This Thanksgiving, I reflect on our nation. There is reason to despair, or course. Some dire work is still undone. For example, nearly a year after the Sandy Hook horror, we still have no coherent national plan of action to restrict gun ownership. Also, our Congress is still embarrassingly dysfunctional, as the Republicans recently shut down the government in protest of millions of Americans getting access to health insurance. There is also a lack of meaningful citizen action on climate change, which could be the nullifying factor for all human endeavor a few generations out. Read more
150 years ago, Lincoln extolled the importance of a government of, by and for the people. Today, the Gettysburg Address would be criticized by cable news for being too short to take seriously.
50 years ago, we lost Kennedy, who had exhorted us to ask what we could do for our country. Today, such a call would be met with derision, obstruction, filibuster and called "socialism."
We honor the President who preserved our union while Congress tries a new form of nullification. We remember a man who championed voting rights while we experience new forms of voter suppression.
As a country, we mark these moments of our history, with news stories, ceremonies and TV specials.
Maybe we should mark them by learning from them: remembering that America has been at its most inspirational when leaders call for united action in the face of crisis and when we face grave moments with renewed national purpose.
If we can revitalize the meaning, not just recall the words, then a government of the people, by the people for the people, shall not perish from this Earth. Read more
It’s Friday November 8th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1895, German scientist Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen became the first person to observe X-rays. X-rays are electromagnetic energy waves that act like light rays, but at wavelengths almost 1,000 times shorter. Upon their discovery, X-rays allowed doctors to see inside the human body for the first time without surgery. We here at Upside Downtrodden feel a special kinship with X-rays. We, too, possess the ability to see through humans. Read more
Two weeks into my sophomore year in university I decided to meet up with an old friend from freshman year. She was a Muslim from Kuwait and a very interesting person to talk to considering her background. We were discussing various topics and came across the theory of evolution since she was now taking the same biology class as the one I had taken during my freshman year. She is very much into science so I decided to ask her opinion on the theory of evolution. Her response wasn’t very positive. I first I was surprised, but then I remembered I had learned the previous year that the Muslim world frowns upon the idea of evolution. I also learned that teaching evolution in the Middle East varies by state and is usually combined with creationist beliefs for the explanation of the origin of the universe. I am fan of evolution, but the conversation reminded me just how the Arab world is similar to the USA since there is a problem here with teaching evolution and God in public schools. Questions arise asking whether God should be taught alongside evolution, should we even teach evolution to our children, or does God even belong inside the classroom? Read more
Is our media that naive to think that Germany, England, Israel and other "friendly nations" aren't spying on there great ally the United States? Of course they are and they should be. Spying isn't always about hurting your enemy. It's also about understanding what other governments know so your government can make better policy decisions. And by the way Republicans, this program was started in 2002. So if you want to have a congressional investigation. Go ahead!!
But like I was saying. When governments talk to each-other about a specific issue it's vital to have an understanding of where that other government stands on that issue. And i'm not just talking about there public stance. You need to understand there private stance. The only way you will find out the difference between a governments public and private stance is by, you guessed it. Spying! Read more
The website launched by our tech-savvy Prez to help Americans access affordable healthcare has had so many glitches and crashes that it now requires its own emergency care.
The right-wing that sought to undo Obamacare, rein in spending, revive the GOP, reform the US, cost us tens of billions, left health reform in tact and has now put the Tea Party on life support.
The NSA's illegal eavesdropping activities have so angered European leaders that it might derail our international relationships. Our reputation may need surgery -- stat!
We need to look after Americans' health, but after the weeks we've seen, we need to look after America's health as well.
Let's get these government exchanges working to help heal the American people. At the same time: Government, heal thyself.
Because if we can't get our government working, the right-wing will have won after all.
