Sunday, March 18, 2018

Can One Person Truly Make A Difference? To Anyone?

If there be any particular theme to this moment on the journey through the episodes of 2018, it could well be a continuing attempt to answer this question. Here are just a couple of humble examples I submit for your consideration:

Did this man do this amazing thing by himself? No, absolutely not. But he was the first among those who did this amazing thing. He saw a wrong, and tried to make it better. Based upon this story, I'd say he did that in a truly amazing way.

One of the realities before us in 2018 in the United States and around the world is that there is an all-out, open, arrogant and casual assault upon the truth. I need not itemize even a few of the lowlights of this battle which we see playing itself out in the United States of America before our eyes.

But, is it possible for one person to take on such a battle, alone? And win?

Consider this:

One of the proudest moments I can have as The Tennessee Progressive is when I get the opportunity to interact with folks who stand up, step out, and move forward. There are 10,000 who quietly engage the world where they live to become the change they seek for every one who, for one reason or another, rise to the level of public hero.

But there is something they all share. They cannot NOT do something. They cannot see a problem, or a difficulty, a challenge, or a wrong--and do nothing. Waiting for someone else to "fix" it just is not within their DNA.

We have  historically been, as a nation, a people filled with this reality. From time to time on my personal journey, I have met such people. I love talking with them, engaging them in civil discourse. It's kind of what I do.

It is not that you are not one of these people. It is that you believe a lie; that you are not, or should not be one of these quiet heros. Democracy, our uniquely American way of life is dependent upon citizen not only realizing the lie, but the truth which defeats that lie.

In the not-too-distant future, we will be a nation experiencing the implosion of those who would lead us with lies. I want to believe with all my heart that we, citizen, will not only rise up in truth, but in the iron-willed determination to do whatever is necessary to return our American democracy back to the humble, yet lofty reality it deserves--even if we do not.

I wonder.

The Tennessee Progressive

Sunday, March 11, 2018

PPTS March 11, 2018 "When Bad Things Happen"

Link to the show

Believe it or not, this has been a relatively slow week in American politics. Let that sink in for a moment. 

I leave it to you to figure out how many days, or weeks, or months, or years we have been under the influence (witting or unwitting) of Donald J. Trump. What we cannot say is that any of us have not been under said influence. 

And, it seems that the only news we have gotten is bad. It has been bad for us at our kitchen tables, at our City Council tables, at our State Legislature conference tables, and at our Federal board room tables. The only difference is that federal level conference tables usually (but not always) include drinks and light snacks.

Where does it matter to you the most? I mean, personally. If you can figure that one out, then answer (or try to) the question: "Why?"

Historically, American citizens have been known for several things. One of them has been the belief in right and wrong--not moral relativity. Things are right, or things are wrong. How you might feel about one or the other is what makes debate in the public commons so very important that we dared to protect that discourse through our Constitution. 

One of my favorite professors always tended to begin his discourse with:
"Yes, a thing might be "right" or "wrong". But, what is the "right" thing to do?"

The wisdom of this question should not be missed. His question used to almost bring us students out of our silo of "definite conviction" and into discussion, debate...discourse. Surprisingly, and much moreso of late than previously, conservatives seem to have a decided problem with such notions, and categorize such discourse as "liberal indoctrination". "Leftist" or "Socialist" or "Communist" are terms readily employed by those who fear intellectual discourse. Not, mind you, the actual discourse obtained, but rather the very idea of having discourse at all. Thinking is dangerous to many folks these days, it would seem. 

I am of the opinion that the reason why the answer to the question "So what are YOU going to DO about it?" is because we never make it that far in our commons discourse these days. You can't get to the "How" of a thing if you never get to the "Why?" or the "What?" of a thing. 

You may safely believe that this is a known reality and strategy of those who would not have discourse, much less reasoned, respectful, honest public discourse. Such a strategy only requires one thing to be missing for such tragic consequences as we are witnessing today. They just need you to shut up, believe what they tell you, question nothing, and get out of their way.

