("If someone looks, dresses, acts, talks and votes like a Republican, then why do they deserve support just because he/she calls him/herself a Democrat?"
"Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most."--Cindy Sheehan)
One can only hope Oklahoma Democrats continue to embrace the interconnectivity and community philosophy of the netroots now that Ivan Holmes has become the party’s chairperson.
(You can find the image to the right and other great stuff at PhotoTune.)
The party’s outgoing chairperson, Lisa Pyror, made some efforts in this direction with an electronic newsletter and a party blogspot.com blog, but most of the published material was press release fluff or simply informational. It was pretty much old-school content in a new-school format.
If it sounds like I’m criticizing, well, yeah I’m criticizing, but I’m also urging the new party leadership to do much more with the Internet. The party blog, for example, should be bigger and better, and it should consistently link to and comment on the state’s progressive blogs. It should contain arguments and positions. It should go after the Republican opposition. We also need more progressive blogs in communities throughout Oklahoma. Could the Oklahoma Democratic Party help make this happen?
Holmes, who ran Labor Commissioner Lloyd Fields campaign in 2006, has been quoted as saying he wants to grow the grassroots and, by extension, I hope he means the netroots, but then this is something easy to say and difficult to do.
Here are some looming questions:
(1) How do you reconcile the state party’s true progressives and the conservative Dinos? For example, there are many of us here—real progressives—who were one hundred percent right about the Iraq debacle from the very beginning. Why are we still marginalized by the so-called centrists (really, they are center-rightist) in our own party?
(2) How can Democrats recruit people to run for legislative office, especially in rural areas? The state represents a basic structural problem for Democrats. As population growth stagnates in rural areas, they become more conservative for a variety of reasons. One thing Democrats could do is promote family farms over corporate farms as part of a healthy food initiative in the state.
(3) How can Democrats here start to stand for something? Now is the time to take stock. Can we not find three simple ideas to get behind? Better wages. Better health care. Better schools.
(4) How can Democrats raise a lot more money? The netroots could help. We also need to attract more national money, but we can only do this if the progressive wing of the state party is allowed a voice.
(5) What can be done to elect more Democrats to our U.S. Congressional delegation? U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe is currently hosting fundraisers with the vice president in his reelection bid, while Democrats don’t even have an announced candidate yet.
(6) What can be done to cultivate among Democrats an aggressive winning attitude rather than the current appease-the-center-don’t-make-any-voter-mad stance? Look, you’re going to make some voters mad when you speak the truth in the George Bush era of The Big Lie. But that doesn’t mean you will necessarily lose elections.
The 2008 elections right now look like a Democratic sweep on the level of the GOP’s 1980 sweep, the beginning of the so-called and over-hyped Reagan Revolution. Will the Oklahoma Democratic Party, which, really, may actually just be the understood mole-division of the Oklahoma Republican Party these days, get left behind?
Every time I write about the world’s worst metropolitan newspaper, The Daily Oklahoman, hits go down on this blog. Is it because everyone already knows what a right-wing, biased, corporate-lapdog newspaper it is, and I’m just preaching to the proverbial choir? Is it because people only read the newspaper’s sports section these days because it simply cannot be trusted to report any news truthfully? Perhaps, it’s a combination of the two.
In any event, the newspaper’s continuing editorial stance on the illegal immigration continues to show a morass of contradictions. On the small level, the editorials show the newspaper’s inconsistent, shallow cultural commentary. Nothing new here, of course. But on a larger level, the editorials show a microcosm of the complete breakdown of the Republican Party. The party’s fragile coalition of big business types and ordinary law-and-order people is breaking on the issues of guest worker programs and amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Just yesterday, for example, the Republican newspaper had to apologize ("Excusa: Our apology for awkward remark," May 26, 2007) for an editorial ("Incremento: State's Hispanics growth brisk," May 21, 2007) that essentially argued for amnesty for illegal immigrants. The real issue Oklahoma residents should be worried about, it argued, is the growing number of old people in the state—presumably American citizens—who place a “strain” on society.
So let’s get this straight: You’re an American and Oklahoman citizen, retired, growing old and you’re expendable, but if you’re an illegal immigrant willing to work for a pittance, without paying taxes to support social service programs that could actually help the elderly, you’re a valuable member of the community. That’s exactly what the newspaper is arguing.
The initial editorial and the awkward apology show exactly what the freaks over at The Disappointment think about ordinary Oklahomans. Word hard, pay your taxes, obey the laws and you’re useless once you get old and should leave the state. But sneak into the country and state illegally, work for big business at exploitation wages, and you’re a vital member of the community.