Share your experiences, stories and opinions as you share the night and share a pint at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
Following the immeasurably unpopular government shut-down, the Tea Party is losing ground fast. Soon the movement may dissipate causing grass-root supporters to go through something like withdrawals. Formless hatred stoked by the Tea Party and its donors is a mental opiate many Americans became addicted to the last five years. How do we get millions of people to kick the bad habit of Far Right ideas? Here are six steps that could help break one's addiction to negativity:
1. Block Fox News using the Parental Controls on the cable TV- Giving up Fox News is the equivalent of flushing the dope down the toilet.
2. Take up a strict regimen of NPR- This may be boring, but it will cleanse the mind of all poisons like a grapefruit and white rice diet clean the digestive tract. Read more
President Obama, Senator Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi pulled off an epic victory for the American people this week when they held strong against the Tea Party’s best efforts to sabotage our government. After fifteen long days of the government shutdown, it was the strong-minded determination of our Democratic leadership that caused House Republicans to blink. The take-away is simple: good wins out in the end.
Undoubtedly, the Tea party will try to regroup and spin the narrative in their favor, but when the January and February due dates approach to revisit the budget and debt ceiling my bet is on bipartisan communication averting anymore drama. Polling indicates most American voters hate what the Tea Party did. Career politicians like GOP Rep. Herrera Beutler are finding their way to the middle, and hard core Tea Party leaders will be booking tickets home in 2014. When the American people make up their minds on something, it takes decades to change it, and they have now decided good governance makes their lives better. Read more
The nation lost billions of dollars, the GOP lost national respect & the government lost more of the public's faith while Ted Cruz grew his email list.
The global economy held its breath, the American people threw up their hands & even Republicans of good faith rolled their eyes while we learned Boehner can't run his House.
Now the government can serve the people again, the President showed he can be resolute & the US avoided national default -- with no guarantee this won't happen again.
In the meantime, Congress is back on the job of not passing bills for jobs, immigration, climate change, food stamps or gun control while wiretapping & drones continue unimpeded.
We may have maintained our full faith and credit & seen the Tea Party's fool's faith discredited. But to win the full faith of the American public, it will take real work before DC gets any credit.
Come for a night of good faith and good company as we debate, discuss & drink to recent events at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
Ted Cruz's exhortation against Obamacare and the House GOP's explosion of democratic process turn out to be part of a long-term right-wing plan for the exploitation of a government shut-down.
Bohner's lost control of the House while regular Americans are losing overall, yet conservatives bend and twist and contort to explain what it is that "winning" would like like.
The Tea Party accuses Obama of obstructionism while they refuse to govern responsibly, refuse to end the crisis to start negotiations, and keep changing what it is they demand.
They've gone from exhorting and distorting to contorting and outright extorting. When America needs serious people in charge, we're stuck with a GOP of contortionists and extortionists.
If only we could deport those who extort out of DC entirely.
In the meantime, don't shutdown, but show up for a night of lively conversation & liberal libations at your local progressive social club.
Find - or start - a chapter near you.
Want to know where the recent flurry of House Republican bat shit is coming from?
Look no further than right wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
Recall that immediately after firing the opening salvo with a 21 hour speech on White Castle burgers and Duck Dynasty, Ted Cruz couldn't wait to join Limbaugh for some mutual back slapping.
Now new audio captured by a Flush Rush activist shows that, although Limbaugh has been marginalized over the past few years, his skill at pulling the puppet strings on large numbers of vocal if misled voters is still alive and well.
Using the overwhelming aversion of Tea Party conservatives to feminists and environmentalists, Limbaugh inserts audio of himself railing against these depraved leftists into news breaks, then follows it up with a deft bait-and-switch call to action, encouraging listeners to use an antiquated device called a telephone to contact their Congressperson and urge they stand firm on the government shutdown. Read more
Now that the government shutdown is a reality, I want to take this opportunity to register my disgust at how this played out. I try and take a reasonable approach to the issue of who is responsible for government problems, and have a rather evenhanded focus, but in this, I am rather upset at the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Read more