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Failures Of Unrestrained Capitalism Fueling Sanders Campaign

Farron Cousins makes the case that Bernie’s popularity with young people is because they’ve seen the worst of unrestrained American capitalism.


Misogyny And Hillary-Hate, The GOP’s Best Weapons

hillary hateI agree with this author’s premise that some, not all,  on the political left as well as on the right, hate Hillary Clinton because of underlying misogyny. Many (on the right) hate President Obama because of underlying racism.   Electing our first African-American president revealed the underlying racism that still exists in our country.  If we elect the first female president, our culture’s underlying misogyny will be exposed.  The entire article while long, is worth the time at, “Where The World Thinks Out Loud.” 

Disclaimer: I am caucusing for Hillary Clinton because I believe that electing the first female Democratic, progressive feminist president would create another kind of political revolution that could change politics and change the world. I believe that those on the progressive left who join in the villification of Hillary, are wrong about what she would be like as president.

Hating Hillary: The One Thing Left and Right Men Can Agree On

by Sady Doyle

“Oh, God, I started thinking. They’re going to do it to her again.

“It” is Hillary-hate. It is the tendency for people to decide, at regular intervals, that Hillary Clinton is not a mainstream Democrat who’s carved out a groundbreaking career in politics, but a blood-drenched, boner-killing, venom-dripping hellbeast who is out to destroy America.

Conservatives launched The Hillary Project to stop her candidacy back in 2013 [check out the lovely slap-Hillary video below] . (“Hillary Clinton—the name alone strikes dread in the heart of freedom loving Americans.”) And it is often, and unacceptably, embraced by otherwise progressive men, who loudly proclaim to anyone who will listen that they Just Don’t Like Her.

You know Hillary-hate. You’ve seen it before: It’s Tucker Carlson proclaiming that “when she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs.” It’s Chris Matthews scolding Clinton, when she criticized Bush’s homeland security spending in 2005, by saying that “you look more witchy when you’re doing it like this.” It is sainted progressive icon Jon Stewart getting huge laughs, off a shot of Clinton smiling politely, with the line “that look is where boners go to die.”

Hillary-hate is Nation contributing editor Doug Henwood, greeting Clinton’s candidacy, this time around, with a book cover in which she is portrayed as a murderer aiming a gun at either (a) you, the reader, (b) the Democratic party, or quite possibly (c) Democracy itself.

I do not object to Hillary-hate because I always agree with Clinton, or because I am committed to unthinking defense of her every word and move. I even acknowledge that there are valid reasons to dislike her… What I oppose is Hillary-hate. I oppose misogyny. And I do it because I know, as sure as I know anything, that what men say about Hillary is what they’ll say about other women, what they’ll say about me..

Clinton has a feminist record. In fact, it’s been the primary source of much hate against her, starting in 1992, when Pat Buchanan riled the fears of the Republican base at the RNC by pointing to her agenda of “radical feminism.”

She is a strong defender of reproductive health care: Planned Parenthood hailed the announcement of Clinton’s candidacy, in a press release proclaiming that “there has not been a candidate for president with a stronger commitment to women or a clearer record on behalf of women’s health and rights,” and she has been the first candidate to bring up the attempts to de-fund Planned Parenthood in both Democratic debates. She has consistently and uniquely centered the role of women and girls in foreign policy, beginning with her historic 1995 speech in Beijing — “human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights” — and continuing throughout her time as Secretary of State.

She has worked to frame gun control and police violence as women’s issues; she is the only candidate so far to make the domestic violence crisis part of her platform, advocating to close loopholes that allow domestic abusers and convicted stalkers to obtain guns. And on the topic of violence against women  — she has been actively campaigning to address transgender rights and needs, including what she has called “the crisis of transphobic violence.”

(I like Sanders’ record on certain feminist issues, but for all his strengths, he seemingly subscribes to the old-school lefty theory that class is the determining factor in all oppressions — an approach that tends to invariably marginalize issues of identity as “less important,” and which much feminism, including socialist feminism, has been built around refuting.)

