But Now, God Knows, Anything Goes

birds on wire 01“You liberals won the day. Now political reactionaries are taking over ‘cause you liberals won and anything goes.”
— Dr. Fred Newman, 1996, from the play “What Is To Be Dead? (Philosophical Scenes)”

When I first saw that play so many years ago, those words lingered because I had to struggle to understand them. Almost 20 years later, I finally get it — in all its horror. Maybe I needed the passage of time. Fred Newman was a visionary and he saw the writing on the wall far better than I, back when I was only 26 and didn’t understand politics beyond the limited walls of my own angry and injured psyche. In 1996, there had still been some ability for humans to communicate. We didn’t abbreviate all our sentences (LOL!). At the dawn of the age of the internet, social media was just coming into its own, not yet the all-pervasive behemoth as it exists today. (However, the internet on its way to becoming a major force in politics and social interaction was one of the few things I saw coming better than Dr. Newman was able to.)

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It was once called Armistice Day

armistice 800It was the day the killing stopped, 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of November, 1918. The killing had included 10 million soldiers and some 7 million civilians.

At the front, there was no celebration …

From the account of Colonel Thomas Gowenlock, an American intelligence officer on the front line that November morning:

“All over the world on November 11, 1918, people were celebrating, dancing in the streets, drinking champagne, hailing the armistice that meant the end of the war. But at the front there was no celebration. Many soldiers believed the Armistice only a temporary measure and that the war would soon go on. As night came, the quietness, unearthly in its penetration, began to eat into their souls. The men sat around log fires, the first they had ever had at the front. They were trying to reassure themselves that there were no enemy batteries spying on them from the next hill and no German bombing planes approaching to blast them out of existence. They talked in low tones. They were nervous.

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Mass consciousness and its discontents

— Submitted by Jeff Roby
September 11, 2015

freud03A state of consciousness is characteristically very transitory; an idea that is conscious now is no longer so a moment later, although it can become so again under certain conditions that are easily brought about.”
— Sigmund Freud. The Ego and the Id. 1923

“I can clearly see your nuts!”
— psychiatrist to patient wrapped in cellophane

At the risk of blasphemy …

crowd01… consciousness alone don’t do shit! Only people can “do” anything. Consciousness may influence and even determine what actions people take. But the bottom line is that if people don’t act, don’t do, then all the advanced consciousness in the world is as “transitory” as Freud describes.

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Sir Isaac Newton and the Democratic Party

— Submitted by Jeff Roby
August 29, 2015

Artist's impression of the planetary system around the red dwarf Gliese 581. Using the instrument HARPS on the ESO 3.6-m telescope, astronomers have uncovered 3 planets, all of relative low-mass: 5, 8 and 15 Earth masses. The five Earth-mass planet (seen in foreground - Gliese 581 c) makes a full orbit around the star in 13 days, the other two in 5 (the blue, Neptunian-like planet - Gliese 581 b) and 84 days (the most remote one, Gliese 581 d).

Thus far I have explained the phenomena of the heavens and of our sea by the force of gravity, but I have not yet assigned a cause to gravity. Indeed, this force arises from some cause that penetrates as far as the centers of the sun and planets without any diminution of its power to act, and that acts not in proportion to the quantity of the surfaces of the particles on which it acts (as mechanical causes are wont to do) but in proportion to the quantity of solid matter, and whose action is extended everywhere to immense distances, always decreasing as the squares of the distances.

— Sir Isaac Newton
The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687)

Lost in Space.

Thus the moon orbits the Earth, rather than the Earth orbiting the moon. Thus with political parties. The smaller body is drawn into the orbit of the larger. Thus the Left is drawn into the orbit of the Democratic Party. Too simplistic? Perhaps, but the Left’s failure to achieve “escape velocity” and break out of orbit is in large part due to it being oblivious to this obvious fact.

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Cui bono? the Sanders debate examined

vs monopoly

Or rather, “to whose benefit?” The key forensic question in legal and police investigation.

— submitted by Jeff Roby
August 17, 2015

Here’s the best-case scenario I envision. Progressives register Democrat (if they haven’t already done so), work hard on the Sanders campaign, and then (should he fall short of winning the Democratic presidential nomination) immediately re-register Green, join the Green Party bringing their social justice politics into the Green Party, and revive it as a serious force in American politics.

