Sunday, July 4, 2010

On To The Next One

We're moving!

This page has been pretty inactive for quite a while. is coming and it's going to rock.

Until then, keep up with us on Facebook (link on the right side of your page).

Stay tuned!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

We The People vs Wall Street

"I promise to use every tool at my disposal to see these reforms enacted: to ensure that the bill I sign into law reflects not the special interests of Wall Street, but the best interests of the American people." — President Obama

(The following text is from Organizing For America's Wall Street Reform Info)

President Obama has proposed a series of reforms with two main objectives:

1) Create the strongest consumer protections in history so that Americans always get the information they need to make smart financial decisions

2) Rein in Wall Street abuses, hold the big banks accountable, and ensure that taxpayers never again have to bail them out

Consumer Protections:

To ensure that consumers have the protection they deserve, the President’s plan will consolidate the consumer protections now spread across seven government agencies into one single Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The CFPA will be tasked with preventing predatory practices and making sure consumers get the clear information they deserve before signing for a mortgage, loan, or credit card.

Big banks and credit card companies will be required to provide consumers with clear and transparent terms, ensuring Americans have all the information they need to compare mortgage and credit card rates and make the right financial choices for their families.

The CFPA will be responsible for protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive practices like ballooning mortgage payments or credit card rate hikes.

Consumers will be provided with clear disclosure regarding the consequences of their financial decisions, and clear identification of costs, penalties, and risks.

Reining in Wall Street:
The President’s reforms will guarantee that Americans never again end up holding the bag for the bad decisions and greed-driven policies of big banks and credit card companies – protecting consumers and taxpayers alike. Wall Street reform will protect taxpayers and investors by making the financial system more stable for everyone.

In the recent crisis, millions of American families saw their retirement savings or their children's college funds fall dramatically. The President’s plan will help to make financial markets safer for investors by closing regulatory gaps and loopholes.

Wall Street reform will require tough new rules and greater transparency from investment advisors, financial brokers and hedge funds – holding them accountable while protecting investors and businesses.

The President’s plan will strengthen oversight and aggressively pursue financial fraud, conflicts of interest and manipulation of the system that benefits the special interests at the expense of American families and businesses.

Reform will put in place tough new capital requirements, rigorous standards and supervision to ensure that no financial institution is capable of bringing down the economy, and that taxpayers are never again forced to bail out big banks because they are "too big to fail."

Stand with President Obama on Wall Street Reform:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Democrats vs Chief Justice Roberts

Things have been (rightfully) tense between Democrats and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court since the Court's controversial decision on corporate campaign finance.

Most famously President Obama chastised the Court for its decision during his State of the Union Address. On Tuesday, Roberts responded by saying the scene at President Obama's first State of the Union address was "very
troubling" and that the annual speech to Congress has "degenerated into a
political pep rally."

From Huffington Post:
Roberts said anyone is free to criticize the court and that some have an
obligation to do so because of their positions.

"So I have no problems with that," he said. "On the other hand, there is the
issue of the setting, the circumstances and the decorum. The image of having the
members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the
Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the court – according the
requirements of protocol – has to sit there expressionless, I think is very


Today Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hit back with remarks of his own.

Also from Huffington Post:

On Wednesday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he was "so
disappointed" with the Court's swing vote -- Justice Anthony M. Kennedy -- for
enabling the court's rightward, corporatist tilt. As for Chief Justice John
Roberts, the majority leader castigated him as being out of touch and completely
detached from political reality.

"Do you think John Roberts knows or cares how people get elected?" he said,
referring to the role the chief justice played in crafting the court's Citizens
United decision.

Insisting that the court was engaged in "activism" for allowing corporations
to spend unlimited amounts of money on congressional campaigns, the Nevada
Democrat insisted that the time had come to stop appointing judges to the bench.

"I think we've had enough of them," he said. "I think what we need are people on
that bench who have been legislators, people who are lawyers, people who are
academics. You look at our Supreme Court and all these people, all they know is
working with people in black robes. We have got to change that."

