The Two Way Street

Politics for a New Generation


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Walker Going Too Far? Wisconsin-Based Blogger Thinks So

[[Angry response of Wisconsinite blogger to union-killing bill. Reblogged from http://www.progressiveteaparty.net ]]

The expansion of Big Government Republicans. I had called my state representative’s office in Madison to ask about the current situation in Madison with regard to reports of bully behavior on the part of GOP in government. I was told that Walker was placing lackeys in positions that were to be non-partisan and who would be answerable to him. Governor Walker is centralizing his grip on governmental power. Now – if there is ever an argument against “big government,” it cannot be made by Walker and Wisconsin Republicans.

Taking away our voice and vote. There is also a brutal policy set against the staffer of the 14 senators that have fled the state. I had called my state senator, Chris Larson (one of the 14 that fled) and know the voice of his staffer. I called his office in Madison the other day and got a woman who sounded like a Southern accent and monotone voice. What the Senate Republicans have been trying to do is punish (Republicans are great at “punish and revenge” policies) with threats of firings and forcing them to work for Republicans where they have to report their every move to Republican staffers (see HuffPost link). We did not vote for a Repug in this district (and probably never will after this!) and at least someone who is associated with Senator Larson should be there for us to voice concerns. This follows on the heels of our state representative, along with some 25 others, being denied her vote in the Assembly.

The Wisconsin Republicans have stolen our voice!

Emperor Walker defies constitutions, laws and courts. Our dictator-governor has also been defying court orders to open the Capitol to the people of Wisconsin. The capitol building is to remain open to the people, as required in the Wisconsin Constitution (link). Yet, Democratic representatives are being denied the ability to met with their constituents and have to meet with them outside, while GOP members are given full access to the building that others are not. Place this denial of equal access to our state buildings along side of the unprecedented (and unconstitutional) attempts to “arrest” the 14 absent senators, or at least forced them to come back to Madison. The notion that the Wisconsin Senate can have other “arrested” without the commission of a criminal act is absolutely un-American, as well as without legal foundations. Also unconstitutional is the notion of fining the absent senators $100 a day for absence. If the Republican Senators did this – they will be in more hot water than the fabrications against our 14 Senate heroes (see link – link ).

“The thought of using law enforcement officers to exercise force in order to achieve a political objective is insanely wrong and Wisconsin sorely needs reasonable solutions and not potentially dangerous political theatrics” (WI Professional Police Association).

This idea is not only “insanely wrong,” but the political use of police and security forces is routinely condemned by the US in foreign policy. NO democratic society based in freedom and personal liberty uses police for political dirtywork. The State Patrol is shaping up to be a type of Praetorian Guard for Emperor Walker. This is stuff right out of autocracies and the Soviet Union, especially, where one (as is happening in Wisconsin) has to be a good comrade to get a job, keep a job and get along in the society. The reality is that it has been a long-time goal of Republicans to have one-party rule in America, (also 2006 federal report) as Mubarak did in Egypt, and where all political competition is stiffed, oppressed, and in jail or in hiding.

Believe it or not, there are a number of Americans cheering on Walker and Wisconsin Republicans as they start to govern this state as an autocratic dictatorship. Shame on them!

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BASTARDS?

The cover of the examiner from 9/12/01

Nine year ago today, the cover of the San Francisco examiner read in bold, capital letters BASTARDS! At the time, this seemed reasonable. People read the enormous letters as a collective speech bubble above the head of America. They were depressed, they were terrified, but most of all, they were furious. They were furious with Al Qaeda, furious with the middle east, furious with the TSA, furious with the CIA, and furious with God for letting something so tragic and horrific happen to America. As the smoke and debris from the burning symbol of American capitalism smothered the financial district, and anger previously unknown to the nation boiled under its skin. The subtitle, beneath the giant bold letters, beneath the plumes of fire and ash exploding from the building, nestled between thick black lines, sat the words they should have read, the words that, nine years later, commonly sit upon our tongues, the words, that at the time seemed insignificant but now stand as tall as the towers once did: “A Changed America”.

Today a common reference point for our lives, 9/11, stands as the day we lost our sense of security. It was the first attack to the homeland, aside from the distant Pearl Harbor since the war of 1812, since America became a world of power, since America transcended the status of “nation” to become an idea. And we, cowering in the proverbial corner, realized that this idea was being attacked, and, brought America to her feet to stand up for our ideals and way of life. But, rather than seeing the smaller red letters at the bottom of the page, we stood up, the big, black, bold anger running through us, and with the enormous insults and anger running through our bleeding red, white, and blue veins, we lost sight of what the terrorists were attacking: freedom.

