Thursday, May 31, 2007
REMINDER: NM Blog Radio Streams at 4:30 PM Today
The topic of today's New Mexico Blog Radio show will be Elections Evolve: Democracy Wins, with guests Matt Brix, Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Kelli Fulgenzi. Visit the program page at 4:30 PM for a live stream of the show, or visit later to listen to an archived copy. See our previous post for more info.
Even though clean election and campaign finance reforms are extremely popular with Albuquerque voters -- about 72% voted in favor of the 2005 ballot referendum that established the public campaign funding option for City Council elections -- some rightwingers remain opposed to such measures. Check out New Mexico FBIHOP's post that discusses Republican blogger Whitney Cheshire's opposition to public funding of campaigns, as well as comments by Matt Brix that contradict some of her key claims.
Cheshire calls the public campaign financing law a "travesty," deeming it a waste of taxpayer money. I guess she prefers that candidates get their money in large "donations" from special interests so they can be beholden to deep-pocket benefactors if they win office. Heaven forbid that City Councilors would instead be representing the interests of their constituents!
I'd love to hear candidates who refuse to use the public financing option explain why they prefer to take money from special interests, wouldn't you?
Martin Heinrich: New Campaign Website, New DFNM Netroots Donation Page
Current Albuquerque City Council member Martin Heinrich, who's tossed his hat in the ring to be the Democratic candidate for Congress in NM-1 against incumbent Republican Rep. Heather Wilson, now has a campaign website up and running. Go to MartinHeinrich.com. Under a heading of 'Ethics, Vision and Results', the site includes info on Heinrich's accomplishments, news stories, videos and a bio.
Donate to Heinrich Campaign Via Our New DFNM Netroots Fundraising Page:
Noted for his problem-solving pragmatism, negotiating skills, ethics and dedication to a green agenda, Heinrich has already raised more than $4,500 in campaign funds since his recent entry into the race. You can add to that by kicking in a few bucks using our new Act Blue fundraising page: DFNM Netroots for Martin Heinrich. As we learned in the Dean campaign, many small donations can trump a handful of large donations. Help demonstrate that members of the grassroots - netroots are ready to step up to the plate and support people-powered candidates like Heinrich. Donate today at http://www.actblue.com/page/dfnmforheinrich.
Here's Martin Heinrich answering the question, "Why are you a Democrat," at the Democratic Party of Bernalillo County's Memorial Day picnic this past Monday:
Note: The clip above is one of a continuing series of digital camera video clips Mary Ellen is producing, asking all kinds of folks about why they're Democrats. Check our previous post for more, and keep an eye out for additional videos in the series. Also keep an eye out for Mary Ellen pointing her camera at you! These are low-tech video clips taken with an ordinary digital camera, not a top-notch video cam, but we think the messages come across loud and clear.
Help Rey Garduño Campaign at Saturday Petition Signing Party
414 Vassar, Dr. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
505.266-4424, 505.688-6981 mobile
PETITION SIGNING PARTY
When? Saturday, June 2nd, 9 AM-1PM
Where? We will meet at our house: 414 Vassar, Dr. NE (Just inside the UNM Campus – from Girard and Campus; go West on Campus into the campus, first right is Vassar, first house is 414 Vassar. If your having difficulties call 266-4424 or 688-6981 cell.)
Why? To celebrate our accomplishments and to kick-off of our Petition Drive. Come to door-knock or if you don’t have the time, stop by for some refreshments and to sign the petition!
Who? All community members that support clean elections, and a strong community voice on the City Council. Especially people registered to vote in City Council District 6.
We Did It!
Democracy Lives! Clean and Ethical Elections Supported by District 6 Voters.
Dear family, friends and supporters:
We have made clean elections a viable democratic process by gathering the required $5 contributions and signatures, 10 days ahead of time. You helped me become the first candidate to qualify in this inaugural publicly financed election. We will now take this momentum to the next level, knowing that our support is widespread and just as important, community-based.
In order to be placed on the ballot for the October 2nd City Council Election we must now gather 542 petition signatures from registered voters in District 6. This is a task we can accomplish quite easily; witness the quickness with which we gathered $5 contributions.
Join us on Saturday, we will celebrate our victory, and launch our next one.
Editor's Note: To determine your City Council District, click here. To see our previous posts on candidates for Albuquerque City Council, click here. Anyone can help Rey gather petition signatures but only registered voters in District 6 can sign the petition.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Bush Picks PNAC Member to Head World Bank
Remember the neoCON organization supreme -- Project for the New American Century (PNAC) -- and its infamous letter to President Clinton urging an attack on Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein? Bush's pick to replace that sorry sack of you know what, Paul Wolfowitz, as head of the World Bank is none other than Robert Zoellick, another of the original signatories of the 1999 letter. What a coincidence.