President Obama's remarks on the Court's decision during his State of the Union Address

The full article on Chief Robert's comments

The full article on Senator Reid's comments

Sunday, February 21, 2010

CPAC Civil War: The Fight For the Soul of Conservatism

Conservatives seemed to be in disarray at this year's CPAC Convention, with a full blown war being waged for the soul of the Conservative movement. The fight was between the ultra-conservative, take no prisoners, cultural warriors club led by the likes of Glenn Beck, Dick Cheney, and Sarah Palin against the more moderate, "independent", big tent faction led by Ron Paul and Bob Barr.

The division and uncertainty was on full display in the CPAC Presidential Straw Poll, where the attendees voted on their 2012 presidential hopefuls. In a surprise to everyone, Ron Paul won the poll with a whopping 31%. Mitt Romney came in second with 22% and Sarah Palin came in a distant third with only 7%.

Here are the full results from the poll:

Texas Rep. Ron Paul - 31 percent
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- 22 percent
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin -- 7 percent
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty - 6 percent
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich - 4 percent
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee -- 4 percent
Indiana Rep. Mike Pence - 5 percent
South Dakota Sen. John Thune -- 2 percent
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels -- 2 percent
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum -- 2 percent
Mississippi Gov. Hailey Barbour - 1 percent
Other - 5 percent
Undecided - 6 percent

However, it has been reported that upon announcing Ron Paul as the winner the crowd erupted in to a chorus of "boos".

In his speech at the conference, Ron Paul, essentially a libertarian, rallied against government over reach but also against the dangers of neoconservatism. This seemed to be in direct conflict with the keynote speaker, Glenn Beck's, speech.

In his highly anticipated keynote speech Beck blasted fellow Republicans (including John McCain and Teddy Roosevelt) and called for purity in the Republican ranks. In fact, most of the major Republican speakers-Cheney, Armey, Bachmann, Coulter-not only stuck to their normal vicious and partisan attacks, but actually seemed to even up the ante. Why? The widespread pandering to the Tea Party movement that has been on display in the Republican party throughout 2010, not to mention the venom that courses through neoconservative veins at the mere thought of President Obama.

So which is it going to be, conservatives? The "big tent, independent" style of Ron Paul or the "take no prisoners, purity" approach of Beck and Palin?

Honestly, I think it has already been decided. All of the major, mainstream, best known Republican speakers-Beck,Cheney,Coulter-embraced the radical style and talking points of the paranoid, conspiracy theorist, anti-Obama fringe. The representation of the more libertarian conservatism would probably be met with "Oh yeah, I remember you. You're still around?" (Ron Paul) or "Who the hell are you?" (Bob Barr) by the average Fox News follower. The star power of the conservative movement seems to be drifting even further towards the fringe and taking the whole Republican Party with it.

Media Matter's full coverage of the CPAC event, with videos from about every important speaker:

The Insanity of Beck:

Beck calls President Warren Harding's death "divine providence"

Beck: "Rush [Limbaugh] is a hero of mine"

Keith Olbermann's coverage of CPAC:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Hypocrisy of Sarah Palin

On Saturday, at the first official Tea Party convention, Keynote Speaker Sarah Palin was caught with notes written on her hand during her big speech. Now, this wouldn't be so bad, except in that very same speech (and countless times before) she mocked Obama for using a teleprompter.

Silly Palin, your hypocrisy is matched only by your stupidity.

Now, if I was president, and I had to give a 40+ minute speech live to the entire country, I think I would want a prompter too (it's not like you can be standing up there with note cards). The funny thing about Palin was she only had a few vague words on her hand (such as "energy" and "budget cuts"). So it's not like she was worried about tripping over a few lines or getting flustered: she apparently was worried she was going to forget all of her morals and talking points by the time she hit the stage.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has some fun with the crib note controversy, or "Palmgate", as some have dubbed it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

We the Corporations

By a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday rolled back restrictions on corporate spending on federal campaigns. The decision could unleash a torrent of corporate-funded attack ads in upcoming elections.

The Supreme Court's ruling is a green light for a new stampede of special interest money in our politics, giving their lobbyists even more power in Washington.

President Obama vows to take action against the Supreme Court's ruling.

"As long as I'm your President, I'll never stop fighting to make sure that the most powerful voice in Washington belongs to you."

Stand with President Obama:

Sign Rep. Grayson's Petition

Sign the Move to Amend motion... See More

Watch the full "Corporation" movie
Full movie:

An answer?