The current Hillary-hate is an overture: A fraction of the sheer tonnage of misogyny and dishonesty that’s going to come if and when she wins the nomination. Hillary Clinton has already been the subject of over $1.8 million worth of attacks from PACs — more than any other candidate.

Republicans know she can win, and they know that Hillary-hate is their best, possibly only weapon.


Sunday Morning Pictures

Some graphic thoughts on a holiday weekend:

tired of paying salaries

fugelsang republicans love government

good guy with a rock

Goring on controlling the people

broken media

Sanders we must make this stop

Sunday Funday: It’s Holidays Time Edition

happy holidays lights

We suspend the usual format of timely news questions this week as your kindly old quizmaster is suspended in holiday frivolity. But if you haven’t noticed Americans have a lot of partying to do between last Thursday and sometime in early January when the holiday season slowly winds to a halt. At that time most Americans will notice that it is winter and national month of depression begins. So here is my feeble attempt to mix in some lore and some reality in a quiz about holidays that seem to happen nearly every day in December. Enjoy!

1) Let’s start with a little Thanksgiving trivia. The other night I was listening to an old time radio show where the story line was that there would be 2 Thanksgivings that year. What year was that?

2) The first Thanksgiving Day Parade was held by what store in what city?

3) Football and Thanksgiving go back a long ways. Any idea when the first Thanksgiving day football game was played? hint: think early college days.

4) Sara Josepha Hale was a magazine editor who pushed Abraham Lincoln hard to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. What nursery rhyme is Ms. Hale also credited with authoring?

5) What beverage sustained the Pilgrims on their voyage to America?

6) Now to some coming holidays. Next Saturday is the first of the Christmas related holidays. Dec. 6 is the feast of what saint in the Catholic calendar?

7) Partying, overeating and gift giving were hallmarks of what Roman holiday that occurred at the beginning of winter?

8) Dec. 8 is another big holiday in the Catholic Church. It is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Whose immaculate conception?

9) Advent begins 4 Sundays prior to Christmas. Advent is a word derived from Latin and means what?

10) Oddly, the sun begins setting later in the day around Dec. 13th. This makes the 13th a great day to celebrate what saint associated with light in the dark of winter?

11) Many religions have holidays in December. Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day. This is the day that Siddhartha Gautama experienced what?

12) Many religions and societies in the northern hemisphere celebrate what holiday associated with the darkness either on or near the solstice?

13) The solstice is celebrated 2 times a year at the beginnings of what seasons?

14) The word solstice is of latin derivation and means what?

15) What ancient Nordic pagan feast lasted about 12 days from what is now late December to early January? Coincides roughly with the 12 days of Christmas.

16) A secular holiday in British commonwealth countries, what day after Christmas holiday is the day when service workers receive gifts?

17) “Good King Wenceslaus looked out on the Feast of Stephen” goes the old carol. The feast of Stephen is what day in December?

18) Some atheists and skeptics celebrate a holiday on December 25th named after the what 17th physicist who wrote “Principia Mathematica”?

19) Over in China and eastern Asia Dongzhi is celebrated. As with many holidays this time of year, it celebrates what?

20) Dies Natalis Solis Invicti is an ancient Roman holiday that celebrates the “return of the unconquered” what? (hint: translate solis)

21) one extra today: the 12 days of Christmas spans the time between what two holidays?

Thanks for letting me take a day off – my family appreciates it.


1) 1939 – Retailers wanted the 4th Thursday to be Tday to extend the buying season. Tradition then was the last Thursday of November , hence Nov. 30 that year. FDR declared the 23rd while many traditionalist celebrated on the 30th. Congress rectified this a couple years later.

2) Gimbel’s in Philly in 1920. Macy’s followed suit in 1924

3) 1869. Tday became a holiday in 1863. College football started shortly thereafter and the two were married quite early on

4) “Mary had a little lamb”

5) beer. Remember back the fermentation was the only way to get clean drinks

6) St. Nicholas

7) Saturnalia

8) Jesus mother Mary – born without original sin according to the Catholic church.

