Justin Krebs's blog

McCain: Bailing, Ailing, Wailing, Flailing, Derailing

The Bush team wants to bail out its cronies
with a massive, unregulated, give-away
supervised by the guys that got us into this mess.

The GOP wants to bail on the American people,
fighting measures to support the middle class
while putting bailout burdens on taxpayer shoulders.

Meanwhile, McCain wants to bail out of the debates.
And if the economy's still rough on November 4th,
maybe he'll want to bail on the election as well.

But now that Palin's flailing, the GOP's wailing
& their desperate lies are derailing,
who's going to be bailing out John McCain?

At least we'll soon take back our ship of state
...then we can really start bailing out our America.

Share your thoughts as your share a a few beers,
(& sharing a pitcher saves in these tough times)
at your local, progressive social club.

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

...and check out LivingLiberally.org
for blogging, events & updates

This Week In Blackness Episode 6

You gotta give it to Laughing Liberally regular and Tank comedy programmer Elon James White -- when he gets rolling, he makes the most of his momentum.

He's up to episode 6 already of his new series "This Week in Blackness." In this episode, he reveals to all of us what a new scientific poll has discovered: race "matters" in this election.

Enjoy.

Debate Prep

Drinking Liberally loves debates. They are great excuses for special events, bringing together our members, bringing out new attendees, and sometimes breaking out drinking games, bingo cards and other group games.

But looking at Media Matters Action Network's latest video, one wonders whether our love of debates is misplaced:

I'd forgotten how frustratingly irrelevant so much of the questioning was -- how much we found ourselves booing the moderators (sometimes more than cheering our favorite candidates). And as the video reminds us, this was a feeling shared by partisans on both sides of the aisle.

So, while we're prepping the rules for the drinking game (sip at "change"...chug at "bailout"), we're happy other organizations are doing the prep to set expectations, shame the networks and hopefully push the debate organizers into making the discussions relevant.

The Right Way To Work a Room

I'm impressed with Scott Kleeb. This Nebraskan Senate candidate takes progressive stances, isn't afraid of offering intelligent answers and is giving a real run in a red state. He also likes to drink liberally.

Scott joined us in New York last night, and demonstrated pitch perfect how a politician can connect with a Drinking Liberally crowd...which also says something about how to connect with people in general.

He didn't give a long speech. He didn't ask everyone to stop what they were doing to listen to him. Instead, after a brief introduction, he hung out for 2 hours having real conversations.

This form of retail politics works. Everyone there felt they got to know Scott, and got far more excited than if they had just heard him stump. The crowd got a clearer sense of why he'd be a good Senator. And he's likable -- people enjoyed talking to him.

We often get requests from politicians who want to speak at Drinking Liberally, and we tell them that what they really want to do is just come drink liberally. Stepping off the stage and into conversation is important for every candidate -- and it's how we most authentically engage in politics.

So invite your local candidates to come by for a drink. Or check out Scott's site -- they host "Boots and Beers" get-togethers all over the country...maybe you'll have a chance to toast him in person.

(Video by Joe Felice)

When's the Last Time Obama Mentioned "White Privilege" in this Race?

You'd think we'd be talking about race a lot. It's incredible that an African American is in the lead for the presidency, and a sad commentary that it's such an unlikelihood in this country. Obama's candidacy could be sparking thoughtful conversations about race in every corner of America.

Ok, ok...the Presidential race too rarely sparks thoughtful conversations on anything -- why should race be any different?

And I think we'd collectively fall out of our seats if Senator Obama started an earnest dialogue unpacking white privilege.

But since he won't (or can't), other surrogates have to:

This video is the 5th installment of "This Week in Blackness," a new project from Laughing Liberally regular and Brooklyn Comedy Company founder Elon James White.

It's more upfront about race than most mainstream commentary (just because it's funny doesn't mean it isn't honest). And Elon can say things that Senator Obama and those around him could never say -- both because Elon's not connected to the campaign, and because he has the Shakespearean fool's privilege granted to comedians to speak truths and taboos.

