Justin Krebs's blog

A Secret Democracy Doesn't Secrete Democracy

A secret court rebuked the NSA's secret program
which collected secrets of countless Americans
-- yet this report was, until now, secret.

Bradley Manning revealed secret messages
that educated the public, shed light on corruption,
contributing to our understanding of our government
-- and he was sentenced to 35 years.

Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA,
telling Americans about invasive operations
that sacrifice our liberty in the name of security
-- and now he himself is being deprived of both.

A government with too many secrets lead to
abuses, violations, arrests, intimidation,
humiliations, divisions and forms of authoritarianism.

These are the secretions of an ill government,
not the symbols of a vibrant civil society.

A secret democracy doesn't secrete democracy.

Share frustration and share a libation
while you trade news, views & sips of booze
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Summer Hopes, Some Are Hopeless

From Egypt's Arab Spring to Morsi's sudden fall,
peaceful possibility turned to clash & confrontation
as democratic dreams are dashed by death & devastation.

Momentum on immigration reform hit a stalemate,
talks of job creation turned to threats of a shutdown
& while Obamacare rolls out to boost health coverage,
the GOP continues to vote to repeal it.

Post-election promises of cross-partisan collaboration
turned to divisive legislation from Texas to North Carolina
curbing voting rights, reproductive rights & workers rights.

We started this season with summer hopes,
but are reminded again that some are hopeless.

Raise your spirits as your raise a pint,
with seasoned conversation on a summer night
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Putin on the Fritz

Putin on the Fritz

Putin granted Snowden asylum
so Obama's canceling his Russia trip.
The Cold War's over, but the Big Chill is on.

Russia's fierce & frightening anti-gay laws
spark global outcry against the Olympics.
Instead of "From Russia With Love,"
the world's feeling "From Russia, No Love."

In the face of growing democracy movements,
Putin's been jailing dissident political rivals.
One of them is now running for Moscow Mayor.

Sochi 2014's supposed to be Putin on the Ritz.
His Presidency's intended as Putin on the Blitz.
Yet facing protest at home & backlash abroad,
it's looking more like Putin on the Fritz.

If you have an opinion, we'll hear it,
and if you have a pint glass, we'll beer it
as we share a night of democracy & drinks
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

A Quick, Liberal Survey

Of Mice and Manning

As we learn that the NSA domestic surveillance
is far more widespread and invasive than we knew,
the Senate talks tough but flees from action,
timidly agreeing to sacrifice our privacy.

The NSA is culling all domestic phone records,
and can access internet activity worldwide,
but we're scared of our own intelligence industry,
so focus one whistleblower stranded in Russia.

And Congress votes down an amendment
to put an end to the NSA's radical operations,
with those who get defense contractor money
voting to keep the programs alive.

Meanwhile, we're assured that the US is safer
now that a 25-year-old soldier is behind bars.

Whatever you think of Bradley Manning,
Edward Snowden, leaks and whistleblowers,
they aren't the problem we should be focused on.

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
In this case, the NSA's plans have gone too far,
Manning and others like him have manned up,
but our political leaders are proving skittish as mice.

You know they're listening, now be heard
as your share ideas and a pint or two
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

England's Royal Baby, America's Royal Mess

We rejected a King 237 years ago,
yet now accept the government's authority
to spy on, detain & even assassinate Americans.

We replaced our royals with a revolution,
but now our country's economic reality
sees the greatest wealth disparity in ages
& the least opportunity for upward mobility.

We pioneered the democratic experiment,
yet now are too familiar with stories
of elected officials enriching themselves
while ignoring the needs of the public.

Meanwhile our old royals have mellowed out,
give the tabloids something to talk about,
have no impact on English government
and just got everyone excited about a baby.

If we're going to have aspects of our old monarchy,
we might as well get some of the benefits too.
They have a royal baby; we have a royal mess.

Although their baby George makes the world cheer.
If the Bushes produce another George,
it won't quite be as thrilling...

The Revolution began in bars
and we're still gathering at happy hours
to share what we think while sharing a drink
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

We've Seen "Stand Your Ground" - Now, Let's Stand Ours

When the justice system awards no justice
after an innocent 17-year-old boy is killed,
it's time to stand our ground to change the laws,
and challenge the racial codes in our culture.

When our surveillance community assures us
that domestic spying is legal, necessary & limited,
let's stand our ground and insist our democracy
has transparency, privacy & new legal protections.

When an obstructionist opposition party
refuses to seriously tackle our country's problems
or even to debate & vote on affairs of the state,
let's stand our ground for a functional government.

As Americans, we stand on common ground:
a nation promoting safety, security & liberty,
a society pursuing general welfare & opportunity.

We've seen what "Stand Your Ground" gets you.
Let's see where "Stand Our Ground" can lead.

It's been a sad week in our country.
Whether you need a drink to keep from crying
or good company to lift your spirits,
join your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Democratic Defiance Between Violence and Silence

We're scared of the rise of religious radicals in Egypt
but our own states are passing sweeping new laws
to control women's bodies, health and choices.

We question the accountability of Egypt's military,
yet accept drones, indefinite detention, domestic spying,
a contractor-centric military-intelligence complex
and a new FBI head who signed off on water-boarding.

We declare that Egyptian democracy is stalling
while we're in knots on immigration reform,
can't pass relief for student loans
and have stopped addressing the sequester altogether.

Egypt has problems. We have problems.
Violent protests devour their country.
Filibusters, email petitions & cable news sedate ours.

We need to do more here to resist authoritarianism,
respond to the right-wing & reinvigorate our democracy.
They need an alternative to fierce, frightening fighting.

In both America and Egypt, reforms & results will come
from democratic defiance -- between violence and silence.

In the meantime,there's nothing violent or silent
about a vocal visit to share a peaceful pint
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Practicing Democracy Takes Practice

One year into its democratic experiment,
Egypt's popular outcry & military coup
oust the country's first elected President.

In Brazil & Turkey, unprecedented protests
force democratically elected leaders to learn
how to contend with democratic outrage.

After two-hundred-thirty-seven years,
America's spying on its citizens,
still not guaranteeing a right to vote
& can't master how & why a filibuster works.

No wonder democracies around the world
face challenges, crises & upheavals.
Democracy isn't easy -- after 237 years,
we're still trying to get the hang of it.

As Winston Churchill once said:
"Democracy is the worst form of government,
except for all those other forms that have been tried".

So let's keep at it.
Practicing democracy takes practice.

Happy Independence Day.

Delight in the democratic spirit
with dynamic discussion & delicious drinks
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

In So Many Matters, Democracy Matters

One day the Supreme Court can undercut
one of our nation's strongest voter protection.
The next day, the Court makes history again
promoting equality for all our citizens.

Courts matter.

One day, a majority of Texas conservatives
prepare to legislate against choice.
Then a Lone Star Senator starts a filibuster,
rallies the public & delays the bill for now.

Legislatures matter.

Activists protest the Keystone XL Pipeline
and America's inaction on climate change.
Then, the President announces executive actions
to reduce carbon emissions where Congress won't.

Executives matter.

Elections have consequences.
Advocacy can lead to results.
Activism can shift our culture.

These forms of democracy affect
our lives, our health, our loves, our rights.
And it's a reminder for the next election:
in so many matters, democracy matters.

Let's celebrate the highs & drink down the lows
at a festive, feisty, fiery, friendly, fun fete
with like-minded lefties and liberal libations
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

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