Merry Little Christmas Now

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Let your heart be light

Next year all our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Make the yuletide gay

Next year all our troubles will be miles away

Once again as in olden days

Happy golden days of yore

Faithful friends who are dear to us

Will be near to us once more

Someday soon, we all will be together

If the fates allow

Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow

So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

Composed by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane in 1943.

[UPDATE: A comment motivated me to look harder for a complete online version of the original Judy Garland version. I found a fine take. It was recorded soon after the film for which it was written, Meet Me in St. Louis, became a big hit. So presumably the lyrics are accurate. I changed two words above to reflect the lyrics as sung.]

It’s about the megaphone

A recent analysis by Orcinus points out that:

People listen to their radios a lot in rural America. Maybe it has something to do with the silence of the vast landscapes where many of them live; radios break that silence, and provide the succor of human voices.

If you drive through these landscapes, getting radio reception can sometimes be iffy at best, especially in the rural West. Often the best you can find on the dial are only one or two stations.

And the chances are that what you’ll hear, at nearly any hour, in nearly any locale, is Rush Limbaugh. Or Michael Savage. Or maybe some Sean Hannity. Or maybe some more Limbaugh. Or, if you’re really desperate, you can catch one of the many local mini-Limbaughs who populate what remains of the rural dial. In between, of course, there will be a country music station or two.

That’s what people in rural areas have been listening to for the past 10 years and more. And nothing has been countering it.

This is no casual observation. The lack of a balancing voice in rural radio allows the radical right hatred propaganda machine to work. Just ask your grandparents what it was like to live during the War, listening to the radio as your primary source of news. We need a permanent, progressive rural radio voice. (We have enough in the blue states already.) And not a satyrical one, but a deadly serious one that speaks to the concerns of the heartland, that promotes compassion rather than hate, that debunks the venom that corrodes the soul.

Back to business

So they won the election on fear and phony piety. But it doesn’t take them long to get back to the real agenda — in this case the never-ending pursuit of cheap labor, regardless of consequences.

And if you think it’s just the repugs, don’t be naive. All too many dems have their hands out to the cheap labor lobby, too. So, today, use the “Take Action Now” gizmo at the FAIRUS link above and let your representatives know that you will do your best to destroy their careers if they continue to destroy yours.

I just used the FAIRUS web site to send a fax to Pelosi, Boxer and Feinstein. It took about 90 seconds. Maybe I saved your job. Pass it on.

Compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness

Howard Zinn:

We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. Even when we don’t “win,” there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that we have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile. We need hope. An optimist isn’t necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places-and there are so many-where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

(Un) Civil War

After the devastation of November 2nd… what? I think both solace and challenge are necessary. Lately I have found the most solace in the reflection that destruction is in the nature of things, and always gives rise to the unexpected and to renewal in some form. Let’s say Rove is successful in his nefarious scheme to deprive the Democrats of a base, by crushing all the prosperous groups that make up that base – trial lawyers, for example. Let’s say we as Democrats are crushed all the way down to the level of the common people – by that I mean that no major industry could advance its interests by backing our candidates, or giving us money. Such a disaster would give the party tremendous clarity about where its political interests and heart really lie. From that disaster a new pro-labor, pro-social welfare, stripped down, lean and mean fighting machine party would arise.

Now to the challenge.

The day after the defeat I read on Andrew Sullivan: “…the most fundamental fact of this campaign – and one of the reasons that it has been so bitter – is that we are at war. Our opponents at home are not our enemies.”

Ah… not our enemies? By one definition, my enemy is one who tries to deprive me of life, liberty, or my pursuit of happiness. To enlarge the circle, my enemy is one who tries to wreck my future and the future of my family and community.

I posted a couple of weeks ago about the Natl. Science Foundation study that found that 18,000 Americans die every year because they lack health insurance. Most of us are one or two layoffs away from such a loss. By whose ‘moral values’ is the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans over a decade unimportant? In addition we are facing the bankrupting of the Federal Government at the hands of the Rethuglicans, whose congress is nothing more than a looting machine for the special interests. (So much for conservatism, southern style!) What impact on the blue states will such policies have? How many citizens who are not represented in this government will die? How many will have their futures devastated?

