Seven Years Ago Today: Hope and Change

I don’t know about you, but for me it was an amazing day. Amazing. So many things I never thought I would see in my lifetime. I am so proud of this man and so proud that we worked our butts off to help him get elected.

Here is the C-Span full archive of video of the events of the day.

We cannot backtrack. We cannot.

Consider this an open thread. Cheers.



Shameless self promotion thread

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I can’t see that we’ve done an Artists in our Midst thread, or a job thread, for quite a while. Then again, I may just be too drunk to find them.

Anyway, lets combine the two and have a free thread for Juicers – artists, Etsyists, writers, job seekers, freelancers, businesses seeking workers, community groups seeking assistance, whatever, lurkers more than welcome – to give themselves a plug.

[Image – Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) The Pottery Vendor]



Battle Flag Acquisition Strategies

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Early this morning, I was doing some research on the endurance of corporate culture, studying how sometimes the spirit of a smaller, acquired firm can permeate the larger, acquiring organization. It’s not unusual for a big behemoth to acquire a scrappy smaller company solely for the purpose of infusing the moribund giant with fresh blood, and when the companies’ interests align, it can create an unstoppable marketplace force…for a while.

With that dynamic still on my mind, I moseyed over to Booman’s place and read a post that hit upon something that has been bothering me about the focus on the rebel flag in the wake of the domestic terrorist massacre in Charleston:

But the focus on the Confederate Flag can have an unfortunate side effect. What, after all, does that flag mean when it doesn’t simply mean white supremacy?

It’s meaning in those cases in nearly identical to the meaning of the modern conservative movement. It’s about disunion, and hostility to the federal government, and state’s rights. It’s anti-East Coast Establishment and anti-immigrant. It’s about an idealized and false past and preserving outworn and intolerant ideas. It’s about a perverse version of a highly provincial and particularized version of (predominantly) Protestant Christianity that has evolved to serve the interests of power elites in the South. It’s about an aggrieved sense of false persecution where white men are playing on the hardest difficulty setting rather than the easiest, and white Christians are as threatened as black Muslims and gays and Jews.

“Those blacks are raping our women and they have to go.”

That’s what the Confederate Flag is all about, but it’s also the basic message of Fox News and the whole Republican Party since the moment that Richard Nixon promised us law and order.

But it’s not black people who have to go.

It’s this whole Last Cause bullshit mentality that fuels our nation’s politics and lines the pockets of Ted Cruz just as surely as it has been lining the pockets of Walmart executives.

Today, maybe the governor down there had an epiphany. Maybe this massacre was the last straw. But, tomorrow, we’ll all be right back where we began with Congress acting like an occupying Confederate Army.

If we solve a symbolic problem and leave the rest untouched, then what will really change?

You can’t bury the Confederate Flag without, at the same time, burying the Conservative Movement.

Let’s get on with it.

He’s right. For many white people, the rebel flag represented moldy old myths about the antebellum South. But think about how nicely that mythology dovetailed with the lies about the pre-Civil Rights era that paleocons like Pat Buchanan tell themselves.

Like a moribund corporation, the GOP acquired Confederate culture with the Southern strategy, harnessing the racism in the South and its echo nationwide to build the present day Republican Party. That’s why Ronald Reagan launched his presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi. That’s why an always-wrong, New York City-born legacy hire who is relentlessly eager to send other people’s kids off to die in glorious causes is tweeting nonsense that his ancestors would find…puzzling:

So, the rebel flag should come down in South Carolina and every other state capitol in the former Confederacy, and with surprising (to me) swiftness, it looks like it will. That will be more than a symbolic victory; it will be the partial righting of a very old wrong.

But there’s a danger in “otherizing” the South in this context. It’s not wrong to condemn its blinkered myth-making and prideful backwardness, but there’s a hazard in moral preening within and outside of Dixie, a risk of declaring a tidy victory when the dinosaurs in the state capitols of the former Confederacy finally sink into the tarpit they’ve thrashed in for 150 years.

The risk is that we’ll lose focus on the modern day “Congress acting like an occupying Confederate Army,” as Booman put it. At its core, the Southern strategy was an attempt to roll back progress by hitching the anti-New Dealers’ star to the creaky old Confederate wagon. Its organizers weren’t all or even mostly slack-jawed yokels waving rebel flags. They included a fiery libertarian business man from Phoenix, a glib B-movie pitchman who hailed from Northern Illinois and a twitchy, paranoid Quaker from California.

To achieve true victory, we have to finally drive a stake through the heart of the Southern strategy, not just the Confederacy. So let’s make expunging the rebel flag from the public square the opening salvo in a larger battle to take our country back. Yes, that’s right, TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK. With no lies and decaying myths about what that means. The flag that represents it isn’t spotless. Its founding was rooted in slavery, genocide and the oppression of women. But unlike its dying counterpart, this flag is worth saving.



