Tag: issues

Should Hillary Bow Out?

It looks like a lot of people are calling for Hillary to quit the race so that the dems can concentrate of beating McCain.  Most of the calls are coming from Obama supporters like Leahy.

I saw NO, but only if the candidates concentrate on the issues and the differences between them and McCain.  But if the candidates are going to continue to focus on the negative, with more attacks and insults, then they both should bow out.  The constant manure slinging is doing little to help the Dems and could very well assist McCain in his campaign.

But it appears that some if not all are running for president, for that reason only, everything else seems to be secondary.  In Obama’s case, this could very well be his only shot at the presidency and sometimes it appears that everything else is secondary.

The issues should be the focus.  The American people need answers to their questions on how to help solve their dilemmas.  Negativity is not help the Dems gain more votes, if anything it could be driving some away and towards that other party.

How About That Nader?

I was just wondering what everyone thinks about Nader in the presidential mix?  I am not oo thrilled with him, but not for the reasons that some democrats have.  He is blamed for Gore’s loss, I hold no grudge on that matter.  I, however, have a problem with him because of his constant running for office.  While I hold must of his issues close to my heart, I do not like the fact that he seems to be a perpetual candidate.  But in the years between the elections he has little to say.  But then he revs up and all hell breaks lose.

I would like my candidate to be there even in the “off season’ fighting for the progressive agenda, not just show up every 4 years and spout some left leaning agenda and expect people like me to support him.  Nader does have a wide range of progressive stands and some are very appealing, but I just have a hard time throwing my support in his direction.

I would like to hear others thoughts about his candidacy.

Is Just Voting Enough?

I realize that the there is a lot of passion in this election cycle.  Democrats are chomping at the bit to elect one of their own to replace Bush and his band of cronies.  IMO, it is a noble and necessary cause, for we must get the neocons out of Washington.  That conservative mindset has harmed the average American voter beyond reasonable repair.

The two candidates have their passionate supporters.  Sometimes to the point of exaggeration and down right lies.  However the Democratic Party used to be the party of the people, but in recent years that has slid into a centrist, pro-business position.  The Party use to stand for principles and diversity, but that has been replaced with less progressive ideals, solely for the acquisition of power.  It has become more important to beat the Repubs than to improve the quality of life of Americans.  

If one is voting Democratic, that is great!  But if you are voting just to beat a Repub then I question your motivation.  What are you really voting for in this election?  A return of the Clinton years or the possibility of real change in the white house?  But please keep in mind that the promise does not necessarily make it so.  Voting for the most popular candidate accomplishes nothing.  We might as well hold the election on “American Idol”.  

Just voting is not enough!  Participation after the fact is necessary and is the key to a GOOD government.  The insistence that the winner keeps his/her promises is a must.  Make whoever the winner is being answerable for their actions or their inactions.  Vote from knowledge not from anger and hatred or you will most likely not be pleased with the choice you made.  The winner of the general election in November has got to be held accountable.  If not then you have pissed away your vote–YET AGAIN!

A Carbon Tax?

One of the most pressing issues facing the candidates is global warming or climate change, whichever you prefer.  I want to talk about ways to stop or at least slow down the effects of said issue, at least from the Dem perspective.  I have listened to the candidates and their positions on helping the planet.  So far I am not too impressed with many of their views.  To me they are given too much time for the elimination of the harmful emissions.  IMO, the popular cap and trade that is being proposed by most candidates will not do the trick.

The leading candidates have the same plan, only with slightly different end goals.  That is a cap and trade system.  That is efforts to curtail emissions through fuel economy standards, biofuel mandates, or appliance standards may be well-meaning, but in my opinion, this is not the answer.  Clinton wants to cut oil consumption in half by 2025; Obama wants to a two-thirds reduction by 2050 and then there is Edawrds who wants an 80% reduction of greenhouse gases by 2050.  All these are cap and trade approaches.

The program that I feel would be better in the control of the situation is an emissions tax.  But it is a TAX!  Yes it is and taxation seems to be an ugly word these days, but if taxation discourages consumption; for example, taxing carbon emissions discourages carbon consumption, why would this be a bad idea?  The less carbon emissions released into the atmosphere the better and more healthy the planet will be.

