Tag Archives: Civics

Every July 4 . . .

. . .  we celebrate our independence. Because 238 years ago a brave group of revolutionaries threw off a colonial power. That’s something that has happened around the world many times – both before and since. But . . .

. . . I think our greater achievement is this: for 225 years we have maintained a continuity of government (even in war), peacefully transferring power (that one’s just since Washington to Adams, so 214 years) over and over . That’s a testament to the brilliance of our constitution and our continuing respect for it. Good for us!

Justice Ginsberg should reconsider this . . .

She says she won’t be retiring during Obama’s term. Her call, but . . . look at the ages in the chart below . . .  in 2017, four justices will be 80 or over (okay, Breyer will be only 79). I think that makes 2016 the most significant presidential election in decades. Whichever party wins could have the opportunity to replace four of Justices, especially if it’s an 8-year term. Perhaps five; Thomas will be 75 in ’21.

Right now, the Court is lopsided enough with six Catholics and three Jews. And three of them come from New York City – not just the State, the City – and two are from Trenton NJ in the same metro area.

  • Kagan is from NY, NY (Manhattan)
  • Sotomayor is from the Bronx NY
  • Ginsberg from Brooklyn NY
  • Scalia AND Alito from Trenton NJ
  • and even though it’s not quite the same, Roberts is from Buffalo NY

scotus age

East Coast storms and Oklahoma storms: totally not the same thing

coburninhofeFederal assistance to Oklahoma? Duane notes that its two Senators (Inhofe and Coburn) aren’t too sure about that Federal funding stuff in theory. They didn’t want to step in after Sandy and they’re always trying to defund FEMA. But here’s what Inhofe had to say this morning on the teevee:

JANSING: You know there were a number of people along the East Coast who weren’t happy about your vote on Hurricane Sandy . . . you said the request for funding was a “slush fund.” . . .  is there money to help the people here in your home state rebuild?

INHOFE: Well, let’s look at that. That was totally different . . .

Yup. Totally different. I get that.

What Inhofe and Coburn don’t seem to grasp – well,  here, Duane says it best:

Yet despite the efforts of Inhofe and Coburn, the FEMA trucks will show up in Oklahoma throughout today and beyond. Those trucks are representatives of the American people, most of whom live far, far away from Moore.

Let me repeat that: Those trucks are representatives of the American people.

We can, however, take some comfort that both of the esteemed Senators, while not crazy about that food and rescue equipment part, did ask for prayers.

You may know that Duane lives in Joplin MO and two years ago a tornado devastated Joplin; 161 people died. His post a few days later is one I’ve never forgotten and it still touches me. Read it. That’s probably pretty close to what they’re feeling in Moore OK about now. It begins:

Sunday evening, before the onset of the cruel aftershocks that continue to pummel our devastated city with remorseless storms and rescue-impeding rains, my youngest son and I undertook a journey to a destination he—a high school student and baseball player—seemed desperate to see.

He wanted to go to his school.

Read the rest.

The year in review?

In a comment thread below, reader Jim Wheeler – a thoughtful and sassy man with whom I share certain generational allegiances – offers some new bumper stickers for 2012. Roll the presses . . .

“Guns don’t kill people, they make it easier to kill a lot more people.”

“I can’t fathom that I live in a society that considers gun ownership to be a right, but health care to be a privilege.”

Got any more?

Let us entertain you

This exchange is from a chat below with Jim Wheeler on the state of the media. I’m sharing it here because my reply to Jim pretty much summarizes my  own evaluation of the current state of TV “news”.  (Also because copy/paste is this lazy woman’s way of posting some thoughts even from my current land of Unbloggistan.) I agree with everything Jim said.

JIM: Faux News is solidly in the grip of conservative politicians, and those politicians are solidly in the grip of corporations. That includes not only the Military Industrial Complex and the Medical Industrial Complex, but also Big Energy, a,k.a. Big Oil and Big Coal. Thus we are seeing the ramifications of the Citizens United SCOTUS decision made real in what we used to think of as television journalism but which has now become a form of corporate oligarchy. Profit trumps environment and the future is never more than one fiscal quarter away.