From Newsweek:

What's the remedy? A constitutional amendment is tempting, but tampering with the First Amendment is a bad idea. The best option is Sen. Dick Durbin's ingenious campaign-reform bill. The idea, which already works well in New York City and other localities, is to set up a public-financing system that rewards candidates who attract small donors. House candidates, for example, who raise at least $50,000 in donations of $100 or less would be eligible for $900,000 in public money. The president must move the bill to the center of his agenda and mobilize his 13 million 2008 contributors to pressure Congress to enact it.

From Congressman Alan Grayson (FL-8):

Unlike you and me, corporations don't eat, drink, get married, vote, or bathe. And they never sleep. Which is why they have already launched another attack on our democracy, due to hit ground zero tomorrow, Wednesday, January 27, at 9:30 a.m.

Last week, it was the Citizens United case. That case not only permits unlimited campaign spending by huge multinational corporations, but it also says that any law to curb such spending is a violation of those corporations' "constitutional rights."

Now, it's the SpeechNow case. This new case would extend the newfound "rights" of multinational corporations to billionaires. Yes, the SpeechNow case would give billionaires the "constitutional right" to pollute political campaigns to any degree that they see fit.

We have to fight back. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear "arguments" on the SpeechNow case at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow in Washington.

Let's show them what "freedom of speech" really means. We'll speak and, for a change, they'll listen.

Click here to send a message to the court and show your support for real free speech!

You can also call the clerk's office at 202-216-7300.

Over 90,000 of us have signed the petition at Please -- PLEASE -- ask your friends to sign up, and keep watching for ways that we can save democracy.


Alan Grayson
Member of Congress

Monday, January 18, 2010

In Memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Quotes from Dr. King

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”... See More

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

“The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be... The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”

“Life's most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”

“That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”

“When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.”

“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.”'

“A man who won't die for something is not fit to live.”

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

To Battle (2010)

(Terry's note: I feel this is the most important message I've posted on the site. I know it is a little long, but please find the time.)

2009 was a crazy year, wasn’t it? It is hard to fathom, but it was only a year ago that the nation stood in united excitement and pride over the popular and historic new president-elect. Despite everything that had happened in 2008; the financial collapse, the two seemingly endless wars, the bitter and heated election season, the country somehow seemed stronger at the end of the year. I don’t think I only feel that way because I supported Barack Obama. I guess I could be naïve, or just wrong, but judging by his high approval and favorability ratings at the time, not to mention just the buzz and excitement that seemed to run through everything that January, I think a large majority of the country was ready to start in a new direction. We were ready for change.

What a difference a year makes. As anyone reading this knows, the honeymoon faded fast, and gave way to one of the most brutal and partisan atmospheres since….well, since George Bush was in office. In political terms, not much has changed. The minority party is entrenched deep in their bunkers, only peering out to throw the occasional verbal grenade or political obstruction. The majority party increasingly leans towards the disposition that due to the moral inferiority of the minority, it is appropriate to turn a deaf ear and leave them out. The lines have been repainted in bright new paint. It is political warfare in America, from the Hill, to the blogs, to the dinner table.

Now here we are at the dawning of a new year, a congressional election year, and pedestrians to pundits have already declared it the “Year of the elephant” (GOP). Us on the left are peering in to 2010 with a mixture of apprehension, anxiety, and even dread. And we probably should be.

2009 saw the resurgence of the Republican party, a party that just at the beginning of that year had been declared dead, somewhat reverently by the media and gleefully by the Democrats. After the train wreck of the Bush years, the divisiveness of Sarah Palin, and the Democratic takeovers of Congress and the White House, the Republicans seemed to be gasping their last breath with no way forward. The very tectonic plates of American culture, race, sexuality, status quo, climate change belief, secularity, and more seemed to be shifting against the Grand Old Party.

As we all know, that is not what has happened. At the beginning of 2010, the Republicans stand stronger (in political terms) than any time since perhaps the 1994 takeover of Congress under the Clinton Administration. While obviously the GOP had significant power under the Bush Administration (especially the first four years), I don’t think they dominated the day to day narrative as much at that time. While there have been reports already of in fighting between the tea parties and the Republican party, and even the tea parties themselves, the conservative doctrine is undeniably receiving a significant boom through it all.