The surprising part of this for me is that, in these days so perilous for our democracy, their strategy is working so effectively. 

Yes, there is something you can do about it. Do not allow public discourse in the public commons to die, or to be eliminated. Register to vote, and make certain you are both registered and qualified to vote. VOTE. Become an activist for the cause of your passion. Stand up. Step out. Show off. 

I dare you. Democracy begs you. BE citizen, especially in these bad times. Everything we hold dear depends upon it. Right now. Yes, you.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

PPTS 2018--02 Voting Rights vs. Voter Suppression

Citizens often ask me "When did all this voter suppression stuff start? Who started it? Why?" Well, here is a short clip which answers those questions--somewhat.

    "The definition of the right of suffrage is very justly regarded as a fundamental article of republican government. It was incumbent on the convention, therefore, to define and establish this right in the Constitution. To have left it open for the occasional regulation of the Congress, would have been improper for the reason just mentioned. To have submitted it to the legislative discretion of the States, would have been improper for the same reason; and for the additional reason that it would have rendered (IT) too dependent on the State governments that branch of the federal government which ought to be dependent on the people alone."

James Madison, writing as Publius
The Federalist Papers

James Madison

One of the many considerations our founders had to do long and arduous battle with (and well before the publication of the document just below) was intricately tied to the question this series of broadcasts asks. We wrestle with it still today. 

If we understand who citizen is, what then are their privileges, duties, obligations, responsibilities, and/or honors? 

As one can deduce by taking the five minutes necessary to read Madison's initial (not final, by any means) presumptive explanation of why this question is fundamental to the definition of citizen, we can see at least three (3) sides to this most heated (and oft violent) inquiry. 

Who, then has the right bestowed upon them to vote? When is it proper to withhold that right from citizen? Under what circumstances? To what (if any) degree? For what period of time? Can this right be removed for any citizen, or for all citizens? 

More than any other First Amendment right (each mentioned one time only), the right to vote is mentioned in the (current) Constitution. This right was first embodied in the 14th Amendment, passed on July 28, 1868. The relevant portion reads:

tates shall lose congressional representation 'when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime.'"

U S Constitution
Fourteenth Amendment
Section 2
Proposed June 13, 1866
Ratified July 9, 1868

Notice the Amendment  does require penalties to be applied to states infringing on the right access to the ballot, but it nowhere requires the granting of that access.

Likewise, it was the last of the three "Reconstruction" Amendments, the fifteenth, which specifically addressed the question posed.

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

U S Constitution
Fifteenth Amendment
Section 1
Proposed February 26, 1869
Ratified February 3, 1870

This right would appear three additional times in the (current construct of) the Constitution, to prohibit the abridgment of the right, as a constitutionally protected right of the citizen, and the granting of suffrage to women. 

While it may be a bit difficult to understand in this age of "instant access to everything" that such actions took a rather significant amount of time to accomplish such a feat, still it is quite interesting to look at the span of time between proposal and ratification listed above. Even after the conclusion of the Civil War in America, extremely "hot" debate raged over this very issue. 

We have a very long, sad, painful and sordid history of attempts (many successful, for at least a time) to do precisely what the Constitution forbids (prohibiting citizen from voting), is this still an issue in 2018?

There are many who would (including the US Supreme Court as of last week!) say that yes, it really IS still an intensely debated and aggravating issue in 2018. This week's "theme" seems to be this very issue, as three significant cases from Texas (2 redistricting arguments), Ohio (voter removal from rolls), and a decision on a North Carolina case (requiring the state to re-district itself) are on the docket. (See our Resources Page for links, and some really interesting information on the entire topic for today's show.)

From before our founding as a nation to current day, the right to vote has been protected and/or (depending on the lens you use) prohibited, infringed, or otherwise capitulated virtually non-stop in the American experiment. 

