Thursday, September 06, 2012
Fired Up and Ready To Go Into the Future
Wow! The Democratic Convention! Powerful! Energetic! The choice is clear - do we as a nation go forwards or backwards?
New mexico was in the Charlotte house. Below is the NM Democratic Party Chairman Javier Gonzales surrounded by New Mexico delegates casting the 48 votes for President Barack Obama!
Excerpt's from President Obama's Acceptance Speech
Tonight, in President Obama's remarks to the Democratic National Convention, President Obama asked the country to rally around a set of concrete goals to move the country forward toward an economy that grows from the middle out, not the top down. This roadmap -- a real, achievable plan that will create jobs, expand opportunity, and strengthen the middle class -- will deliver concrete results in the key areas of manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit. Read more about the President’s roadmap HERE.
"Now, I’ve cut taxes for those who need it – middle-class families and small businesses. But I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores, or pay down our deficit. I don’t believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy, or help us compete with the scientists and engineers coming out of China. After all that we’ve been through, I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand, or the laid-off construction worker keep his home. We’ve been there, we’ve tried that, and we’re not going back. We’re moving forward."
"This is the choice we now face. This is what the election comes down to. Over and over, we have been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way; that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing. If you can’t afford health insurance, hope that you don’t get sick. If a company releases toxic pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s just the price of progress. If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, take my opponent’s advice and “borrow money from your parents.”
"And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t even want,I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work – rebuilding roads and bridges; schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home."
"I want to reform the tax code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 – the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president; the same rate we had when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, and a lot of millionaires to boot."
"But we also believe in something called citizenship – a word at the very heart of our founding, at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations."
"If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election."
"If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election."
"If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; that new energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November."
Friday, April 13, 2012
4/14: OFA-NM ABQ Westside Office Opening Party
Ray Sandoval of OFA-NM has some exciting news: We have a brand-new home for our work in New Mexico.
We're opening a new office on the west side of Albuquerque on Saturday, and I hope you'll come celebrate with us. You'll get to meet other supporters who are committed to re-electing the President, and there'll be music and plenty of refreshments to go around.
So what are you doing on Saturday? Stop by our Albuquerque Westside office opening celebration.
Here are the details:
What: Office opening party in Albuquerque Westside
Where: OFA-NM office - Albuquerque Westside
3809 Atrisco Dr. NW Suite A
Albuquerque, NM 87120
When: Saturday, April 14th
12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
One of my favorite things about being a part of this organization is the people -- from just-won't-quit staffers and volunteers, to the folks we meet at the door or chat with on the phone. It's because of people like them stepping up that we are able to build this movement in neighborhood after neighborhood, here in New Mexico and across the country.
And what's brought us all together is believing in a common cause -- organizing to help President Obama and other Democrats win this fall.
The new office in Albuquerque will be the scene of all that hard work for the next seven months. But on Saturday, we're getting together to just hang out and get to know each other. We don't get to do that enough, which is why you should come out and be a part of it.
RSVP for our office opening party on Saturday here:
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
4/13: Celebrate our New OFA-NM Office in Rio Rancho
This election is heating up all over the country, and the organization we're putting together in New Mexico will make a big difference this November.
Whether you're just starting to get involved in this organization or you've been pounding the pavement to talk to voters for months, now is the perfect time to meet up with other supporters to celebrate the opening of our brand-new office in Rio Rancho.
Come out and help build this office from the start:
What: Rio Rancho office opening
Where: OFA-NM Rio Rancho office 2218 Southern Blvd. SE Rio Rancho, NM 87124
When: Friday, April 13th 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
We won't work you too hard this Friday -- there's plenty of hard work to do in the months ahead. We'll relax and chat about the issues that matter most here, like affordable health care and support for the middle class.
This new office in Rio Rancho will be the local hub for building our base of volunteers, connecting with undecided voters, and helping make sure we secure the 270 electoral votes we need for a win on November 6th. Our state has the power to make a real impact in this election for Democrats up and down the ticket -- but it won't happen unless we get our organizing off the ground in New Mexico now.
It's time to prepare for the tough fight ahead -- so don't miss the office kickoff in Rio Rancho on Friday: https://nm.barackobama.com/Rio-Rancho-Office-Opening
Thursday, December 15, 2011
New Political Party Emerging: The Justice Party with a New Presidential Candidate
There is a new political party emerging within the United States. The Party is called the Justice Party. How much more betrayal can we take.
Amy Goodman of Democracy NOW interviewed Rocky Anderson. Rocky Anderson recently announced his candidacy for President under the Justice Party. You can read and hear the complete interview here.
"A new political party has entered the fray as an alternative to Democrats and Republicans ahead of the 2012 elections. On Monday, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson announced he will run for president with the newly formed Justice Party."
Bill Moyers and other important and knowledgeable progressives weigh in on this Common Dreams article. This article lays out many powerful reasons why Obama must be challenged and how the two parties are really one anymore, so the Justice Party is really adhereing to a two party system. This Party is being formed for the long term as well as the short term. For Progressive ideals and to support getting big corporate money out of politics.
