April 16, 2011

Clarifying My Core Political Principles

I shared this video on Facebook and started an extremely long discussion.

Since the conversation included people across the political spectrum, I laid out my core political beliefs as a starting place:

I know corporations / business have one reason for existing: to create profit. They do not support human or environmental needs - they make money for their shareholders. When corporations were first invented, they had to prove that they were supporting the welfare of the nation/colony/state they were incoporated in, but no more.

The gap between the rich and the poor, in the US and globally, is larger than it has ever been. There is no real middle class in the US. Fairness in taxation means that the people who profit the most should pay the most. Otherwise, government will end up imposing more sales taxes, which affect the poor far more than the rich. The Bush tax cuts were unpaid for and unsustainable. Reagonomics DID NOT WORK. And it did not create a magical, growing, healthy economy. It simply exacerbated the gap between the rich and the poor.

Individuals create governments to increase their own freedom. Government protects citizens by imposing regulations on business, enacting laws that protect people, animals, and the environment. Civil society and government institutions are the only pathways to a more just world.

I am not willing to sacrifice my freedom to the whim of corporations. The problem in DC is the corporatacracy. Government paychecks are red herrings - contractors make far more than any govt employee. The problem is politicians rely on Big Money and Big Business to get elected and re-elected. Until we have public financing in our elections, it will remain difficult for the majority of the people to have their opinions heard and enacted by government.

The majority of the people isn't the same as the decisions made in individual races in a midterm election. Too many people are turned off by politics in this country. Even the president isn't chosen by a simple majority vote - giving people in Omaha a larger voice in national politics than people in LA.

Government job bills are the only things that truly get us out of a recession - it was the Works Progress Administration that finally got people back to work after the Great Depression. And yes, it was also the military industrial economy. We're addicted to war. It's the largest form of welfare in this country - the military, or a military contractor, exists in every single Congressional district in this country. Can't say that about any other federal program.

The world I want to see has a culture of peace and human security as its core principles, rather than this culture of war and humans being disposable. Those great corporations refuse to hire people who have been unemployed 2+ years - are you really willing to sacrifice millions of Americans for a political ideology?

In addition to ending US wars, we need to slash the military budget and spend more on creating jobs and social services. By the way - it doesn't matter how much intelligence POTUS, SecDef, or SecState have: the bottom line is that if your primary form of diplomacy is depleted uranium bombs, your country will never be at peace. Terrorism cannot be defeated with terrorism. Only skillful diplomacy, robust international institutions, pathways to peace and economic prosperity will make us truly safe.

Posted by cj at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2008

People still want to be diplomats

Most popular post I've ever written continues to be my advice for taking the foreign service exam. I still agree with everything I wrote, except now I'm a direct marketing professional who shelved her dreams of being a paid writer / activist.

Sometimes I freak out that State reads my blog. Then I remember - they ain't reading my political statements, just checking out my advice on entering the hallowed halls of public servitude. I recall fondly my fervent hopes of being a career diplomat. I held onto that dream for a good 4 years before realizing that my soul feels cleaner not being shackled to a government post. [It took the illegal occupation of Iraq to pull my head out of that quicksand.]

But goodness knows I could use some federal government health insurance. Gotta love the side effects of nuclear power...

Posted by cj at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2008

Thinking Deeply

I've been derelict at updating this blog to a greater extent than my cultural blog. Don't take this to mean I haven't been thinking about politics. Rather, the crush of life has forced sacrifices.

First, I committed time to a few monthly emails for WILPF. And work is quite intense these days, which I'm grateful for. And mostly, I feel that my political posts should be Well Thought Out, which leads to more writers' block that simple babbling on the last movie I saw.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to blog at least once a week on each blog. I don't think anyone else is searching for new posts on these fora, but I know that this outlet is important to creating balance in my soul. So, just as I once started a blog to keep a public record of the fact that I had applied to jobs, I am now publicly asserting my need to express my own opinion on The World.

Posted by cj at 2:23 PM | Comments (0)

May 31, 2008


I fear my attempts to reach across the political spectrum and date Jewish men is doomed to failure given the tenacity with which I write on this blog. Forgive me for my honesty.

Posted by cj at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2007

Why My Activist Home is a Women's Peace Organization

Strange Adventures in Google Searching

I know I should be using Good Search and having all my searches count towards the Jane Addams Peace Association account - WILPF's sister 501(c)3. I just don't always do it.

Right, so I googled this blog and found another blog that quoted a long tract from this blog.

Here's the post on Jewesses With Attitude that quotes me. Sorta trippy that I never knew it before now. Also strange, because I stumbled across JWABlog's parent site and it provided me with the inspiration for the original name of this blog, Chicken Foot Stew.

