives don’t love our country,” said Jones. “We stand up for folks and we help people and we hold them and help and love them — the people that you mistreat and run over and laugh at. And we see the effects of your cynicism and your disrespect and your hate-mongering. And it’s not just immoral, it’s un-American to abuse the airwaves and the ears of our children with your lies and your filth. We’re sick of it. You’re not America. We’re a better country than that. Quit abusing our country!”

Jones talked about how Tea Party members have rallied around the idea of “Rugged Individualism,” and how badly that plan is working out for them — because Tea Party members are demanding rugged individualism alright, but only for the soon-to-be-extinct American middle class, not for the oligarchs. Is the Tea Party rallying around the idea of demanding “Rugged Individualism” for wealthy corporatists too? Hell no. Corporatists get to be Socialists!

“Progressives need to rally around the American Dream. Not the one that says that somehow we may someday all become millionaires, but the one that says if we work hard we will succeed.” And that our government is there to help us succeed, not just to give more trillions of dollars to Wall Street and the War machine — while taking away our infrastructure and Social Security and educational system and jobs in order to pay for the Tea Party’s naive belief that their corporatist heroes need government perks but they don’t. Or words to that effect.

Go, Van!

Now I’m all inspired to go back home and kick even more Corporatist arse. This is MY America. Not theirs. I’m a Deep Patriot. Corporatists and their Tea Party minions are just cheap patriots. So there!

PS: While in Minneapolis, I also discovered that I was actually staying next to the University of Minnesota chapter-house of my old sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. Wow! Here’s my big chance to use my secret handshake and reminisce over the old glory days back in 1961 when I was Kappa’s only token hippie. So I knocked on the chapter-house door, but no one answered. Guess you can’t go home again. Sigh.

PPS: Minneapolis has some wonderful public transportation. I took their light-rail train out to the Mall of America and got there in less than 20 minutes. LOVED the MOA, that tribute to America’s sacred worship of materialism. Loved the rides. Loved the shops. Even loved Hooters! But. America is so much more than just the trinkets you can buy in shops and stores.

America’s true glory lies in the kind smiles on Minneapolis residents’ faces — and their willingness to help strangers. No Fear & Loathing here.

PPPS: And if you still aren’t completely pissed off at the Republican corporatists and their Tea Party dupes who have set out to systematically destroy America’s middle class, then just click here and listen to another Netroots Nation keynote speech by MN Senator Al Franken — then you definitely will be pissed off!


To see photos of Van Jones at NN and of me at Hooters, click here:


October 7, 2010

America then & now: Mesa Verde, Van Jones & Big Oil

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 9:31 pm

I just went over to see Mesa Verde today, a dream come true for me. My parents went to Mesa Verde on their honeymoon back in the 1930s and when I was a kid I used to look at their photos taken during that time and dream that someday I too would go there. And now I’m actually here! But the descendants of the people who built Mesa Verde are not — not here. They are gone.

So. Where did they go? What happened to the Anasazi, the old-timey Ancient Pueblans? Rumor has it that they had to leave here because of various adverse changes in climate, including a severe drought and a mini-ice age. “Climate change drove them out,” said a ranger. Now does that sound familiar or what!

I once wrote a sci-fi novel about Mesa Verde — about how the folks there had to leave due to threats from neighboring raider-warriors and from man’s inhumanity to man. But then, in my book, the refugees from Mesa Verde became immortal and lived in the stars for centuries and only returned to Earth 5,000 years later — after some of its radioactivity had worn off. And will that happen to us too — a repeat of the Mesa Verde story? Let’s hope not.

Anyway, back at the real-life Mesa Verde I got to go down into a sacred ceremonial pit at Spruce Tree House — which was totally cool and spiritual and mind-bending. Then I bought a whole bunch of souvenirs at the gift shop and ate traditional fry bread. I did it! I was actually there! And Mesa Verde lived up to all of my expectations too. But now I gotta go home and revise my novel.

