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    • The politics you’ve got
      MANDOS POST Take a look at Joe Biden—he appears to have, for now at least, considerable staying power in the Democratic primary opinion polls (although, of course, this may change as the actual primaries come through). If your model of political psychology can predict a strong core of popular support for Trump without also predicting […]
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State of The Confluence and Request for Input

At first I was like…

Yesterday, I locked myself out of my house. Yup, just pure stupidity. I picked up the wrong set of keys as I was leaving and checked them just as the door went *click!* behind me. Getting back in was painful, as in, painful to the money supply. I’m still in job search mode. I HAVE a job, but it is a bad one. That is to say, the money is seriously low, the hours ridiculous and the benefits close to non-existent.

Fortunately, I have some professionals helping me find a new job. Unfortunately, it is taking a lot, LOT longer than I had anticipated, even with my “worst case scenario” pre-planning. I mean, this is so long, drawn out and fruitless that I am beginning to think that I will be trapped in this hellish job forever. My career counselors assure me that this is not the case and I must persevere but even they must be getting worn out.

and then…

Fortunately, I own my own home! Yup, free and clear. All mine, mine, mine! It’s nice and comfy and I had the money when I bought it to make some major repairs. (It was foreclosed for about a year) Unfortunately, I have property taxes, and while they are less than half of what I paid in NJ, they’re still significant and at this moment, I will have to dip into some previously off limit funds to pay for them.

So, locking myself out of the house yesterday was not on my “things to do with my money this month” list. What I had actually planned was replacing my upstairs toilet before the crack in the tank that is being held together with epoxy finally gives on me. Ahhh, the joys of home ownership. Why didn’t I buy a new toilet when I moved in???

Anyway, this is a long winded way of saying that I am contemplating a fundraiser, like just about every other blog in the world. If you have been a long time reader of this blog, chime in and tell me whether you think this would go over like a lead balloon or not. I don’t usually ask for money except for special events, like when I asked for train fare to cover the Occupy Wall Street protests. Also, Katiebird has been nagging me to rewrite the website for the upcoming presidential campaign. I think this would be a good idea and I have some things I would like to add to this here place. A fundraiser would allow me to pay my property taxes as well as invest in some server time, Dreamweaver licenses and other training materials. If you have an opinion on what you would like to see at a new Confluence, put it in the comments below.

Having the money to pay my taxes and train myself to develop a high end web site would give me a great deal of peace of mind as well as some potentially marketable skills. I’ve been using WordPress and can install and maintain CMS’s but I feel the need to work on design skills and coding. Katiebird has been very encouraging in this respect and she says i can do it so I believe her.

What I should have done, or “in emergency, break glass”

Anyway, thanks to all of you for your support over the last seven years. We have had over 12 million comments. Can you believe it? I never thought anything I wrote would get that much attention. And really, attention was not what I was looking for. The purpose of this blog was to be a refuge from the consensus reality that was being manipulated during the 2008 presidential primary and general campaign. I’d like to keep that focus for the upcoming presidential campaign. That is, I’d like to cover topics in a way that is true to the liberal spirit of this blog but remains free of the dogma that plagues so much of the left.

I’ve been considering starting a regular podcast featuring guest interviews. Some topics I would like to cover are the problems of the pharmaceutical industry, employment and labor issues, infrastructure (net neutrality, mass transit), the impact of religion on our current culture, GLBT and feminism issues, and, of course, a discussion of the candidates and their policies. If this sounds interesting to you, or something you could support, let me know in the comments below.

Finally, there is a “Tip Jar” in the upper left hand corner of this blog. It goes to the PayPal account for this blog. I don’t check it very often because we don’t do fund raisers very often. But if you feel so inclined, or just want to help defray the costs of a locksmith, just hit that link. Today’s date is 2/22/15. May I suggest a contribution in the form of a multiple of $2.22.

Thanks!

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Friday, Friday

Before I head on down to the basement to do more painting, and more painting today on the hallways (gosh, I’m beginning to sound like Lambert and his endless painting chores), I’d just like to clear something up about Obama’s sudden revelation about marriage equality.