MOE: The traditional network news shows are just shells, filling their 21 minutes a night with a few headlines, some syndicated video and a few press releases from the likes of Big Pharma or the military about cool new things. CNN is useless; they simply do an awful job (and until they remove Wolf Blitzer from the air, I cannot watch). FOX, as you say, is indeed in a class by itself, happily acting as transmitter of whatever meme suits that oligarchy. And of course, changing the narrative as instructed and  doing it with absolute aplomb. MSNBC started out well, but seem now to be doing the ‘outrage of the day’, all day. Even so, they still have some good shows, Chris Hayes weekend show being the very best because it’s’ not the same old people, and is always about things that aren’t talked about elsewhere.

That said, my secret vice is still Chris Matthews. I cannot quit him. He’s frequently fact-challenged or ignorant of the current state of a story, but the guy is passionate, loves politics, loves the minutia of government and knows his political history unlike anyone else on air. I forgive him a great deal because of that.

Ultimately, we agree that since the majority of people get their information from TV, it’s not looking to good for the future – an ignorant citizenry, no sense of civics . . . it’s all Monday Niight Football.

Well done John McCain. For that, we’ll get off your lawn

Stand back McCarthy! (and where are Walsh and Wilson?)

John McCain is still that old guy down the street who yells at you. He is still the guy who was willing to risk this country in Sarah Palin’s hands. And he is too enamored of war for my comfort.

Another thing John McCain is? He is one damn stand-up guy.

What’s remarkable about this is that it is remarkable. Where were his colleagues? Who else spoke as forcibly? And publicly? Good on him.  (video posted thanks to Orhan who once again came to the rescue.)

The timeless truth

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.     – Margaret Mead

Irish President lectures a Tea Partier and in so doing pays homage to the America I grew up in.

From Kay this morning:

If my Irish father were still alive, he’d be bursting with pride in Irish President Michael D. Higgins. As am I – for both his sentiments and because  he speaks in clear full sentences and doesn’t pause for applause, something that is absent in our country today. Our public political languages are now Bumpersticker and Gasbaggery. We have no orators.

I especially like his outrage at our moral failure regarding health care.

USA! USA! USA!

I don’t know the date of these issues, but they’re current. I’ve posted a few (see here and here). It breaks my heart. And it’s not that Time magazine thinks we’re shallow. It’s that they know we’re shallow. Magazine cover choices are entirely about selling copies. The hard facts of the real world don’t seem to sell very well here. And Time knows that.

“$$$$$$$$” they said. And that was that.

There’s an interesting comment thread going on at The Erstwhile Conservative that has moved into a discussion of how tribal we are and what are the possibilities for electoral reform to fix our broken government.

Jim Wheeler and I were chatting about things like redistricting . I’d just said that I was not hopeful we’d ever be able to repair what’s broken in our government. And this came out:

Ironically though, I think it’s the venerable First Amendment that will ultimately stand in the way, and render us helpless against the poisonous effect of corporate money and obscene levels of lobbying. That’s one of the reasons I’m not hopeful.

I think that’s true – that sacred instrument that has protected our speech for nearly 250 years is finally the weapon being used to destroy our institutions and ultimately our government. Whatever is left once they finish the dirty job, it’s not likely to include a right to free speech.

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month

And with that, WWI was over. Until the next time.

Today is Veterans’ Day. And it is the 35th day of the 11th year of the War in Afghanistan.

I hope SCOTUS can see this from the office windows

From Bartcop:

New quote

Just added to the QUOTES page:

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” 
                                Frederick Douglas

A lesson from history. I doubt it’s lost on Obama.

The video below is the panel discussion on a pending government shutdown from PBS’ Washington Week show broadcast on November 17, 1995. It’s a fascinating example of the old adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.

The arguments were very much the same as today. The debt was a huge issue for the public; the debt clock had just been erected in Times Square and Ross Perot ran for President on the problem of the debt – he got almost 20% of the vote, which for a third party candidate in this country is enormous.

