Justin Krebs's blog

Will Wall Street Reform or Simply Re-Form?

Nearly two years after the titans of Wall Street
brought our economy careening & crashing,
Washington actually passed financial reform.

It should've been inevitable but was near impossible
as the sluggish centrists & sellouts of the Senate
seemed to serve Wall Street over Main Street
& as the industry of excess lobbied for its life.

And while there's no doubt the financial industry
will find ways to evade any authority,
to grab with greed & rebel against regulation,
for this moment, at least, we made it happen.

The people won.

In the face of new measure, will Wall Street reform?
Or with new exotic investments, will it simply re-form?

That may be up to us.
Passing reform is one step.
Now let's make it stick.

Come out tonight to toast the new reforms
& share ideas on strengthening them
as you share a drink or two & a night of fun
with your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

The Senate Must Have Been Watching the World Cup

The Senate must have been watching the World Cup
& taking notes on how to do business.

Soccer players constantly run, run, run --
& Senators are constantly running for re-election
while running away from any tough choices..

The athletes play as much defense as offense
& the Senators are often in defensive mode,
obstructing reforms, deflecting progress.

And in both soccer matches & the Senate,
not a whole lot is accomplished,
so everyone's ecstatic when one goal is achieved.

Yet, soccer starts are beloved around the world...
while Senators are distrusted in all corners of the country.
That's because soccer players are doing their damn jobs.

Why can't the Senate learn that tip from the World Cup?

Now, if only we could drown our Inhofe
with some in-Senate vuvuzelas...

World Cup may be over, but refill your cup
with liberal libations as we discuss & debate
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

If You Can't Stand The Heat, Get Out of DC

A record heat-wave brings brown-outs & black-outs
& reminds us that DC hasn't touched energy reform
even after the open wound in the Gulf
opened an opportunity to reconsider energy policy.

As the temperature rises, so do tempers
of Americans angry at the Wall Street racket,
yet the Senate keeps cooling down reform efforts
with a watered down bill that still hasn't passed.

We're sunstroked as the thermometer tops 100,
& we're burnt & broke from unemployment at 10%,
yet we'll keep sweating as House conservatives
block an extension of unemployment benefits.

The heat was on to deal with serious issues --
& Senate Republicans simply said "No."

Then everyone went on vacation.

I don't blame them for escaping the DC heat.
But if they can't take the heat of doing their job
maybe they should stay out of the kitchen for good.
Or maybe voters should keep them out this November.

Beat the heat with cool drinks & warm company
as you refresh yourself with conversation & community
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Independence in America...but Dependents in DC

We find ourselves so dependent on oil
that even after disaster strikes in the gulf,
drilling goes on, behavior doesn't change
& the country's addiction continues.

Our nation's capital is so thick with lobbyists
that even when we're passing financial reforms,
they're the ones re-writing the legislation.

Our elected reps are so reliant on money
that Big Donors such as the defense industry
keep their contracts flowing for oversea wars.
despite Big Voters' wish to change course.

And despite the Tea Party rhetoric,
our Founders weren't starting a revolution
against immigrants or for corporate rights.

They were looking to create a vibrant democracy,
independent of the corrupting influences
of foreign powers, corporate interests & monarchy.

Our elected leaders & Supreme Court Justices
could use a history lesson this 4th of July.

Too bad Texas is rewriting history books
& there's no money for teachers anyway...

Yet around the country, the spirit is alive
as we celebrate a happy Independence Day.

Toast our country's birthday & talk national news
as you raise your spirits, your voice & a pint
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Obama Relieved McChrystal - How About Relief For The Rest Of Us?

We've bullied BP, held hearings, pointed fingers,
tried caps, called for moratoriums, made promises...
but oil keeps gushing...drilling projects continue...
& for nobody in the Gulf, is real relief immediate.

The Administration says the economy is recovering,
but as local & state programs are slashed,
as benefits lapse & the safety net frays,
regular Americans aren't feeling any relief.

And as violence spikes & strategy falters,
neither the Afghan people nor American forces
see in this conflict any sign of relief.

But after his ill-considered comments,
General McChrystal was relieved of command.

It's great that President Obama relieved him.
Now let's get real relief for the rest of us.

Find relief from the heat & respite from the week
as you share ideas, pitchers & an eve of engagement
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

After BP, Everyone Agrees: America Needs Big Government

As the BP disaster continues unabated,
criticism of the President gets louder and louder:
he should have done more from the beginning,
he shouldn't have trusted the Big Oil companies.

The people of the Gulf want more government action.
BP wants the government to take more responsibility.
The American people grow tired of federal agencies
that aren't able to take over where industry fails.

Even conservative pundits argue the President
should make this a "moon landing" like moment
to galvanize the Nation for a shared purpose.

Everyone agrees: America needs Big Government.

This disaster really has changed the country.

Now, if only Obama & the Dems would seize the moment
& articulate that government isn't the "problem"
but is our tool to pursue common goals.
But that's as likely as BP caring about the Earth....

Take a step away from cable news, blogs & tweets
& join a face-to-face, pint-to-pint gathering
of of left-minded liberal libation-lifters
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

The GOP: Yes to Corporal Punishment, No to Corporate Punishment

BP has "Beyond Phucked" our Gulf Coast
yet Rand Paul says we shouldn't blame corporations
& others stand in the way of Democratic efforts
to deal with the liability cap that incentivizes bad behavior.