To learn more about Rocky Anderson for President visit his website here.
And Lastly has Obama gone too far with the indefinite detention? Is this the last straw? Will they come get me for writing this peice? Who determines what is terrorism? Slippery slope. Imagine if Bush did this. Watch this:
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
New Ad Released Exposing MittyMitt's Lack of Consistency on Core Issues
From the Democratic Party of New Mexico; Albuquerque N.M. one of six markets where “Trapped” television ad is airing
On November 28, 2011the Democratic National Committee released a hard-hitting web video highlighting Mitt Romney’s stunning inability to maintain a single position or establish core principles on a range of issues for any reasonable period of time. In conjunction with the release of the web video, the DNC also released a new television spot “Trapped," further highlighting Mitt's willingness to say or do anything to win the Presidency.
The ad is airing in 6 key markets, including New Mexico:
The TV ad is a trailer for the longer, must-see video: “ .” Both can be found on the DNC'S new website, - Giving the public an in-depth view of Mitt Romney's ideological struggle against himself on issues from the economy and immigration to a woman's right to choose and workers' rights.
“The new ad makes a strong point: Mitt Romney is a chronic waffler who lacks the strong principles and ethical compass that is required of candidates for the highest office in the land. No matter how hard he tries to deceive and mislead New Mexicans on his positions, we will continue to hold him accountable to his own record.” said Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairman Javier M. Gonzales.
"Mitt Romney has literally reversed himself - sometimes within the same day - on immigration, TARP, abortion, the stimulus, healthcare reform and more, but New Mexicans aren't buying Romney 2.0 anymore than they were before."
The ad also launches in Raleigh-Durham, NC; Columbus, OH; Pittsburgh, PA; Washington, DC; and Milwaukee, WI on a mix of broadcast and cable.
Please visit the website at .
Friday, November 04, 2011
11/5: Keeping it Blue in 1-2 DPNM Unity Rally at Villa Hispana in ABQ
From the Democratic Party of New Mexico:
One year before the November 2012 elections, New Mexico Democrats are holding a rally in Albuquerque to fire up our boots on the ground and send a message that we are fired up and ready to work every day for the next year to secure victory.
"Saturday November 5, 2011 kicks off the beginning of the door-to-door, neighbor to neighbor conversations that it's going to take to show New Mexicans that President Obama and the Democratic Party are fighting for working families, lowering healthcare costs, and getting our economy back on track," said DPNM Chairman Javier Gonzales.
"The contrast for voters between Democrats and the Republicans could not be starker: Democrats are fighting for New Mexican families and Republicans like Susana Martinez are fighting for the wealthy,” Gonzales added.
Immediately following the rally, and again on Sunday, Democrats will launch their door-to-door canvassing efforts to inform and persuade voters that Democrats are the only choice to move New Mexico forward.
WHO: New Mexico Democrats, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan Jr., DPNM Chairman Javier Gonzales, State Treasurer James Lewis, State Auditor Hector Balderas, Former Speaker of the House Raymond Sanchez, State Senator Tim Keller, State Senator Eric Griego, Mayor Martin Chavez, Bernalillo County District Attorney Keri Brandenberg, Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan-Grisham, Bernalillo County Assessor Karen Montoya
WHAT: New Mexico Democrats rally one year before the 2012 elections to to fight for working families, lowering healthcare costs, and getting our economy back on track.
WHEN: Saturday, November, 5, 2011 from 10AM to12PM
WHERE: Villa Hispana, NM State Fairgrounds
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Keller, Maestas Criticize Romney for Calling Middle Class Tax Breaks 'Band-Aids'
On Friday, New Mexico State Senator Tim Keller and State Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas held a press conference call to discuss Mitt Romney’s comments at the GOP debate in New Hampshire that tax cuts for the middle class were nothing more than “little band-aids” that he doesn’t support. Romney has long made noise about opposing tax cuts for the middle class, but his latest statement exposes just how out of touch Mitt really is with the lives of ordinary Americans.
Earth to Mitt: tax cuts in the thousand-dollar-plus range and beyond can make the difference in whether there's adequate food on the table or whether needed medical prescriptions are filled for working class families. A thousand dollars more or less probably doesn't mean much in the elite financial world of Romney and the other one per centers, where greens fees for golf outings can cost that much. But in the real world of working for a paycheck to make a living, it's not exacty chicken feed.
After the conference call, Sen. Keller and Rep. Maestas released the following statements pointing out the arrogance and ignorance demonstrated by Romney's statement.
“Romney and his Republican colleagues in Washington who voted against the American Jobs Act claim they are for tax breaks, but would let the payroll tax cut expire and take money out of the pockets of working Americans," said Sen. Tim Keller. "Mitt Romney doesn’t get what economists and the American people are saying: Middle-class tax cuts make sense for the economy and for our families. Instead, Romney continues to push more tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and corporations while doing nothing for the middle class.”
Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas said, “Mitt Romney may claim he isn’t ‘running to support the rich,’ but his economic proposals support more tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and corporations while doing nothing for the middle class. When asked about extending a payroll tax credit that averages more than $1,360 for the typical American family, Romney said he doesn’t support little ‘band aids.’ That’s just wrong."
"For the wealthiest Americans and corporations that Mitt is running for, $1,360 is not much, but for middle class families trying to make ends meet here in New Mexico it would make all the difference in the world," Rep. Maestas continued. "It can be four months of groceries or months of rent –- not to mention that middle-class tax cuts make sense for the economy. It’s clear that Mitt Romney has no plan to provide relief to the middle class and no plan to immediately create jobs.”
Wealthy elitist Republicans are like that.
The DNC has pointed out that at the same time Romney is belittling middle class tax cuts as “little band-aids,” he seems quite proud of the fact that he's leading the money race for . Considering that Romney has promised Wall Street’s big banks that if he’s elected he'll allow them to write their own rules again -- just as they were doing when the economy nearly collapsed just three short years ago -- perhaps no one should be surprised that he’s raking in big bucks from the banks for his campaign. Or that he seems to have the interests of the moneyed classes as his sole concern.
You can watch the Republican presidential candidates debate again tonight at 6:00 PM mountain time.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Compare and Contrast: Liberal Lion Ted Kennedy and the Liberal Bashing Obama Admin
Caroline's intro, video tribute, Teddy's speech (at 14 minutes)
It was three years ago yesterday when the Liberal Lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy, overcame the health difficulties he was experiencing to address (text) the Democratic National Convention in Denver. I was very fortunate to be in the hall that night as a state blogger (thanks Howard Dean), and clearly recall the electricity and emotional intensity that swept the hall when Teddy strode onto the stage for the last time at a Dem Convention, and gave a moving and rousing speech on behalf of Barack Obama. In an odd coincidence, Ted passed away from a brain tumor exactly a year later, on August 25, 2009. And so it is inevitable that Dems like me have thoughts of Ted Kennedy swirling in our heads at this time of year.
I have many memories of Teddy fighting the good fight for the people -- for workers, for minorities, for children, for seniors, for health care for all, for the impoverished, for women -- over his many years of public service, as well as his no-holds-barred liberalism in the face of whatever nasty rhetoric was issuing from right-wingers in any particular year. There are few politicos today who call themselves Democrats who are as proudly and unabashedly liberal as Teddy was.
No, it is now the fashion, from Obama on down, to embrace the phony, expedient labels of "centrist" or "moderate" or "nonpartisan" and pretend that there is a middle we can meet in and still effectively make the deep-seated changes needed to return our American economy, culture and communities to anything resembling fairness, compassion and opportunity for all. Ironically, most of the traditional values of the Dem Party now match the positions supported by a majority of Americans -- it is only politicos of both parties who stand in the way of the progress we need to regain our footing and thrive.
Ted vs. Barack
Teddy was known to be an excellent negotiator and, believe me, he did not start the compromise negotiations by giving away most of the store before the dealmaking had even begun. In other words, he was no Barack Obama. Thankfully. No, Teddy was known as a successful persuader of his fellow lawmakers, as well as a true leader who could inspire and marshall the great energies of the people to push for real change we can believe in.
Senator Kennedy did not stand there and make excuses saying things like, "hey, this is the best we can do because Republicans will never support anything more so we're not even going to try for what we really believe in, what the people really want. I'm the wise, all-knowing one and I will start out already across the line into right-wing corporatist territory in my negotiations and go from there. And the Democratic base should take it and shut up. If they don't support me, they just aren't smart enough to get the beauty of my strategies and tacitics. I call the shots, not them. I listen to my corporate/banking/Wall Street "advisers" and donors, not to the motley crew who comprise the Dem base."
Well, Obama never says exactly that, but that's the message that seems to frequently emanate from the White House, whether from the President himself or his public mouthpieces and leakers.
Can anyone imagine Ted Kennedy mocking the Democratic base or liberal values or progressive activists?
What Would Teddy Do?
Before his death, Teddy worked very hard to get Obama the nomination and the presidency. I wonder what he would think and do now after witnessing the steady and incredibly depressing transition of Mr. Hope and Change into Mr. No Way, No We Can't. I can't help but believe he'd be just as disgusted as so many of us are with the failure of Obama and so many of the DC Dems to BE DEMOCRATS instead of mewling technocrats in the service of some of the worst financial and economic forces on the planet.
Can anyone imagine Ted Kennedy allowing Sen. Max Baucus and his gang to stall away a whole summer working on watering down and corporatizing the health care reform bill as much as humanly possible while the right wingers went nuts spreading false information at crazy town halls and Obama sat on his hands, mostly mute? I don't think so.
