House Democrats Call for Discharge Petitions!

Congressional Democrats are done waiting on Republicans. Yesterday, members of both the House and Senate said they're going to use a rarely-seen tactic to bring forward legislation. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer suggested using a discharge petition to advance immigration reform, and House Democrats announced that they will use that same procedure to bring a minimum wage increase up for a vote. A discharge petition is a way to bypass Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who refuses to allow a vote on either of these measures.

Last week, on MSNBC, House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer said, “They're the party of no. They're the party of repeal. They're the party that doesn't have the ear of the American public.” So now, his party is taking matters into their own hands. Although Democrats admit that this tactic may not be successful, Republican obstructionism has left them no other option but to try and force a vote on issues that Americans care about.

Moving forward with these discharge petitions for higher pay and immigration reform will also put political pressure on Republicans, who will have to explain to their constituents why they would not even allow a vote on these important topics. Democrats know that the American people are sick and tired of this do-nothing Congress, so they're taking a chance on a long-shot maneuver to get to work on The People's business. They're putting pressure on Republicans to get something done, and we can help by making sure that all of our lawmakers know that we're watching.


mrbrannon68's picture
mrbrannon68 9 years 15 weeks ago

Could you please ask Sen. Sanders the following question?

Sen. Sanders, What can we do about informing the public through network news broadcast, when the stations are owned by large corporation? People get most of their news on these networks.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 9 years 15 weeks ago

"They're the party that doesn't have the ear of the American public." That's backward, the American public doesn't have the ear of the Republican Party. The American public has, in fact, turned its ear to the Republican Party far too much.

PhilipHenderson's picture
PhilipHenderson 9 years 15 weeks ago

Good work Democrats. Let's get a vote on immigration reform and raising the minimum wage. The Republicans do not want a vote on minimum wage because they are certain the bill would pass, then the folks who finance them will be upset. Why should corporations be upset by raising wages; all this does is put more money in the pockets of consumers. This helps both the poor and the middle class and believe it or not "it trickles up to the richest folks too." Higher minimum wages are good for the nation.

Our immigration laws are broken, have been for decades. The Republicans do not want to repair the problem because the corporations that fund their elections benefit from broken immigration law. These corporations can hire labor under market rates because the undocumented laborers will not complain to the officials when their employers cheat them. They pretend that it is about not rewarding lawbreakers. The real lawbreakers are US corporations that knowlingly recruit and hire undocumented labor because it boosts their profits. The real lawbreakers are the rich corporation leaders who thumb their noses at US immigration law. In the US we started with slavery. When the Civil War ended slavery we changed to the Chinese Exclusion Act. During World War II we switched from cheap labor from China to cheap labor from Mexico with the Bracero Act. Now we have an immigration law that does not fit our needs or the needs of the global community. The Republicans are content to keep it broken because their campaign donors get rich cheating poor people who have no voice in US Government

OrgDevGuy's picture
OrgDevGuy 9 years 15 weeks ago

Unfortunately, they don't have to explain anything to their constituents. They're so adept at obfuscation & big lie that most of their constituents don't even know the way they've been obstructing. The Dems have allowed the Repugnicans to convince the public that it's all the Dems fault.

michaelmoore052's picture
michaelmoore052 9 years 15 weeks ago

Yes, go forward with the petition. By not allowing a vote, Mr. Boehner is simply protecting the Repubs who would have to publicly oppose the will of the people. After all, this is 2014 and they don't want to show their ignorance.

There is no Republican party anymore. Just the No Party.

Palsimon's picture
Palsimon 9 years 15 weeks ago
#6 article above shows other more serious matters the congress should be taking actions on!!The article below shows what kinds of actions we should otherwise take:

And here are some of the major problems with Congress and our government:

Enemies of the United States Constitution and its people (partial list):

* President Barack Obama: War crimes, murder, treason.
* Director Of National Intelligence, James Clapper: Perjury
* Director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen, Michael Flynn: Perjury.
* National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen: Perjury.
* FBI Director James Comey: Perjury.
* CIA Director John Brennan: War crimes, murder, treason, perjury.
* DOJ, Attorney General Eric Holder, Contempt of Congress, perjury.