I know the GOP wants it all ways on illegal immigration and will try to pretend their contradictions are not really significant. But even GOP blowhards like Rush Limbaugh say the fissures about the issue threaten the viability of the party in the coming 2008 election.
Here’s the deal: The Wall Street/GOP types want to continue the system as it is so there is a deep pool of undocumented and voiceless workers for their businesses. They can exploit these people, pay them starvation wages, and make greater profits. They might give lip service to guest worker programs or whatever, but their bottom line is to ensure the borders are still open for illegal immigrants. Meanwhile, wages remain stagnant and/or low for everyone.
Many of the GOP bigwigs here are two-faced, mealymouthed liars who act like they want tighter controls over the border, but really, wink, wink, are the toadies of big business. U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe would fall in this category. They want to keep the system as it is. But Oklahoma now has some of the toughest illegal immigration laws in the nation. These laws were passed by overwhelming majorities in the legislature. Will The Oklahoman support these laws or not, or will it merely continue its campaign of discrimination against elderly people here as a political deflecting device? Blame the old people for corporations’ unquenchable thirst for cheap labor. It’s quite a strategy, isn’t it?
Editorials Show Newspaper’s Latest Hypocrisy, Deception
(Hey, want to take a boat to your college classes in Bricktown? Read DocHoc's commentary this week in the Oklahoma Gazette.)
(Oklahoma Pride: We have some of the highest criminal incarceration rates in the country, which leads the world in the number of imprisoned people. Immigrants are no longer welcome here. Skyrocketing gasoline prices are way above the national average despite our "oil state" status.)
“While I do not yet know all the specifics of this cumbersome, 1000 page bill, initial reports indicate that this legislation will include some form of amnesty, and, as I have long said, I will not support any legislation that allows illegal immigrants to shortcut the current citizenship process.”—U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe on the pending federal immigration bill
It will be interesting to note if the hypocritical and deceitful opinion writers over at The Daily Oklahoman will criticize U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s position on illegal immigration now that the newspaper has come down firmly on the side of amnesty for undocumented workers.
The newspaper, including its executive editor Ed Kelley, has been criticizing in recent days House Bill 1804, a new draconian measure that gives Oklahoma perhaps the strictest anti-illegal immigration laws in the nation. Suddenly, the newspaper opinion writers have been methodically spelling out the reasons why the bill is wrong. They essentially take the Wall Street/Republican position on the issue. This position argues American businesses need a cheap labor pool that is unable to unionize or, in anyway, negotiate for salaries and benefits. This, in turn, keeps salaries and benefits down for everyone and gives more money to business owners.
Here’s how and why the newspaper’s opinion writers have been hypocritical and deceitful on this issue in recent days:
(1) Why wasn’t the newspaper clearly speaking about this issue one, two, three or even ten years ago? Why didn’t the newspaper try to educate people about the issue? In addition, Gov. Brad Henry had no choice but to sign the bill, though the newspaper urged him to veto it. It passed by gargantuan, veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate. Henry was merely respecting the democratic process. What would have been the point of a veto? Why doesn’t the newspaper go after state Rep. Randy “The Terrible” Terrill (R-Moore) who actually sponsored the bill?
(2) The newspaper consistently supports politicians like Terrill and Inhofe who appeal to so-called law-and-order Republicans. Yet it wants amnesty for illegal immigrants. As my previous posts and other articles show, I’ve always been sympathetic to the plight of undocumented workers, but, frankly, it’s hard to argue with anti-immigration folks here (specifically in Oklahoma) on this particular point. Oklahoma, which is a borderline police state these days, has some of the highest incarceration rates in the nation, which leads the world in incarceration. We are number one in female incarceration and number four in male incarceration in the nation. Think about it. We imprison the most people (or close to it) in the world on a percentage basis. Virtually everyone in the state at least knows someone who has been in trouble with the law on some level. Why do citizens here have to obey laws and undocumented workers don’t? I ask you to consider this real-life narrative: Your nephew or brother is in an overcrowded, dilapidated Oklahoma jail because of his second DUI or whatever, and his life is ruined, but undocumented workers get little or no hassle and, even if caught, are simply deported and make their way back to the states. Where would you stand on the immigration issue given these circumstances?
All of this shows how the illegal immigration issue represents a major schism in the Republican Party. The GOP bigwigs, the money people, want the votes of both the growing Hispanic community and the law-and-order crowd, which actually includes people who have experienced the increasingly heinous and unfair American justice system in one form or another. (Few people note this fact when writing about this issue.) So the GOP political strategy deconstructs, and we’re left with all these GOP bigwigs—Bush, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, etc.—who want to throw everyone possible in jail with draconian laws and outlandish prison sentences, but cut slack for illegal immigrants because they drive down labor costs and weaken unionization initiatives. It also wants the campaign bucks from big business. But something has to give with the Big Brother Party of Bush and Cheney. The party’s fragile coalition, put together on lies and fear mongering, has reached a breaking point. The fiddling has begun.