Perhaps most troubling is the reality that most American citizens are completely unaware of this reality. Furthermore, they the many are not even certain whether or not they are, individually, specifically both registered and qualified to vote in 2018 elections. 

This episode of PPTS looks at both historic and current examples of both the attack on voting rights in America, as well as the brave souls who are today fighting to preserve this right, eliminating voter suppression, voting fraud, and the rolling back of this fundamental definition of what a particular right of citizen actually is. 

You are invited to join us this Sunday, from 2-4PM (US Central Time) and call in with your story. What is the situation in YOUR State, YOUR town? Have you been the victim of voter suppression? What did YOU DO about it?  

You can, as always, join us in the chat room by going to the bottom of the episode page and logging in. I hope to facilitate a lively episode. 

I really hope YOU will listen, and DO something about it.

We're on the air! I'll see YOU there!

For the entire team,

The Tennessee Progressive

Monday, January 8, 2018

Show Notes: 2018-01 1/7/18

BeforeShow Notes: None

AfterShow Notes

Episode Title: "Who IS Citizen?"
Special Guest(s): None

The inaugural show for 2018 went, overall, very well. There were a few issues:

1. I (Bud) have a cold that nearly required today's show to be cancelled (cnx). Given the audio quality of the show, a positive argument could be made that it should have been. Sniffling, coughing, etc. was very distracting and pronounced. Given how the show turned out, I believe my call was correct. My apologies to all who did or will hear the episode for the sorry state of my health on this day.

2. The original show went for 2:02:02 (auspicious, anyone?) and edited to 1:45:58. The edited show was loaded to the original episode page, the syndication pages and the blog. The original was filed away in the show archives, along with the edited version beside it.

3. I owe one caller an apology, and a promise. Michael, from Minnesota was the star of today's show who gave a most credible performance for the side of the "true conservative Republican" (sic). I gave him pretty much all the time I could to present his case(s) given today's topic. We learned he was a naturalized citizen who had quite a bit to say from his point of view. We agreed on many things, and the only substantive disagreement I had was that he has the unfortunate habit of doing a "Rush Limbaugh" on himself, me, and the listeners of the show.

Whether from habitual practice as a well-prepared speaker (he definitely was so), or from an inate fear of speaking (highly doubtful, given his performance on today's episode), he would first make a most credible argument, and then kill it with poison tags for effect.


"Argument" 1. Expansion of argument 1: The Leftist Media. Communists of the left. Liberal Hollywood/Media elites. Etc.

I call this the "Limbaugh" effect for a reason. Over several decades of listening to the shows of himself, I have made three primary observations. Two of them (not the third) I felt applied to many of Michael's arguments today:

1. He presented completely legitimate arguments from a decidedly personally held view (conservative). They were, for the most part, factually accurate, well considered, and additive to the discourse. The listener could clearly understand and appreciate his positions. It is at this point that, in my personal view, Limbaugh (and others) should simply shut up, invoking the authenticity of silence. They either do not, or cannot.

2. He then sets out to completely destroy his own legitimacy, in (in Limbaugh's case, definitely) an attempt to make himself (not the position) superior to any inquisitor via attack by ad hominem. "You leftists." Etc. STOP IT!!

It does not add to, but merely destroys any legitimacy your argument may have had to your opponent. This logical fallacy of Rhetoric is known as "The last defense of a failed argument." In Michael's case, in at least four instances I can recall, it was also the FIRST failure of the argument made. With Rush et al, it is to be expected as day is to follow night.

3. Finally, Rush works tirelessly to convince his listeners that Rush is correct because Rush said it. Period. To argue his position is to make yourself to be seen a fool. Quite the opposite usually occurs, and costs Limbaugh a good number of listeners on a regular basis who wish to be informed, not preached to.

Michael could well have gone traipsing through this particular garden; he did not. I believe that could well be due to a particular tactic I used in hopes of keeping his feet from going there:

I blatantly interrupted him on several occasions, either stopping his words or overtalking them.