He came out for marriage equality.  Good.

He also said it should be left to the states.  Bad.

He said it should be left to the states *after* it had been defeated, stomped on, drawn, quartered, burned and left on a pole at the state house in Raleigh, North Carolina.  So, he took no risks by saying he was for it.  In fact, one might interpret his timing as a tacit approval of the actions of the conservative voters of North Carolina.  {{wink, wink, say no more, know what I mean, gov’nah?}} This way, he risks nothing.

So, why bother? It’s because he LGBT community was pissed at him for not preventing discrimination in government contracts, which, in my humble opinion is just as important.  From Greg Sargent’s post on the subject a few days ago:

Some leading gay and progressive donors are so angry over President Obama’s refusal to sign an executive order barring same sex discrimination by federal contractors that they are refusing to give any more money to the pro-Obama super PAC, a top gay fundraiser’s office tells me. In some cases, I’m told, big donations are being withheld.

Jonathan Lewis, the gay philanthropist and leading Democratic fundraiser, is one of many gay advocates who has been working behind the scenes to pressure Obama to change his mind. When Obama decided against the executive order last month, arguing that he would pursue a legislative solution instead, advocates were furious — such a solution will never pass Congress, the executive order has been a priority for advocates for years, and the move smacked of a political cave to conservatives who will not support Obama no matter what he does.

I’m sorry, but there is absolutely no excuse for him not to sign this executive order that has been hanging around for years.  In the four years that he’s been in office, he could have pursued a legislative solution but he hasn’t.  So, why not just sign the order?  Isn’t discrimination a bad thing, especially when it comes to government contracts?  Presumably, we want the best contractors to do the work for our country and some of them might be gay.  How can it ever be right to not hire or fire a person who is doing good work for you simply on the basis of sexual orientation?  I find it inexcusable, like keeping the Bush Conscience Clause on the books until three years after his inauguration.  Three fricking years.  And he only rescinded it in the midst of that stupid battle with the red beanie boys over birth control.  That conscience clause was severely impinging on women’s access to reproductive health measures and he only partially rescinded it.  Why did it take him three years to rescind a hated clause that his predecessor put in to please the religious right?

THREE YEARS.  Unbelievable. Ms. Magazine’s superfeminist shouldn’t have waited past the inaugural balls to rescind that wretched thing.  But Obama?  Where was the rush?  The immediacy?  Where indeed.

So, Obama was looking at a shortfall in campaign contributions.  To get back in the LGBT community’s good graces, he came out for marriage equality knowing very well that his endorsement was coupled with the idea that states could do anything they damn well please.  This cost him nothing politically.  The social conservatives who weren’t going to vote for him before aren’t going to vote for him now.  The social conservatives who like him but don’t like marriage equality know they can vote against it and Obama doesn’t care.

The only people who were hoodwinked and bamboozled by this are Obama fans.

Yes, it’s a victory for the LGBT community.  They’ve eeked support out of a sitting president. It’s too bad it came so late in his first term, has no teeth, doesn’t precipitate a move of the 2012 Democratic National Convention from North Carolina to some other state, like Vermont, and was *clearly* driven by the need to fundraise.  No, no, don’t even try to convince me that he feels passionately about this.  I’m guessing that he doesn’t really feel passion about anything that doesn’t affect him directly.  I mean, supposedly, he’s a pro-choice president but I doubt you’ll ever hear him say that women have the right to make their own decisions about abortion without the interference of half a dozen family members and social institutions.

He’s not a nice guy.  He’s not a great president.  He’s just an overconfident underperforming politician whose big money guys are stingy this year.  This is about Obama, not Hillary.  You can say all you want about Hillary.  She’s an adult and can take care of herself.  But please, give up trying to convince me that this man is God’s gift to the country and for god’s sakes, stop making excuses for his impotency.  We are really tired of excuses.  Maybe you guys are too chickenshit to ask him to step down for the good of the country but stop trying to convince, intimidate or whine to us about why we must choose him this fall.  We own our votes and we’ll give them to people who act like they actually believe in something.