It's a reminder of the importance of outside surrogates who can inject ideas into the discourse that the campaigns may not touch. And one more example of comedians talking about topics far more interesting than much of the "top-tier" coverage.

I have no idea if it's good or bad political strategy to be as subdued about race as the Obama campaign is...but in the long term it's better for our country to talk, debate, learn, argue -- and laugh, when we can -- about it.

"Fundamentals Are Strong?"...Fundamentally Wrong!

While major banking institutions fail,
John McCain fails as well, saying
"the fundamentals of our economy are strong."

Because McCain and other deranged deregulators
prevented government supervision of these industries,
the Fed was forced from the role of prevention
& now has to try to become the cure.

And while in the past McCain has opposed
programs to help working families in need,
we've fallen to a point that tax-payer dollars
are bailing big business out of free market failure.

Are the fundamentals of our economy that strong?
The fundamentals of John McCain's economy are wrong.

Share your ideas, your fears & a couple of beers
with other like-minded left-leaners
at your local progressive social club.

Drinking Liberally
Find - or start - a chapter near you.

No More Postponements

It was Primary Day, or was supposed to be, seven years ago in New York City, when word came: first, a freak accident; then, clearly something more. By the time the 1010 WINS radio reporter sobbed "Oh my god, my god, it's gone, the tower is gone," we all knew that something new, frightening, unanticipated was happening.

We put the elections on hold, and New Yorkers sought out their loved ones, found their way home, and tuned into their televisions. Except for Lower Manhattan, it wasn't chaos on the streets. It was quiet, almost eerily so -- everyone found the people and places they loved the most and waited.

The next day, as New Yorkers emerged from their apartments, the cloud of smoke hanging above the city and a burning smell present miles from the site, we found our way to common ground, such as the vigils in Union Square. We found each other.

We had put our elections on hold, and engaged in our civic life in other ways -- checking on neighbors, lining up to give blood, sharing tears and looking at photos of missing people in the open churches our parks had become.

At the time, it was unthinkable that life would go on as normal. But 10 days later, a tearful Letterman returned to the air; within days, people returned to their offices; the subways never stopped running for long.

But our politics didn't get back to normal.

From the day of that postponed primary (which, of course, needed to be delayed), our country seemed to agree to postpone democracy. Giuliani's effort to delay New York's elections failed, but the politics of fear that 9/11 enabled the Bush administration to cultivate has been the driving force in our country since. And at first, in those moments of fear, many of us were happy for a commanding hand -- more security, less liberty, seemed an OK trade in those early days (those who warned from the start that such a trade is never worth it will never receive the credit they deserve for being right).

And now, seven years later, we're in a campaign where one side tells us we should still be very afraid. As though we would dishonor those who died in the attack if we dared to challenge the security state those in power wish to maintain.

"Never forget" may be a politicized slogan in the mouths of those who want to justify martial excess, but it's also a very real sentiment for those who lost loved ones, lost a sense of serenity in their beloved city or lost a little of their innocence on that day. I will "never forget" and never roll my eyes at others who keep this day sacred. There were real losses on September 11th that need to be marked.

But not forgetting doesn't equate with not evolving.

Every year on this day, I walk down Broadway from Times Square to Union Square. Every 8-10 blocks, the diagonal Broadway cuts out another public square as it crosses the uptown/downtown avenues: Times Square, then Herald, Madison Square Park, then Union Square. These were the spaces that made me feel safe to come out again seven years ago. And on September 11th, 2002 -- a year later -- Union Square was vibrant with the shared sorrow for what was remembered and hope for a city that was back on its feet.

Today, there were no public gatherings along Broadway. That's not to say there were no memorials today -- but most New Yorkers have returned to life as normal.

If a city can grow beyond a tragedy, so can a nation. One doesn't need to stand still to remember. Just as New Yorkers got their city moving again, we need to get our politics moving.

Enough postponements. The polls are open. We have fewer than 8 weeks to remember that democracy isn't our liability, it's our greatness.

Never Forget? Bush/McCain Never Remembered...