Organizing the South

Greetings from Detroit! Lovely day here; 70’s and sunny.

Here’s a very small activist and her dad. Her mom is working at Netroots.

little girl

Back to bidness. Organizing the south was primarily a labor discussion – Fight For Fifteen and UAW representatives on the panel- lots of discussion of Moral Mondays and the UAW organizing effort in Tennessee.

Very passionate people – there was some frustration with the lack of engagement by labor groups and progressive organizations in the south.

organizing south

The panelists seemed to be completely convinced that the following is true-

From MaryBe McMillan, 1st on L in photo:

“The only way we win economic justice in this country is to organize the south”

Great back and forth between panelists on the following –

From Cherie Deseline, 3rd from L in photo:

“The systemic root of exploitation of workers is ownership of bodies, especially black bodies”

From Carol McDonald, 2nd from L in photo:

“Can’t work effectively in the south without anti-racist lens on organizing. Not believable or credible without it”.



Give till it hurts. Others already are.

One of our own, Yatsuno, is currently furloughed with no idea if he’ll ever get paid for his forced time off.  A Republican (quelle surprise!) is holding up paying back pay to furloughed federal workers.  The family members of recently deceased US Servicemembers are not getting the compensation to which they are entitled by law.  The claims of thousands of military Veterans are on hold because the Veterans Benefits Administration, many of whom are claim-receiving Veterans themselves, have all been furloughed.  I, like hundreds of thousands of others, am working without pay.

People are being sacrificed on the teabagger altar of “I got mine so fuck off!”

I’m not asking you to give to food banks or hold funding drives for us.  While that’s nice, and I appreciate the impulse in those who’ve had it, I’m after a longer term solution.  I want to make the fuckers pay.  We can’t get rid of all of them.  My own state will continue to send brain-dead jackasses to Congress until judgement day.  But we can shrink their numbers to irrelevancy, or as close to it as possible.  Please consider supporting us by helping to rid the Congress of these “people.”

I know that others in our readership are suffering because of the shutdown and lockout of federal employees, or soon will.  Tell us about it in comments as well as give us anything you have on local Congressional races.

Goal Thermometer



Evening “I mostly love my job” Open Thread

I just haven’t had much to say the last few days.  I’ve been Acting PC-Support Lead-my supervisor’s job-while he steps up to Acting Facility CIO while the FCIO is detailed up to Region.

My boss’ job sucks.  It sucks even more without the his pay.  I spend a tremendous amount of time on the phone dealing with vendors, some of whom are trying very hard to weasel out of their responsibilities,  dealing with irate users, who usually have no legitimate reason to be irate, and with other leads and managers, as well as my coworkers whom I am ostensibly leading.  I could probably grow into the position and I think I would be pretty decent at it if it ever opens for advancement, but I gotta say that the likelihood that I would strangle myself with a mouse cord is probably about 50/50 in the first year.  On the other hand, I went to a staff meeting and it was an eye opener.  EVERYTHING was about “how can we improve our service to our Veterans and improve our value to the Taxpayer?”  And “what is your department doing to improve our service to our Veterans?”  After many years of going to various meetings as a Soldier and as a civilian, in private sector, in contracting, and now as a civil servant, I never thought I’d say this about a staff meeting, but I left that meeting with a better feeling about my organization and my place in it.

I still get up every morning and say to myself “hey, I get to go to work today!”  It’s a damn site better than my last job where I would lie in bed in the mornings and say “oh, I have to go to work today.”  And when you consider that the only things Rmoney ever said about the VA was that he wanted to privatize it and put Vets on vouchers, back before he realized that nobody liked his policy positions, I was a little nervous about the potential for a Rmoney presidency.  Yes, I said here on multiple occasions that I thought President Obama was going to win and win big, but I’ve never lost money underestimating my fellow human beings capability and especially, my fellow Americans’ capability to do the exactly dumbest thing they could do to themselves given the chance.  So I am gratified that I’m going to have a job  for a while, and especially that I and other Vets will get the proper care and service that is the VA’s mission to provide.

Thank you all, so much, for being such great bosses.

Now, before we all start a round of Kum By Ya, let’s remember that we are no less than two years away from a critical mid-term election…



Sandy

Popping in for a moment to suggest that those of you in the east take stock of what you plan to do if the seas come in, the road washes out, power goes off and up to five feet of snow (!) falls out of nowhere. People who know about this stuff are using very strong adjectives to describe pressure trends in the storm’s middle part.

Random thought: it would be great if some organization had offices in neighborhoods all over the affected areas and could mobilize an army of volunteers to knock on doors to check that people are okay. That could really help in a nigh-unprecedented situation like this.