Archive for the ‘Blogs & Politics’ Category

Obama’s address today, in it’s entirety.

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

3:00 AM: I Know What You Said Last Night

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

The nastiness kerfuffle between the Obama and Clinton camps continues to draw the media’s attention. The endless words, written on the subject by surreptitious surrogates, are enough to make a political junkie puke. If the victory of one’s chosen candidate is the spoils that result from these unyielding tit for tat exchanges (often engineered), I fear I haven’t the patience to play the game or the willingness to pay the frustration fee.

If this kind of meaningless minutiae were marketable, we’d have the funds to make the national debt dinky. Unfortunately, most of this back and forth is worthless…which means this tidal wave of one-upmanship does little more than eat bandwidth, contribute to the constant carping, and distract us from real issues of real import to real citizens.

Honestly, if the election is to be decided upon whose campaign crossed the oh so often contrived line of civility, we mustn’t really be interested in choosing the most capable candidate. Truth be told, if you follow any individual around long enough, you’re going to hear an array of ad hominem attacks. Requiring that our politicians vigilantly exhibit a level of restraint that we routinely trample with nary an ounce of apprehension is a tragedy wrapped in a farce.

Let me be clear. I’m not excusing inappropriate remarks. Those who make them deserve criticism…but the time spent on that criticism shouldn’t overshadow all else such that the campaign becomes a proxy war waged by mulish wordsmiths bent upon bolstering the believability of their unabashed bias.

In the end, I suspect the focus on crushing the credibility of the other candidate only contributes to the apathy and animosity that is evidenced in our electorate. On the one hand, we’re challenged to decide who is better prepared to answer “the call” at 3:00 AM. On the other, we’re forced to listen to so much nuanced name calling by disingenuous disciples that I’m not sure it’s worthwhile to spend another moment worrying about a hypothetical Hiroshima.

The following sarcastic graphic demonstrates my disgust with the process as well as my suspicion that the battle isn’t about protecting our children; it’s about winning an election. Yes, you can call me a cynic…but keep in mind that you might not be able to reach me…I think I’ve just been disconnected.

3:00 AM - I Know What You Said Last Night:

threeam.jpg

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

Is Obama finally taking the populist stand?

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

The man who held that position was of course John Edwards. His message was clear: there are two America’s. With prices rising for almost everything and wages stagnating for years now, the time was ripe for a populist candidate within the Democratic Party and Edwards proudly filled that role.

 

Barack Obama would logically have a hard time filling that role. If he did attempt to put out a populist message, the MSM would most likely label him “the black candidate”. The Clinton’s already did that in South Carolina..thankfully it back-fired on them. I have been waiting to see if Obama would grab the populist mantel in spite of the pitfalls that stood in his way. As Manning Marable, a Columbia University history professor stated:

 

That’s because once Obama parroted Edwards’ attacks on greed and inequality, he would “be stigmatized as a candidate mobilizing race,” David Sirota adds: That is, the media would immediately portray him as another Jesse Jackson — a figure whose progressivism has been (unfairly) depicted as racial politics anathema to white swing voters.

 

Sirota’s piece addresses the pitfalls that a populist message would create for Obama with the press and with the Clinton campaign:

 

Remember, this is always how power-challenging African-Americans are marginalized. The establishment cites a black leader’s race- and class-unifying populism as supposed proof of his or her radical, race-centric views. An extreme example of this came from the FBI, which labeled Martin Luther King Jr. “the most dangerous man in America” for talking about poverty. More typical is the attitude exemplified by Joe Klein’s 2006 Time magazine column. He called progressive Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., “an African American of a certain age and ideology, easily stereotyped” and “one of the ancient band of left-liberals who grew up in the angry hothouse of inner-city, racial-preference politics.”

