What Is Rankism and Why Do We “Do” It?

Cleaning Lady

Robert Fuller: you conclude that rankism is human nature — that we’re like the apes, and they do it, so we have no choice — and dismiss the possibility of overcoming it, consider this list of specific kinds of “put downs” that, not long ago, were deemed cool, but have become a sure way to embarrass yourself.

Gazillionaire Meg Whitman Goes Right for the Jugular

Joseph Palermo: he Republicans, who control the state’s finances through the “two-thirds rule,” tell us every day that in a $1.8 trillion economy we can’t do anything but cut, cut, cut because we simply “don’t have the money.” They tell us that a $19 billion budget deficit — about 1 percent of the state’s GDP — requires us to dismantle the higher education system, lay off teachers and social servants, close parks, and demolish public institutions that took a generation to build.

JFK’s “How To” Manual

obama and jfk

Joseph Palermo: Obama took so many daring chances during the 2008 presidential campaign but when it comes to governing it seems he has become risk averse. The Democrats’ slogan for 2010 should be: “If Ben Nelson Doesn’t Like It — We Won’t Do It!”

Democratic “Accomplishments” Not Nearly Enough

Democratic spine

Joseph Palermo: Unless the Congress moves some progressive legislation quickly there’s going to be trouble this fall because any political party that is stupid enough to allow a couple of shmucks like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, or the outcome of a special election in New England, to unravel its governing coalition doesn’t deserve to be in power.

End the Filibuster and Pass a Lot of Stuff

Joseph Palermo: The Democrats must pass a lot of legislation before the midterms or they’re going to be very sorry. Soon enough, given the Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, we’re going to see campaigns where our choice for U.S. Senator will be between the “Doritos Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips” candidate and the “Pepsi/Pizza Hut/KFC/Frito Lay/Taco Bell” candidate. Former President George W. Bush is raking in the bucks speaking at the National Grocers’ Association. First he defiled the presidency by getting John Yoo to turn the Justice Department into a law factory for monarchical presidential powers, now he shares the stage as an inspirational speaker with Terry Bradshaw. Our elections are about to become a satirical skit that Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report did a long time ago.

British Iraq Inquiry Ours Too

bush_blair

Joseph Palermo: What the United Kingdom is dealing with is the hangover of the crimes of George W. Bush, crimes that have been conveniently swept under the rug on this side of the pond. Blair was Bush’s poodle and now he finds himself in the hot seat defending the actions of his former master. Seeing a former Prime Minister grilled is a wonderful thing. We’d never see a U.S. president in a similar predicament because, ironically, the president is now more of a monarch than any executive in Britain.

Blue Shield Cares — About What?

Hairdresser

Wendy Block: My criticism of Blue Shield (substitute Blue Cross or Aetna or…) is that the medical experts who know and have treated me for many years, got disgusted and finally left. My HMO doc gives me normal prescriptions and orders routine lab tests. But often, normal isn’t enough.

Defiant Wall Street Welfare Kings Come to Washington

Lloyd Blankfein

Joseph Palermo: The Democrats ensconce themselves in huge amounts of Wall Street campaign money and in exchange they pursue the short-sighted prerogatives of a bunch of rich guys who have already been bailed out and have shown the world that they’re nothing but a gang of white-collar crooks.

A Lesson for Obama: President Kennedy’s Stand Against the Steel Industry

RFK JFK

Joseph Palermo: If the Democrats go into the 2010 midterm elections without passing concrete measures that move the pendulum back toward labor and away from corporate domination it will remind voters that the Democratic Party is still the party of Mondale, Dukakis, Gore-Lieberman, Carter, Clinton, and Kerry. These guys can ride in tanks, say they love guns and the death penalty, call for deregulating business and slashing welfare, or salute and say “reporting for duty” — but they’re still a bunch of hapless losers.

Far Worse Than a Big Zero

Santa-Banker

Joseph Palermo: We can call the 2000s the “Worse Than Zero” decade or the “Big Zero,” or anything we wish, but what characterized it most for me was the near total control of corporations, especially over our civic institutions. All of the terrible economic and governing ideas from the Reagan era crested and then crashed in the last eighteen months leaving something far less than “zero” in their wake.

