Friday, December 24, 2004

Put the X back in Xmas

Did it ever occur to anyone that it's called "politically correct" because it is correct?
Now we have the next wedge issue -- the alleged recent public disappearance of the politically incorrect religious greeting of "Merry Christmas". Will this win as many votes in the red states as the vital issues of gay marriage and the mention of God in the Pledge of Allegiance, oh, and non-existent flag burnings, and Willie Horton? Wedge issues are insidious, because if you ignore them as insignificant (which, of course, they are), they do their damage like they did in 2004, under the radar, and if you confront them directly you're a Christ-hating Bible-and- Flag-burning liberal. But you know what, I'm almost 50 years old, I was raised a Lutheran and I have a son going to a Catholic school and I HAVE NEVER HEARD THE WORDS "Merry Christmas" SAID TO STRANGERS IN STORES and I would never say "Merry Christmas" to someone if I were unsure of his or her religion. Maybe it's because I've always lived in the vicinity of a major city (NY, Philadelphia & LA) and I've always known people of other religions (or no religion), but it is simply RUDE to use the words "Merry Christmas" indiscriminately in a multi-cultural society, which, proudly and luckily, the United States of America has been, and will continue to be despite the current theocrats occupying the District of Columbia. Maybe in some rural red states where a shared Christianity is taken for granted, "Merry Christmas" has been the norm (as in that AWFUL movie, "Christmas with the Kranks"), but where I'm from, it's been incorrect for decades.

On the other hand, I'll be happy to wish you all Season's Greetings, and a very Happy New Year,
True Blue Liberal

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

"Not One Damn Dime Day" - - - 20 January 2005

  • I've received the following appeal for a general consumer strike on inauguration day in more than one e-mail. I don't know who started it, but I'm happy to pass it along.... remember, buy NOTHING, not even from "blue" merchants . . . . not even a True Blue Liberal t-shirt . . . . on Bush's second coronation day. Let the conspicuous consumption of the celebrating conservatives in DC stand out in contrast to our nationwide protest!
Since our religious leaders will not speak out against the war in Iraq, since our political leaders don't have the moral courage to oppose it, Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20th, 2005 is "Not One Damn Dime Day" in America.

"Not One Damn Dime Day" those who oppose what is happening in our name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms of consumer spending.

"Not One Damn Dime Day" please don't spend money. Not one damn dime for gasoline. Not one damn dime for necessities or for impulse purchases. Not one damn dime for anything for 24 hours.

"Not One Damn Dime Day," please boycott Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target... Please don't go to the mall or the local convenience store. Please don't buy any fast food (or any groceries at all for that matter). For 24 hours, please do what you can to shut the retail economy down.

The object is simple. Remind the people in power that the war in Iraq is immoral and illegal; that they are responsible for starting it and that it is their responsibility to stop it.
"Not One Damn Dime Day" is to remind them, too, that they work for the people of the United States of America, not for the international corporations and K Street lobbyists who represent the corporations and funnel cash into American politics.

"Not One Damn Dime Day"
is about supporting the troops. The politicians put the troops in harm's way. Now 1,200 brave young Americans and (some estimate) 100,000 Iraqis have died. The politicians owe our troops a plan - a way to come home.There's no rally to attend. No marching to do. No left or right wing agenda to rant about.

"Not One Damn Dime Day" you take action by doing nothing. You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed. For 24 hours, nothing gets spent, not one damn dime, to remind our religious leaders and our politicians of their moral responsibility to end the war in Iraq and give America back to the people.
  • I've done my part, now it's your turn. Please pass this message along too in your e-mails and in your blog or web page. Make sure that everyone gets the word by January 20. It's no crime if they hear about it more than once. And if anyone knows who started this drive, feel free to give them credit in the Comments below.
  • Thanks, True Blue Liberal

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose (via Melville's whale)

I don't know why I picked up my well-worn Modern Library copy of Moby-Dick to read on the train yesterday. Sometimes you feel the need to read something you've read more than once before, especially one of those books that you KNOW will reward you with something you haven't seen there before. I didn't expect to be knocked out within the first 5 pages of the opening "Loomings" chapter --
<< ... And, doubtless, my going on this whaling voyage, formed part of the grand programme of Providence that was drawn up a long time ago. It came in as a sort of brief interlude and solo between more extensive performances. I take it that this part of the bill must have run something like this:

"Grand Contested Election for the Presidency of the United States."

