Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Did Democrats and MSNBC Drop the Ball?

“I’m an old black man who votes Democrat and watches MSNBC a lot,” Wally recently told friends.  “But were I an old white man, I’d probably vote Republican and watch FOX News.  It’s not that Republicans and Fox news are all that great, but they do talk to America’s darker and most intolerant side.  And they do this by involving their viewers.

“I imagine that people who both hate and fear those of us who aren’t white, love their FOX News as much as I love my MSNBC.   Mostly what Republicans and FOX are doing right now, is ragging on our first black president and they seem to love calling him “incompetent” and insisting that he doesn’t have the same authority as his predecessors.  I don’t know what most white folk think of that kind of talk, but to me it’s obvious.”

Having said that, Wally admits that both Democrats and MSNBC are on a losing streak right now, “And it’s their own damn fault,” he said.  “And I can’t help but wonder if there is a correlation between progressive television’s loss of viewers and the failure Democrats to turn out their base.”

Wally says, both network and party took the easy way out.  When you don’t have a nest of hateful, fearful and angry viewers to depend on, you’ve got to find some relevant issues to stand on and make them interesting enough for people to understand and care about.  Democrats and MSNBC did neither.

Perhaps, if MSNBC did more investigative reporting and a lot less talking head stuff, they might manage to up their ratings.   Meanwhile, FOX News doesn’t have to do much of anything except be able to come as close as possible to using the N-word without actually using it.  “For a lot of older white people watching FOX is pretty much like attending a KKK rally in the privacy and comfort of their living rooms,” a close friend of Wally said.  “And they seem to find it very satisfying.”

Democrats and MSNBC, meanwhile, Instead of appealing to everyday middleclass “voters” who may have lost a home, seen their children’s education suffer, experienced wage stagnation or haveing to pay back high interest student loans, went for the low hanging fruit and pretty much left the big banks and Wall Street alone.

Right now, most everyone is pissed at big banks and Wall Street.  And if some of those corrupt bankers and big money people on Wall Street were actually charged and went to jail for their crimes, instead of paying huge, tax deductible and easily afforded fines, the Dems may have had a better turnout.  And imagine if MSNBC were able to report on the big bank/Wall Street corruption and how the Obama administration was kicking ass and taking names.  We may well be in a different place today.  "And not until the rest of us can deduct our traffic tickets and court imposed fines," said another of Wally's friends, "should J.P. Morgan Chase be able to deduct theirs.

“And while Democrats and MSNBC were telling and showing their base, FOX News and Republicans were involving their base, and that,” says Wally, “makes all the difference in the world.”

Tell me, I’ll forget
Show me, I’ll remember
Involve me, I’ll understand

Monday, November 17, 2014

Post Midterm Blues and Unhealthy Foods
With the midterms done, Wally has no choice but to get back to the life he’d put on pause about seven months ago.  Firstly, he turned off MSNBC and picked up a few paperbacks.  It's also time to finish his fall cleaning, do a little reading and look for new stuff to cook. 

And the gods of synchronicity saw fit to introduce him to Auntie Fee, via Facebook.  A friend had posted it to his newsfeed and he got hooked.  Auntie Fee (aka Felicia A. O’Dell) is like a Martha Stewart for the rest of us.  She has over 45 videos on YouTube, most of which, have gone viral.  When instructing on preparing her raisin sweet treats, for instance, she says, “It’s just something sweet for the fucking kids.”  And while prepping the ingredients for her culinary offerings, she passes along a lot of wisdom during her unscripted small talk.  “Fat people and kids like a lot of cheese,” she said, while preparing a cheap treat containing lots of cheese.

But there’s also a sense of exotic lifestyles which exist, often unseen, right in front of our very eyes.  One of Wally’s favorites, “How to Feed Seven people with just $3.35,” is also a pretty good commentary on society, not so much by what she says, but what she doesn’t say.

So with the midterms over and Blue Team Democrats having gotten their asses handed to them, Wally is looking forward to hanging in the kitchen with his laptop and Auntie Fee.  “I’m gonna try some of her shit,” he recently posted on his Facebook page.  “And look forward to the small pleasures in life since, with the possible exception of immigration, there probably won’t be any big ones for the next couple years.  And with Republicans running congress, learning how to feed 7 people on $3.35 might be a pretty handy skill to have in the near future."

Feeding 7 for $3.35

Sweet Treats for the kids

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blue Team Leaders: Listen Up!

It took Wally several days to recover from the dramatic ass-kicking that his blue team took in the midterms.  Initially, he was pissed at the people who didn’t bother to vote.  And the more he thought about it, the more pissed he became.  “I guess it’s an undisputed fact now,” he said.  “Poor folk and progressives don’t give enough of a shit to get up off their asses and vote.”

