Sunday, January 24, 2010

This is a Matter of Self Respect

Elections Matter.
Votes Matter.
What officials do with those votes once they are in office matters.

I am a Democrat.
I drink the kool-aid flavored with the words all of us are created equal.  It blew me away that Arlen Specter became one of us because he knew his time was up in the GOP.   What really blows me away is that any Democrat would seriously consider him as our candidate for anything, much less Senator.

Arlen Specter was chairman of the Judiciary Committee when Clarence Thomas was nominated to take Thurgood Marshall’s place on the Court.  This is the same Clarence Thomas who had the Anita Hill problem. Specter let him on the Court.

We arrive at the year 2000. Five – count them five – votes on the Supreme Court ruled against the country and gave us the loser of the 2000 election as our president.  The people had it right in 2000.  Unfortunately we lost the World Trade Center because we had the wrong guy at the controls.  We blew the baby-boomers’ nest egg on two wars that never should have been fought because we had the wrong guy at the controls.

Do I want to tie Arlen Specter’s vote for Clarence Thomas to the result of Gore v. Bush?  (Remember it was a 5-4 decision.)


It is fair to do so?  Absolutely.

He had the opportunity to change history for the better, but he was a GOP flak when he allowed Thomas to plug in the shredder to dispose of the Constitution.

As we rode through the last decade, Specter had the opportunity to make a mark on the court twice again.  He stained the court with Roberts and Alito.

Do I want to tie Arlen Specter’s vote for Thomas, Roberts and Alito to the result of the Citizens United decision?   (Remember it was a 5-4 decision.)


It is fair to do so? Absolutely.

These appointments of Arlen Specter allowed these three guys to turn on the shredder and feed the Constitution through it.

The Supreme Court is a life-appointment.  Unfortunately these decisions are giving “We the People” the life terms.  Who do we hold responsible?  We are a democracy, where does our system allow for redress of the wrongs committed?  We are told at the ballot box.

Specter screwed up when he acted as a flak for the GOP.  When does he pay for this?  How does allowing this man entrance to the Senate AS A DEMOCRAT do anything to redress the wrongs committed by his actions?

Allowing Specter to be taken seriously as a candidate for nomination to this party in an indictment of our own self-respect as Democrats.  Any official that gives aid and comfort to this man in the Democratic party is aiding and abetting our own demise.

“You have to stand for something or you will fall for anything”.  From here on out, if I am in a room where Specter is speaking I will simply rise and turn my back to him.  I will not yell at him.  I will not address him.   It will be hard to do.  I don’t care if I am the only guy in the room doing this.

When the elections come I will go into the booth, stand and turn my back on him as he turned his back on this country, by allowing such fools into positions of high power.

I will stand as a Democrat.  This is a matter of self-respect.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Poster Poll from HuffPo and the Kos

Ok – I Spammed you guys on over the last few days with something like the following…

I am doing a wholly unscientific poll about how much does the DNC listen to us.
This is high traffic here and now, and I just want to get a temperature.
Please go over, check it out and come back...
Poll on Daily Kos
Call the DNC 202-863-8000 - is it worth it?

Some variants asked for the response of the poll taker to the call to the DNC.
The reason I went to the DailyKos was they had a quick way to a poll up there for a quick hit like this.  As of now – Friday afternoon, this is what the poll looked like:

Scale of 1 to 10 - 
Will calling the DNC help make 
Change a Reality

No they won't listen because they are arrogant and think we're dumb
No - they will politely listen, but ignore me.
Yes but only if enough people complain
Yes my voice matters

I am not going to close it so if you want to put more into it – go for it.  Yes, I am using you guys as guinea pigs to do couple of things.  (No – using “guinea pig” is not an Italian slur.)
oregon bird replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 15:11:34
“Pimping must be part of waving that pretty orange banner, so many of you spend so much time touting your own work, other threads, other sytes. Kind of annoying, in fact.”

oregon bird I am sorry if I appear to be pimping anything.  I am seeing a problem here that needs correction yesterday.  We can make blog after blog or comment after comment saying there needs to be changes, but it isn’t going to be listened to anyone without a little research.  I am not a professional researcher, I know my sample has all sorts of problems and would not hold up to peer review, but this is a quick and dirty.  I wanted the poster population as the subject here, because this population is the Marines of the political world.  Posters here and other places are the first ones storming the beaches.  If this level of personnel is out of whack – we are all going down this year.

I had a number of opportunities over the last few weeks to interact with the DNC.  It was not pleasant.  You can see my documentation in my other blog posts.