The Ancient Pueblans apparently had to leave their homes because of climate change — but what did they know? Not much. They were just pre-Colombian farmers from before the age of The Weather Channel. However, modern mankind knows a lot more about climate change than they did and we also know how to stop it from snowballing before it’s too late. BUT. Will we act in time? Will we actually do what we know that we have to do in order to save the planet? Or will we too, like the Anasazi, be forced to leave our abandoned cities (and suburbs) behind?

I’m tending to be kind of pessimistic here.

“But, Jane, why are you being so negative about our ability to stop climate change?” you might ask.

I can instantly tell you why. “Because of California’s Proposition 23.” That’s why. “And because of Van Jones.” Van Jones, Obama’s former Green Energy Czar? Yes, THAT Van Jones — the alternative energy expert that was positively pilloried and crucified by Big Oil last year. Jones is one of the few men today actually standing up to protect us modern-day people from a deja vu re-play of what happened at Mesa Verde.

The other day, Jones gave a talk in Berkeley about the disastrous consequences for all of us Americans if California’s Proposition 23 passes. Here’s my almost-accurate recreation of that talk. Either read it and weep — or read it and go out and DO SOMETHING!

“We need to make sure that people hear the truth about this state proposition. This isn’t about us losing jobs in California like the TV commercials in favor of it would lead you to believe. It’s about Texas oil trying to take on Silicon Valley.” Why Silicon Valley? Because people in Silicon Valley are trying to develop a huge new alternative energy program right now and this intention has got the guys from Big Oil running scared.

“It isn’t as if the Texas oilmen who are sponsoring this proposition are crying their eyes out because people in California don’t have jobs.” Remember the Texas oilmen who ran Enron? They weren’t trying to help Californians either. They just saw us as suckers. And the same thing appears to be happening here.

“They claim that they are sobbing now, ‘boo-hoo,’ because they have to spend 20 million dollars just to give those poor Californians some jobs.” That’s just not true. Big Oil could care less about us — us suckers and marks.

“Less than two years ago, both McCain and Obama agreed on one thing — that we need to prevent radical climate change. The only common ground between both parties was that we had to do something about global warming. So. What happened?” Jones asked. “Special interests decided to knock out Silicon Valley — by lying to us.” And by lying about Van Jones too.

I’ve known Van since 2001 when we worked together to plan Robert Treuhaft’s funeral (Bob was a founding member of the Lawyers Guild, co-wrote “An American Way of Death” with his wife Jessica Mitford — her biography, “Irrepressible,” just came out BTW — and Bob was my boss for a few years. But I digress). Jones is a good guy. I believe what he says. And I recommend that you believe him too.

“For the past two years, we’ve found that [lobby-based and Republican-based] lies to us have gone uncontested — and so these lies grew. And now we find ourselves fighting these lies, even here in California. And the politics of hope are now fighting the politics of fear — even here.”

You want politics of fear? I’ll give you politics of fear! If we don’t stop the Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Weapons, etc. corporatists who now pretty much run America in their tracks ASAP, we’re all gonna end up like the folks at Mesa Verde: Wandering, homeless and DEAD. And our grandchildren will be dead too. Is that scary enough for you? Apparently not.

“And in 2008, we connected the politics of hope to one man — Barack Obama. And if he doesn’t live up to your expectations, you blog against him. You Tweet against him. But. Hope started much earlier than 2008. Hope didn’t start with political superheroes.” Hope started with us.

“Then came Katrina.” And the mask was stripped away and we saw just how uncaring the Bush dynasty really was. “And in 2006, something broke and something decent and honorable and good started moving in America. And that movement inspired Obama. But let’s get this clear. Obama may have inspired us — but you inspired him first. Obama is one of the most inspirational people on this earth — and YOU inspired HIM.” Go us!

“Then when you came home from the victory parties in DC, you expected change. But here’s what we learned together in the past two years. They assassinated hope back in the 1960s when they assassinated John and Bobby and Martin and it has taken all these years to bring it back. But we need MORE than hope. We need change.” Go you!

“When you see someone on television with flat abs and you think, ‘I could look like that,’ that’s called hope. But when you actually go to the gym and work out? That’s called change.

“Do we actually mean what we say when we talk about hope and change? Who are we as a movement?” And what kind of movement are we? I wanna be a movement that expedites the evolution of the human race into something we can be proud of — not just an evolution into even more and better types of war, greed and hate.

