Friday, May 6, 2016

The End of Progressive Media

By Jeff Simpson

When I was just getting into politics, some things really helped shape my views -  Fighting Bob Fest(which has since been taken over and hijacked), Molly Ivins, The Nation Magazine, The Progressive Magazine, Mother Jones and Time.

With no due respect to Christian Schneider, when Molly Ivins passed I took that hard.  She was one of two celebrities whose passing really affected me(Walter Payton being the other).   Yes, I was sad to see Prince pass but he did not quite effect me that way.   I still remember vividly, sitting with Molly Ivins after a speech she gave at the UW-Madison campus, where she told me that she has seen lawmakers shaking in their boots because of a dozen handwritten letters.

Unfortunately this Primary election season has also shown us the end of Progressive Journalism via Mother Jones and The Nation Magazine.  Both have not only jumped full throttle onto the Hillary Clinton bandwagon(I know The Nation endorsed Bernie, but we will get to that) they have proven how incredibly out of touch they are.

First off Mother Jones.

Kevin Drum, their "liberal" blogger from California was all in for Hillary.

With the Democratic primary basically over, I want to step back a bit and explain the big-picture reason that I never warmed up to Bernie Sanders. It's not so much that he's all that far to my left, nor that he's been pretty skimpy on details about all the programs he proposes. That's hardly uncommon in presidential campaigns. Rather, it's the fact that I think he's basically running a con, and one with the potential to cause distinct damage to the progressive cause.
I mean this as a provocation—but I also mean it. So if you're provoked, mission accomplished! 

Interesting concept but here is his reasoning.

Like it or not, you don't build a revolution on top of an economy like this. Period. If you want to get anything done, you're going to have to do it the old-fashioned way: through the slow boring of hard wood.
Why do I care about this? Because if you want to make a difference in this country, you need to be prepared for a very long, very frustrating slog. 

Economy like ours, where poverty and income inequality increases every single year?  It was just a few short years ago where we had the Great Recession and were on the precipice of another depression.

As for the long slog, we know how long it takes because Scott Walker won his election in November 2010 and it was not until February of 2011 that our state will be forever changed.  Four whole months to end collective bargaining and make public employees rights to assemble a page in the history books.

They must have been exhausted by the way they would pass things through with minimal debate then run out of the chambers.   It is hard to comprehend what is happening in the flyover states, but pretty much everything they say cant be done is being done.

It is just being done by the Republicans.

Secondly is The Nation Magazine.

While I realize that the Nation as a publication, has endorsed Bernie Sanders, digging a little deeper and we see the problem. One of their excellent writers, Katha Pollitt recently penned an essay stating why she did not vote for Bernie.

Why didn’t Bernie get me? Well, there’s electability: I just don’t believe Americans are ready for a 74-year-old self-described socialist with a long far-left CV who would raise their taxes by quite a lot. By the time the Republicans got finished with him, he’d be the love child of Rosa Luxemburg and the Ayatollah Khomeini, and then it’s hello, President Trump. There’s the question, too, of how much Bernie could actually accomplish. Would he make an effective president, as I think Hillary will—all the more so now that she’s been forced to see that a significant part of the Democratic electorate is to her left?
Here is a well known, well respected writer, who starts a story about a Presidential candidate with absolutely zero evidence and actually like global climate change, all of the information available says the exact opposite.

I know from reading Pollitt, off and on through the years, that she usually puts a premium on facts, it is unfortunate the blindness for Hillary, trumps(pun intended) all in this case.

It seems that it is hard for the establishment pundits to fathom that Middle America likes what Bernie Sanders is selling. The reality is, it is even more than that, Middle Class America has been asking, begging for someone to speak to them in these populist terms(and actually mean it).

President Obama campaigned like that, which helped lead to his popularity.  Unfortunately, with the multi millions he took from Wall St., he littered his cabinet with people like Larry Summers and Rahm Emmanuel., which was like a huge governor on his plans to move the country forward. President Obama's unequaled ability to speak with a wink and nod, let us know that he felt our pain, and was doing what he could under the constraints of the system as it is set up.

All the while, those of us who were paying attention, were listening to the rare politician that is Bernie Sanders, We would sit and listen to Bernie talk WITH us.  Bernie let us know, that he knew we were struggling, because he was also actually struggling along with us.  He understood that working hard guarantees nothing in America but scorn from the Wall St. class and that no amount of words will fix that.  We need action and being part of the people that need to take action, he was as frustrated as we were with the lack of such.    Many progressives would hear Bernie at Fighting Bob Fest or his weekly Town Hall meeting on the Thom Hartmann show, where he would take on all callers and all questions, with a legit answer and kindness.

If only someone like Bernie could be our President.

Then it turned out that Bernie read the tea leaves, and decided to throw his hat into the ring.  He knew from speaking to people all over the country, that the one thing people want more than anything else is to be heard.  As his message was resonating with huge crowds of people, in state after state. the establishment ignored at first then started attacking.

People who spend their time in New York, Washington DC. and the Ivy League schools, could not fathom what was happening throughout the Heartland.  They knew it was Hillary's turn, she was destined to be the first woman President.  

The silliness of the socialist from the tiny state was cute for bit but wore thin quickly with people whose sole goal in life is politics.  The people that are for hire in campaign after campaign, the ones who are elected and the first thing they think when elected is how can I get my next position(yes Democrats do that too), the writers/pundits who think that taking a quick subway ride in New York City to their high rise office, is all of the America they need to see to understand it.

Has Pollitt or any of her peers, ever stepped foot on a farm?  eaten at a supper club?  had a beer at a local watering hole with Pabst on tap?  been to a labor fest in a small town?  attended a school concert where there is k-12 in one building?   had a Saturday night Prime Rib special for $14.95?