My thesis is the DNC/OFA doesn’t get it and are too far removed from the reality outside the beltway to give us, the unwashed blogging community, credence.  There is a BIG disconnect.  To get there I need more info.

First, I want to know how the DNC has been humbled by this week’s defeat in MA.  Everybody fails; it is how you react to failure that makes the difference.  What are they doing differently?  I am sad to say – not much.

Second, I wanted to mark down some of the preconceived notions from bloggers about the guys running the show.  The poll to a certain extend does this.  This should scare the daylights out of somebody.

Third, I wanted to find out what those who called thought about their experience with the DNC.  Again, not good.

I am going to leave prime comments from the Huffington Post and the DailyKos as the coda to this entry
The experiences of my own and these folks are emblematic of what is going on.  If you think I am cherry picking comments –you can go thru the interactions in the comments section of my profile on the HP or look at the diary entry on the Kos. (In other words, don’t feel bad if I didn’t use your quote, what you have said has affected how I am writing this.)

Conclusions and actions

The DNC has messed up they need to admit it just to begin to solve the problem.

It appears from the comments below the DNC as an organization is hunkering down.  This is exactly the wrong move.  Some of the comments here take a defensive tone towards people who called in.  The DNC needs a real opening up to US, the Dems in the field.  It is almost as though they are too arrogant to realize they are being stupid.

It does start with the top.  Aside from an attitude change to protect the President and win elections, there needs to be basic customer service training.

The phone demeanor of the staff has to change.  I got polite people and I tried to remain polite.  Not everyone is keeping their ire intact.  We are calling the DNC because we are seeing a problem that needs correcting – not to argue with staff.  Staff defending the undefendable actions of the current chair only irritates those calling.  Our voices need to be heard.  The comments and poll numbers should be a glaring assessment of what the front line there is handling.

There needs to be a short moratorium on money grubbing for a period of time until the DNC can get its’ act together.  That means a clearly enunciated plan of attack for the 2010 elections.  Vague words such as being “more pugnacious” do not do it.  I want to know where the body blows are going to land, so as an activist, I can start softening them up there too.  We need to let the GOP know we are coming for them and we are mad as hell.

We need real politics not fundraising for Lord knows what.  If Freedom Works can clean our clocks, we need OFA to start doing the same for us.

By the way, I voted for #7 on the poll.

From HuffPo      chicagurl replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 14:33:33
“Just called. The "Chairman's assistant" said they're keeping Tim Kaine, he's doing a good job and he's going to keep doing what he's doing. I asked, "What's that? Losing elections?" Evidently that's what the DNC has in mind, because they have no plans whatsoever to get rid of Tim Kaine and bring back Dr. Dean. He then said, in the middle of me still talking, "Thank you very much" and hung up on me.

So there you have it, from the horse's mouth. Tim is doing a great job for them losing elections.”

From the Kos     Not Changing a Thing (0+ / 0-)
I called and asked why Tim shouldn't step down, as he was losing elections and really didn't seem to be up to the job.  The fellow who answered said he (Tim) was doing a great job.  I disagreed, of course, and asked if there were any plans to bring back Dr. Dean.  He said absolutely not (in no uncertain terms), quickly thanked me for calling and hung up on me.  Guess those 5 nuts who voted and said they thought the DNC would listen because "my voice matters," have never actually called in to see if it really does.  Trust me, your voice really doesn't matter.  Hopefully neither does my money, cuz they're not getting another dime unless they bring in someone who wants to win elections.  Then again, not like the Dems actually do anything once they're in.............
From the Kos I called the DNC... (9+ / 0-)
...and they asked for my Credit Card number,
I gave them a piece of my mind and they asked if that was all 16 digits.
I told they they had a nerve and they told me there was too many alphanumerics for that to be correct.
I told them they needed to raise their game to get anything from me and they suggested I check because the payments system couldn't recognise the format I'd supplied.
I gave them a 16 digit number and they said thanks and hung up.
The only thing they didn't realise was that the number I gave them was the number of years it would be before they would see a penny from me again.

From HuffPo  Kellyk311 replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 12:21:43
“Isn't it just beyond the imagination why a guy who seemed to have his hand so accurately on the pulse of our nation while campaigning, couldn't have gotten further from it as President?

I for one felt while he was on the trail, 'this dude will help, he gets it'. Not to say I thought he was going to buy my house or pay off all my debt, quite the contrary. I did feel, however, that he would go after these people and fix the situation. Publicly chastising the people who've wrecked our country... Well that just isn't enough.