In that debate fifteen years ago – as seen by politicians and pundits –  Clinton was seen as a compromiser and Gingrich as strong and unmovable. Gingrich’s House had made ‘compromise’ a dirty word which pleased the base in those days. The House Republican freshmen and sophomores were largely new and from outside government. They ran on standing firm about the budget and  social issues, which were more dominant than today – the Religious Right had serious power.

The final outcome? Clinton won the public’s vote; at the end of the battle, he was more popular than he’d been when it began. Republican numbers plummeted and the journey to Gingrich’s ultimate disgrace had begun. Of course, neither Newt nor his congress were done. They went on to impeach Clinton, but he came out of that one even more popular.

Bill Clinton not only bested Gingrich – he beat the national debt too.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Yeah, but we have a kick ass military

Newsweek just published one of those How Dumb Are We articles that seem to pop up every few years. We Americans never do very well, especially compared with the rest of the First World.

For as long as they’ve existed, Americans have been misunderstanding checks and balances and misidentifying their senators. . . .  the yearly shifts in civic knowledge since World War II have averaged out to slightly under one percent.

This time the magazine surveyed 1000 people and the 100 questions were from the current test for US Citizenship. It seems most of us would fail. I tried to take the quiz and got up to #28 (of 100 questions), but honestly, the process is painfully slow so I just quit. Each question is on its own screen, then another screen for the answer which also shows the scores of the people surveyed. It was depressing:

  • 70% of Americans don’t know what is the supreme law of the land
  • 86% don’t know how many members of the House of Representatives
  • 61% have no idea how long a Senator serves
  • 63% don’t know how many justices on the Supreme Court
  • 87% don’t know that the economic system in the US is capitalism
  • 81% couldn’t name one of the enumerated powers of the Federal Government
  • 73% couldn’t name the US enemy in the Cold War

Oddly, a full 58% do know that the Speaker of the House is third in line for the Presidency.

The accompanying article, in making the point that Americans have always been ill informed about their own government and country, said that now, however,  “the world has changed. And unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more inhospitable to incurious know-nothings—like us.”

In fairness, they describe some of the mitigating factors that contribute to why we fare so poorly against other developed nations,  especially in Europe.

Most experts agree that the relative complexity of the U.S. political system makes it hard for Americans to keep up. In many European countries, parliaments have proportional representation, and the majority party rules without having to share power with a lot of subnational governments . . .  In contrast, we’re saddled with a nonproportional Senate; a tangle of state, local, and federal bureaucracies; and near-constant elections for every imaginable office. . . It doesn’t help that the United States has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the developed world . . . we have a lot of very poor people without access to good education, and a huge immigrant population that doesn’t even speak English.

If you have the patience to take the test (here) let us know how you did.

Lawmakers on the lam!

A NOTE AFTER THE FACT: My post below fails to note  that this Wisconsin fight isn’t capital vs. labor. It’s different in that the private sector isn’t involved. But the sentiment doesn’t change – there’s been an assault on labor (you and me!) for decades.

I see Wisconsin* State Democratic legislators have taken to the road to prevent a quorum vote on a budget cutting bill because if they stayed in the State they could be legally compelled to attend a session. So they’ve removed themselves from the jurisdiction, It’s all over the news; here is a good place to keep up on it – from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Those ladies and gents in Madison are following in the footsteps of giants. In the footsteps of Texans, that is.

May, 2003. Memories . . .  

“With action in the Texas House brought to a standstill, roughly 50 state Democratic representatives said they would remain in neighboring Oklahoma “as long as it takes” to block a Republican-drawn redistricting plan that could cost them five seats in Congress.  “There’s 51 of us here today, and a quorum of the Texas House of Representatives will not meet without us,” said state Rep. Jim Dunnam.

The 2003 Texas stampede to Oklahoma inspired  Mr. Thomas Delay himself to exert a little  unlawful  pressure on State authorities to travel over those state lines. Which was bad. Bad, bad, bad, even though those miscreant lawmakers (who’d found themselves a nice motel with a good pool table as I recall) had surely annoyed Mr. Delay, he probably wishes he hadn’t done it. Because that was one of the things for which Mr. Delay was investigated and indicted. Ah, hubris.)