But the current exchanges on the left over the Sanders campaign which have currently masqueraded as political dialogue — while clinically fascinating — cause me to despair that this could actually happen. What I see instead is the left attempting to circle their wagons in the face of what they perceive as the “Sanders Menace.” I have no problem conceding that Sanders is indeed a menace, a menace to the strangulation of political dialogue in the American mainstream, and to the Left’s complacent niche on the margins of that mainstream.

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Now … build St. Petersburg Independents

wecan02St. Petersburg Independents is getting a new computer. Our fundraising campaign has been successful, and we extend our deepest thanks both to those who contributed directly, and those who, like us, are scraping to make ends meet but sincerely wished us their best.

As we stated in our appeal on this site, we have been observing the vitriolic exchanges between Sanders Democrats and Stein Greens, and are appalled that good people who seemingly have so much in common are drawing battle lines that can only divide. This is a historic moment when we cannot afford such squabbles.  There has been talk about the possibilities of left/right cooperation, if not unity.  While we are quite definitely “left,” we think the traditional definitions, to be charitable, have seen better days.  We need a venue for exploration.

Not this environment!

Not this environment!

Simply put, we need an environment where these issues can be discussed.

To this end, we are setting up a Facebook page, St. Petersburg Independents, as well, so that articles posted on this website can be discussed on Facebook, which seems to be a good platform for discussion.

A good platform, that is, if it doesn’t degenerate into the kind of “discussion” better characterized as fencing with sledgehammers.  There will be moderation, and sectarian bullshit will not be tolerated. Hope to see you there.

And again, your support has been deeply appreciated.


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July 4, 2015 — ST. PETERSBURG — la luta continua


Jeff Roby.

You may note that our previous posting for Saint Petersburg Independents was March 2.  I think an explanation is due for the more than three-month gap since that post.

My primary work prior to April 15 had been directed towards gathering the 1,500 signatures (it turned out to be 1,630) to turn in on the steps of the St. Petersburg City Council building, a drive which was successful.  (see below)  April 15 was the day of a major Fight for 15 action in St. Petersburg and Tampa, and I had been invited to address the gathering in St. Petersburg on the 15th.  I did so.

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“We are soldiers in a new movement!”

spk soldiers 02

“Why have the graduate assistants joined in, why are fast food workers together, why are home care workers together, why are all these public sectors workers together? Because as Dr. King said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Justice is indivisible … You who are gathered here today are the foot soldiers in a new movement. … I believe more than ever before that the time is right for a sustained period of unrest, and a long period of agitation. America needs a wakeup call. You have the power, you have the strength, we have the cause.”

— Rev. Charles McKinzie
USF Tampa campus
March 18, 2015

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15 Now Florida says repeal 218.077(2)

florida constitutionThe rich and corrupt hacks in Tallahassee thought they had put an end to any hope for raising the minimum wage in the State of Florida back in 2003, when at the behest of the notoriously right-wing ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), they passed State Statute 218.077(2), which states: “a political subdivision may not establish, mandate, or otherwise require an employer to pay a minimum wage, other than a state or federal minimum wage, to apply a state or federal minimum wage to wages exempt from a state or federal minimum wage, or to provide employment benefits not otherwise required by state or federal law.”

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St. Pete workers say Wage Theft is a crime!

robberbaronsFebruary 19, 2015 — ST. PETERSBURG. The City Council chambers were packed with members of Fight for 15, SEIU, 15 Now, Awake Pinellas, and workers there to testify on how they have personally been the victims of wage theft. Liberal Councilmember Darden Rice of the city’s east side District 4, who was introducing the Wage Theft ordinance, spoke to how St. Petersburg so badly needed it. She cited data from the Tampa Bay Times that “Median household income in Tampa Bay has sunk lower than it was in 2010, the early days of recovery from the Great Recession, cementing the bay area’s dead-last ranking in income among the country’s 25 biggest metro areas. … There’s no getting around that a lot of the jobs we’ve added in the past five years are in leisure/hospitality and in the retail trade, and they tend to pay lower wages.”

One worker had been fired for asking questions about whey his pay had been shorted. Workers testified to being forced to attend work-related meetings for which they were not paid. Hourly workers were illegally declared to be supervisory personnel, so they could be denied overtime pay. Reverend Bruce Wright testified that from 40% to 60% of the homeless actually work, but still cannot afford housing, and many of them can only get day labor which is particularly prone to wage theft. One worker added, “You can’t even call the police!”

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