Beginner's Pen

Jonathan Erdman. Writer. Wayfarer.



Bernie Sanders Has a Secret – Politico


I’m expecting Bernie Sanders to either win the Democratic nomination or come damn close to doing so. Either way, I think he’s going to be a game changer who speaks to the concerns of the next generation…I ordered my Bernie 2016 t-shirt yesterday….This article in Politico tells you a bit about Bernie. Bernie Sanders Has a Secret – Michael Kruse – POLITICO Magazine.

Don’t Underestimate Bernie Sanders – The Atlantic

Bernie   In the wake of a congressional banking scandal and a congressional pay hike, [Jerry] Brown vowed to “take back America from the confederacy of corruption, careerism, and campaign consulting in Washington.” In an era of escalating globalization, [Pat] Buchanan promised a “conservatism that looks out for the men and women of this country whose jobs have been sacrificed on the altars of trade deals done for the benefit of trans-national corporations who have no loyalty to our country.” In a Democratic Party whose activists felt betrayed by their leaders’ support for the Iraq War, Dean pledged “to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.”…. In today’s Democratic Party, the most powerful grievance is the one that brought thousands into Zuccotti Park in 2011, powered Bill De Blasio’s upset victory in New York, and has made Elizabeth Warren a progressive folk hero. It’s the belief that the super-rich have distorted America’s economy and bought its government. It’s a grievance so powerful that it’s seeped not only into Hillary’s rhetoric, but also into Ted Cruz’s. And from the Clinton Foundation scandals to the Republican candidates’ shameless pandering to billionaires, the presidential campaign itself seems poised to inflame that grievance even more….” From Bernie Sanders and the 2016 Presidential Race – The Atlantic.

Liberty and Justice for All


“A Wall Street bank accused of laundering money for drug cartels only had to pay a fine. Meanwhile, a man caught with a joint in his pocket had to spend 47 days in jail.” This kind of failure has a long history, though it seems to be getting much worse. The bank was fined – there are always fines – but because the crimes of the wealthy are just a matter of dollars and cents, then they can quantify their risks rather than having to fear any personal repercussions.

U.S. and China Strike Historic Agreement on Climate Change | Alternet


Here is a link to an article on the deal between China and the U.S. to reduce carbon emissions. Despite how modest it is, some politicians have found a way to oppose even this small step toward being environmentally responsible. Unreal.

Strange Things Happening in the Plains States


Keep working for change, friends. People know that our country has a lot of problems and that the cliche political answers and typical quick fixes of the major parties haven’t worked.

In the 1880s and 1890s, a prairie wildfire swept through American politics. The generation of pioneers that had taken the risk to head out west and take advantage of Abe Lincoln’s Homestead Act, where our government literally gave away free land to any poor and working class people, had successfully battled terrible weather and intense loneliness. They had worked their butts off to become farmers and ranchers, and made a good life for themselves. But when railroad barons, Wall Street bankers, and oil monopolists began to squeeze them and make it tougher and tougher to make a living farming and ranching, they rose up and started organizing a populist movement that changed American politics and policies. States like the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma rebelled against pro-big business politicians, and much of what they demanded- breaking up the big corporate trusts, tougher financial regulations, easier credit, Social Security, a minimum wage, an 8 hour work day and no child labor, women’s suffrage, stronger labor unions- eventually became incorporated in the reforms of the Progressive era of the early 1900s and the New Deal of the 1930s.

Libertarian Left: Free-market anti-capitalism, the unknown ideal

There are many alternatives to our current form of capitalism. The Libertarian Left is one very important theory of social and economic organization. If you find yourself dissatisfied with mainstream politics and the major political parties, you owe it to yourself to investigate different ways of viewing the world.

As for myself, in particular, I have no hard-core allegiance to any particular theory. At this point, I think we simply need more people to start to investigate the alternatives. While many of the average middle-class citizens are cynical of mainstream politics, they nonetheless either end up getting caught up in conventional political debate or just check out of the process all together. What seems critical to me, at this point, is to bring to people’s attention the many alternative ways of viewing social and economic organization. With all of the intelligent ideas out there, with all of the challenges to capitalism, I believe with my whole heart that things really and truly don’t have to be the way they are. A better world is more possible and feasible than most of us can dare to believe.


Continue reading “Libertarian Left: Free-market anti-capitalism, the unknown ideal”

Article “The internet is fucked” | The Verge

One of my own (many) gripes against capitalism is that it breeds huge mutant monopoly companies who eat their families. When big industries are deregulated, the powerful tend to use their power to squash competition, or merge with other powerful companies. They then use this new strength to squeeze out even more competition until they remain, alone, at the top of the heap. (Think about the old days when princes would murder their brothers and any other familial rival…Hey, at least they were honest.)

This sad capitalistic story keeps replaying itself in American, and if you want, you can make a bag of popcorn and watch it unfold, as mega-bucks mutant freak corporation Comcast grows bigger and bigger….But be warned, watching it unfold may require shelling out big bucks to Comcast for an internet bundle plan.

Continue reading “Article “The internet is fucked” | The Verge”

Privilege and the Pill: Pro-lifer on supporting access to birth control

“Birth control should be an important topic to those of us who consider ourselves pro-life because the most effective way to curb the abortion rate in this country is to make birth control more affordable and accessible…”

“….those who oppose coverage of birth control based on their religious or pro-life convictions must take into consideration the fact that lack of coverage may actually lead to more abortions. And we must remember that shrugging off birth control as something people should be able to easily pay for on their own betrays some of our own economic privilege in this conversation…”

State of the Union

I recently saw a chart that indicated that the most searched Google questions during the State of the Union address was in regards to the minimum wage. It was overwhelming. Clearly there is interest in the subject. A question popped into my head: what would I do if I had only two choices — keep the status quo as it is or raise the minimum wage to $50 an hour? Without a doubt, I would take the second choice and jack the minimum wage way up. I suppose that’s a fairly controversial opinion.

Continue reading “State of the Union”

A Christian and a Democrat

“Philosophy? Philosophy? I am a Christian and a Democrat, that is all.” – FDR, from Freedom from Fear by David Kennedy, the current history text with which I am having a stimulating fling

Promise of No Child Left Behind falls short – USATODAY


Yet after a decade on the books, President George W. Bush’s most hyped domestic accomplishment has become a symbol to many of federal overreach and Congress’ inability to fix something that’s clearly flawed.

Evangelical pastors heed a political calling for 2012

This is a good, short article on evangelical activism for the coming election. Although I am passionate and informed in my political beliefs, I am starting to become convinced that backing politicians, movements, or political ideologies is a very bad move for churches. Continue reading “Evangelical pastors heed a political calling for 2012”

The politics of white churchgoers

“If you are a white American today and [say]…’I go to church every week’…the probabilities are quite high that you are Republican. And if you…are white and you say, ‘No, I never go to religious services…I don’t have a religious identity,’ the chances are much higher than predicted that you would be a Democrat.” Continue reading “The politics of white churchgoers”

Who’s Winning the Debt Debate?

“One of the most politically damaging aspects of the debt ceiling debate for Republicans is that their fiscal priorities are at odds with super-majorities of Americans. About three-quarters favor raising taxes on the rich Continue reading “Who’s Winning the Debt Debate?”

Scaring the Cartels: Reformists Say Legalize Marijuana

A few excerpts from a TIME article: A New Way to Fight Mexico’s Vicious Cartels: Legalizing Marijuana Continue reading “Scaring the Cartels: Reformists Say Legalize Marijuana”

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