Here's an excerpt of what Caroline Kennedy had to say in her introduction of Teddy at the Dem Convention in Denver. Think about it, as well as what Teddy said that night, and then think about the kind of lip service and dismissiveness we're getting from President Obama at a time of incredibly upsetting economic and environmental peril:
For 46 years, he has been so much more than just a senator for the people of Massachusetts. He's been a senator for all who believe in a dream that's never died. If you're no longer being denied a job because of your race, gender or disability, or if you've seen a rise in the minimum wage you're being paid, Teddy is your senator too.
If your children are receiving health care thanks to the Children's Health Insurance Program, if you see a nurse at a community health center or if you're benefiting from the Medicare program that he fought to create, and that just last month he returned to the Senate to save, Teddy is your senator too. If your child is getting an early boost in life through Head Start, or attending a better school or can go to college because a Pell grant has made it more affordable, Teddy is your senator too. And if you're an 18-year-old who's going to vote for the first time-and I bet it'll be for Barack Obama- Teddy is your senator too.
Not only has Teddy helped put the American dream within reach for so many families, he's been a powerful force around the world for human rights and human dignity, for refugees and the dispossessed. He helped end apartheid in South Africa and bring peace to Northern Ireland. He's been a leader on nuclear arms control. And he took a strong, early and courageous stand against the war in Iraq.
It's a contrast that is breaking the hearts of increasing numbers of loyal Democrats, grassroots activists, progressives and ordinary Americans. Now we have an allegedly Democratic President who actually puts Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security cuts on the table at the outset of the debate and thinks cruel measures of "austerity" are the way to jump start the economy and create jobs. We have a President who is conducting covert military operations and attacks on whistleblowers that go beyond what even Bush dared to implement -- one who believes he doesn't have to get congressional approval to participate in a war in Libya. We have a President who clearly seems to be siding with the criminal bankers who caused this mess, instead of putting the people's needs first. We now have a President who has had ICE round up, incarcerate in private prisons and deport more immigrants than Bush did in any year of his administration. I could go on.
What would Teddy say? I can't imagine him defending this behavior, that's for sure.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Yes, I know, Dems are between a rock and a hard place as far as the 2012 presidential election goes. We are constantly warned that we must support Obama 100% or else face the insanity of a right-wing president like Bachman or Perry. Maybe the big-money, behind-the-scenes big shots set it up this way on purpose, just to ensure another four years of Obama the appeaser. In the current political environment it's hard to know who or what is actually driving events -- here and on a global scale.
I'd love to see Obama face a primary opponent, at the very least. One who could strongly and clearly express many of the ideas and positions currently being put forth by Sen. Bernie Sanders, for instance. Regardless, I think it's imperative to keep the pressure on Obama and to call him out when he sinks to the kind of actions I've cited above. As far as I'm concerned, it's no longer an option to once again don our cheerleader gear and blindly support Obama's presidency or his reelection.
After last week's kerfluffle (that got national attention) over the embarrasing emails mocking liberals and progressives sent out by NM OFA head honcho Ray Sandoval, I admit that it's hard for me to think about lifting a finger to help reelect Obama. And I know I'm only the tip of the iceberg. Many say it will be our fault if Obama loses, but I say that it will be his own fault -- for refusing to be a strong Democratic leader fighting hard and long for true Democratic values, and for insulting and demeaning the very people in the Dem base who worked their asses off and gave tons of small donations to get him elected last time. Obama is the one who needs to wake up -- not us.
As Senator Kennedy said, "The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die." And that's regardless of whether or not a Democratic president holds the White House. We must continue to fight for this, no matter what: "For me this is a season of hope -- new hope for a just and fair prosperity for the many, and not just for the few — new hope." If Obama continues to refuse to lead on that basis, we need to find someone who is willing to at least confront him.
Before I wrote this post today, I indulged in a sentimental journey to the last president cycle -- and the incredible excitement and yes, hope, we had for an Obama presidency. The contrast with my feelings today couldn't be starker. And that's a real shame.
If you're so moved, indulge yourself in a trip to the past. Perhaps it will inspire and energize you to fight on for our Dem principles, and keep the pressure on Dem officeholders and candidates to do the same. We need to be loud and proud and unrelenting, don't you think? There's just too much at stake to take whatever our Dem leaders hand out, no matter how weak or misguided, and keep our mouth shut. We need to ACT UP!
Photo album here
Thursday, August 04, 2011
CA Dem Party Progressive Caucus Passes Resolution Urging Consideration of Primary Challenge to Obama; Is New Mexico Next?
Do you think it's time for a similar resolution urging exploration of a primary challenge to Obama to be introduced within the Democratic Party of New Mexico? What are your thoughts? Express yourself in the comment thread on this post.