Obama still has my support, for now. Patience wears thin quick every day that passes by with a the horse and pony show. Time for real action. Period.”

From HuffPo   aflyinyoursoup replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 12:37:21
“That won't work either.
They'll simply laugh at us and continue to blow smoke up our fannies.
Sad thing is that we'll continue to go to the polls as if it actually mattered.”

From HuffPo  hahaney replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 12:33:18
“Unlike Republicans, most Democrats try to represent the people they serve. When have all the people ever agreed on anything. The people don't all agree, Democrats don't all agree. Isn't that the way it should be? If Republicans were actually representing their constituents they couldn't possibly vote in lockstep.”  

From HuffPo   Osmona replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 13:34:49
“Where's Tim Kaine? I NEVER hear him say ANYTHING.”

From HuffPo  joeinvt replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 15:03:41
“I tried but no one is home at the DNC since Dean was canned.”

From HuffPo  Raul Garcia replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 14:16:45
“I just spoke with her (Pelosi’s) aid, he was very empathetic, I stated I just wanted be treated fairly and equally instead of Wall Street and the big corporations getting all the breaks while they outsource our jobs, and that I wasn't buying into her remark that everyone in Massachusetts is happy with their health care, and I'm fed up and I will vote against every democrat here in California except for Barbara Boxer if they don't start exercising the will of the people.

Speaking of California Senators, Feinstein is quite the Blue dog, I do not trust her at all.”

From HuffPo  GetAbike replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 15:26:02
To the question, on a scale of 1 to 10 - "will calling the DNC help make Change a Reality?"
The lowest anyone can vote is: "No they won't listen because they are arrogant and think we're dumb"
is giving these amoebas way too much slack.
How about:
"No, all they want is my money and my vote and will lie about the quality of candidates that we Progressives SHOULD support because they are so different from Republicans."
And that would be putting it nicely.”

From HuffPo  JamesR. replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 15:03:03
“I'm in the 47% group Joe.”

From HuffPo  DimBulb2 replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 15:10:59
“i removed myself from their mailing list
I got tired of being asked for money everytime somebody f@rted”

From HuffPo  maigesheng replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 15:11:47
“Interesting. My choice was only about 3% lol. But the extreme was at 47%. I sort of agreed with the extreme. But I think that so many people going so far tells you alot about the polees?”

From HuffPo   maigesheng replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 15:16:51
“Done. I am far from the majority. But I guess that is what I get for not selected an extreme position. lol”

From HuffPo  AnnfromCA replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 15:12:45
“Call them about what? The need to get even deeper into the progressive pockets?”

From HuffPo  Sandiaman replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 17:57:09
“The responses were kind of restrictive but I answered with #3. My written answer would have been: No one could figure out how to answer the phone let alone field my concerns.”

From HuffPo  imusintheevening replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 17:46:38
“a slow talking message machine - how encouraging”

From HuffPo  patrickhenrypress replied on Jan 21, 2010 at 20:15:47
“Thanks. I voted in the negative, and I was too kind.”

From the KOS Money talks... do what we did for dean (1+ / 0-)
and obama... no$$  until you get your dodo together.  I'm calling and asking for Dean to come back.
Confucius say: Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Time for an Intervention at the DNC and OFA

The morning after the Democratic Party got trounced in the MA Senate Race my mother-in-law yells from her room that Obama is going to be on the tube.

I am thinking – great, he is going to acknowledge problems in any number of areas as far as his agenda is concerned.  We gotta do something with Healthcare or Afghanistan or the TARP.  Maybe an assessment of the party itself and why we lost last night?

I walk in the room and he is talking about stopping Government Contracts going to Tax Cheats.  Let me say that again.

Stopping Government Contracts going to Tax Cheats.

HEY !!!   
Mr. President, 

Who is setting the message here?  What kind of alternate reality are you guys running?  We just got our butts kicked and you are changing the subject?

Uh-uh – no way.  Get back here and explain yourselves.

If you plan on winning this fall, we need a real assessment that there are political problems.  Not with the GOP, but with the Democratic Party.  Why did we lose?  What are we going to do about it?

It is painful, but necessary.  We need a self-examination needed as how things are being run.  This isn’t a one-time aberration, this is a continuum.  From the spring and the flowering of the Birthers, early summer last year when the GOP rattled the cages of Congresspeople in town halls, to Palin and the Death Panelists, to the Teabaggers nothing was done.

