« November 2004 | Main | January 2005 »

December 31, 2004

Re: Democrats Must Abandon the War on Terror (MyDD)

Chris -

You are absolutely right [see Democrats Must Abandon the War on Terror].

Those who would reframe as a "war" on anything else are missing the point: "war" on anything reinforces the "conservative" frame based on authoritarian, disciplinarian, unilateral behaviours.  "War" invokes exceptionalism, which is why Americans have accepted loss of rights and torture of captured people in various violations of our Constitution.

Continue reading "Re: Democrats Must Abandon the War on Terror (MyDD)" »

December 30, 2004

Reply to Senator Smith's response re:Filibuster

To: Senator Gordon Smith
Cc: Senator Ron Wyden

Dear Senator Gordon:

I recently received your December 7 reply to my letter [see the comment at my letter for Smith's reply] in which I had stated that I believe the filibuster rules should be preserved.  I am disappointed in your position.  Nor did your letter did nothing to change my mind.

As I wrote to you last time, the filibuster has served ably (and not in constant violation of the Constitution!) for 200 years in the Senate to provide a brake on the "tyranny of the majority".  This brake helps protect the minority political representation of the millions and millions of voters that voted in non-Republican Senators across America.  The point is for the filibuster to be able to stop extreme actions by a slim majority, not merely provide a symbolic means of protest which is all that S.R. 138 would do.

Your colleague, Senator Bill Frist cleverly twisted the language into "tyranny of the minority", but cleverness isn't truth and it simply isn't borne out by the facts since, as you know, 95% of Bush's judicial nominees have been approved.

But more accurately Frist has called his own proposed rule change the "nuclear option" for a reason, hasn't he?  This will be an extremely divisive move, unprecedented in 200 years.  By forcing rule changes in order to cram ideologues onto the courts, it will undermine the American goal of a judiciary perceived as fair and unbiased to the vast majority of Americans, not just the current sitting majority.

After four years of Republican control of the White House, Senate and House, most citizens believe that America is headed in the wrong direction under Bush's leadership.  This is not the time to increase the partisanship, this is not the time to further divide America.

Rather, this should be a time of boldly working to unite America so that we can confront the real, and daunting, tasks ahead: leading the world to kill the roots of terrorism around the world, and renewing our economy to compete in the new millennium of globalism and a surging China by using tools like innovative energy replacements for foreign and domestic oil and like health care for all our kids.

I urge you to put Frist's divisive partisanship aside, change your position and thus respect the notion that political minorities have rights too, and to allow  at least some limits on our system, as your Senate colleagues have nobly done for 200 years, so that we can have a judiciary that the vast majority of Americans trust.

December 17, 2004

To Rep. Conyers (House Judiciary, minority leader)

To the House Judiciary Committee:

I urge the House Judiciary Committee to hold hearings as soon as possible on the irregularities of the 2004 election.

Since its founding, the United States has been a beacon of democractic self-government for the rest of the world.  That light has dimmed as other countries now run fairer elections.  To remain true to our founding values as embodied in the Constitution, then we must treat the right of every citizen to vote, for their vote to count, and for their vote to be recounted as needed, as sacred.

In today's divided America, with numerous extremely close elections from the President on down, it is paramount that we have election systems that are more fair and more accurate than today's in order for the results to be overwhelmingly accepted by the losers as legitimate.

Ample evidence has arisen that this right was violated or undermined for too many Americans in the 2004 election.  I strongly believe that holding hearings to investigate and to resolve these irregularities would be an act of tremendous non-partisan patriotism on the part of Congress.

December 15, 2004

Re: 50-state strategy on MyDD

Bush ran -- and had to run -- a 50 state strategy because if he won the electoral college and lost the popular again, it would have been disastrous for him.  So he got out the vote in solidly red states to bring up the popular vote.

Kerry ran a 17-state battle-ground strategy, but if we had energized people and involved them and worked GOTV in CA, NY, NJ, etc. we would have added at least 1+M votes to his column, at the least driving the Bush win % to around 1%, maybe less.