Last Saturday, July 30th, an estimated 75 members of the of the California Democratic Party (CDP) overwhelmingly passed a resolution in support of exploring a Democratic Party Presidential Primary challenge to President Barack Obama. Click for the resolution text (pdf). Passage of the resolution represents the first such action among Dem state parties, but it may not be the last. If you haven't noticed, there are growing and passionate feelings of anger, disgust and betrayal on the part of many progressives and rank and file Dems in response to the debt ceiling fiasco, as well as other actions taken by the Obama adminstration that go against the grain of traditional Dem Party values.
The resolution includes a rather lengthy list of reasons the Caucus believes Obama needs to be confronted. It begins:
WHEREAS, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party recognizes the challenge presented by President Obama's negotiating away Democratic Party principles to extremist Republicans, we are challenged by President Obama in the following ways:
First among them is:
His unilateral closed-door budget offer to slash Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which endangers the New Deal and War on Poverty safety nets.
The list also includes criticisms of Obama's actions related to unauthorized wars, illegal use of drones, the Patriot Act, extending the Bush tax cuts, big bank bailouts, failure to end the foreclosure crisis, a flawed health insurance bill that lacks both a public option and single-payer plan, failure to protect whistleblowers and habeous corpus, ignoring international law, FBI raids of anti-war progressive protestors, increased arrests and deportations of undocumented workers, facilitating privatization in education and housing, breaking promises to the Labor movement and failing to adequately protect the environment and address climate change.
The resolution also refers to the "historical significance of the Eugene McCarthy/Robert F. Kennedy anti-war challenge to President Lyndon Johnson," following Johnson's decision to escalate the Viet Nam war. It then notes the similarity between that situation and "the danger and betrayal that the current 'Grand Bargain' represents to the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's signature gift to all Americans, Social Security and the New Deal, a point of pride for all Democrats."
It concludes by saying that the Caucus....
...will begin the process of contacting other Democratic organizations, Democratic Party members and public organizations that share our views on the issues and which seek to alter the course of history by exploring other steps to effect a necessary change, including a possible primary challenge to President Obama.
According to a piece on the San Francisco Chronical Politics Blog,
[Progressive Caucus Chair Karen] Bernal doesn't plan to ask the full California Democratic Party to approve the resolution. It was meant more as a statement of conscience than a desire to back a rival to Obama, she said. "Is there a sense of desperation in this?" Bernal said. "I would have to say yes."
Instead, according to a spokesman, the Caucus "hopes that Obama would rework his priorities to respond to the needs of working class Americans in order to get progressive support in 2012." Not surprisingly, California Democratic Party chair John Burton doesn't agree with the resolution.
A story in the LA Progressive reports there was some backlash from the Executive Committee of the CDP that resulted in a challenge to recertifying the Progressive Caucus. The challenge has reportedly been tabled until the Committee's November meeting.
The Audacity of Nope
The story also includes a video of a speech and session called "The Audacity of Nope" that was conducted by the Progressive Caucus at the meeting. It's well worth a look.
The session begins with the questions: "Where do we stand as Democrats? Do we have a bottom line? How do we bring the party and its elected leaders back to our principles?" The speaker goes on to say, "We believe it's time to just say nope to cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security ... to continued and more tax breaks for the rich ... to corporate takeover of our country ... to any further erosion of our civil liberties."
She continues, "Some folks are going to tell us that having this discussion about how completely off track our Party has gone from its roots is heresy. Well I'm here to tell you it's not. This is about our loyalty and commitment to who we are as Democrats. It's about saving this Party, not about destroying it."
Not Just in California
Sound familiar? It should. Similar questions are being asked right here by members of the Democratic Pary of New Mexico, and I imagine similar concerns are being discussed among Democrats all across the country. I'm not the only one who thinks the horrible handing of the debt ceiling "negotiations" was the straw that broke the camel's back in terms of Dems having had enough of phony "centrism," "nonpartisanship" and "balance." We have seen how such buzzwords have actually come to mean almost a complete surrender to righ-wing and corporatist forces and positions on the part of our President and way too many other Democratic leaders, office holders and candidates. We've had enough.
So far, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders -- an independent who caucuses with Dems -- has been the only member of Congress besides Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) to bring up the possibility of a primary challenge to Obama. By all accounts, Sanders has been an articulate and principled voice for a growing number of disenfranchised and disenchanted Dems.
The congressional battles will now move on from the debt ceiling vote to the machinations of the so-called Super Congress committee that will be in charge of coming up with detailed recommendations for draconian cuts that can only make this "jobless recession" worse. Expect more from Sanders and a growing number of critics who strongly believe progressives and the Dem base generally have to unite and fight now, or face a future that's increasingly dominated by Wall Street and global financial bosses.
What Do We Want?
We want a leader and officeholders who are ready to truly fight against the dangers of the tea party-led extortion and waylaying of the levers of government. We want a President who uses the bully pulpit effectively and often to confront and clearly define how awful the GOP strategy and tactics have become -- and to passionately persuade Democrats and others who care about the nation to counteract these forces in no uncertain terms.