Though I cannot tell why it was exactly that those stage managers, the Fates, put me down for this shabby part of a whaling voyage, when others were set down for magnificent parts in high tragedies, and short and easy parts in genteel comedies, and jolly parts in farces .... >>

I'm sure that hundreds of critics and bloggers have written about this coincidence of Ishmael's contested Presidential election and "bloody Affghanistan [sic]" with the recent events of 2000 -- 2002, and that it becomes a lively source of discussion in high school and college literature classes getting their first exposure to Melville's masterpiece. They must wonder if Melville is a nineteenth-century Nostradamus. They must question which election, and which of Queen Victoria's little wars he's referring to in these headlines. Not only don't we know what great mid-nineteenth century news events he's making reference to*, but we don't care (except as it relates to the novel). But we do, over 150 years later, care about Ishmael and Queequeg and Ahab and their whale, and their author, and we will for hundreds of years to come.

By then, with a little luck, Dobeliou and his dirty little wars will be nothing but footnotes to some great creative work being toiled over today by some modern underappreciated customs clerk.

à bientôt,
True Blue Liberal

*Of course, if YOU know which presidential election and which war he's referring to, you're more than welcome to share the information with us (and show your intellectual superiority to a self-proclaimed True Blue Liberal) in the Comments section below.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Bob Dylan shall be free (#10)

Here's the stanza I can't get out of my head this afternoon.
Now, I'm liberal, but to a degree
I want ev'rybody to be free
But if you think that I'll let Barry Goldwater
Move in next door and marry my daughter
You must think I'm crazy!
I wouldn't let him do it for all the farms in Cuba.
--Bob Dylan: I Shall Be Free No.10 (click here for the rest of the lyrics)
Remember when Goldwater was a right-wing nut? Before Reagan and then Dobeliou (the frenchified version of Double-U, just to piss Dobeliou off) pushed Barry's memory to the center?

It's great to see Bob getting his due recently with Chronicles & 60 Minutes.
It was great to go see him play in Bethlehem PA exactly a month ago with my son (here's the playlist). It was the only time I had seen him since 1974. He's not the same. He played keyboards rather than guitar. But he's still Bob. And when he played the last verse of a scorching Masters of War the place (or at least I) went nuts. I couldn't help picturing Dick Cheney having "the big one" a la Fred Sanford, and the joy that that would bring to the world.

-- True Blue Liberal

UN Emblem and Flag -- Another reason to be True Blue

UN Emblem and Flag

I have this flag flying as my screen saver. Where do I get one to stick on the back of my car?

à bientôt,
True Blue Liberal

FAIR ACTION ALERT: CBS, CNN Mislead on Social Security

FAIR ACTION ALERT: CBS, CNN Mislead on Social Security

We found out a month ago that the successful electoral strategy of the current American regime (if not outright vote tampering) was largely based on wedge issues and hidden groups. While most of us in the blue states thought that we were voting about the (bad & unfair) economy and the (unsuccessful & criminal) war, there were large portions of the country -- often those who are hurt most by the Bush/Cheney economic and military policies -- who thought the election was about boys marrying boys (they sort of secretly enjoy the girl/girl variations if we're to judge by the favorites at their local video store). One of the real electoral dangers for Democrats and other liberals is from another group -- TWENTY SOMETHINGS. I heard one saying to another one in my office.

