Justin Krebs's blog

The Free Market: Costlier Every Day

Conservatives don't want us to take control of banks
as that would involve the gov in the free market
...a market that led to toxic assets & zombie banks.

"Let the market do it's job," they shout --
a market that created outsized compensation,
excessive severance for failed CEOs
& bonuses for businesses that didn't make a dime.

Deregulation led to a massive meltdown,
and now trillions of taxpayer dollars are being spent
to keep the "free" market alive and well.

Seems like the free market is getting costlier every day.

Then again, these guys run an economy into the ground,
then get bailed out, keep their jobs, & still get paid?
Maybe they're pretty business-savvy after all...

There may be no free market, and no free lunch,
but there's free thinking & cheap drinks
as you share liberal libations & lively talk
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Laid Off, Paid Off & Madoff

American workers lose jobs & savings
while GOP leaders turn-down stimulus funds
that could create jobs & savings.

Those whose companies collapsed
get big bonuses from bailout bucks.

And while we belatedly caught Bernie Madoff,
every day another greedy scheme
festers on the surface of the American dream.

America's laid off, they're getting paid off
...it's with our funds, & trust, they've made off.

Who still thinks we should run America "like a business"?

Come where the drinks are cheap & talk is rich,
where you lay off your worries & lift up a glass
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Obama's Opposition Party: The Senate Dems

President Obama wants to grow our economy
by ending subsidies to agri-business giants,
but high-ranking Senate Dems aren't so sure.

The pro-worker Employee Free Choice Act
has a majority of support in the Senate
but the Dem Leader isn't willing to fight it out.

As progressives Dems tried to re-write bankruptcy laws
to defend working families & their homes,
they met opposition...from conservative Democrats.

It's never easy for a Prez to deal with an opposition party.
Obama just didn't expect that party to be his own.

...and they're doing a better job of opposing
than they did in Bush's first term...

Shake your head at the Dems as we raise a glass together
sharing the news & booze, discussion & drinks
at our local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

From Rush, Steal & Swindle to Rush, Steele & Jindal

After 8 years of rushing laws through Congress
that squandered our nation's wealth & profited the few,
the GOP now joins Rush in hoping America fails,
& opposing policies to rebuild our country.

After 8 years of letting the greedy steal from the many,
through lack of regulation, no-bid contracts & incompetence,
the GOP now follows party leader Michael Steele,
who praises obstructionism & prefers problems to progress.

After the Bush administration let its cronies swindle us,
to the point that our agencies, like FEMA, were in tatters,
Jindal says too much gov action was the problem in Katrina.

For 8 years, all they did was rush, steal & swindle.
Now all they have is Rush, Steele & Jindal.

Good thing some grown-ups are cleaning up their mess.

Nobody will obstruct you for sharing a pint, or a few,
as we vent, laugh, debate, scheme, dream & enjoy
like-minded lefties at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Read of the Day: Re-Reading the First Gulf War

Nora Eisenberg, whose excellent novel about veterans returning from the Gulf War, When You Come Home, will soon be reviewed on this page, has just penned a piece for Alternet on the lost lessons hidden in the way the Gulf Was has been remembered.

We highly recommend it -- as our Reading Liberally "Read of the Day" -- and will bring you more on her novel soon.

With rare exceptions, American politicians seem incapable of opposing an American war without befriending another in a different place or time.

Barack Obama, an early and ardent enemy of the Iraq War, quickly declared his affinity for a war in Afghanistan and/or Pakistan. And like so many Democratic leaders, he has commended Bush 41's Gulf War over Bush 43's, for its justifiable cause, clear goals, quick execution and admirable leadership.

Read the full article on Alternet...

Creating a Good Villain

Every battle needs a good villain. Not sure if that's a line out of a comic book, or the advice Matt Stoller has often offered on these pages, but it's true.

There's some healthy debate about whether Rush is the right villain or the wrong target. Brave New Films has done a great job their War on Greed to make the likes of Henry Kravis into a known nemesis. And in New York, the proponents for Fair Share Tax Reform just realized: why create a villain, if the entertainment industry's already done it for them.

Enter Monty Burns from the Simpsons, a no-goodnik we love to hate, and the new face of the plutocrats looking to sink New York's working class.

In anticipation of a major rally on Thursday, the Working Families Party -- leaders of the Fair Share push -- have turned to satire. They've circulated a letter from Homer's boss to his fellow fatcats. Who wants to be on the side of Mr. Burns? Well, except for Smithers, of course.

The Fair Share advocates are targeting the Governor, but want to make an ally out of him, not an enemy. So they co-opted a more useful villain -- after all, would Paterson rather side with the owner of a nuclear power plant or with schools, hospitals and mass transit?

If you're in NYC, check out the rally -- and below, you can see the whole letter.

Comedian Rick Perlstein?

We're all big fans of Rick Perlstein, and know him best for Before the Storm and Nixonland.