We lost VA and NJ.  No change in strategy.

Obviously, the first thing we are going to need to do is acknowledge the problem.  I ask you to help this intervention by calling on the DNC and OFA acknowledge this issue by picking up the phone and calling:


Ask for the Chairman’s office.  If you get to a full email box, hit 0 get to the operator and ask for a callback.  Be nice to the message taker, they only work there.  Save the irritation for the higher-ups.

Once we acknowledge the problem, we need a solution.  This is a self-respect problem and a media image problem.  How are we in the minority with VAST majorities in both the House and Senate?  The Democrat’s self-image as a bunch of victims is stopping us from getting anything done.  This lack of self-respect is driving this administration to do some pretty odd stuff.  We change this and we can change the policies.

There needs to be a realization that this is a team operation.  Yes, we are on the same team as Democrats.  If someone attacks one of us – they are attacking all of us.

There is no penalty for ripping the President.  I was listening to Arlen Specter describe President Obama on the Smerconish Show last Thursday in the weak light of, “going to China with his hat in his hand”.  I called the show and called him out on it.  How dare any Democratic official give space for the opposition to maneuver?  Who’s team is this guy on?  It should not be me as a lone looney going after a so-called Democratic Senator.  This needs something more.  I can’t be the only guy out there with sharp elbows in the paint.  We need to challenge these people where they say stuff, when they say stuff.

It doesn’t need to be the President defending himself.  He can’t.  He is running the country.  We need to do that.  I did get a call back from the DNC and the attitude was passive.  The attitude was essentially, ‘we are waiting for the White House to tell us to do something.’

That is the wrong attitude.  The DNC and the OFA need to be the protectors of President Obama.  You run your mouth against the President, we will pepper you with facts laced with attitude.  No one should have to tell this organization it needs to do this.  It is common sense.

The coach doesn’t get on the field and throw blocks – WE DO.  The offensive coordinator is the DNC and the OFA – I have seen nothing offensive except their performance.

Where are there media hounds in the party monitoring what is being said and challenging the GOP mythologies?  It was big news when Stephanopolis let Guiliani slide with his standard noun, verb, 9/11 rant.  Why has it taken soooo long?  Our media hounds need to be set loose to make people remember where we are and how we got here.

Do you seriously think our economic situation would be where it is if we actually paid for the 2 wars we got involved in last decade – yeah who put us there… G O P.

Why are the twin towers gone… G O P.

Who did an indecent job at security… (all together now) G O P.

We need to reinforce our own mythologies, but better yet, live them.  You know - the ones where we are for the working guys.  Maybe that means ripping up what was done in Healthcare last year.  Maybe that means any deals with Big Pharma are off the table and we can start from scratch.

You know the mythology about Equal Rights – yeah the time is right and the country is ready for it.  Walk the talk.

There are at least 10 other issues I can’t put here without your eyes glazing over.

Right now there needs to be a tougher attitude.  Cool ain’t cutting it.  Neither does having your hair on fire.  There is a medium stance that generates a level of respect.  We haven’t gotten there.

We have to get there quick.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rally - Really

This is the last of three blogs concerning March 4 Change 1/15/10. Here are links to the others:

This won’t be the History of the Campaign that Failed.

We went to the Lincoln Memorial to say,

“Mr. Obama, We Have Your Back.”
  • Simple.
  • Functional.

There was nothing about how some of us do or don’t like President Obama’s stand on
  • Bank
  • Bailouts
  • War
  • Healthcare
  • GLBT issues
  • DOMA
  • or whatever.

Just, “We have your back, Big Guy. We are proud to have you.”

This is a link to the Original Facebook Page set up by Manny Vasile, (Link) there should be a whole load of pictures going there. Here is the Wiki page set up by TekVahanna.(Link).  We had a web site setup (Link).

We tried as hard as we could.

That is ok. We met in DC on Friday under a blue sky that made you wonder where rain comes from.

OK, only a handful of us came to DC from across the country. We got better press coverage from Japanese Public TV doing a compare/contrast report on Obama’s support in DC from 2009 to 2010 and a French Radio reporter asking what is going on. These reports should embarrass those who control our party, if they have the ability to be embarrassed. When we get links to the reports, I will post them here, warts and all.