US Congress telephone switchboard: 202-224-3121. Call them now.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 9 years 15 weeks ago

Too bad Democrats didn't care as much about slashing food aid to the elderly, disabled and poor. Again. There was no arm-twisting needed to get 89 Dems to cut food aid. This example does show some interesting priorities that are certainly worth publicly addressing.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 9 years 15 weeks ago

If Bush wasn't prosecuted for war crimes, crimes against humanity, abuse of power, etc., why point fingers elsewhere?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 15 weeks ago

Excellent point, Fabian! Bush came first and should be first in line to get nailed, along with his fascist sidekicks & enablers. Then it's time to go after Obama, and those other scoundrels Palsimon listed. Hey, why not have it all? A democracy as vibrant and alive as this one deserves no less. (Couldn't resist a little sarcasm here...)

By the way, as to Thom's topic of the day... With all due respect, Thom, I'm more than a little weary of these stupid dramas in Congress. I often wonder if they're staged, just to keep us voting for the party of "lesser evil". Given this freak show we've been handed, it wouldn't surprise me. Even if factually incorrect, such thoughts are hardly without merit. - Aliceinwonderland

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 15 weeks ago

Haven't read this thread due to time shortage -- amazing how busy one can be in alleged retirement -- hence my apology if what I say next repeats something already said.

But what is obvious here -- what makes me grin with glee -- is how mere mention of "revolutionary socialism" (as by Councilwoman Kshama Sawant in Seattle) has terrified the Democratic Party into a pretense of returning to New Deal values.

That -- and the fact it proves beyond argument socialism is anything but "dead" or "irrelevant" -- is the real story behind these discharge petitions, though you'll never read it in so-called "mainstream" (i.e., Ruling Class) media.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 15 weeks ago

Loren, I think the key word is "pretense". I hate to be a cynic, but me thinks that's all it is. I just hope I live long enough to see socialism rise up from the ashes one day, after capitalism crashes & burns. Remember that old fable about the phoenix? Such a beautiful metaphor... But should this blessed event ever occur, it won't come to us gift-wrapped by the Dems.

michaelmoore052's picture
michaelmoore052 9 years 15 weeks ago

You can't outrun the History Train. -paul simon

Look to big oil for the names to name. Farback history is still here.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 15 weeks ago

Yes, Alice, "pretense" is indeed the key word, just as we were taught by the Big Lie of "change we can believe in." Alas, the Red Phoenix -- what an emblem for a new flag! -- will no doubt be a long time rising. In the meantime we have Paul Robeson's translation of the lyrics from an old song of rebellion, first sung by the Red Cavalry in their epic rides across the Steppe during the Russian Civil War (1918-1923), then by the entire Red Army during World War II, also as the anthem of the Communist Party in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s. For many decades after the post-war purges, Roibeson's version was banned, but now thanks to the Internet, as if in prophetic microcosm of the Phoenix, it has risen again:

"O far and away the road goes winding;
Look and see how merrily the road goes..."

Here it is from his 1941 album Songs of Free Men, which was part of the music of my childhood:

And just for the record -- no pun intended -- here it is by the Red Army Chorus c. 1937:

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 15 weeks ago

WOW Loren, thank you! And Paul Robeson's got one helluva voice. It's such a famous melody; hard to imagine anyone not having heard some rendition of it somewhere. I had no idea it was a socialist's anthem. They're in different keys; Robeson's in D, the orchestral one in A. I suppose that's how it goes with traditional music, more often than not.

