Monday, November 20, 2006

Feeling Drafty?

New York Congressman Charles Rangel has revived discussion of a military draft.

"There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way," he said.

As happens so often, a congressman has the right idea for the wrong reason. Congressmen will still find a way to "work the system" and keep their kids out of Iraq. The real reason to support a draft is a simple one.

MORE...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Democrats off to Rough Start

The Democrats are off to a rough start as the majority party in Congress. Nancy Pelosi, soon to be the Speaker of the House, was rebuked by the Democratic Congressional Caucuas when they rejected her pick to be Majority Leader, sleaze-bag John Murtha, who Citizens for Ethics and Responsiblity in Washington-CREW calls one of the 20 most corrupt members of Congress, who recently told the conservative Blue Dog Democrats that the Democratic ethics bill is "full of crap." The person chosen to be Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer, ain't no prize. He's another DLC "centrist. Pelosi herself has emphasized that the Dems will be governing from the "center," which the Republicans and conservative media pundits have moved to the right of center, particulary by trying to paint Pelosi as a radical socialist revolutionary, which she ain't.
Check out Doug Irelands THE SKINNY ON NANCY PELOSI
It's going to be a rough two years...hopefully the Democrats will take some lessons from George Greider and get a political backbone to fight for a real progressive agenda.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Message from Liz Rincon

To All of Those Who Helped and Voted:

I would like to extend my greatest thanks to all of those in the 9th Congressional District that helped out and VOTED on E-Day. The Cohen Campaign was about a positive change for Memphis. That campaigns can be won on the grassroots level, though community involvement and volunteer recruitment.

Building “Leaders” in our campaign out of volunteers was one of my main priorities. I always believed that if you had a strong and positive message and made it about the voter and not about your “name” that people would want to be a part of your campaign, because they are motivated. The Cohen Campaign was the first of its kind in Memphis and I feel so lucky to have had a role in that.

People of the 9th District were ready for change. Things in our Country have been on the wrong path for so long, that the voters are ready for real leadership in their government. We saw this across the Country on November 7!!! Now is the time to govern and to govern well. I believe that it will take time, yet, if the voters keep their Elected Officials accountable, then this Democracy will be better for it.

So, once again, I say thank you to those who helped out on the campaign and to those who showed up at the polls. To those who were unable to vote, either because they were not of age, did not live in the district or were not yet a citizen, you turned out people to be your voice. Thank you. To those who came in the heat, the rain, and the cold to knock on doors, so that we could make it about the voter, I say thank you. To those who held people accountable when they were not speaking the truth about Congressman-Elect Cohen, I say thank you. And to every person who exercised his or her voice on Election Day, no matter who you voted for, I say THANK YOU!

Sincerely,

Liz Rincon
Field Director
Congressman-Elect Cohen (TN-9)

Hoyer Elected Majority Leader

It's not exactly the worst thing that could have happened. Although Hoyer is certainly of the corporatist wing of the party that I tend to distrust, he likely would have been my choice had I been given one.

I hate political corruption. I loathe it with every fiber of my being. Operation Tennessee Waltz was an enema hose that blasted a handful of corrupt lawmakers out of Nashville.

So as much as I like Jack Murtha's stance on the war in Iraq, I'm always troubled by his involvement in ABSCAM.

It's certainly true that he declined the bribe money he was offered. But it's also sadly true that he said "not at this time", and implied that the store might be open for business if they "do business for a while". He also violated House ethics rules by declining to report that he'd been offered a bribe.

Senator Larry Pressler walked into the same setup, turned down the money more decisively than Murtha did, and did the right thing by reporting the bribe offer to the FBI. Why could Murtha not do the same thing?

There was no single reason the American public voted to give us a majority in both houses of Congress. Iraq war fatigue, an unchecked president that could only charitably be described as a "boob", and gay baiting Republicans playing grabass with one another were certainly all factors.

But one of the biggest reasons is the overall culture of corruption that the Republicans carried with them. The overpowering aroma of filth that stained Congress when the likes of Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, and paymaster Jack Abramoff walked its halls.

Jack Murtha, to a lesser degree, carries that aroma with him. Caesar's wife must be beyond reproach.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

HFJ Rules out DNC Chair (but what about RNC chair?)

Harold Ford Rules Out DNC Chair

But what about RNC chair??? With an HRC (Human Rights Campaign-gay rights group score of 25, he may actually consider the Republican National Committee where he fits in quit well..