Good times. Who says politics is dull?

* ALSO:  It would be interesting if this centuries old capital/labor battle were to be fought on the home ground of the last century’s greatest progressive, Robert LaFollette. These guys forget that the ‘right to collective bargaining’ was established after much blood had been spilled, and the parties realized that talking was better than shooting.

 (The tension of course never went entirely away and there has always been a faction that would destroy ‘labor’ – actually they want the laborers, they just don’t want uppity folk looking over their shoulders to see if safety is being observed or if wages are fair.)

Meet the cyber citizen

As of today, Wikileaks is being mirrored on over 1550 sites worldwide. The numbers are still growing. Meanwhile, thousands of hackers have jumped in to punish those companies who seem to be bowing before Joe Lieberman.

This is more than drama. It’s a harbinger of some unknown thing to come. Something new is happening; segments of society that haven’t tried to move anything before are flexing their muscles and they like how it feels.

This episode is introducing something into our lives that will remain – the cyber citizen has arrived I think.

The Giving Pledge

Capitalism’s giants. Self-made billionaires. American folk heroes. Embodiments of the American dream.  Civicly engaged. Deeply generous. Liberals all.

Warren Buffett, Ted Turner, Bill Gates

watching them now from this morning’s This Week show.

Git yer gol-durn gubmint outta mah flu shot

Your lazy and distracted blogger – ME – is temporarily reduced to the borrow/steal method of posting. If all goes well, I shall resume regular blogging shortly.

Meanwhile, I just picked this up at The Conservative Lie. A fine construct describing one of my favorite subjects.

    This morning I, an American conservative, was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

    I then took a shower in the clean water provided by a municipal water utility.

    After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC-regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like, using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    I watched this while eating my breakfast of U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    At the appropriate time, as regulated by the U.S. Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Naval Observatory, I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-approved automobile and set out to work on the roads built by the local, state, and federal Departments of Transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank.

    On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the U.S. Postal Service and drop the kids off at the public school.

    After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and Fire Marshal’s inspection, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the local police department.

    And then I log on to the internet — which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration — and post on Freerepublic.com and Fox News forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can’t do anything right.

Our pit bull is down

I’ll miss my rude, impetuous and utterly sincere Florida Congressman Alan Grayson. Predictably, after being targeted for defeat by the national Republican party, he went down tonight. He made them nuts. But he sure was fun.

Meanwhile, the election winds down and all the jibberers are jabbering. And unremarked still, today is the 27th day of the tenth year of the War in Afghanistan.

We truly are doomed

And this is why:

Chrsitine O’Donnell was the most covered candidate in 2010

Election Day, dear Election Day

I love Election Day, always have. I grew up with a political father, who served in town government and was politically engaged all his life. My grandfather was chairman of the Democratic Party a few towns over. My cousins’ grandfather was chairman of the Republican Party in that same town. My New York grandfather owned a bar and poured drinks for those Irish politicians of legend. He ‘had the acquaintance of’ (archaic expression) James J. Walker, an utterly  charming and corrupt Democratic mayor of NYC so fabled, Broadway sang his song. My family were political animals.

So I love Election Day.

Most people here seem to vote early now. Election Day at the polls has become quiet, too quiet. I miss the hustle. I miss knowing we’re all gathered for the same purpose on the same day.

I’d dearly like to see changes in how we manage this most important civic activity. Polls should be open for one full 24-hour weekend day (some working people have a very hard time voting and that’s very wrong). No returns should be public until all returns are in – all the way to Hawaii. And, along with CNN, we would just have to wait.

(And empower aposse every year to drive around town and pull up all the election signs the next day!

We need some reforms. We do indeed. Still, I love Election Day.

You know the line: “Move along, nothing to see here”

While America-the-people wallows in mid-term election grizzlies and gossip, America-the-country is dissolving around us. I heard the top dog of Tea Party Express on CSpan this morning say that the movement (as usual) is about stopping any new taxes and reducing the deficit. It’s nonsense: contradictory goals – a waste of his breath and the airtime. But sadly people believe it’s possible.

