Archive | December, 2011

Number 1 Hero of the Year Award 2011: Elizabeth Warren

31 Dec

Number 1 Hero of 2011

What a pleasure to present 2011’s Number 1 Hero of the Year. One of the rare people who has won multiple Hero of the Week Awards, Elizabeth Warren has been a model of the principles of TSM. Stymied by obstructionist Republicans (who clearly feared she would actually do her job) when she was nominated by President Obama as head of the new Consumer Protection Bureau, she has breezed past this setback. As an outspoken advocate for the 99%, she consistently demonstrates her understanding of good governance and meaningful social policy.

In September, she spoke out eloquently about the social contract:

I hear all this, you know, “Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.”—No! There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody…Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea—God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

More recently, she demonstrated her clear understanding of the intersections of oppression, specifically as they relate to marriage equality:

 No one – no one – should be discriminated against because of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or religion…As other states grapple with whether to support marriage equality, I’m ready to move to the next step: End the two-tiered system created by the Defense of Marriage Act.

A rare public figure of principles who is determined and articulate, Elizabeth Warren sets a standard that every liberal in America should strive toward. It will be a delight to see her crush Scott Brown (a BWA winner!) in the Massachusetts Senate race next year. Who knows where she may go from there?  My sincere hope is that the United States will be fortunate enough to see Warren as POTUS.

Flashback to 2010: Our Hero of the Year was another strong woman, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Number 1 Bigot of the Year Award 2011: John Boehner

31 Dec

Number 1 Bigot of 2011

For those that have been following TSM for any amount of time, it should come as no surprise that Mr. Fake and Bake, crocodile tears, Mr. 1%, John Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, earns the most dubious honor of the Number 1 Bigot of the Year for 2011.

The congressman from Ohio has consistently demonstrated an abuse of power from a wealthy white heterosexual that rivals some of the super rich white boys on the Supreme Court.  Boehner’s hypocrisy, double standards, misogyny, and homophobia have set his legacy of hate and abuse of power in history!  Rather than working for the American people to balance the budget and get out of a deficit, the ubiquitous obstructionist Boehner said, “we will not raise taxes,” as he was working tirelessly to protect the incomes of the top 1% of Americans–damn the rest of the country.

Yet, while operating out of a deficit, Boehner is spending tax payer dollars to defend discrimination by hiring an attorney to defend DOMA–yes, we must be fearful of the Gay Agenda!  

Pandering to the outer fringe of his party rather than brokering meaningful compromise (how sad is it when you can make Sen. Mitch McConnell look reasonable?) he has made 2011 the year of the do-nothing Congress. Let us hope that his recent capitulation on the payroll tax holiday is the beginning of his downfall–Boehner, another rancid tea bag.

Flashback  2010: The Bigot of 2010 was John McCain.

Number 2 Hero of the Year Award 2011: Occupy Movement

30 Dec

Number 2 Hero of 2011

Thank you to the overwhelming number of TSM readers for nominating the Occupy Movement for Hero of the Year!  How I understand the Occupy Movement is that finally the 99% woke up and spoke truth to power–the absurd distribution of power and wealth in the United States must come to an end.  Of course, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission certainly brought home the point that America was officially for sale.  Extending the Bush tax cuts to the top 2% of Americans just added insult to injury.  We can thank the Fecal Five for selling out America.

While I only attended a dozen Occupy Portland demonstrations, I was consistently impressed that people were getting the message out about the maniacal distribution of wealth and power, despite the heroic efforts of the media to vilify the movement.  My heart was also warmed when many of my cohort of social workers withdrew their money from the big banks and put it credit unions–go social workers!

My hope is that the Occupy Movement will continue in its various incarnations and will eventually affect real change in how wealth and power are distributed–that humanity will prevail over greed.

Flashback 2010: Number 2 Hero of 2010 was Bernie Sanders.

Number 2 Bigot of the Year 2011: GOP Presidential Candidates

30 Dec

Number 2 Bigot of 2011

The title of the article could have easily been Ship of Fools.  What an embarrassment of riches we have with this misogynistic, homophobic, classist, racist, group of rancid tea-baggers.  Thank you to the many TSM readers for nominating the GOP Presidential candidates–I’m sure it did not come as a surprise that I was already on the same track. Perhaps regular reader Jay put it best in his nomination of:

…the Republican Party, especially the embarrassing cohort which is seeking that party’s nomination for President, and the party’s Congressional “leadership.” The second major party of the US has veered dangerously off-course, with potential and real tragic effects upon not only the US and its citizenry, but the world at large.