There are five reasons why the emissions fee or carbon tax is better than the popular cap and trade.  These are the reasons put foward by carbontax.org

   * Carbon taxes will lend predictability to energy prices, whereas cap-and-trade systems will do little to mitigate the price volatility that historically has discouraged investments in less carbon-intensive electricity generation, carbon-reducing energy efficiency and carbon-replacing renewable energy.

   * Carbon taxes can be implemented much sooner than complex cap-and-trade systems. Because of the urgency of the climate crisis, we do not have the luxury of waiting while the myriad details of a cap-and-trade system are resolved through lengthy negotiations.

   * Carbon taxes are transparent and easily understandable, making them more likely to elicit the necessary public support than an opaque and difficult to understand cap-and-trade system.

   * Carbon taxes can be implemented with far less opportunity for manipulation by special interests, while a cap-and-trade system’s complexity opens it to exploitation by special interests and perverse incentives that can undermine public confidence and undercut its effectiveness.

   * Carbon tax revenues can be rebated to the public through dividends or tax-shifting, while the costs of cap-and-trade systems are likely to become a hidden tax as dollars flow to market participants, lawyers and consultants.

The costs passed on to each consumer might be noticeable, but need not excessive. An emission fee of $15/ton or a permit price of $15/ton would increase gasoline prices about 15 cents per gallon and residential electricity prices about ¾ of a cent per kilowatt-hour, according to Joe Aldy of the Progressive Policy Institute.  

The proposals of the “Big 3” take too long to achieve the goal of cutting emissions and saving the planet for future generations.  Personally, since we all are contributors to the problem then we all should be part of the solution and the best solution is the emissions fee.

IMO, a much better idea than the “cap and trade” proposals being offered by the two candidates.

Obama on Executive Power

Yesterday LithiumCola wrote about the Boston Globe’s questionnaire about Executive Power. S/he wrote about the strong answers Senator Obama gave. We’ll I thought I’d focus a diary just on his answers and not just on the two questions LC highlighted. The questionnaire is quite informative and gives you a good look at were the canidates stand. All except Fred Thomson who was asleep and Rudy Giuliani who was day dreaming about 9/11.  

Professor Obama will restore the Constitution

Today is a very important holiday. The congress did not nearly unanimously pass a resolution recognizing it’s importance. But it’s pretty damn important in my mind, I am speaking of course of the Bill Of Rights day. How am I celebrating Bill of Rights day? I’ve already drunk some tea from my disappearing civil liberties cup as shown above and watch our bill of rights disappear (Thanks Patriot Act!) Now I’m mad enough to do something about it. But first I recommend you get a similar cup. Only 11 dollars on Amazon. Now on to the real topic of the diary, why I believe former Professor (He was actually a Senior Lecturer in Law but professor sounds better) Obama will restore our constitution and our Bill of Rights. And a little call to action.

Action: One Week to Stop Big Media

The FCC wants to give Big Media a big handout on December 18 – but we can stop them. There is only about one year left of the Bush Administration and they are rushing to give big rewards to there giant corporate friends. One of those big corporate friends is Big Media. And Kevin Martin, the chair of the FCC that deals with media policy wants to give another hugely unpopular giveaway to Big Media. Thankfully the democracy fighters at Free Press have assembled a massive coalition that is fighting back. It's called Stop Big Media and they've been doing great work. And now that there is only a week left until the ruling I decided to write a action diary because this is one of the most important issues out there for progressives and all who believe in fairness.

The Xenophobic Democratic Party?

The rationale for the doubletalk from John Edwards on drivers licenses for undocumented aliens becomes clearer. Rassmussen Reports says:

Just 19% of Democratic Primary Voters in New Hampshire believe that drivers licenses should be made available to undocumented workers. Sixty-six percent (66%) disagree. A separate survey released yesterday found that Democrats nationwide hold similar views with 68% opposing the policy.

Edwards apparent (his answer is hard to decipher and rather nonsensical) change of heart (he favored drivers licenses for undocumented aliens in 2004) is clearly a result of political expediency.