Clearly one has to prioritize ... but not take it to ridiculous extremes.  Did all those huge rallies in last few days change anyone's vote?  I doubt it; he we preaching to the choir.

December 10, 2004

Comment on NDN re: Help Us Update the NDN Agenda for 2005

Response to Cynthia Rice and Simon Rosenberg of New Democratic  Network re: Help Us Update the NDN Agenda for 2005 and Help Us Update the NDN Agenda for 2005

Overall, the agenda with proposed updates is fine -- good things to accomplish, but it it too much like yet another laundry list of everything we want to do.  I think that it lacks a clear communication vehicle.  As proposed, it includes 7 categories with 31 proposals (plus whatever will show up in the new 7th agenda item).  (OK this is way better than the Democratic party's platform -- 43 pages and doesn't mention the middle class until page 28!!)

I think NDN can improve this in these ways:

Continue reading "Comment on NDN re: Help Us Update the NDN Agenda for 2005" »

Comment on NDN re: Where We Are

Response to Simon Rosenberg of New Democratic  Network re: Where We Are

Agree in general, with these specific comments:

I agree the IT infrastructure needs a lot of work and needs major upgrade both on genearl donor & GOTV work, but also in areas like CivicSpace for mobilization and giving people a sense of community around their issues and identity ... so we can leverage at both the national and local levels to support candidates everywhere.

Disagree about the Democratic brand.  Those polls tend to be about how people “feel” about the parties, not what their brand is.  There are two aspects:

Continue reading "Comment on NDN re: Where We Are" »

Democratic agenda re: global terrorism

(This is slightly edited from a comment of mine on NDN.)

MJ Murray - I read the NDOL articles you suggested.  Great critique, but they should propose real answers.  These guys are supposedly top strategists and after all this, where's a real proposal for terrorism?  I guess I better propose as well as critique to be honest.  NDN's agenda is weak on the message here as well.

I suggest it is based on 2 main components:

(1) Going After the Terrorists and
(2) Attacking the Roots of Terrorism.

Something like (from my work-in-progress on a Progressive Framework):

The story of Safeguarding America is that

  • ALL Americans are UNITED in our conviction to track down terrorists where they are,
  • but we Democrats are ALSO going to attack the roots of terrorism around the world.

(We never use the phrase "war on terror" as it isn't a real war and it only serves to speak about the problem in Republican terms). We will use all the power of our military, but also lead the rest of the world to new alliances as well.

New Millenium Global Framework -- Leading A Just and Vibrant Global Economy

The story of New Millenium Global Framework is that great changes have been happening in the global economy and will continue to change.  This has been disruptive to American's lives and prosperity as well as to others around the world.  Only America can provide the world leadership to re-invent a more just and vibrant global economy and we have a plan to do it.

The Republican story is to be the bully: dominate, punish, pushing aside allies that don't tag along.

The key elements for us, however, are:

  • Resolve the inequities that give rise to terrorism
  •   - economic (globalization, uneven distribution within and between countries)
      - political (mid-east, undemocratic governments)
      - cultural (changes due to globalization, poverty, threats to identity
  • New rules to adapt to the fact of globalization; Fair Trade, not just Free Trade
  • Respond to the big changes: global cheap fiber-optics, growing prosperous China, limited energy supplies)
  • Help all Americans succeed in the global economy (NDN)
  • America's chronic trade imbalance
  • Problematic countries: rogue, failed, poor, undemocratic states
  • Nation-building system for post-war recoveries
  • UN reform
  • New alliances for a new millenium around this issues
  • Secure loose nukes and other WMD fuel
  • Leadership restores respect
"The paradox is that terrorism arises to a significant degree from the world’s inability to solve the problems generated by current policies governing globalization.  Yet the “war on terrorism” over-shadows any serious attempt at getting at the inequities that give rise to terrorism.  This has produced a very strange state of affairs, one that increasingly is characterized by a gathering of the darkness rather than any meaningful illumination of our global challenges."
Final Report, The Commission On Globalisation

December 06, 2004

Book: Wealth and Our Commonwealth

William H. Gates Sr. and Chuck Collins: Wealth and Our Commonwealth William H. Gates Sr. and Chuck Collins: Wealth and Our Commonwealth

This book elogquently argues for reversing the trend of thinking that tax cuts are universally good and for the importance of looking out for the common good if we are to sustain our democracy and prosperity.

