Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Some Random Thoughts–so, like, don't derail this thread or anything…

This evening at sundown, many Jews all over the world begin observing Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.  Contrary to some popular beliefs and medieval slanders, the day is not a “get out of all obligations free” card.  The sages carefully distinguish between transgressions relating to what are solely religious obligations and ethical obligations.  The former may be atoned through Yom Kippur.  The latter may not, unless there is a prior effort not only to seek forgiveness from those one might have offended or wronged, but a sincere offer to make amends.  If one attempts to do so three separate times and is refused, then the issue moves into the other category.  Accordingly, it is traditional for Jews to ask pardon of everyone they know on the eve of the holiday for any offense they might have given, consciously or not.  In that spirit, I ask pardon of all Moose for any offense I have given in the past year, whether known to me or not, and offer to make amends in any way that I can.

(I told you this was random in the freaking title, so don’t look for elegant segues here).

OWS is a distinctly promising phenomenon.  One of the criticisms is that it isn’t completely clear what the movement is trying to accomplish.  I’m of the opinion that this is less of a problem than the lack of any organizing symbol or image or name.  Occupy Wall Street is wholly negative, and amorphously so.  Should the financial system simply close up shop?  Then what?  Is it supposed to hand over all its profits to the protesters?  There might be a few participants who feel that way, but most aren’t looking for an immediate structural revolution to transform us into something we haven’t yet articulated.  At this juncture, there needs to be some symbol or rallying cry that resonates.  The “Tea Party” has that.  This movement, if it’s going to provide a counter-balance, needs something comparable.

If democrats are going to successfully push conservatives back on their heels, they have to start running against the Tea Party.  This isn’t purely tactical.  The Republican Party has ceased to function in any real sense.  There are no GOP  moderates, and no diversity of opinion in the GOP.  Boehner, Cantor, Ryan, McConnell, Romney, all of them operate at the beck and call of the Tea Party.  We need to run against the Tea Party directly.  Voting for any republican at this point is tantamount to voting for an idiot in a tricorn hat with tea bags hanging off of it (oddly resembling tampons, but that might just be my issue) and screaming for government to leave his medicare alone.  Let’s isolate the degree to which these people, who constantly invoke the “will of the people” do not hold opinions on any significant issue that even approaches representing the perspectives of most Americans.  How many Americans support higher taxes for those making over a million dollars?  75%.  That’s right.  75% of Americans are for increasing taxes on millionaires and billionaires.

And we’ve got to stop avoiding the demonization of taxes.  Michael Medved revealed the degree to which he is a bona fide ass yesterday when he quoted Obama and others who saluted the ingenuity and creative economic contributions of Steve Jobs and asked whether Jobs should have been “punished” with higher taxes.  First of all, he’s a real guy who just died, and so Medved, in tune with conservative patterns of decorum and decency, used him to try to score a political point.  Secondly, Jobs was vocally committed to liberal causes.  I’d be shocked if he would have objected to paying a higher tax rate.  But most importantly, it’s unamerican to call federal taxes a punishment, or slavery, or rape, or theft, or anything else they call them.  Every time one of these people speaks in this manner, they should face a fire storm of accusations exposing how absurd these analogies are, how insensitive to real injustices, and mostly how distinctly anti-American they are.  Taxes pay for soldiers and teachers and firefighters, and humanitarian aid, and infrastructure, and the regulations that keep companies from poisoning us in an attempt to squeeze another quarter of percent of profit.  It may be impossible to make a full on enthusiastic pro-tax argument.  But we must defend the principle and practice of taxation from the tee party slanders.  That is something we can and must do.  

And for John in sincere solidarity: GO TIGERS!!!


  1. This past few years as my family and my daughter’s husband’s families have blended.  This past year the boy’s big sister, brought a new dimension to the standard Rosh Hashanah invocation of asking for forgiveness for transgressions.  She made us not just apologize, but to delve into the conflicts to not just apologize for them but to settle them.

    I wish our “progressive” friends would stop envying the tea party, they aren’t real.  They are an astro turfed corporate edifice, so of course no one is going to ask them seriously why are they there.   They answered to take back my country and that was cool, but the poor OWS people have to rock it like Jesse the Ministry of Truth or else they are ignored.

    Now since I haven’t given a fig about baseball since McCourt bought my team GO TIGERS!!

  2. creamer

    So Strum, your asking for pardon for rooting for the Yankee’s. Cool. Consider it done.

      Watching the GOP media and politicians demonize and belittle OWS reminds me a little of the Nixon years. Not as violent or as corrupt( they don’t control the FBI), but the verbal reaction is the same. Ignore the message and attack the messenger. I hope the movement can pull the Democratic party with it, but with the increasing pressure for campaign cash its hard to see it. Trying to be optimistic.

    And in the spirit of Yom Kippur I would echo Stum and ask that I be forgiven for any slights or offence I might of given. Including my irrational extreme dislike of the Yankees.

    I actually felt a little sympathy for A-Rod last night.

    But I got over it.

  3. DTOzone

    and is leaving in 10 days. He’s the last on my staff who was there when I started in November 2009…some of you old Moosers remember when I got this job 😀

    You know, It’s going to be hard because we’ve grown to be pretty close work companions. We do lunches, we chat and brainstorm a lot over coffee. We talk about girls and soccer and politics.

    It’s great to see him move on to bigger and better things, but the office won’t be the same without him. I don’t know what it’s like to work there without him. He’s taught me so much and been such a good colleague.

    I wish him the best, but I feel like a void is opening, you know?  

  4. May have to add that tradition. Funny, lived above a synagogue for six years and still didn’t pick that up. I’m kinda stunned that way.

    In the spirit of Yom Kippur, let me as well beg pardon from those who I have no doubt offended this past year in my moosing. I offer no excuse for the trampling I have done, where I caused grief it has been my failure. With any luck this next year I will do better, but we will have to see.

    Do we get to say “Happy Yom Kippur?”

    Well, Happy Yom Kippur, anyway!

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