9) to come

10) Lucia (Lucy). Lucia is derived from latin for light (Santa Lucia in Italian). Mostly celebrated in Scandinavia

11) enlightenment

12) longest night usually on the 20th

13) summer and winter

14) sun stands still

15) Yule (Jul)

16) boxing day

17) 26th

18) Isaac Newton the feast is ‘Newtonmas’ – Newton was born (old calendar) Dec. 25, 1643

19) the return of the sun and the new flow of energy

20) sun

21) Christmas (Dec. 25) to the Epiphany (Jan. 6)

Dec. 6th – the feast of St. Nicholas – is also known as ‘little Christmas’ in some European countries. Good enough reason to celebrate I’d say.

Getting Much Hotter Still

October A map of temperature anomalies during October. Red shows the biggest deviation from the standard (temperatures recorded between 1951 and 1980). NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

A map of temperature anomalies during October. Red shows the biggest deviation from the standard (temperatures recorded between 1951 and 1980).
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

October was by far the hottest October on record. This follows a September that was the hottest on record by far. Without a doubt this is a bad trend.

Those who deny that climate change is happening are simply either total fools or their income depends on denying climate change. Sadly there are enough people in high position in our government whose income depends on climate change denial that they can totally stop any real action to stop let alone reverse climate change and its effects.

The effects of climate change will be devastating. They also appear to be coming sooner than scientists had anticipated. The Pentagon issued yet another warning a year ago that climate change will be a major security risk as it forces mass disruptions across the world.

The United States has already seen early effects of climate change on its agricultural industry. Two of our largest agricultural state, California and Texas have both endured devastating droughts with Texas having follow up flooding. Predictions have California expecting flooding rains with the onset of the strongest El Nino ever.

It is only the political will that stops us from addressing climate change. With the horrific effects that climate change portends, finding and electing candidates who will work to end climate change should be a priority.

Plus there is the unwritten benefit of tons of jobs that will be created as we end our dependence on fossil fuels and go to climate friendly solutions.

Random Thoughts At Thanksgiving

Reigning turkey of the year

Reigning turkey of the year

Letting the old mind idle for the holiday:

Terry Branstad panders once again
Let’s face it Iowans, this guy is a far right winger; he just sounds better than most when he does things like this: After joining in the hate and fear crowd last week, Branstad Monday said maybe he’d let some Syrian refugees into Iowa if that gawd awful US House SAFE Act became law knowing full well it never will. See, Branstad once again sounds almost rational tying his pretense at being rational to something that he know will never happen. Refugees from previous disasters should be giving thanks that today’s Republicans weren’t in charge when their families were in need of help.

Grassley is about the ultimate in partisan politics
Good Old Chuck (and I do mean old) is doing everything he can to stop our government from functioning by stalling any appointments to both the State Department and the federal judiciary. That is in using his capacity as as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee for politics to keep Hillary Clinton from being president. Who can forget his role in the Affordable Care Act where he fought hard to keep poor Americans from getting health care. Republicans love their phrase “run the government like a business.” If you were a share holder in a business where a group of vice presidents is working hard to undermine the business and set it up for a hostile takeover rather than making the business healthy, what would you do? As a citizen, you are the Board of Directors for the government. Will you vote to retain a vice-president (Senator) who at every turn tries to undermine the operation and cause the business of the people to be done?

Racism: Trump forges back to the 50s?
America’s original sin is slavery. The enslavement of people of color needed justification by proving that the enslaved were not human in any aspect. This is the basis of racism. Legally, enslavement ended following the Civil War and the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. In reality enslavement through racism has been a part of the American social structure since the Civil War. America was making some strides to combat racism, but the election of a black president and the campaign to delegitimize him as a “real” president once again unleashed the worst demons of racism.

Now Donald Trump’s campaign seems to be capitalizing on racism’s re-emergence as he demagogues, and violent incidents against minorities are linked to his campaign. Over the weekend a person from Black Lives Matter was assaulted as Trump railed against Muslims. Another in a growing list of incidents that follow the Trump campaign.

Somehow, Trump leads and has led Iowa polls from the start. Says buckets full about today’s Iowa Republican Party.

