Progressive Democrat Newsletter 280
"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are...a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 11/8/54
Seems like the modern Republican Party and their Texas oil millionaire backers have forgotten the words of one of their best. Pity that the Eisenhower Republicans have lost out to the George Bush/Newt Gingrich extremists who now control the party.
Thanksgiving is always an ambivalent holiday for me. Basically I love Thanksgiving because it is a cooking/eating holiday which gives me full opportunities to express my culinary interests. I love coming up with creative Thanksgiving menus that reflect both the native foods of the Americas as well as the immigrant populations that settled here. I also like it because it is one of the foundation myths of the nation that gave my Jewish ancestors refuge from the pogroms and brownshirts of Europe. Without the foundation of America, my family would have almost certainly been killed off. Instead my Jewish ancestors came to first South America, then to the United States and within one generation became so integrated with America that one second generation Jew in my family was a famous baseball player in New York. Even my non-Jewish (Catholic and Lutheran) German ancestors found that their more democratic views (in the revolution of 1848) were safer in America than in Europe.
THAT is what Thanksgiving means to me. Good food and the memory of a safe haven for my ancestors who otherwise may well have died.
But that is only one half of the meaning of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was also the precursor to the genocide of the Native Americans. This is an uncomfortable aspect of the holiday that I have become accustomed to include in my celebrations. And this is included in this issue. But I also want to include an even more important analysis of this holiday in White Rabbit's Daily Kos diaries: Part I and Part II.
Please join me in celebrating both sides of this ambivalent holiday, the formation of a nation that welcomes refugees and immigrants, and the genocide of the native population. I create a feast that combines native and immigrant tastes and I donate to organizations that support the surviving Native Americans.
I also want to touch on an issue I covered in the last issue: corruption in government. The censure of Congressman Charles Rangel brought up the issue and I mentioned a list of the most corrupt members of Congress, 15 Republicans and 9 Democrats, including Rangel.
First I want to post Rangel's apology for what he did:
On Thursday I stood before the Ethics Committee who recommended that I receive censure for violating the House rules. I apologize for the embarrassment I have brought upon you.
I truly believe public officials have a higher responsibility than most Americans to obey the rules because we write them. There is no excuse for my acts of omission. All of this has been brought upon me as a result of my own mistakes.
There has never been any corruption or personal gain in my actions, as the Committee's chief counsel noted. Neither has there been any intent on my part to violate the House rules.
Even the Committee concluded: "Although prior Committee precedent for recommendation of censure involved many cases of direct financial gain, this Committee's recommendation for censure is based on the cumulative nature of the violations and not any direct financial personal gain."
However, the final decision on sanctions for violations of the House rules will be made by the full House of Representatives.
Thursday was one of the most difficult days of my life since I was left for dead in North Korea, sixty years ago. In the end, I hope that you would judge me on my entire record as a soldier and a dedicated public servant -- not only by my mistakes.
For fifty years in public service, I have had the honor to work with many of you to defend the disadvantaged and the voiceless. My commitment to you, our cause and to our country remains as strong as it ever has been.
Let's be clear. Rangel did wrong and deserved censure. It does seem, however, that even those who censured him admit that he did not do it for personal gain. Overall I think Rangel has been a good public servant, but even an otherwise good public servant has to hold him or her self to a high standard, and Rangel did not do that. Republicans never criticize even their most corrupt members. Democrats do. I think Rangel needs to step aside, maybe not now, but in the near future. Not everyone will agree with me there, but I think it is time for new blood in that district. I do not have a candidate in mind, but I hope the censure of Rangel will send the message to that district that the next Congressional representative from that district needs to be squeaky clean. I think this is extremely important.
