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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

  • Help end world hunger
  • Sunday, January 16, 2011

    Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 285

    Everyone's talking about jobs...well, let's look at the bottom line, comparing Bush vs. President Obama:

    The pattern is unmistakable: the Bush Republicans were killing jobs and President Obama has been creating them. There is no doubt about it. Now the Bush Republicans in the House are trying to return to the exact same policies that killed jobs. Seems amazingly stupid to me.

    Of course the big political story was the assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. I have been talking for years now about the dangers of the extremist rhetoric of hate coming from the right wing almost daily, though not just trash media outlets like Fox News but also from the mouths of supposedly respected Republican politicians. This rhetoric has already led to scattered violence as well as many threats of violence. Often, though not always, there is a measure of racism or anti-Semitism or anti-Islam behind the hate rhetoric. But it is also directed against any politician who doesn't buy into the racist, extremist views of the modern Republican Party. I have written about this before as have others. It isn't new.

    It remains uncertain to what degree this right wing hate rhetoric influenced the seemingly mentally ill man who shot Congresswoman Giffords. But it is within the violent climate generated by the violent right wing rhetoric aired frequently on Fox News and right wing talk radio as well as from the mouths of Republican politicians.

    Let's be absolutely clear. No major left wing pundit, including Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, have ever called for a violent act. Not once. Unlike Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly. Not once has Senator Al Franken or former Congressman Alan Grayson called for any kind of violence...unlike Republicans Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann. In this kind of polarized, hate-filled climate, almost exclusively fueled by the right wing Republicans, political violence is inevitable.

    I have my doubts that the shootings in Tucson will change this. The right wing have NOTHING except hatred and violence to offer. Their trickle down economic policies are a failure. Their "Axis of Evil" foreign policy is a failure. Their border fence is a failure. So all they have is their anger and their hatred. And Fox News makes all its money feeding and feeding on that anger and hatred.

    I just hope there remain a handful of sane Republicans who openly and strongly come out against the Fox News rhetoric of hate.

    One of the best expressions of what has gone wrong in America was made by Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, the sheriff who is handling the case locally:

    The key quote:

    When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And, unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the Capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.

    Let me end with the statements from two of Congresswoman Gifford's colleagues whose emails I received soon after the shooting. I think they sum things up well.

    Here is the touching comment from former Congressman Alan Grayson on the shooting:

    A reporter called me a little while ago, and told me that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had been shot at a public event. She is in critical condition.

    I'm going to let others comment on what this means for America. I just want to say what it means to me.

    Gabrielle Giffords and I served together on the House Committee on Science and Technology. She was the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, and I was a member of that subcommittee. Her D.C. office was one floor above mine.

    I saw Gabby dozens, if not hundreds of times, during our two years together. And nearly every time that I can remember, she was smiling.

    Gabby is one of the most cheerful, charming and engaging people I have ever known. She's always looking on the bright side. She has something good to say about pretty much everyone. Bad news never lays a glove on her. She loves life, and all the people in it.

    No matter what is going on in your life, after fifteen minutes with Gabby, you'll feel that you can touch the stars.

    Everyone knew that Gabby would have a tough race in 2010. (She actually won with 49% of the vote.) But I always thought that if each of her constituents could spend that fifteen minutes with her, and see what she is really like, then she would win with 99.9% of the vote. (Same thing about Harry Teague of New Mexico, who lost, and a few others that I could name.) You would want her as your Congressman, because you would want her as your friend.

    I know nothing about the man who shot Gabby, and what was going through his mind when he did this. But I will tell you this - if he shot Gabby out of hatred, then it wasn't Gabby he was shooting, but rather some cartoon version of her, drawn by her political opposition. Because there is no way - NO WAY - that anyone who really knows Gabby could hate her or hurt her. She is a kind, gentle soul.

    My heart goes out to Mark Kelly, Gabby's husband, and the many, many people who love her. Gabby, we don't want to lose you. Please stay here with us.

    And here is the comment from Congressman from Arizona, Raul Grijalva (who, like Congresswoman Giffords, has also been a target of right wing republican hate rhetoric):

    Yesterday’s tragic events in Tucson have left many of us shaken and numb. Our thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, her staff, the other victims of this madness, and their families. While we mourn the departed, we are relieved to hear that the medical staff is cautiously optimistic about Congresswoman Giffords’ recovery after surgery, and we hope for a full recovery for all those wounded.

