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Happy ThanksBirthGiving Day!

(Part of this post has been cross posted at the site For Democratic Reform.  It’s time to get a new party started.)

Yes, it’s that odd alignment of the calendar where Thanksgiving falls on my birthday.  Yay!  Whoop! Whoop! Maybe *this* year, we’ll get fewer fauxber reflections  on where people were on the day Kennedy was shot.  {{yawn}}  (You know who you are. It’s boooooorrrrring and it ruins the birthday for millions of us so knock it off.) Well, a girl can dream.

One of the things I like about Thanksgiving feasts is that they are actually pretty inexpensive when you think about it.  The most expensive item on the menu is the turkey.    You can feed a bunch o’people for way less than $100 on turkey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberries, stuffing*, green bean casserole and pie.  And if you assign a different dish to each guest, it might be the cheapest dinner party you ever threw.  Which makes me wonder…

Why do we only have Thanksgiving once a year?

So, what are your big plans today?

And do you remember this guy?  This is FDR giving his Four Freedoms Speech.  The Four Freedoms are Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear.

Not bad for a rich guy who didn’t have to worry about the 99%- but did anyway.  We live with his legacy today with the social insurance policies that he helped create and that president and both parties are busily trying to undermine with the urging of the pundits.

What exactly is it they hope to accomplish by allowing companies to reneg on their pension obligations while reducing the social insurance programs to the status of welfare programs?  Something about the sick arguments for killing these programs off reminds me of the dads who don’t want to pay child support because their former wives will just spend that money any way they want.  Like paying the rent or mortgage and feeding ourselves is some kind of frivolous luxury we can do without if we just tighten our belts.  Or that we’re too stupid to know that we can make a LOT more MONEY if we stash it in a 401K.  Wow. It’s like they think we just fell off the turnip truck and haven’t seen what happens to 401Ks when the smart young things play with our funds like its Monopoly money.  Don’t we have a right to say where we want to put our nest eggs?  Maybe we need a new Freedom.

I’m going to call it, the Freedom from Exploitation.  That is, the freedom of all working people, regardless of class, to reap the fruits of their productivity, to have their contracts and expertise honored, to have their success measured in terms other than how big their bonuses are, to be paid a living wage no matter where they live so that they might be able to afford a decent roof over their heads, healthcare and savings for their retirement, and to invest those savings in a guaranteed and safe retirement program that elected officials will regard as a moral obligation to protect as if it was a treaty between nations.

And anyone who argues against the Freedom from Exploitation or  for the dissolution of social insurance programs because they don’t feel an obligation to be honorable human beings, or simply in order free up those hard-earned savings as new funds for the global casino, should be hung up by their balls and ruthlessly shamed.

And now, for the greatest speech:

Have a great Thanksgiving!

*STUFFING.  Not dressing or filling.  As in, thaw the bird completely, stuff lightly and check the temperature. Jeez, get with the program. 😉

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Hillary Clinton Channels FDR in Internet Freedom Speech

Some people call us Hillary Die Hards like that’s a *bad* thing.  But there’s a reason we supported her for president of the US.  She leads from her principles.

That’s it.  The whole shebang.  We didn’t think she was perfect or transformative or a magical change agent.  We figured that she’d piss us off occasionally.  But in general, there’s a bedrock foundation of belief and commitment to her values and we can pretty much predict what side she’s going to come down on an issue.

That’s why the speech she gave yesterday at the Newseum in Washington came as no surprise to me.  The earthquake in Haiti has obscured the seismic activity in China that occurred last week when Google refused to continue censoring its search engine for the Chinese audience at their government’s demands.  It is also alleged that government sanctioned hackers have accessed 40 0r more companies, including Google, in order to look for information on Chinese dissidents and to steal source code and intellectual property.  These are very serious allegations.  Censorship and persecution of dissidence  are abhorrent and anyone who works with proprietary information in large databases knows how valuable that information is.

Yesterday, Hillary threw down the gauntlet and committed the State Department to preserving and extending the ability of all countries to use the internet as a means of expression, commerce, education and connection with each other.  Here’s a small sample of that speech:

On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress, but the United States does. We stand for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas. And we recognize that the world’s information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it. Now, this challenge may be new, but our responsibility to help ensure the free exchange of ideas goes back to the birth of our republic. The words of the First Amendment to our Constitution are carved in 50 tons of Tennessee marble on the front of this building. And every generation of Americans has worked to protect the values etched in that stone.

Franklin Roosevelt built on these ideas when he delivered his Four Freedoms speech in 1941. Now, at the time, Americans faced a cavalcade of crises and a crisis of confidence. But the vision of a world in which all people enjoyed freedom of expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear transcended the troubles of his day. And years later, one of my heroes, Eleanor Roosevelt, worked to have these principles adopted as a cornerstone of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They have provided a lodestar to every succeeding generation, guiding us, galvanizing us, and enabling us to move forward in the face of uncertainty.

So as technology hurtles forward, we must think back to that legacy. We need to synchronize our technological progress with our principles. In accepting the Nobel Prize, President Obama spoke about the need to build a world in which peace rests on the inherent rights and dignities of every individual. And in my speech on human rights at Georgetown a few days later, I talked about how we must find ways to make human rights a reality. Today, we find an urgent need to protect these freedoms on the digital frontiers of the 21st century.

There are many other networks in the world. Some aid in the movement of people or resources, and some facilitate exchanges between individuals with the same work or interests. But the internet is a network that magnifies the power and potential of all others. And that’s why we believe it’s critical that its users are assured certain basic freedoms. Freedom of expression is first among them. This freedom is no longer defined solely by whether citizens can go into the town square and criticize their government without fear of retribution. Blogs, emails, social networks, and text messages have opened up new forums for exchanging ideas, and created new targets for censorship.

As I speak to you today, government censors somewhere are working furiously to erase my words from the records of history. But history itself has already condemned these tactics. Two months ago, I was in Germany to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The leaders gathered at that ceremony paid tribute to the courageous men and women on the far side of that barrier who made the case against oppression by circulating small pamphlets called samizdat. Now, these leaflets questioned the claims and intentions of dictatorships in the Eastern Bloc and many people paid dearly for distributing them. But their words helped pierce the concrete and concertina wire of the Iron Curtain.

There was a reason why Hillary voted no on retroactive immunity for telecomms in the FISA legislation.  It wasn’t to make Obama look bad.  He did that all on his own.  No, she wanted to protect our privacy so that we could call our president on his boneheaded moves without fear of retribution.

The full text of the speech and a video of the event is available at 21st Century Statecraft at State.gov.

Democrats who fear yesterday’s Supreme Court Ruling on corporate campaign donations should get crackin’.  The internet provides a wealth of low cost or free methods of spreading the word, like blogtalkradio, blogging, facebook.  Some candidates have made use of these tools but online media is still in its infancy and has the potential to reach a lot of people who might otherwise get their information from TV.  If you’d thrown your weight behind Hillary, you’d have a friend in the WH right now who would help you protect your precious access.  Looks like you’ll have to do this on your own now.  Get to work!