The President and others in positions of power need to rally the American people against the dark, anti-democratic forces currently on display in the halls of Congress and elsewhere, and put forth a clear and powerful vision of what Democrats believe in and are willing to fight for to the end.
We want Democrats in power to draw a clear line in the sand in defense of our principles, and to vehemently promote that line as a non-neogotiable barrier to further right-wing assaults on everything we believe in. And if they refuse to do it, we need to come up with ways to challenge them and create a movement dedicated to achieving change we can believe in on our own terms.
So do you think it's time for a similar resolution to be introduced within the Democratic Party of New Mexico? What are your thoughts?
Sunday, July 31, 2011
There Are No Good Jobs There Are No Good Jobs There Are No Good Jobs
I say again, there are no good jobs. And in many places there are no jobs period. Even where there are jobs, paychecks are stagnant or falling and benefits are going the way of ye olde pension plans, while the safety net for the poor, the sick, the elderly, the workers, the middle class, the retired is being demolished, along with unions, education, you name it. We need jobs and we need to get the economy working for people other than the investor class. Period. We need to invest in our people and our future. We have to stop rewarding the people and entities that got us into this jam in the first place and who intend to keep us there. And we need to end THE WARS right now.
You've heard the baloney coming from "our side" -- we ALL have to sacrifice, we have to compromise in the face of economic blackmail perpetrated by the GOP/Wall Street/banking/financial cabal. Excuse me, but Ameircan workers, middle class families and the downtrodden have already done more than their part in sacrificing down to the bone and sometimes beyond. Excuse me, but rolling over for extortionists used to be considered the most effective way to encourage more blackmail -- and was considered to be the path of pathetic cowards and appeasers.
We now have an allegedly Democratic President and way too many Dem 'leaders" insisting that the only positive way to end this manufactured "debt crisis" is to entirely capitulate to irrational forces that can only be defined, at this point, as economic insurrectionists. Our president and DC Dems appear to be joining forces with the worst of America to subject our already ruinous economy to massive cuts, and to target those cuts at anything and everything that in any way, shape or form helps ordinary people or serves to create jobs, improve our infrastructure or invest in a better future for ordinary Americans. And nobody better touch the extravagant tax loopholes, subsidies and incredibly low taxation rates of the rich and powerful, whether individuals, hedge funds or globally irresponsible corporate entities.
Yes, our President and Congress are now solely concerned with "deficit reduction" -- cutting spending that A) helps people who have no jobs and B) helps create jobs. A cardinal rule in dealing with recessions (or whatever this "jobless recovery" actually is) has always been that cutting spending during economic downturns is a no-no -- because it's economic suicide. Yet this is the priority of Republicans, most DC Democrats and certainly our President, who appears to be a member of the plutocrat/oligarch/Wall Street Party despite all his huffing and puffing during the campaign about change we can believe in. Community organizer my ass. This man is now trying to out right wing the right wingers. It's that bad.
I can only hope that this response will continue and grow: Black Leaders Rebuke Obama. Excerpt:
Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit), a 24-term congressmember who is highly revered in the African-American community, is openly dissatisfied with the president’s handling of the self-inflicted debt ceiling crisis. Speaking of concessions the president is willing to make to avoid a default if the debt ceiling is not raised, Conyers told a reporter that he was angry.
“We’ve got to march on him,” Conyers said. “We want him to know from this day forward that we’ve had it. We want him to come out on our side and advocate, not to watch and wait to see what [lawmakers] are doing in the House and Senate. We’re suffering.” Conyers and other leaders respected by the African-American community are voicing concern over the impact of the decisions of Obama’s Administration. They say the concessions the president put on the table will have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable in our society. Conyers and others are particularly concerned about the President’s apparent willingness during debt ceiling negotiations to make entitlement cuts and his lack of action on job creation.
“We’ve got to educate the American people at the same time we educate the President of the United States.” Conyers told a reporter this week. The Congressmember pointed out that the Republican leadership — neither Speaker Boehner nor Majority Leader Cantor — called for Social Security cuts in the budget deal. Says Conyers, “The President of the United States called for that, and my response to him is to mass thousands of people in front of the White House to protest this.” [emphasis added]
Take heed, think-inside-the-box campaign strategists, advisers and presidential enablers:
“The activist liberal base will support Obama because they’re terrified of the right wing,” said Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the liberal group Campaign for America’s Future. [I'm not so sure of that myself.]
But he said, “I believe that the voting base of the Democratic Party — young people, single women, African-Americans, Latinos — are going to be so discouraged by this economy and so dismayed unless the president starts to champion a jobs program and take on the Republican Congress that the ability of labor to turn out its vote, the ability of activists to mobilize that vote, is going to be dramatically reduced.”
No More Excuses for Obama's Damaging Behavior
This needs to stop and ordinary people need to step up to the plate and stop it -- and stop making excuses for it because the man perpetrating these horrors is Barack Obama. We need to start treating him like any other servant of the plutocrats and oligarchs on the scene:
No matter how the immediate issue is resolved, Mr. Obama, in his failed effort for greater deficit reduction, has put on the table far more in reductions for future years’ spending, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, than he did in new revenue from the wealthy and corporations. He proposed fewer cuts in military spending and more in health care than a bipartisan Senate group that includes one of the chamber’s most conservative Republicans.
