Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for the ‘activism’ Category

My response to a Daily Kos rah-rah about how Dems will win in 2014

Posted by Charles II on September 22, 2013

It wasn’t an important thread. It had four comments and five recommendations. It was clearly written by someone with a young, good heart. But it annoyed me enough to respond. Here, edited, is what the post said:

There is a great diary on ACA where the writer shares his/her experience finding out about what “ObamaCare” will really do for his/her family and their friends and neighbours.

I sent a link to the site to my girlfriend, who is self-employed and will be sharing it with my family, and friends, and everybody I know. Once people realize what ObamaCare will actually mean, they are going to either 1) love it, or 2) realize it isn’t the second coming of the evil one.

And they are going to be pissed at the Republicans for blocking it and thankful that the Dems got it passed.

And will vote in the 2014 elections…once people …realize what the ACA means to them and their families, they are going to go Dem

My response:

Talk is nice…

Democrats are in the minority because they have not fielded attractive candidates in enough districts. Do that and you depress Democratic turnout in those districts. The net effect is to lose the statewide races, like for governor and Senator. The governorships have a lot to do with the gerrymander of 2010…which, to complete the circle, is why Democrats are in the minority despite winning more votes in congressional races than did the Republicans.

Howard Dean recognized this and established the 50-state campaign. That was a tremendous advantage, which the Democratic Party regulars renounced as soon as they were able to get Howard Dean off stage.

The ACA is a nice selling point, sort of like 50 mpg. But you need a car to go with it. The Democratic Party seems to be determined not to do that.

True story: After 2010, my state Democratic chair asked for input on how to recover the situation. I responded that the reason the Party loses elections is because it is widely perceived as corrupt. Democrats, of course, are not more corrupt than Republicans. But because they are wishy-washy, not fully committed to their political beliefs, every time that one does something ethically questionable or even illegal, the media message is able to paint that misdeed as a mark of corruption.

I urge every Kossack who can to consider a run for office. Every time a talented, articulate, caring person stands up and says, I’m a Democrat, it does something to dispel the poisonous image created by the Democratic Party regulars, who are concerned with their careers and advancement over healing the suffering and national decay their incompetence has facilitated.

Voters want people who genuinely listen, know what they believe, say what they believe, and are willing to suffer a little to do the right thing. They are much less concerned with ideology than with character.

And if they are offered a Republican and nobody, you can pretty well guess that the Republican is going to win.

I shouldn’t rain on a guy who is inspired to do something good by pointing out how ultimately futile it is. The optimism of the young is the only reason this nation hasn’t reverted to monarchy. But I see the movements of today, notably Occupy, and I see such a lack of realism about how the magnitude of the problem and what genius and energy it is going to take to overcome it. Fixing things is the work of a lifetime, one that will take the courage and the endurance of the civil rights movement. It’s definitely worth doing, no matter how much one suffers or is defeated, because not to engage is to participate in doing wrong.

But change is not going to happen just because of some clever advertising.

Posted in activism, Occupy movement | 7 Comments »

“Journalists” for hire: Groundswell as the right’s brain

Posted by Charles II on August 5, 2013

This came out ten days ago, but I missed it. Fortunately, so far the “journalists” are people recognized as being flagrant partisans. But having anyone in media collaborating with politicians to message is remarkable. The involvement of Judicial Watch, a tax-exempt group, in strategy sessions, should land them in hot water with the IRS. And having the wife of a Supreme Court Justice in the middle of it is disgraceful.

David Corn, MoJo:

Believing they are losing the messaging war with progressives, a group of prominent conservatives in Washington—including the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and journalists from Breitbart News and the Washington Examiner—has been meeting privately since early this year to concoct talking points, coordinate messaging, and hatch plans for “a 30 front war seeking to fundamentally transform the nation,” according to documents obtained by Mother Jones.

Dubbed Groundswell, this coalition convenes weekly in the offices of Judicial Watch, the conservative legal watchdog group.

One of the influential conservatives guiding the group is Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a columnist for the Daily Caller and a tea party consultant and lobbyist. Other Groundswell members include John Bolton, the former UN ambassador; Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy; Ken Blackwell and Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council; Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch; Gayle Trotter, a fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum; Catherine Engelbrecht and Anita MonCrief of True the Vote; Allen West, the former GOP House member; Sue Myrick, also a former House GOPer; Diana Banister of the influential Shirley and Banister PR firm; and Max Pappas, a top aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Several conservative journalists have enthusiastically participated in Groundswell’s deliberations. In March, Mark Tapscott, the executive editor of the conservative Washington Examiner…

At another Groundswell gathering, according to the minutes, the members decided to ask Breitbart‘s Stephen Bannon to arrange for his media organization “to get senators on the record regarding their support [or non-support]” of the filibuster that GOP Sens. Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz were threatening to mount against the gun control bill. This suggested that the Groundswellers thought they could task Breitbart News to pursue a story that would be strategically useful for the group.

Groundswell has forged a particularly close relationship with Breitbart.

Posted in activism, activist judges, Media machine, Republicans acting badly | 1 Comment »

There were dozens of protestors

Posted by Charles II on February 26, 2011

Long-hairs, playing drums, hoisting obscene placards like “Scott Walker sucks Koch.” .

Of course, there were about a thousand more rather ordinary people who the media won’t report were present.