Has Hillary, outside of a campaign event?

Bernie has.

The problem though is they all were all in on Hillary.

While Bernie was traveling and talking with large crowds of kids, independents, progressives, etc... Hillary was traveling around speaking AT people and holding private events where the establishment could get cute pictures for their facebook profile.   While Bernie was speaking in LaCrosse, Hillary was holding $3000/plate fundraisers in places like Mexico, Japan and China.  While Bernie was explaining how Wall St. has rigged our economy Hillary was using Wall St. lobbyist after Wall St. Lobbyist to hold fund raisers for her.   We even noticed that every time Bernie had a stance that resonated with the public, Hillary ran to the mics with a "me too" stance on that issue.  While we were remembering all of the times that Bernie Sanders came to Fighting Bob Fest to speak to us, Hillary was giving speeches on Wall St. and making $250,000 for twenty minutes(and refuses to release the transcripts).

We know that Bernie is not perfect, he has had some legitimate missteps, but not that many.   Bernie also would address his missteps immediately.   Unfortunately, the Hillary camp, not content with the few he has had, tried to gin up some that were not.

While we all cringed when Hillary told us that the war criminal Henry Kissinger was her good friend and mentor the Hillary camp was telling us how horrible it as that one of Bernie Sanders staffers looked at Hillary's VAN(which he actually didn't).   While Hillary was running around making racist statements, her supporters were being called "sexist" as often as possible as a way to quash any dissent.

For those to young to remember Henry Kissinger here are some lowlights:

Wonderful ideas and commentary, by Henry Kissinger, "Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.”; "Depopulation should be the highest priority of U.S. foreign policy towards the Third World."; “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.”; “The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”; “The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.” Ahhh, exactly what one would look for in a mentor. If you were trying to become a super-villan.
Despite all of this,the people that we thought were progressives, the people who were given the responsibility of being the voice of the people, have disappeared in order to blindly support Hillary.

We here in the heartland, and progressives all over the country, have to realize that we are on an island with no reinforcements.  Luckily for us, there is strength in numbers if we use it correctly.

Do not give your business, votes or support to people who do not give it back to us.  I have unsubscribed to both magazines and unsubscribed from every email list where the person is a Hillary supporter.   Any support or dollars from now on coming from me, will go to those who support us.

For me, this is a bigger fight than the November election.


  1. You actually left out Drum's reasoning and went straight to the conclusion. While that sleight of hand makes your argument appear stronger, isn't misrepresenting someone's words and taking them out of context the sort of thing that we on the left disapprove of about the right? I would urge you to rewrite that part, and fix the typo; she was not "destiend" to be president.

  2. Thanks for the editing tip...i pay my editor the same amount of money i get paid .....

    I did go back and I think I represented Durm's words quite clearly. Nor Do I think I took him out of context. So if you would like to explain how you think I did that, I am all ears!

    1. The context was that only the earth shattering events of the civil war and Great Depression have ever triggered anything close to a revolution in this country. Drum's reasoning was in the previous paragraph:
      "We're light years away from that right now. Unemployment? Yes, 2 or 3 percent of the working-age population has dropped out of the labor force, but the headline unemployment rate is 5 percent. Wages? They've been stagnant since the turn of the century, but the average family still makes close to $70,000, more than nearly any other country in the world. Health care? Our system is a mess, but 90 percent of the country has insurance coverage. Dissatisfaction with the system? According to Gallup, even among those with incomes under $30,000, only 27 percent are dissatisfied with their personal lives."
      That's why he came to the conclusion that you quoted, not because the economy isn't bad but that most people are not ready for a massive upheaval.

    2. I used to argue with Drum a lot back in the '90s. He's a centrist's centrist, and routinely ignores data that puts the lie to his view of the world (like his touching but naive belief in unemployment rates). He's a nice guy (dying from cancer as I understand it), but he's a B-level blogger, not even a pundit.

    3. Kraken actually I did address that .....

      Economy like ours, where poverty and income inequality increases every single year? It was just a few short years ago where we had the Great Recession and were on the precipice of another depression.

    4. But if you want we can dig a little deeper, not only are we still feeling the effects of the great recession, there was not a single person who was responsible for such who ever had to pay the a matter of fact after a taxpayer bailout of wall st they handed out record bonuses.

      In the meantime poverty is going up, income inequality is skyrocketing and while people who are getting jobs, not the millions who dropped out of the workforce, have lost their 30+/$hr manufacturing job where they actually made things and now have 2 part time jobs making $10/ if they are lucky.

      We are demonizing and not paying our teachers, attacking the lgbqt community and locking black men up at an alarming rate....yes no one is ready for a revolution, which is why Bernie is pulling in tens of thousands of people to his rallies.,

      The only way to deal with the revolution and make sure the kids do not rop off, is to stick the establishment millionaire in office with record negatives who likes to hold invite only parties....

      Move along nothing to see here

    5. Good, keep fleshing it out. Those facts need to be stated over and over because many people do not feel the absolute urgency that you do. Explain why. I was only trying to strengthen your argument.

  3. I subscribe to RSS feeds from websites like MoJo and The Nation because they occasionally link to good content. Local blogs like this one are my primary information source. In These Times is still great, and I have hopes for The Intercept. But even small pubs have been taken over by corporate interests.

  4. Of course we don't have progressive media, what's left is too busy telling us that it Hillary Clinton's turn to be president. Actually stand up for something "progressive"?

    None of the media shills can because they are too busy promoting third-way republicanesque policies and wars.