Ok, looks like I’m done harshing your mellow.  Must go paint…

********************************

Wait, I’m not done yet after all.  A couple of days ago, James Carville told Democrats to STFU about how they’ve got the election in the bag this fall because they could easily lose.  Yes, there is a surplus of unearned overconfidence about trouncing Romney.  I’m going third party this year but I understand where Carville is coming from.  No matter what you say about Romney and his youthful indiscretions with hair clippers, he ran for office in Massachusetts and won.  As far as states go, it doesn’t get bluer than that.  And he’s already tied with Obama in latest polls well inside the margin of error.

As Carville says, voters will go with the person they think cares about them.  It doesn’t matter how many terrorists you slay, if your constituents have suffered through job losses, foreclosures and loss of health insurance, and there is still no end in sight, they will hold you personally responsible.  Obama’s campaign and other Democrats ignore this at their peril.

They also seem to be ignoring the effects of outsourcing our scientific infrastructure and the loss of high paying, middle class, suburban jobs who were once held by people who do not need additional education to fit in to the present job market.  Democrats are still in la-la land if they think we don’t notice how we’ve been abandoned by their party.  We will not forget who stood by and did nothing.

TC Fundraiser for Lambert and Correntewire

As much as I hate to admit it, some of the best work in the blogosphere has come from Corrente in the last three years.  I discovered Lambert towards the end of my stay at DailyKos when he wrote a brilliant essay about something.  I can’t even remember what that something was but I wrote a diary about it, now irretrievable.  I’m not trying to be flippant.  He really made an impression on me.  Damn Markos for archiving the diaries!

During 2008, Lambert was one of the few bloggers who trusted his instincts about Obama and the Democrats and what they were up to.  We haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on many different things but I appreciate the fact that I can go shoot my mouth off at Corrente and he keeps letting me do it.  Ideologically, we’re close on the political spectrum although we’re a bit less crunchy granola than Lambert.

His coverage of OccupyWallStreet has been excellent.  His coverage and participation in conferences to discuss the state of the economy has been exemplary.  He’s got a lot of top notch writers.  And he does it all for free- mostly.

If you’re not a blog site the size of Eschaton or DailyKos or Firedoglake, it’s bloody hard to make a living at blogging.  Not only do you have to create compelling content but you have to be listed in a lot of blogrolls and mentioned occasionally by the people who can send you an audience.  The left has not been kind to the blogs who got it right about 2008.  The Confluence is on only a tiny number of blogrolls as punishment for our sin of being pretty in your face about how stupid the left was.  But Corrente has made peace with the left and even though it gets mentioned more and has more of a political impact than we have, it needs to keep going to become a big player.   And we need blogs like Corrente and The Confluence to present a different perspective on what it means to be progressive and liberal, and what the penalty is for having the courage to dispose of the DNC’s pre-written script.  Preserving the right to be unpopular and not go along with the crowd because you know that it’s wrong is very important.   In the meantime, it costs money to keep the site going and Lambert warm during the cold Maine winters.

So, if you can spare a dime, head on over to Corrente’s tip jar and throw in some filthy lucre to say thanks for doing the thankless job and sticking with it.

You can either make a one time donation here.  Or you can subscribe.

Ok, I’ll go first…

Conflucian Cocktail Party: Fundraiser for Pine Ridge

In the song, Edmund Fitzgerald, the storm that caught the freighter off guard was called the Witch of November.  The Witch came early again this year but this time to South Dakota.  The early blizzard has buried the Pine Ridge Reservation under feet of snow and taken out power to the reservation.  Here are some details from people on the scene:

Subject: Pine Ridge Needs Help!

It is not often I send something like this out, and am sad to have to do so.
However, anything any of you can do would be great, mention it on your radio
shows and blogs, call and help or even call the state reps. and committee of
indian affairs…Here is the email I got,,,

Where is the Red Cross?  Where is FEMA?  Where is the National Guard?
The Lakota Reservation in South Dakota has been struck with a huge,
early season snow storm. Elderly people are without propane, there is
a great lack of food, medicine and warm winter clothing.