Odd thing is, I just wrote an email on the same topic - why I do my activism within a women's group. I sent the email to the US Social Forum Women's Working Group. Here's what I wrote:

I'm 28. I went to a women's college. And I still had to figure out why to do my activism with a women's focus. Part of this stems from thinking it was enough to go to a women's college. But mostly, I've learned it from popular culture: I was born in 78, so by the time I came of age, the battles had been won. Women were working, they had college degrees, and the wage gap was either a figment of radicals' imagination or due to the choice women make to leave the workforce for long periods of time to have kids. Since my identity is not wrapped up in my ability to procreate, and since my thoughts on gender identity go far beyond the dichotomous norm, I really had a hard time understanding why I'd ever choose to do my activism through a women's lens. (For awhile, I researched creating an independent major in Gender Studies b/c I was convinced Women's Studies was too archaic for what I wanted to do. I ended up with a degree in Peace & Justice Studies.)

And yet, I joined WILPF during my senior year of college. I came to the realization that the only way to create a space in mainstream society for all gender identities is to stand up and be counted as a female activist. Similarly, I realize that every problem in the world can be helped by including a gender perspective in analysis and solution-creation. I believe that a women's focus is the first step towards gender-mainstreaming. Because for me, this is about more than just women's issues or national issues from a women's perspective.

Examples from my personal life that prove that we still need a women's focus: This is about the fact that the public face of a progressive organization here in Cali was entirely male until I volunteered to blog for them (Courage Campaign has two full-time female staffers, but the volunteer bloggers were all male). It's about the lack of national healthcare that forces my sister to go back to work 8 weeks after giving birth, not because her family needs the money, but because they need her health insurance. It's about the lack of real childcare choices my sister has for when she goes back to work. It's about being scared that no one mentioned until this week that the new birth control on the market has double the rate of not working than the older pills. It's about wanting to make this country a friendly place to be a mother before I become one. And its about supporting my sisters who have suffered from gendered discrimination & gendered violence.

I stand on the backs of the women of the first and second waves of feminism and I reach out to my sisters in the third wave. And I wonder (to paraphrase WILPF's nuclear disarmament project) - how can we reach a critical mass of political will for gender-mainstreaming?

Posted by cj at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

May 7, 2006

Name Change and Transitions

In case you're wondering why this blog's name changed...

Last summer I was searching for a good phrase as an email / IM handle. I found "social upheaval" in a description of "No Direction Home," the Scorsese doc re Dylan. That exact press release doesn't seem to be available anymore, but it said that 1961-66 was a time of social upheaval.

And that's when it hit me - what this globe needs is some good ol' fashioned social upheaval. I abhor violence and I don't think it ultimately brings any positive results. But challenging and changing the heart and soul of society is what all of my life's work is about, including this blog.

Since Google often confused "Chicken Foot Stew" with a recipe for chicken foot stew - leading many would-be stew makers to this site - and since the meaning seemed convoluted to me (why hide behind a catchy name when you can stand out front with your politics on your sleeve?), I decided last December to purchase socialupheaval.com and transition my blog to that name.

My friend the anonymous donor of server space has a lot on his plate and didn't get socialupheaval pointing here until today. I've still got to work out the complete transition, but it's getting there.

Chicken Foot Stew will continue to be an active URL, it will simply be a mirror site for Social Upheaval.

Posted by cj at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

May 9, 2005


Sometimes I wonder why I allow comments on my blogs. It's not that I don't want to have a conversation. My problem is that sometimes it feels like I spend more time deleting spam than writing posts. Since my friend and helpful web-host added an MT Blacklist Plug-in, the spamming hasn't been quite as bad, but it's still annoying.

Then today I found an extremely offensive comment. There is nothing coherent to the comment and it is derogatory not just towards me, but to all progressives and all queer people. Part of me just wanted to delete it and be done with it, but I felt like I needed a second opinion. Personally, I am not offended by cursing. Occasionally, I have even cursed in my writing. But when I'm called a "dumb faggot" and a "shit-coward," I tend to be annoyed. I don't care that people have different opinions. I welcome healthy debate. Clearly, the comment is not part of a healthy debate. Part of me looks at that comment and shouts "why the hell should I give a nano-second more of my time to the idiot?!?" Why not just delete the comment and move on? I think that would be censorship and since very few people bother to talk to me on any level about the ideas I express on this blog, I'm compelled to give Greg (the commentor) some air time.

Mi chavo, aka Blind Boy Grunt, convinced me to post the comment and offer this explanation. Maybe this idiot will compel you to leave a word or two. No need to respond to him. But you can tell me if you think the comment deserves to be saved and why or why not.

Posted by cj at 4:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 28, 2005

The Sitemeter Rabbit Hole...

Yes, I use javascript enabled Sitemeter. Which means unless you block Sitemeter's ability to check up on you, I can read up on what page referred you to Chicken Foot Stew and what things you looked at while you were here. For example, I now know that mi chavo accounts for the vast majority of my readership since he faithfully checks for new postings on my blogs even when I haven't IMed him to tell him I blogged.

I've also been able to find some interesting reads from recent readers. Bombs and Shields is a fascinating anarchist blog that actually links directly to me. While I don't agree with all of the blog's politics (I don't think destruction of personal property is how to engage people in political discussions), I am fascinated by what I've found on their site. I'm very interested to find out about the pink crosses at Ciudad Juarez and the fact that the revolution is still brewing in Krgyzstan.