I was talking to a friend about the possible bankrupting of social security and she said, “Don’t think it can’t happen. I was in Argentina when the streets filled with eighty year olds banging on pots because they didn’t have anything to eat.” In the Rethuglican Congress, social security is on the block because the same crew that brought us free market health care and the California debacle of energy deregulation wants to play with the retirement funds of millions of working Americans. This is an attack on we-the-people. It must be fought.

There has been much talk about how Democrats should work up an appeal to red states that caters to red state concern for moral values. I think there is much to be said for clarifying, strengthening, and developing a rhetoric for our values. We need to bring poetry and passion into our politics. But we should not be pandering to those who have chosen to sell out their future and the future of their children by kissing the ass of the ruling class. If this is ‘values’ let them have it.

Our situation demands honesty as a first principle, not pandering. The red states are by and large centers of poverty, not entrepreneurial culture, higher education, science and the arts. Our blue state tax dollars support their failures. Now they are going to try to drive the country down to the economic and cultural level of Alabama and East Texas, and they can do this because rural areas are over-represented at the Federal level.

I think the Rethuglican voters – neighbors, friends, relatives – need to know how we feel. We need to begin Democratic soul-searching with a fearless embrace of our interests. We must put our families and communities first. Liberal politics has been saturated with guilt and a lack of confidence that comes from striving to be good yet having doubt about what that means. This era, I suspect, will fade, because it is not our ‘goodness’ that is at stake, but indeed our survival.

Thom Hartmann

It’s never been about the technology. It’s this:

Why have we let corporations into our polling places, locations so sacred to democracy that in many states even international election monitors and reporters are banned? Why are we allowing corporations to exclusively handle our vote, in a secret and totally invisible way? Particularly a private corporation founded, in one case, by a family that believes the Bible should replace the Constitution; in another case run by one of Ohio’s top Republicans; and in another case partly owned by Saudi investors?

Of all the violations of the commons – all of the crimes against We The People and against democracy in our great and historic republic – this is the greatest. Our vote is too important to outsource to private corporations.

Damned

Digby has the kernel of it all:

My question is this. Is there any combination of issues upon which we Democrats could accomodate these people that doesn’t include backing anti-gay measures like that? In other words, as long as the Democratic party believes in equal rights for gay people is there a snowball’s chance in hell that we will be able to tear the religious vote away from the party that doesn’t with outreach to “heartland values?”

I doubt it. In fact, I think that we are talking about a wedge issue that is insurmountable. Civil rights are a fundamental matter of principle, not a position on specific programs or tax cut legislation. And I don’t see any possibility that we will be able to make inroads with people who believe that homosexuality is a sin as a matter of bedrock religious belief. We can field a candidate who runs a campaign like a tent revival, but this is one of those issues that can’t be finessed. As long as we believe in the separation of church and state and back civil rights for gays we are not going to get the conservative Christian vote. We just aren’t.

Welcome to the neo-sixties. They’ve found a replacement for race as a wedge. White bigotry has been less effective as a sure-fire winner for them (though still much more significant than is believed by a lot of people who should know better). Gay hatred will give them a good ride, probably not as durable a ride as white racism, but certainly as intense. And as a cute side-benefit it even attracts some of the people they supposedly just got over hating (blacks, hispanics) to their path.

There has never been any choice for us. We could not abandon civil rights, even as the original Southern Strategy proved LBJ’s prediction of a generation of Democratic losses. And we can’t abandon civil rights now. Before we’re tempted by the prospect of repugnant and utterly useless sexual Sister Souljah moments, ask yourself how proud you are today of that kind of shameful pandering a decade ago. There’s only one message to bigots: Fuck you. If you ever become a decent human being, give me a call.

If that means we lose for another decade or more, so be it. If they take us all the way to the corporate manorialism they clearly want, so be it. Maybe that’s what a country this stupid, this bloody-minded, this religiously insane, and this hate-obsessed deserves. Too damned bad.

Clear-eyed

A diarist at Daily Kos has the clearest view of anything I’ve read. In case you don’t get it, these people are imune to persuasion. Optimism in the face of this is not easy for me. Not at all.

This is not about Republicans or Democrats.

This is not about the war.

This is not about the economy.

This is not even about counting the votes.

This is the final step in the 20-year creeping coup by the theocrats, the Dominionists.

Read the rest.