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A Goldman Opportunity

I am a bit of a geek.  I spent part of the afternoon watching C-SPAN2, which for those who don’t know is where you find the coverage of the Senate.  I would watch it much more, but I don’t have TV at home and I can only watch it on the rare occasion that someone invites me over to their house (and maybe the fact that I watch C-Span and Gavel to Gavel at my friends’ houses explains the lack of invites).  I have the app on my phone, and even went to buy a new pair of headphones so I would be able to hear the hours of health care debate last month.

Today I tuned in to listen to the vote that would allow the financial reform package to be talked about in the Senate.  It was not a vote on a bill, or a vote on amendments.  It was simply to allow the Senate to begin talking about a bill.  After weeks of closed door meetings with Wall Street executives the leaders of the Republican Party decided that they would just say no to financial reform.  I have read that they are hoping shutting it down completely will make the Democrats who control the Senate to give in and compromise like they do on just about everything else.

It’s time for the Democratic Party to prove they have a spine.  This is an opportunity for the Democrats to win over a large chunk of mainstream Americans.  We are all sick of Wall Street taking precedent over Main Street, and the GOP proved beyond a shadow of a doubt who they are working for today.  This is an issue that could even confuse the Teabaggers, if the reality of what happened can get to them somehow.  The problem, like always is going to be getting the message out.  The same corporate interests that control the GOP control the mainstream media.  I’ve heard it already today on CNN and ABC news on the radio, “The Democratic reform package is a loser.”

Immediately after the vote Alaska’s Senator Mark Begich gave an amazing and seemingly impromptu (although it was rehearsed a bit on The Shannyn Moore Show before the vote) speech on the floor.  In it he said:

It’s absolutely outrageous that almost half of my colleagues have blocked the opportunity for us to have debate and ultimately vote on the Wall Street reform legislation. They continue to protect their rich friends on Wall Street and in the banking world rather than protect the hardworking taxpayers who pay bills and try to save money every day.

Those blocking debate of this bill should be ashamed of themselves for the missed opportunity to hold Wall Street accountable. We should, at a minimum, have the chance to discuss ways to make sure the reckless and risky investments that cost Americans billions of dollars and millions of jobs doesn’t happen again.

I came to Washington to discuss issues and legislation out in the open, not to hide behind closed doors and work secret deals behind the public’s back. I’m disappointed and I know Alaskans are disappointed we don’t get to move forward on banking and financial reform.

I will continue to work on legislation that provides jobs for Alaskans and other Americans. And I hope those who are still on the side of mega-banks gambling at the expense of consumers will recognize the disservice they are doing to our country.

Thank you Senator Begich for working for Americans on this.  The Republicans may have seriously miscalculated their strategy on this one.  I think that we have an opportunity to show America who is really working for them, and who is working for the super rich.  Regular people would be angry about this if they had any idea what happened.  They are not going to get the story from the mainstream media, so it is our job to tell them.  We have the chance to gain support on a grassroots level for real financial reform.  And if the Democrats in the congress can take this opportunity to pass real reform and not kowtow to the standard tactics of the party of no, they can prove to regular Joes that they are the party of the people.

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The Collateral Damage of Crashing the Tea Party

I have long been a fan of political theater.  I have seen protests infiltrated and opponents delegitimized.  I have seen, or maybe even taken part in internet campaigns to build false grassroots support for causes that might be helpful to my causes in the end.  It is done all the time on both sides of most major issues.  So today when I read about Jason Levin starting a group called Crash the Tea Party I thought it was a pretty great idea.  But by the time I finished reading the article, I had changed my mind completely.

Crash the Tea Party is “a nationwide network…sick and tired of the loose affiliation of racists, homophobes, and morons; who constitute the fake grass roots movement which calls itself ‘The Tea Party.'”  They seek to “dismantle and demolish the Tea Party…by infiltrating the Tea Party itself.”  The plan is to show up at Tea Party rallies and just exaggerate those things that are already so easily mockable, whether it is misspelled signs or wild claims in TV interviews.

While I am completely in support of the goal, this groups tactics play straight into the hands of the Teabaggers.  Most of us probably remember March 20, the day before the US House passed the so called “Obamacare” reconciliation bill.  The protesters were out in full force on Capitol Hill that day, and as members of the House walked from their offices to the Capitol several were accosted by them.  John Lewis, Andre Carson, and Emmanuel Cleaver all reported demonstrators/thugs yelling the N-word at them, and Cleaver was spat upon one of them.  Barney Frank was called a faggot on multiple occasions that weekend by somewhat ironically named Teabaggers.

The immediate response from the Tea Party and even the more “mainstream” of the right was to deny that these events had taken place, and to say that if they had it was left wing infiltrators trying to score points against the “real Americans” standing up to the evil fascist-socialist-Islamist left.  Known liar Andrew Brietbart even went so far as to offer a prize of $100,000 to the United Negro College Fund if anyone could prove the slurs were used, and then said that since no video has turned up it must all be a lie.  Turn on any right wing talk show in the country and this is already the talking point when any of this comes up.

Now with Mr. Levin out trying to promote his group in the media, the only people he is discrediting are those that have been standing up to the righties who are trying to cover up the hate spewing from the Tea Party movement.  This is going to make Fox News’ job that much easier next time a Teabagger does something deplorable in public, and we won’t have to wait long for that to happen.  Levin is doing what too many people on the left do every day, shooting himself in the foot.  Unless, this is all part of the plan and it is not the Tea Party that is being crashed.

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