Monday, October 27, 2014

Your Vote Should Be For The Party

First Published in DelawareLiberal on 10/27/2014 by ProgresssivePopulist

I argue that when you vote, your vote should be for the Party.  I do not buy the concept "I vote for the candidate, not the Party".   Sorry, but it is not unsophisticated or unthinking to vote a straight ticket in the case of partisan elections.  Yes, I know.  In Delaware we don't have straight ticket voting, but you can vote for all Democrats on November 4, and I plan on doing so.

Candidates align with Parties.  They use their brand.  They use their structures, money, staffs and volunteers.  It is a conscious decision on their Party choice. This means they sign onto the Party platform and align with most if not all of the stands the Party takes in its platform, written by activists and Party regulars who craft the positions on issues, debate them and vote them for adoption in convention.

Parties are a great hallmark of democracy.  They are built by people banding together with common views on public/civic issues.  They were intended as a vehicle to get those views adopted by a majority and select candidates that well represent those views.

And their proper role is to hold those candidates accountable for support for those positions on issues, including discipline when they stray and rejection when they sell out.   Much of this leverage is overlooked by local and national Party organizations, which is to overlook a major component of a functioning democracy.

If a Democratic Party loyalist has an objection to a candidate based on a visible flaw in their view, they can leave their vote blank on that candidate.  To vote for another Party's candidate in that office is to vote for the positions and stands of that Party, not their own Party.   That is a betrayal.

Groups, especially Party loyalists,  can and should have sway on the votes and policies created by candidates who succeed in becoming office holders.  Free lancing candidates have no accountability to those who "brought them to the table".  They are renegades.  Rogues.  They represent an arrogance that has no place in a democracy and are more suited for an aristocracy.

Any Democrat thinking of supporting a Republican on November had better take a hard look at the Delaware Republican Party web site, which links directly to the Republican National Committee platform.  Apparently they are too lazy locally to write their own platform and have bought lock stock and barrel into the RNC's Tea Party world view.

Let me select a number of the RNC/Tea Party platform positions which most dramatically contrast with the Delaware Democratic Party and Democratic National Committee positions on issues.  The DDP went to the trouble of writing a platform.  I'd suggest you read it and the DNC document as well.

The Republicans want to extend the Bush tax cuts while lowering corporate taxes.  This means middle classers pay the tax freight, if that isn't obvious; but they want to keep this simple, so they want a flat tax.  Ultimately though, their platform wants to repeal Federal Income tax altogether.

They want to reduce and privatize Medicare and Medicaid and repeal Obamacare, replacing them with private insurance operating in a free market.  You know, like the good old days when, without insurance, sick people paid their doctors with things like eggs and chickens.

Speaking of free markets,  they want to free workers of the burden of collective bargaining and unions.  Way too complicated, especially for employers who surely would do the right thing and pay a decent wage.  Oh, and they advocate flexibility in workplace conditions, which means deregulating workplace safety and conditions, hours and benefits.

Regulations?  Forget them.  They impede the free market and set industry free to prosper and grow.  And free trade, not fair trade is their way to go, whenever and wherever industry chooses.

On the environment, coal good; EPA bad. No mention of the bogus science of climate change and global warming.  Why?  Because this is a Judeo-Christian nation and as you know, God provides for our kind.  Especially if we display the ten commandments in our public squares.  And for good measure, it is our God given right to drill baby drill.  And of course because God made us the stewards of the world, private, not public stewardship of our lands and waterways.

Education.  We're doing just great at the state level with our public schools.  Charters and vouchers are good.  The Federal Department of Education are bad.  Home schooling even better.  Federal help with student loans are bad, except for the guarantee part, backing up the private banks who want no risk of default.

After school, jail's good.  Mandatory sentences really good for those who don't cut it in school.  And no parole for the "dangerous".   Death penalty for the most dangerous.

Sex.  Abstinence is really good. Sex education, not good. Condoms, not so good.  Abortion no good. Childbirth great, especially in the case of rape and incest.   Those women's clinics didn't meet
Republican clinical standards anyway.  Federal Stem Cell research, no  because they come from "aborted fetuses".

