A New Direction For Turning Left

Readers no doubt have noticed that I haven’t been posting much over the past several months.

Heck, over the past few years.

Turning Left is always in the back of my mind, but I really didn’t know what to do. What to write.

I didn’t want to be that snarky guy any more who just wrote for the sake of writing, that guy who just made fun of people, or went on rants.

I wanted to be more substantive than that.

I was so angry at times during the Bush years. Many of us were. But to look for people at which I could be angry, or to just be that angry guy during the Obama years, well, that didn’t make much sense.

And I was not always pleased with President Obama.

But, for the most part, I was.

I am.

So what to do with this blog, which has awesome page rank on Google despite the fact that I rarely touch it?

Found my solution today.

We need a new direction.

No, not right. Or center.

Let’s take direction as focus.

We need a new focus. A new plan.

And here it is…

We don’t want to become the anti-Fox News blog. We don’t want to become the anti-conservative blog.

We don’t want to discriminate against people because of who they are.

But we will be critical about people because of what they do.

That will be our new focus.

We will still laugh. We will still likely be snarky at times.

But we can’t be self-righteous. We can’t ignore our own faults.

But we can write.

We invite you to join us for the ride. Please visit often, enjoy, and, please, feel free to share our posts.

We have something to say that needs to be said.

We have words that need to be heard.

We are Turning Left

Watch: Groups Applaud Delaware Gov. Markell for Personal Message on Recent Wave of Anti-transgender Legislation

Today, in response to a wave of anti-transgender legislation in several states around the country, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) released a personal, detailed video message standing up for transgender equality and combatting the misinformation and scare tactics that proponents of these discriminatory bills use. Gov. Markell—who is the only sitting governor to have signed laws that enforce both sexual orientation and gender identity protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations—is uniquely positioned to address the mean-spirited attempts that seek to undermine lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, nondiscrimination laws and require discrimination against the transgender community.

Equality Delaware, the Center for American Progress, and the National Center for Transgender Equality applaud Gov. Markell for his continued leadership on behalf of transgender people and their families. In response to Gov. Markell’s video message, those organizations released the following statements:

Lisa Goodman, president of Equality Delaware, said, “Gov. Markell has consistently stood on the side of fairness and equality and today is no different. Proponents of H.B. 2 rushed their bill through the North Carolina legislature in a matter of hours because they knew that when the public has the time to learn about trans people, they respond with affirmation and support. By speaking as a governor who has worked on trans issues, and as someone who cares about transgender people in his own life, Gov. Markell has helped insert into the national conversation the compassion and facts that are missing in the actions and statements made by opponents of equality.”

Laura E. Durso, Director of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, said, “As the LGBT community, and transgender people in particular, continue to face an unprecedented number of discriminatory state bills, it remains imperative for those of us living in states and communities with protections to stand up and speak out against hate or discrimination wherever it occurs. Gov. Markell’s video message may be one of the most personal and detailed trans-specific statements ever made by an elected official of his stature. We thank him for helping to educate the public on trans equality and urge other elected officials to follow suit and make clear to the transgender community that there are leaders around the country fighting for them.”

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said, “It is so important for elected officials like Gov. Markell to vocally and consistently support transgender people and to do their part to educate the rest of the public on who transgender people are. Gov. Markell has always demonstrated solid leadership, including three years ago when he signed wide-ranging protections for all transgender Delawareans into law.”

Source: http://www.americanprogress.org

So It Turns Out Pope Francis Did NOT Invite Kim Davis Personally, Or, At All

So it turns out that Pope Francis did NOT invite Kim Davis to a personal audience. NOR did a personal audience with Pope Francis between the pontiff and Ms. Davis occur.

Her lawyer is lying.

I’m shocked that lawyers would lie.

I know that you are too.

But Kim Davis’ lawyer is part of a recognized hate group, the Liberty Counsel.

From the New York Times:

Ever since it became public that Pope Francis met in Washington with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples, the questions have been swirling: Why did he meet with her, and was it meant as a political statement?

As it turns out, the Vatican said on Friday, the pope did not mean to endorse Ms. Davis’s views. It also said he gave her no more than a typical brief greeting, despite what her lawyer described.

Instead, the Vatican said that Francis gave only one “real audience”: to someone later identified as one of his former students, Yayo Grassi, a gay man in Washington who says he brought his partner of 19 years to the Vatican’s embassy in Washington for a reunion. They even shot video.

The disclosure, after the Vatican’s unusual attempt to correct the impressions left by Francis’ meeting with Ms. Davis, added to days of speculation about whether Francis intended to send a message on the place of gays in the church, or conscientious objection, and whether his advisers had fully briefed him on Ms. Davis, or had their own agenda.