According tho the president of the Reservation, the State of South
Dakota is doing almost nothing. The roads are still not plowed and
people are dieing.

They need our help in way of wood, propane, warm winter clothing,
food and assistance with plows.

If you are in the area and have the heart to help these folks, go to
the Porcupine School or call 605-867-1111.

If you can, send money, call and get details on arrangements. If you
can send materials, as this is going to be a long winter for the sick
the elderly and the children, the address is

Republic of Lakotah
P.O. Box 99
Porucupine, SD 57772

Winters are brutal in this area, and this one is worse than they can
deal with. Any and all help will be remembered by the people for
their entire lives, and lives is what this is about.

Please, with our Holidays coming, help these people NOW while we can
still help. People are dieing right now.

Feel free to contact John for more information.

John Stroebel
PO 166 Centennial Wyoming 82055
307-745-3493

Tonight we dedicate our fundraiser to Pine Ridge to buy blankets, food, propane and other necessities for  the cold nights of November.

Welcome to the Conflucian Cocktail Party.  This is the day every week when we gather together with friends and have a bit of fun for a worthy cause.  To the left of the bar is Rico, our bartender with flair.  He’s agreed to stay on past the election because he likes us that much.  Tonght’s special cocktail is a White Witch.  You can also order Causmos for $10.00.  The button below will take you to The Confluence PayPal account for Pine Ridge.


I’d also like to call your attention to Al Franken’s Recount fund. You can buy a $10.00 Causmo and help Al get one Senate seat closer to that filibuster proof majority. Think of it. One more senator on Hillary’s side. I donated $50 this afternoon. If you donate, add .60 to your total to let him know we’re here.

Tonight’s music is from our friends NativeAmericansAgainstObama describing the unfolding events at Pine Ridge:

Ladies and gents, we run a classy joint. Those of you who can’t keep your trigger words to yourselves should leave them with Florence, our lovely checkroom attendant. The waiters will be circulating shortly with some wild rice cakes, popcorn and pumpkin bread. Please drink responsibly and tip your servers generously.

Also, join me and the other Conflucians at 10PM EST for Conflucians Say on PUMA United Radio (PURrrr).

conflucians

Conflucian Cocktail Party: A little help for my friends

Question:What’s the best way to get a kid to clean the house?  Answer: Promise her a Halloween Party/sleepover.  I’ve been busy all week trying to organize this little soiree.  But now the snacks are bought, the costume made, the hair highlighted and the house is – clean!

Yessss!

In the meantime, we have a little unfinished business before next Tuesday, like helping our friend Heidi Li at Democrats for Principle before Party raise some money to run ads in the Michigan and Miami area.  And let’s not forget Murphy and her batallions of flyer PUMAs, busily blamketing their neighborhoods with messages of Resistance.  Tonight’s fundraising Cocktail Party is dedicated to all of our friends who hung in there with us to the bitter end and now need a few more bucks to make it over the goal line.

Welcome to the Conflucian Cocktail Party.  This is the time of the week when PUMAs come together to mix, mix their drinks and throw a little cash in the kitty for the cause du jour.  To the left of the door is Rico, our ever faithful PUMA bartender with flair.  His special drink for this evening is a Four Fine Friends (looks like it will knock you on your @SS).  We are also offering Causmos for $10.00.  You can choose from a donation to Democrats for Principle before Party or PUMAPac.  I’m sure the proprietresses would be very grateful.

Our entertainment tonight is something *completely* different, and not necessarily in a good way.  This is a cover of Mr. Tambourine Man from the Golden Throat of William Shatner:

Ok, I have a twisted sense of humor.  If you don’t and you think your trigger words might get the best of you, leave them off with Florence the lovely checkroom attendant.  The waiters will be circulating shortly with some toasted pumpkin seeds, donuts and mugs of warm spicy cider.  Please drink responsibly and  tip your wait staff generously.

