Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Why,Mario Diaz-Balart and Lincoln Diaz-Balart rejected Charlie Christ

Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who are leading figures in the Cuban-American GOP political community, have rescinded their endorsements of Crist. Lincoln Diaz-Balart wouldn't elaborate on the reason, except to give this cryptic comment: "We take our endorsements seriously, but the governor knows why we withdrew and he left us with no alternative."


The Miami Herald speculates that this might have happened because Crist snubbed the Diaz-Balarts in their attempt to have a friend of Lincoln's son appointed as a judge, instead picking a different candidate. Could something this picayune have led to a retraction of a Senate campaign endorsement?



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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Media Sticks it's head up John McCain's ASS a usual

When Sen. Al Franken denied Sen. Joe Lieberman's request for unanimous consent to speak beyond his allotted 10 minutes during floor debate yesterday, there was something in it for everyone.

Conservatives echoed Sen. John McCain's claim that the denial was unprecedented and outrageous. Many liberals frustrated by Lieberman's opposition to health care reform (among a lengthy list of other grievances) enjoyed what they saw as Franken "shutting down" their nemesis. And much of the media went along with the framing, themselves lusting for some political bloodsport.

Problem was, it wasn't true. In fact, it was clear from the exchange itself that it wasn't true. But everyone reacted to an abbreviated version of the exchange.

As the exchange makes clear, when McCain responded to Franken's objection by angrily denouncing the supposedly-unprecedented action, Sen. Carl Levin immediately pointed out that, in fact, an identical denial had occured earlier in the day, and that the purpose was simply to keep debate moving.

Indeed, pretty much everybody involved has made clear it was really no big deal. (Except for McCain, but we'll come back to him.)

Here's Franken:

"I agreed with every word he said for the entire 10 minutes, and I think he probably only had maybe 30 seconds left," he said. "He didn't take it personally at all."

Franken says Majority leader Harry Reid ordered all senators who presided today to keep speeches to their ten minute limits and not grant any extensions.

"Usually you're allowed to do this and, just, today we were told not to let it happen because there's been some attempt to string out the debate," Franken said. "So, I really just had no choice."

And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office agreed. Minneapolis Star Tribune correspondent Eric Roper reported on December 17:

A spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid said that Franken was merely adhering to a request from Reid to strictly enforce the rules because the Senate is already in session practically 'round the clock.' "

Politico reported on December 18 that Reid spokesman Jim Manley stated of Reid's request, "We did that to maintain order and that no senator had an unfair advantage over another in terms of speaking. ... It was a simple request of the leader and Sen. Franken was adhering to the request of his leadership."

And Lieberman:

Lieberman laughed off the incident as much ado about nothing when he returned to the chamber a couple of hours later. He said that Franken apparently was following procedures for sticking to time limits that had been handed down by Senate leaders. Franken had made a good-natured gesture with his hands, Lieberman said, "as if to say 'There's nothing I can do'."

And indeed, earlier in the day, when Sen. John Cornyn asked for more time for his speech, the presiding officer, Sen. Mark Bevich said virtually the same thing:

"In my capacity as a Senator from Alaska, I object."

But the facts didn't get in the way of the media's -- and the right-wing's -- efforts to paint Franken as a vindictive partisan.

The right-wing reaction was predictable. Blogger Ann Althouse called it a "dick move" and suggested a boycott of Minnesota. Michelle Malkin accused "nutroots hero Al Franken" of "a little snit fit against Lieberman." Red State's James Richardson accused Franken of "breaking from the Senate's long-held standards of collegiality."

But the overwhelming certainty of the Beltway crowd was stunning.

On Hardball Thursday, Chris Matthews was shocked (accessed from Nexis):

I've never seen that...Working on the Hill, following the Hill, I've never seen a senator cut short on a -- you know, a casual request for an extra minute to continue speaking in a Senate that's allowed to speak forever. Let's face it, we understand you can speak forever in the Senate. Does that show how hot things are getting or what?

Remember, the same thing had happened earlier in the day. And that previous occurrence was mentioned by Levin during the Franken/Lieberman/McCain exchange. And yet Matthews kept insisting it was unique, coming back to it again and again. Later in the show, Matthews hosted Joan Walsh and Melinda Henneberger -- and all agreed it was a "direct shot" at Lieberman.

Henneberger insisted (from Nexis):

Franken looked a little rude, and it was no coincidence that he was the first one to have the clock called on him, given that I'm sure Franken wanted to come across the desk and kill him, maybe not so much.

But Lieberman wasn't the "first one to have the clock called on him." As Carl Levin made clear. Where on earth did Henneberger get the idea that he was? She obviously hadn't checked, so why on earth would she feel comfortable making such an assertion?

Over on CNN's Situation Room, senior political analyst David Gergen had an entirely erroneous analysis (from Nexis):

Yes, John McCain is scolding him, scolding Al Franken. I think that Al Franken went beyond the traditions of the Senate. There is normally -- it is a club after all in the eyes of the traditionalists, and this is very personal.