In fact, I encourage HFJ to please switch parties now and spare us any more talk of your rising star in the Democratic Party.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Letter to a Christian Nation

I'm still stunned by the 80% vote in support of the anti-gay Amendment 1 in TN. We know why don't we.. CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISM. I know we are supposed to be nice and sweet talk these people, but how can you reason with people who believe in mythical sky-gods and demons, and who believe Jesus is coming back soon to zap them away???

Folks, there is NO sky god! He ain't up there. Your Bible is full of crap, like "if a man lies with a man he should be put to death." Now do you really believe that? Or what about "slaves obey your masters," or "women be subject to men" and "remain silent." Do you reallly believe "god" (where the fuck did "he" come from??) made the world from scratch and made ONE man and then took one of his ribs and made a "woman" and then after a few millennia decided he made a mistake and killed every living thing on the planet excpet Noah and his family and a pair of every living animal (how did they fit on that ark??), and then do you belive this "god" chose ONE race of people to be his "chosen people," and commanded them to KILL their enemies who worshipped other gods (jealousy??), and then do you believe a virgin gave birth to a god child who walked on water, had to be killed as a sacrifice to save the world, but was resurrected, and now is coming back to rescue you and punish eveyone who does not believe all this crap? Do you really believe you will live forever on some cloud while I burn in some lake of fire somewhere because I chose reason over insanity?

You can believe what you want, but please keep it to yourself, and stop trying to force your superstitious delusions on the whole fucking world!

And read these books
LETTER TO A CHRISTIAN NATION by Sam Harris

THE END OF FAITH by Sam Harris

THE GOD DELUSION, by Richard Dawkins

The Empire Strikes Out

In 1996, the people of the Ninth District had every reason to be optimistic. A scandal-ridden but responsive congressman was leaving office. The choices in the primary to replace him both seemed like decent enough choices--- A State Senator named Steve Cohen and the congressman’s own son, Harold Ford Jr.

He looked like his father and spoke like him to a certain degree--- One could look at him and imagine him keeping his nose clean. There was nothing there to imply that he would be the lightning rod for controversy that his father had been.

Voters were given the choice between Ford and Cohen, and they chose Ford.

The seat Cohen and Ford were vying for was a real prize--- One of the safest seats in the nation for a Democratic politician. The winner of the Democratic primary in that seat is always safe to go ahead and pick out office furniture for DC--- They’re going.

That creates the kind of environment where a Democrat can really be a Democrat. A Democrat can be as liberal as Paul Wellstone, Nancy Pelosi, or Ted Kennedy and write his or her own ticket. Harold Ford Sr. had proven that.

We expected that out of his son as well. His first few terms were fairly unspectacular. He did little in the way of sponsoring legislation, and never exactly set the world on fire with his committee assignments. He wasn’t terribly effective, but he could be counted on with his floor votes. And that was enough.

But there was a change. In 2002, his ambition grew beyond the safe confines of the Ninth District. He was asked to stand down and run in 2006.

MORE...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election '06--- The End of an Error

You love this town
Even if that doesn't ring true
You've been all over
And it's been all over you

It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away
It's a beautiful day


America awoke today to a drastically changed political landscape, with only a victory party hangover to prove that it wasn’t just some beautiful dream.

MORE...

Also, see:

Thanks

Ever Had the ATM Give You Too Many $20 Bills?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Aftermath: How Dems Can Win Without the South!

The Democrats have "won" the House of Representatives, but (as of 11:30 PM Tuesday), it looks like they will come up three or four seats short of taking the Senate (Tennessee, Missouri, Virginia, Montana).

(Ford has LOST, despite all his attempts to pander to the christo-fascist bigots in Tennessee.)

The pattern is clear now, there is a long overdue geographical reallignment of the Dem and Rep Parties: the Democrats have won several senate seats in the Northeast and Midwest (Ohio, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania). The Republicans still dominate the South.

I have been thinking this, and now I found someone who wrote a book who agrees with me: The Democrats should forget the south! No, I don't mean totally give up, but focus on winning the moderate/rockefeller Republicans in the Northeast and midwest, not focus on winning the south. Just as the Republicans became a majority party by winning the South from the Democrats, the Democrats should take the Northeast and Midwest back from the Republicans.

So agrees Thomas Shaffer, author of WHISTLING PAST DIXIE: HOW THE DEMOCRATS CAN WIN WITHOUT THE SOUTH (Simon & Schuster).

You can read his article from In These Times "How Democrats Can Win Without the South"

In order to win the South, the Democrats will have to keep moving to the RIGHT and embrace the christo-fascist theocratic agenda. It's not worth it. The Democrats should be a populist/liberal party and not cave in to the right-wing southern bigots. We should keep working on the South, hopefully they will embrace reason and modernity in the next century, but in the meantime, the Democrats should look North and left.

