Progressivism Underminded

An Open Letter to Representative Lynne Woolsey

Representative Woolsey,

I am writing to express my outrage at your fund-raising effort in support of rabid Blue Dog Jane Harman. As I am sure you are aware, Harman is a corporatist, a militarist and a big fan of the all-powerful national-security surveillance state (except for a brief moment when her own conversations were secretly recorded and made public, suggesting her own improper relationship with AIPAC).

I have always considered you one of the very finest members of the House. To this point I have supported you on almost every issue. I once considered it almost axiomatic that you would use your position and power, the power we gave you, to do the right thing for the citizens you represent.

But your support for Jane Harman flies in the face of all you stand for, and is inexcusable. What agenda will be served by returning this cynical multi-millionaire Blue Dog hypocrite to the House?

You, in this one move, have undermined a lifetimes worth of trust many progressives have had in you.

Even worse, you make it more likely that a champion of elitism, illegal surveillance and militarism will continue to make things worse in the House of Representatives with her right-wing world view and positions on issues.

Whatever happens now, I will never view you in the same light again. I can only speculate as to what possessed you to provide direct fund-raising support for Jane Harman. All such speculation however, leads me to the same conclusion.

Many of us that have been in the trenches these many years in support of progressive causes can find no good reason to excuse this unconscionable act. Harman supported Bush, his wars, his spying, all of it. By virtue of your position and reputation, your association with Harman weakens the term progressive, and is a slap at all those that have supported you over the years.

I call on you to immediately resign from any position of leadership in the Progressive Caucus because it is clear your strategic vision to achieve progressive change is self-canceling. You cannot be taken seriously as a ‘progressive’ when you directly support a right-wing candidate with an anti-progressive agenda and a clear record of negating your vote numerous times on important legislation.

And while so many of us in your district feel that any support for Harman is inexcusable, I have yet to hear you defend or explain your actions. Representative Woolsey, what are you thinking? How, in your mind, does your direct support for a Blue Dog make sense?

We in your district would appreciate a thoughtful response, as so many of us are big fans of accountability when it comes to the actions of politicians that we have supported.

I will personally do all I can to bring this matter to the attention of progressives here. I assure you support for Harman or anything resembling her politics, is very hard to find in this district. This is particularly so amongst those that are most familiar with her extreme right-wing views and voting record.

Harman is no friend of democracy, progressive causes or fair play, and your support for her is incomprehensible.

Paul Dean

Sebastopol Ca

Paul Dean is a composer and bassist with the band Blusion, whose music is described as "a remarkably unmarketable blend of jazz, funk, hip-hop, blues, salsa, rock, vocal and instrumental music." Blusion exists "to serve as a warning to all those who would perhaps otherwise be tempted to attempt something new and different. We starve so that others may live." Paul can be reached at: Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.

15 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. dan e said on May 27th, 2010 at 10:37am #

    Congratulations, Brother Paul, you have started to wake up. I’m sorry to have to tell you, that from things you say in your Open Letter, that the onion has more layers to be unpeeled before “democracy in america” will appear completely naked to your gaze.
    I say this in complete sympathy with your epistle to Ms W. It’s easy for me to identify with your position since I too used to give “progressive” Democrats the benefit of the doubt. But eventually I caught on.

    Yes there are a small minority of Demo Pty officials/candidates who say & do good things some of the time, but it’s all part of the scam. It’s the Gambit Principle: give the suckers a bone with one hand, then kick them with the other foot.
    “Good” Dem’s only provide cover for the rest of them. Any that AIPAC decides can’t be relied upon when needed get the McKinney treatment.

  2. bozh said on May 27th, 2010 at 11:47am #

    U remove from office one fascist, and at least 30mns ready to replace harman.
    Paul dean, tell us ab the system and not how bad an individual is.

    it is the system, or to be more exact, people who are preventing rise of a civil and civilized society that shld be exposed.
    And as i see it, 95%+ of americans stand in the way of creating more equitous, peacefu, and civil society.
    And there may be more than 20 mn americans who are even right of mussolini and smack in the middle of hitler, goebbels, himmler, goehring, et al
    An evil society cannot ever bring good fruit and especially against aliens and other illegals.
    Even americans who oppose wars against illegals of afpak and iraq do so, only because the enemy had not yet been defeated and because wars costs too much costing a bundle.

    devil forbid that there is princpiple s’mwhere there. Rationalization suffices to commit crimes! tnx

  3. kanomi said on May 27th, 2010 at 2:12pm #

    This article is so naive it’s painful and embarassing.