Joe Lieberman said I don't take it personally, but in fact, it was intended to be personal, and I think it reflects the frustration, the anger, the boiling resentments, and a sense among many in the Senate that maybe this thing is going to slip away from them.

Friday morning, the media continued to pile on Franken.

On Morning Joe, Lawrence O'Donnell declared "I've never seen [this] before. I spent a lot of years on the Senate floor. I did not know that the presiding officer could do that. I thought only a member up in the body could object. But it turns out you can." David Gregory went yammering on about Franken trying to "make a mark" and being a "liberal Senator" who dislikes Lieberman and "working the levers of power."

And then this exchange:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: If you ask the Franken folks, they say this wasn't a dis. They were trying to enforce the strict time rules because they are trying to jam so much in, trying to get the health care bill to the floor.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Savannah, if that were the case, why would he say 'As my capacity of Senator from Minnesota'?

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: I think he didn't want to do it as the presiding officer. ... It's shocking, it's never happened before.

Seriously, that wasn't even the first time it had happened yesterday. And the previous time, when Begich told Cornyn his time was up, he used the exact same wording. Because that's the wording they had been told to use.

Meanwhile, over at Fox & Friends, host Brian Kilmeade called Franken "an angry clown. He's a liberal who's mad at Joe Lieberman" and said Franken "needs to be chastised by Senator Reid. ... He needs somebody in his own party that has power over him to say, 'Al, you're embarrassing us.'" Keep in mind: Franken was acting on direction from Reid!

Kilmeade's co-host Steve Doocy weighed in by calling Franken "uncivil" and "not very polite" -- which, again, is news to Lieberman, who noted that Franken had been good-natured about it.

And Gretchen Carlson suggested Franken was part of a "trend" of "newbie politicians that don't know exactly the protocol," adding, "You have the senior senator John McCain saying I've never seen this happen before, and the freshman senator Al Franken maybe not knowing how the rules are played."

Remember: The "senior senator John McCain" was wrong; it had happened just a few hours earlier. And the "freshman senator Al Franken" was doing exactly what leadership had told all presiding officers to do.

Not only was McCain wrong about what happened yesterday, his comments were entirely hypocritical. As Think Progress' Faiz Shakir notes, McCain himself objected to Sen. Mark Dayton's request for an additional 30 seconds to finish remarks during the 2002 Iraq war debate.

And yet on Friday, McCain was still making the same false and hypocritical claim and the media were airing his comments without checking them out. (While Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity were still pushing the storyline on their afternoon radio shows.)

The "story" -- if there is one -- of yesterday's exchange should have been that McCain was wrong, and a hypocrite, in his angry denunciation of Franken's objection.

Lazy journalism is bad.

Lazy journalism practiced by D.C. political analysts who insist they know what they're talking about is even worse.


Source: Mediamatters.org


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Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Health Care Reform Bill So Far

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 10:  Health care activists...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

There are some great elements of this bill that will take some time to set up, such as the new insurance marketplace -- the Exchange -- that allows people without insurance and small businesses to compare plans and buy insurance at competitive prices. But there are a lot of other benefits for families that will kick in during the first year if we get this passed:

  • In the first year, we will make it illegal for insurance companies to drop coverage for Americans.
  • In the first year, more of your money will start going where it belongs: towards your care instead of excessive insurance company profits or TV ads. We will start forcing insurance companies to report the proportion of premium dollars that are not spent on medical care -- including profits. If a company isn't spending enough of its premium dollars providing benefits for families, it will have to issue rebate checks to its customers to make up the difference.
  • In the first year, all insurance plans will have to begin covering preventive services, helping to shift our health care from just sickness to wellness. If you purchase insurance on your own, you will receive preventive care from your doctor without paying a co-pay.
  • In the first year, seniors will see major relief in paying for prescription drugs. The gap in coverage with Medicare, the so-called "donut hole," will start to close for good.

This bill will reduce premiums for your family, shifting the balance of power from your insurance company back to you.

Health reform extends coverage to 30,000,000 Americans without adding a dime to the Federal deficit. In fact, it represents the largest reduction to the deficit in well over a decade.

The final bill hasn't taken shape yet. There are several more steps in the process, and the President is committed to making it the best bill possible to provide security for those who have insurance and affordable, quality coverage for those who don't.

It is important to look past the bickering and cable chatter and remember that we are on the verge of providing real benefits to Americans who can't wait any longer.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Sincerely,

Nancy-Ann DeParle

Director, White House Office of Health Reform

P.S. Don't miss the video of the President's weekly address. Watch it here: http://www.whitehou se.gov/blog/ 2009/12/18/ weekly-address- patients- bill-rights- and-health- reform




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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

GOP: Champions of the hypocrites



The corporate media's double standard on Nazi analogies: When conservatives are compared to the Third Reich, however obscurely, it's an outrageous slur, but when leaders of the right charge progressives with Hitler-like tendencies, it's unremarkable political rhetoric.