“This is our summer of crazy climate. We had one-third of Pakistan under water. We had one-eighth of Russia on fire. Call anyone on earth and ask them if they have seen crazy weather this year and they will say that they did. This is for real. Al Gore’s predictions have already come true.”

Then Jones talked more about what us liberals need to do next.

“Was Obama’s campaign a movement or a moment? The answer is in our hands. It’s a ‘moment’ if you give up, if you walk off the field, if you cover 98 yards and then quit. Or you can keep running with the ball.”

But, for me, this was the most important part of Jones message: “These people are not spending 20 million dollars on their Proposition 23 campaign because you have no power. They don’t spend 20 million dollars on losers and nobodies. They don’t have all these crazy people all shouting on cable TV because you are nobody.”

If they had American voters in the bag and under their thumb, they wouldn’t have to spend billions on campaigns, shock jocks and right-wing nuts like Limbaugh, Palin and Beck!

“You may think it doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do. This is what they hope you will think. There’s a lesson to be learned from the BP oil spill, when BP made 62 billion dollars in profit yet someone decided to not spend $500,000 on safety, just to save money. And a decision based on greed created a completely catastrophic disaster. And one lesson to be learned here is that that you have no idea who you are and what your power is.” Think of all the millions of dollars worth of ads that BP has run to try to convince you that they are a good company and that your gut feelings are wrong.

“And you don’t have to go back to the New Deal or the 1960s to find your glory. One small act based on love can result in a huge positive outcome” — just as one small act of greed had such a negative effect. “Now is the time for action.”

Screw the corporatists! Screw Big Oil! Let’s show our power! Let’s speak up now — before we too end up like those poor schmucks at Mesa Verde.

PS: Back in 2005, I turned the first chapter of my sci-fi novel about Mesa Verde into a play and posted it on YouTube. Fabulous acting! Fabulous script! I deserve a Tony award! (Or not.) In any case, here it is:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

July 23, 2010

Decision time in Las Vegas: Governor Schweitzer or Big Brother?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 7:48 pm

I love watching Big Brother on TV. Why? Because all the lying and scheming, back-biting, greed and general nastiness that happens on the show reminds me of the way that Republicans tend to act. Watching Big Brother is definitely helping me to become a better progressive blogger.

And so when a conflict arose Thursday night between me watching Governor Bob Schweitzer speak to the Netroots Nation convention in Las Vegas or me hightailing it up to my hotel room to see if Matt or Monet would get voted out, I was torn — that is, until Governor Schweitzer actually started speaking. And then I became riveted. A herd of elephants couldn’t have dragged me out of my seat. The man is a born orator — or at least the best raconteur that I’ve ever heard.

First the governor spent a slow and leisurely ten minutes telling us about his 112-year-old friend Walt. Then he told us all about how he won the 4-H competition at the county fair when he was nine years old. Then he told us in colorful detail about how his grandmother had come over from Ireland all by herself at the tender age of 17. “Her name was Hannah — and she was the original Hannah Montana.”

Unlike the kind of “country folk” who live in suburban tract houses outside of places like Houston, Atlanta and Nashville but still try to pass themselves off as rural cowboys and who listen to multi-millionaire Rush Limbaugh as he too tries to act “down-home,” Governor Schweitzer has been a farmer and rancher all his life and actually is the real thing. And, even better, the governor doesn’t have to build his own self up by putting other people down.

Governor Schweitzer wants the best for Montana — and for America too. And he didn’t need to sell out his American ideals and become a narrow-minded bigot or a cold-hearted compassion-challenged “me-first” scrounger or a greedy corporatist in order to get elected either. Go him!

However. Would the governor’s true American values of honesty, integrity and hard work have won him a place in the Final Four on Big Brother? Probably not.

And when I finally did get back to my hotel room that evening, I turned on the TV in vain hopes of getting at least a tail-end glimpse of Matt and Monet on the block. Too late. But I did get to see a commercial paid for by Sharon Angle, a senatorial candidate here in Nevada. Angle looked like some sincere-but-seedy Sally Fields wannabe as she told a roomful of sweet-looking old people that government interference was ruining their lives.