But as time passed and he got more of a grip on himself, he realized that it wasn’t the voters fault.  “Simply put,” he said, “poor folk and progressives had only two choices last election.  We could have voted either Republican or Republican-lite.”

It only makes sense that Republicans are better at being Republicans than are Democrats.  Somehow, the GOP always end up defining the situation and the Dems always end up buying into whatever the Republicans say is real.    And instead of running on their successes, Team Blue runs from them. 

“Worse yet,” according to Wally, “party leadership either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the people who have close to an unconditional love for their blue team.”  Instead, our politicians go chasing after red team people who will never vote blue.  “As a result,” says Wally, “their friends lose interest and find better things to do then vote.  Why bother?”

But mainly, the Dems need to talk about the banks, Wall Street and hedge funds.  Most every citizen knows that paying a huge tax deductible fine, for cheating Middle America out of billions, just doesn’t cut it.  As long as no one ever goes to jail, there is no reasons for the perpetrators to do anything different.  Most of us already know that, in the end, big banks, Wall Street and hedge funders will somehow end up with our money.  “And while we’re at,” says Wally, “we may as will privatize social security and give what little we have left to them.  Make it a total wash.”

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Are Upset Liberals Overthinking the Election?

By Matt Z

This article was first posted Nov. 5, 2014, on Daily Kos and is reposted here with the author’s permission.

I am on the spectrum. This is the first diary I have ever written that is going to be pretty much only political. But I need to let people know ahead of time that I am not trying to start a flame war. Because of my Asperger's anytime I get flamed I take it personally and usually wind up in a deep depression that last days. Please do not flame me for this diary.

But nobody is talking about the real reason we lost the election. And since nobody else is I'm going to have to be the one to do it. I might have a bad few days if I accidentally start a flame war. But since nobody seems to understand WHY we lost the election I have to be the one to point it out, even if I wind up hurt. I usually only write about mental illness, cartoons, and Muppets. Pure politics is out of my wheelhouse a bit. I am only doing so now because I am certain I am right. 

Disclaimer out of the way? Good. Below the fold I'll tell you the REAL reason the Dems lost the election. And why both the activists and pundits trying to analyze the results and figure out what they mean are going about it all wrong.

Still with me?

Three words: "Two party system."

Yes, last night sucked. But it was SUPPOSED to suck. It is a two party system. If voters are unhappy with the status quo there is only one other game in town. It doesn't matter how abhorrent the GOP is, they are the only alternative. Like Chris Rock said: "Obama didn't cure cancer fast enough! I'm voting for cancer!"

We can blame the voters if we must. But blaming the Dems for not being progressive enough? That isn't it at all. For one thing, Obama has had more fight in him in these past two years than he did for the entirety of his first term. Every day after 2011, I was worried what he was going to capitulate to the GOP with next. There was a knot in my stomach every time he went up against them. These Past two years? Never happened once. Once Obama trounced Romney he stopped trying to work with the Republicans and started working around them. Obama is not the problem. If the media reported on his accomplishments fairly his approval rating would be in the high 60's.

You don't need to play the blame game and talk about how much the Democrats suck. That's what the Republicans WANT you to think. All you're doing is playing into their hands and accepting their tiresome version of the narrative. If we think the Dems are at fault the Republicans have done their job.

Democrats were always going to get creamed this year and there was nothing they could have done to prevent it. The GOP basically destroyed the country and then blamed it on the Dems. And it didn't take a political genius to do it. It was easy and it worked.

Last night wasn't the end of the world. It was normal. In 2016 when the voters realize the GOP HASN'T fixed their problems, and has wasted all their time on impeachment proceedings, we'll make gains and get back the Senate.

And then lose it again in 2018. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

These wild swings from one party to the next between midterms and Presidential years are going to be the new normal as long as the country sucks. And since the GOP is MAKING it suck, it's not going to change. This back and forth is the new normal. Liberals need to understand that and stop trying to figure out what went wrong. We lost because that is what happens in a two-party system. There is no need to further analyze it beyond that.

Friday, November 07, 2014

The Friday Funny… 
Wally is loudly insisting that this cartoon is not funny.   Meanwhile, he is having difficulty maintaining a straight face.

But sadly, this is gallows humor and, in times of feeling completely without power, finding a way to laugh about a painful situation is the only way to stay sane.