    If bassist/composer Paul Dean thinks Democrats care what he, or any of us, have to say – about anything – then he’s an idiot. Politicians are prostitutes pimped by billionaires and corporations.

    If bassist/composer Paul Dean honestly thinks politicians determine policies, then he’s also a fool. Corporate lawyers write the laws, the regulations, determine the policy, and choose the candidates who are allowed to run for major offices. That’s the real law.

    Lynne Woolsey is a doddering cartoon of an elected representative. Jane Harman is a straight-up traitor, caught on tape conspiring with an Israeli agent. The fact that either of these amoral caricatures remain in office is yet more proof that our so-called elected representatives are nothing but whores participating in a grand charade at the behest of war profiteers, domestic fascists, and an international banking cartel.

    The policy of the governing mafia is trillions of dollars for the bankers, but poverty, crime and the military for everyone else.

    How is this so difficult to understand? Why is this so hard for well-meaning dilettantes like composer/bassist Paul Dean to see? Why is the world full of willfully blind fools like this, who continue to give Obama and the rest of these pissant puppets a pass?

    My advice to you, composer/bassist Paul Dean, is lay off the bass guitar for a couple weeks and do some serious reading and research and study, before embarrassing yourself with another such childish outburst.

    Here are some places to start:
    Chris Hedges, War is a Force lectures

    The Underground History of American Education:

    Anti-Socialism and the Sociopathy of the Elites:

    Anything by Mike Whitney or Matt Taibbi documenting the total ownership of politicians and regulators by the banking industry

    The Lost Tools of Learning:

    Naomi Klein’s shock doctrine and disaster capitalism

    Etc., etc.

    Maybe I should submit an article. I couldn’t possibly do worse than this.

  4. Mulga Mumblebrain said on May 28th, 2010 at 2:47am #

    I’m afraid I’m with dan e and kanomi. Mr Dean’s naivetee has been shattered by brute reality,the bedrock truth that no-one in US politics is a ‘progressive’, whatever that means. They are all servants of the real rulers of the US, the owners of the country. And, in particular, the most determined, ruthless and unscrupulous of the political bribers, the Zionist Jews. Hoping for any outcome from the terminally,ineradicably, corrupt farce of US ‘democracy’ but continued elite pillage, one-sided class war and global aggression is to waste one’s efforts and one’s life.

  5. Paul Dean said on May 28th, 2010 at 1:13pm #

    This is in response to kanomi, but much of it it also applies, i believe, to comments made by dan e, bozh, and Mulga Mumblebrain

    Bassist/composer/naive/idiot Paul Dean here.

    Thanks so much for your insightful commentary, tough guys. I was so inspired/educated by your condescending BS, that I wanted to give it more than the respect it was due. Here goes.

    First, this is not an ‘article’ it was a letter composed and sent to Woolsey. I also sent a copy to DV.

    Second, why, on the basis of a letter castigating Woolsey for backing a right-wing lunatic, do you feel the need to deliver to me yet another overly broad rehash diatribe of your own personal conception of the systemic failings of our great politcal system? Your arrogant and condescending attitude seems to assume that somehow, you are the only ones that understand the very broad outlines of a thoroughly corrupt system.

    Who would have thought that Democrats and politicians aren’t really controlling policy? Corporate power is out of control? Our pious middle-class notions of democracy are a farce? Naked power and brute force brought to bear in support of capital against human interests? You’re kidding! Gosh, I had no idea!

    As far as your assumptions about giving Obama support, or endorsing a corrupt political party or system, you are completely off base. Obama is a complete sellout. That was clear a long time ago. I didn’t vote for him, and have never spoken a kind word about him, and have pointed out the absurdity of his terminal inconsistencies repeatedly.

    You seem to think it a waste of time to write Woolsey, but by implication you seem to feel your energy is well spent lecturing naive idiots. That goes for the rest of the comments here as well. Each one contains yet another broad diatribe, assailing my extreme naivete while delivering essentially the same mind-numbingly boring lecture about the systemic failings that have supposedly escaped my notice.