Is it a conspiracy to make Rubio look good?
Trump’s racist demogoguery, Carson’s goofiness, Fiorina’s lies, Bush’s total incompetence, Cruz’s extremism, Kasich’s blandness – are the Republican candidates each in their own way trying to look so bad that eventually the only one that looks rational by comparison will be Marco Rubio? Is it some kind of a conspiracy to make a really bad candidate in Rubio look good because he isn’t as totally obnoxious as the others? The corporate media then can build a myth around Rubio not being nuts and therefore presidential material. This very low standard for a presidential candidate that is Republican will still get that candidate 45% minimum of the vote in 2016.

Charlie Pierce: The Family Leader picks a candidate
Charlie Pierce should be required reading. For everyone. Last week he attended the public portion of the right wing religious group that seems to think it is God’s political representative in Iowa. Republican candidate of course since as we all know Democrats all worship Satan. Here is an excerpt:

There was unction in the extreme, and no little sanctimony, and the now very familiar recitation of the dystopian landscape created by eight years of the Obama Administration and of the nearly unstoppable acceleration of the handbasket taking the country to hell. The Savior was summoned on a number of occasions, not all of them relevant to his gospel mission on Earth. But the real meat on the Thanksgiving table got served up when Luntz wrenched the discussion away from sacred platitudes and into the realm of national security and foreign affairs. The clouds of incense were dispersed. The preacher masks all dropped. To a person, the seven Republican candidates came right up to the edge of accusing the president of the United States of treason and of being in sympathy with the murderers in France and in Mali. Right up to the edge, they all walked. Then they winked and took baby steps back, but everybody in the hall, all of the good Christians who’d come out in the snow, got the message.

They all signed onto the conservative talking point with the dumbest ass of all–that the president refuses to say the magic words, “radical Islamic extremism.” (All of them were unanimous that “political correctness” was now not merely a nuisance, but a clear and present danger to national security.) Asked if Secretary of State John Kerry should resign over remarks he had made the other day comparing the attacks in Paris to the murders at Charlie Hebdo, Mike Huckabee replied, “I’d like Barack Obama to resign if he’s not going to protect Americans, but rather respect Islam.” Carson called the president an “armchair quarterback who is interfering tremendously” with the military in its efforts to roll back Daesh. After warning us of the rising Islamic caliphate, Santorum said, “We have a president who won’t even call ISIS ‘Islamic.’ Nor will he even identify them as a state. This is delusional, and it’s costing lives.”

This is gamey, awful stuff, reminiscent of the charges back in the 1950s that Dwight Eisenhower was a Communist dupe. But this kind of thing is thoroughly mainstreamed now, so much so that they don’t even have to say it outright any more. It’s been a long time since it was considered cricket to discuss a sitting president in terms like this in a political campaign but, as has been the case since 2009, the usual rules do not apply to this president, and this campaign is nowhere near as ugly as it’s going to get. It changed over the last two weeks, and all of the well-dressed friends of Jesus at the Thanksgiving table there on stage have declared themselves along for the whole damn ride.

My thought for this week.
I would echo what Bernie Sanders called for many months ago. Early debates should not be separated by parties. All candidates should be put on a stage together so we could see early on the differences between the parties and the issues. Right now the stench coming from the Republican Party as it reaches out for the most extreme voters and the richest billionaires is overwhelming.

Opting Out Of Black Friday

jim hightowerOur household has been an REI member for years. Our idea of a good time is a road trip to Madison to visit the huge, amazing REI store where they have everything you could possibly need for any outdoor adventure. Bikes, canoes, skis, tents, gear, clothing, even outdoor accessories for your dog. Iowa now has an REI store that recently opened in Des Moines. Check it out. But not today!

Stop Shopping, Start Living

REI is doing its part to preserve the spirit of Thanksgiving.

By Jim Hightower

“Enough!” says REI.

REI, the national purveyor of outdoor gear and sporting goods, says it will no longer participate in the shopping spectacle known as “Black Friday.” This ritual of non-stop door-buster sales now overwhelms Thanksgiving.

The national retail co-op with 143 stores and $2.2 billion a year in sales is raising the ethical bar by boycotting Black Friday. Instead of shopping on the Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving weekend, REI is urging its workers and customers to break out — literally.