9/11 is often referenced as the end to privacy. From the Patriot Act, to taking off your shoes, sweaters, bags, hats, and jewelry at the airport, to various 4th amendment violations for those accused of terror, we’ve allowed our privacy to be invaded to epic degrees to avoid a reprise of that horrific day. But beyond our privacy, beyond abandonment of 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th amendment rights for those suspected of terror, lies another, perhaps worse change that 9/11 has brought us: many of us live in fear and hatred of Muslims. While the cover of the examiner may have been referring to the select few radicals who planned and executed the hijackings, Far too many Americans took this to mean the entire religion, took the radical fringe to be the entire religion, and their anger at the injustice festered into a deep-seated hatred, scape-goating the entire Islamic religion for the actions of a few deeply disturbed, brainwashed lunatics, allowing them to transcend the entire religion’s history of peace, love, and tolerance. Among the graves of the many unfortunate victims from the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the crash of heroes in Pennsylvania lays, with no headstone to mark it, with its loved ones in denial of its death, lays America’s tolerance.


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We Live in a Beautiful World?

“It’s kind of ironic, you know. Each person on this earth, each government, each city, each country, thinks that they are the greatest. That their world is a beautiful one. That everything that needs to be done, needs to be done by others, because there’s nothing more they can do. That all the problems of the world are caused by others. Well, if you want, you can keep on passing the water balloon of blame onto others. But eventually, someone’s going to get downright pissed off, and just hurl it at your face. And then, you’re the one standing there dripping, while the others will just be smirking at your expression.”

Click here to read the full article on my friend Ritu’s blog


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451º Fahrenheit- The Temperature at Which Al Qaida Gets an Influx of Formerly Moderate Recruits

To Morgan Friedman on Facebook:

The first amendment states “congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, the press, the right of the people peaceably to assemble, or petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Therefore, the same amendment that protects the rash and dangerous actions of a pastor from a small Florida church also protects the religion of islam. I have a challenge for you: before you burn that Koran, read it. Don’t allow yourself to be misinformed by others, read it and decide for yourself. If you don’t like what’s inside it, feel free to burn it, just please don’t video-tape it, for the safety of our troops abroad. I’m a devout christian who has taken it upon herself to read the holy books of all the major religions. One is only a true christian until he/she has examined his or her faith and others and chosen to come back to christianity based on the divine truth discovered on the journey. during my reading of the Koran, I realized just how horribly bastardized the islam practiced by Al Qaida, Hamas, the Taliban, and other extremist books really is. The Koran, while not in fact the divine word you or I recognize, preaches peace, love and TOLERANCE OF OTHER RELIGIONS. Al Qaida takes advantage of illiterate, under-educated muslims, blames the west for their under-education/poverty, and turns almost the entire religion on its head, using quotes that are taken grossly out of context. Not only that, but the Koran contains the entire christian bible inside its pages, though, often in arabic, not latin or vernaculars. Finally, Jesus preached turning the other cheek and loving thy neighbor and thy enemy. though we, on a national scale, certainly cannot sit back while extremists ransack our nation, we need to extend love and salvation to the muslims, especially the innocent children who have done nothing wrong but be born by a family with misguided ideals. Islam was originally, and in mainstream practice, still is, a religion of peace and love. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself.

An elaboration on the “rash and dangerous actions of the pastor of a small Florida church”:

Think of it this way: you are what you worship. Islam in its true form and its many bastardizations aside, muslims worship from the Koran. Therefore, when you set fire to a Koran, you set fire anti-american sentiments in ordinarily moderate muslims. Mohammad created the idea of the jihad, the term now used interchangeably with “act of terror”, to refer to a struggle taking place to defend the religion of islam. Extremists perverted this term, as well as the rest of the religion, to fit their political agenda, attacking the west. The short version if this political story is that Bin Ladin was trained by the CIA in the 1980s to fight in the Mujahadeen against Russia. He was originally from Saudi Arabia. But, after the war, he returned to Saudi Arabia, to find (quite justly, in fact) that the Sauds were not good rulers of his country, and persisted in trying to overthrow them. The US is dependent on Saudi oil, so, we backed up Saudi Arabia when they decided to exile him. Over a decade and much hardship later, Bin Laden is (if he’s still alive) infatuated with getting revenge on the united states and the west. He uses twisted evidence to back up to his “jihadis” that Islam has been attacked. Which brings us, after a long and tangental journey, back to the burning of Korans: if a group of americans are to burn the Koran, they are directly attacking Islam, not just the fringe idiots, which, by the way, exist in nearly every religion. If this happens, moderates will have real justification for Jihad, and, Al Qaida will have a sudden, enormous influx of recruits. Would you not react with anger and hatred to someone who burnt a Bible or a Torah? Attacking a political movement is fine. Attacking a movement within a religion is also fine. But If you attack a religion itself, (especially with such deep roots in your own), you will inspire a strong, hateful reaction, ending in death, destruction, and despair, and leaving no chance for peace, love, tolerance, or redemption. And isn’t that what all of our religions are about in the first place?