It's easy to see why Bush would want Zoellick in the role since he no doubt shares all that wisdom and integrity exhibited by the other stellar signatories to the PNAC letter: Elliott Abrams, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, Jeffrey Bergner, John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, William Schneider, Jr., Vin Weber, Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey. A motley Bushie crew indeed.
Zoellick is a former U.S. trade representative who's in love with "free" trade (and the hell with our working class). He also served as a Deputy Secretary of State and and his latest role was as managing director and chairman of the International Advisors department at investment bank Goldman Sachs. During the 2000 presidential election campaign, Zoellick served as a foreign policy advisor to Bush as part of a group, led by Condoleezza Rice, that called itself The Vulcans. Peachy.
Impeach Gonzales Part 2
A second short video from Brave New Films and Democracy for America. Psst ... do something. If you haven't yet signed the petition, now's the time. Visit ImpeachGonzales.com. Here's a link to an ad (pdf) that Democracy for America is running in select newspapers, including today's edition of The Hill and this week's New York Observer, and ads later this week in the Detroit Metro Times and Los Angeles Daily News. Click to donate to DFA to help them pay for their ad campaign. Pass it on.
The second phase of the Impeach Gonzales Campaign comes at time when the movement against Gonzales is building from the grassroots and as former allies like the League of United Latin American Citizens and La Raza distance themselves from him.
"Americans around the country are standing up to voice opposition to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his politicization of the Department of Justice," said Democracy for America Chair Jim Dean. "Our message is clear: Impeach Gonzales."
"President Bush will not fire the Attorney General, but the American people can call for his Impeachment," said Filmmaker Robert Greenwald who directed the Impeach Gonzalez video. "The video shows Gonzales has no respect for the truth, for the rules of Congress and for the people of this country. How can he lead our U.S. Justice Department?"
The petition on the website will be sent to all members of the House Judiciary committee, who can begin the impeachment process as outlined in Article II of the U.S. Constitution. This massive impeachment call comes at a time when leaders in both houses are calling for No Confidence Votes against the Attorney General.
Founded by Governor Howard Dean in 2004, Democracy for America is a political action committee dedicated to campaign training, grassroots activism and supporting progressive candidates with a backbone at all levels of government - from the School Board to the Presidency. Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films uses film and viral video to create social change.
New Mexico Blog Radio: Program Archive and Next Up
If you missed the live webcast of the premier episide of New Mexico Blog Radio last Thursday, you can visit the show's webpage and listen to an archived copy of the show, or download it as a wmv file or a podcast (mp3). Also, when you visit the program's webpage, the last show aired automatically begins playing. The first show, co-hosted by the show's creator, Suzanne Prescott, and me, featured guests Rey Garduno and Debbie O'Malley, who are running for Albuquerque City Council and using the new public financing option to fund their campaigns. The topic was Public Campaign Financing in New Mexico - Is it working?
This Thursday: Matt Brix, Maggie Toulouse Oliver, Kelli Fulgenzi: The second episode of the show will be webcast live on Thursday, May 31, at 4:30 PM and I'll again join Suzanne as cohost. Scheduled guests include Matt Brix, who worked hard for clean elections and campaign reform in his previous role as executive director of Common Cause NM, Maggie Toulouse Oliver, our current Bernalillo County Clerk, and Kelli Fulgenzi of the Albuquerque City Clerk's office. Our guests will be discussing election innovations that Albuquerque and Bernalillo County can be proud of and how they work on a show entitled Elections Evolve, Democracy Wins.
Listen live here on Thursday at 4:30 PM. You can also call in live during the show with questions or comments: 718-664-9717.
Blog Radio is a relatively new phenomenon on the net, and we're new to it too. Check out the show and let us know how we're doing! You can leave your comments on the Show Notes section of New Mexico Blog Radio.
ABQ Realtors® Raise Money for NM Dem County Parties
From Yvonne Smith, ABQ Ward 15B, Precinct Chair 510:
A group of Albuquerque Realtors® have begun fundraising to donate money to each of the Democratic Parties in the 33 counties of New Mexico. Following in the footsteps of Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy, these real estate professionals intend to hold dinner parties every other week. Attendees will make a donation for dinner and proceeds will be given to one of the state’s individual Democratic Parties of each New Mexico County. The first counties to receive donations were Catron and Lincoln.
If you are a Realtor® or in a real estate related field and would like to attend, email DemRealtors@gmail.com.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
National Election Reform Bill Garners Strong Criticisms
Although HR 811, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007 sponsored by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), was initially created to address the rampant and well documented problems caused by electronic voting machines, most election reform activists are now fighting the bill. Critics say it's been amended and watered down in ways that make it part of the problem, not the solution. Mark Crispin Miller explains in the video above why we should say NO to HR 811, the Holt Bill, saying it's a poison pill, a billion-dollar-plus boondoggle and tyranny disguised as reform.