Yeah sure, Sharon.

You say that you want to help all of America’s old people by getting rid of MediCare and Social Security? And just exactly HOW is that going to help us? If you truly want to get rid of Big Government, then just get us out of those pointless and meaningless “wars” in the Middle East — those bloody sink-holes that are eating our budgets and our souls alive. And you could also help us get rid of all those bailouts for bankers.

Then Van Jones spoke this morning and he said that progressive bloggers need to take the high road and set good examples for others by living up to America’s highest ideals. What? You want me to stop bashing those lying corporatists, neo-cons and talk-show hosts who have stolen our country, our morality and our ideals? Me? Nah.

Well, maybe I MIGHT consider being just a little bit nicer. Because, after all, I do want to get into Heaven — if for no other reason than because there won’t be any corporatists, liars, bigots, hard-hearted “me-first” types or right-wing radio talk-show hosts in Heaven at all.

PS: I just stuck my head into a room where the “Afghanistan: Where do we go from here?” workshop was being held. “How many Al Qaeda operatives are there in Afghanistan right now?” the moderator asked.

“50 to a hundred.”

“And we are spending one billion dollars a year in Afghanistan on capturing these 50 to a hundred Al Qaeda operatives?”

“That is correct.”

Then another reporter in the media room commented that when the U.S. military offered to give arms training to Afghan women, 10,000 women showed up. Those women are truly pissed off at Afghan men. Maybe we should send Afghan women out to Kandahar instead of the Marines. Just a thought.

September 9, 2009

The Tattlesnake – Obama Must Stand Up, Van Goes Down, and Comedy King Beck Edition

“If you tell the same story five times, it’s true.”
– Larry Speakes, Ronald Reagan’s White House Press Secretary.

It’s a Given: President Obama must strongly stick up for a public option in his health care speech tonight or the game’s over. The Dems will lose big in 2010, maybe even a majority in the Senate, while Obama himself will be marginalized by the right, abandoned by his progressive base, and become a one-term president, battered into a cartoonish wimp by right-wing lies and smears. We’re begging you BHO – bring out your inner FDR; boil the corporate moonshiners in some salty Truman oil. Even if you don’t manage to pass a health care reform bill, at least stand up for yourself and those who supported you!

Camp Whiggy-Watchee: Howsomever, knees are knocking at Republican HQ these days at the idea that the GOP will be heading into the 2010 election without a solid trusted leader of the party and dragging the chock-full-o-nuts baggage of the screwy-squirrel teabaggers with them. While the shouters and doubters are good public theater for astroturf airtime to dilute health care reform, independent and MOR voters – most of us, in other words – are put off by these nattering ninnies yelling ‘Nazi’ at anybody who dares disagree with them. The TV shots of men armed with rifles and handguns at the various ‘protests’ didn’t help improve the GOP image of maturity and stability either. (White Ex-Republican Soccer Mom: “How can you trust Republicans when they cater to people like that?”) Outside of Old Dixie, how do you get Congress-Creatures and other GOP detritus elected without the moderates tossing in some votes? The Repos, to their distress, are about to find out the answer – you can’t, at least not without the help of quivering Democrats.

(Speaking of Teabaggers, Here’s Some Free Advice: Dip yourselves in boiling water for ten minutes, then add sugar or lemon to taste.)

Bell Curve to Hell-Care Reform: The Dems will also feel the pain in 2010 if they don’t smarten up their act on health care reform. The unions, as well as many progressive groups, have already said ‘nada’ to putting the ‘GO’ in GOTV in the next election, if a public option isn’t in the final bill. Some (alleged) Dems central to the health care issue – Max Baucus, Harry Reid and their mealy-mouthed, corporate cash compadres – may also feel the heat from the left as real progressives challenge their nominations. Sure, they might still win, but it would cost them a bundle and leave a residue of ill-will, making them easy pickings for the GOP. If somebody like a Gov. Brian Schweitzer challenged Baucus for the Dem nomination, I think Montana primary voters would dump Max in a mixed-cliche New York heartbeat.


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