This coagulation of corrupt and crazy candidates is so awful that even Republicans cannot seem to find one they like. Perpetual self-denier Mitt Romney is the marginal leader, but he’s so toxic that almost every other joker in the pack has had a shot at the top. As TSM contributor Lex “WebWordWarrior” Kahn noted in his nice overview of the candidates, even before any of them got heavy press there was much to dislike. As each has flared into and out of prominence, their baggage and their utter disdain for the people they would lead has become clear. Perhaps nothing has been so damning, however, as their own words and actions during the incessant stream of debates. From Mitt’s pandering to Newt’s frothing to Perry’s babbling they have all shown their true ugly colors, perhaps none so much as hypothetical Libertarian Ron Paul and his blithe acceptance of the death chants from the audience. As the primaries and caucuses get underway next week the pack will thin and we’ll get to learn a lot more about a smaller number of these rabid monsters. Let’s hope that ugliness proves to the American people how lucky we are to have the President we have.

Flashback to 2010: The #2 Bigot last year was the U.S. Supreme Court’s Fecal Five.

Number 3 Hero of the Year Award 2011: Lady Gaga

30 Dec

Number 3 Hero of 2011

In light of the shenanigans that so many people get up to when they get the least bit famous, it is a delight to be able to honor a celebrity who uses her voice, money, and spotlight to make the world a better place. Stephani Germanotta, better known to the world as Lady Gaga, has been a tireless force for good in 2011, bringing her in at #3 on this year’s Hero list.

Already known as a staunch ally of the LGBT community for her opposition to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Lady Gaga hit the ground running in 2011 with her amazing album and single Born This Way. She stuck to her principles commercially (a rare trait indeed) and broke an exclusive distribution contract with Target when the retail giant refused to stop its funding of anti-gay politicians. A vocal supporter of anti-bullying programs, she’s been a one-woman It Gets Better campaign. Following the tragic suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer, she not only dedicated a concert to him and to all the victims of bullying, but she lobbied the White House for national anti-bullying programs. She’s also raised funds and awareness to fight AIDS.

It looks like she’ll be continuing the momentum in 2012, as her new Born This Way Foundation — dedicated to youth empowerment, bravery, and kindness — launches. Using her power for good pays off, too, as Forbes named her the most powerful celebrity of the year (beating out Oprah) and DoSomething.org put her at the top of their annual list of “Celebs Gone Good.”  Let’s hope more youth hear her message of personal value and more celebrities take her model of using fame for good to heart.

Flashback to 2010: Fittingly, last year’s #3 hero was Dan Savage and the It Gets Better campaign.

Number 3 Bigot of the Year Award 2011: The Ruling Class

30 Dec

Number 3 Bigot of 2011

The Ruling Class or what is now better known as the 1% of Americans who control both the power and distribution of wealth in the United States received many nominations.  I think Sara, a regular TSM reader, put it best when she said:

…the U.S. Ruling Class, which upholds and promotes white, male heterosexual patriarchy throughout the world — at the point of a gun where it can get away with it and with pious proclamations of patriotism and self-righteousness at home. Shamelessly!

I will add to what Sara said and talk more specifically about the distribution of wealth and power in the United States and disproportionality.

ONE % of the population controls 47% of the net financial wealth of the country; the next 19% control another 44% of the wealth, which leaves 80% of the population of the country to try and get a share of the only 9% remaining wealth and resources available–not exactly a wise distribution of power.

The grossly disproportionate distribution of wealth aligns directly to the distribution of power. It is not a great surprise that the 1% is composed of mostly white, heterosexual men who identify as Christian. What is sad is that this 1% is clearly out of touch with at least 80% of the population of the country.  What is worse, is that there is a growing trend of much of the 80% voting against their best interest, due to fear rooted in religion.

It is not a big surprise that our current House of Representatives is composed primarily of the top 2% that hold wealth and power and continue to vote against women’s rights, LGBT rights, immigration rights, and yet call themselves patriots.  The currently Republican-controlled House of Representatives also put up barriers for average Americans by trying to block President Obama’s payroll tax cuts.  These are the same group of avarice that threw temper tantrums to protect the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% of Americans and demanded full health care–damn the rest of Americans who cannot afford health insurance.

The Ruling Class should be known as the class of  “I have mine–I don’t give a damn about anyone else,” now that is the American way!  It is easy to see why the Ruling Class in the United States earns the #3 Bigot of the Year Award for 2011.

Flashback to 2010:The Number 3 Bigot of 2010 was shared by NOM and Iowa Voters.

Number 4 Hero of the Year Award 2011: Zach Wahls

29 Dec

Number 4 Hero of 2011

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to interview the very impressive and courageous Zach Wahls, who defended his two mothers in the state of Iowa.  Zach’s dedication to civil rights and his ability to stand up to a homophobic government earn him this year’s number 4 spot for Hero of the Year Award.

Zach’s moms, Jackie and Terry must be exceedingly proud of their son.  It is also nice to know that should Zach, and whoever his future wife should be, have a gay child, that child will be loved and celebrated.

FlashBack 2010: Admiral Mike Mullen earned the number 4 spot for Hero of 2010.

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