Red phoenix... Hey, I like that! Thanks and blessed be... - AIW

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 14 weeks ago

Alice, I think Robeson dropped the key from A to D most likely to accommodate his own vocal range. Long ago, when I was a folk singer of some local renown, singing only traditional British and Appalachian ballads (especially those with obviously pagan roots), I often switched keys for the same reason, though I never changed a minor or modal-keyed song into majors, as that I considered real sacrilege. (To me there is a unique resonance evoked by minor and especially modal chord-sequences, a musical aura that suggests a choreography of shadows in moonlit meadows or the slow slow slowly darkening dance of blue midsummer twilight at latitudes north of about 45 degrees or how clear and troutly rivers sometimes murmur with distinctly female voices, and above all else, the magick of how such chords become like brush-strokes of color, as if some phantom painter were disclosing the exquisiteness implicit in the face of a lover, a woman rightfully an incarnation of the Muse.) But as you say, such is the freedom within traditional music. Quoth Taliesin, "I have been in an uneasy chair..." Hence Thanks and Blessed Be to you.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 14 weeks ago

Loren, I've worked with a few vocalists and am familiar with what you speak of. A vocalist's need to pick the key in any arrangement is a given. Everyone's got a vocal range most hospitable to certain keys; it goes with the territory.

Sounds like you too have a musical background. This both delights and frustrates me, the latter due to security issues associated with blogging. Because nothing would please me more than to share some of my music with you. The way you describe nature's music brings to mind a piece I composed almost thirty years ago, titled Sequoia. It virtually named itself. When I hear it played back to me I get a vivid mental picture of a shady redwood grove pierced by a translucent beam of sunlight. This image only intensifies as those last notes sustain at the end of the piece. It's of an impressionistic classical genre, reminiscent of Debussy.

It's funny how seemingly unrelated sensory phenomena can parallel or interconnect. Simple triad chords, like you hear in country music, remind me of primary colors.

Anyway Loren, I hope your weekend has been productive as well as rejuvenating. You sound like someone who's happiest in creative mode. Join the club. - Aliceinwonderland

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 14 weeks ago

Was hoping you'd check back, Alice, and very glad you did. I'd love to hear your music, and back in the day, numbered several musicians amongst my friends. I also have the sense we have rather a bit to say to one another, not the least about matters that are surely relevant to changes in consciousness but might seem otherwise in the nominally materialistic context of Mr. Hartmann's website. Apropos mixed sensory phenomena, the first time I saw a Mark Rothko painting, this c. 1965 in the Modern: I could literally hear it (probably not really, but that's surely how it felt, as if I were somehow seeing the interacting colors of a raga). Ditto some Clyfford Still painting later that same (very wonderful) year. Yes, I'm happiest creating, these days mostly with words, but in the past also with photography, painting and music -- old bohemian to the bitter end. (For a good look at my relationship with music -- not so much as a folk musician but as a semioticist with a subtle ear for meaning -- check out my blog piece entitled "Dancer Resurrected": it's way too long, 22,000-something words in dire need of a competent editor, but I suspect it makes a number of points with which you can relate.) Apropos connections, if you're a member of LinkedIn, we maybe could get in touch via that medium. Otherwise I don't have an immediate solition, but I'll file the problem away so my subconscious can work on it, a process I as a writer have come to trust absolutely. Sometimes the response is quick, other times it takes a while, but it's rather like Robert Graves says of the Goddess in the poem "To Juan at the Winter Solstice": "nothing promised that is not performed."

By the way, speaking of hearing things: out in the Pacific Northwest back country, far away from the madding crowds and their maddening noise, you can actually hear the Northern Lights, just as Jack London described in some of his writing. They crackle and hiss in time with their motion, low and softly as they wane, louder as they surge and flare, always rather like static on old-time radios...

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 14 weeks ago

Loren, you're one cool dude! I love how you think and how you write. The more I learn about you, the more interesting you become.

"Dancer Resurrected" actually sounds familiar. Maybe a year ago I read something like that on your blog. Very dreamy, etherial images come to mind. Wasn't that based on an actual experience you had?