It’s not. And 30 years of deregulation and insufficient taxation – and a growing belief that in fact raising taxes is to practically trample on the Constitution and side with the terrorists – have brought us to a sorry state of affairs. While we subsidize everything that ends up costing us in the long run – sugar, gasoline, corn syrup, highways etc., our infrastructure and our educational credentials (see next post) are falling apart.

It’s as though we’re trying to devolve.

Bob Herbert today (my new favorite columnist) talks about water systems.

” . . the truth is that the nation’s water systems are in sorry shape — deteriorating even as the population grows and demand increases. Aging and corroded pipes are bursting somewhere every couple of minutes. Dilapidated sewer systems are contaminating waterways and drinking water. Many local systems are so old and inadequate — in some cases, so utterly rotten — that they are overwhelmed by heavy rain. “

“If this were a first-class society we would rebuild our water systems to the point where they would be the envy of the world, and that would bolster the economy in the bargain. But that would take maturity and vision and effort and sacrifice, all of which are in dismayingly short supply right now.”

“Improving water systems — and infrastructure generally, if properly done — would go a long way toward improving the nation’s dismal economic outlook . . . . every dollar invested in water and sewer improvements has the potential to increase the long-term gross domestic product by more than six dollars. Hundreds of thousands of jobs would be created . . .

“The nation’s network of water systems was right at the bottom of the latest infrastructure grades handed out by the American Society of Civil Engineers, receiving a D-minus. Jeffrey Griffiths, a member of the federal government’s National Drinking Water Advisory Council, told The Times: “We’re relying on water systems built by our great-grandparents, and no one wants to pay for the decades we’ve spent ignoring them. There’s a lot of evidence that people are getting sick. But because everything is out of sight, no one really understands how bad things have become.”

But the gays and the terrorists are out to get us. So there’s really no time for this stuff.

This is a massive failure of government at every level, a failure of both parties. Ultimately however, it’s our own failure.

You get what you ask for. (Of course we’ve managed to convince people to pay for their water in bottles, so maybe it’s okay!)

It’s a brave new Citizens United world

. . . sung to the tune of “It’s a Small World After All” and you may work in the obligatory Huxley verses.

From CPI via Ben Smith at Politico

Republican Third Party Groups — $43,664,661
Democratic Third Party Groups — $6,658,236

Here’s more:

Colorado — Dems: $1.1 million / GOP: $7.6 million
Washington — Dems: $1.5 million / GOP: $4.2 million
Missouri — Dems: $794k / GOP: $7.2 million
Kentucky — Dems: $47k / GOP: $1.7 million

I’ve honestly never seen anything like it. And we don’t know who these people giving the big money are.

I need a shower.

An anniversary approaches

I stopped my daily posts on our time in Afghanistan some months ago; of course the calendar didn’t stop. The beat has  gone on.

Afghan caualites '01-'10

My first post on that war was on the first day of the ninth year. In fact, it noted the first hour of the first day of the ninth year of that war. For  nine months I counted the days daily, and then it became weekly, bi-weekly. It’s now been three weeks.

My generation fought in Vietnam. And they fought for more than a decade. And we lost. And it damaged our national psyche for decades. The draft was in force at that time so the price in blood and treasure touched everyone’s life one way or another. Every single one of us.  We fought it, we died in it and we came to demand its end. It was an immoral war and we were ashamed. And we lost that war. The shame and humiliation damaged us; we haven’t been the same country since.

But today’s volunteer, professional military now insulates us from the horror. The nightly news doesn’t even bother to report it. Look at the front page of any newspaper – any Afghan stories there? (For that matter, any Iraq stories?).

Shame on us. Shame on me. Especially since today is the 363rd day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan. 2130 Coalition soldiers have died, over 1300 of them Americans. 7266 American casualties as well. 2010 already has the highest death count. The highest before this year was last year. And the highest before that, was the year before. The was has cost, as of today, $362,000,000,000.00. (Here at home, we’re laying off police and teachers.)

Two more days till the tenth year. Is that okay with you?