 

Well, I am here to say that Tuesday night in Madison, WI Obama finally hit a populist note. From his speech:

 

It’s a game where lobbyists write check after check and Exxon turns record profits, while you pay the price at the pump, and our planet is put at risk. That’s what happens when lobbyists set the agenda, and that’s why they won’t drown out your voices anymore when I am President of the United States of America

 

It’s a game where trade deals like NAFTA ship jobs overseas and force parents to compete with their teenagers to work for minimum wage at Wal-Mart. That’s what happens when the American worker doesn’t have a voice at the negotiating table, when leaders change their positions on trade with the politics of the moment, and that’s why we need a President who will listen to Main Street – not just Wall Street; a President who will stand with workers not just when it’s easy, but when it’s hard.

 

Obama is now officially the front-runner. He needs to go after Hillary’s base of support; The blue-collar workers, the folks making under 50k a year, retirees, older women, immigrants and even white collar workers. Obama is also now taking aim at John “weathervane’ McCain as well he should:

 

John McCain is an American hero. We honor his service to our nation. But his priorities don’t address the real problems of the American people, because they are bound to the failed policies of the past.

 

George Bush won’t be on the ballot this November, but his war and his tax cuts for the wealthy will.

 

When I am the nominee, I will offer a clear choice. John McCain won’t be able to say that I ever supported this war in Iraq, because I opposed it from the beginning. Senator McCain said the other day that we might be mired for a hundred years in Iraq, which is reason enough to not give him four years in the White House.

 

He needs to remind people of NAFTA and its consequences, like he did tonight in Madison. He sounded confident and today he is supposed to deliver a major policy address. I will watch and listen to him and what he says and doesn’t say.

 

Because this time around..I want to vote for someone, not just for the lesser of two mediocre evils. If I don’t hear what I need to hear from Obama, it will just be another Presidential Election where one of my felines gets my vote, as was the case with John Kerry. For me, this Presidential election isn’t about race or gender..its about who is delivering the populist message that we can no longer tolerate ‘two America’s’ which is represented by the growing economic inequality in our nation. Obama got my attention when he returned campaign contributions from lobbyists. I hope he gets my vote by addressing the problems that affect hard-working Americans on a daily basis and ending the war in Iraq as soon as humanly possible.

 

I don’t want just rhetoric..I want substance. He will need to not only address the issues, he will need to tell me how he plans to fix them and pay for them. He has the style and he is a mesmerizing speaker..but for my vote he will need much more than that.

 

 

Life On The Campaign Trail Continued: BlueAmerica

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

When I signed up to work my first campaign I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into. I knew that it was time to quit blogging about the poor state of government and to start trying to take a more active roll in fixing it. As fate would have it, I happened to dumb-luck into knowing the perfect Progressive candidate running in my district and offered to help. That’s how I became the Netroots Coordinator for the Alan Grayson campaign in Florida’s 8th district.

People ask me what a Netroots coordinator does and sometimes I have to tell you I have no idea. I write a lot obviously. My address list is getting larger and I spend more time begging people on that list to take five minutes out of their day to volunteer their time, talents or money Every chance I take to promote Alan I do, because I feel that he is the kind of candidate that the country should rally around. He doesn’t just talk progressive, he is progressive. He is a pro-peace, pro-choice, pro-union candidate in an area ripe for that kind of message and a country who needs that kind of leadership.

Wrong.

Still, it has been daunting. There is always this sense that maybe I’m in over my head or that I won’t be able to convey what kind of candidate Alan really is to my friends and peers in the blogging world. I know I want to wax on and on about Alan’s accomplishments, and he has many. That doesn’t mean anyone else cares. After all, it is just one race out of hundreds and most people won’t bother to get involved right?

What amazes me about working for Alan is that people around the country do care. They are rallying to help. It’s not always easy getting your foot in the door, but once I have people have responded well. Perhaps nothing illustrates that better than Alan being selected for the Crooks & Liars, Firedoglake, Digby, Down With Tyranny joint ActBlue project, BlueAmerica.

I originally wrote to the respective blogs that make up BlueAmerica to introduce Alan to them. I was nervous. That’s actually an understatement, I was scared of rejection. I also had pretty low expectations (I’ve sent enough blog articles to all of them to know not to get my hopes up *G*).