The Oklahoman, the propaganda ministry for the Oklahoma Republican Party, probably correctly assumes few people here will note its inconsistency and hypocrisy because no one reads it anymore. The newspaper supports widespread amnesty for illegal immigrants and the crackpot, crazy “global-warming-is-a-hoax” senator who is supposedly against any type of amnesty. But is he really against amnesty for illegal immigrants, wink, wink? After all, the bloated, flushed-face Inhofe is the epitome of the traditional American Big Business Politician. This is deceitful and immoral, of course. The Daily Oklahoman is a monopoly business in the era of The Big Lie and The Corporation that abuses its power to keep this state from progressing. It does it intentionally so its owners can make more and more money. Will its lies come back to hurt the bottom line?
Calvey's Bushbot Letters From Iraq
Someone drew my attention to the Calvey in Iraq blog that is running in The Oklahoman these days. Kevin Calvey is a former state House representative now serving as a soldier in Iraq. He is a conservative Republican who ran for the U.S. House in 2006 and was trounced in the GOP primary.
Here’s the deal: The blog has nothing to do with Calvey’s actual service in Iraq. The blog is a right-wing political site. It supports, of course, Imperial President George Bush’s every decision about the gruesome Iraq occupation that drags on and on. (The occupation will go on until at least 2009, folks.) It echoes on every level the newspaper’s support for Bush’s immoral and botched occupation.
Look at Calvey’s May 22 blog. Here’s the beginning: “It feels every bit of 110 degrees today. Imagine the hottest hour of the hottest day in a hot Oklahoma summer, and you get some idea.
“Food service has slipped a bit of late, but is expected to be back to normal soon.”
Wow, that’s some interesting real-life stuff about Iraq, right? Frankly, I’m riveted. The “food service has slipped” information had me on pins and needles.
Here’s the rest of the blog:
”I came across this article from The Guardian, a left-wing but long-established British newspaper. I don't know why The Guardian would want to lie about Iranian involvement in Iraq.
“All signs point to this article being true. Iran will likely goad Iraqi terrorist groups into increased attacks this summer to persuade the anti-war defeatists in Congress to pull the troops out prematurely.
“And then Iran will step in.
“And when Iran steps in, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni nations, possibly including Turkey, will likely step in on the other side.
“The bloodbath which would follow will make the violence thus far in Iraq seem like child's play.”
All the posts follow this format: (1) A token sentence or two about the weather or food or some other innocuous subject. (2) Extreme, right-wing commentary about the occupation. Check it out. In the above post, he is writing about an article in The Guardian, not the day-to-day life of a soldier in Iraq, which could be interesting and valid.
You want to know why the Iraq occupation is a lost cause? Read Calvey's inane, simplistic political views. This is our new politicized, right-wing military, which sanctions torture and lots of collateral damage on the side. The unspoken slogan is this: "George Bush's ideology first; USA second." It's so terribly unpatriotic and ugly. It's fascist, really. Does Calvey have no sense of the larger view of American wars and their outcomes? Calvey, an officer, disgraces military tradition with his outspoken partisan views. But, well, that tradition of political neutrality may not even exist anymore.
Look at the polls. American people are sick to death of American right-wing military officers who have placed politics above our country's security. Here's the deal: Whenever the next Republican, jarhead, psycho, mean, angry, Bush-loving, flag-waving, uptight, corporate-sponsored, warmongering, fascist, retired or active officer comes on cable news to explain why we should continue the Iraq occupation and torture people, please turn the channel. These ugly, pathetic men are nothing more than Bush lapdogs who represent the demise of American democracy. These men probably fantasize about the American government becoming a military junta. (Oh, wait, a lot of people think this has already happened.) These freaks want to waterboard everyone.
Ultimately, what we have here is a right-wing extremist and American soldier in a military occupation writing political commentary heavily promoted and endorsed by the state’s largest newspaper, which doesn’t allow dissenting, patriotic views in its columns. And it’s all done under the lie Calvey is reporting on his experiences in Iraq. What sad trash, and yet another mark against one of the worst, biased newspapers in the world. What disgusting propaganda. No wonder people move from this place in droves.
Okie Funk again calls on the newspaper to open its columns to a real discussion of the Iraq occupation.