I'm trying to find a way to move to Vermont so I can have health insurance, a civil union and a SOCIALIST Senator (Bernie Sanders!)

UPDATE: Well I may have blogged too soon, it now looks like Webb may have beat Allen in Virginia by a few thousand votes, but there will be a recount. The Democrat is ahead in Montana and Missouri, so the Democrats have a slim chance of winning the Senate! But we won't know until after the recount in Virginia..will it be 2000 all over again??

Election Predictions

For what it's worth, the election will be over in a few hours but I predict:
The Democrats will take the House, but not the Senate
Ford Jr. will Lose
Cohen will win
The Anti-gay Amendment 1 will pass overwhelmingly, thanks to the support of many prominent "Democrats" (Gov. Phil Bredesen, Harold Ford Jr, etal.) (early results show 80% yes!) Bigotry is very popular in TN!
(I had hoped we could keep the margin of defeat lower in Shelby County)

Unlike many "progressive" Democrats, I do not see a major Democratic sweep. I don't see a lot of enthusiasm for the Democratic Party, I see a lot of anger at Republicans (and a lot of it from Republicans unhappy with the GOP leaders in congress who have not been conservative enough!).

The unfortunately political reality is that the U.S. is a conservative country politically. Many of the Democrats who will win will be "moderate conservatives" which will fuel the right-ward drift of the Democratic Party, which is being pulled to the right both within and without.

I think the next two years will be very difficult for the Democratic House. Nancy Pelosi is the answer the the Republican's prayers, and they will demonize her and "San Francisco Liberals" until Hillary is nominated in 2008 and then the party will be over.. so the Dems only have TWO years in the House.
I hate to be a party pooper but,
I predict the GOP will probably win back the House in two years and the White House, because they willl blame the Democrats for all the problems that will come to a head in the next two years: the deficit, etc. Because of Bush's mismanagement the past 6 years, the tax cuts will NOT be renewed so peoples taxes will go UP. The Dems, if they control the House and/or the Senate will be blamed for it all.
The GOP will use Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton (the 2008 Presidential Nominee) to scare the SHIT out of the Christo-Fascist bigots in the South and Mid-West and McCain will win in 2008.
The Democratic Party will split between the conservative corporatists HAROLD FORD JR. wing, and the East/West Coast liberals (Dean/Pelosi) and we will probably have a civil war in the party, and unless there is a major change in the Democratic Party, the conservatives will probably come out in front.

So I am not very optimistic about this election or 2008.

Hopefully the American people will eventually wake up and revolt against this corrupt poltical system and we will have A revolution!
I'M WAITING FOR THE "GREAT LEAP FORWARD"!

Hey it could happen, Bernie Sanders is the FIRST SOCIALIST SENATOR!
Change the USA, Join Democratic Socialists of America!

You Won't Be Sorry

Happy Election Day.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bredesen Panders to Anti-Gay Bigots

It is bad enough that the “Democratic” candidate for U.S. Senate ignores the Democratic Party platform opposing anti-gay marriage amendments, now our “Democratic” governor is running ads boasting of his support for the anti-gay Amendment 1. Both the Davidson County and Shelby County Democratic Parties have passed resolutions opposing Amendment 1 and reaffirming the Democratic Party platform which condemns these attempts by REPUBLICANS to write discrimination into our state and national constitutions.

Memphis Stonewall Democrats is disappointed that our Democratic governor Phil Bredesen, as well as the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Harold Ford Jr., have chosen to oppose the Democratic Party platform and the will of the Davidson County and Shelby County Democratic Parties by supporting Amendment 1, and supporting writing discrimination against gays and lesbians into our state constitution.

Since “gay marriage” is already illegal in Tennessee, and since Gov. Bredesen already has a strong lead in the polls, his blatant attack on the civil rights of gays and lesbians in Tennessee was unnecessary, and was clearly pandering to anti-gay bigots. With Democrats like Bredesen and Ford, who needs Republicans?

(Can we get rid of both of them Tuesday???)

In My District There Is Problem... (Sorry, Borat)

In the Ninth District, we saw what was probably the single most absurd excuse for a primary that I've ever seen. Half of the candidates in that miserably weak field could have their entire platforms summed up by Borat's "Throw the Jew Down the Well".

But that was only the appetizer. Nothing could have prepared me for the Ford Crime Family.

We have a rare opportunity to vanquish them tomorrow. Shuffle them loose this political coil, if you will. And despite being a hardcore Democrat--- Or perhaps more accurately, because I'm a hardcore Democrat, I stand prepared to dance a two-step (Or maybe a Tennessee Waltz) on their political graves.