What is interesting, and note worthy for those of us on the other side of the political wrestling ring, is that they did it without any true leadership in the sense of a visionary politician or exciting new candidate. Sure, there was the rise of Glenn Beck. Not only in his smash hit Faux TV show, but also in his best selling books, Beck definitely was a major player in the conservative movement in 09. We have always had these controversial magnetic pundits in politics though, from Buckley to Limbaugh, so that can’t be all there is to it. There was also the Michelle Bachmans in the party who tried to latch themselves on to the tea parties and be perceived as their leader, but I don’t think any of those people are responsible for their current momentum. Also, Sarah Palin undeniably had a good year despite her stepping down from office, which a sane person would see as a setback. Nonetheless, her book has predictably sold like crazy, she had a successful tour off of it, and being in the spotlight another year has, in the twisted world of casual politics, made her appear more credible. (Despite the fact she has done NOTHING of actual substance in said year to bolster credibility).

There are two factors that are attributable to the GOP’s winning year in 2009. The first, (bear with me on this), is the people. It is true that more average people are fired up in the name of conservatism in their everyday lives and interactions in a way that they had previously not been. Some of them are legitimately opposed to the Democrat’s agenda and are feeling far away enough from the Bush years to come out from under their rock. Others have been caught up in a trend, a frenzy, the same way that the Obama campaign had its uninformed, the following the moment fan base. This is inevitable in politics, which is all about grabbing a theme, getting the ball rolling, and attracting uninformed and naïve voters on the sidelines.

There is another side, a darker side, to the so called “grassroots” uprising, namely “special interests”. In the contentious battlefields of health care, cap and trade, and financial reform, untold sums of money are being pumped from interest groups in a full frontal assault on the progressive agenda. The money makers on top have decided it’s not worth reforming and fixing these broken systems if it is going to cost them a few extra dollars off of the next profit report. They are throwing everything they have in to opposing the legislation that is going to better serve the American people.

In short, the swelling of everyday American’s militant conservatism is coming from their blindness to the unseen fat cat forces (or in the case of one particular “news” network, masked force) that is whispering in their ear while simultaneously digging a grave for them. It is amazing the effectiveness these powers have shown at turning low income, working people against the very things being put forth to work on their behalf. I don’t mean to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but if you don’t believe there are big money interests working on their own behalf alone, out of the public eye, you are either delusional, blind, or naïve.

So what can we on the left do to prepare for the congressional war of 2010? Organize, inform, and motivate, on every possible level. Basically, we have to be involved. Those of us already involved need to recognize we are going to have to push it in to an even higher gear, perhaps by breaking outside of the blogosphere and organizing events and rallies on a local scale. Do work at the schools, parks, and hospitals in affiliation with your local democratic forces (or just start your own).

Those of us with one foot in, on the sidelines but not in the game, reading and being attentive but not personally actively involved, need to dive in the deep end. First and foremost, find yourself as many sources you trust as you can. When you read a news story or opinion article that impacts you, pass it on, through a personal message to a like minded friend or open minded skeptic. Post your finds on your Facebook, Twitter, blog, or Myspace. Use your social networking to direct as many of your peers as you can to being attentive and having a seat at the table. Also, take up conversations on network posts and discussion boards. The more people you bounce your beliefs and ideas off of, the stronger they will be and the more comfortable you will be with crafting a narrative for them. Democracy only works for us if we work for it.

I want to directly address my generation, the people my age, the 18-25 crowd. We have to step up. We have to pull our heads out of the MTV society. Nobody is going to work on our behalf except ourselves, and there are plenty of powers working against us. We are inheriting an unprecedented world, a world of globalization, terrorism, and too big to fail economics. I know plenty of young people who will loudly state their beliefs against war, in favor of gay rights, or for bottom up economics, but very few who are actively participant on a significant scale. In the same way as it is easier to play Guitar Hero than be a rock star, it is easier to boast about your beliefs than it is to inform yourself on them and fight for them. Carving out your political identity and informing yourself is part one, taking your message to others and encouraging them to do the same is part two.

