The Jefferson Tree - A platform for debate and discussion of current events and politics...

Stephen Moore’s Ridiculous Anti-Clean Energy Rant

Hard right-winger Stephen Moore took a break from pushing debunked trickle-down economic policies to take a pathetic shot at clean energy.  Let the stupid begin. …radical Greens, one of the most influential political forces in America today… Seriously?  He goes on to mention the famed Sierra Club as one of these forces.  And where did they rank in 2013 on lobbying: 755.  In fact, if we look at the top 50 interest groups giving to members of Congress this year, no sign ...

Anti-Israel Policies/Actions Is Not Anti-Semitsim

There have been growing protests in Europe against the mass murder of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by the State of Israel. These actions are in response to the IDF killing 500 Muslims there with the vast majority of them being civilians. But what is troubling about these movements is, according to this article in the NYT, an anti-Semitic tinge has taken place at these protests. The story reads that in France: Several recent pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Paris have boiled over ...

Warren For President?

Today at the the annual Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, the nation’s largest gathering of liberal activists and organizers, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) reportedly drew an applause that Hillary could only dream of. According to NYT and Politico reports, Warren was a rock-star while Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate for President, was absent. Warren’s populist talking points and her history of taking Wall Street to task (remember that Warren was an early advocate for the creation of a new Consumer Financial ...

Social Protest Literatue at Sparking The Left

Here at STL we are starting a new feature. In between our political-insight posts, I will start publishing excerpts or entire pieces of great literature that speak to crucial social and political issues which span the centuries. Though almost all in the Western tradition, the subject matters are transcendental. Now first to name my source, I am taking pieces from Upton Sinclair’s selected and edited collection “The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Great Social Protest Literature of All Time.” ...

Pulitzer-Winning Journalist Detained for Being Undocumented

I was first brought aware of Jose Antonio Vargas’ story last week in a piece he penned in Politico. He explained that he was in the Rio Grande Valley, in the city of McAllen, just north of the Mexican border. He was there to see first hand the tens of thousands of undocumented children, most of them from Central America, and observe how they were being treated. The trip was also used for a news conference appearance and vigil organized by United We Dream, ...

GOP Refuses Funding for Border Children Projects

A humanitarian crisis unseen before at our borders is becoming more and more urgent everyday at Rio Grande Valley, TX, and other Southwest locations. And yet the GOP is arguing over numbers. Yesterday President Obama requested an amount of $3.7 billion from Congress to help aid the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who illegally crossed the border from the Mexico side since October. They are mostly from violence-ridden Central American countries, like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Honduras has the world’s highest murder ...

Problems galore for the new government headed by Mr. Narendra Modi in New Delhi – Imperative for the first time PM and his council of ministers in governance amidst multiple challenges

The phenomenal victory for Mr. Narendra Modi and his party (the BJP) in May 2014 general elections has not only drawn the adulation of people world over but also silenced all its die hard critics at home and abroad. It was so stupendous and stunning that even the American government and its top leaders across party lines acknowledged Mr. Modi as the emerging democratic leader of the world, setting aside their past antagonism as an error of judgment, not based ...

Embarrassing Weekend for NSA and CIA Good for Democracy

U.S. intelligence took a couple of pretty hard slaps in its face this past weekend and, when reading the articles about their wasteful and ridiculous actions, the slaps were clearly justified. First off, it was announced on Friday that Germany had arrested a man accused of spying for the United States and passing on the details of a German parliamentary committee’s investigation.  It’s pretty disgraceful that the U.S. is spending taxpayer dollars to buy spies so we can know about an ...

Has Putin Over Reached Once Too Often?

My, oh my.  We've watched this man make mince meat of Obama over the past several years.  Each time you could see the smirk broaden and the swagger get more pronounced. He and his allies - Iran, China, Syria and North Korea were truly enjoying themselves. But as happens with a lot of bullies, they get over confident and suddenly everything around them collapses. I'm wondering if this is the case with the downing of the Malaysian passenger jet. With the death ...

If Only It WERE The Heat!

What a day.  A passenger plane has been shot down over Ukraine uncomfortably close to the Russian border. Hamas reneged on the humanitarian cease fire so Israel launched their ground offensive. Children still pour across the border while Congress dithers. It's now being reported parents are giving them birth control in case they are raped during the journey. Along that line former member of Congress, Todd Aiken, who once talked about legitimate rape and the idea that women's bodies protected them from becoming ...

Hannity's Histrionics

For a person who doesn't have much faith in the intellect of pundits, I wonder why I watch them so often.  I wonder even more why the cable outlets and networks that employ them don't take more care in who they hire. Many of them get on crusades that bear no resemblance to reality.  Sean Hannity is one of the most prominent. The night before last  he was on his Bowe Bergdahl kick demanding to know why he was returned to ...

Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?

If the President could run away from the border mess any faster I'm sure he would. It's being said it's because being seen in the setting of kids crammed into confined spaces with their scabies and lice would reflect badly on him.  It could even be his Katrina.  Well, maybe.  But who's fault is that? It goes to show his handlers aren't as smart as they think they are.  For one, drinking beer and shooting pool in Colorado, a state where ...