The Republicans claim Dems are too close to Wall Street
while the GOP chooses a banking lobbyist for NY Governor
& Big Biz execs for Gov and Senate in California.

Meanwhile, despite the "outrage" at the bailouts
& The Tea Party furor against bankers,
how many conservatives are helping Congress
pass a modest package of financial reforms?

They're the "law-and-order, 3-strikes-you're-out" party
yet while the GOP supports capital & corporal punishment,
they just can't get behind corporate punishment.

We all have sympathy for some bad behavior.
In this case, the bad actors happens to be donors as well.

Share your thoughts on what BP should stand for
& your reactions to primaries over a prime pitcher or two
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

The Honeymoon is Over but the Drinking Goes On

As the oil disaster spreads & attempted solutions fail,
we've seen Louisiana politicians & even Sarah Palin
turn against the slogan, "Drill, baby, drill."
America's honeymoon with offshore drilling is over.

As Israel confronts the international community over the embargo,
peace talks are scattered and hope is shattered
& the Obama-Netanyahu honeymoon, if there was one, is over.

And in news that really shocked all of us,
Al and Tipper Gore are parting ways.
Even that honeymoon is over.

Yet 7 years after the first Drinking Liberally,
this marriage of your political & social life continues.

While we need a drink to vent over the world's affairs,
at least Drinking Liberally isn't breaking apart.

Let's toast to that.

Join a 7th Anniversary night of liberal drinks
as you share a few pitchers & pitch a few ideas.
with your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Seven Years of Liberal Drinking

By now, the story is familiar: a few friends got together in a bar to talk politics. Friends brought their friends, nascent blogs told their readers, word-of-mouth drove liberals thirsty for company.

And Drinking Liberally was born.

From the backyard of Rudy's, the vision of promoting democracy one pint at a time spread across the country: to over 300 chapters, all 50 states and increasingly around the world. Our happy hours regularly host activists, traveling speakers and major candidates, proving that we're about more than the alcohol (in fact, former Senator and Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton, who is a recovering alcoholic, announced he will attend an upcoming DL meeting) -- we're about mixing social and political life, creating a cultural component to our progressive movement and building a community that welcomes veteran volunteers and political newcomers alike.

The story of the viral spread of DL used to amaze me, one of the founders who discovered that a host of folks were invested in making my organization bigger than I had imagined. It now sounds familiar.

What amazes me now isn't the newness of Drinking Liberally -- it's the longevity.

We've been around for seven years. Seven years ago, you had never heard of Barack Obama. Seven years ago, Al Franken hadn't even gone on Air America. Seven years ago, we didn't have iPhones.

We've been around longer than the Tea Party -- I'll be curious to see if they last. After all, the Reform Party didn't last that long. We have outlived the 527s that seemed ready to reshape politics in 2004. We have served more years than Donald Rumsfeld did as Bush's Secretary of Defense.

We're not the new kids on the block anymore. If you look at our chapters, you see that. Our Fayetteville, Arkansas, chapter hits its 4-year mark in August, and its host, Greg Leding, just won a primary for the state legislature. Our Des Moines chapter recently toasted its 5th Anniversary -- and can recall when Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd came to court their caucus support.

It feels a little astonishing to have gotten so old.

That said, we are still, sadly, a few months short of the Iraq War. We look forward to outliving that folly, and we pray it may be soon.

Despite growing out of our infancy, Drinking Liberally -- and the larger Living Liberally world it sparked -- aren't yet over-the-hill. We have plenty of growing to do -- and we're innovating as we continue to define our role in the progressive movement.

We invite you to come help us shape that role. Let us know what Drinking Liberally means to you. Or come to a chapter and tell us over a beer.

I'm told wool and copper are the traditional 7th Anniversary gifts. We'll settle for a toast. In seven years, we've gone from Bush to Obama, Hastert to Pelosi, Frist to Reid. It's not perfect, but we'll drink to seven more years headed the same direction.

[Drinking Liberally continues to meet every Thursday night at its original home: Rudy's on 9th Avenue between 44th & 45th Streets in Manhattan, from 7:30pm onward. On June 3rd, for the first hour, your first pint of Rudy's Red is on us. For other Drinking Liberally locations, visit: http://livingliberally.org/drinking/]

What Next? Big Government Takeover of the Military?!

As the BP disaster continues to spread unresolved,
the Obama administration slowly realizes it needs to be in charge
...& right-wingers complain of "government takeover" of disaster relief.

As Congress works on financial reforms to curb the worst excesses
of an industry that has run amok with our national wealth,
the Tea Party complains of "government takeover" of banking regulation.

And now that there's finally a course to work with the Pentagon
to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, conservatives oppose it...
will they complain about "government takeover" of the military?

It's not a "takeover" every time the government does its job.
And the GOP lost power because they didn't do theirs.

In fact, the only "government takeover" Obama really engineered
was taking back the White House from the Republicans.

Vent a little, share a little, drink a little. Repeat.
That's the formula for a night of liberal libations
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.on.com/nyc by May 31st

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