And Join me at 10PM EST for Conflucians Say on PUMA United Radio, PURrrr

Conflucian Cocktail Party: Fundraising for Franken

The Wiki entry for the French Resistance includes this passage:

In retrospect, the famous résistant Emmanuel d’Astier de la Vigerie gave the image of the resistance having been made up of social outcasts on the fringes of society, saying “one could only be a resister if one was maladjusted.”[34] Although many did adhere to this description, including d’Astier himself, most resistance participants came from traditional backgrounds[35] and were “individuals of exceptional strong-mindedness, ready to break with family and friends.”[36]

Back in the Dark Ages of 2003-2004, Al Franken was one of those {perhaps maladjusted} individuals.  😉  When the whole country seemed to be in the grip of Movement Conservative fever, fear and retribution, Al Franken was the leader of the Resistance.  Along with a few other like minded individuals, he started Air America radio.  I used to record the televised version that would air on the Sundance Channel.  It was comforting to know he was there.  When Kerry lost in November 2004, Al was crushed.  He wept.  But bright and early the next day, there was a message on the Air America web site.  It said simply, “We’re here for you.”

A lot has happened in the last few years.  Air American was sabotaged from inside and outside forces.  It struggled mightily in the New York City market until its weak and staticky signal on WLIB was extinguished.  Now it’s something completely different.  But back in the bad old days, Al Franken was our rock.

Tonight, I’m dedicating the Cocktail Fundraiser to Al Franken, the wiseass running for Senator in the great state of Minnesota.  Hillary is a big fan and I think we can trust her judgment on this.  Al is a committed liberal, wicked smart and will bring a much needed sense of humor and determination to the Senate in what is about to be another dark period in our nation’s history.

Welcome to the Conclucian Cocktail Party.  The bar is to the left of the door where you will find our bartender with flair, Rico.  Tonight, his special drink is a Frosty Nipple (‘cos that’s what everyone’s got these days?). You can purchase a Causmo for $10.00.  Tonight’s Causmo is dedicated to Al Franken.

Tonight’s entertainment is from the Twin City’s Jazz Festival 2008.  Beseme mucho:

Ladies and Gents, I know I can count on you to use your best Minnesota manners.  But if the cold is addling your courtesy, check your trigger words with Florence, our lovely checkroom attendant. The waiters will be circulating soon with squeaky fried cheese curds and hot dish made with cream of mushroom soup.  Please Drink Responsibly and tip your wait staff generously.

Also, join me at 10PM EST for Conflucians Say on PUMA United Radio (PURrrrr).

Conflucians Say: The Scratching Post

I’m in the mood for a Cocktail Party.  This cocktail party is dedicated to downticket Dems.  It looks like Obama’s coattails are much shorter than expected.  Take a look at this page on RealClearPolitics for a good scare.  Democrats are not going to pick up nearly enough new members to offset the Republicans and Blue Dogs.  Even my favorite, Linda Stender, who should have walked away with NJ-07 this year, is in a tighter than expected race with Republican nobody Leonard Lance.  We can’t afford to be complacent.

So, join us tonight for a little fundraising and TLC for out downticket Dems, those stalwart progressives who have an uphill battle now that Palin has re-energized the Republican base.  Grab a cocktail from Rico and tell us about your favorite downticket Dems.  You can buy a Causmo for $10 and contribute that money to our ActBlue page.  We’re still putting this page together so if you know of a deserving downticket Dem, talk him/her up.

Murphy’s running a fundraiser at PUMAPac for Sheila Jackson Lee, a Clinton loyalist who could use a little mojo.  While you’re there, check out the State by State Slate of Democrats to avoid when the next primary comes around.  Remember, there is still an opportunity to send a message to the DNC by getting Ed O’Reilly elected in Massachusetts against John Kerry.

And tune your cat channels to Conflucians Say tonight at 10PM EST on PUMA United Radio- PURrrrrr

And don’t forget that you can catch Matt on My Two Cents at 11:00PM EST on NQR and Our View with Patsy and Sugar every Thursday starting at 9:00 PM