Political Animal's Steve Benen (12/8/09) rounds up some similar examples of criticisms that are outrageous when applied by the left to the right, but no big deal when they go the other way--starting with the manufactured controversy over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's likening Republican foot-dragging over healthcare reform to conservatives' lack of urgency over women's suffrage and ending slavery:

If we're to believe the faux-outrage, the reference to slavery was the rhetorical element that went too far. But this, apparently, is a new concern--the right has been far more direct in making the same comparison. Harry Reid was talking about key moments in history in which the right was wrong, but Michele Bachmann recently called the Democrats' legislative agenda "nothing more than slavery," and no one said a word. Indeed, conservatives routinely insist that the left is trying "enslave" America, and the political mainstream just shrugs its shoulders in response.

This is not uncommon. In 2005, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) described the Bush administration's torture policies and system of secret prisons as being reminiscent of "Soviets in their gulags." At the time, the media and Republicans were apoplectic about Durbin's remarks, sparking a week-long frenzy. Several conservatives called on the Senate to censure Durbin, and Karl Rove, at the time a high-ranking White House official, argued that Durbin's quote was evidence that liberals are traitors. Durbin eventually offered a tearful apology.

But notice that just a few days ago, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Republican leadership, called Medicaid a "health care gulag." Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) recently called Dems' health care reform efforts "Soviet-style gulag health care." Neither reporters nor other members of Congress batted an eye.

Also note, when Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said Republicans are promoting lethal healthcare policies, it was a huge national controversy. When Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said the same thing, no one seemed to care.

Journalists really ought to try putting the next GOP press release on this topic in the circular bin. "He called me a name back" is a complaint that you should have learned not to take seriously by the second grade.



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Saturday, December 05, 2009

10 Companies to Avoid This Holiday Season

Air America put together a list of companies that you should think twice about before handing them your money. Their research is based on descriptions from The Blue Pages: A Directory of Companies Rated By Their Politics And Practices. This is a super handy little book that tells you about companies' environmental, human rights and labor practices and also which political parties they give money to and how much. There are probably hundreds of '10 worst' (or best) lists you could come up with from the book, but Air America at least got the ball rolling.

Here's a little info on what they found. You can read the whole thing on their website and you should, there's lots more there. Also check out the book. It's handy to take along shopping. Or maybe it will just be an iPhone app soon anyway (or maybe it is?).

1. Children's Place: "It gets its products from places with human rights and labor violations and had to pay $1.5 million in a settlement alleging that they violated the Securities Act.

2. Hanes: "...went the extra step to be cited for 'egregious labor violations.'" Oh, and they have not even an attempt at an anti-discrimination policy for sexual orientation and gender identity.

3. JC Penny: "D- on Green America's scorecard and D+ from the NAACP."

4. Limited Brands (this includes Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works): "The now scarily common 'sourced from countries with widespread, well-documented human and labor rights abuses' rears its head here..."

5. IBM: "It's been sued for improperly converting employee pension plans and for exposing them to toxic chemicals." Oh and also for "aiding and abetting South Africa's apartheid regime."

6. Albertsons: The gamut of really bad labor stuff — "Unpaid overtime, punishing employees for opposing discrimination policies ... intimidates workers into refusing unions ..." and the list unfortunately goes on.

7. Chiquita: This is a good summary: "Everything is contaminated."

8. L'Oreal: Still getting it for their lack of policy on animal testing (oh, and using banned chemicals).

9. Target: Bad on the environment, racial discrimination and of course ''sourced from countries with widespread, well-documented human and labor rights abuses.'"

10. Wal-Mart: Obvi!

Sadly, this is just a few of the companies out there that you should avoid. I'm sure we can come up with more, but better yet, what are the 10 companies that deserve our cash?



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Sunday, August 23, 2009

What Do People Mean When They Say "I Want My Country Back"



There is a buzz phrase coming from tea baggers, birthers, deathers and right wing people who are raising a ruckus at Town Halls dealing with President OBama's Health Care Reform. I will now translate what people mean when they say "I want my country back".

"I Want My Country Back" means:

1) All immigrants from Mexico, Latin America, Central American Countries, Asian countries should be deported immediately!

2) Black people can remain athletes and musical entertainers. They cannot be presidents or in any position of political power. Once that they are done playing their professional sports and entertaining us with music and dancing, they must go home to their neighborhoods and not return to all white places until they come to clean, cook, entertain or play sports.

3) Black entertainers can only perform jazz, blues, pop and easy listening R & B, Motown hits and early 70's R&B. Hip Hop will be banned.

4) All none English speaking people should be placed in language assimilation camps until they speak English.

5) All movies, television and Broadway shows should have 99% Caucasian casts and White Christian American themes. Black and of color people should be reserved for token roles that reinforce racial and ethnic stereotypes. Caricatured blacks, Asians and other minorities should be encouraged in all movies, television and Broadway shows.