More recently I checked out your blog again (which I've done from time to time) and read about your ordeal in Seattle. Had me scratching my head in disbelief. I'd already known there to be some antagonism towards Californians and ex-Californians (according to a close friend who's lived in Seattle over twenty years). But prior to reading of your experience there, I'd had no idea how intense the xenophobia is towards anyone of anyplace of origin outside Seattle. Seems kinda pathetic for such a small-town mentality to prevail in a city that large. I don't get it.

Anyway Loren, I'm not currently with Linkedin. But should your subconscious come up with any clever ways around this security issue, by all means let me know. - Aliceinwonderland

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 14 weeks ago

Thank you for the compliments, Alice. From you they are indeed meaningful.

Meanwhile you have shown me a unique and decidedly intriguing quality of memory, the recollection of an essay's content not so much by its (unavoidably) linear text as by the qualities summarized in the distinctly non-linear iconography of its illustration. In other words, you understood -- which damn few people (allow themselves to) do.

The "etherial images" piece is "Abutments," an account of an eerie, compelling and ultimately pivotal experience I had in the deeper woods of Northern Michigan (the Au Sable River country, upper part of the Lower Peninsula) when I was 12. "'Dancer' Resurrected: a Story of Love, Art, Sex and Revolution" is infinitely more linear, a reconstructed summary of "Glimpses of a Pale Dancer," the 24-year book project, its 75,000-word manuscript lost with its two filing-cabinet drawers of research notes and nearly all its photographs in the 1983 fire. The connection between the two texts, apart from their shared metaphysical elements, is the illustration: I used a sandwich to illustrate "Abutments" because the other-worldly quality of this particular image seemed just right for the text. (The sandwich is made of my casual portrait of a beautiful young woman with long windblown hair printed atop my I-was-here photo of a grove of young alder in the Cascade back country; the alders are bisected by an abandoned road, now just a path, that though filled with early-autumn leaves is reminiscent of the abandoned road that is the setting for "Abutments.") Then a year or so later I wrote "'Dancer' Resurrected" and used the same sandwich, this time because the woman in the image is in real life the woman whose role is so central to its text.

"Abutments," a chapter from my memoirs, is only about 4,000 words, but "'Dancer'" is very long, 20,344 words according to the counter on my computer (I remembered it as 22,000 words, which means I have already edited it down a bit, but as I said, it remains in dire need of rigorous editing by a skilled editor).

"'Dancer' Resurrected," as its subtitle implies, is both a love story and a summary of the key findings detailed and thoroughly documented in the original full-length book -- that the Counterculture (which I define in its broadest sense to include feminism, environmentalism, the Back-to-the-Land movement, the alternative press, the associated music and art, the restoration of the musician to the role of bard, the pagan renaissance, the advent of genuinely woman-centered families resulting from white women chosing single parenthood, etc.), was not merely an extension of the Peace and Civil Rights movements (as it was self-servingly defined by the Left) nor a generational tantrum (as it was defined by Ruling Class media), but rather the first wave of the greatest and potentially most healing revolution in our species history: the overthrow of patriarchy -- the symbolic and conceptional epicenter of which is (as both Robert Graves and Edward Whitmont, who was the head of the Jungian Institute, called it in separate pieces, the former an essay, the latter a book), The Return of the Goddess.

"'Dancer' Resurrected" is here: Its primary relevance to this conversation is its discussion of the matriarchal origins of traditional balladry, the seemingly magickal evocative power such liturgical fragments yet possess, and the semiotic and prophetic messages conveyed by the Counterculture's eager adoption not just of the associated symbolism (as in folk rock) but of the mores, folkways and modes of living so implied (as in communes, consciousness-raising collectives, the restoration of writers, artists and especially musicians to bardical roles of cultural leadership, etc.). If I were to pick one of the many cited works of music as the icon of its hypothesis, it would be a verse from Tim Buckley's "Phantasmagoria in Two," which beyond its deceptively contemporary form is an archetypal dialogue between the Muse -- the Goddess -- and the bard who is also her lover and prophet:

It you tell me a lie I'll cry for you
Tell me of sin and I'll laugh
If you tell me of all the pain you've had
I'll never smile again

Heavy stuff. But as Graves said: "there is one story and one story only."