And once those unwanted children are born,  no food stamps for them or mom unless they are done only by block grants.  And mom is going to have to work, work really really hard for very temporary help with household expenses.

Families?  Only male female unions, thank you.  You know, because it's been traditional for thousands of years.  Were there Adam and Adam or Eve and Eve in the garden, things might be different.  But there weren't.   And homes for families?  Sure.  But only if financed by private banks, unencumbered by pesky, nuisance lending regulations.

And for protection from marauding poor people, guns are really good.  Especially with open-carry.  Registration?  Hell no, especially at gun shows.  Data collection on firearm sales, especially in border areas?  A huge infringement of liberty.

Immigration.  For sure, no federal funds for college education of illegals.  But plenty of federal funds for those patriot illegals joining our military to get their heads blown off instead of "our kind".
And speaking of the military.  You Democrats keep your grimy hands off our Pentagon budget.  Why?  "Peace through strength".  They actually cite American Exceptionalism as given to us through "divine providence".

Yes, Republicans, God is on your side.  But I'm not and no thinking Democrat should be, by voting for your candidates.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Combating The Republican National Fear Campaign?

First published in DelawareLiberal on 10/16/2014 by ProgressivePopulist


It is well understood by communications experts that fear is an extremely powerful emotion to reverse.  The RNC is executing a powerful national campaign of fear, based mostly on ISIL and Ebola.  It is grounded in their national and local messaging strategy that government doesn't work, especially an Obama/Pelosi government.

The DNC, by our own Chair's pronouncement a few months back, has no national branding or messaging strategy.  Premise for the 2014 cycle...all politics are local.  That premise has been pretty well debunked a few years back with the Gingrich Contract With America campaign.

So, the DNC's major message to us, without reminders as to the central idea our party stands for, send money.  Lots of it.  Send more money.    Our fear message?  The Republicans are coming. Some of it is actually being used by local Democratic campaigns  to denounce  their own party and its accomplishments of late.

So, America, be very much afraid.   No reminders from the DNC that we have mostly contained radical Islam to their middle eastern back yard and kept you safe in your own American back yard and are vigilant on that mission.  No reminders that Ebola is contained in west Africa and we are actively assisting infected countries to contain the disease there and bolstering our defenses here.

Yes, memories are short.  America is seldom reminded that in the meantime, this Democratic President and a Democratic congress literally saved the world economy from collapse, introduced monumental healthcare reform to provide care for millions previously abandoned, ended two horrific wars and has made great progress toward restoring a job market that was in collapse.

The national media, even alternative and social media has been allowed to fixate on fear, relentless fear mongering on ISIL and Ebola, with an ineffective PR and public information effort from the DNC and our Administration.

Local media has been bombarded with disparate and uncoordinated Democratic candidate and pathetically little local Party messaging on a myriad of issues, largely overwhelmed by the audience/readership building stories about ISIL and Ebola.  In the meantime, local Republican messaging programs have been much better synced with the RNC messaging program.

Save a possible "October Surprise" from the Obama Administration, I see little prospect of averting a Republican bloodbath and little prospect of a sizable Democratic turnout.  Maybe the magical new targeting vehicles to mobilize our Democratic majority will kick in with highly motivating messages to get us off our couches.  But less than a month out, I see and read little evidence of this.
There's plenty of evidence that fear will mobilize the Republican base and paralyze some of the Democratic base.

I hope I'm wrong.  I really hope.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Middle East Bloodbath: Dejavu All Over Again

First Published in DelawareLiberal on 10/9/2014 by ProgressivePopulist


Overrunning towns, pillaging, plundering, setting fire, torture, burning at the stake, rape, burning children alive, enslaving, beheadings, sacking places of worship, taking body parts for trophies, destroying libraries, cannibalism, crucifixions, opening bodies for swallowed treasure.  A special place in paradise for warriors.  Justice for infidels. Slaughter of their own. Robbing and keeping the riches.

