June 30, 2011

Picking campaign music for the GOP

So the New Yorker has an article in which Ben Greenman makes some dry, unfunny jabs at the GOP frontrunners by picking their campaign theme music.

For Michele Bachman, for instance, he picked "Shine on you crazy diamond." For Mitt Romney, he went for a pun by picking cheap trick's "Stiff Competition." Get it? Because Romney is stiff and charisma-free!


Rather than digging through the top 40 hits of the past 40 years, they should look to death metal. In particular, one band:

Cannibal Corpse.

I mean, what's more appropriate to show that you as a candidate are in support torture, (er ahem, "enhanced interrogation") than Cannibal Corpse's "Make Them Suffer"?

And at pro-life rallies, just to get everybody all riled up, they can play "Butchered At Birth." as you walk onto stage. Y'know, to remind everybody what abortion means. Because those giant posters with body-parts splattered across them[editor's note: the image at the link is graphic] just don't quite convey the message succinctly enough.

And in support of our three illegal and immoral wars, they can play "Scattered Remains, Splattered Brains."

Actually, you could use any of these for quite a few Democrats too.

June 27, 2011

Tyson Slocum on Flooding Nebraska Power Plant

Public Citizen's Tyson Slocum on RT:

He was also interviewed in The Progressive magazine on the same subject.

“We’re inches away from a nuclear plant being flooded. It’s already an island. And we still have a very real possibility of flood levels rising.”

Slocum says the operators are reaching “the upper levels” of their emergency flood assumptions, adding: “There’s always the possibility of the situation escalating, especially when we don’t control all the variables. That’s what happened in Japan.”

Slocum recognizes that it would still be possible to bring in back-up power generation in case the plant’s own systems are destroyed, unlike in Japan. But that doesn’t mean that everything is copasetic.

“There’s no question that there’s significant concern about the threat that rising flood waters pose to flooding certain operations of the plant that could disable certain critical safety features, including cooling systems,” Slocum says.

Read the full article after the jump.

June 23, 2011

Netroots Nation: Marcy Wheeler

FireDogLake's Marcy Wheeler and CATO institute's Julian Sanchez speaking at the Netroots Nation panel, "What the Government Wants to Know About You."

June 19, 2011

Knocking Doors in Wisconsin!

The past four days at Netroots Nation has been a total whirlwind.

I thought we'd have internet access in our hotel rooms, but sadly, no- the Hilton doesn't consider internet access an amenity. I personally think that internet access in this day and age should be viewed like access to potable water.

I've got a bunch of footage that I will be editing on the train home, and will be uploading on the DownEaster train on the way back home. I'm actually on a Union run busline provided by Democracy For America on my way back from a canvassing session in Hudson, Wisconsin in support of the recall effort against incumbent republican Sheila Horsdof.

I'm a little dissapointed with the Netroots crowd. Out of 2,500+ attendees, only 41 signed up for this canvass. Of the 41 who signed up, only 17 showed up. But with these 17 people, we knocked 1,200 doors -- the ENTIRE TOWN OF HUDSON in just under 2 hours. We are a powerhouse! Also, we had the help of a group of Hudson locals who knew the area, put together the walk lists, and drove us to our turf, which was a huge help.

Things were a little weird at a few points though-- As we were out canvassing, we were being followed by people driving black cars, and they were filming us with camcorders the entire time. I assume they are people from the Right Online conference and are going to post this online and smear us as being "outside agitators."

Forgetting the goons with the camcorders for a second, the people of Hudson were really friendly-- even the Republicans. One of our volunteers was actually invited into a Horsdorf supporter's home, something made even more hilarious by the fact the Harsdorf supporter in question was unsettled by the goons in black cars following and filming this volunteer. He asked her if the goons were with her, she said no. He mentioned that they were filming her and asked if she wanted to come inside to get away from them. And so she did, and they had a nice conversation. Another canvasser had a Shelly Moore pamphlet thrown back into his face and was told, "You get out of here! Please." You just can't beat that midwestern politeness.

I personally was surprised by how quick and easy the canvass was. If you've done voter ID in the past, you know about the 1-5 rating system. Those who are for your candidate are 1s, those who are opposed are 5s, and those who are undecided or unidentified are 3s.

On this canvass, those who were for Horsdorf were solidly for Horsdorf. Those who were for Shelly Moore were solidly for Shelly Moore. And those who were undecided had no clue about either candidate, though they often leaned towards Shelly Moore, asking "Who's the Democrat?"

While the majority of the people I talked to were solidly in support of the recall, the biggest obstacle for this campaign is twofold: First, people don't seem to understand how big a deal this recall election is. They view it as just another local race. Second, while the recall effort has solid backing in sentiment, many voters I talked to aren't sure if they're going to bother to vote in the upcoming primary on July 12th, nor in the general election on August 4th. While we may disagree with the right, we have to admire their sense of civic duty. This also lends credibility to my hunch that most of these terrible and shocking election outcomes of late are caused mostly by the fact that people on the left didn't bother to vote, because they assumed their issue/candidate would have their win in the bag.

