Justin Krebs's blog

The Living Liberally Annual Celebration...& You

Celebrate a year of political progress and promise, support the work of Living Liberally around the country, and honor our allies Media Matters, Jack & Jill Politics and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Saturday, May 30th in NYC. If you can't come, you can still show your support. Learn more.

The GOP: Shooting Themselves in the Foot & Each Other in the Face

In pursuit of Souter's suitable successor,
the White House has signaled it may select
someone that'll turn Red-Staters red in the face.

The GOP bemoans loss of the nuclear option...
meanwhile Dems swing support for the public option
putting a hearty healthcare overhaul on the agenda.

While right-wingers reach for their next Harry & Louise,
the President's team announces original actions
to rein in the derivatives that ran wild & helped ruin us.

The Republicans just can't keep up with him...
Corporate Cons cry, Religious Right wails and flails,
isolationists are isolated, libertarians pack their bags,
Romney & Steele fight each other, the party attacks Crist
& undead Deadeye Dick pops up to defend torture.

Maybe the GOP is always one step behind
because they're always shooting themselves in the foot.
Or because the only targets they hit...are each other.
(Another lesson from Good Old Buckshot-In-The-Face Dick.)

And while they do, the President stays one step ahead.

Hey Progressives, here's your chance...now get to work!

Come out to share your ideas & your plans for action
as you share a few pitchers & a night on the town
with your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Find - or start - a chapter near you.

The Country's Stress Tests & No-Drama Obama

We await results of the bank "stress tests,"
only one piece of a confused economy
where the auto industry reels, homeowners drown
& AIG bonuses were bigger than realized.

Afghanistan faces anger over civilian deaths
as 20,000 troops prepare a stress test for that country.

Specter the Defector stresses Dems in the Senate
by opposing the President's agenda,
while divisions on healthcare, energy, the Supreme Court
serve as a stress test for the party in power.

The only one who doesn't seem stressed?
No Drama Obama...ready to pass any stress test.
Good thing he's the President.

Then there's the GOP...crumbling under stress day by day...

Take a break from your stress and your tests
as you find relief, release & rejuvenation
in the company of like-minded libation-lifters
at your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Specter the Defector - Defected, or Defective?

A specter of death falls upon Republican dreams
as Specter of Pennsylvania joins the Dems,
now one Franken away from a filibuster-proof majority.

Specter the "Dem" - who, up until he'd made this switch,
had courted the Keystone State's right-wing
as his key to winning the next GOP primary.

Specter, welcomed & protected by Dem leaders,
though he still speaks against Employee Free Choice,
& cast his first "Democratic" vote against the Prez's budget.

Not elected as a Dem, not a loyal Dem, not voting Dem.
Is he really a defected Dem? Or a defective one?

With Democrats like he, we may not need a GOP.
And as things are going, maybe we won't have one.
Now, if only in Maine, a little Snowe would fall...

Whether you're giving old Arlen a cheer or jeer
come out and do it over a liberal beer
with your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Exploiting their Memory

by Yanqui Mike, Buenos Aires Drinking Liberally host

Poster from HaymarketDrinking Liberally Buenos Aires is celebrating our first birthday this Thursday. Yep, we were founded a year ago on May 1st. (Technically, it won't be May 1st unless we stay up past midnight ...usually that ain't a problem with Drinking Liberally!)

That first night, we had 5 people show up, Fred Badagnani, my wife, Caitlin Kelly, myself, and (hep me!) another fine soul whose name is lost. We grew into a tremendously vibrant group that advanced the cause of liberalism in Buenos Aires through the last dark days of the Bush administration and helped Democrats Abroad Argentina tremendously. People were ready for a local addition to that fine international drinking society Drinking Liberally ...and we were there!

What you might not know is that May 1st was chosen intentionally as an auspicious fecha. The date starts from Chicago, as did I, and left its mark on Buenos Aires and the world long before any of us was born. If you've heard of the 8 hour day (even if it sounds like a distant memory to many of you!), you know about May 1st.

On May 1st, 2008, Drinking Liberally Buenos Aires was formed. On May 1, 1886, the 8 hour day was born; it was a difficult birth.

US labor unions called for a general strike that day in support of "8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep, and 8 hours for the pursuit of happiness."

On that Saturday, there were 10,000 demonstrators in New York, 11,000 in Detroit, and 10,000 in Milwaukee. The big place that day, however, was Chicago with 40,000 workers on strike to put an end to what amounted to wage slavery.