This is a (usually) unnecessary and completely disrespectful tactic in the course of civil discourse. I use it very sparingly. I do not want to interrupt a person while they are losing their own argument, much less when said position is in argument against ones self. It was a rude thing to do.

I hope Micheal will accept my sincerest apologies, and my promise that, should he deign to participate in dialogue with me in the future, I will not submit him or my listeners to such disrespectful behavior. At least now, Michael, you know why I did so. Next and future times are entirely upon your shoulders. I stand absolved my sin. :)

Today's show focused on what will be for at least the next episode, a topical overview journey through the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. It remains today, as it has since it's initial, revised, and final ratifications as one of, if not THE most litigated Amendment, or of any part of our Constitution. The constitutional definition of "citizen" is found within it's first section. Michael's question given our producer (Progressive Patty) was:

"Does today's show have to do with illegal immigration?"

At that moment, the show became about illegal immigration, so the answer to his inquiry was "Yes!"
It does seem a bit of a stretch to go from the definition of citizen to illegal immigration in 2018, but that was precisely the point of today's show. From the definition of who citizen is, to who is or may be excluded from citizenship, and why, to how one loses citizenship are all contained within the body of this Amendment and the case law springing from it. That does include, up to and including the current lifesupprt struggles to impose an immigration ban in America today.

I do not concede that Michael's inquiry was coincidental. As it turned out, we learned that Michael is not a "birthright" citizen; he is a "naturalized" citizen. I strongly urge you to listen to this episode for just that reason. His perspective is not a unique one in our country, but could well be very unique to our listeners. I appreciate his willingness to share his views with us; they definitely added to the discourse of this, and future episodes of Progressive Politics: Tennessee Style (PPTS).

The answer to this episode's challenge question: "Who was the first President of the United States of America?"

Photo courtesy of the Free Social Encyclopedia

The first President of the United States of America was George Washington.

The answer, sadly, lies in the formulation of the question.  (Hey, we respect the intelligence and research skills of our staff and listeners!)

We were not known as The United States of America until after March (or November, depending on your point of view), 1789. Prior to that date, we were, under at least three different variations, known as the USCA: the United States in Congress Assembled. From the origination of the Articles of Confederation through the Second Continental Congress, a total of five USCA's officially existed, and one of which never met. Each of them had their own President. Of the five men either selected or elected, two never served, one served for less than one year, and one for two years.

                                                     John Hanson, Courtesy of

The most famous of these was John Hanson, of Maryland. It is not accurate to say that John Hanson was, in fact, the first President of the United States; he was not. It is significantly more than a mere technical argument to say otherwise: it is purely historical revision of the facts. That's why it matters, both historically and legally, as the John Hanson Memorial Society has discovered to their dismay since the 1970's.

Up until that point, the Society was leading the charge in the preservation and honoring of all things John Hanson for his contributions to our founding--and, I submit, rightly so. However, when the inaccuracy was clearly identified and labelled as such in the early 1970's as a result of significant historical research into the matter, the purpose of the Society changed.

Since that time, the Society has worked to correct the error. The myth is still highly transported across every venue including the internet. It went a long time underground, barely beneath the surface of American history (and squarely through the American Civil War, for anyone interested). Today, the Society gives honor to an American Patriot, which Hanson surely was, while endeavoring to place his historical relevance in it's proper position.

Thanks to Michael, Patty, the entire team, and you our listeners for a good show. I appreciate it, very much.

The Tennessee Progressive


Take a moment, and attend to the PPTS first comment of 2018:

Yngve Soegnen

"I'm not a US Citizen and don't live in the USA, but am a European and live in Latin America close to the USA. The world and its people are all the same basically. but what goes on in the USA is important for the world because of its might, so we from outside need to chime in about what's happening there some times.
Tennessee isn't the place with the most progress in the world to put it very politely, but deep darkness is needed for a very small light to be seen far away. Many pinpoints of lights become a blazing sun. We can only do what we can do. Then big things happen..."