These heinous acts committed by 50-100,000 fighters  saying prayers before battle on middle eastern soil in such places as Nicaea, Urfa, Aantakya, Aleppo, Ma' Arrak, Ascalon, Antioch, Edessa, Caesarea, Jaffa, Haifa, Acre, Tyre, Sayda and countless other towns.  Mass slaughtering of innocents numbering 2,700, 100,000, 7,000 and tens of thousands of nameless others.
Sounds familiar, doesn't it.  Sounds like ISIL.

Only, it isn't.  This is narrative from historical research on the 13 crusades perpetrated by Christians, in the middle east alone, targeting mostly Muslims over a two hundred year period.  Also targeting Jews and other Christians who did not swear allegiance to Rome.  Hundreds of thousands slaughtered.  Whole cities laid to waste. Middle easterners are thought to have long memories and a huge appreciation for history.

All the atrocities endorsed by Pope Urban II and several successors over this horrific period during the european dark ages and the middle east's period of enlightenment.  Soldier recruits, led by kings and nobility, were granted huge financial favors and tax exemptions, the right to pillage and guaranteed a special place in heaven by the reigning Popes.   That sounds familiar too, doesn't it?  And led in prayer before battle by clerics.  Familiar too?  Much of it taking place in what is now Iraq, Syria and the "holy lands".

Not much of a battle plan needed by ISIL.  It is all pretty well laid out in the tragic historical documentation of this region and period between 1095 and 1298.  For a detailed account, check out the writings of U.S. professor Dr. Abdullah Mohammad Sindi, a middle east authority and historian.

What goes around comes around.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I'm Tired Of People Like Panetta

First Published in DelawareLiberal on 10/5-2014 by ProgressivePopulist

Apparently he's got another tell all book about to come out.  Timely, Leon, given that we've got a hugely important election next month with your "fellow" Democrats in the cross hairs of the party of hate.
I say "fellow" Democrats because Leon has always been a guy of the safe establishment who never had a reformist idea overtake his pandering to the current order of things.

I can speak with some limited contact; Leon was a fellow Santa Claran (think Jesuits, think northern California) in the 50's a couple of years behind me undergraduate.  I didn't like him then because he had the reputation of an ass kissing pet of some of the key clerics running that show at the time.
Always in their pocket, always held up as a model of the way people should be.   I knew he'd  ascend to the northern Calif. political establishment and sure enough, after Congress, onto Presidential staffs and leading our intelligence and defense establishments.

Now, in a most untimely way, like Hillary. who at least had a early youthful flirtation with radical thought, he's finding fault with President Obama.  For a while our President was  not easily falling for the neo-con, neo-liberal impulse to kick the shit out of our perceived enemies, asking questions later.

I continue to be an admirer of this President who, like Jimmy Carter, has the courage to say things like.....we don't have a plan yet.  The courage to reverse course before engaging us in catastrophic actions which get people killed really dead.  The guts to do some thinking out loud on really complex issues, particularly of foreign policy and subject himself to criticism that he is timid or uncertain.  Hell, in some cases he is justifiably unclear of the best of many lousy, life ending or ruining initiatives.

I want and have a President who is an adult.  Who admits uncertainty and exercises caution before engaging on an issue or solution.  America apparent wants an ass kicking cowboy who adheres to the policy of ready, fire aim.  They call it being decisive and bold.  I call it stupid and disrespectful of the harm that bad decisions can do to our people.

Look what ready, fire, aim got us in the Bush era.  Deception.  Malfeasance leading up to 9-11.  More deception to make it look like Iraq made any sense.  Throwing no-strings attached money at the banking industry at the onset of the great meltdown, without accountability.  the long war.  The list is enormous.

Leon, you and your type are pompous, self-serving protectors of the establishment from which you came and with whom you have earned your stripes as their boy.  You conflate your catholic certainty of the "truth" and  autocratic infallibility with leadership.

I want candor.  I want, yes, human frailty in my leaders.  I want humanity in my leadership.  President Obama is bright enough to know that he'd become a human punching bag with people like you.  I respect his courage and willingness to lead us through the fog in spite of this punishment.