6) Gay people must go back into their closets or else be sent to assimilation camps to be reprogrammed back into white, Christian, heterosexual society.

7) All Gay, Lesbian and transgender people who have children will have their children placed in new foster homes of proper white, fundamentalist Christian familes. Children of mixed races will be appropriately placed in fundamentalist Christian homes of their none white heritage race.

8) Racial profiling will be made legal and encouraged.

9) Hate crimes laws will be reversed.

10) Gay bashing, non Christian grave and temple desecration and lynching will be made legal and encouraged.

11) Politically correct terms will be made illegal. Offensive Racial and sexual epithets will be encouraged.

12) Anti Semitism will be encouraged and made legal.

13) Abortion will be made illegal except for wealthy women who can discretely arrange them with their private physicians for a "DnC" meaning dusting and cleaning. DnC's will be paid for by top insurance companies. DnC is a code word for abortion rights for privileged white women. Poor women can arrange back alley abortions at their own risks. However if they are discovered they and their abortionists will be sentenced to immediate execution.

14) Racial segregation will become a new law. White children will get better educations in general, especially if they are wealthy. Middleclass white students will receive mediocre educations with no art history, music clubs or classes. Poor whites will receive little education and be sent to work by age 12. Creationism will be the only history and science allowed to be taught in schools.The newest and best books will be available in order of income to white children.

15) Child labor laws will be revered. Poor children will be encouraged to work at their earliest possible age with no legalized work shifts.

16) Women and African Americans will lose voter rights.

17) Women's salaries will be reversed to pre 1973 inequality. Girls will be taught in the virtues of being home makers.

18) Non white members of the Supreme Court and female justices will be fired and replaced by white evangelical Christian male justices.

19) America will then be back to the country that all tea baggers, birthers, deathers, white Christian conservatives and right wingnuts want. These are the people that hate President OBama's election. For such people it simply feels wrong to have a black man in the white house, they cannot wrap their head's around the concept of a black man who is educated.

Even though American once belonged to Native American Indians, the America that most uneducated white Christian Conservatives want back is a White Evangelical Christian America. Can they "have their country back"? Thank God this will be very unlikely as American will continue to evolve as a nation of freedom of speech, religious freedom and a land where human rights will prevail. In 2042 Caucasian people will become a minority, however American will become a nation of multi-cultural and multiracial people.

Educated Americans will continue to fight for the greater humanitarian good of our country. At the end of the day America will continue to grow as a wonderful country based upon inclusion and equality. One day we will look back at these town halls and the disruptive, misinformed people "who want their country back". They are the shameful remnants of an America that was once was unenlightened about racial, religious and gender equality.


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Friday, August 21, 2009

Research 2000 Poll Obama's Approval rating down 2 points

Research 2000, Adults MoE 2%, Aug 17, 2009 - Aug 20, 2009 (last week's results in parentheses)
Full Crosstabs

FAVORABLE
UNFAVORABLE DON'T KNOWNET CHANGE
PRESIDENT OBAMA58 (60)38 (36)4 (4)-4
PELOSI:34 (36)57 (56)9 (8)-3
REID:33 (34)56 (55)11 (11)-2
McCONNELL:17 (16)65 (66)18 (18)2
BOEHNER:13 (11)65 (66)22 (23)3
CONGRESSIONAL DEMS:41 (43)53 (51)6 (6)-4
CONGRESSIONAL GOPS:12 (10)75 (76)13 (14)3
DEMOCRATIC PARTY:44 (45)49 (48)7 (7)-2
REPUBLICAN PARTY:18 (17)72 (74)10 (9)3


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7 Ways We Can Fight Back Against the Rising Fascist Threat

7 Ways We Can Fight Back Against the Rising Fascist Threat


First: The teabaggers must not win this one. Back in elementary school, most of us learned that when a bully learns that intimidation and threats work, he'll will keep doing more of it. In fact, the longer he goes without comeuppance, the bolder and badder he becomes, and the harder it is to make him stop. Every success teaches him something new about how to use terror for maximum effect and tempts him to push the envelope and see what else he can get away with. Do nothing, and he'll soon take over the whole playground.

And it happens like this for bullies in groups, too. Living in a fascist regime is just living in a town dominated by the Mob, a street gang, the KKK, or a corrupt sheriff.

It only takes a small handful of thugs to terrorize people into giving up their civil rights, abandoning democracy and doing what they're told, just so they can keep their jobs, windows and families intact.

The main imperative in life becomes staying off the goons' radar. All the enforcers need to do is make an horrific example out of one or two troublemakers every now and then -- and the resulting fear will keep everybody else quietly in line.

Conservatives have tried to subdue other Americans this way for centuries, so there's nothing new going on here. And this is the way they've always done it: they used race (and yes, the birthers and anti-health care rioters are, at root, all about race) and economic calamity to whip up a posse of terrified, well-armed vigilantes, and then turned them loose on society to "enforce order."

