So NOW you’re MAD?

Sent to me by a mutual Democratic friend.

M E M O   T O   T H E   T E A   P A R T Y   M O V E M E N T

Tea Party ProblemsWe had eight years of Bush and Cheney who trampled on the Constitution, but now you get mad. You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President although that is nowhere to be found in the U.S. Constitution giving them that power…nor is there anything about corporations being “people.”

You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy…even when it was proved that the energy crisis in California was created by ENRON.

You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed and other acts of definable acts of treason were secretly done against the country.

You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed and we operated under a Soviet Union style of surveillance of citizens.

You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us and hanged it’s elected leader.

You didn’t get mad when we spent over $600 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn’t get mad when over $10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people even though we hanged Nazis for doing the same thing.

You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden.

You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed which our returning wounded soldiers had to endure after fighting for their country.

You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city drown due to shoddy levees built by the government.

You didn’t get mad when we gave a $900 billion tax break to the rich and major corporations, many of whom paid no taxes on the billions in profit they made.

You didn’t get mad when, using reconciliation; a trillion dollars of our tax dollars were redirected to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage which cost over 20 percent more for basically the same services that Medicare provides.

You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark, and our debt hit the thirteen trillion dollar mark.

BUT you finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.

Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, illegal surveillance of American citizens, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans…oh hell no.


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Thoughts on Bipartisan Healthcare, Filibusters and Reconciliation

I was watching the Sunday morning political chatfests and it reminded me why I worry about the future of our republic.

When I got heavily involved in the political process, I was so upset at how the Bush Administration had destroyed American credibility abroad with the folly of the attack of Iraq, the snub of our responsibilities on the world stage with regard to our place as a world citizen and the general “holier than thou” attitude when dealing with issues that could seriously impact the entire world, not just within our borders (e.g. climate change).

Plouffe v RoveToday, I watched Karl Rove on This Week do what he does best, which was obfuscate the issues at hand by claiming the Obama White House had done some things that I know the Bush White House had done over and over. I saw him use the Glen Beck process of using a whiteboard to prove his point when no one could actually read it. I could devote an entire post on his absolute arrogant process of FoxNews-ifying the show (see for yourself) with his hypocritical cries of how the Healthcare process was not bipartisan, while never once bringing up the point that his own party has been the inertia and friction that has brought government to a standstill in the frequent use of the filibuster and procedural tactics that causes America to think Washington is broken.

What are you talking about, Sanford?

Let me try to explain my frustration with a story that rankles my engineering sensibilities:

  • You go into a problem with the assumption that all actors are their to work on the problem of X, and
  • you are open to the conversations and arguments that are within X.

But if the opponents of X have a weak hand, or have a weak position, it is better to obfuscate and delay the process than to actually discuss the problem when they know they can not win the argument.

As quoted often in the legal profession, the lawyer’s primer is ““If you don’t have the law, you argue the facts; if you don’t have the facts, you argue the law; if you have neither the facts nor the law, then pound on the table.” The idea of argue the argument you can win is the the issue of framing and turning the conversation. Consider:

  • When Obama entered the White House, the credit issue and healthcare was top of mind. He had his financial team working on the credit crisis (and I might comment on that later), he focused on what people during his campaign asked for – solve the healthcare issue.
  • As Obama got the work going, the Repugs did what they always do – delay, delay, delay. Use the rules of the filibuster and Roberts Rules of Order to delay actions through a single actor (yes, there is always someone to be the bad guy) to play to the meme “Government Doesn’t Work”.
  • Tack on the Tea Party stories powered by our “friends” at Fox News with stories of “death panels” and how the country doesn’t want this bill – and see how the Repugs now own the story of how this bill is too big, this is a bill no one wants, etc.

Sorry – but it just doesn’t cut it with me. Sadly, I know far too many people think the Repug narrative of “big government, bad government” and “no one wants this bill” registers far too well.