80,000 people marched down Chicago's Michigan Avenue; in the lumberyards, another 10,000. In the US, there may have been a half a million people on strike that day.

In 1886, there were maybe 56 million people in all of the US. In 2009, there are more than 304 million. Imagine 2,700,000 people on strike in the US today. It isn't hard to do. Try to remember, as well, that labor unions then were even weaker than today.

Long story short, rallies and demonstrations and strikes were not enough to bring what we now consider "rather" standard into being.

On May 4th, another gathering took place to protest the inevitable repression of the Chicago strikers. Somebody threw a bomb. To this day nobody knows who. The police reacted, shot a lot of their own and people in the crowd. Eight people were arrested.

There was a trial. All 8 were found guilty, 7 sentenced to death. One committed suicide by biting an explosive. Two were later committed to life inprisonment. The other 4 were hanged on my birthday. From wikipedia:

"The trial has been characterized as one of the most serious miscarriages of justice in United States history. Most working people believed Pinkerton agents had provoked the incident. On June 26, 1893, Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld signed pardons for Fielden, Neebe and Schwab after having concluded all eight defendants were innocent. The governor said the real reason for the bombing was the city of Chicago's failure to hold Pinkerton guards responsible for shooting workers. The pardons ended his political career. The police commander who ordered the dispersal was later convicted of corruption. The bomb thrower was never identified."

The event radicalized individuals around the world for many years, most notably my hero Emma Goldman ...and later, myself. If you happen to hear of a local soccer team, Nuevo Chicago, here in Buenos Aires ...their name comes from the stockyards barrio that was informally named after "los mártires de Chicago."

The Soviet Union tried to co-opt "May Day" as pertaining to their ugly Stalinist effort. The United States tried to co-opt the date as "Loyalty Day" in an effort to counter that. The "Labor Day" that we yanquis celebrate in September was enacted by the US Congress 2 months after the Chicago riots.

As part of an international drinking society, Drinking Liberally and Drinking Liberally Buenos Aires are sometimes not immediately taken seriously. I'd like to tell you, however, that for all the frothy fun that can be found EVERY Thursday ...there is something much deeper that can be found in all of our liberalism.

From Waldheim Cemetery in Chicago:
Los Mártires de Chicago

If you show up on Thursday... you're prolly gonna find a bunch of people that just love to drink beer and love to talk to people that love to hear what they can't hear on the radio, TV, or newspapers. Great folks... believe me, we're not terribly serious types! But lemme tell ya, being liberal is serious business. (Unlike some people, if you wanna corner one of us... and talk some serious politics... you won't be disappointed.)

Changing the Channel

We're familiar with the repeated metaphors pundits use to describe America. The tide is turning," "the tables have turned, "America is turning a new page." It's enough turning to make one dizzy.

As a kindle-phobic book-hugger, I love "turning pages" as much as anyone...but I am going to offer another metaphor: America is changing the channel.

No, we shouldn't replace book imagery with TV imagery...but this metaphor is more than rhetoric -- more and more Americans are changing our country by changing one particular channel...and tuning out Fox "News."

From Norman in Florida, Living Liberally recently received this request:

Jennifer and I are sick of going to our FOX channel Dentist. Each exam room has a TV set to FOX. I would like to know how to find a progressive Dentist in south Tampa. Can you help. I would rather spend my health dollars supporting a progressive Dentist!
Thanks
Norman

Norman, you're not alone. More people are recognizing that Fox is far from a new outlet; it's a propaganda arm for the right-wing (as its recent "tea party" obsession confirmed). There are great groups like Brave New Films that have documented Fox's role as an attack dog. There have been successful campaigns to pressure Democratic leaders to deny Fox the legitimacy of hosting. presidential debates.

But you don't need to launch campaigns or cancel programs to make a difference...you can just pick up the remote.

Change the channel.

We'll try to help you find your liberal dentist; but in the meantime, just ask them to switch to a real news outlet. Fox's bright and fast graphics often make them the most visually appealing (which is why it's often on in senior centers), but the power to change that is a click away.

We've asked our local bar to change the channel. It's worked. Now when we're drinking liberally, we're no longer watching conservatively.

That's change we can believe in.

Rush Limbaugh On The Progressive Magazine Conference

by Matt Filipovicz, Chicago Laughing and Drinking Liberally

What would you do if you had the chance to meet an all-star line up of liberals including Robert Redford, Amy Goodman, Howard Zinn, Naomi Klein, Russ Feingold, Tammy Baldwin, Dennis Kucinich, Cindy Sheehan, Jim Hightower, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Katrina vanden Heuvel and many, many more?

