Living Liberally Blog

Living Liberally Blog

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!

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 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 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 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.

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.

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 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's for Patriotic Investors only.

The Winner of Evil

A Gaming Liberally Special by Justin Krebs

Several weeks ago, CREDO launched its Bracket of Evil, asking progressives to decide who was the Champion Evil-Doer.

It wasn't easy. AIG and Blackwater were a first-round match-up, as were Grover and Newt. Choosing between Rush and FOX wasn't simple.

But the votes have been tallied, the rounds are over, and the Champion of Evil is...

Karl Rove!

Now join CREDO and call for a special prosecutor to investigate him.

Americans & the Rest of the World Find Something in Common

When Bush went to Europe,
thousands protested in the street.
President Obama met thousands cheering.

When Bush met foreign leaders,
he surprised Merkel with a neck massage.
Obama massaged the tensions of the world,
and brought dignity to America.

When Bush went to Iraq,
a journalist threw his shoes...
On Obama's visit, the US troops
threw forward cel phones to snap photos.

After 8 years of distance, distaste & disrespect,
Americans now have common ground with the world:
we are all relieved at the end of George W. Bush.

Hey, it's a start.

Toast to a new world, & debate how we'll get there
while making a liberal point over a liberal pint
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

It Takes an Autocrat to Rule Big Auto

While the GOP was willing to let the Big Three fail,
they now wail, weep, worry, whimper & whine
that the President's taking too hard a line on the industry.

Despite coddling contractors cronies & business buddies
the Right now frets government is intervening in the market
as Obama insists auto-makers get off auto-pilot.

Now that the President of the USA has urged aside
the failed president of a floundering company,
the conservatives concern is he'll hold Wall Street
& other flopping Fortune 500s to the same standard.

President Obama may have a heavy-hand in this case,
but it may take an Autocrat to rule Big Auto.

And after years of the car driving our country,
it's about time our country takes the driver seat.

We can only hope the banks will be next.

Come toast, roast & debate the most
as you share a drink & a think with like-minded lefties
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

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.

The "Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous" Tour of AIG Executive Homes

Drinking Liberally Shot of Truth

We wrote earlier this month about how the Working Families Party is doing some of the best work out there in creating an accessible narrative for progressives in the economic crisis, the most recent example being their use of Monty Burns in fighting for Fair Share Tax Reform. Well, in the aftermath of the AIG bonuses debacle, the WFP in Connecticut is doing some wonderful narrative-building of their own - drawing attention for their "Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous" tour of AIG Financial Products Division executive homes - a story in today's New York Times, after some perfunctory "it's so hard to be an Executive when people are angry at you" tearjerking, highlights the effort:

The Connecticut Working Families party, which has support from organized labor, is planning a bus tour of A.I.G. executives’ homes on Saturday, with a stop at the company’s Wilton office.

“We’re going to be peaceful and lawful in everything we do,” said Jon Green, the director of Connecticut Working Families. “I know there’s a lot of anger and a lot of rage about what’s happened. We’re not looking to foment that unnecessarily, but what we want to do is give folks in Bridgeport and Hartford and other parts of Connecticut who are struggling and losing their homes and their jobs and their health insurance an opportunity to see what kinds of lifestyle billions of dollars in credit-default swaps can buy.”

What the article doesn't mention is the letter that Connecticut progressives will be handing to AIG CEOs. If you're in the Hartford area (or know someone who is), here's the information for those of you interested in taking some time out of your day tomorrow to let them know how you feel - and if not, you might want to make sure to add your signature to the letter.