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The World is Starving and You Don’t Care

A Boy in Haiti

A friend of mine took this while participating in relief work in Haiti this summer

Between our $4 carmel macchiatos, $100-a-month cell phone plans, and McMansions behind our bourgeois white-picket fences and pristine, kelly green lawns, we occasionally stop our days and look at the 24-hour news cycle that serves as the soundtrack to our lives to see a story about floods in Pakistan, earthquakes in Haiti, wildfires in Russia, and say, “Oh, that’s Awful!” or, “How Sad!” and then continue on with our day. Sometimes, we even open our wallet and drop a dollar in the jar, or send a text to donate, or buy a product for which “a quarter of the proceeds goes to ____________ victims”. But we see hunger, disease, cruelty, and are unfazed by it. We complain about loosing “one of our homes in Nantucket”, when there are people living in cardboard boxes on the streets a few miles away, without a single home to stay in. Because they aren’t us.

Another picture out of Haiti. You may be in the midst of financial strain, but you have a roof over your head. These people don't.

I know the excuses. That’s not you I described, you were comfy before the recession, but your investments went under, you lost your job, and you’re nearing foreclosure. Even if you resort on a soup kitchen to feed you, you still have food to eat, clean drinking water, and a place to sleep, which is something that can’t be said for the millions of victims of disaster, poverty, and tyranny in the world. almost a third of the world’s population is chronically hungry. You and I were lucky enough to be born in a part of the world where mothers can feed their children, where children get a free education, where most of the population can read. You’re lucky, even if you’re in hot water, your spouse is leaving you, you got laid off, et cetera, you’re alive, and you can count on that better than people in Haiti, Pakistan, Russia, Darfur, Burma, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, North Korea, Kazakhstan, Georgia (the former USSR state), Venezuela, Jamaica, Mexico, Indonesia, and the list goes on. We may have troubles in our lives but the troubles of others living elsewhere make our troubles seem tiny and insignificant.

“I worked hard for my money, and its mine, so why should I give it to someone else!” you may spew, with a spirited stomp or table slap (and perhaps a few expletives I’ve chosen to leave out). But Which do you think is harder? Long hours at an office, in a law firm, treating patients, or even in the factory, or  the constant hunger in the stomachs of people in Africa, Asia, South America, and the Middle East as they work in sweat shops, attempt to farm infertile land, or even work as prostitutes, all for insignificant pay, with no laws for workers’ protection, just trying to comfort the hunger, to no avail. The majority of people in third world countries work harder every day than the most hardworking Americans may work in their entire lives. So why do you get a fair pay and they don’t?

I’m not spewing communism, or saying that you should go out and give all your worldly possessions to the poor, but I do think that it’s a moral imperative to do something. Of all the things there are to do, three come to mind:

  1. Give what you can. It may not be much, as you are allowed to indulge yourself in some comforts, but, next time you’re at Starbucks, simply turn around, go back out the door, and donate the money you would have spent on an over-priced latte to the World Food Programme.
  2. Do your best to imagine life in abject poverty. You hear stories about it on the news, see the graphic photos, and only pause for a moment in pity before continuing on your way. I want you to actually close your eyes and put yourself in the body of a child with worms in his stomach or a sudanese girl being raped. Feel the stabbing pain and choke of fear they feel. If that doesn’t make you care about them, nothing will.
  3. Spread the word. Your latte money may only feed one child, but if you can get your friends to tell their friends and so on, schools could be built, wells could be drilled, and you could actually improve the quality of life for a whole village.

I’ll admit that I too have fallen victim to the allure of $4 lattes and expensive smartphone plans. But I vow to pull myself free from things like that along with you. I’m a student, the very definition of broke, but, I had a tradition, where, every time I reached a big milestone of hits on my blog (200, 500, 1000, etc.) I would celebrate by buying myself an expensive chai latte with soy milk from Starbucks, but, now, I will donate the price of that tea ($5 something for a large) to the World Food Programme, or if there’s a major crisis occurring, to a disaster-specific organization. So now, every time you visit, (or click on an in-site link or refresh your browser) you’re helping stop world hunger.

I’m not asking for much, in the way of you changing your life. All I ask is that you not remain unfazed by tragedy, and just do something small for people in need. Take off the blinders. You’re not a horse, you’re a human.