All of us on the left can’t wait around for President Obama to get everything done, for our talk show hosts to beat back every attack, or for others in general to fight all of our battles. Part of the message of President Obama’s election was that we have to take an active role in our politics, government, and in our future. In 2010, we have to summon the same determination and fight that we had just a little over a year ago to support and reinforce our demand for change and progress.

(P.S.- Start now. Pass this message on.)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

National Security Under the Obama Administration

President Obama's weekly address. In this address the President talks about the failed Christmas day terrorist attack and national security:

From the Washington Post:

"Critics have set up a straw Obama, a weak and naive leader who allegedly takes terrorism lightly, thinks that playing nicely with terrorists will make them stop, and fails to understand the threat that the United States faces from violent extremists. Mr. Cheney said that the incident had made "clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war." Likewise, Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) called on Mr. Obama to "recognize that we are at war with a murderous enemy who will not relent because we heed political correctness, acquiesce to international calls for deference or close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay." Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano "and the rest of the Obama administration view their role as law enforcement, first responders dealing with the aftermath of an attack. And we believe in a forward-looking approach to stopping these attacks before they happen."

There are two ways to show how baseless these attacks are: examining Mr. Obama's words and examining his actions.

Words first. "Evil does exist in the world," Mr. Obama said in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. "Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms." In his weekly radio speech Saturday, he disposed of the war-vs.-law-enforcement canard, pointing out that in his inaugural address he made it clear that "0ur nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred and that we will do whatever it takes to defeat them and defend our country, even as we uphold the values that have always distinguished America among nations."

But actions speak louder, and Mr. Obama's actions -- often at the cost of enraging his party's liberal base -- have also demonstrated tenacity and pragmatism blended with a necessary reassessment of the flawed policies of his predecessors and a recommitment to the rule of law. He wants to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, which is all to the good given its stain on the national character, but he has delayed that goal until acceptable alternatives can be found. He has brought criminal charges against some terrorists, but he has also sent others to be tried by military tribunals. He has invoked the authority of the executive to have lawsuits dismissed because they risk exposing state secrets. In addition to the new troop deployments, he has aggressively used predator drones to strike at terrorists, including outside Afghanistan. Even before the failed attack, his administration has been working aggressively with Yemeni authorities to deal with extremists there."

Republicans obviously don't agree.

Also from the Washington Post:

"Since before Obama was sworn into office, Republicans have been building a case that he is weak on national security, and in the wake of the intelligence and security failures that led to last week's incident, they think that narrative might stick. Congressional Republicans and GOP pollsters said they believe the administration's response to the failed attack on a Detroit-bound plane -- along with Obama's decisions on the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the intelligence lapses connected to November's massacre at Fort Hood, Tex. -- damage the Democratic brand.

The nation's economy and health-care reform are sure to be dominant themes. But if the public remains concerned about the safety of air travel and about international terrorism, the Republican attacks on Obama could be "very influential," said Andrew Kohut, a veteran pollster and president of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

"I don't know if it has legs, but it certainly has potential if it has legs," Kohut said.

As the GOP seeks a path out of the political abyss in the 2010 elections, its leaders seem to be turning to the issue of terrorism, which worked for them in the 2002 congressional midterms and in President George W. Bush's 2004 reelection.

"They just don't get it," Rep. Peter Hoekstra (Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee, wrote in a fundraising letter for his gubernatorial campaign. "These are the same weak-kneed liberals who have recently tried to bring Guantanamo Bay terrorists right here to Michigan!"

White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod responds:

"They can run on rhetoric," Axelrod said in an interview Tuesday. "We will run on our record when the time comes. . . . The president's record, I think, is very clear and very strong. This president has taken the fight to al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Somalia, in Yemen. He has focused on the threat in a way that it hasn't been.'"

President Barack Obama's top counter terrorism adviser, John Brennan, said Sunday that former Vice President Dick Cheney's criticism of the Obama administration's approach to the Christmas Day terror attempt is misinformed or intentionally false.

The White House also hit back on Cheney's remarks with an official statement:

"To put it simply: this President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric, he is focused on action. Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country. And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the President."

The non-partisan Politifact organization gave Cheney's remark their dubious "pants on fire" award.