    It did not escape my notice that none of you included a single word suggesting any path towards a better kind of activism, effective action, etc. Instead each of you expended your breath in an attempt to catch me up to date on the overview of how screwed things are. Is there is an officially recognized literary equivalent to Turret’s Syndrome? If not, you guys could provide the test cases.

    My feeling is, if you understand the broad implications of the overall situation, and you spend time reading muck-raking dissident views that are intended to get you so outraged that you get off your butt and do something, then you really should get off your butt and do something. What’s the something you guys are engaged with? I am very curious.

    To me, the broad outlines of these things that have been so obvious for so many years that it is a complete waste of time to regurgitate the same tired old bullshit again, but perhaps you should write an article, kanomi.

    You could enlighten all of us ignorant bumpkins and dilettantes about the existence of militarism, corporatism, authoritarianism and the surveillance state. I recommend, however that you modulate the personal insults, and make them more general and more broadly offensive. Not everyone is a bassist/composer, therefore some might feel left out.

  6. bozh said on May 28th, 2010 at 3:00pm #

    Paul Dean,
    If i am incorrect in my findings that almost all americans oppose the present wars on the basis of rationalization [sensation sans causation], u cld have objected to those findings and/or produced ur own.
    If u self oppose these wars, u cld have posited own and/or universally-valid principle on which to oppose all wars of agression.

    We evaluated ur views on the basis of that letter. It turned out we were mistaken.
    However, u shld have told us ur general point of view, such that u oppose US wars on apodictic principle that no land has the right to attack another or that an iniquitous society like the one in US can only do more crimes and not less or stop them.
    In view of what u have said in ur letter, it is trifling in salience in copmarison to saying how eveil US society is!
    I did not call u names. the post is still there. I reread it; found no dysphemisms or attack on ur person.

    In this post u speak of corporate power. There is no such an entity; ie, w.o. WH, congress, people, judiciary, army, cia, fbi, media, holliwood, religion; it is all one big bad happy family; one skein of wool or class of people firecely interdependent.

    It’s a myth that a few thousand corporate people rule america. All american rule america to a differing degree and in principle a ditch digger cld rule as much as ceo; and complete nonengagement in the rule represents a rule.

    As i said, remove one fascist and invariably one gets another! After all there are only 98% of them! tnx

  7. bozh said on May 28th, 2010 at 3:12pm #

    I have suggested many times what shld be done to do away with a society where people are divided into less- and more-valued people; which, by the way, is the root cause of all ills that befall us.

    So far as i know, i am the only commenter or observer who provided the root and the only cause for all ills that happen to us on interethnic and interpersonal level.
    It’s not money; it is people abusing this valuable tool for all of us! tnx

  8. hayate said on May 28th, 2010 at 9:34pm #

    These aipac employees all support each other. It’s their job. Expecting this woolsey will change her mind from a letter is naive. Trying to change the minds of these zio-fascists is a waste of time and effort. Expose them for their crimes and get them booted from office and elect people not subsevient to the zionist power configuration. Anything less and you are wasting your time…and every one else’s who wants to see real positive change.

  9. Paul Dean said on May 29th, 2010 at 7:52am #

    hayate said: “Expecting this woolsey will change her mind from a letter is naive”

    I don’t really want you to worry about my time being wasted. And only you can waste yours, so I accept no responsibility for what you choose to read. Thanks for your concern, but if you think I “expected her to change her mind from a letter” you are definitely a bit naive.

    hayate also said:
    “expose them for their crimes and get them booted from office and elect people not subservient to the zionist power configuration”

    I wholeheartedly recommend you get busy with the above project. Might be best not to waste any more of time talking about it.

    I can only assume from what you said that whatever the methods are that you use to accomplish the task (and you must have a method in mind, right?) writing letters won’t be one of them, by virtue of the wasted time involved. Best of luck, let us know how it works out!

  10. bozh said on May 29th, 2010 at 8:46am #

    Paul Dean, with respect,
    Re: wasting time writing letters to pols or posting on DV and other sites cannot be equated nor evalauted as having the same effect in teaching people.