"There was a time in America when everybody understood that taxes are  the price of admission to a civil society. And we called "freeloaders" those  people who tried to avoid paying taxes, but still wanted to make use  of public facilities from roads to bridges to fire and police protection.  "Restoring a strong middle class and the vibrant democracy it makes  possible will only happen if we wake up enough Americans to the conservative  war against democracy and the middle class.  Reading and sharing "Wealth and Our Commonwealth " is one of the most important first-steps you  can take in helping bring about this awakening."

Where we're going now

Well, it may have taken a month, but I see no reason to doubt where the progressives in America are going.  Reading widely, it comes down to this:

(A few general articles on these themes: Progressives: Get Ready to Fight, November 3 Theses, Only the Grassroots Can Save The Democratic Party, Can The Democrats Make 2006 Their 1994?)

And some lengthier blog posts of mine on these topics: Inspiring Thoughts on the Next Four Years, Shoring up Weaknesses, Taking Advantage of Opportunities, Prioritize and Strategize)

A few recent items:

1/ I am cheered by the  Democratic Governors Association supporting a “split role for party leadership, calling for a model that includes a national spokesman and a chief executive officer,” much as I called for in my blog entry Democratic Party Leadership.  They go on to say:

“Our message is basically because of the Democratic governors' ability to win in the heartland, in red and blue states, that we should be the entities that lead the party back, on policy, on message, on organization and on fundraising,”

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson in the
Washington Post

I support this further because it is much easier to be a presidential candidate as a governor than as a senator -- senators have a much more complicated-to-explain legislative history to deal with (“flip-flopper”) since you often have to vote on something opposite from the apparent or your real position because of some poison pill in it (like not paying for the $87B supplemental Iraq bill).

2/ This review captures one of the big challenges of reversing the trend of thinking that tax cuts are universally good:

“There was a time in America when everybody understood that taxes are  the price of admission to a civil society. And we called ”freeloaders“ those  people who tried to avoid paying taxes, but still wanted to make use  of public facilities from roads to bridges to fire and police protection.

”Restoring a strong middle class and the vibrant democracy it makes  possible will only happen if we wake up enough Americans to the conservative  war against democracy and the middle class. Reading and sharing “Wealth  and Our Commonwealth” is one of the most important first-steps you  can take in helping bring about this awakening.“

Review by Thom Hartmann of  ”Wealth and Our Commonwealth“ by William H. Gates Sr. and Chuck Collins  Review

3/ Recently I wrote about the need for a ”permanent campaign“ (in Prioritize and Strategize) and a national level spokesperson (in Democratic Party Leadership) for our values and to stand up to the Bush fundamentalists, and I am glad to others moving this direction as well: Democratic Governors Association, new communications ”War Room“.

December 01, 2004

Media's Poor Performance on America's Political Life

Why do so many of us raise this issue of the poor performance of the media in covering America's political life, and why does the media duck it so much? The media have lost touch with why we have the guarantee of the free press -- it isn't to ensure the maximum possible freedom of celebrity gossip, but rather to ensure that people can speak their minds and have an outlet for their freedom of speech that could reach beyond their own throats, as an outlet for publicizing and confronting the tyranny of government powers. In that sense, all press has a public duty to put a spotlight shining on underlying truths and exposing concealing distortions for what they are and not a megaphone for trivialities and propoganda.

"The First Amendment is not about celebrity and show business and entertainment. It's about informing the American people." Gary Hart interviewed in The American Prospect

September 2011

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

Campaigns I Support

About Progressive Viewpoints