Within hours Jane from FDL, John from C&L and Howie Klein from Down with Tyranny all wrote me back. All of them were positive. All of them wanted to know more.

I felt like I had just aced my SAT’s.

I’ve spent the last month working with Howie to answer his questions about Alan. I have to say, he asks some hard questions. Non-progressive Democrats need not apply. In the end, we must have passed muster because today Alan is the special guest at Firedog Lake (2PM EST, 11AM PST). It’s your chance to meet Alan and see first-hand why I think he is an exceptional candidate an an exceptional person. Take the time to see why some of the biggest voices in our community are excited by Alan. If you do, if you take a few minutes out of your day to just give him a listen, I know you will come away impressed.

I know I did. That’s why I’m volunteering on the campaign. I know BlueAmerica did, that’s why they are putting their reputations behind him. I have to think you will too.

PS - I still feel over my head way to often in this job. It’s also the most rewarding thing I’ve done. Standing up to make a difference in the way our country is run is an experience I’ll remember forever. You should try it someday if you haven’t. I’m happy I did.

Michigan Republicans are Morons

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Just in case anyone noticed, I haven’t been writing much lately on my blog. I’m not in a funk or suffering block - in fact it’s just the opposite: There has be SOOOOOOOOO many things to write about that I’m just in a malaise. I don’t know where to begin! There’s just been so much stupidity, so much irony, so many idiots to write about, I just couldn’t peg any one story as more inspirationally insipid than any other. But then I woke up this morning to something so stupendously stupid, so immensely ironic, that I just couldn’t take it anymore. My Stupid Bone immediately started tingling. I had found the story, and it is by far the stupidest story I’ve seen in a long, long time.

From the Detroit Free Press…

MITT ROMNEY TAKES MICHIGAN

Yes, Mitt Romney won the Michigan GOP primary. Mitt Romney.

Amazing.

“Tonight is a victory of optimism over Washington-style pessimism,” Romney told cheering supporters in Southfield shortly after his victory was called.

Ah, “optimism.” Where would we be without it? After all, would we have invaded Iraq unless the Iraqis had their rose petals ready to shower upon us? Would the economy be so strong if we hadn’t merrily assumed that it would be? Good ol’ optimism. In the GOP world optimism is a tangible entity that moves markets, wins wars, and grows economies. It’s all those Negative Nabobs that cause market crashes, lose wars, and ruin economies. How dare those cynical anti-sycophants spoil the party!

Republicans have special magical oral powers, ya’ know. Remember, Reagan Tore Down That Wall and defeated the Evil Empire with his Super Reagan Rhetoric Breath! It was George Dubya Bush who kept us safe from the villainous Ter’rists of AL QAEDA (Association of Longbeards Quagmire And Evil Destructive Annililists) with his Strength of a Thousand Unilateralists Power! Yes, in the Republican Comic Book Universe it’s not what you do, it’s what you say and think. In fact, it’s best to simply not do anything - do not act, do not question, and certainly never critique - for the world is moved by the sanguine surety of Pollyanna positivism. If something isn’t going well, just ignore it, and it will go away. If it doesn’t go away, then just don’t talk about it, and then it won’t matter anyway.

It’s like their religion. As I recently wrote in a new set of lyrics I’ve been working on; It doesn’t matter what you do, it only matters what you think inside. And if you think it real hard, you go to heaven when you die.

After squandering leads in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, the victory was a desperately needed one for Romney, whose father George was a three-term governor of Michigan in the 1960s and ran American Motors.

Ah yes, American Motors. How could the people of Michigan forget that fine company, makers of such top quality brands as the Hornet, Rambler, Pacer and Gremlin! Sadly, and probably because people just weren’t optimistic enough, AMC is no longer with us. But the legend lives on with Mitt Romney, the man who will bring the sort of innovation, quality, and of course positive thinking that made AMC the great car company that it was. And Mitt will do the same for the people of Michigan, because if there’s one thing they need, it’s a return to AMC’s automaking philosophy!

