Home » karlin

Progressives – a force for good or self?

Nice post from Mark Karlin over at Buzzflash:

We hope that the Blanche Lincoln and Jane Harmon primary victories against two progressive challengers don’t open another round of finger pointing and bitter recriminations among progressives.  There is too much at stake.

When I started BuzzFlash in May of 2000, before Bush was put in the White House by the Supreme Court, progressives and Democrats in general were looking for a voice to call out the Republicans for what they are: Bullies, Liars, Hypocrites and full of Gluttonous Greed.  BuzzFlash to hundreds of thousands became that voice for several years until blogs emerged and became thousands of individual voices.  The Internet became the vehicle for exposing and challenging the dishonest and thuggish theocratic oligarchy of the GOP, as the corporate mainstream media gobbled down Republican talking points and regurgitated them in stories as the “truth.”  The Internet was — for many years — the sole counterpoint to a “frame,” as George Lakoff labels it, that the GOP successfully uses to control the debate on public policy issues and skewer that discussion to the hard right.

But with the emergence of an Obama Administration that is filled with Centrists and that has leaned heavily toward corporatist governance, progressives and Democrats have split into two camps: those who are critical of Obama’s frequent siding with the status quo and those who argue that he can’t do anymore because of the booby traps he inherited from Reagan, Bush I and Bush II administrations.  But remember this: there is nothing that the entrenched elite and the Republicans want more than progressives to be engaged in a shooting war at each other.

BuzzFlash has not been immune from this fray, that we admit.  But we do believe that progressives need to look beyond the politics to our goal of seeing government and Americans working on behalf of the common good — and to our long-held objective of healing the planet.  Achieving these goals involve more than electing individuals; they involve building movements.  We are awash in a sea of easy Internet “action,” when we need to realize that most great advances in the U.S. — Civil Rights, the Vote for Women, Labor improvements — have come as the result of movements that preceded legislative remedies.

Movements require shoe leather, organization and loud voices, not e-mail petitions that are quickly deleted if they ever even arrive in a Congressional or Senate Offices.  Movements require sweat equity, courage, perseverance, self-sacrifice and determination.  Movements can change the world; E-mails to Congress won’t.

Progressives need to rally behind what unites us, instead of getting caught again and again in the dashed hopes of supporting individual candidates who — for the most part — inevitably become a part of the Washington elite status quo of a revolving door between government and corporations.  We must become the change by making Washington and local elected officials respond to the force of movements that cannot be denied.  Lyndon Johnson would have never championed Civil Rights if there had not been years of movement activity and charismatic non-politician leadership behind the cause of equal rights.

Recently, Rabbi Brant Rosen, of the Jewish Reconstructionist Synagogue in Evanston, Illinois, wrote in an E-mail: “For me, the notion of ‘joy as service’ is fundamentally different from the kind of joy that is simply rooted in the self – ‘joy as narcissism,’ if you will. As Leo Tolstoy once wisely observed, ‘Joy can only be real if people look on their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.'”

That is the challenge that we face as progressives, to achieve through movement activity a “joy” that “can only be real if people look on their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves.”

This must become our beacon, our guiding light; we must rise above the notion that politicians will implement what is necessary to advance our democracy on an equitable and environmental basis without being forced to do so.

We must become the force that powered movements and social advances in the past.  Legislation will follow only if we put our convictions into action and force elected officials to do the right thing.

Otherwise, big money will pull the strings, and we will be left bickering among ourselves on the Internet and shouting curses at FOX television in the comfort of our homes.


By |2010-06-10T12:34:45-04:00June 10th, 2010|Party Politics|Comments Off on Progressives – a force for good or self?

Was Joe Wilson's outburst planned?

wilson and bushAlthough Congressman Joe Wilson apologized, he then went on multiple talkshows and really rescinded his apology. He meant what he said. So, did he actually plan this outburst? Mark Karlin, from Buzz flash.com, has a few thoughts:

Despite his impassioned and compassionate speech of Wednesday night, Barack Obama needs to understand that Joe Wilson is the disease for which democracy does not have insurance to cure.

Let me start with this fairly assured speculation: Wilson’s outburst was designed by the GOP corporate PR fronts to distract media coverage following Obama’s cogent and compelling remarks to Congress.

In the summer of our healthcare reform discontent, Wilson’s unprecedented assault on the dignity of the American presidency was part of a long-line of PR stunts to create chaos out of the effort to insure the health of most Americans: the Teabaggers, the Birthers, the Town Hall Mobs, the anti-President “Know Nothing” Parents pulling their kids from school the day before Obama’s speech, and then the shocking outburst of Joe Wilson, which he apparently shouted twice.

Never mind that Strom Thurmond’s ex-aide was actually the liar, the evolution of politics into spectacle allowed the likely planned inflammatory outburst to dominate at least the following three news cycles, instead of the substance and soaring appeal of President Obama to pass legislation to benefit the national community.

Wilson is the prototypical Neo-Confederate, Glenn Beck, racist, psychotic Republican.  He supports waving the Confederate flag. He makes Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy, look like a moderate, and is known for making slanderous statements about the “patriotism” of others and upholding the racist legacy of Strom Thurmond, his mentor.

So Wilson was the perfect guy to distract the media by committing the unprecedented act of disrupting a Presidential speech by calling the President of the United States a liar.  In the Bush Administration, if a Democrat had done that he would have been expelled from Congress.  But Wilson just issued a non-apology apology and then went on television the next day to repeat the lie about the healthcare reform bill, and the media let him get away with prevaricating about his accusation.

The Republicans are brilliant at manipulating the lapdog, sensational, spectacle oriented media, and they did it again. (more…)

By |2009-09-11T11:36:11-04:00September 11th, 2009|Media, Obama administration, Party Politics|Comments Off on Was Joe Wilson's outburst planned?

What is Scalia doing?

For years, the Right has been very clever at coming up with novel ways to argue their point of view  Here’s another. Mark Karlin from Buzzflash has the story. Scotus also has the lowdown.

Antonin Scalia is guilty of initiating the theft of the 2000 election from Al Gore through a stay he issued forcing the stop of the State Court ordered recount in Florida, and his subsequent coordination a 5-4 majority to annoint George W. Bush as President.

But as of just yesterday, August 17th, he also added state sanctioned murder to his list of crimes.

Scalia was one of just two written dissenters (along with his puppet, Clarence Thomas), who ferociously challenged the notion that the Supreme Court should ensure that an innocent man not be put to death.  That’s right, Scalia — in common sense terms and not the legal mumble jumble that he dazzles the likes of Harry Reid with (BuzzFlash once wrote an editorial about how Harry Reid thought Scalia so brilliant he might consider voting for him for Chief Justice at the time — such is the sad mindset of our Democratic Majority Leader) — asserts that there is nothing in the Constitution that prevents an innocent person from being executed.

No, we are not making this up. Scalia — although he uses arcane justifications of state vs. federal jurisdiction and that tidy trials shouldn’t be challenged — argues that the governmental legal system is not prohibited by the federal Constitution from killing the wrong person, in the name of — excuse me while I throw up a little in my mouth — “justice.” (more…)

By |2009-08-18T10:43:52-04:00August 18th, 2009|Civil Liberty, Supreme court|Comments Off on What is Scalia doing?
Go to Top