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 14 weeks ago

The link I sent you above won't open, probably not targeted censorship, rather just software common to mainstream websites that automatically kills (censors) any links to posters' blogs unless they're also mainstream. Not to worry: just Google the title and it will get you there.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 14 weeks ago

Loren Bliss: You're right...that link doesn't seem to work but this one does:

By the way....nice photo! Nice story. Very well written!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 14 weeks ago

Loren, I clicked Palin's version of that link and checked it out. I love the effect of those photos together, with the woman's face superimposed over that image of the trees. You are quite the accomplished artist.

Into the sixth paragraph of Dancer Resurrected, Part One, I encountered this gem of a quote: "Perhaps – as some of us suggested in more wildly speculative moments – patriarchy was the alien psycho-bacteriological equivalent of the bombardment that precedes an invasion, intended to purge our world of life and reduce it to a trash planet fit only to house and feed an unimaginably predatory intergalactic empire of capitalist cockroaches." Loren, that is brilliant! Priceless! Hell hath no fury like a man of letters with a heart and conscience, and strong sense of social justice.

I'm intrigued by your perspective on capitalism as an offshoot (my paraphrase) of patriarchy; also the ruling class's hostility towards artists, creative people of both genders. As to the latter, I believe this was a primary source of the pain and trauma I experienced in school as a child. That environment was so toxic, so suffocating, it nearly killed me. Even the golden era of public schooling had its down side, as these institutions were designed to crank out armies of worker bees, not free thinkers or innovators. Qualities like authenticity, creativity and autonomy were squelched by the school system. Between that and the bullying I endured, it was an ordeal just growing up in that environment. By age fifteen I had already survived several (thankfully inept) suicide attempts. No one could pay me to re-live those early teen years. I believe my story is far from unique, that many creative souls have suffered some version of this nightmare.

My early experiences with the gender divide were opposite yours in certain ways. As a prepubescent child, I preferred boys as playmates because they tended to favor the rough-and-tumble types of activities I liked. Other girls harassed me relentlessly and ostracized me for not being feminine enough, in demeanor or attire, to fit in their circles.

Reading of your untimely parting with Tawna, I'm reminded of the crushing limits poverty can impose on our lives and destinies. What it robs one of goes well beyond deprivation of goods and services, taking its toll on that which gives life meaning.

As always, Loren, it's been a pleasure. - Aliceinwonderland

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 14 weeks ago

Likewise a pleasure for me/Loren

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 14 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland and Loren Bliss:
That quote also made me smile a bit when I read it..there were others as well. What a gift of words!

By the way, that Antique Sandwich Co. shop is at 5102 N. Pearl Street, Tacoma, WA. It's got a really nice mural on the side of two "Indian?" mermaids each sitting in a sea shell: one holding a fox and the other a bird in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. There's an owl, a snake, a tree, dolphin, star fish, an octopus. And there is a river in the background. Guess I know where to get my next cup of java now! Google Earth Street View can take you there in a flash!

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From Screwed:
"Hartmann speaks with the straight talking clarity and brilliance of a modern day Tom Paine as he exposes the intentional and systematic destruction of America’s middle class by an alliance of political con artists and outlines a program to restore it. This is Hartmann at his best. Essential reading for those interested in restoring the institution that made America the envy of the world."
David C. Korten, author of The Great Turning and When Corporations Rule the World
From Cracking the Code:
"Thom Hartmann ought to be bronzed. His new book sets off from the same high plane as the last and offers explicit tools and how-to advice that will allow you to see, hear, and feel propaganda when it's directed at you and use the same techniques to refute it. His book would make a deaf-mute a better communicator. I want him on my reading table every day, and if you try one of his books, so will you."
Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall
From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"If you wonder why and when giant corporations got the power to reign supreme over us, here’s the story."
Jim Hightower, national radio commentator and author of Swim Against the Current