The one candidate who spoke clearly and correctly on this issue was Barack Obama. He explained very well why offering dirvers licenses to undocumented aliens is good policy. He refused to pander to the xenophobia still present in the Democratic Party. Good for Obama. I hope he sticks to it in the face of this ugly side of the Democratic Party:

Fifty-one percent (51%) of Democratic Primary voters believe that when police pull someone over for a traffic violation, they should automatically check to see if the driver is in the country illegally. Thirty-eight percent (38%) believe that illegal immigrants discovered in this manner should be deported while 31% disagree. Half (51%) believe that such a policy invites discrimination.

It is interestng that Senator Clinton took heat on this as her initial answer was rather vacillating. She later clarified her support for the policy. My candidate, Chris Dodd, gave a clear, and atrocious, answer.

For me personally, the clear winner on this issue is Barack Obama. The clear losers are my candidate Chris Dodd and especially the doubletalking John Edwards.

Why I Concentrate My Critiques On The Non-Clinton Candidates

Over at the Big Orange Satan, our good friend ClammyC writes one of those “why do you want to be President” things. As a general rule, I dislike those types of diaries, as it buys into the whole idea of pols as something more than they are. Why does anyone run for President or for elected office period? To get elected. What values will they stand for? The ones that get them elected. Folks, that is what pols are. They are vessels for the political views that prevail in elections.

I have no doubt that each of the persons running believe they will do what is best for the country and be the best President ever. But they run to win. Asking them why they are running is silly in my opinion.

It’s funny that the most famous and damaging moment the “why do you want to be President?” question was asked was to Ted Kennedy by Roger Mudd in 1980. Kennedy fumbled the question and did great damage to his candidacy. But I ask you, did anyone have any doubt what Ted Kennedy would have tried to do as President? Ted Kennedy of all people?

I think Ted Kennedy is now the most honest, committed and, dare I say it, best representative of HIS OWN VIEWS in Congress. Heck, in politics. Why? Because Ted Kennedy will NEVER run for President and Ted Kennedy will never be beaten in an election. He is free. Of accountability with the voters. And of personal political ambition.

Every other politician, Russ Feingold not excluded, still feels the sway of the voters and personal political ambition. Pols are vessels of the politics of our country. They are the vehicles for the voices of the powers that decide elections. They do what they can and must to win elections.

Some call this pandering. Pandering, to me, is good. The question is who do you pander to. And why. Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner in the Presidential race. She is behaving in ways that she believes will enable her to win. To be frank, Hillary will not be the primary vehicle for making our voices heard on the issues. She must feel pressure from her rivals.

That is why I focus my attention on her rivals. That is why I support Chris Dodd. He has paid attention to the issues that matter to me. He has brought them to the fore. He has made his rivals move on those issues. Barack Obama, on the other hand, has moved NO ONE on any issue since he became a Senator. From my perspective, his candidacy has been an utter failure. I think from his perspective, he wants to win, it has been as well.

I deplore this focus on “doubletalk” (as if all them do not engage in it.) Press Clinton on the issues. Indeed, press Clinton’s RIVALS on the issues. Asking them why they want to be President is not only a waste of time, it distracts from what I think most of us want – attention to the issues we care about.

I know this admonition will fall on deaf ears when it comes to the rabid supporters of particular politicians. It seems clear to me that they have decided to put issues on the backburner. But for the rest of us, I hope we can focus in on what matters and pressure those who can put the issues on the front burner.

Investigative Issue Action Blogging: An Intro Diary

Yesterday Armando was blogging about the Netroots being at a crossroads regarding specifically issue action and especially about Iraq, and I proposed a strategy for altering that trajectory called Investigative Issue Action Blogging.  I’d like to flesh out that idea here this morning.

Here’s the basic idea: Create blogposts about specific legislation or actions to be investigated that can be researched collaboratively and acted upon, in order to collectively lobby to move a piece of legislative action forward. This includes nominations (i.e. Attorney General), investigations (i.e. Blackwater or Wiretapping) and legislation (SCHIP, FISA, IRAQ, GLOBAL WARMING on and on and on.)

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