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

January 1, 2018 Who Is Citizen? Who Or What Empowers Citizen? What Are The Limits Of Citizen?

2018 promises to be a defining year for America, and for Americans. Remembering the adage about sausage, and the making thereof, this year PPTS will be focusing on citizen, citizen activism, and citizen activists. 

Over the course of the past few years, one of the most profound discoveries I have experienced doing this broadcast has been the lack of knowledge of many of my fellow Americans about the questions posed in the title of this article. 

While contemplating the "arc" or flow of the show for 2018, this reality kept cropping up in the strangest places, but mostly in the live, on-air discussions and the conversations in our chat room. One of the most commonly heard statements from me, especially in the past year (2017) has been that one or another positions held by callers, guests and visitors "just is not constitutionally valid". By this, I mean that neither the Constitution or any laws either pertaining to the Constitution or deriving from it via interpretation of the courts up to, and including the Supreme Court of the USA (SCOTUS) support the position asserted. 

In almost every (but not every) case my statement has been upheld by research. It is also true that, on some few (sorry, but it is true) instances it was I who was in error. Strangely enough, it was those very instances which led to the most generous, thought provoking and illuminating conversations on the broadcast, especially in subsequent broadcasts. While proving no one is perfect in their knowledge, these moments gave all participants "permission" to express opinions that were inviting of dialogue, discussion and/or debate. It was as if the show itself became a Court with two sides advocating their views...the very purpose for the show's existence in the first place! I was extremely pleased these moments occurred.

The questions posed in the title will be critical to every American (or anyone who wishes to be) in, and beyond 2018 in my view. I hold this view so strongly that I have decided to make the answers to these questions the purpose and focus of as many broadcasts as it may require to answer them. Why?


I am of the decided opinion that this word demonstrates the power of America, both within itself, and across the planet. The hope of America lies within her people, but who exactly ARE her people?

What does being citizen mean, exactly? While you may have an immediate response, you may be stunned to discover that the quick or easy answer is usually NOT the correct one. So, as an educator, one who believes that knowledge leads to power AND wisdom, PPTS will be holding discourse on answering these and other questions emanating from these foundational questions. 

I also believe that it is YOUR answer which matters most. I want your answers to be valid ones. To that end, I am making a few recommendations for your education in 2018, with an urgent plea that you get as much knowledge as you can, as quickly as you can. It may be true that Civics has not been on the educational agenda in America for some four (4) decades, but PPTS is willing to take you to school just for that very purpose. 

I realise that, for many, this will come as an opportunity. For some it will come as an exercise. For some it may even come as an unwelcome intrusion, a task unworthy of your time, or your energy, or your willingness to participate. 

For those in this third group, it is to you that I plead most: invest. Invest in your citizenship, in your country, and in your causes.

The one thing such a journey will not require of you is your money. (A foundational tenet of the show.) 

All the work can be done at no financial cost to you. Yes, there are opportunities to purchase textbooks, certificates, etc. should you choose to do so. However, any writings directly related to the work I am going to recommend to you are at no cost. 

Because it is a journey this educator strongly recommends (so strongly as to commit some 120+ hours of his personal professional time and his international broadcast to), I will be taking this journey (again) with you. 

Please do not tell me why you didn't. Tell me rather the value of what you have learned because you did. It may be a small number of show listener/followers, and that is completely fine. We hope for a very large number of course. Citizen matters. 

If you are willing to engage in the journey, in this exercise on citizenship, it's okay to let us know; it will uplift us and give us strength along the journey. But display your willingness by your participation here, on the show, and with your own writing or your own feet, or even your own voice. 

After all, what better possible answer to our driving question could there be?

"What are YOU going to do about it?"

For the entire team, I remain,

The Tennessee Progressive


To begin the journey, I have given you some suggested starting points. Of them, I strongly suggest #1, and #3 (together, simultaneously for consideration and discussion values). 