I'm really excited about the prospects of this recall effort. Despite the fact that there are national organizations like DFA that are coming in to help coordinate things, they wouldn't matter for beans if it weren't for the strong grassroots support that's already on the ground in Wisconsin. Community after community is organizing themselves, or with the help of We Are Wisconsin and Democracy For America.

The difference in this election is going to be getting people out to vote. If people get to the polls, we can win this. If you'd like to help with the GOTV effort, you can go to CallOutTheVote.com

Your help is needed.


June 13, 2011

Netroots Nation HOOOOOOO!

So the ride from Portland to Boston was incredibly pleasant.

There's no stupid TSA proceedures to go through. Nobody had to grope my balls. I just walked onto the train, and handed my ticket to the conductor.

Being on the train has forced me to have downtime in my schedule, so I used the wifi to go to the netroots nation website, and check the agenda (finally) so that I can start planning my time there.

I've decided that I'm definitely going to be going two classes in particular, one wonky class on analytics and testing, which, while I have the ability to do so on the various platforms I use, I've never really understood why to use it, or how to use it effectively. Another class that I'll definitely be going to is on data extraction. It talks about how to go through a voter file, and create those maps and data rich lists that I have seen so often when working as a canvasser. I'm hoping the mystery will be made less mysterious.

After arriving in Boston, I was told to go to Backbay via the Orange line. Which I did, only to find out that my ticket had me leaving from South Station. But I had an hour to get to where I was supposed to be, so I wasn't worried.

I was helped by a very friendly AmTrak clerk behind the counter, who informed me that I didn't need to go to South Station, and that the instructions I got from the conductor of the Downeaster was correct... sort of. The same train stops in both South Station and Backbay, so it doesn't really matter. Adding to my confusion was the layover I have on my schedule in Albany. Turns out, everbody on the Chicago train takes a 1.5 layover in Albany.

I'm making an attempt to soak up the scenery and meditate on Theodore Roosevelt's time in the NY state congress. Unfortunately, I'm overwhelmed by the fact that I can't really SEE Albany from the AmTrak station.

Sadly, there is no wifi between Boston and Chicago, except for the diner in the station I'm currently eating an overpriced "bowl" (see also, styrofoam cup) of veggie soup, so I've mostly been reading.

I brought along with me a copy of the latest issue of Green Horizon, as well as two books by Vaclav Havel. It occurs to me frequently that if you replace the words "communist party" with "two party duopoly" you could easily misread his letters as being about the USA.

That's all for now. I have a four hour layover in Chicago tomorrow morning, so I'm hoping to grab brunch with an old friend from way back in highschool.

To Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of a Less F**ked up government.

June 9, 2011

Lee Camp's Moment of Clarity #46

Thank you to Lee camp for reminding me about the "poor people solidarity" video I wrote a script for way back when. It was basically this, but less funny.

June 8, 2011

Meet the Patriotic Millionaires

From the Daily Caller:

H/T to Daniel McCann

The Patriotic Millionaires, a group of millionaires who believe that government should increase the tax rate for millionaires, released a video calling on congress to raise their taxes.

The group, organized by The Agenda Project, seeks to end the Bush Tax Cuts that Obama extended last year, saying that it is unfair to give tax cuts to people in the highest income bracket.

“You decided our country needed less money, and millionaires like me needed more,” says the script of the video, read by a series of millionaires who signed the original petition.

“Less money for roads to transfer our products, for high speed internet to build our technology companies, for science research, education, for universities, and research to spark our innovation,” they say.

“Rich people are not the cause of a robust economy, they’re the result of a robust economy,” one says.

A series of millionaires explain how the government, or government funded entities like public schools, have contributed to their success.

“Tax me,” one concludes, “because my country, our country, means more than my money.”

I have a sneaking suspicion that Ralph Nader is behind this. Why? This is straight out of his book, "Only the Super Rich Can Save Us!" The name, and everything. If you haven't yet, pick up a copy.

June 6, 2011

Sign the pledge

From Dennis Trainor:

I've signed. I'll be there. So will:
Col Ann Wright
Anthony Arnove
Baldemar Velasquez
Ben Manski
Bhikkhu Bodhi
Bill Moyer
Bill Quigley
Brian Becker
Chris Hedges
Coleen Rowley
Cornel West
Dave Rovics
David Himmelstein
David Lindorff
David Swanson
Debra Sweet
Dennis Trainor, Jr.
Diane Wilson
Diane Wittner
Elaine Brower
Ellen Barfield
Ellen Davidson
Glen Ford
Howie Hawkins
Jack Balkwill
Jane Hamsher
Jodie Evans
Joe Lombardo
Kevin Zeese
Larisa Alexandrovna
Larry Pinkney
Lisa Simeone
Margaret Flowers
Maria Allwine
Matthew Rothschild
Medea Benjamin
Michael Prysner
Mike Ferner
Nicole Sandler
Rabbi Michael Lerner
Ray McGovern
Rev. Graylan Hagler
Richard Grossman
Rob Kall
Rosa Clemente
Russell Mokhiber
Scott Horton
Sibel Edmonds
Steffie Woolhandler
Tarak Kauff
Ted Rall
The Yes Men
Thom Hartmann
Vicente Navarro
Watermelon Slim
Zach Choate

Northwest USA is shutting down Windmills

Because they produce TOO MUCH ELECTRICITY.