Posted in activism, Media machine, mediawhores | Comments Off on There were dozens of protestors

Filibustering Health Care Reform? Welcome To The Primaries

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 29, 2009

Arkansas’ Blanche Lincoln thinks that her big campaign kitty, stuffed with insurance-industry dollars, will protect her from the consequences of screwing her fellow Arkansans — and Americans — on health care reform.

Let’s prove her wrong. FDL shows how.

Posted in activism, filibuster, Fire Dog Lake, health care | Comments Off on Filibustering Health Care Reform? Welcome To The Primaries

Alice Marshall’s Working On A Book

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 22, 2009

You might be interested in helping her write it:

About this Project

I am an independent PR practitioner with a longtime interest in voting machines. With your help I can write a book that chronicles the story of how the reputation of this technology went from perfect solution to alleged conspiracy.

The book I propose would be entirely about the reputation of voting machine technology. Others have written about the merits of the voting machines; I do not propose to address that aspect of the story. I am solely concerned with the reputation meltdown of the machines. When they were first brought to notice, they enjoyed widespread confidence. Now they are seen as insecure at best and the instrument of conspiracy at worst. How did such a thing come about? This article I wrote for the Daily Dog will give funders a sense of my approach.

So far as I am aware, this was the first case of an online campaign directed against a specific technology. I propose to write a detailed book that traces the story from the obscure websites that attacked the machines to when the machines became the subject of late night comedy. It will be necessary to conduct hundreds of interviews with activists, computer scientists, corporate leaders, lawyers, elections officers, reporters, and politicians. I am particularly eager to interview the public relations teams of the companies involved to get their side of the story. What is it like to be on the receiving end of this sort of pressure campaign?

Obviously, this will require a great deal of time; if I write this book I will not be able to accept any additional PR clients. It will be necessary to subscribe to Lexis/Nexis and similar data bases. I also anticipate that I will require a research assistant. It is my ambition to publish the book before the end of October 2009. There are elections this year in Virginia, New Jersey, and Kentucky. An October release would be the best timing for a book such as this.

This book will be aimed at public relations professionals. Robert French, who teaches public relations at Auburn University, has agreed to review the book on his blog infOpinions, so funders can be confident that the book will receive some publicity.

Project location: Washington, DC

Alice is a longtime online activist whose online history goes back to the early days of Salon‘s Table Talk. She’s been one of the heavy lifters on the subject of electronic voting. Her planned book is worth the support you can give it.

Posted in activism, blogs and blogging, organizing, Table Talk, voting machines | 1 Comment »

Hey, Starbucks!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 22, 2009

Maybe if you didn’t screw your employees, and maybe if you didn’t burn your friggin’ coffee, you might have more customer loyalty and people wouldn’t be ditching you for better fair-trade brands that they can make at home.

I get my coffee from fair-trade, fair-employment sources like Peace Coffee and Farmer to Farmer. Set the coffee maker up the night before, wake up to fresh coffee the way I like it, take some to work in a Thermos. Life is good.

Posted in activism, doing the right thing, unions, workers | Tagged: | Comments Off on Hey, Starbucks!

Minnesota’d wince

Posted by Charles II on September 5, 2008

One of the amazing people to protest at the RNC convention was Cheri Honkala of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Program.

She did an interview with Amy Goodman that is worth listening to, or reading. Here’s an excerpt:

CHERI HONKALA: Yeah, I mean, I’ve been involved in large demonstrations for like the last twenty years, and I’m very ashamed of my home state. I’ve never seen so many reporters like yourself being detained. A Channel 5 reporter was trying to cover a story of us; he was thrown into an elevator. A couple other folks that we know that were trying to cover some of our events were also detained and then later released on two different occasions. We were inside the Capitol trying to have a peaceful demonstration during regular open hours of the Capitol, and the reporters were literally locked out of the Capitol and unable to come in, even though they showed their credentials. And so, I don’t quite get what is so horrible about covering a story of women and children and the elderly and people of all colors trying to come together to talk about the day-to-day reality of their lives….

we set up encampments, particularly during the Republican National Convention, for some place for people to sleep, because we can’t afford the W or the Hilton. And so, people were staying at the Bushville, and our first Bushville that we set up on Harriet Island, the first night we were surrounded by 200 police officers in riot gear. They turned on the sprinklers on our children while they were sleeping, turned off all the park lights and drove their police vehicles up onto the lawn with their brights on. And myself and a couple of our other leaders were then arrested, and our Bushville was torn down. Later through the week, they brought dogs to our Bushville, while the kids were sleeping, let the dogs bark and scare the kids, and then periodically would just go by and drive up and run their sirens at 2:00, 3:00 in the morning, just to make people afraid.

You know how few Christians there are in this country when police can use tactics like these against the poor.

Posted in activism, Republican National Convention | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

The Internet And The Millenials Are To Blame For All That Is Wrong With America! (And The Boomers Had Nothing To Do With It!)

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 17, 2008

As georgia10 and Michael Connery point out, that seems to be what several finger-wagging Boomers are saying. (The biggest irony: One of the Boomers belching this Millenial-blaming bilge is none other than Iraq War cheerleader Thomas “Suck on this” Friedman.)

Posted in activism, getting a clue, Internet, Iraq war, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Internet And The Millenials Are To Blame For All That Is Wrong With America! (And The Boomers Had Nothing To Do With It!)