"... it's neither social nor secure, so we should just get rid of it."
I found it shocking, but I don't think it's a mystery. Maybe it was something he heard on Fox, or from Rush, but I think it's more widespread than that. After decades of trying, I think that the right wing of the Republican party has taken control of the Social Security issue in the press, convincing millions of people that this program that has worked since the 1930's for our parents and our grandparents and is still supporting itself, is somehow broken, and in need of immediate radical overhaul. THEY HATE IT BECAUSE IT'S AN EXAMPLE OF A SOCIAL PROGRAM THAT WORKS. The young are especially susceptible, because they didn't hear the decades of arguments in support of Social Security. They don't remember Ronald Reagan as President. They only know the network TV hagiographic cartoon of the brave Alzheimer's victim and Cold War victor. You know what kids? Here's a little secret. HE SUCKED. HE WAS THE WORST PRESIDENT OF MODERN TIMES (until you know who).

à bientôt,
True Blue Liberal

Peace bloggers

It occurred to me as I started this process to look up Weblog on Wikipedia. I didn't realize how recent the history was, with the first use of the word Weblog only dating from the end of 1997 and Blog from 1999. So, even starting this blog at this relatively late date (16 Dec 04) might seem early in some later blogger's eyes. The Wikipedia article is also interesting in the role it gives to the "war bloggers" supporting the Iraq fiasco in 2002.

I don't want to leave any doubt that this will be a place for peace blogging. I was working in Manhattan on 11 Sept 2001 and not only was I out marching against the criminal invasion of Iraq on the streets of New York before and after the war started, but I still believe that Osama bin Laden would be in custody if we had NOT invaded Afghanistan -- if we had instead brought continued international pressure on the Taliban government, which showed some desire to bargain for its survival. War is NEVER the right answer to any problem, and we've started two of them (and the phantom fictional "war" on terror) in this first Bush/Cheney administration. AND WE RE-ELECTED THEM???!!! That's the real reason I felt the need to jump into this messy and overpopulated blog fray. Because the thing I truly thought was impossible, the fact that the American voters gave a vote of confidence to these criminals, has come to pass.

While it's irresistible to be vehemently Anti-Bush, it's not enough, we have to NOW start defining ourselves by our labels, rather than letting THEM use our words as a wedge issue to divide us. We are liberals and we're proud of all that stands for. They're conservatives, and they want to destroy the UN, Social Security, and every trace of FDR's fingerprints on this country & world. We can't let it happen.

- True Blue Liberal

Thursday, December 16, 2004

A Mission Statement

My son is in the process of reading Huckleberry Finn in school and Twain's famous first sentence is that well-known attempt at self-definition, "You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter." And it made me think, what do you need to have read of mine to know about me. It's not Daily Negations, and it's not 888 Reasons to Hate Republicans, it's A Mission Statement. You can click the link, but I've cut and pasted it from's June 2000 issue.


And we write of our shells as if they are
something in which to take pride as well
as shelter.

Her lyrics are written in English
then translated into French
so they can be sung.

His words sound as if they've been
translated from German (knowing
life is too short to speak German).

My fragments are assembled
with connective tissue
and homemade glue

so don't speak to me of your profit
and loss statements and I won't
tell you about my new favorite book

or band and we may sit and talk
about our souls
or sit in silence until one of us

explodes in righteous anger
ignited by the red and green
Christmas lights that are missing

bulbs but are still burning
from municipal lampposts
at four in the morning
on February 17th.


Where can we go
to find a place
where it's quiet enough
to hear the rhythm
of silent words?

Not here. It's definitely
not here.
Maybe that's why
too many poets are coming
from prairies and mountains
these days

where they can hear
the beat of words
without the overlay of these rhythms
of machine or man.

Engines are OK.
Trains are better,
but you can't read verse
in the middle of screaming crosstalk
from those accustomed to vying
for audible space in a white kitchen
with the T.V. blasting.

You and I write poems not because we love
words, but because we hate
them, and want to put them
in their place.


So, if you were interested, now you know.
-True Blue Liberal

Happy Beethoven's Geburtstag!

I guess everyone needs a first posting to see what their first posting will look like, so this is mine, written at the tail end of the first Bush/Cheney administration, quickly, at work, with a headache, with no goal in mind other than to sell a few t-shirts and make everyone proud to be a liberal again.
-- True Blue Liberal