Given their colossal investment in organizing and indoctinating the teabaggers, we'd be stupid to believe that this is all going to go away when Congress returns to Washington in September. Having had a taste of power and publicity, these newly empowered mobs are very likely to stick around town and see what else they can do to keep the muck stirred up.

Our choice now is stark: knock them back while they're still new, small and not yet entrenched; or deal with them later, when they've got some real power to fight back with, and the cost to all of us will be so much higher.

Second: Think nationally, fight locally. The conservatives are running this effort as a national campaign -- but that's not where the real fight is. The terror that fuels fascism is always intensely, intimately local in scale.

Fascist goon squads always recruit from the neighborhood -- they're built on people you know. Since that's where they start, that's where they have to be stopped.

This is why all the best tactics involve community-level action. The high-level fight in Congress and the media is already under way, and the Democratic leadership is fighting it with unusual elan. But anybody who sits this one out because they assume that the folks in D.C. have it all handled for them shouldn't be surprised when they start getting "special treatment" from longtime neighbors, or discover that they can't park their car downtown any more without having it vandalized.

That's just the next baby step up from where we are now; and in some places, it's already started to happen. Winning this means getting out there and defending our community's standards and boundaries now, while they're still there to be defended.

Third: Brush up on our nonviolent resistance -- but leave the heavy lifting and rough enforcement to the cops. It's true that the only way to stop a bully is to stand up to them. But there are ways to stand up to them that don't involve getting down to the eye-for-an-eye level.

Back home, we had a saying: "Never mudwrestle a pig. You will lose, and the pig enjoys it."

If we meet thuggery with thuggery, we will lose, because they're just plain better at it. And make no mistake: they will enjoy it. Right now, the right wing is looking -- hard -- to make the case that they're the innocent victim and the left instigated this whole thing. This quote from religious right organizer Gary Bauer is typical of the genre:

My fear, given the stakes and emotions on both sides, is that union thugs, ACORN activists and left-wing anarchists (who ransacked the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul during last year's Republican National Convention) will turn violent, and innocent people will get hurt. If that happens, the radical left will bear the responsibility for demonizing free speech.

The Nazis used this kind of victim-blaming to tremendous effect as they built up their party.

We must not -- must not -- give our proto-brownshirts any basis to make the same kind of argument. (Of course, the absence of evidence will only drive them to make up fake victims; but then we get to call them out as whining liars with a big fat persecution complex, which is always a fun way to spend a news cycle or two.)

It's about the moral high ground, people. Any choices we make must be consistent with our own values, or we betray both ourselves and the country.

Standing up for health care reform is important; but before that, the country needs to see us standing up for civil discourse and the right to democratic free speech. Since we're defending the rule of law, our best tactic is to use that law.

You have a right to attend a public meeting and speak your mind in a civil, respectful manner. You do not have a right to be disruptive or deprive other people of their right to be heard. And most jurisdictions have laws about disturbing the peace and creating a public nuisance -- laws, let's not forget, that the Bush regime didn't hesitate to stretch until the elastic gave out against people who merely showed up at meetings with the wrong bumper stickers or T-shirts.

Since we're not Bush goons, we can't go around arresting people who haven't yet broken any laws. But when people -- from either side -- cross that line, it's time for the cops and prosecutors to make the point for us: bullying people in a public meeting (or anywhere else) is illegal and will not be tolerated in this county.

Fourth: We need to make absolutely sure that the media get the story right. The teabaggers would run out of power with the flick of a switch if the media would just turn off their cameras. But the cold reality is that this kind of drama is a real ratings-booster.

It would be like telling lions to lay off that elephant carcass. Left alone, the media (local news in particular) will turn these people into cultural heroes. They couldn't turn their backs on this if the republic depended on it.

Since we can't beat 'em, we'll have to join 'em. The best cure for bad speech is always more speech. This means bringing cameras and documenting everything, getting it up on YouTube, and blogging it.

It also means coordinating rapid-response letterwriting to the local paper and keeping down-home reporters well-fed every single day with some new theme that reinforces the idea of concerned nonpartisan citizens trying to keep control over their democratic discourse in the face of organized thugs. Since the media are watching, let's make sure they see it all.

Fifth: Support legislators who don't show fear. The Democratic Party seems to be playing this just right (so far). The leadership has made it known that these noisy, scary people don't represent the 73 percent of Americans who support health care reform. The GOP is running the risk of being marginalized as not only the Party of No, but the Party of Moonbat Crazy.

If you've never attended a public meeting in your life, August 2009 is the month you need to start. Your congressperson's Web site probably lists a schedule, or at least a number you can call to inquire.

But that's just a first step. Do more. Write. Call. Find out where your local congressional office is, and just drop by when you're in the neighborhood. Tell the staff how you feel -- about health care reform, about the teabaggers, about your legislator's brave stance in the face of this.

