Justin Krebs's blog

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.

Mr. Obama, Tear Down This Wall

JFK spoke at the Brandenburg Gate 50 years ago
when East Germans lived in fear of the Soviet State.
Now, the German Chancellor lectures the US President
about the ethics and limits of state-based surveillance.

Reagan spoke at the Gate 30 years ago
calling upon the USSR to "tear down this wall."
Now it's American conservatives building walls,
metaphorical & physical, between us and the world.

Yesterday, Obama took his turn at the Wall
asserting the work of democracy must continue
even while he approves American policies of
assassination, indefinite detention & domestic spying.

We'd like to see Obama be more of a Kennedy
but now at the very least he could listen to Reagan
& tear down the visible signs of an oppressive state
before they divide Americans even further.

Mr. President, just as you spoke at the wall,
now, Mr. Obama, tear down your walls.

Share reflections, reactions, reveries & retractions
while you share a pitcher & a summer night
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Outrage Outage

Are Republicans too weary from witch hunts,
from turning Benghazi from sorrow to scandal
and the IRS affair from insensible to impeachable,
to be outraged at the news from the NSA?

Are conservative columnists too consumed
slandering Snowden as seditious & selfish
to save any shock for the domestic spying
that has turned citizens into suspects?

Did liberals expend so much of their anger --
first at Bush's illegal warrantless wiretapping,
then at the Congressional cave-in to make it legal
-- that they're less fired up at Big Brother Barack?

The government shouldn't, but it is,
the Prez said he wouldn't, then he did
& the public's so overwhelmed by insult & injury
that we don't even know where to direct our outcry.

For a bunch of people who often seem enraged,
this time there seems to be an outrage outage.

Let's power-up that outrage again
and send a powerful message to the NSA
-- after all, we know they'll be listening.

Outraged or out-of-touch, either way come on out
where we're never out of topics & you're no outsider
at your progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

If You Can Hear Us Now, Then Why Won't You Listen?

The Obama NSA has been secretly collecting
millions of phone records of American citizens.
For all this intelligence-gathering, they haven't found
the intelligence to realize how wrong this is.

Turkish authorities have heard the rumbles
of uprisings across Europe and the Mid East,
but haven't listened to their own people's concerns,
nor learned how to peacefully quell a protest.

A Senator who listened to the challenges faced
by New Jersey & the nation has passed away.
A Governor who can only hear the drumbeat of ambition
has chosen an illogical expensive way to replace him.

With governmental leaders these days,
you don't have to ask, "Can you hear me now?"
But when it comes to responding to their citizens,
the real question is, "Why the heck won't you listen?"

If you want to be heard, listened to & engaged,
start a convo with the welcoming cohort
at your local progressive social club

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Our Ten-Year vs Their Tenure

In the past ten years, Republicans have revolted
against their own cap-and-trade & healthcare plans,
against science, common sense & decency,
purging the few moderates from their ranks.

In that decade, Democrats took the White,
took the Senate, took & gave back the House,
but never took the opportunity for lasting change
on economic justice, civil liberties or human rights.

Since 2003, Drinking Liberally has grown
from one dive bar to a far-reaching constellation,
from sharing a drink to shaping how we think,
becoming the bartender of the progressive movement.

Maybe we haven't created the revolution yet,
but we also didn't create the sequester,
debt ceiling crisis, drones, deep water drilling,
indefinite detention or the GMO racket either.

Compare our ten-year to our politicians' tenure
and you'll mark our anniversary with the cheers:
"Ten more years…and a few more beers."

Drinking Liberally: established May 29th, 2003.

Toast ten years of liberal comrades & conversation
by lifting a liberal libation with like-minded lefties
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

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