MORE...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

VT Poised to Elect First US Socialist Senator

If only this could happen in TN!

Vermont Poised to Elect First U.S. Socialist Senator
Published on Thursday, November 2, 2006 by the Guardian / UK

Vermont Poised to Elect America's First Socialist Senator

· Cantankerous campaigner strikes chord with voters
· New milestone nears after eight terms in Congress
by Julian Borger

Amid the furious debate over Iraq and the speculation that George Bush may be a lame duck after next Tuesday's mid-term elections, an extraordinary political milestone is approaching: a cantankerous 65-year-old called Bernie looks set to become the first socialist senator in US history.

Bernie Sanders is so far ahead in the contest for Vermont's vacant seat for the US Senate that it seems only sudden illness or accident could derail his rendezvous with destiny, after eight terms as the state's only congressman. His success flies in the face of all the conventional wisdom about American politics.

He is an unapologetic socialist and proud of it. Even his admirers admit that he lacks social skills, and he tends to speak in tirades. Yet that has not stopped him winning eight consecutive elections to the US House of Representatives.

"Twenty years ago when people here thought about socialism they were thinking about the Soviet Union, about Albania," Mr Sanders told the Guardian in a telephone interview from the campaign trail. "Now they think about Scandinavia. In Vermont people understand I'm talking about democratic socialism."

Democratic socialism, however, has hardly proved to be a vote-winning formula in a country where even the word "liberal" is generally treated as an insult. Until now the best showing in a Senate race by a socialist of any stripe was in 1930 by Emil Seidel, who won 6% of the vote.

John McLaughry, the head of a free-market Vermont thinktank, the Ethan Allen Institute, said Mr Sanders is a throwback to that era. "Bernie Sanders is an unreconstructed 1930s socialist and proud of it. He's a skilful demagogue who casts every issue in that framework, a master practitioner of class warfare."

When Mr Sanders, a penniless but eloquent import from New York, got himself elected mayor of Burlington in 1981, at the height of the cold war, it rang some alarm bells. "I had to persuade the air force base across the lake that Bernie's rise didn't mean there was a communist takeover of Burlington," recalled Garrison Nelson, a politics professor at the University of Vermont who has known him since the 1970s.

"He used to sleep on the couch of a friend of mine, walking about town with no work," Prof Nelson said. "Bernie really is a subject for political anthropology. He has no political party. He has never been called charming. He has no money, and none of the resources we normally associate with success. However, he learned how to speak to a significant part of the disaffected population of Vermont."

Mr Sanders turned out to be a success as mayor, rejuvenating the city government and rehabilitating Burlington's depressed waterfront on Lake Champlain while ensuring that it was not gentrified beyond the reach of ordinary local people. "He stood this town on its ear," said Peter Freyne, a local journalist.

"I tried to make the government work for working people, and not just for corporations, and on that basis I was elected to Congress," Mr Sanders said. He has served 16 years in the House of Representatives, a lonely voice since the Republican takeover in 1994. He has however struck some interesting cross-party deals, siding with libertarian Republicans to oppose a clause in the Patriot Act which allowed the FBI to find out what books Americans borrowed from libraries.

He says his consistent electoral success reflects the widespread discontent with rising inequality, deepening poverty and dwindling access to affordable healthcare in the US. "People realise there is a lot to be learned from the democratic socialist models in northern Europe," Mr Sanders said. "The untold story here is the degree to which the middle class is shrinking and the gap between rich and poor is widening. It is a disgrace that the US has the highest rate of childhood poverty of any industrialised country on earth. Iraq is important, but it's not the only issue."

In a state of just over 600,000 people he also has a significant advantage over his Republican opponent, Rich Tarrant, a businessman who has spent about $7m on his campaign. "Sanders is popular because even if you disagree with him you know where he stands," said Eric Davis, a political scientist at Vermont's Middlebury College. "He pays attention to his political base. He's independent and iconoclastic and Vermonters like that."

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2006

###

Now if you want to help move the Democratic Party back to the progressive/left, then join Democratic Socialists of America

I'm tryiing to start a Memphis DSA Chapter, so join us as we try to build the progressive democratic socialists movement within, but not limited to, the Democratic Party, which is dire need of direction and purpose!

HFJ Is Finished! (Hopefully)

What the *uck! Cohen's campaign plans a "Democratic Victory Party" weeks in advance, for Sat. Nov 4, 4 PM, and at the last minute Harold Ford Jr has a "rally/press conference" at the EXACT same time at Highland & Poplar!

Now does anyone need more proof of what a backstabbing jackass HFJ is???