    A letter to a pol teaches but not to the degree that a post teaches. A post teaches many.
    And it is important to keep posting for also new readers. And if a post contains the three-step method of avaluating; consisting of giving the widest look possible or containing most important facts, followed by making conclusions and suggestions what ca be done to eliminate many, too many, ills; then, that amounts to teaching-illuminating.

    The ingrained method is to lament, blame, cast the narrowest look possible and never offer a suggestion what we can do to change the situation.

    Change in US may come only in two ways: forming a second political party or educating mns. ?Or masasive violence. tnx

  11. hayate said on May 29th, 2010 at 2:16pm #

    Paul Dean said on May 29th, 2010 at 7:52am

    Instead of writing the politician, write a blog post. Write an article on an alternative news site. Write a comment after an article on a mainstream news site. Send a emails to family and friends. All these will be seen by others. None of these are time wasters. Use your imagination.

    A letter to a politician is seen by 1 or 2 volunteer aides who filter the politician’s correspondence. But it does give the writer some degree of self-importance in being able to say “I’ve done something, what have you done?” I see.

    That hostility is sad, and misdirected, as I do agree with what you said in the letter.

  12. Paul Dean said on May 29th, 2010 at 4:30pm #

    You say flatly that “a letter to a politician is read by one or two aides” yet this is in reference to a letter that we are only talking about because you read it on the Internet on a public web site that has a relatively wide circulation, for its genre. Not a very strong point of argument here really, in my opinion.

    I wrote this letter in 15-30 minutes, I think. It took an extra two minutes or so to CC it to DV. So for my trouble (about 32 minutes invested) this letter has been seen by many, no?

    Several responders commented on my naiveté, with the dominant secondary theme of ‘what a waste of time it all is/was.’ If you read the dialog that followed, you can track this.

    I wrote a response, in which I addressed at length the issue of my perceived naivete, and the issue of wasting time. Then you follow with more of the same, supposedly out of concern for time wasted.

    Regarding writing this letter of mine, you also said “it does give the writer some degree of self-importance in being able to say “I’ve done something, what have you done?”

    I’m sorry, but this is pure absurdity.

    Lets recap: I wrote a letter. It took half an hour. I sent it off to Woolsey and DV.

    I was under no illusions that the whole capitalist machine would unravel as a result. I understood my “action” to be an extremely minor one. It was not undertaken to be anything other than what it was, except for one thing.

    I had hoped that others might read it, tell their friends, call Woolsey’s office to complain bitterly, read a bit about Harman and AIPAC, write those time wasting letters, become conversant about the issue, etc.

    I fully expected hostility, but I thought it might come primarily from Woolsey supporters. Instead I got hostility from people who wanted to lecture me on use of time, and tell me, how naïve I am.

    I don’t like hostility at all, but I like bullshit even less. I didn’t write this to promote a sense of self-importance, despite the accusation. I wrote it because it really pissed me off that someone that has “impeccable liberal/ progressive credentials” could get away with supporting a candidate that is a corporatist right wing buffoon. OK?

    As stated earlier in this discussion, I wish that instead of enlightening me with concepts with which I am already intimately familiar, or assailing my use of time or naivete, those of you that are aware of what is up, might actually do something. It is only in this specific context in which I ask “What have you done?”

    I think it a fair question. So far you have only given me advice, as is your right, if that’s how you want to play.

    But I wasn’t seeking advice. I was attempting to enlist aid in making this world and our social and political system more just and fair. Tiny thing, I know, but its what I could do in the time I had.

    I not only write letters, I march, discuss issues with anyone that will listen, issues of power, corporatism, democracy, political parties, third parties, social actions, etc. I occaisionally write articles, and organize events with my wife and our band in support of “the causes”, etc.
    I make no claim of importance in this world, I am not-self righteous about what I do or how much others can do or will do etc. I freely admit all my actions are improvised, scientific experiments to determine what might help. I truly have no idea what to do, but am committed to the pursuit.

    For anyone else that has anything to say about these things, I will read all the posts, but it is not likely that I can devote any more time to response. Thanks to all those that have read this, commented, etc.

    On a final note, despite all those that may disagree, I think hitting Woolsey with this could have some effect. Her political identity is intimately wrapped in the perception of her as a progressive. Her office sent me a personal email within fifteen minutes after I called them on this, with a prepared Woolsey response to complaints by folks at the PDA. Seemed kind of defensive to me, like they were a bit uneasy about it all.