The CATO institute said that wind power would never be efficient enough to make sense on a commercial scale. Well... suck it.

June 5, 2011

Austan Goolsbee falls on his face

I know that this is old, but I didn't see it until recently, and I'm surprised that nobody else has said much of anything about how terribly this interview went. Instead of editing the interview so that it was more funny, they had to edit it so that Mr Goolsbee looked like he performed better than he actually did:

The interview that aired on Comedy Central:

The extended Interview:

Part 1:

Part 2

Part 3

Colbert was doing something he normally does not do, and pitched Austan Goolsbee softball question after softball question, and Austan Goolsbee flubbed every single answer, answering with GOP talking points, as though Colbert were a Fox News anchor, and Goolsbee was going to somehow butter Colbert up and win political points. This isn't just a failure of Austan Goolsbee to realize that Colbert's job in the mediascape is to play a foil to the conservatives, by creating a parody of them.

Apparently, the Obama Administration has decided that the way to win in 2012, is to concede every single unfounded GOP talking point and let the GOP and Tea Party frame the entire debate.

By advocating for raising taxes on the rich, while conceding that "government hasn't created one job" (which is absurd, as any police officer, firefighter, librarian, or schoolteacher can tell you) and that Government has no role to play in the economy, Obama's administration continues to lose the message battle in defense of government.

And this isn't limited to just this interview. Digby has more on how this has been an administration-wide failure.

If you look how many Wall Street crooks, aka "Business community" members have become a part of Obama's administration, look at where $7.9 million in campaign contributions came from in 2007 and 2008, it's no wonder the Obama Administration has been falling all over itself these past 3 years to kiss the Wall Street Oligarch's buttocks, and why they are "losing" the message battle.

Obama and his administration aren't losing the battle. They aren't even fighting it.

June 3, 2011

Partisanship is counterproductive

Partisanship is a waste of time, and is counterproductive.
Why? Let's take a look at our enemy. Our enemy is not convervative voters. Our enemy is not joe the redneck down the road with an and a gunrack mounted in the back of his gunrack.
Our enemy is not your Republican Grandfather.
Our enemy are corporate oligarchs who are trying to undermine everything good that America is supposed to stand for, things like liberty, and justice for all. You know, that stuff from the Pledge of Allegiance. They own almost all the media you watch. They control what news you see. They own almost all the food you eat, and they want to genetically modify it. They own almost all the money in our economy too. How did things get here? Well Corporate Oligarchs don't waste their time with petty bullshit and partisanship.

Since they control the media, they control our access to our political candidates as well. During the presidential primaries, you don't get to see people like Dennis Kucinich, or Mike Gravel for more than a few minutes. When you're on GE's turf they set the rules. GE owns huge chunks of the military industrial complex, and candidates who want to end our global war on scary things get excluded from their debates. GE decides which candidate you should vote for.
Last election, GE and Lockheed Martin, and Verizon and all the rest decided that your candidates were going to be Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, and John Edwards. And funny enough, each of these candidates stated in their policy positions, which any chimpanzee with an internet connection can download and read from their campaign websites, that they were willing to bend over backwards to suck the collective cock of the corporate oligarchy-- sometimes called by folks like David Gergen, the “Business Community.”

Which is a terribly misleading name, because I know plenty of people who own businesses who aren't a part of that that community, and never will be. The community david gergen is talking about has expansive well-manicured lawns, tall iron-spiked fences surrounding it, a security guard at the gate, and gets around primarily by golf-cart.

The Corporate Oligarchs are playing their game in a post-partisan, post-national world. There is no Republicans or Democrats to them. There is no USA, China, European Union, African Union, etc. There is only the transnational corporation, free to rape and pillage the globe with impunity.

They're playing, 3-dimensional chess. When we get bogged down in partisan bullshit, cheering for the blue team or the red team, we're playing 2-d checkers on their 3-d chess board, and we wonder why we keep losing, and we can't possibly comprehend why we keep getting blindsided by triagonal unicorn moves.

It's not as simple as just never voting for another democrat or republican, because there are some good people out there in both parties, and we should work to keep the good ones we have, and get more good ones into position. Though this is certainly more the case in local politics than federal politics.

What we need to do is realize that:
1) The corporate oligarchs who run this whole damn show do not give a shit about you, and are purchasing our government to suit their own private interests
2) We can take our government back, but it will require a lot of hard work, and there's no guarantees.
3) If you are stuck in partisan bickering over bullshit distractions, step back and realize that there are four other chess boards that this game is being played on.