The idea was brought up the night before to have a 3 X 25 foot sheet of paper rolled out for people to sign with something positive to say to President Obama. All of us who attended, along with regular folks disguised as tourists from across the country signed on. School kids from South Carolina and New York queued up to write “way to go” with people from Brazil, Uruguay, China, Japan. I thought I saw some Korean and Hebrew script on there too. The idea was to hand deliver this to the White House after the march. (We got to the guard house in front of the White House and were told it needed to go thru the US Mail. Manny will be putting the postage on this and a sign made by Cossandra Lemon.)

A number of us spoke on the birth of Dr. King, taking turns reading The Letter from Birmingham Jail. Good writing stands the test of time. Parts of the letter could have been written last week.

The order of prepared remarks was Janice Grounds, me, and then Manny Vasile. We all talked about why we need to support Obama.  Our prepared remarks were about 40 minutes. I know Novelette (her blog ) and her daughter Nicki were recording and if they can processed their stuff to You-Tube, I will lose these videos that make us all look like moving potato chip bags.

Here are the links to the actual rally:

We tried as hard as we could.
We are the grassroots that haven’t been pulled up by the cynical machinations of the power brokers.
We aren’t afraid of the
  • Birthers, 
  • Death Paneleists, 
  • Teabaggers, 
  • and the assortment 
that obscured what we wanted in 2008.

We don’t care if we are the only ones in the room saying it –
we know it has to be said.

We don’t need a second round of Hope.
We know we have to work to back up the first dose of it.

The bottom line here is: we came from across the country on our own dime to say one thing to the President:

Mr. Obama, We Still Have Your Back.
  • We took off from work.
  • We took time away from our families.
  • We took guff from the DNC and the OFA who didn’t want us there.
Mr. Obama, We Still Have Your Back.
  • We got the hairy eyeball from the Park Police who didn’t know what to make of us.
  • We got looks from tourists who thought we were nuts.
  • We got to meet people from across the country who believe the same as we do.
Mr. Obama, We Still Have Your Back.
  • We really did feel the presence of those couldn’t make it to DC.
  • There is a hell of a lot more of us out there than showed up on Friday.
  • Let us back into the game; even though it looks bleak in the Congress.
  • Our energies can carry the day.
Mr. Obama, We Still Have Your Back.

But you may need to make a new pact with us, because we aren’t going to put up with another 2009.

If you want more of us, show us you will fight for yourself against the GOP.
If you want more of us, give us a real fight for Single Payer.
If you want more of us, give us the real schedule for Iraq and Afghanistan.
If you want more of us, allow us to take the field against the Teabaggers.

If you want to do this with a small handful of people,
  • we will keep trying,
  • but we don’t know how you are going to do it. 

We don’t know how much longer we can last.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

We are the Forgers !

This is the first and most important of the 3 blogs I plan to write concerning 1/15/10.

Patron Saints are something every Catholic School child learns. St. Joseph is the patron saint of workers and carpenters, St. Catherine - writers, St. Michael - cops. You get the idea. Patron saints are meant to inspire and a way to connect to something higher,

Teabaggers have taken as their patron saint the participants of the Boston Tea Party. That great set of Patriots dressed as Indians who dumped the King's tea over unfair taxation. Yes, we the Teabaggers are the righteous keepers of the American Revolution! They accelerated the anger of the British and pushed the war cause.

Take a closer look at what this represents in a different light:
A bunch of guys
  • In the cover of darkness,
  • Enter another man's property,
  • Destroy another man's property.
  • Priceless is the fact they disguised themselves as another group of people so they would not be blamed.

Does that really say America to you?
Is that the America you want?

  • sneakiness,
  • breaking and entering,
  • vandalism
  • trying to blame it on somebody else.
  • itching for a fight!
Why would you canonize this group?

I live in Audubon, Pennsylvania. There are 2 significant sites here. John James Audubon's first house here in the US is a museum. Nice little stopover if you like realism in natural art. The other is a portion of Valley Forge National Park.

You can see where this is going now...

An army defeated, reeling and expelled from Philadelphia hobbles into a small hamlet to get its act together.

Demoralized and cold, they hemorrhage men and supplies. The cold winter upon them makes them realize a desperate situation. The tyrants were inside their heads and ripping out the wiring.

Thomas Paine wrote about the Sunshine Patriot in response to those who left. George Washington's calm stabilized the men, even eating the same rations. Baron von Steuben made his bones when he gave our men the real meaning of what an army was.

Over that winter they prepared, drilling and learning how to fight. They march out of Valley Forge ready to finish the fight started by the blowhards in Boston Bay.

These are the Forgers.

I can't think of a better group of men and women to take as a Patron Saint.

