Thursday, May 19, 2016

Don't Choose Death Over Hillary and Trump, Vote Green

I have voted for Democratic candidates all my life. Except Hillary Clinton. I've never cast a vote for Hillary Clinton. I was resigned to do my vote Blue no matter who duty in 2008 when out of nowhere a better candidate showed up and saved me. I was younger then, and would have cast that vote, even though I didn't want to. I don't like Hillary Clinton, and after all these years about being asked to explain why, and doing so, I'm not going to anymore. I don't like Hillary Clinton, and I don't have to explain to you why, because almost every other reasonable person I know feels the same. 

But Mary Anne Noland really didn't want to vote for Hillary Clinton. So much, so, in fact, that she chose death over that possibility.

I understand how she feels, but I think her problem could have been solved by a possibility that maybe she should have considered, and that millions of Americans might want to look into... voting for a third party candidate, specifically the Green Party candidate. 

I left the Democratic party during this election cycle, and I won't return. Not only won't I be voting for Hillary, I won't be voting for ANY Democratic candidates. I won't be a part of a club that has gone out of its way to tell me they don't want me as a member. The gaslighting that has gone on in the past few months towards Bernie supporters rivals historic abusive relationships like Ike and Tina Turner. You want to be condescending, abusive, and lying cheats for the entire primary season, then when it's time to go to the general election pull that famous abuser routine "You know why I had to hit you, baby..." 

Going back through my history it became abundantly clear I never really was a Democrat in the first place. I was a Progressive. The only votes I ever even remember feeling good about casting were for Jerry Brown in 1992, and Bernie Sanders in 2016. Either one of those candidates could easily be called an Independent, or have been running as a third party candidate, and it would have been much the same.

So, why are so many of us resistant to give a third party a chance, even when the two major parties have pretty much melded into one entity, which Noam Chomsky described as moderate Republicans this week? If I wanted to vote for a 1950's style Republican, it sure as hell wouldn't be Hillary Clinton.

But back to third parties. Americans like to win. We're obsessed with it. Maybe that's why we are reluctant to vote for a third party candidate. Because we know we're going to end up on a losing team. We're going to "throw our vote away." But how is voting for what you believe in rather than what you feel forced to settle for "throwing your vote away?"

Also, how can you really be sure you don't actually agree with the Green party platform as much as, even more than the candidate you feel you have no choice but to vote for?

Listen, don't let the death of Mary Anne Noland be the first and most senseless death of the second Clinton reign, look into alternatives. Hell, you can even vote for yourself if you want. It's allowed. Don't be a stubborn American who would rather die than vote Green.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Progressive Anger. Goodbye, Democratic Party.

This is an email I got from Alan Grayson today because I am a contributor to his campaign. For the first time in my life I have been able to send candidates money. I also really like Tammy Duckworth and have contributed many times to the Bernie Sanders campaign. 

But that's over now. I have left the Democratic party, and I will not return. That, unfortunately, includes Progressive candidates like Grayson, and candidates I respect like Duckworth here in Illinois. 

I'm sick of you assholes. I don't mind taking a loss, or even a beating in life. I have often in life found myself on the losing side of many issues. What I will not stand, however, is the condescension and the insult heaped upon me as a Progressive and a Bernie Sanders supporter, in that order. I don't want to be on a team with the DNC, their surrogates, media hacks, and establishment supporters.

Sure, I think you know you don't give a fuck because Hillary doesn't even have a competitor in November, and two candidates with historic unfavorable ratings will square off against each other. Where it might make a difference is in all those races where Democrats actually need help. Because they won't be getting mine, and I'd like to encourage others who feel as I do to not only withdraw their support for Hillary and the notable national races, but all races involving a Democrat. 

You wanted to be asswipes, mission accomplished. But don't EVER, and I mean EVER ask me to support you again, because I have alternatives I like equally as well. As far as the local, state, and national races I would have loved to cast a vote for Democrats in, tough shit. I can live through a conservative Supreme Court. Been doing it a long time. 

I encourage anyone who feels even remotely the same to find a third party they can live with, and fight for them to get ballot access and equal access to public finds, debates, and media coverage. It is my sincere hope that candidates like Alan Grayson consider running in a new party, The Progressive Party, in the future, but as long as they have that D behind their name they get no green from me.
Speaking of Green...

Dear Thomas,
This is a short essay on progressive anger: its origin, its attributes, its meaning, and its cure.

We’re tired of being sold out. That’s why we’re angry.

The Democratic Party has long been the home for those who believe in justice, equality, and peace. And for just as long, our progressive wing has served on the front lines in this fight. We’ve made the calls, knocked on the doors, donated the funds, and stuffed the envelopes to get Democrats elected. We were grassroots leaders when Democrats took the Senate and the House in 2006, and the White House in 2008.

In my case, I heard the call for justice, equality and peace, ran office for the first time in my life in 2006, and lost. Then I picked myself up off the floor, dusted myself off, ran again in 2008, and won. Our party has benefited from a steady stream of people like me who care enough to get involved, and push as hard as we can to make the world a better place.

This election cycle, all that has changed. The same leaders, and the same party, for whom we’ve been the foot soldiers for so long have become dismissive, condescending and even malicious toward anyone who isn’t willing to “get in line” and follow the dictates of party bosses. Our own party politburo has accused us of disloyalty when we wouldn’t back yet another American war in the Middle East, or their sell-out schemes to expand corporate welfare. Our own party politburo has attacked us for opposing new fake trade giveaways to multinational corporations. And worst of all, our own party politburo has attacked us ruthlessly whenever we want the choice of our candidates to be made by The People, rather than party bosses and party hacks. In the hands of a corrupt and inept “leadership,” our love for the principles of Team Blue has become unrequited love. All they care about is obedience – “shut up, and do as you’re told, or we will hurt you.”