If you agree, please contact Tom Udall's office to express your deep concern with and adversity to the Holt Bill (HR811):
- Santa Fe: 505-984-8950
- DC fax: 202-226-1331
- Washington: 202-225-6190
More resources and information about the Holt Bill and its problems:
Voters Unite: Peering Through Chinks in the Armor of High-Tech Elections
- At 10:26 PM, steve rosenfeld said…
- Mark is completely correct with this analysis. This creates a new layer of problems in terms of accountability and transparency in US elections - on top of all other unsolved issues. The bottom line with these printout from elecronic machines is simple: they're not the same as a paper ballot marked by a voter, which shows voter intent in a recount or contested election. Just wait until the next contested election and you'll see how and why this differnce matters.
- At 2:17 AM, Mark E. Smith said…
- Mark is right. Not only are voting machines little more than $5,000 pencils, they don't work. Aurora, Texas may have to hold a new election because their Diebold machines lost 38 votes. http://tinyurl.com/39nfvh
- The dangers of secret vote counts that occur inside proprietary corporate voting machines cannot be exaggerated. The Holt bill is more than a billion-dollar boondoggle, it is tyranny disguised as reform. The only people who want voting machines are crooked politicians and corrupt corporations. We the People want hand-counted paper ballots that we can mark, read, count, and control ourselves, without any need for experts, technicians, or $7,000 ballot conversion devices that don't even exist.
- At 3:18 AM, Karen Renick said…
- I think that Mark's video lays out very clearly why we should be extremely wary of the Holt bill, HR 811, and why we all should contact our representatives in Congress and tell them NOT to support this bill. (Go to www.congress.org for contact info.)There is, however, one part of his explanation about which I am compelled to present a different interpretation and clarification. It is regarding Mark's description of the bill's original provision for allowing public review of the voting machine software.
- First, having access to review the software never provides a way for knowing how votes are being counted and if they are being counted accurately. It's not like opening the back of a watch and seeing the gears moving and the springs tightening. Actually, as it has been described to me by computer security experts, analysing software code is extremely tedious and time-consuming and would never provide a way to "see" how that code performs, i.e., how it casts and/or counts the voters' selections, either during an actual election or in one happening in the future.
- Secondly, the magnanimous act of allowing the "public" to view the software that was in the original version of the bill was, in actuality, a "literacy test" for "reading" computer code that most voters fail and therefore, would never have been able to enjoy any benefit from this so-called "offer".
- The raw truth about electronic voting is that computer-illiterate voters (like myself) must always rely on an expert for an explanation of the voting process and must always depend on an expert (or, most often, an election official) to know if everything about the election has proceeded smoothly or not. We the Voters are being forced to trust the "word" of the very same government of which we are supposed to be in charge.
- Voting isn't about trusting. It's fundamentally about voters seeing,knowing and participating in how the votes are counted.
- As Mark so aptly describes, the only voting method that meets the above criteria is hand-counted paper ballots, counted in full public view on election night in every precinct across our nation.
- Tell your representatives to pass a bill for hand-counted paper ballots instead of the convoluted disaster that is HR 811.
Calling All Young and Not So Young Democrats
If you're a young Democrat or just want to support young Democrats, this event is for you:
with State Party Chair Brian Colon
Saturday, June 9th, 2007; 6:00 PM
at the home of Chris Garcia
6230 St. Joseph's Ct., ABQ
If you have any questions please contact Terah Maestas-Javaheripour at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Young Democrats of America (YDA), visit the national website. The newly elected officers of the Young Democrats of New Mexico are:
- Antonio Sandoval, President
- Milagros “Mimi” Aledo, Vice President
- Ray Armijo, Secretary
- Terah Maestas-Javaheripour, Treasurer
- Erik Paulson, National Committeeman
- Angela Chavez, National Committeewoman
Monday, May 28, 2007
Memorial Day Contemplation
A Veteran Speaks of the Forgotten Wounded of Iraq by Ron Kovic: A Vietnam veteran, paralyzed in the war, talks about his own struggles, those that the recently wounded in Iraq face, and how we can break this cycle of violence and begin to move in a different direction. Excerpt:
We who have witnessed the obscenity of war and experienced its horror and terrible consequences have an obligation to rise above our pain and suffering and turn the tragedy of our lives into a triumph. I have come to believe that there is nothing in the lives of human beings more terrifying than war and nothing more important than for those of us who have experienced it to share its awful truth.
We must break this cycle of violence and begin to move in a different direction; war is not the answer, violence is not the solution. A more peaceful world is possible.
I am the living death
The memorial day on wheels
I am your yankee doodle dandy
Your John Wayne come home
Your Fourth of July firecracker
Exploding in the grave.