    Hope y’all excuse me now while i go crack open a brewski, smug as a bug and secure in the knowledge that my efforts, and this letter, have single- handedly ushered in the New Age of Reason.

    And you think I’m naive?


  13. hayate said on May 29th, 2010 at 7:35pm #

    Paul Dean said on May 29th, 2010 at 4:30pm

    “I’m sorry, but this is pure absurdity.”

    Yes, of course. Especially considering all the time you’ve spent on this board belittling your critics 😀

    “I don’t like hostility at all”

    Unless it’s originated from you, apparently. 😀

    “I think hitting Woolsey with this could have some effect. Her political identity is intimately wrapped in the perception of her as a progressive. Her office sent me a personal email within fifteen minutes after I called them on this, with a prepared Woolsey response to complaints by folks at the PDA.”

    Ah….you netted a form letter email response for your half hour of effort. Great work there, sport. 😀

    That, btw, was the point of my criticism about wasting time writing letters to corrupt politicians – you’ll net a form letter response for all your effort. Your posting the letter here brought a much more effective response – it got read and digested, by a lot more people. Another point of my criticism. For your efforts to bring forth fruit, they need to be seen. Had you not portrayed your piece as a letter to a crook which you subsequently forwarded here, also, but wrote it as a piece criticising said crook, you would have seen the sort of criticism you expected, IE: little or none at all.

  14. dan e said on May 30th, 2010 at 12:37pm #

    Paul Dean: excerpted from your open letter:

    Exhibit A: “I have always considered you one of the very finest members of the House. To this point I have supported you on almost every issue. I once considered it almost axiomatic that you would use your position and power, the power we gave you, to do the right thing for the citizens you represent.”

    Exhibit B: “…your support for Jane Harman flies in the face of all you stand for,…”

    Exhibit C: “…have undermined a lifetimes worth of trust…”

    It’s not clear to me whether the above represents an effort to snow the addressee by exaggerating the degree to which you have been one of her supporters, or if your replies to comments represent an effort to snow DV readers by minimizing the degree to which you have heretofore bought the Dumbocrat “progressive caucus” snowjob.

    My reading of your letter convinces me that you were genuinely surprised to see Woolsey supporting Harman. If this is true, to me it is at best a manifestation of extreme naivete .

    Reading your replies I get the impression that you still believe that there’s nothing wrong with supporting Democrats as long as they present a “progressive” image. If so, you are mistaken. However, as I said before, nobody’s perfeck: I have to confess to letting myself be conned into supporting Run Jesse Run, on the basis of some convoluted reasoning being peddled by various fake “revolutionaries”.
    Fortunately I learned from my mistake, enough that my 2008 campaign slogan was Run Tom Run:)

    BTW I’m disappointed to see you lump my comment with those of others, attributing to me the same hostility some of them expressed, after I went to such effort to be courteous and friendly. Frankly I was put off by the tone of Kanomi’s response; I think I disagree with him on various more substantial political points — but upon opening some of his links found them very interesting, even the one which turned out to be a very sophisticated piece of Christinane indoctrination disguised as an essay on education. Very sophisticated, which means I agreed with most of it until I saw the author was a professional Catholic academic.
    End of digression; I don’t know what you’ve done in politics, what or how much you’ve studied, what your actual beliefs are, but judging from what you’ve written my guess is you have a lot more to figure out. To me we have to start by boycotting all Democrats, more accurately described as Dumbock-rats. The “good” ones only provide cover for the rest of them. All that crap about “boring from within”, “the inside/outside strategy”, “changing the party back to what it was” is a crock of shit. Believe me, been there done that.
    Good luck, “keep swinging”:)

  15. Mulga Mumblebrain said on May 31st, 2010 at 8:14am #

    Dear Paul; I’m sure that you are on the side of the angels, but, in my defense, I only accused you of naivetee. Certainly that might appear condescending, but I’m a very cynical creature so any appearance of belief in the efficacy of appealing to essentially corrupt psychopaths, ie the entire Western political caste, sometimes elicits a modicum of over-reaction.If I offended you,I apologise,as I try to keep my offensiveness for those who merit it.