The Kids Always Went Home

Watching the immigration mess going full bore brought to mind a lot of things that have involved children from other nations.  The first thing that comes to mind is the Disney song It's a Small World After All that speaks to all we have in common. Hopes, dreams, all the warm fuzzy stuff. We've had exchange student programs where a student from another country lives with a local family to learn not only academics but what life in American and Americans ...

The Militia Is Coming, The Militia Is Coming!

That's all we need! News has it a call has gone out for militia, both unarmed and armed, to gather along the border to help private land owners protect their property in something called Operation Save Our Borders.  Terrific! Remember how well it went when militia turned out to help to  help Cliven Bundy in his fight over Federal grazing rights in Nevada?  It came within a hair's breadth of turning violent. I really feel for the border towns who are the ...

Will Cheney Help Or Hurt The Republicans In The Mid-Terms?

Will the re-emergence of Dick Cheney help or hurt the Republicans in the mid-terms?  There is so much going on about which voters are rightfully incensed my guess he will have little impact. I think it depends, however, on what happens in the middle east over the next couple of months. Those who believe it wouldn't be in the mess it is if it weren't for the Bush/Cheney policies and rush to war will be reminded of just that - the ...

So Sue Me

I often wonder these days how our country is going to survive the remainder of Obama's term.  Whether or not you agree with the Supreme Court decisions, they have been made never-the-less and the President has been slapped down on many occasions.  Sometimes unanimously. So why, I wonder, has the President decided to continue his mantra of it's my way or the highway.  He complains endlessly about the Republicans refusal to work with him.  House Speaker Boehner explains one reason is ...

Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. Thomas Jefferson
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Charles Redfern - The Alternative Mainstream

“Occupy Wall Street” comes to Hartford and brings a host of questions

One wonders: Will they swap a concrete overpass for the wobbly pedestrian bridge?  Will the New Left see the wisdom in forging its long-delayed alliance with the Old Left?  Will independent-minded vegans learn from well-honed, meat-and-potatoes union members?

Such were my questions as I snapped pictures of the spreading “Occupy Wall Street” campaign, which moved into Hartford, Connecticut, Friday night and featured 350 marchers lofting signs and chanting “We are the 99 percent!” Some camped on the corner of Broad Street and Farmington Avenue.  I was on the ball: I arrived ahead of schedule but at the wrong location and I found no marchers – thus my Saturday-afternoon pictures of orphaned signs and a small knot of sleep-deprived organizers planning their next assembly, scheduled for 3 p.m.

It was a time warp moment.  The campers’ flower-child looks forced me into cliché-riddled memories of the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s and the era’s mantras and signs and slogans.  I remember the huge gulf that was never spanned: The New Left and the Old Left sneered at each other from different worlds.  The New Left was forged in anti-Vietnam protests and in strikes and sit-ins on college campuses; the Old Left grew up in the Depression and in the 1937 strikes and sit-ins against General Motors.  Police bloodied the New Left; company thugs teamed up with police and beat up and threatened members of the Old Left.  The New Left revolved around skeptical students experimenting with “alternative lifestyles;” the Old Left included church-going, often Catholic, family men (and it was a male world).  The New Left was dovish; the Old Left was adamantly anti-communist and hawkish: The union-supported Truman administration launched the anti-Soviet containment policy and led us into the Korean War; the liberal Johnson administration sent combat troops into Vietnam.  The New Left carried books to class; the Old Left carried a lunchbox to work.

The New Left and Old Left never shook hands …

Until now, perhaps.  The frail bridge was thrown when unions began supporting the flower children’s heirs.  They’re supplying food for the “Occupy Wall Street” campers and are marching with them in New York.  Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, applauded them and declared: “It’s been three years since Wall Street CEOs crashed our economy.  When Wall Street was on its knees, the American taxpayers came to their rescue with trillions of dollars in bailouts and promises from the big banks that they’d invest in our recovery.  Instead, the banks used our hard-earned tax dollars to enrich themselves.”  Her concluding line: “The people are finally speaking.  Now it’s up to our leaders and CEOs to listen and respond.”

Those questions kept pouring as I snapped my pictures in Hartford: Will the heirs of the New Left now listen to the heirs of the Old Left?  The Old Left is organized; it’s experienced; it can teach everyone how to set goals, how to negotiate, and how to fight the good fight.  Can the New Left see the practicality of humility?  Can its members get comfortable with mothers and fathers and meatloaf lovers?  Can they cozy-up to those affirming “traditional family values,” some of whom attend daily mass and disagree with abortion?  Will they see allies in nuns and priests and pastors and Bible-lovers?  Will they have the savvy to frame this movement in “pro-family” terms (our long work days and work weeks steal parents from their children).  If they do, the wobbling pedestrian bridge may grow into the multi-lane overpass.  If not, “Occupy Wall Street” and the New Left’s heirs will meet their ancestors’ fate, and the American greed manifested in Wall Street will keep gnawing our nation’s soul.

Author: Charles Redfern - The Alternative Mainstream

Charles Redfern lives in Connecticut with his wife and son and has been a pastor for two decades. He writes The Alternative Mainstream, which gives news and commentary on spirituality, culture, and politics through the new evangelical lens (Christians need not be right wing thugs) — with occasional poetry and autobiography thrown in for fun. He also blogs for www.creedible.com, an online religious news magazine.

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