When Pluto Feels Closer Than Plutocrats

President Obama announces a historic Iran deal,
a triumph of diplomacy and breakthrough for peace,
but this chance is lost on GOP war hawks who prefer
a policy of fearmongering and endless war.

As Greece struggles to stabilize its economy,
only made worse by imposed austerity,
the plutocrats who hold Europe’s purse strings
are poised to tighten their grip even further.

Jeb says Americans should work longer hours.
The Chamber of Commerce slams overtime reforms.
Wall Street hates new rules for financial advisers.

Then our spacecraft takes pictures of Pluto:
the edge of our solar system feels closer to us
than the right wing, war hawks and 1% on Earth.

But those photos remind us anything is possible.
If we reach Pluto, someday we’ll reach the Plutocrats.

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Not Just Symbols, Not So Simple

As the Confederate flag comes down in SC,
it’s more than just a symbolic victory
in pushing back against white supremacy,
yet not the one solution to racism in America.

As NBC, Macy’s and the PGA dump Trump,
it’s a signal of intolerance no longer tolerated
as well as a real hit against a megalomaniac’s power,
but not enough to make him—or his views—vanish.

The Greek referendum send a sign to Europe
that austerity bullies won’t go unchallenged,
but the answer to Greece’s and Europe’s challenges
will be a lot more complicated than a simple vote.

Progressives are winning a series of fights,
but each one unearths deeper problems.
They’re not just symbols, but answers are not so simple.

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It’s All Greek To Me

Greece’s economic crisis transfixes Europe,
yet it’s so far removed from most Americans
that when you explain the problem and solutions,
you might as well be speaking, well, Greek.

Conservatives oppose expanded overtime.
Right-wingers rant about marriage equality.
Republicans keep fighting against Obamacare.
Are they even speaking our language?

And at a time of compassion for Charleston
and for churches being burned across the south,
as hateful as supremacists’ words are,
apologists sound even more indecipherable.

And then there’s Donald Trump.
What on Earth is he talking about?

Whether listening to reactionaries abroad
or right-wingers here at home,
it’s all Greek to me.

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as we toast the 4th of July
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Flags Furthered and Fallen

A horrendous crime in South Carolina
spurs many states to retire a flag
associated with a history of horrendous crimes
since the days of the confederacy.

The Supreme Court’s healthcare ruling
allows Obama to plant the flag of legacy
firmly in a program of affordability and access
that will always be called Obamacare.

Though progressives rallied behind a flag
of anti-corporate, populist revolt,
the Senate’s passage of Fast Track showed
that Wall Street’s flag still waves of the Capitol.

Among Supreme decisions and symbolic fights,
some legacies are secured and others diminished
in a week of flags — furthered and fallen.

Don’t let your energy flag — come salute
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Racing Race and Trumping Trump

A shooting in Charleston stops us in our tracks,
yet Congress stands still on gun violence
while racing to re-vote on Fast Track
and scrambling to scuttle Obamacare.

Amidst news of pool party police brutality,
abuse in prisons, and criminal justice reforms,
the story about race that gets the most focus
is of one sensational case in Spokane.

In the GOP race, Jeb jumps, Trump trumps,
but the biggest challenge to GOP hopefuls
may be a Pope named Francis who just declared
it’s time to race into action on climate change.

We sprint to keep up in a spinning news cycle,
though too often run the wrong way
especially when we race to make sense of race.

But if there’s one thing these stories share,
in terms of importance, they all trump Trump.

The days get longer, the topics get hotter,
so come for cool drinks and warm conversation
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Medicare or Meta-Careless

The President is pushing a trade deal
by relying on Republicans, vilifying progressives,
and enlisting the help of corporate America.

The Heritage Foundation and the Tea Party
are on the same side as labor and enviros
in opposing what will come down to a toss-up vote.

And to pass Fast Track TPA for the TPP,
the GOP is accepting worker-friendly TAA
but paying for it by raiding $700m from Medicare,
and pitting the elderly vs the unemployed.

So in this labyrinth of unlikely alliances
and alphabet soup of legislation,
a handful of critical Dems have to choose:
support Medicare or be Meta-Careless?

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A Very Perry, Graham-Slammed, Am-Bushed Season

Before Jeb even officially announced he’s running,
we’re already feeling bushed by reports about Bush,
and are about to be ambushed but his money-machine.

Now, Lindsey Graham joins the slam,
Rick Perry reports he’s very ready,
and though Pataki is rocky and Santorum a ho-hum,
they are both in — and the list goes on.

Finally, there’s Democratic action:
Bernie is burning, O’Malley tries to rally,
and even Chafee chafes into the primary.

Hope you’re not bored by primary politics:
because it’s a loud crowd and a long, hot summer
and whether we like it or not, we’re beginning
a very Perry, Graham-Slam Am-Bushed Season.

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Maybe FIFA Should Join the Republican Primary

Maybe FIFA Should Join the Republican Primary

FIFA, which runs the World Cup,
is given a red card for corruption.
But in America, legalized bribery
is pouring money into presidential politics.

The World Cup was already under fire
for extensive labor violations in Qatar.
In the US, TPP proponents push a trade deal
that could undermine workers rights globally.

Even now, FIFA officials would be more popular
than long-forgotten George Pataki.
And in a field with Jeb Bush and Scott Walker,
FIFA wouldn’t be the only one with financial scandals.

The only problem: soccer is so popular
among immigrants and Spanish-speakers,
there’s no way Republicans would vote for it.

Then again, Republicans just overturned
the death penalty in Nebraska.
So anything is possible.

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Marathon Men

Rand Paul launches a filibuster-ish fight
as the principled voice protesting the Patriot Act,
and speaks for a marathon 11 hours
becoming, for a moment, an unlikely hero to the Left.

In Boston, the jury chooses the death penalty
to end the story of the Marathon bomber,
yet even such a verdict won’t quickly bring survivors
to the finish line in their own journey of mourning.

As Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham and George Pataki
toy with their own presidential ambitions,
and the GOP wrestles with how to conduct debates,
that marathon promises to be one heck of a spectacle.

Fast Track for the TPP has turned into a slow track,
Iran negotiations continue moving slow-and-steady,
and meanwhile, Letterman finishes a 33-year run of his own.

It’s not a season for sprinting, but a summer for long hauls,
as politics promises to produce a series of Marathon Men.

And given that Hillary Clinton has been running for years,
there’s one pretty powerful Marathon Woman as well.

Kick off a long weekend and the symbolic start of summer
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Fast Track, Amtrak, Off-Track

After the Senate temporarily derailed
efforts to rush approval of a corporate trade deal,
looks like Democrats are now taking the wrong track
and getting back on board with Fast Track.

After the tragic and deadly Amtrak crash,
we’re reminded that our first-rate nation
is saddled with second-rate infrastructure
and its time to get investment back on track.

After a weak week on the campaign trail,
Jeb’s gone off-track when it comes to Iraq,
but with other GOP hopefuls just as hopeless,
he’s still a leader of this pack.

Americans are ready to invest in America —
yet from Fast Track to Amtrak, we’ve gone off-track.

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