In the light of day this group walked the talk and put muscle behind their words. Valley Forge is the birthplace of the American Military - the ultimate actor for freedom on the planet.

I want to coin the term Forger as one who defends what America is about. Whether if it is in the direct uniform service or as one who raises their voice for what is right in the country.

Forgers stood up for democracy.

Teabaggers are sound and fury.

Forgers stand for the freedoms granted by Equality.

Teabaggers don't want to pay bills and obligations as a society.

Forgers embrace responsibility because it makes us a stronger country.

Teabagger want others to own the blame for what they do.

We define Forger as one Forged by events and hardened to the stupidity thrown at them.

To Forge is to lead.

To Forge is to make strong by trial.

Forgers are the stand-up guys from the Revolution.

Forgers are the stand-up guys now.

Teabaggers start fights.

Forgers end fights.

I'll take a Forger as a Patron Saint, thank you.

I am a Forger - I stand behind our President.

Insult to Injury to Healing

This is the second of the 3 blogs I plan to write concerning 1/15/10. This is the inside baseball after the event. The last post will be about the event itself. I will post that when we get the video processed and ready on line.

For the last two months one guy decided to try to do the right thing for President Obama. His name is Manny Vasile. I heard the word he was proclaiming. Come to DC in January to defend the change we earned in 2008. I did what I could to promote what he was doing. A handful of us got to DC.

A larger number hesitated, why? I know it is a rather easy question to answer, when your options are stay home smash your fingers into a keyboard or spend the time and cash traveling to freeze on a January morning in DC? Why go when no one in the real political structure was saying this is a good idea? Do I want to waste my time? Believe it or not, we did feel the spirit of those who wanted to be there but couldn’t or were trying to figure out why they were discouraged from coming.

We know the idea wasn’t favored by the mucky-mucks. They think they know what is best for winning campaigns in DC. They essentially ignored us. When we would approach Organizing For America (OFA) we would get a return call saying they wanted us to make phone calls to other citizens to encourage them to hassle congress people on healthcare.

All we needed from OFA was a blast email saying what we were doing. Nothing radical, nothing off-the-wall, we just wanted an announcement that we were getting together to support President Obama.

When pressed we were told to our faces what we are doing here wasn’t valued.

Other posts will be reports on what happened at the Rally (Rally – Really!) and some comments I would like to see as a main takeaway message (We are the Forgers), but this post is about something different. It is about why the GOP has been let up off the mat. It is why we lost in Virginia and New Jersey. It is why the DNC, OFA and the White House’ collective hair is on fire about the Massachusetts Senate Seat.

After our little rally there appeared a lawyer who said he volunteers for OFA. He did not deign to attend our rally or give us the time of day it would have taken him to listen to what we said or why we were saying it. He became a corporate shill for the DNC. It became amateur hour for spin.

We listened to him. We invited him to lunch, as we walked across DC, he held forth on how OFA was now part of the DNC and the legislative agenda. As we ate, we listened to lawyerly circular logic as he told us that the email list they possessed was the property of the OFA and we could make up our own email lists from scratch. I am not skilled enough to master the nuance of doublespeak we were being presented in order to recreate it for you here.

As he spoke, Novelette, another attendee, looked at him and related that this list belongs to all of us. We were the ones who set up the networks, entered the email addresses, and made the phone calls. It is also our list too.

Manny had to verbally pull me off the lawyer when I asked who the … they were to act as gatekeepers of this list. I asked what the process or procedure was for a group like ours to gain access and to use OUR list for any event. Who determines what is important? We all agreed that there the OFA/DNC cannot turn this list over to the GOP, but there needs to be a facility to allow legitimate uses of this data. The lawyer knew of no procedures.

I looked at the table and quickly calculated that combined experience of those around it was well over a century in politics. We were being spoken down to by a bad suit. I asked lawyer exactly how much experience did he have in running or being involved in campaigns, you know, National, State, County, Local, even School Board. What do you have? The response was 2008 was his first experience in politics. I looked at the portion of the table to the left of the lawyer and realized my 19-year-old son, Nate, Novelette’s 20-something daughter and her niece EACH had more real political experience that this representative of the national party. He was somehow thought to be more knowledgeable about politics because he had a law degree and lives near DC. On the way home, Nate looked at the lawyer as a dead man walking from that point on.