I’m speechless; they aren’t

This morning, Paul Krugman points to this:

” . . . every major contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination who isn’t currently holding office and isn’t named Mitt Romney is now a paid contributor to Fox News [or has an actual show] . “

Make of that what you will.

Those Dems never had to meet a payroll!

I heard that tired old talking point, a charge leveled against Rep. Mike Castle (who lost the  Delaware primary) – heard it on one of the talking head shows – to make the case that Christine O’Donnell was the  better candidate. Did the Dem challenge it? Of course not. But it would have been so easy – a cursory google or wikipedia check reveals that while O’Donnell listed herself as a self-employed marketing consultant there’s no evidence of that. All of her jobs, whether paid or unpaid (could have involved marketing activity as nebulous as that phrase is) have been with political organizations or conservative advocacy groups. Can’t find a single private sector (or for profit) job in her resume.

Here are some other Republicans who have never had to meet a payroll:

GOP presidential candidate 2008: John McCain  – never had to buy health insurance either. Grew up in military, served in military, went to Congress. Public tit all the way. Never had a private sector job or met a payroll.

Former Speaker of the House: Newt Gingrich – grew up military, taught at state college, went to Congress. After Congress, it’s all non-profit advocacy organizations along with ‘fellow’ status at conservative think tanks to pay the bill. He is lately peddling Newt Inc, so that’s private I guess. But government tit till he was bounced by his party from the leadership for being a bad, bad boy.

Senator from Kentucky and Senate Minority Leader: Mitch McConnell – military and Congress all the way. No private sector. No payrolls. Solid government tit.

There are no doubt plenty of Dems with the same resume. But they’re not accusing their opponents of ‘never having met a payroll.”

They’re b-a-c-k

Another interesting primary night.

From Ballooon Juice tonight:

I’m sure they will be no more extreme than they were 150 years ago. In the 1860 Election the Confederates were against:

  • Education. Ditto 2010
  • Federal Spending for infrastructure. Ditto 2010
  • Help for Free Labor and the working man. Ditto 2010
  • Federal efforts to reign in the oligarchs of the day. Ditto 2010
  • The idea that the Constitution guaranteed “personal Liberty”. Ditto 2010
  •  And then as now the Confederate Party uses the memes, rhetoric, scare tactics, and talking points of white supremacy and fear of the ‘others’ to bring the low hanging rubes into their movement.

    The Republican Party is dead. It is the Confederate Party now bitches. Get use to it.

    Oh, and get ready to party like it’s 1860.

    Let me rephrase that

    Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door

    Photoshoped? Who cares.

    Soon to be replaced with these new and wonderfully inspiring words from the Boreal Narcissus* “This Statue of Liberty was gifted to us by foreign leaders, really as a warning to us, it was a warning to us to stay unique and to stay exceptional from other countries. Certainly not to go down the path of other countries that adopted socialist policies,” Palin said – to cheers from the crowd.Those foreign leaders? They would be the people of France, center of the socialist plague that’s coming to eat your children.

    * coined by Dependable Renegade

    Calling Mr. Bush, calling Mr. Bush

    Dear President Bush:

    I don’t like you. Never did. One reason is because you so deliberately played the dumbfuck regular guy when the cameras were on, as though that were a remotely appropriate image for the leader of the free world. Of course, you never were that dumb but you also weren’t well versed in history or philosophy which leaders should be. And that got us into a lot of trouble.

    However, you did one thing right. After 9/11 you immediately saw the danger in pissing off a billion Muslims. Arab Muslims, Persian Muslims, American Muslims, Malaysian Muslims, Indonesian Muslims, Chinese Muslims, Indian Muslims . . . you got the point Mr. Bush. So you stepped up and spoke out in order to dampen primitive instincts which always rise up when an enemy is needed.

    For some weeks now, it’s been time for you to speak out again. You haven’t (and now I have another reason not to like you). The leaders of your own party are playing footsie with very dangerous and simmering sentiments. They don’t say a word because they are cynical and opportunistic. But you’re retired now, never running for office again, and you owe us one. Step up and do the right thing.