If they're showing stress, encourage them to stand firm. A constituent in the office counts for thousands writing e-mails, so an in-person visit is 15 minutes incredibly well spent.

One visit or call is good. More is better. Put it in your schedule to contact your representatives at least once a week for the duration, and make sure they're not buckling under the pressure.

Sixth: Shut down the hate talkers. In most parts of the country, the teabaggers are coming straight out of right-wing talk-radio audiences. For hours every day, they're mainlining raw emotion and toxic misinformation.

They're going put your kids before "death panels!" They're going to kill your granny! You're going to have to call the White House to get a bone set! You'll be a Real American Hero if you get out there and join the "resistance!"

Cutting off this endless torrent of lies, fearmongering and validation will go a long way toward powering down the whole movement. (Conversely, what happens when these kinds of radio instigators are left to spin it all the way out to the end can be summed up in two words: Radio Rwanda.)

The basic recipe: Record their shows. Take notes of anything they say that is intimidating, threatening, or aimed at inciting violence against a named target. And while you're at it, note every single advertiser they have.

Then write a polite letter the CEOs of the sponsoring companies. Throw them some choice quotes from these shows and ask them if this is the kind of thing they want their product associated with. (Point out that if their own employees said things like this at work, they'd be fired on the spot.)

Often, the CEO has no clue that any of this is happening and will pull the ads as soon as she finds out what's being done in her name. This has worked extremely well -- and quickly -- at both the local and national level.

Finally: Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Even if we succeed this time, let's not kid ourselves that this is over. The conservatives are investing a lot of money and effort to build a mass movement that is explicitly aimed at destroying a Democratic government -- and if we learned anything from the Clinton years, it's that they're not going to let up for a second as long as the Democrats are in control.

This is our new reality -- and it comes straight out of Hitler's playbook (check out Chapter 6 of Mein Kampf). Their intention is to keep the outrage junkies high by giving them a never-ending supply of new, made-up reasons to act out.

When the birth certificate fracas cools, they're standing by with "death panels." When that one's run its course, there will be something else -- over and over, every few weeks, for as long as the Dems rule.

Which means that even if we win this round, we can't stand down. We're going to be pushing back against these bullies, over and over, for the next three to seven years.

There are only two outcomes here. Either we get very good at spotting and stopping these attempts at a brownshirt takeover the minute they crop up; or they're going to get very good at public intimidation and keep ratcheting it up further toward outright violence and goon rule.

That's how it's going to be for the rest of this administration. The sooner we resign ourselves to the zero-sum nature of this fight, the sooner we can get on with getting good at it.



Posted by: Sara Robinson

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rahm didn't count on you

FDL Action

Help us reach 25,000 petition signatures: House progressives need to keep the pledge for a strong public option.

When Congress returns to work on health care next month, Jane Hamsher and nyceve will be there to deliver the petition.

Click here to add your name to our petition.


After two months of your hard work, 65 members House drew a line in the sand: no public option, no health care reform. You responded by raising more than $175,000 for those members in less than 48 hours.

It's a great start, but it's just the beginning. We need to make sure these 65 members hold firm. We've shown them we have their backs. Now they need to get ours.

I'm starting a petition to the House to keep their pledge to support only a public option in both the House bill AND the conference bill.

I'm going to be in DC next month. If we can reach 25,000 signatures, Jane Hamsher and I will be there to hand-deliver the petition to the House when they return to take up health care.

Click here to add your name to our petition to members of Congress who pledged to support only a strong public option.

Members of the House who took this pledge will be under insane pressure from Rahm Emanuel and the rest of the Obama Administration to cave for an insurance industry bailout.

Rahm's plan all along has been to trade away the public option. But Rahm didn't count on you. Now that we've shown progressives in the House it's possible to stick together, it will be our job to make sure these members hold the line on a strong public option.

Let's be clear: these members need to hold the line on two votes. Once when the House passes its own bill, and again on the conference bill that's combined with the Senate's version. Anything less is a vote for an insurance industry bailout.

Help us reach 25,000 signatures on our petition to House progressives. You can make sure that progressives keep the pledge to only vote for a strong public option.

Click here to add your name to our petition: http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/keepthepledge

Thanks so much for your help. I hope we can get to 25,000 signatures so I can deliver the petition with Jane next month.

Best,

Eve Gittelson (nyceve)



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Friday, August 14, 2009

The Blue Dog Coalition


Contact these members of Congress and urge them to support the public plan option! These are the Democrats holding us back from the best health care plan possible.

Key people to contact - view the entire list of the 56 Blue Dog Democrats here!

The List of Democratic Senators not directly supporting the public plan health care option




*********************************************************************

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Changing Hearts & Minds With Social Media

Changing Hearts & Minds With Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and other social networking sites allow users to spread information quickly. So how does GLAAD use the Internet to highlight stories and get members involved? GLAAD's Director of Online Media Justin Cole cuts through the jargon and explains how you can get involved by simply pressing a few buttons on your computer.