So I was surprised to read in Time Out Chicago's coverage of this Saturday's "Nation Guide to the Nation" event:

Each Laughing Liberally show mixes stand-up with musical numbers and political discussion, plus other entertainments. This weekend, the free event includes appearances by comics Rick Perlstein, James Fritz and Carrie Callahan


Rick, is the march of right-wing institution-building that realigned our country really that funny?

The magazine's mistake is understandable because people don't think of history and comedy going hand-in-hand. But it's that kind of cultural blend that will be the recipe for this Saturday's event, dubbed "The Nation Guide to Living Liberally," a joint-venture promoting The Nation's handbook to liberal hotspots and hide-aways around the country, hosted by Chicago's Drinking Liberally chapter and Laughing Liberally affiliate, the Accountants of Homeland Security. Tracy Van Slyke of the Media Consortium will also be speaking, and there will be comedy, music and videos.

A bit of a jumble of elements, huh? Well, that's kind of the point. The Nation Guide spans from independent radio and bookstores to film festivals and historic trails to environmentally-friendly breweries. And Living Liberally reaches from scruptious suppers to meetups for religious progressives. Liberal culture isn't just one thing or another -- it's not just a peace group or just a independent weekly -- it's an entire lifestyle that offers something for everyone.

So check out the event. Check out the video of Dick Cheney promoting the book (created by the event's organizer Matt Filipowicz). Oh, and check out Perlstein's punchlines.

"So, a Southern Strategy walked into a bar..."

State of This Union, No Longer State of Disunion

Our last President had used a State of the Union
to offer lies about uranium that conned us into Iraq.
Our new President used his first address to Congress
to talk honestly about the cost of Iraq & about ending it.

Bush used his major annual address
for such pressing topics as human-animal hybrids.
Obama used it to discuss investing in our human capital.

George suggested we send men to Mars.
Barack suggested we send America back to work.

And Bobby Jindal suggested the disaster of Katrina
somehow would have been better with less Federal support.
So if you miss W, don't worry -- his spirit lives on...

Obama offered us a realistic state of this union...
after Bush's constant state of disunion, it's a change.

Discuss the State of the Union, and be part of a reunion,
as you share debate, dialogue & a delightful drink
with your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you

When Comedians Out-Class Commentators

We're regularly reminded by The Daily Show that comedians can make better journalists than newscasters.

This morning's clip on ABC, in which Laughing Liberally's Baratunde Thurston spent 5 minutes discussing the President's address, demonstrated that comedians can offer more serious commentary than most pundits as well.

Check it out.

Baratunde spoke about the satisfaction of having a President who focused on the economy, energy and healthcare rather than human-animal hybrids.

When the anchor asked him to tease Speaker Pelosi's outfit, he turned it around to how proud she seemed. When the anchor wanted to focus on the "bromance" between the President and VP, Baratunde instead talked about their working relationship to get the job done. And when she gave him an open shot to tease Governor Jindal, he took a serious moment about the amazement that the GOP would hold up Katrina as an example of too much government help.

Then he said Jindal sounded like he was speaking to 5-year-olds.

Baratunde hit a great blend of entertaining and relevant, something our news coverage sometimes misses (the latter, that is).

With all the talk about MSNBC's 10pm slot, maybe Baratunde's name should be entered into the mix.

The Stimulus Package and Republican Hypocrisy

by Michael Hayne, Laughing Liberally Morristown

Despite stiff opposition (or is it opposition from stiffs) from Senate and House Republicans, the $787bn stimulus package passed and was just signed by President Obama (love writing that) earlier today. Now, the entire GOP vehemently opposed this package on grounds that it was loaded with unnecessary spending on pet projects, resulting in many changes to accommodate them. I will readily admit that there were some expensive and unnecessary spending provisions in the original bill. But I would be criminally insane to believe republicans posturing when they ordered vast amounts of spending on pork back in 2005.

With a little research and a lot of red bull, I was able to find some unrelated details on then House majority leader Tom Delay and his fellow Republicans history of diverting federal monies to ridiculous special projects in order to ensure re-election.

$25,000 to study Mariachi music in Nevada (To be fair, Mariachi is known to improve a golf swing.)

$1.5 million for an Alaskan bus stop with heated sidewalks and electronic signs
(To pick up a guy and his caribou?)

$75,000 set aside for the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in Appleton, Wisconsin( that's 75,000 dollars for something that ulitmtaely winds up in Dick Cheney's shredder.)

$100,000 for a film festival in Rochester, New York.(Since when does a Republican appropriate money for something of aesthetic value?)

$50 million for an indoor rainforest in Iowa.(I guess they figured "we already slashed the original one..." )

$18,000 for a smoking booth at a private New Jersey airport.(Okay, this one actually makes sense [insert smoker's cough].)

$200,000 for a peanut festival in Alabama.(for all those herds of elephants in Alabama, perhaps?)

$200 million to build a bridge from Ketchikan, Alaska to a nearby island with 50 inhabitants better known as "the bridge to nowhere".(Apparently, constructing a bridge that connects RNC Headquarters to the Cayman Islands proved to be too costly.)

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