As for the rest of the list of most corrupt Congressional Reps I posted, I was criticized for it because apparently that particular organization has a double standard, holding Democrats to a higher standard than Republicans. They do this to be bipartisan. I can say that the 15 Republicans they list ARE corrupt. Very corrupt. I have looked into their corruption in the past and can say that they deserve jail time. Here are those 15 very clearly corrupt Republicans:
* Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
* Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
* Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
* Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
* Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)
* Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA)
* Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
* Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
* Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA)
* Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
* Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA)
* Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY)
* Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
* Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH)
* Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
* Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
Let me be clear on these 15 people: they should be in jail and the Republicans should be ashamed of their acceptance of these sleaze. But this is just the tip of the iceburg regarding Republican Corruption. The most comprehensive, if somewhat hard to navagate and Christian focused, list of Republican sleaze can be found on the Liberals Like Christ website.
And a list of indicted Republican felons and their co-conspirators (up to 2008) can be found at Republican Offenders. The list is LONG and should be a HUGE embarassment to anyone claiming to be a Republican.
And SPEAKING OF CORRUPT REPUBLICANS: Former Republican Majority Leader Tom Delay Found Guilty of Money Laundering
Turning to Democratic corruption, it does exist. In fact here in Brooklyn it is one of the main things I focus on politically, fighting the local corrupt Party Boss Vito Lopez and his allies, Steve Levin and some of the local Working Families Party folks. But the extent of Democratic corruption, with the possible exceptions of Brooklyn, Louisiana and Illinois, is tiny compared with the massive levels of Republican corruption I mention above. As for the 9 Democrats mentioned in the list I posted last issue, Rangel is one of them, as are some Louisiana and Illinois Reps, but I was told that some of those 9 Democrats are largely innocent of any wrong doing and are on that list simply because there are so few corrupt Democrats compared with Corrupt Republicans that the non-partisan organization that put out the list had to strain to find even 9 Democrats to add to the list to go alongside the 15 unquestionably corrupt Republicans.
This may or may not be so. I do know that at least one of the Democrats they mention is someone I have met and used to pay attention to and she did NOT seem in any way corrupt from what I saw. So perhaps it is true that the Democrats on the list were not in the same category as the unquestionably corrupt Republicans. If I passed on unfair accusations, I apologize. At the same time, I do not want to excuse any Democrats for behavior I would criticize in a Republican. So I will keep my eye on that list of "most corrupt members of Congress," Democrats and Republicans. Because bottom line is I do not want to tolerate ANY corruption in the American political system. That is one way I differ from my Republican counterparts who never seem willing to criticize even their most sleazy allies.
Here is this week's newsletter:
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Latest from Current TV
Menu for Thanksgiving 2010
Republican Extremists Move to Kill Women
New York Focus: Green Power Switch
Manhattan, NY Focus
Brooklyn, NY Focus
Queens, NY Focus
Bronx, NY Focus
Rochester, NY Focus
Suffolk County, NY Focus
New York 19th District Focus: Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, and Westchester Counties