The Vatican spokesman emphasized that the meeting with Ms. Davis was arranged by the office of the Vatican’s ambassador in Washington, not by anyone in Rome — including the pope.

Read more here.

Video: President Obama Torpedoes a Loaded FOXNews Question

From our friends at Occupy Democrats:

BRET HENRY: President Obama, as you grappled here with all these national security challenges, I have two questions. One, back home we’ve learned that 40 military veterans died while they were waiting for health care, a very tragic situation. I know you don’t run the Phoenix Office of Veterans Affairs, but as Commander-in-Chief, what specifically will you pledge to fix that?

And, secondly, more broadly — big picture — as you end this trip, I don’t think I have to remind you there have been a lot of unflattering portraits of your foreign policy right now. And rather than get into all the details or red lines, et cetera, I’d like to give you a chance to lay out what your vision is more than five years into office, what you think the Obama doctrine is in terms of what your guiding principle is on all of these crises and how you answer those critics who say they think the doctrine is weakness.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Ed, I doubt that I’m going to have time to lay out my entire foreign policy doctrine. And there are actually some complimentary pieces as well about my foreign policy, but I’m not sure you ran them.

Here’s I think the general takeaway from this trip. Our alliances in the Asia Pacific have never been stronger; I can say that unequivocally. Our relationship with ASEAN countries in Southeast Asia have never been stronger. I don’t think that’s subject to dispute. As recently as a decade ago, there were great tensions between us and Malaysia, for example. And I think you just witnessed the incredible warmth and strength of the relationship between those two countries.

We’re here in the Philippines signing a defense agreement. Ten years ago, fifteen years ago there was enormous tensions around our defense relationship with the Philippines. And so it’s hard to square whatever it is that the critics are saying with facts on the ground, events on the ground here in the Asia Pacific region. Typically, criticism of our foreign policy has been directed at the failure to use military force. And the question I think I would have is, why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force after we’ve just gone through a decade of war at enormous costs to our troops and to our budget? And what is it exactly that these critics think would have been accomplished?

My job as Commander-in-Chief is to deploy military force as a last resort, and to deploy it wisely. And, frankly, most of the foreign policy commentators that have questioned our policies would go headlong into a bunch of military adventures that the American people had no interest in participating in and would not advance our core security interests.

So if you look at Syria, for example, our interest is in helping the Syrian people, but nobody suggests that us being involved in a land war in Syria would necessarily accomplish this goal. And I would note that those who criticize our foreign policy with respect to Syria, they themselves say, no, no, no, we don’t mean sending in troops. Well, what do you mean? Well, you should be assisting the opposition — well, we’re assisting the opposition. What else do you mean? Well, perhaps you should have taken a strike in Syria to get chemical weapons out of Syria. Well, it turns out we’re getting chemical weapons out of Syria without having initiated a strike. So what else are you talking about? And at that point it kind of trails off.

In Ukraine, what we’ve done is mobilize the international community. Russia has never been more isolated. A country that used to be clearly in its orbit now is looking much more towards Europe and the West, because they’ve seen that the arrangements that have existed for the last 20 years weren’t working for them. And Russia is having to engage in activities that have been rejected uniformly around the world. And we’ve been able to mobilize the international community to not only put diplomatic pressure on Russia, but also we’ve been able to organize European countries who many were skeptical would do anything to work with us in applying sanctions to Russia. Well, what else should we be doing? Well, we shouldn’t be putting troops in, the critics will say. That’s not what we mean. Well, okay, what are you saying? Well, we should be arming the Ukrainians more. Do people actually think that somehow us sending some additional arms into Ukraine could potentially deter the Russian army? Or are we more likely to deter them by applying the sort of international pressure, diplomatic pressure and economic pressure that we’re applying?

The point is that for some reason many who were proponents of what I consider to be a disastrous decision to go into Iraq haven’t really learned the lesson of the last decade, and they keep on just playing the same note over and over again. Why? I don’t know. But my job as Commander-in-Chief is to look at what is it that is going to advance our security interests over the long term, to keep our military in reserve for where we absolutely need it. There are going to be times where there are disasters and difficulties and challenges all around the world, and not all of those are going to be immediately solvable by us.

But we can continue to speak out clearly about what we believe. Where we can make a difference using all the tools we’ve got in the toolkit, well, we should do so. And if there are occasions where targeted, clear actions can be taken that would make a difference, then we should take them. We don’t do them because somebody sitting in an office in Washington or New York think it would look strong. That’s not how we make foreign policy. And if you look at the results of what we’ve done over the last five years, it is fair to say that our alliances are stronger, our partnerships are stronger, and in the Asia Pacific region, just to take one example, we are much better positioned to work with the peoples here on a whole range of issues of mutual interest.