There is also this from yesterday's Washington Post, entitled "I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose. We Were Both Doing Our Duty," by Andrew J. Bacevich.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Believe it or not I've decided to do something other than work on this blog this holiday weekend. Like have some good old fashioned fun and relaxation. So I'll just offer a few quick hits and links today before heading out to greener pastures:
- If you haven't yet read them, check out two articles by James Scarantino in this week's Alibi related to the firing of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. One is a compelling interview with Iglesias and the other is a fascinating exposé of Albuquerque attorney Patrick Rogers, including his role in the purge scandal and his connections with the Republican front group, the American Center for Voting Rights. I'll be writing more about these matters after the holiday.
- Health Haussamen has a good piece on State Auditor Hector Balderas and how he's trying to strengthen the office. Balderas, a Democrat, says he's still contemplating entering the CD1 Congressional race against incumbent Rep. Heather Wilson. If so, I think he'd better start moving on it as Martin Heinrich is beginning to build up a head of steam in his effort to be the Dem's candidate.
- Memorial Day started out as Decoration Day, which has its roots in the wake of the American Civil War. After World War I, it became a day of remembrance for all those who had died in the nation's wars. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America organization (IAVA) has put together a resource list of ways you can show your support for veterans this Memorial Day weekend. You can also watch a short film that explains IAVA's critical mission in service of veterans, which you can also support with a donation.
- I watched Charlie Rose's in-depth, hour-long interview with Al Gore last night. Rah! If you missed it, you can watch a video of the show on Rose's website.
- The photos that bookend this post were taken during a sunrise on the Atlantic Ocean at North Carolina's Outer Banks, where Mary Ellen spent time at a family gather this week. Click on the photos for larger versions. I'm glad she got to reconnect with the sea and I'm glad she's back here in the high desert.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Adding Insult to Injury on the Iraq Betrayal
Total U.S. Troop Deaths: 3,441 (104-April, 90 so far-May)
Total U.S. Troops Wounded: 25,242 (thru 5/10)
Untold Thousands of Iraqis Dead and Mutilated
$94 Billion More War Dollars Appropriated
It's difficult to write anything original about passage of the Iraq Occupation Capitulation Act yesterday. A myriad of passionate responses and pointed analyses dominate Dem sites all over the web. We all know in our hearts what a calculated betrayal this was.
In the House a majority of Dems voted against the capitulation, including Pelosi and Obey, the bill's sponsor. In the Senate, only 10 Dems (and Sanders) voted against the funding bill. Once again way too many Dems chose to protect their political hides from "scary" criticism by the rightwingos, and vote with the Republicans. Some opposition party. They couldn't or wouldn't muster the nerve to vote for what is right -- to protect our troops from further exploitation in a boiling cauldron of bloody chaos. Our own Senator Bingaman is one of them. The only NM member of Congress to vote to end this failed and bloody experiment in 21st century imperialism was Rep. Tom Udall (NM-03). At the moment, he's the only NM member of Congress I respect. The rest are either deluded or lacking honest conviction in my book.
As bad as the vote was, the explanation being offered to the media and the base by Dems is worse -- exhibiting the lowest form of cynical manipulation. As is so often the case, I think David Sirota has it exactly right in this post, which I hope you'll read. His bottom line:
This is what we're dealing with folks. A party that runs to the press to brag about the brilliance of using their majority not to end the war, but to create a situation that makes it seem as if they oppose the war, while actually helping Republicans continue it.
You can check out the roll call votes to see who caved and who didn't:
As I'm sure you know by now, Obama and Clinton both ended up voting against the funding bill at the very last possible minute. All during the debate, both of them had indignantly refused to reveal how they would vote. I guess they were each in the process of psyching the other out to make sure their rival didn't get away with a yes vote if they dared to vote no. It's clear what's most important to these two "frontrunners," and it isn't supporting the troops or ending their futile bloodshed. They did nothing to urge their fellow Dems to vote against the cave in.
A number of Dems were very critical of those voting to issue another blank check to Bush while pretending to do otherwise. Go Google Bill Richardson, Russ Feingold, Chris Dodd or John Edwards for starters. And check out what Keith Olbermann had to say about Dems and Repubs alike in his latest Special Comment.
But the fact remains that a large contingent of Dems believes it's safe to pretend to be representing the will of the people while voting primarily to protect themselves from criticism from the right. This despite abundant polling results showing a growing majority of Americans want Congress to stand up against the madness and mean it. When will that fact penetrate their pointy little heads? They'd have to get out of the Beltway Big Donor Bubble long enough to give the real world a chance to seep into their conciousness. Don't hold your breath.
Do something, anything, to express your sorrow and anger publicly this Memorial Day weekend in response to the indefensible continuation of this unjust, illegal, deathly occupation.