Take a walk with family and friends, enjoy a bike ride, visit a public park, and otherwise get outside the soul-suffocating syndrome of constant consumerism.

What a concept: Don’t shop — live. Connect with people, nature, the spirits…and yourself. For more information, go to REI’s special website:

This holiday is meant to be a calm, family-oriented time to get away from all the hubbub of life and reflect on our blessings. Yet in recent years, such national chains as Macy’s and Wal-Mart have led a corporate assault on Thanksgiving with a buy-buy-buy blitz of consumer come-ons.

“Rush to the mall,” shout the barrage of Black Friday ads — enticing us to reduce our values to shallow monetary value — i.e., discounted stuff. They’ve turned this contemplative day of thanks into a weekend of worshipping mammon.

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also the editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, and a member of the Public Citizen board.

Top 5 Thanksgiving Dinner Debate Tips

starbucks cupTimely advice from our friends at ProgressIowa

If you’re like me, you’ve got a lot of Thanksgiving food, family fun, and a heaping helping of face time with your conservative relatives.

Are you the only progressive voice at the dinner table? Will you be cornered by a conservative Uncle who wants to spit out the latest talking points from Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh?

Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. From Donald Trump to Starbucks cups, we’ll arm you with the information you need to stand your ground. And if you need additional guidance, send us a message to our email hotline: Progress Iowa will be ready to assist however we can!

Once you’ve read our guide, click here to check it out online and share with your friends and family!

Thank you, good luck, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Matt Sinovic
Progress Iowa

On the Issues: How to Debate Your Conservative Uncle this Thanksgiving!


Conservative Uncle Says: “After what happened in Paris, we can’t afford to let any of the Syrian refugees into our country.”

You Say: The U.S. has highly effective and very rigorous procedures to check the background of each refugee. Unlike in Europe, it’s incredibly difficult for refugees from Syria to walk up to American soil. We have time to investigate, and we investigate very well, with the process lasting up to two years for each refugee. In addition, not one of the attackers in Paris has been identified as a Syrian refugee. Finally, it’s the right thing to do. More than two thirds of the refugees are women and children, and our country is built on the hard work of immigrants and people who came here in search of a better life.

[Sources: TIME outlines the vetting process for refugees; Mashable shows that not one of the Paris attackers has been identified as a Syrian refugee]


Conservative Uncle Says: “Why are Hillary and Bernie talking about unfair pay for women, is that even real? Some women choose different jobs than men, it’s natural some of them pay less.”

You Say: The gap in pay between women and men is all too real. Women make just 78 cents for every dollar a man makes, and it’s even worse for African American women (65 cents) and Latinas (54 cents). Women are paid less despite their profession. Just two examples are women physicians and surgeons, who make just 62% of what their male counterparts make, and financial managers, a profession where women make just 67% of a male’s salary. If nothing is done to solve this crisis, women will not receive equal pay until the year 2058.

[Sources: Status of Women in the States, detailing the wage gap; Center for American Progress, showing wage gap by occupation]


Conservative Uncle Says: “It shouldn’t be Black Lives Matter, we should say All Lives Matter!”

You Say: Black lives have been disproportionately marginalized in this country, from discriminatory laws, income inequality, and a biased criminal justice system. Using the phrase Black Lives Matter calls out the barriers to opportunity and justice Black Americans face every day. Think of it as saying “Black Lives Matter, too,” which unfortunately is a statement that needs to be made. In addition, many black adults grew up living with racist housing policies. Black people have the right to vote, but new restrictions are trying to make it harder to vote. And every day, black people continue to face a criminal justice system that treats them harsher than everyone else.

[Sources: The Atlantic discusses racist housing policies; Huffington Post covers voting restrictions; Vox details racism in the criminal justice system]


Conservative Uncle Says: “At least he has the guts to tell the truth, you always know where he stands.”

You Say: No, not at all. Donald Trump lies, and he lies a lot. He has lied about immigrants, that Arabs cheered in New Jersey on 9/11, the race of victims of murder, and on and on. As for where he stands? Trump has flipped and flopped on issues such as Syrian refugees, taxes, and whether or not to cut military spending.