I think the lawyer knew it too. It dawned on him he was sitting with the grunts in the trenches. He is realizing we do not appreciate being condescended to. He kept his composure the best his training would allow, but, Nate took him apart quietly (that comes from his mom) when he started asking pointy-eared questions about the logic of his position, I leaned back and said to Val Burton, sitting next to me, she was looking at a proud father watching his son being fed a ration of you-know-what and not accepting it at face value. (It was better than watching him set a killer pick on the lax field or basketball court.)

My favorite question of Nate’s was: If OFA is a volunteer organization, why do they keep asking for money? It must have been a good 10-15 seconds the lawyer kept the floor with noisy silence before Novelette backed-up Nate (thanks, Novelette) and went in for the kill.

At the end of lunch, I said to the lawyer that I walked in your shoes over 20 years ago. You need to attempt to walk in our shoes. You need to carry the water for us and the next guy, the Teabusters Group, with your higher-ups.

Nate and I spent about 20 minutes walking across DC getting the car to head home. At the car a call came in from the DNC. Another DNC functionary attempted to chide us for having the audacity to stage a march while the Kennedy Senate Seat was circling the drain. Nate drove as I realized these guys just don’t get it.

I am beginning to see the logic and attitude of the DNC/OFA as the Audacity of Dopes (Confederacy of Dunces is already taken). The DNC contact told me how their hair was on fire because of the Kennedy seat is at risk and everything for healthcare depends on this senate race (we are not stupid – we get it). We were taking air out of the room with our march at the detriment of this race.

Fine, I said, but you are in this situation because you didn’t fight the GOP last year when they were getting started. DNC/OFA allowed the Teabaggers to live when they were saying the Teabaggers are somehow below us and won’t gain traction. This Frankenstein monster is on the loose and the Kennedy seat is at risk by the DNC/OFA miscalculations.

I finally started to get the respectable hearing for the DNC contact when I questioned who knew about this. I got the response that the White House was informed as to what we were doing. OK, so I guess the President has enough support to turn down people so determined to say he is doing a good job, that they can be turned away at every corner. I gotta say, this is unique political thought. (He probably guessed that I wasn’t buying his circular CYA attitude.)

I got a double-clutch when I suggested that our rally should have dove-tailed with efforts to get Coakley elected. Since people generally don’t do a lot of phone calls at 9 am on a workday, OFA could have sent a member of this campaign to our rally with the message – To Support Obama is to Support Coakley. We have box lunches for you to make calls this afternoon to keep our Senate Seat in Massachusetts”.

We would have gotten the credibility we needed from the email list blast. Obama would have gotten a bump with media stories about people coming to DC to say, “We got your back”. Coakley would have gotten fresh motivated workers on a critical afternoon. The country would see a positive alternative to be Teabaggers being hatched. Yeah, all that stuff is bad and should be shut down.

God forbid, that a small grass roots group of people stand up to the political establishment and say, “where are your clothes, and you are looking kinda funny…”?

The reason we are getting our heads handed to us is a small group of people think they know more than they really do. They are running the DNC/OFA. They are misusing the tools that we all built in 2008. We all believed we were building a grass-roots organization with Obama For America. The DNC has co-opted and corporatized the tools; squeezing the energy out of the movement to the point where making a simple political statement, such as, “We like you, President Obama”, becomes a source of controversy and consternation.

If this outfit wants to do right by the people who built it, the people who still believe in what we did in 2008, they will need to allow access to the email list for organizations to use. They will need to get behind common sense methods to take the streets back from the Teabaggers that includes full support for the Teabuster Rally next week. We need to see a progression of activism to meet what the other side has done. They need to lead or find those who can.

Until there is a change of attitude at these organizations to allow the grass roots to use what we put into place, we will lose.

Until there is a change of attitude at these organizations to listen to the grass roots, we will lose.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Obama and the Real American Attitude - Do You Have Any Left?

We are getting our country back.

President Obama spoke on Thursday about our national direction with respect to security.

"Here at home, we will strengthen our defenses, but we will not succumb to a siege mentality that sacrifices the open society and liberties and values that we cherish as Americans, because great and proud nations don't hunker down and hide behind walls of suspicion and mistrust. That is exactly what our adversaries want, and so long as I am President, we will never hand them that victory. We will define the character of our country, not some band of small men intent on killing innocent men, women and children.

And in this cause, every one of us -- every American, every elected official -- can do our part. Instead of giving into cynicism and division, let's move forward with the confidence and optimism and unity that defines us as a people. For now is not a time for partisanship, it's a time for citizenship -- a time to come together and work together with the seriousness of purpose that our national security demands."