Shining Light in Dark Corners is another interesting blog, albeit one with a default text size that is way too small for the average person. I enjoy the Federal Blogger Application.

Someone also happened upon me via
Watching the Watchers
Shameless Agitator - a blog I definitely need to check out more.

if only I didn't have to work during the day and could spend my time surfin the net....

Posted by cj at 10:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 26, 2005

More to Come...

Apologies for the sporatic nature of this blog recently. Work has kept me very busy and I haven't had time to update this blog.

I'm starving, but just to fill you in on what I'll be blogging about later today:
-- Shrub met with Crown Prince Adbdullah of Saudi Arabia yesterday and didn't bother him to increase oil production immediately despite the ridiculous price of gas for the last few months.
-- Folks from the C.I.A. are speakin up to bash John Bolton, the most ridiculous Shrub nominee for Ambassador to the UN

Posted by cj at 12:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 23, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me

I live in a tree.
I look like a monkey
and I act like one too!

er...not all the time.

Off to the Museum of Science and Industry with mi chavo. Super dorks of the world, unite!

Posted by cj at 9:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 23, 2005

Comments Can Be Annoying

When I was on Blogger, I rarely received spam comments. Now I deal with spammers everyday of the frickin year. 97% of people who comment and 100% of people who trackback to this site do so to advertise online poker or drugs. I am extremely sick of them and haven't found a good way of booting them off - they rarely use the same IP address, so denying access to particular ones seems like a waste of time.

Recently, I enable the comment approval system available via Movable Type. This helps - but now my email inbox is flooded with spam. I know I could just turn off email notification, but then I'd never know that a serious comment was waiting for approval.

I dunno what to do, but I now understand why so many people simply turn off comments altogether.

Just to clarify - I appreciate and enjoy relevant comments. Your comments will never be deleted if they are on topic. The only comments I delete are adverts for completely unrelevant websites.

Posted by cj at 1:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 19, 2005

Vegas, Baby!

Chicken Foot Stew is currently on hiatus until Tuesday. Be a proud American and enjoy President's Day by spending money you don't have (preferably someone else's) and drinking copious amounts of alcohol with friends and fam. If possible, stay near your lover. It makes for a much happier vacation....

!Viva Macy's!

!Viva Las Vegas!

!Viva Breakfast a la Mom!

Posted by cj at 12:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 22, 2004

How'd You Find Me?

Seriously. Other than my boyfriend and the boy, I really don't know who's reading this blog or why. I also don't understand why people don't respond to posts with the comment link to that post.

Shout out to mi chavo and Hyoun. If I could place a big cheesy grinning smiley face here like the one you can see in AIM, I would.

Posted by cj at 6:14 PM | Comments (2)

December 20, 2004

Comment Warning

I don't know how to explain myself properly, but I'll try. If you write a comment that is completely off subject and I deem the only point of your post is to point readers to your commercial website, I will delete your post. I'm all for free speech, but I didn't create this site as a free ad space.

Ultimately, this is my soap box. You should get your own.

On the other hand, your comments will not be purged simply because our opinions differ. Only if I consider you a troll.

Posted by cj at 4:43 PM | Comments (1)

December 13, 2004

behind the name of the blog

Been wondering why I named this blog Chicken Foot Stew?
It's actually sorta interesting (I think).

Here's the deal - when someone offered to buy me a domain, I wanted something catchier than Serpentine Dancing Queen, the name of this blog's previous incarnation. I decided to try to name it after a historical feminist and found the Jewish Women's Archive. In their Women of Valor presentation, I found Barbara Myerhoff, a pioneer anthropologist who collected oral history from a Jewish retirement center in Venice, California. Here is the Chicken Foot Stew story:

"Being so rooted in their Judaism helped the old people in their struggles and celebrations. They were sufficiently comfortable with it to improvise upon it and adapt it freely as needed, for small requirements and large. Basha exemplified this when she described her dinner preparations. She ate alone in her tiny room. Over an electric hot plate, she cooked her chicken foot stew (chicken feet were free at the supermarket). Before eating, she spread a white linen handkerchief over the oilcloth covering the table, saying:

"This my mother taught me to do. No matter how poor, we would eat off clean white linen, and say the prayers before touching anything to the mouth. And so I do it still. Whenever I sit down, I eat with God, my mother, and all the Jews who are doing these same things even if I can't see them."

"Such a meal is a feast, superior to fine fare hastily eaten, without ceremony, attention, or significance. Because of such things, I came to see the Center elderly as in possession of the philosophers' stone- that universally sought, ever-elusive treasure, harboring the secret that would teach us how to transmute base metals into pure gold. The stone, like the bluebird's feather of happiness, is said to be overlooked precisely because it is so close to us, hidden in the dust at our feet."

So, Chicken Foot Stew is a nod to my heritage and a version of the philosphers' stone.

Plus it sounds cool, no?

Posted by cj at 5:05 PM | Comments (0)