To win approval of the essential increase in the nation’s $14.3 trillion borrowing ceiling, Mr. Obama sought more in deficit reduction than Republicans did ... despite unemployment lingering at its highest level in decades, Mr. Obama has not fought this year for a big jobs program with billions of dollars for public-works projects, which liberals in his party have clamored for. Instead, he wants to extend a temporary payroll tax cut for everyone, since Republicans will support tax cuts, despite studies showing that spending programs are generally the more effective stimulus.
Um, does it really have to be pointed out to the President that the few dollars in payroll tax cuts instituted during his previous capitulations to the GOP don't help people without jobs because they aren't on any payroll? Again, take heed, Democratic establishment:
“The president’s proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare has the potential to sap the energy of the Democratic base — among older voters because of Medicare and Medicaid and younger voters because of the lack of jobs,” said Damon A. Silvers, policy director of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. “And second, all these fiscal austerity proposals on the table will make the economy worse.”
This should make every Democrat retch:
“Democrats created Social Security and Medicare, and we have fought for decades against Republican attempts to end these programs,” said Dan Pfeiffer, Mr. Obama’s communications director. “And President Obama believes that now is the time for Democrats to be the ones to step up and save Social Security and Medicare.”
Yeah right, save them -- using a right-wing frame, right-wing approach and right-wing policies.
14th Amendment Now!
As John Judis writes in his excellent article arguing that Obama, who is always comparing himself to Lincoln, doesn't understand the essence and approach of Lincoln whatsoever:
I am not an expert on Lincoln, but I have a pretty good idea what he would say if he were to suddenly appear on the scene. He would reject the Republican majority’s attempt to blackmail the rest of the government and the nation. If, because of Republican intransigence, the Congress were unable to raise the debt ceiling by August 2nd, I suspect he would follow Bill Clinton’s advice and raise the debt ceiling unilaterally on the grounds of the fourteenth amendment, which says that “the validity of the public debt … shall not be questioned.”
That’s certainly a risky move. If Obama were to do it, he could eventually face a hostile Supreme Court majority, just as Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus aroused the ire of Chief Justice Roger Taney in 1861. But, given the dangerous game that the Republican Party is playing, that’s a risk worth taking.
Bottom line: If Democrats don't push back hard -- right now -- against the corporatism and anti-working and middle class positions of Obama, who will? Are you going to continue to be a sucker for Obama's corporatist hoodwinking, or will you finally see the light, stop the denial, admit to the realities and start fighting and pushing back with all your might?
I ask the same question of every single Democrat running in 2012 for any position up and down the ticket. Are you with the people or with the powerful moneyed interests? You're either on the bus or off the bus at this point. No more hiding out behind platitudes, pretending the President is for working people and American families. Speak up now -- speak truth to power -- or get out of the way to make room for those who will.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Guest Blog: Thoughts On a 2012 Primary Challenge to President Obama
Senator Bernie Sanders has called for a primary challenger against President Obama in 2012. Is this a good idea?
Answers to that question typically take clear, either/or stands, one way or the other. But in reality, there are complicated calculations on both sides. It's important to be clear and pragmatic in assessing both possible responses -- yes or no -- to Senator Sanders' call.
If someone were to run against Obama in the primaries, political strategists for such a person would try to calculate whether the outcome would be a strong showing -- i.e. win one or more primaries, rather than simply garner a sliver of protest votes in each contest. If someone is going to do something as drastic as mount a serious primary challenge to a sitting president, a hardened politico would say you might as well do it right.
Potential candidates with a realistic chance to make a strong primary showing against Obama might include:
- Former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold
- Current Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown
- AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
- Current Oregon Representative Peter Defazio
- Current Minnesota Senator Al Franken
These are safe, conventional choices, with at least some national recognition and "I have paid my dues" cred. They might conceivably generate sympathy from at least some state and local Democratic party officials with crucial influence in the nominating process.
Unfortunately, the connections and credibility of the above candidates make them unlikely to run for president. Challenging the massive, entrenched power of the corporate-funded national party leadership could well mean career suicide for anyone daring the attempt.
That means the most likely recruits for a primary challenge to Obama would be outsiders, unknowns, or people otherwise having less to lose. Potential examples of such candidates include:
- Van Jones
- Bernie Sanders (not currently a registered Democrat)
- Mike Gravel
- Cynthia McKinney
- Dennis Kucinich
Such candidates face very long odds of actually winning. For us grass roots advocates, that means supporting such a candidate is potentially an immense waste of time and energy better spent elsewhere.
Grass roots progressive Democrats face a truly horrifying dilemma, which can be summed up in two basic observations.