  • This is the direction I worked for in 2008.
  • This attitude trumps all policy.
  • This attitude is talking about the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave as having the courage to be free.
  • This attitude is the true preservation of freedom.

We lost this attitude in 2001 when The World Trade Center got leveled, The Pentagon was injured and heroes stood tall on a field in Pennsylvania and in those memories we allowed the terrorist to define us.

We folded to our fear. Why are we afraid to put the WTC back exactly the way it was (after updating the engineering of course)? Why are we afraid to put people who do bad things to us on trial in public? Why did we direct our military to destroy countries that had nothing to do with our tragedy (do not think for one moment I am calling out our military, but only those chicken hawks formed these missions)?

We lost to the terrorists the moment we acted in fear. That is what they wanted and we gave it to them. We lost our cool.

We became cowards. We were sold a large helping of fear wrapped in bluster and patriotism.

  • It is not the United States.
  • It is not American.
  • It used to be the opposite of Freedom is Tyranny. Now, the opposite of Freedom is Fear. You can't be free is you are afraid.
  • This is now the fundamental difference between Democrat and Republican.

The GOP sells fear and there are plenty of people buying their Birther Product Line. The Death Panelist harvest produced a bumper crop last year. The Teabagging rollout has been underway for quite some time and is showing promising results.

I don't know what flashy trinket I can sell you to back President Obama.
I just know we need to stand up somewhere and be counted.
I have been beating a drum for a March on DC on January 15 for quite some time. Link Here!

The response from the Mainstream Media and elected officials has been tepid at best.
Contacting the DNC and the OFA has been like pulling teeth.

We are the people who elected President Obama. We need to show him outward support for what he is doing. Yes, I get he hasn't been perfect, no one is. The attitude he is displaying here, in National Security, is the attitude we need.

2008 we got our country back.
2009 we watched as the Merchants of Fear have sold us out.
2010 we need to defend what we did in 2008.

I see posters say, "I'll be there in spirit", or "I wish I could go, but my circumstances (family, health, job, etc.) prevent me.". What can I do?

Over the next week we need to create a buzz. I will add Organizations and Phone Numbers to this post. I am asking you to call these numbers. I am asking you to send emails to these folks. We are in the marketplace of ideas. We have better ideas, now we have to sell them.

I want you to call outlets you would not normally call including Right Wing Radio. The want to jam up congresspeople with this tactic, let's jam their phone lines so their producers need to work to find their minions. They are normally toll free numbers so you are calling on their dime.

If you place a phone Number or email on this list, I will update this post with your handle. I will give permission to the HP Moderators to update this post if I cannot get to it.

All you posters who want to do something - Now is the chance. You have the energy to comment. Please re-direct this energy to help us help ourselves to the Country we want.

Phone Number / Email Organization
202-863-8000 DNC / Organizing For America

From Manny Vasile *for Senatorial contacts

Monday, January 4, 2010

How to Win by Negotiating with Ourselves

Normally you don't win anything when you negotiate with yourself. You barter yourself into a worse and worse position. I see an exception.

Sam Stein wrote a great articel on today's Huffington Post. Dems Will Bypass Conference Committee To Get Health Care Passed

Both chambers of Congress will skip a formal "conference committee" and instead negotiate informally on their respective health care bills, confirm Congressional aides and sources outside of government.

This is great news, and here is a suggestion.

Contact your Democratic Congressperson or Senator (because the GOP just isn't interested) and ask them to do the following:
  1. Find all the GOP add-ons that were placed into the bill with no Democratic Sponsorship.
  2. Remove these items.
  3. Start negotiations from this new document.

Since no GOP members voted for the original bill, why are we catering to them?

If a passage has a Democratic Sponsor, the passage may live until the negotiation sessions. This is the fastest way to get Healthcare back on track with something we want. The GOP didn't want to vote for this bill, exorcise them from it completely.

It also makes some nice stories about what the GOP would have gotten had they negotiated in good faith. These items would make great political commercials for anyone wanting to run in the 2010 election cycle.

There is a total cash value as to what they put into the bill that can be seen as a savings right off the bat. I cannot imagine there was not a lot of GOP fat in there. So the Democratic strategists can record the cash value for these unvoted on tax increases. These GOP members have been happy to allow the Democrats to take the fall for their follies.

Make these GOP members look like weasels for putting stuff into this bill and not voting for their own handiwork.

This should finally stop the GOP from acting like a bunch of teens drunk on their first beers.

Remember, there is a march in DC on Jan 15th you are invited: Click Here...

Would be cool to meet you...