And that may not always be sexy. That may not always attract a lot of attention, and it doesn’t make for good argument on Sunday morning shows. But it avoids errors. You hit singles, you hit doubles; every once in a while we may be able to hit a home run. But we steadily advance the interests of the American people and our partnership with folks around the world.

A full, complete, thoughtful, reasoned response.

Video: Vermont Approves Single-Payer Health Care: ‘Everybody in, nobody out’

From our friends at Occupy Democrats regarding the state of Vermont adopting a single-payer health care system where all hospitals will operate as not-for-profits:

The program will be fully operational by 2017, and will be funded through Medicare, Medicaid, federal money for the ACA given to Vermont, and a slight increase in taxes.  In exchange, there will be no more premiums, deductibles, copay’s, hospital bills or anything else aimed at making insurance companies a profit.  Further, all hospitals and healthcare providers will now be nonprofit.

This system will provide an instant boost the state economy.  On the one side, you have workers that no longer have to worry about paying medical costs or a monthly premium and are able to use that money for other things.  On the other side, you have the burden of paying insurance taken off of the employers side, who will be able to use the saved money to provide a better wage and/or reinvest in their company through updated infrastructure and added jobs.  It is a win-win solution.

Win-win indeed.

This, by the way, is precisely the way Canada moved to a single-payer health care system: state by state.

And now it’s our turn.

Thank you, President Obama!

Palestine: A Land Forgotten; Isreal: The One Forgetting

Peace in Palestine!

Palestine.

How much thought have you given Palestine recently?

We live in a country (USA! USA!) where celebrity news trumps news of the suffering in the world. News of the starving in the world. News of those still facing genocide. Still facing abuse. Still lacking basic human rights.

And we thrive to news of celebrity arrests, as if they matter one damn.

At all.

Had lunch with a now old friend, my friend is very young (comparable to my scalp line), but very, very wise.

And very empathetic.

My friend just returned from a half-month trip to Israel and Palestine (notice I’m naming them separately, as the two separate states the are, should be, shall be, Insha’Allah.

God willing, that is.

I will share with you in this space some of the amazing, alarming, and jaw-dropping things I learned from my friend today.

Israel, the state (not all Israelis, not all Jews), but Israel is persecuting the Palestinians.

And this must be stopped.

Did you know, for example, that Israel controls all water and electricity into Palestinian regions?

And, did you know, that Israel frequentlly cuts off all water and electricity if one Palestinian “misbehaves?”

Did you know that it is illegal for an Israeli to enter Palestine? Did you know that, on average, Israel demolishes four Palestinian home a day?

Did you know that Israel will not do trash pick-up in any region inhabited by Muslims, whether in the Old City, or Palestine?

Did you know that the Israeli government then uses that reality to refer to the Palestinians as filthy, dirty animals?

In short, did you know that Israel, to put it mildly, discriminates against the Palestinians, that the officials of the Israeli state refer to all Palestinians as “terrorists.”

Did you know that, at the Dome of the Rock, Israeli soldiers guard the entrance, allowing only a certain number of Muslims to enter each day to pray?

And did you know that Palestinians just want to live?

To own property?

To build homes (which is illegal now)?

To be human?

Thank you to my friend.

More to follow.

Insha’Allah.

From Common Dreams: Reformer or Hypocrite? Understanding Pope Francis

At first glance, Time magazine’s “Person of the Year,” Pope Francis, is a mess of contradictions. On the one hand, he has vehemently denounced the evils of global capitalism, calling it “a new tyranny.” However, as pontiff, he heads the Catholic Church, which has beencharacterized as “probably the wealthiest institution in the entire world.” And, although the pope has championed the importance of women in the Catholic Church, saying in an interview, “The woman is essential for the church. … The feminine genius is needed whenever we make important decisions,” he continues to oppose as strongly as any pope before him the ordination of women, and considers abortion to be evil. How do we make sense of Pope Francis’ views?

Read more here.

Definition of a Liberal, by Garrison Keillor

“This is Democratic bedrock: we don’t let people lie in the ditch and drive past and pretend not to see them dying. Here on the frozen tundra of Minnesota, if your neighbor’s car won’t start, you put on your parka and get the jumper cables out and deliver the Sacred Spark that starts their car. Everybody knows this. The logical extension of this spirit is social welfare and the myriad government programs with long dry names all very uninteresting to you until you suddenly need one and then you turn into a Democrat. A liberal is a conservative who’s been through treatment.”

–Garrison Keillor, Homegrown Democrat