Follow GLAAD on Twitter
Register for free at the new www.glaad.org to help GLAAD fight defamation
Visit glaadBLOG for daily breaking news

Join GLAAD's groups on Facebook
Official group: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=10132006109

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The GOP's Appeal to White Trash Voters

I mean "Birthers"

The appeal of the anti-Obama agenda has proven to be particularly strong among whites of low and moderate incomes. The Pew Center, tracking evaluations of Obama's job performance, found in a July 30 report that there "has been essentially no shift in opinion among affluent whites [but] among whites with annual family incomes of less than $75,000, Obama's approval ratings have declined substantially (from 57% in June to 47% today). Assessments of Obama's performance remain high among African Americans (85%)."

ABC News polling similarly found in late June that the possible costs to consumers of cap-and-trade legislation "are particularly important to less well-off Americans. Among those making less than $50,000 a year, support for regulating greenhouse gas emissions drops by 17 points (from 75 percent to a still-majority 58 percent) if it raises prices; support if it costs $10 a month is 49 percent; and at $25, just 35 percent."

The trend lines reported by Gallup are perhaps the most striking: At the start of this year, during late January, Gallup found that Obama's job approval ratings stood at 63 percent among whites, 86 percent among African Americans, and 74 percent among Hispanics. In the Gallup survey taken in late July, Obama had gained 9 points among blacks, reaching 95 percent job approval, and was holding his own among Hispanics, dropping a statistically insignificant 2 points to 72 percent.

Among white respondents, however, he had dropped 16 points to 47 percent.

These findings are reinforced by recent trend lines emerging in the Wall Street Journal/NBC polling series.

In that series, the decline has been sharpest among white men, whose approval-disapproval ratio fell by 27 points, from 50-36 to 40-53.


Source: huffingtonpost.com


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Monday, August 03, 2009

GOP Advocates Gerrymandering

Governors Races are Where the Action Is, GOP Advocates Gerrymandering: "Forget about the lopsided House and the 60-seat Senate; the real races to watch in 2010 could have nothing to do with federal government. This cycle's 39 gubernatorial races are shaping up to be where much of the action is, with as many as half of them potentially switching parties and at least 19 open seats…Throw in the fact that, for the first time in 20 years, the races are being held immediately before the redistricting process, and the environment is shaping up to be nearly unprecedented." Later in the story, GOP operatives say they need to win governorships to take back Congress and the White House.  Read more here.


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Monday, June 01, 2009

Hillary Clinton Recognizes Stonewall, Gay and Lesbian Pride Month

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has released a statement recognizing June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.

Clinton It reads:


"Forty years ago this month, the gay rights movement began with the Stonewall riots in New York City, as gays and lesbians demanded an end to the persecution they had long endured. Now, after decades of hard work, the fight has grown into a global movement to achieve a world in which all people live free from violence and fear, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

"In honor of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and on behalf of the State Department, I extend our appreciation to the global LGBT community for its courage and determination during the past 40 years, and I offer our support for the significant work that still lies ahead.

"At the State Department and throughout the Administration, we are grateful for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees in Washington and around the world. They and their families make many sacrifices to serve our nation. Their contributions are vital to our efforts to establish stability, prosperity and peace worldwide.

"Human rights are at the heart of those efforts. Gays and lesbians in many parts of the world live under constant threat of arrest, violence, even torture. The persecution of gays and lesbians is a violation of human rights and an affront to human decency, and it must end. As Secretary of State, I will advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

"Though the road to full equality for LGBT Americans is long, the example set by those fighting for equal rights in the United States gives hope to men and women around the world who yearn for a better future for themselves and their loved ones.

"This June, let us recommit ourselves to achieving a world in which all people can live in safety and freedom, no matter who they are or whom they love."

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Budget victory! Here's what's next

Last week, Congress passed President Obama's budget. It's a budget that works for ordinary Americans, and it's all thanks to people like you.

Members of Organizing for America spoke up and asked Congress to lay a new foundation for American growth by passing a budget that invests in energy, health care, and education -- and that's exactly what they did.

But as the President said on his hundredth day in office, we should be pleased with our progress so far, but not satisfied. There's so much more work to do, and to get it done we need to keep growing this movement.

Please take the next step by writing a letter to the editor of your local paper -- share your story about how you helped pass this budget, and invite folks in your community to join in.

Write and submit your letter online by clicking here.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

The 10 Hottest Campaigns


March for Immigration Reform on May 1st
Posted  by http://www.anewdayforimmigration.org/.