Your mileage may vary (WMMV)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

October 1,2017: An After Show Reflection

Who is Bannon? What Is His Goal? Who Is Funding Him?

Our show today featured answers to these and other important questions. Thanks to our special guests Jade Barrett and Tim Wilson who helped us with their significant input on these issues.

Because of the efforts pursued by today's episode, I will point you to this episode. You will find this episode in the player to the right of this article. It is our usual two hours in length. (Edited for time, not content). 

Yet, even as much as we were educated on these issues, the reality is that there is much left to do. If we do understand the inner workings of the"Breitbart Bunker" group and those who agree with and actively support them, how do we address and overcome their intent? 

A serious question for you, dear reader:
Does this document matter to you? How much?

I sense your outrage. Just hang on a minute here, buckwheat!

If I could help you understand that this document, and all that it stands for, is currently under several different points of attack, virtually every one of which is to eliminate it and those documents following from it from the American democratic landscape...would you alter if not your first, but your second answer?

Stay tuned. That is precisely what this show will, over the next few weeks, attempt to accomplish. I am not a conspiracy theorist in any degree. What is a conspiracy, after all? And how does one get to the point of agreeing with them? You are invited to answer these two questions for yourself. But, a word of caution:

The biggest problem with conspiracy theories is that, sometimes, they (conspiracies) actually do exist. How do you figure out which ones are, and are not, real?

That is the question we will, together attempt to answer on our next few episodes. I hope you will join us, call in, and log into our lively chat room next Sunday October 8, 2017 and help us help you get clear and factual evidence of that which we will investigate, discuss, examine, and conclude.

We're on the air! 

We'll see YOU there!

For the entire PPTS team,

The Tennessee Progressive

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Who, and What is America in 2017?

PPTS: May 24th, 2017

An "After Show" Reflection

Regardless of where you personally stand on the political/ideological spectrum in our country, even citizens with the most fundamental, basic understanding of democracy in America must surely admit that our country is in nearly complete disarray. 

On the show today, we tried to identify sources, consequences, and actions for those citizens who feel that doing nothing is just not an option. I must say that this show absolutely refuses to accept any action, by any individual or group that is illegal, immoral, unethical, or repugnant to democracy in any form, by any person, at any time.

In "fake news" today, we learn that citizens in California are setting out to drop fecal matter on the Donald Trump Star on the Hollywood Walk of fame (located at 6801 Hollywood Drive in downtown Los Angeles). Surely listeners to this show, and followers of this blog would NEVER resort to such vandalism! But there are those out there....(Our thanks to Bill Mahar for bringing this fayke newz to our attention.)

Go ahead. Experience that moment. I'll wait.

Let me ask you a question. I want to know your reaction to this.

The question I would ask is: "What does this make you feel?"

Don't worry; you don't have to respond to me, but you DO have react to you. 

During the previous week, I did a completely unscientific, voluntary survey of 517 US espondents to this question. (For a data scientist, that represented a fair population for the survey.)

I found, generally three primary responses to the question. In no particular order, they were:

A. This song fills me with pride, love, and joy.

B. This used to be our song, but it's not any more. We've failed its message.

C. Damn right! And we finally are making America Great again!

Can you identify with one of these major responses? Why?

On this show, we talk a lot about America, and being American. But, what does that actually mean? And why is it the responsibility of citizen to do something about it?

Understanding the answers to these two questions is a current day imperative--if you believe in the America we have enjoyed/endured for more than 270 years. 

That is why this show exists. That is why you, as citizen, must act. America is your legacy, your privilege, and YOUR obligation. Democracy in America in 2017 resides in the same place it has always resided: in the heart of citizen. From the few survivors of "The Greatest Generation" to the citizen will cast their first ever vote (or not) in 2017.

I invite you to consider these questions, and your own personal answers as you listen to today's episode, conveniently available on the right side of this page.. Then, let me know what YOU think, and what you will DO about it.

For the entire team,

The Tennessee Progressive