The "good news" is he is loosing the Senate race, so hopefully he will find a job as a clerk somewhere, since he can't practice law.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Does Ford Church Rally Violate Constitution or Law?

Commercial Appeal Church Rally Draws Fire

Was the Ford/Clinton campaign rally at the Temple Deliverance Church of God in Christ was a violation of tax laws for churches? It was a close breach of the constitutional sepration of church and state. Why do the Democrats & Republicans ignore the U.S. Constitution when it comes to religion and politics??
What if the Bob Corker campaign had a rally at Bellevue Baptist Church?
Americans United for Sep. of Church & State are correct to criticize BOTH sides!
Shame on Harodl Ford Jr. (and the Democratic Party) for thier disregard of the Separation of Church and State!

Wonder if the Temple Deliverance COGIC will be able to keep their tax exemption??

I Speak For “The Left” When I Say… We Hate You Too.

Kleinheider over at Volunteer Voters linked to an op-ed written by Paul Burgess, former head of foreign policy speechwriting at the Bush White House called “Friends, neighbors, and countrymen of the left: I hate your lying guts. With a title like that, you can imagine how he became head speechwriter for a silver-tongued devil like George W. Bush.

In the original piece, he rails not only against obvious targets such as Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover (Because, you know, millions are prepared to mobilize when those guys speak), but Cindy Sheehan and Ted Turner, who he describes as being unable to “make up his mind which side of the terror war he is on”.

His position on Democratic politics: I now hate Howard Dean, the elected leader of the Democrats, who, by repeatedly stating his conviction that we won't win in Iraq, bets his party's future on our nation's defeat.

I hate the Democrats who, in support of this strategy, spout lie after lie: that the president knew in advance there were no WMD in Iraq; that he lied to Congress to gain its support for military action; that he pushed for the democratization of Iraq only after the failure to find WMD; that he was a unilateralist and that the coalition was a fraud; that he shunned diplomacy in favor of war.

These lies, contradicted by reports, commissions, speeches, and public records, are too preposterous to mock, but too pervasive to rebut, especially when ignored by abetting media.


Okay, I’ve let this silly bastard ramble long enough. Time for a response.

MORE...

Ford Losing Gay Votes in TN

As New polls show Ford LOSING to Corker by a larger and larger margin, it looks like HFJr is losing gay votes in TN.

I'm not the only one! Harold Ford Jr.'s gay-bashing campaign is backfiring, as more and more LGBT voters in Tennessee will NOT be voting for him and rewarding his ant-gay political strategy!

Check out the great post and dicsussion over on TN Guerilla Women and read this EXCELLENT Letter to Harold Ford Jr. from Joyce Arnold in the Church Street Freedom Press in Nashville:

A Letter to Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN)

Mr. Ford,

No one wants, more than me, a change from the Republican majority in both U.S. Senate and House. To that end, my plan had been to vote for you.

My plans changed in the last few days, as I listened to you, once again, use the minority population of lesbians and gays in Tennessee, and around the nation, as a political strategy. That is ethically and morally unacceptable. In truth, you are "for Tennessee" only selectively. Some of us are clearly expendable.

I, and the many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens of Tennessee who are the constituents of whoever sits in the Senate and House as representatives of this state, deserve respect. You, Mr. Ford, have gone out of your way to show the opposite. I had convinced myself that I could cast a vote for you, toward hopes of a Democratic majority in the Senate. But after listening to your gratuitous statements following the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling earlier this week, I knew I could not cast a vote for someone who so shamelessly uses me.

We who are LGBT citizens of Tennessee are not an "issue" for your, or any other politician's, use. We, in fact, are not an "issue" -- we are individuals, real people who, like everyone else, simply want equality. We, and those who support us, are maligned when we work for that equality, most often by those purporting to speak for God. Your actions are no different, including your use of God, along with us, toward your own ends.

When someone continues to slap you down, no matter how many times you give that person another chance, the time comes when out of self-respect, you walk away. Based on conversations I've had with a number of people in the last few days, LGBT and heterosexual, I'm not the only one who has had enough, and is walking.

In general, the Tennessee Senate race is, from Mr. Corker as well as you, an embarrassment. Neither of you deserve to win. One of you will. And the fact is, as far as the civil rights of the LGBT minority of Tennessee are concerned, it won't make a bit of difference which one of you it is.

You, of course, won't read this, and I doubt anyone in your campaign will either. If someone does, I'm quite sure it will not make any difference to you. But at least I know I've taken the tiny step I needed to take, on behalf of "Liberty and justice for all" rather than for "some."

Joyce L. Arnold, Ph.D.
Church Street Freedom Press