What if you had the chance to meet them all in one place and all in one weekend?

And what if that weekend also happened to be celebrating the 100 year anniversary of one of the finest liberal publications in the country, the Progressive?

Well, if you're anything like me, you'd head to Madison, Wisconsin May 1st and 2nd for the Progressive Magazine Conference.

If you're like Rush Limbaugh, however, you'd probably advise your ditto-heads to avoid Madison at all costs.

Tortured Logic to Tortured People

Though initial interrogators thought Abu Zubaydah
had told them all he was going to tell,
higher-ups still sought permission for extreme tactics
that led to waterboarding him 83 times.

Bush admin officials approved the torture methods
that had previously been used in Communist China
...& Jay Bybee, one of the authors of that tortured logic,
which approved illegal action...is now a Federal judge.

And now that the Obama admin has released this info,
conservatives argue these methods are perfectly legal,
while also arguing we're less safe for revealing them.

We always knew how much the right-wing tortured logic
...now we sadly know more about how they tortured people.

And it's not the American way.

Share your horror & your ideas for what we do next
as you share the night, a booth & a few pitchers
at your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Find - or start - a chapter near you.

We're Fixing the Country...They're Fixing Some Tea

The Prez speaks honestly to America about the economy.
The right-wing speaks mangled metaphors & ridiculous rants
while playing dress-up at a bunch of tea parties.

Speaker Pelosi calls to investigate Wall Street.
Conservatives call for secession,
while hurling tea on the White House lawn.

Senate and House Dems get busy on new approaches
to affordable healthcare, clean energy & green jobs
Conservatives get busy...waving tea bags.

Will someone just pour them some goddamn tea already?

Then stick them at the kids table
with their hats & stuffed animals,
& let the grown-ups get back to cleaning up out country.

If you're sick of tea, come share a stiffer drink
as you share ideas, your evening and a crowded booth
at your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Celebrating Invest-in-America Day

A Thinking Liberally Left-Minded Meditation

"Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society." - US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.

"Stop Whining and Pay Your Taxes" - Bumper sticker my Dad wanted to print up about 18 years ago.

Congratulations, America. It's April 15th, a day we mark honorably; an annual tradition we've together reached once again. Let's trade some high-fives and puff our chests out in patriotic pride because today is Invest-in-America Day!

You don't hear many people applauding April 15th. Instead you see news stories about long lines at the post office, and businesses try to capitalize on your tax frustration (Dunkin' Donuts offered free donuts as "tax relief" last year). Because it's Tax Day in America...and thanks to an enduring Benjamin Franklin aphorism, many of our fellow citizens are more likely to associate taxes with "death" than with good schools, clean air, a strong military, innovations in health and science and all the other benefits are taxes bring us.

Just try to say "Happy Tax Day" to anyone and see what reactions you get. If you end up in the wrong place, you might even get a teabag thrown at you.

Why teabags? Conservatives (or "cons" as they would be accurately dubbed) have settled on a series of mixed metaphors and mangled messaging to express their frustration with...what exactly? Some combination of opposition to taxes, the stimulus, and the President in general has Republicans waving Earl Grey at any camera that will watch.

And they claim, amusingly, that this is in the tradition of our Founders' Boston Tea Party. But once again, the right-wing misses the point. The Founders weren't opposed to taxation -- they were opposed to "taxation without representation." They were fine with taxes...as long as those funded a government in which they fully participated.

Where is the "pro-representation" outcry that would truly be in the spirit of our Founders? Not coming from the Cons. We have a President who has bent over backwards (and frustrated his own base) to ensure that all sides have been "represented" in every negotiation so far.

If the teabaggers are too busy to participate, that's their business.

Just as the Cons' tea parties get it wrong, their entire opposition to taxes is misplaced. Should we watch where the government spends our money? Of course -- and greater transparency (a good-government goal) will help with that. Should we ensure that taxes don't burden those who struggle? Without question -- which is why a progressive tax structure is so critical.

Should we oppose taxes? Only if we want private security to replace our police, corporations to monitor their own pollution and banks to regulate themselves (and we've seen how well that worked).

I'm proud to pay. As Vice President Biden has said, it's our duty. I love this country, and I'm honored to invest in it.

Shouldn't all Americans say the same? And if not, then they can stop drinking my clean water...it's for Patriotic Investors only.

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