But the cartoon brings to mind a very sad event.   In early August, a young, unarmed black man was shot by police, as he shopped the aisles of an Ohio Walmart.  Ronald Ritchie, the individual who first called 911, said that a young black man was walking around Walmart while threatening and pointing a gun at children and adult shoppers.  After the shooting, Ritchie initially told reporters that he was an ex-marine.  Later, however, it was learned that he only served seven weeks and was booted out in 2008 for fraudulent enlistment.

“I can almost understand the cops thinking that they may've rolled up on a situation with an active shooter,” Wally wrote in one of his unpublished letters to the editor. “But there is no excuse for the actions of Mr. Ritchie. It was a cruel joke on his part and there must be some kind of law under which he can be prosecuted.”  

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Sidewalk: The Lives of Women

Wally is the first to admit that he has absolutely no idea what it is like to be a woman.   And although he can never know via experience, he recently came across a short and brilliant video clip and article that he found helpful. 

But “Sidewalk” is more than just about the lives of women.  It is also about how we, as individuals, see ourselves as we get older and the self-pain and suffering we inflect as we travel through each of life’s phases.  It also reminds us of how nothing is permanent and, like it or not, we will go through changes.  And the changes never stop.  As soon as we get proficient in one phase of life, we’re already into the next, and the only thing we get to take to that next phase is the wisdom we’ve gained from having gone through the last one.  Mostly, it isn’t enough and we’ll always find ourselves totally unprepared.

Perhaps, that is why we should only take ourselves seriously when absolutely necessary.   Because no matter who or where we are, the only thing that’s ever guaranteed is that things, as we know them, will change. 

But best to watch this short video before reading the Think Progress article.  That way, you’ll form your own perceptions and reality before Celia Bullwinkel gets a chance to tell you about hers.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Democrats Get Bitch Slapped!

There’s no way around it, us Democrats got our asses kicked this past Election Day.  “And once again,” according to Wally, “our president forgot who his friends were and, as a result, his friends forgot about him.”
By stalling on a promised executive order relating to emigration and deportation, Obama pissed off his base and failed at ass kissing his adversaries.  “You think he would have stopped that shit by-now,” Wally asserted.  “And I’m starting to wonder if he’ll ever learn?” 

Had he signed the damn thing, it would have been over and done with by now and one less heartache yet to deal with.

But now, with all the kumbayas going around, it’s highly likely that in an attempt to show sincerity, Obama will make a deal and use immigration as a bargaining tool.  “Although he insists that he’s not going to, he’ll cave,” said Wally.  "But after all is said and done, Republicans won't do as they promised, anyway."

And then there’s the financial sector.  If the economy is doing so well, why aren’t most of us feeling the results?  Simple, all the fat and most of the lean goes to banks, Wall Street and hedge funders; rich people getting richer.

Worse yet, while those folks are gobbling up all the money and tax breaks, cutting no one any slack and foreclosing on mortgages, only a handful of politicians ever really speak of it.

Who knows what the political environment might be in 2016?  Likely, we 99 percenters may have figured a few things out by then, and it might be Elizabeth Warren vs. Ran Paul as opposed to Hillary Clinton vs. Jeb Bush.

And if that’s the case, hold onto your hats folks!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Did Democrats Blow It?

Although Wally took advantage of Colorado’s easy vote by mail system, were he not black, chances are he might have not cared enough to buy and affix the two postage stamps necessary to return his completed ballot. 

“Problem is,” he recently told friends, “the main reason I voted was that a Republican governor and legislator would start looking for ways to restrict the rights of African-Americans, Latinos and other people of color to cast our votes.”

So for Wally and others like him, voting was very personal.   “This is one of those times where us people of color either use it or lose it,” he said.  “So for me it was more a matter of desperation as opposed to enthusiasm.”

And although Attorney General Eric Holder made a valiant effort to push back on voter suppression, he let the big banks and Wall Street off with a mere slap on the hand and then a wink and a nod.  In other words, he didn’t do a damn thing of substance.  “Both Wall Street and big banks got off with meaningless fines that are nothing more than a mere business expense,” said Wally.  “Besides, everyone knows that it’s the stock holders and not the decision makers who pay the fines.”

Granted, unemployment is under six percent and economic growth is between 3.5 and 4.6 percent so far this year but, according to Wally, “most of us are still feeling like shit.”  And that is because the financial sector killed our economy and got clean away with it.  “Huge fines which they can easily afford don’t count,” he said.

But even as economic numbers get better, there’s an uneasy feeling about and everyone’s waiting for the other shoe to drop.  “And with both bankers and Wall Street having gone unpunished,” according to Wally, “it’s like having a serial killer loose in the neighborhood just after another murder.  Things may be quiet for now.” he said.  “But everyone knows he’ll kill again.  Meanwhile, all that the rest of us can do is shit our pants and live in fear."