The Oligarchy Wins Again!

CEO

Something, anything, has to be done at some point to show that the Obama Administration is not just the latest group of good people with good ideas that are absorbed into a system that makes Hamid Karzai look like a clean government activist. The corporate money so clogs the arteries of our body political the whole damn thing is sclerotic, choked off from the life-giving oxygen of democracy.

Obama Speaks (Some) Truth From Power

Peace-Prize

President Obama’s Nobel lecture might have showed us that the United States has reached a turning point: either the national security monster we’ve created is going to eat us alive by bankrupting the country or we’re going to have to shift course. We must begin to spin off the 700 or so military bases and installations around the world and focus on building a better life for our own people here at home.

Meg Whitman’s “Vision Thing”

Meg Whitman

Next year, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s circus will leave Sacramento. The cigar tents will be packed up and his menagerie of lobbyists and hangers-on will follow him out of town. And like a departing circus it will leave in its wake a barren field strewn with garbage and elephant shit. Whoever is the next Republican nominee for governor will have to at least promise to clean up some of this mess. The last thing the state needs is a Margaret Thatcher wannabe.

Half Measures and Lukewarm “Reform” Won’t Save the Middle Class

liberty

The 30-year class war the rich launched against the working people in this country (and reached its apogee during the George W. Bush years), has left the middle class reeling and wounded. Only bold federal action that puts something concrete in the palms of middle-class Americans can begin to turn these dire social conditions around.

How Ted Kennedy Countered Town Hall Goon Squads

ted_kennedy

Democratic politicians facing town hall disruptions should seek the help of their working-class supporters. Make sure large numbers of people from the local unions come to these events. Then we’ll see if the Tea Bagger thugs can continue their bullying tactics on behalf of corporations seeking to block progress on health care.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Knife Play

Schwarzenegger

Now we have a Republican governor in California who sees the state’s current budget catastrophe as nothing but a big joke. Why else would Arnold Schwarzenegger post a tasteless Twitter video where he wields a two-foot-long folding knife boasting about his budget-cutting prowess?

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Compassionless Conservatism

arnold1

Schwarzenegger doesn’t get the human costs of his actions. He seems to enjoy the attention he’s getting as well as playing on right-wing “populist” anger. He’s satisfying his Tea Bagger constituency by beating up on Californians who happen to be poor or work in the public sector.

Schwarzenegger and the Republicans Cost California $7 Billion

arnold

The California State Senate adjourned at midnight, unable to pass three stopgap bills that would have saved the state $7 billion. To appease Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Democratic leaders of the state legislature hastily drew up the three complicated bills to try to stave off fiscal collapse and the necessity to begin issuing IOUs. All [...]

Schwarzenegger’s Budget Battle II: Another Bad Sequel

arnold

Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared that the test of our nation was “not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger might be married to a Kennedy but his governing philosophy is pure George W. Bush [...]

California Democrats: “Spreading the Pain” from Sacramento

Karen Bass, Darryl Steinberg

When his term mercifully expires next year, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be leaving the Golden State in the worst condition than at any time its history. If Schwarzenegger and his right-wing Republican co-conspirators get their way (as they always seem to do), they’ll gut every social program and educational institution in the state in [...]

California Needs a New Constitution

sonoma

In his most recent piece in the New York Times Paul Krugman asks: “Who would have thought that America’s largest state, a state whose economy is larger than that of all but a few nations, could so easily become a banana republic?” Here in Sacramento I’ve watched the disaster unfold before my eyes like a [...]

Bibi Goes to Washington: How About a Nuclear Free Middle East?

bibi

Israel’s Likudnik Prime Minister, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, was one of the driving forces behind the neo-conservative foreign policy doctrine of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). PNAC called for a new “realm” in the Middle East forged through aggressive military action. Its successful prodding of the United States to invade and occupy Iraq [...]

Nancy Pelosi, Torture, and Bush’s Warmongering

pelosi_01

Rightwingers splayed across the corporate media, including Condi Rice and Dick Cheney, constantly remind us that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 members of the Bush administration were doing their darnedest to keep the nation safe. Bending the law a little to coerce information out of known terrorists must be seen in its context. They [...]

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