This May 1st, thousands of people will take to the streets to support immigrant rights across the country. From Miami to Chicago to Los Angeles (and everywhere in  between), folks will be showing their support for President Obama's plan for immigration reform in 2009. Will join the movement and help our country work towards a fair and just immigration policy? Find the rally nearest you here or at http://www.anewdayforimmigration.org/


Taxpayers nationwide are organizing to demand Bank of America reform its ways. Led by SEIU, MoveOn.org, and other community groups, people from all over the U.S. are demanding that Bank of America fire CEO Ken Lewis and change the way they do business. We bailed them out, now they need to listen to us.Will you stand up and demand Bank of America change its way? To learn more click here: http://takebacktheeconomy.org/


Update: BoA has ousted Ken Lewis as chairman, but he is unfortunately still CEO of the company.



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Conservatives’ 100 Days Of no NO

Conservatives are desperate to see President Obama fail. Seems to me to be quite unpatriotic to put their political preferences above the safety, security, and well being of the American people and the nation.

If you like it, click through to YouTube after you watch the whole thing, watch it again, and rate it!

Don't forget to share this with your friends on Facebook (via msgs, walls and your status), Twitter and wherever else you can!


http://budurl.com/bl6c



http://budurl.com/bl6c


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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Signs G.O.P. Is Rethinking Stance on Gay Marriage




Some Republicans say the issue of gay marriage may be turning into more of a hindrance than a help.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Real Taxpayer Revolt

On Tuesday, April 28th, taxpayers will stand up against corporate greed, rallying at 100s of Bank of America branches across the nation. Led by SEIU, CCC, Unions, US Action, MoveOn.org, and more, protesters are calling for the firing of CEO Ken Lewis, the end to consumer and predatory lending practices, and a commitment to real financial reform.

Click here to learn how to participate and why Bank of America needs reform.



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Friday, April 24, 2009

One Step Closer To Health Care Reform

It all comes down to this: Because of grassroots pressure, Republicans didn't have the votes to block reconciliation for health care. Republicans are threatening procedural war, but it looks very likely that a minority of Senators will not be able to block health care reform this time. And so the GOP has a choice: They can work with Democrats in good faith (something they have declined to do so far), or they can be ignored as Democrats pass the health reform this country so desperately needs with a simple majority vote in the Senate.

Either way, progressives won a victory last night, and we're one step closer to winning quality, affordable health care for all.


Thanks To Everyone Who Made Phone Calls

Ron Mills



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Randi Rhodes to Return to Talk Radio

San Francisco's Green960 announces 'Goddess of Progressive Talk' to be syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, home to Limbaugh, Hannity and other rightwing talkers
Updated: Premiere announces return date of May 11, show to broadcast live from D.C....


Following a nearly two-month absence from the airwaves, Progressive radio talker Randi Rhodes is set to return, according to an announcement this afternoon from John Scott of San Francisco's Green960 (KKGN). She will be syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks as reported in a video-taped announcement just posted on the Green960 website.

Premiere is known for their national syndication of far-right talkers such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dr. Laura and Glenn Beck. Rhodes, known by fans as the "Goddess of Progressive Talk", had formerly been with NovaM Radio, which folded when she left, and at Air America Radio prior to that...



Read More..............


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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

2010 Senate Ratings

2010 Senate Ratings

Here are Rothenberg's* (leans Right-Wing) latest Senate ratings.
#- Moved benefiting Democrats
*- Moved benefiting Republicans

Lean Takeover (2 R, 0 D)
  • Bunning (R-KY) #
  • Specter (R-PA) #
Toss-Up (3 R, 1 D)
  • MO Open (Bond, R)
  • NH Open (Gregg, R)
  • OH Open (Voinovich, R)
  • Dodd (D-CT) *
Narrow Advantage for Incumbent Party (2 R, 1 D)
  • FL Open (Martinez, R) *
  • Burr (R-NC)
  • Reid (D-NV)
Clear Advantage for Incumbent Party (1 R, 3 D)
  • Vitter (R-LA) *
  • Bennet (D-CO) #
  • Burris (D-IL) *
  • Lincoln (D-AR) *
Currently Safe (11 R, 12 D)
  • Bennett (R-UT)
  • Coburn (R-OK)
  • Crapo (R-ID)
  • DeMint (R-SC)
  • Grassley (R-IA) *
  • Isakson (R-GA)
  • McCain (R-AZ)
  • Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Shelby (R-AL)
  • Thune (R-SD)
  • KS Open (Brownback, R)
  • DE Open (Kaufman, D)
  • Bayh (D-IN)
  • Boxer (D-CA)
  • Dorgan (D-ND) #
  • Feingold (D-WI) #
  • Gillibrand (D-NY)
  • Inouye (D-HI)
  • Leahy (D-VT)
  • Mikulski (D-MD)
  • Murray (D-WA)
  • Schumer (D-NY)
  • Wyden (D-OR)


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VIDEO NEWS WIRE

Politico 44 President's Calendar

AlterNet.org: Video


Days Since Michael Steele Said He Won't Resign

23 Days, 23 Hours, 32 Minutes, 38 Seconds.

"The Playa" said he wouldn't resign as head of the RNC ("Not me Baby! Nuh-uh. Not happening. No way, no how.")

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