From Salon…

All week, Romney and John McCain have been feuding over whether the auto industry represents Michigan’s past, or its future. On Saturday, at a town hall meeting in blue-collar Warren, McCain gave his supporters some of his straight talk, telling them, “The jobs that are leaving the state of Michigan have left and are not coming back. We’re going to try to create new jobs.”

To replace the old lifestyle of building internal combustion engines, McCain proposed research in hybrid motors, battery-powered cars and hydrogen fuel cells. He also wants to open job retraining centers in the state’s community colleges. “Our future is ahead of us in Michigan,” he said. “Let’s not look back. Let’s look forward. We’ll restore Michigan back to its preeminent place in America and the world.”

To Romney, McCain’s approach isn’t futurism, it’s pessimism. In Southfield, he had a one-word retort: “Baloney.”

“I hear people say, ‘It’s gone, those jobs are gone, transportation’s gone, it’s not coming back,’” he said. “I’m going to fight for every single job. I’m going to rebuild the industry. I’m going to take burdens off the back of the auto industry.”

Romney criticized federal fuel efficiency standards — passed last year over the objection of Michigan’s congressional delegation — which require cars and light trucks to average 35 miles per gallon by 2020. He’s also been slamming McCain for supporting a tax on energy companies that exceed certain levels of carbon dioxide emissions.

At a speech to the Detroit Economic Club on Monday, Romney told an admiring audience that “Washington has to stop loading Detroit down with unfunded mandates. Of course fleet mileage needs to rise, but discontinuous CAFE [Corporate Average Fuel Economy] leaps, uncoordinated with the domestic manufacturers, and absent consideration of competitiveness, kills jobs and imperils an industry.” Romney also proposed spending $20 billion a year on “energy research, fuel technology, materials science, and automotive technology.”

But government regulation isn’t killing Michigan’s auto industry, nor is government neglect. Labor costs are. General Motors, especially, is getting crushed by the health benefits it pays its workers. The company and its 150,000 employees are paying the medical bills for 350,000 retirees, a cost to the company of more than $5 billion a year. If Romney wants to bring auto plants back to Michigan, he’ll have to fund research into a shop rat who works for $2 an hour, never gets sick, and dies on retirement day.

If the people of Michigan are so fucking stupid as to think that Mitt Romney can “rebuild the industry” - ignoring the healthcare crisis, ignoring the need to modernize the American auto fleet, and ignoring the trade deficit - with Optimism, then those wacky Scientologists are right: “psychotropic or street drugs damage a person physically, mentally and spiritually. They decrease awareness and hinder abilities. They are a “solution” to some other problem and themselves become a problem.” Prozac and crack must be very popular amongst republican Michganders.

No state has suffered modern deindustrialization more than Michigan. Free Trade, healthcare costs, and an auto industry that uncannily finds ways to kill itself at every chance have left Michigan in a perpetual recession for years, regardless of the state of the rest of the union. Its unemployment rate holds steady well above the national average. Detroit is a ghost town. The last time I visited, the only people I saw on the streets were gang members in full uniform dress, right out in the open. George Romney, Roger Smith, and the rest of the corporate scoundrels left Michigan to die while lining their pockets with the blood money left on the auto plant floors, while the Powers That Be sat back and took their campaign donations.

Yet somehow the republicans of Michigan decided ol’ Mitty, the prototypical GOP establishment guy, was their guy. They believe Romney is going to return Michigan to the days of yore, when being a Blue Collar Man was something to be proud of and not just an old forgotten Styx song. How will he do it? That doesn’t matter. He’s going to be Positive and Optimistic and all will be well. No need to modernize the fleet, make it more competitive and responsible. No need to address trade agreements that have sent the four-to-five thousand manufacturers that go into any automobile into the Third World sweatshops and subsidized First World competitors. No need to nationalize healthcare and lop off more overhead than the price of steel to build a car. No, Mitt Romney has a better idea. He “will not rest until Michigan is back.” Yes folks, Mitt Romney will save Michigan - with insomnia. Insomnia, Positivism and Optimism - the IPO of GOP rhetoric.

Michigan republicans are morons.

JMJ


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