    Our country must pull together in this terrible time and remember that, while we may have our differences, we are all privileged to call this nation home and live in the company of each other. The human element is often overlooked in the fiery rhetoric that has dominated the political discourse for the past few years. The pervasiveness of hyperbole and outlandish accusations, designed to obfuscate the line between reality and twisted fantasy, inhibits a rational discussion of issues, differences and common ground, and the best way to move forward together.

    We need to set the example.

    We can disagree in a way that is not mean spirited, hateful and so full of anger that people feel that they have some sort of permission to treat their elected officials as expendable. How we debate, and how that discourse happens, must contribute to a place where civility and tolerance help us rise above that which divides us.

    We must not allow our humanity and our civility to be marginalized by vitriol and abuse. If our empathy and appreciation for each other disappear from our discourse, our society and our future will be at risk...

    Another thing to be very clear about, political violence in America is almost EXCLUSIVELY committed by the right wing. For a rundown of the history of political violence in America, check out this website (not updated recently) from Liberals Like Christ.

    Finally, go here for a very moving story of the moment Gabrielle Giffords first opened her eyes since the shooting and tried to hug her husband.

    Here is this week's newsletter:


    Liberals Strike Back in 2012

    More Lessons from Germany

    Continued from last issue: Liberal Shopping/Consumer Guide

    Also continued from last issue: Top Democratic and Republican Donors in 2010

    From Daily Kos: Health insurance reform measures that kicked in this month...The health care bill may not have gone as far as we would like, but there are still some damned good things in it and some are already in effect.

    Also from Daily Kos: CONFIRMED: New Study Proves That Fox News Makes You Stupid

    California Focus: Green Power Switch

    Los Angeles, CA Focus

    Orange County, CA Focus

    San Diego, CA Focus

    Silicon Valley Area, CA Focus

    California 11th District Focus: San Joaquin, Alameda and Santa Clara Counties

    Northern California Focus: TAKE BACK RED CALIFORNIA

    Southern California Grassroots Alliance


    NYC FOCUS: Walmart is trying to invade us again

    New York Focus: Green Power Switch

    Manhattan, NY Focus

    Brooklyn, NY Focus

    Queens, NY Focus

    Suffolk County, NY Focus

    Rochester, NY Focus

    New York 19th District Focus: Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, and Westchester Counties


    Florida Focus: Green Power Switch

    Tampa/Hillsborough County, FL Focus

    Orange County, FL Focus

    Broward County, FL Focus

    Pinellas County, FL Focus


    Austin/Travis County, TX Focus

    Dallas County, TX Focus

    Houston/Harris County, TX Focus

    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


    Wisconsin Focus: Green Power Switch

    Milwaukee, WI Focus

    Madison, WI Focus


    Virginia Focus: Green Power Switch

    Charlottesville/Albemarle County, VA Focus

    Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania County, VA Focus

    Stafford County, VA Focus

    Hanover County, VA Focus


    New Jersey Focus: Green Power Switch

    Sussex County, NJ Focus

    Passaic County, NJ Focus

    Warren County, NJ Focus

    New Jersey 7th Congressional District Focus


    Minnesota Focus: Green Power Switch

    Minneapolis, MN Focus

    Olmsted County, MN Focus


    Michigan Focus: Green Power Switch

    Detroit, MI Focus


    Arizona Focus: Green Power Switch

    Phoenix/Maricopa County, AZ Focus


    Colorado Focus: Green Power Switch

    Denver, CO Focus

    Boulder County, CO Focus

    Larimer County, CO Focus

    Douglas County, CO Focus


    Washington State Focus: Green Power Switch

    Seattle/King County, WA Focus

    Spokane County, WA Focus

    Thurston County, WA Focus


    Illinois Focus: Green Power Switch

    Illinois Focus: Democratic Accomplishments Highlighted by Bill Foster

    Chicago/Cook County, IL Focus


    Pennsylvania Focus: Green Power Switch

    Philadelphia, PA Focus

    Lancaster Co. PA Focus



    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 11th District (Cherokee, Graham, Clay, Macon, Swain, Jackson, Transylvania, Haywood, Madison, Buncombe, Henderson, Polk Counties)


    Georgia Focus: Green Power Switch

    Atlanta, GA Focus

    Coweta County, GA Focus

    Fayette County, GA Focus


    Nevada Focus: Green Power Switch

    Las Vegas, NV Focus



    Tennessee Focus: Green Power Switch


    Oklahoma County, OK Focus

    Iowa Focus: Green Power Switch

    Davenport/Scott County, IA Focus


    Arkansas 1st Congressional District Focus

    Arkansas 3rd Congressional District Focus


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