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In Some Events the US Should Not Go for the Gold

As the Olympics begin in a country that is a leader
in silencing dissent and imprisoning citizens,
it would be a good time for the United States
to close Guantanamo and reform policing tactics.

In the world spotlight stands Russia,
a champion in spying on its own people,
while the US confronts its own NSA excesses
and could change course on domestic surveillance.

Putin’s nation is a winner’s circle for oligarchs,
but America competes with its growing inequality
-- though it would do better to not be a victor
in wealth stratification and economic injustice.

Americans may win our share of Olympic medals
but in authoritarianism and corporatocracy
let’s allow Russia to come in first —
there’s no need for America to go for the gold.

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The Polar Vortex of US Politics

While another deep freeze engulfs the country,
a deeper freeze permeates US diplomacy,
as critics cast a chill on negotiations with Iran
and create slippery conditions for Syria talks.

The weather shut down DC, but even if it hadn't,
the GOP has effectively shut down congress
closing down work on jobs, immigration, guns
through distractions, deceptions and detours.

As icy roads snarl traffic as bad as Christie could,
the President is caught in his own series of jams,
gummed up over revelations of NSA wrongdoing,
and road-raging to ram through a bad trade deal.

Americans know the current Polar Vortex will pass.
Yet the Washington Polar Vortex has no end in site.

Warm up your soul, raise up your voice, lift up a pint
to toast and talk, share and care, chat and cheers
at your local progressive social club.

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Washington Has Joined The Jersey Bridge-and-Tunnel Crowd

Chris Christie's not the only one with a bridge to sell you:
in Washington, some argue the NSA never went to far,
that Food Stamps promote a culture of dependency
and that we'll get better internet without net neutrality.

Christie's tactics may seem straight out of the Sopranos,
but it is Obama strong-arming an abusive trade treaty,
the House GOP gunning down unemployment relief
and a Florida man shooting a movie theater texter.

There is something rotten in the Garden State,
but also something poisonous in our nation's capital,
where a push for Iran sanctions outweigh calls for talks
and where a mediocre spending bill is called a victory.

Christie may be making national headlines,
turning bridges into jams and tunneling himself deeper,
but it seems that DC is now playing by Jersey rules
and all Washington has jointed the Bridge-and-Tunnel crowd.

Laugh at the absurdity or cry at the insanity --
with a drink in hand and good company at your side
at your local progressive social club.

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Did Hell Just Freeze Over?

As America shivered through a historic freeze,
Obama warmed up the discussion of poverty,
the Senate passed unemployment benefits
and debate shifted from austerity to inequality.

While record lows chilled much of the country,
there was a spark of hope on intelligence reform,
Affordable Care sign-ups heated up
and new allies called to let Snowden thaw out.

And in NJ, the GOP's most popular candidate
may have to put his 2016 plans on ice
as his national ambitions seem a bridge too far.

Politics has never been believably pretty,
but in the Garden State, Did Hell Just Freeze Over?
it's unbelievably petty.

Maybe the polar vortex caused hell to freeze over:
we're witnessing events we had never expected,
and a few conservatives stuck out in the cold.

Warm company, hot topics and cool beers
will turn a winter night into a winner night
at your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
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From Endured To Insured, Though Not Yet Assured

We survived a year of stalemate and shutdowns,
shouting matches, sideshows and sh*t-storms,
and somehow, despite setbacks and silliness,
millions of Americans begin the new year insured.

We made it through bogus budget battles,
callous compromises, cave-ins and calls for cuts,
to a new year that starts with new rhetoric:
a President, Pope & nation talking about inequality.

We stumbled through saber-rattling with Syria,
and slogged through Snowden's NSA surprises
to a January that finds us in fewer wars than a year before
and fresh force for reforms in our intelligence operations.

2013 was a year we endured.
Will 2014 see more Americans insured,
our privacy ensured and our safety net assured?
We can hope and work, but we can never be sure.

Show of up for a sure bet of socializing and sipping
as we share New Year's resolutions and revels
at your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Tonight - and every Thursday
7:30-9:30pm and beyond
Rudy's - 9th Ave btw 44th & 45th
Find DL signs and buttons
in the heated backyard or back booths.
Tonight's Hosts: BC Ashmall-Liversidge & Keith Stewart

2013: Slow Down, Showdown, Snowden and Snowed In

A year that began with a bold Inauguration
following a clear re-election and talk of mandate
was mired in revelations of government spying,
a stalled Washington agenda and a faulty website.

A year that started with the GOP
vowing to reform and rebrand after defeat
saw them kill gun control & immigration laws,
shut down the government and lose popularity.

A year unfolding in the wake of Sandy & Newtown
brought further disasters and more massacres,
Syria distractions, serial distortions & silly diversions
where stalemates were success & progress a pipe dream.

Congress moved as slow as Healthcare.gov,
instead of fiscal cliffs, we crashed into fiscal walls,
the NSA revelations made Big Government a reality
and legislators acted like obstructionism was a good thing.

Overall, it was a year of slowdowns and showdowns,
of Snowden, and feeling snowed in
by a blizzard of hypocrisy and self-interest.

That said, we also avoided an unnecessary war,
expanded affordable healthcare
and saw the spread of marriage equality.
So there's something to toast in the year gone by.

Come share your hopes for the year to come
with like-minded lefties and liberal libations
at your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
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Congress Brakes for Break, But Is Already Broken

A year after the Newtown massacre,
Congress still hasn't passed sensible gun laws.

A year after the GOP announced a change of heart,
Congress has done nothing on immigration reform.

A year after Hurricane Sandy's devastation
Congress has avoided any climate change debate.

Every day brings new NSA revelations,
but Congress grumbles and lets the spying continue.
The stagnant economy stresses American families
but Congress never considers the American Jobs Act.

Yet Congress is now proudly patting itself on the back
for an unimpressive budget deal that is only noteworthy
because it doesn't push us into a manufactured crisis
and gets our representatives home for their vacation,.

When Congress's marker of success is measured
by not causing a government shut-down
and getting to enjoy their winter break,
it's time to reconsider our expectations.

After a year of putting the brakes on progress,
these folks are looking forward to winter break
-- sadly, this Congress is already broken.

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The World Misses Mandela, While Some Miss The Point

As the world marks the passing of a historic figure,
a man who united through words and action,
some critics decided that the real story
is who the American President shook hands with.

As the world reflects on how apartheid ended,
how a nation sought to heal, the global community's role
and the lessons we could learn for today's challenges,
a few lash out at Newt Gingrich for words of sympathy.

As the world remembers an aging, beloved leader
who emerged from prison with a message of peace,
too many of us forget the real struggle that came before:
fierce, hard, at times violent and unapologetically radical.

Now - and onward - the world misses Nelson Mandela.
Let's not also miss the point of his life and his impact.

Gather together to give your friendship and get in return
as you share a night with liberals and libations
at your local progressive social club.

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