Reconciliation is a procedural method for passage when you have a majority, and when the minority is delaying (even when Dems are in the minority) – there must be some way to either get the minority to agree – or to get out of the way.

With the polarizing media efforts, the killing off of moderates – are we surprised that the coalitions of yesteryear are almost impossible to create?

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Is anyone in DC listening? Where’s the JOBS bill?

While I recognize the past two weeks have been absorbed with other issues from Congress, I have one simple question: where is the focus on Main Street? As in, what happened to the focus on truly kick-starting the economy – with a JOBS bill?

Reading Robert Reich’s piece on TPM today, I keep wondering what specifically happened to our focus on building up the economy?

I thought I remembered that the reason we did accepted the stimulus package was to free up the credit markets to ensure that banks would go back to lending. That the Fed Reserve Bank lending window was opened to these banks so they could get access to cheap cash: what happened to the spurring of the Main Street? Robert Reich had a great line in The Sham Recovery:

Business cheerleaders naturally want to emphasize the positive. They assume the economy runs on optimism and that if average consumers think the economy is getting better, they’ll empty their wallets more readily and – presto! – the economy will get better. The cheerleaders fail to understand that regardless of how people feel, they won’t spend if they don’t have the money.

The US economy grew at a 5.9 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2009. That sounds good until you realize GDP figures are badly distorted by structural changes in the economy. For example, part of the increase is due to rising health care costs. When WellPoint ratchets up premiums, that enlarges the GDP. But you’d have to be out of your mind to consider this evidence of a recovery.

Part of the perceived growth in GDP is due to rising government expenditures. But this is smoke and mirrors. The stimulus is reaching its peak and will be smaller in months to come. And a bigger federal debt eventually has to be repaid.

And with the Washington Post article from August 2009 and Robert’s own blog post on October 2009, we seem to be forgetting about the biggest bubble – the banks themselves.

As the banks continue to grow, are we not making this another tittering problem that we are ignoring? Why aren’t the banks HELPING in building up jobs? Should we be asking JP Morgan or Morgan Stanley for jobs creation instead of DC?

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Scandalous! Obama’s speech to children is about the R word!

shocked-woman-photoWhat is a guy to say when his own President suggests that children take responsibility for their own lives and future? I mean, REALLY! – take responsibility? Where are we living now – in America? Pluh-leeze!

You can read the entire speech here (thanks Jesse!). A few excerpts:

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.

Continue reading

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Campaign Tactics: How to Manage The Staff Costs

Its over three years since I had been a campaign manager for a Congressional Campaign, and I was cleaning up my blog and discovered a couple of half completed notes on being a campaign manager that I planned on publishing for others to benefit from my experiences. In the intervening years, I got extremely busy and never had the time to edit and update.

Today, I thought – why the heck not? The information is still relevant and the ideas may help some new campaign manager learn some lessons from this crib sheet instead of from the fire of a candidate (or campaign). As I go through my notes, I will write some of my thoughts out – and capture them in posts.

Lesson #1: It’s all about the money.

One of the lessons I learned in running a Congressional campaign is that a political campaign is like making sausages – you never want to know how it is done, but you can appreciate when it is done right.

In building a campaign from the ground up – or improving an existing program – you face a lot of operational issues:

  • getting low-cost, high-quality facilities,
  • getting the best staff for the least amount of money,
  • growing connections both within the district and the District,
  • creating compelling marketing materials that hit the high points, but keep the powder dry,
  • and so on.

And, aside from the operational ones – the interpersonal issues of political candidates and their families, the issues of staffers and volunteers – all of these are part and parcel of running the campaign.

But when it comes down to brass tacks, with all of these issues looming, what truly matters in the eyes of everyone is the money.

Money determines viability, strength and success in the future. Early money determines your perceived viability of the campaign. Effective money management determines the nature of your campaign management. Growth of money determines your future viability in various situations – including television, radio, print/direct mail, online and other outreach mechanisms.

Since money is the constraint on your campaign – consider the following suggestions when trying to create an effective political campaign. Continue reading

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