NEW YORK STATE FOCUS: Blogs, Alternative Energy, Groups and Events
California Focus: Green Power Switch
Orange County, CA Focus
Los Angeles, CA Focus
San Diego, CA Focus
California 11th District Focus: San Joaquin, Alameda and Santa Clara Counties
Northern California Focus: TAKE BACK RED CALIFORNIA
Southern California Grassroots Alliance
CALIFORNIA FOCUS: Blogs, Stonewall Democrats, Alternative Energy, Groups and Events
Washington State Focus: Green Power Switch
Washington State Dairies Investigate Antibiotic Use
Seattle/King County, WA Focus
Spokane County, WA Focus
Thurston County, WA Focus
WASHINGTON STATE FOCUS: Blogs, Alternative Energy, Native Vote, Groups and Events
New Jersey Focus: Green Power Switch
Passaic County, NJ Focus
Sussex County, NJ Focus
Warren County, NJ Focus
NEW JERSEY FOCUS: Blogs, Blogger Radio, Food Co-ops, NAACP, NJDC, Latino Leadership Alliance, Alternative Energy, Groups and Events
Colorado Focus: Green Power Switch
Denver, CO Focus
Boulder County, CO Focus
Larimer County, CO Focus
Douglas County, CO Focus
COLORADO FOCUS: Blogs, Food Co-ops, Recycling, Veterans for Peace, Native Vote, NJDC, Immigrant Rights, Alternative Energy, Groups and Events
Austin/Travis County, TX Focus
Houston/Harris County, TX Focus
Dallas County, TX Focus
Texas 10th District Focus: Bastrop, Lee, Burleson, Washington, Austin, Harris, Waller Counties
Texas 15th Congressional District Focus: Hidalgo, Brooks, Duval, Live Oak, Bee, Jim Wells, Karnes, DeWitt, Goliad, San Patricio, Refugio Counties
Texas 21st District Focus: Travis, Kerr, Real, Bandera, Kendall, Comal and Blanco Counties
TEXAS FOCUS: Blogs, Alternative Energy, Groups and Events
Virginia Focus: Green Power Switch
Charlottesville/Albemarle County, VA Foucus
Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania County, VA Focus
Stafford County, VA Focus
Hanover County, VA Focus
VIRGINIA FOCUS: Blogs, Food Co-ops, Energy and Agriculture, NAACP, Groups and Events
Florida Focus: Green Power Switch
Tampa/Hillsborough County, FL Focus
Orange County, FL Focus
Broward County, FL Focus
Pinellas County, FL Focus
FLORIDA FOCUS: Blogs, Equality, Alternative Energy, Groups and Events
Pennsylvania Focus: Green Power Switch
Philadelphia, PA Focus
PENNSYLVANIA FOCUS: Blogs, Alternative Energy, NAACP, Groups and Events
Michigan Focus: Green Power Switch
Detroit, MI Focus
MICHIGAN FOCUS: Blogs, Food Co-op, Native Vote, NAACP, Alternative Energy, Groups and Events
Minnesota Focus: Green Power Switch
Minneapolis, MN Focus
Olmsted County, MN Focus
MINNESOTA FOCUS: Blogs, The Minnesota Project, NAACP, Drinking Liberally
Nevada Focus: Green Power Switch
Las Vegas, NV Focus
NEVADA FOCUS: Blogs, Progressive Majority, Food Co-op, Alternative Energy, Groups and Events
Wisconsin Focus: Green Power Switch
Wisconsin Focus: Marla Stephens announces for Wisconsin Supreme Court
Milwaukee, WI Focus
Madison, WI Focus
WISCONSIN FOCUS: Blogs, Progressive Talk Radio, Biodiesel, Native Vote, NAACP, Alternative Energy, Groups and Events
Illinois Focus: Green Power Switch
Chicago/Cook County, IL Focus
ILLINOIS FOCUS: Blogs, Reform Illinois, Food Co-ops, Alternative Energy, NAACP, Hispanic PAC, Groups and Events
Georgia Focus: Green Power Switch
Atlanta, GA Focus
Coweta County, GA Focus
Fayette County, GA Focus
GEORGIA FOCUS: Blogs, Alternative Energy, NAACP, Groups and Events
Arizona Focus: Green Power Switch
Phoenix/Maricopa County, AZ Focus
ARIZONA FOCUS: Blogs, Food Co-ops, Alternative Energy, Native Vote, NAACP, NJDC, Groups and Events
North Carolina Focus: Green Power Switch
North Carolina Focus: NC-5 District Focus (Stokes County, Statesville, Surrey County, Iredell County, Watauga County, Yadkin County)
NORTH CAROLINA FOCUS: Blogs, Biodiesel, Alternative Energy, NAACP, Veterans for Peace, Groups and Events
Iowa Focus: Green Power Switch
Focusing on my father's hometown: Davenport/Scott County, IA Focus
IOWA FOCUS: Blogs, Food Co-ops, NAACP, Alternative Energy, Sustainable Agriculture, Groups and Events
TENNESSEE FOCUS: Blogs, Groups and Organizations, NAACP, Biodiesel, Food Co-ops
KANSAS FOCUS: Blogs, Biodiesel, NAACP, Food Co-ops, Groups and Events
Oklahoma County, OK Focus
SOUTH CAROLINA FOCUS