[Sources: Mother Jones for 26 of Trump’s lies; Washington Post for 6 of Trump’s flip flops]


Conservative Uncle Says: “Why did Starbucks take Christmas off their cups? Isn’t this just political correctness gone wild?”

You Say: You’re joking, right? This is a completely made up controversy. Don’t you have anything better to get upset about? (If that doesn’t work, click here to show him this list of Christmas-themed products offered by Starbucks, proving that a red cup is simply a red cup).

Are Iowa Republicans Blum And King Koch Brothers Employees?

AlecThey might as well be. They are apparently working for the Kochs’ agenda, not for Iowans.  Here is a message from the Iowa Democratic Party:

Rod Blum Receives Award from Koch Brothers-Backed Group Pushing to Dismantle Medicare and Social Security

No surprise: Blum Voted to Gut Medicare and Social Security for Iowa Seniors Earlier this Year

DES MOINES – The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported this weekend that the 60 Plus Association, a Koch Brothers-funded group that advocates for turning Medicare into a voucher program and privatizing Social Security, [profitizing] awarded Rod Blum with the misleadingly titled “Guardian of Seniors Rights Award.”

In response, IDP Press Secretary Josh Levitt issued the following statement:

“Given that Rod Blum voted this year to dismantle Medicare and Social Security, it’s no surprise that he was given an award from the 60 Plus Association – a Koch Brothers-backed organization that shills for the destruction of Medicare and Social Security as we know it. With friends like these, Blum might be packing up his office before the award even makes it on his wall.”

Rod Blum has received a 100% voter score from the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity this year.

Contact: Josh Levitt

Fear, Paranoia, Immigration And Christian Values

do not feed the fearsI am saddened by so many aspects of the responses to the Paris attacks. My heart aches for the dead, and their grieving loved ones. All violence should be condemned.

I worry for the Muslims in my personal circles. Orphaned survivors of the Bosnian conflicts in the ’90’s, adopted by a friend, and now healthy, well-educated, productive, compassionate members of our society. The tour bus driver on my recent trip to the Holy Land, who spent 2 weeks shepherding our group around the West Bank, explaining with a love and knowledge of history, that any history professor would be proud of, so many details about his land and culture that we never hear about back here. The Muslim family that hosted friends and I on our visit to Kashmir State, India, with a gracious hospitality that most Americans no longer see in action.  I wonder about the backlash against the American Muslims working in our political system, like Des Moines’ Ako Abdul-Samad and Minnesota’s Keith Ellison.

I am disappointed with arguments about assimilation. My Dutch ancestors used Dutch in their churches and neighborhoods for two generations after arriving here. So did the Scandinavian emigrants who landed in Iowa in the 1800’s. First generation immigrants don’t assimilate, and 3rd generation always do. Communities with constant additions of new first generation immigrants may seem unassimilated, but individuals are always moving in that direction.

What values do they not share with Americans? They are family oriented people.

Islam has always valued education, and much of our knowledge base is a result of Muslim scholarship

For me, the response to these immigrants tears at the heart of the definition of “Christian. ”

I see parallels in this to the Good Samaritan parable. Would Jesus want us to exclude Syrians from the definition of neighbor? Is personal safety a better excuse than the ones offered by the priest and Levite for ignoring urgent needs? Where do we find encouragement from Jesus to value personal safety, national borders, rigid adherence to laws and tradition above being Christ to those in need?

Addressing the “safety” issue needs perspective. After all of the rush to blame refugees and Syrians for our troubles, it turns out that the Paris attackers were neither.

We already have a very strong process for screening immigrants. This call for strengthening that process is not only blatant pandering to fear, but an insult to our hardworking, dedicated employees in the immigration department. Another way to to undermine government through false calls of failure.

Why do we fuss about the sincerely small chance of danger from refugees and immigrants while ignoring all of the damage we do to ourselves? The focus moves so very quickly from a reasoned accounting of facts to an abstract desire for cultural homogeneity, a desire that desecrates our history as a nation of immigrants. E Pluribus Unum. The founders’ motto. Out of many, one. There was no expectation of homogeneity right from our start.

We are not entitled to a perfectly safe world. Never has, never will exist.