My campaign and other progressive campaigns were, of course, prepared for the inevitable attacks from the GOP. We were less prepared for the attacks by petty dictators from inside the very party we helped build. This election is going to be the most expensive in history, because we not only have to spend to fight back against the Republicans -- we have to spend to fight back against the corrupt Establishment ruling class of our own party. Chip in $8, or whatever you can afford, to help us fight back now >>

Who wins, when malicious Establishment Democrats viciously come after progressives like me? DC “political consulting” firms, and the Republican Party. Who loses? The American People. Our so-called “leadership” is not just putting their thumb on the scale – they’re smashing the scale.

I used to say that you had only three friends in life – God, your mamma, and the Democratic Party. It’s getting really hard to say that these days.

We’ve been betrayed by the Party that we built, the Party that we love. So we’re angry. What are we supposed to be, bemused? Nonplussed? Mildly dismayed?

How can we stop this cancer from destroying our party, making it the unDemocratic Party, and letting the Republicans win? It’s simple. Give the Democratic Party back to the People. Let the People, not the party, decide who our candidates are.

If we want to continue to be the party of the People, then we need to be a party by the People, and for the People. It’s just that simple.

We’re fighting as hard as we can to win back the heart and soul of our party, but we can’t do it alone. Please chip in $8, or whatever you can afford, to join our fight, right here and right now >>

Let’s teach the politburo a lesson: The People, united, can never be defeated. That’s what the Democratic Party has to be all about – whether the party hacks like it or not.
Alan Grayson
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Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Dude's Prayer Poem By Outsider Poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg

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Friday, May 13, 2016

"I Dreamt of Joan Collins" By Outlaw Poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg

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"Rented Space" Read By Outlaw Poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Zombie Logic Review: Poetry For Outsiders and Outlaws: Todd Moore, The Founding Force of Outlaw Poetry, a...

Zombie Logic Review: Poetry For Outsiders and Outlaws: Todd Moore, The Founding Force of Outlaw Poetry, a...: Most people don't know this, even people sort of well-versed in the history of the small press, but Outlaw Poetry was started right her... Pin It

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Untied Artists of Rockford

There's this very small building tucked in between two larger buildings on 7th Street here in Rockford, Illinois. For decades now 7th Street has been the street in our city known for prostitution and drug dealing. If you wanted to misbehave, you went to 7th Street. It is also remembered by older Rockfordians as a grand corridor of factories and furniture makers emblematic of their Swedish heritage and Rockford's glory days. The sound you hear me making is simulated masturbation, because those days are forty years behind us. Those grand building have been sitting and decaying for twenty-five years. A few developers own most of them, and allow them to sit and rot until they can find a way to get the public to pay them to create condos or a retail space that will soon become irrelevant because no one wants to go to Midtown because even if things are changing for the better all they remember is what they've seen on the police blotter all their lives. All of that back history related so I can say this...

This is the Untied Artists Building at 205 7th Street in Rockford, Illinois, America's 3rd most miserable, uneducated, fattest, and dangerous city.  For about a decade I have been walking by it and dreaming I'd buy it and have a creative bureau where all my favorite creators just punched in whenever they damn well felt like it and worked on whatever they wanted. Obviously that will never happen, but I can say in that past decade all of those people have done amazing work and I think they are all awesome. Oh, Jenny painted this. I now own the Untied Artists Building, sort of.
I normally dislike small spaces and buildings, but for some reason this tiny place just captures my imagination. Last night Jenny and I peaked in as we were on our way to Phoenix Traders to deliver copies of the latest Zombie Logic Press book The Blood Dark Sea by Dennis Gulling for his shelves. There wasn't much to see. I don't ever remember anyone being in there, or it having been open for any purpose, but of course one of the local vulture slum lords owns it and has no intention of keeping it up like a decent human being or offering it for sale so someone else can. To let the once majestic structures of a city like Rockford sit and crumble must be some sort of cosmic crime. Of course it's not the type of crime we prosecute in America. In fact, we celebrate vultures who prosper this way, because they succeed, if you call allowing neighborhoods to crumble for years, even decades so you can profiteer from them later being a successful human being.

I don't. But then again, I make things, and tend to evaluate people by what they create, teach others, and contribute to the general pool of ideas and objects that move us ever forward instead of backwards. Rockford is just one of those places that loves the past. And longs to return to a past that will never, ever exist again. The way forward is creativity, ingenuity, and accepting the fact that the world has moved on ,and as a city we need to move on with it.

What I'm pining for here was never more than a small pipe dream of mine. The adult in me knew I was never going to own a building where all my friends showed up and made whatever they wanted and people were going to give us money and everything would be a happy ending. But in that past decade those friends have been incredibly productive here in Rockford. Painters, photographers, musicians, poets, videographers, web developers, dancers, spoken word artists... so it turns out The Untied Artists Bureau is just a metaphor for the life I live already, and am so proud of and grateful for. And neighborhoods like Midtown and Downtown are now coming back. Soon we won't even be able to afford to live in the places we helped survive the darkest days of decay and paying for the sins of the past.

But that's ok, because we'll be somewhere else creating and dreaming and breathing life into places others left for dead. 

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