1) Any action that undermines Obama in 2012 -- including a primary challenge -- increases the odds of a Republican president and Congress taking power in January 2013. Such a government would be the most extremist and destructive in American history, with terrifying consequences for the entire world.
2) Barack Obama -- for whatever reason -- is willfully, systematically undermining progressive values and policies that Democrats have defended for decades. The national Democratic party, on the whole, faces steady pressure to support the President in that effort.
These two facts have critical implications. First, progressives disillusioned with Obama should not minimize the very real risks of challenging the President, because that action could bring the genuinely devastating outcome of GOP control in Washington. Second, die-hard supporters of President Obama should face the reality that his actions show him to be fundamentally hostile to progressive social and economic reform as understood by the grass roots Democratic base. That's the simplest and most logical conclusion when facing a Democratic president so anxious to slash Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.
So we have a dilemma -- two conflicting considerations, not easily reconciled, pulling us in seemingly opposite directions. Both answers seem fundamentally flawed. We can withdraw support for Obama or give him that support and hope, against all available evidence, for the best. What should we do?
If two options seem unworkable, the answer most likely lies in a third option. Not a third party, clearly. At least not yet. The political game in America is currently rigged against such efforts, making them futile. We don't need another Ralph Nader.
Third Option: A Reform Movement
But we need something, and we have compelling models for a third option in the experience of the United States and other countries. These models show how advocates for social justice have dealt with indifferent or hostile political institutions (like the Obama-led national Democratic party and the extremist GOP). In multiple instances, reform movements facing such obstacles have arisen to lobby for effective change. They did so not by emphasizing elections alone but by providing some other sort of immediate benefit in the everyday lives of ordinary people. The resulting grass roots action effectively pressured dysfunctional political systems to change, over the long term.
Here are some examples of this process at work.
1) The U.S. civil rights movement, 1954-1965. It offered African-Americans an immediate action they could take in their everyday lives to provide dignity and hope, albeit at great risk: participating in non-violent civil disobedience against unjust laws. The subsequent mass movement produced, in the end, a more progressive national Democratic party.
2) The U.S. labor movement, 1877 to 1935. Workers suffering brutal exploitation by U.S. corporations responded with strikes and mutual self-help, such as community strike funds. These actions salvaged a measure of dignity and hope in daily life, and in the long run successfully moved the Democratic party to a pro-labor stance.
3) Pro-democracy movements in Eastern Europe (1970s and 80s), South Africa (1960s to 1980s), and the Middle East (today, still in progress, results yet to be determined). Ordinary people learned to assert their rights and find emotional support in immediate, everyday protests, outside the dysfunctional political system. Such actions, whether taking to the street or hosting a neighborhood organizing meeting, collectively generated large-scale, long-term pressure for political change.
All of these movements were risky, difficult, and slow to take full effect. But they might offer our best hope for a way forward in the United States of the 2010s and 2020s. They are compatible with pragmatic, partisan political action. We can support Barack Obama as the only realistic bulwark against an extremist Republican regime. But we can at the same time form local, grass roots initiatives to provide immediate benefits and hope, as labor and civil rights networks did in our past. Their twenty first century successors can work, in the long run, to place constructive pressure on the Democratic party establishment.
This course is uncertain in its prospects for success. But our prospects without it are unacceptable no matter what happens. A loss for Obama in 2012 would bring on the nightmare of a Christian right, Social Darwinist, Tea Party federal government. A 2012 Obama victory, on the other hand, will bring more of what we're seeing now -- a Democratic president bent on destroying vital progressive achievements like Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.
The irony is that Obama's crusade to gut these programs will make a 2012 Republican victory far more likely. His brand of fiscal austerity will further cripple the daily living standards of average voters, by slashing social programs for millions already facing poverty and unemployment. History shows that such economic desperation leads voters to punish an incumbent President, rightly or not.
Our country, then, is likely heading toward a crisis greater than any of us ever imagined. In facing it, progressives need to imagine options beyond the simple either-or choice of Obama or anti-Obama. There has to be another way.
As Bob Dylan once said: let us not speak falsely now, for the hour is getting late.
This is a guest blog by Ed Merta. He can be reached at email@example.com.
To submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
My Thoughts Exactly: Presidential Primary Challenge!
I think there are millions of Americans who are deeply disappointed in the president, who believe that with regard to Social Security and other things, he said one thing as a candidate and is doing something very much else as a president. Who cannot believe how weak he has been for whatever reason in negotiating with Republicans, and there’s deep disappointment.
So my suggestion is, I think one of the reasons the president has made the move so far to the right is that there is no primary opposition to him and I think it would do this country a good deal of service if people started thinking about candidates out there to begin contrasting a progressive agenda as opposed to what Obama believes he’s doing. [...] So I would say to Ryan, discouragement is not an option. I think it would be a good idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition.
Any thoughts on who might be a good choice to challenge Obama in the 2012 Dem primary? A friend mentioned Van Jones. I'd love to see it.