After the attacks, the Bush/McCain team forgot
it was bin Laden & Al Qaeda who attacked us
& launched us into the Iraqi quagmire instead.

They forgot to properly equip our troops,
& forgot to vote to care for our vets.

They forgot that it was religious extremism
that was behind this terrorism,
as they allowed domestic extremism to grow.

They forgot that the world was ready to help,
as they squandered global goodwill
& ruined our international standing.

They forgot to ask us to do anything
other than shop more, drive more, drill more.

They forgot what made America great.

Seven years ago, we said, "Never forget."
Looking at what Bush has done since,
& at what McCain proposes to do next...
it's clear that they never remembered.

Share this anniversary with warm company,
sharing ideas, memories & a drink
at your local progressive social club.

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

Save Democracy. Get Paid.

What if I told you there was a way you could ensure voting rights on election day?

You might say, "Sure I know about Election Protection and being a poll-watcher."

What if I told you that you wouldn't be a watcher -- but could protect votes from the inside?

You might look at me funny.

What if I told you that you could get paid?

If we've got your interest, it's time you become a Pollworker for Democracy.

Our friends at CREDO have done it again: taken a simple idea, created a straightforward program, and made it easy for people to make a difference.

You know those impossibly ancient people that populate polling sites across America? Well, thank god for them -- because without pollworkers, we wouldn't have elections. That said, let's be kind to them -- let them retire! And the only way to do that is to take their spot.

In many states, the Boards of Elections are still in need of pollworkers. They pay you for your day's labors, and in many cases feed you. And they entrust you with the keys to the automobile of democracy. That means that you get to verify a person's right to vote; you get to proactively offer provisional ballots; you get to be the point-person for irregularities.

Let's be clear: you are not the watcher voicing an objections -- you are the operator making sure sh*t works.

If you can keep lines moving, keep counts honest, keep people enfranchised, keep right-wing efforts to suppress and intimidate out of your polling stations, then you will have spent November 4th wisely.

So sign on up -- and somebody you can be the impossibly ancient pollworker who knows that for decades you made our democracy work.

We're Holding Our Heads High, Bob

In today's New York Times, Bob Herbert -- a favorite columnist of Living Liberally -- laments:

Liberals have been so cowed by the pummeling they’ve taken from the right that they’ve tried to shed their own identity, calling themselves everything but liberal and hoping to pass conservative muster by presenting themselves as hyper-religious and lifelong lovers of rifles, handguns, whatever.

He goes on to articulate the proud liberal legacy in America: civil rights and women's rights, environmental protection and food safety, Social Security and Medicare, concluding:

Without the many great and noble deeds of liberals over the past six or seven decades, America would hardly be recognizable to today’s young people.

Bob - have we got a video to show you.

Bob, you're speaking our language. The 10,000 monthly attendees at Living Liberally events around the country agree with you. The activists, bloggers and electeds in the video above agree with you. Daily Kos creator Markos -- whose first words on his blog (as recounted in his new book Taking on the System) were "I am progressive. I am liberal. I make no apologies." -- agrees with you too.

And John Kennedy pre-emptively agreed with you in his famous remarks (that are the video's soundtrack).

So what's with our elected officials? What's with our leaders on the "Left" that leave them so scared of this label?

They believe they've only given up on a word that's been poisoned in the public imagination while we were too complacent to defend it. But they are actually giving up the ideas, the tradition and the accomplishments that had accompanied that word for the last century.

Unfortunately, if you only think election-to-election, you don't make language your battlefield. You willingly cede that footing thinking repositioning may get you short-term gains.

We see where that gets us. Which is why so many regular Americans are taking the lead where our "leaders" are failing -- why everyday citizens are becoming voters, volunteers, activists, and even candidates under the "liberal" banner. From Idaho, where 6 chapters of Drinking Liberally gather progressive peace activists; to Salt Lake City, where 40-50 regularly gather and proudly proclaim their liberal identify -- there are loud, lively Liberals in this nation.

Bob, we're with you in calling upon our politicians to step up -- but in the meantime, don't despair: we're holding our heads high -- liberal, loud and proud.

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