The Rising of the Moon

An ongoing synopsis of politics, government and public policy. Those dreary boring things that effect the lives of each and every one of us.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Of Macho Politics and Marshmellow Men

The New York Time's Maureen Dowd has an interesting take on the election. In an article in today's NYT Dowd said that the voters were sick of the "deadbeat Daddy party," and ready for the "sheltering Mommy party." Dowd also said that the Republican attacks against Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi just didn't work. "Americans wanted new drapes, and an Armani granny with a whip in charge," Dowd wrote.
Dowd went on to say that the Republicans had become a caricature of bloated politicians afraid to go off to a war of their own making, but happy to sit at home making millions.
NYT via RawStory
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Bush drops to 31%

An item today on MSNBC about a new Newsweek Poll. Bush is at a new low. With two years left he still has an opportunity to set a new record low of any presidency.
Significant quotes:
Bill Clinton’s lowest rating during his presidency was 36 percent; Bush’s father’s was 29 percent, and Ronald Reagan’s was 35 percent. Jimmy Carter’s and Richard Nixon’s lows were 28 and 23 percent, respectively. (Just 24 approve of outgoing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s job performance; and 31 percent approve of Vice President Dick Cheney’s.)

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Seeking the Deciding Factor in the Elections

It's actually been fairly quite on this week after the elections. Most of the small local blogs have tapered off. Even many of the large national blogs have taken some time off to assess the results. The only ones not resting seem to be the national cable news organizations. They have time to fill and as usual they're filling it with tripe, drivel and stuff that's pulled from random bodily orifi. Those active are mostly trying to stake claim to "The Deciding Factor." Each wants to be the first one to find the one single group or action that gave the elections to the Democrats.
The Right-wing has been furiously spinning all week: The Democrats didn't win, the Republicans simply lost. The wingers have been trying to claim a victory where there wasn't just a loss, but near total distruction. Get this: The Republicans did lose and lost big, and the Democrats won, won very big indeed. Make no bones about it, and despite the claims of the usual right-wing mouthpieces on cable news and the Sunday talk shows, this election was a repudiation of the Republicans and their ultra-radical right wing agenda. This is not, as Fox News (at least that's what they call themselves) a victory for 'Conservative' America.
Yes indeed, the Democrats did shift to the middle. But it did not, as some clueless DLC pundits claim, do so by moving to the right. The Democrats moved to the center by moving left, away from the DLC established position as "Republican Lite." The newly elected Democrats are not conservative, as the wingnuts claim. No these are the same Democrats that the same wingnuts last week told us were far too liberal for America. Despite how the right wants to make lemonade from bitter lemons, they can't have it both ways. The newly elected instead represent broad-based populism, the very roots of progressive thinking: taking the best ideas from everywhere and implementing to the benefit of the entire country. In January we'll have a whole stock of new people interested in peace and prosperity for all Americans, not just the uber wealthy. We can look forward to much more fiscal responsibilty and accountability. No more corrupt credit card Republican spending on crony's designed to run up a huge debt and destroy the value of government.
This election was, indeed, a grass roots revolution against the current corrupt Republican rule. It was seen everywhere. And therein lies the real answer to finding "The Deciding Factor" in this election: There wasn't one. There wasn't one, single most overwhelming deciding factor that drove the change in government. Instead the desire of Americans to change the status quo came from an awakening throughout America. A Zoby poll after the voting showed that nearly all demographics shifted towards the Democrats: single women, single men, independents, Latinos and Latinas, conservatives and liberals, the young, the old, evangelicals and the non-religious. Unlike the Republicans who nurtured a small but monolithic radical "base" of ultra-conservatives and religious-right Christians, the Democrats spoke to everyone. And everyone could see the continuing and ever growing corruption and incompetence of the Republicans (who professed loudly that they hated government). It wasn't Katrina, or Iraq, or Afganistan, Guantanamo or Abu Gahrib or spying on Americans; it wasn't huge tax breaks for the ultra wealthy, or leaving America unprotected while adventuring abroad; it wasn't a huge and overwhelming national debt with no plan to pay for it, or the elimination of our retirement though the systematic attacks on Social Security; nor was it the billions of dollars in tax breaks to oil companies or billions handed out to Halliburton or KBR. Nope. It was all of these things. The typical corruption of Reps. Randy Cunningham, and Tom Delay just came to be accepted as a Republican way of doing business. Rep. Tom Foley and the coverup by (former) Speaker of the House Denny Hastert caused no surprise at all, and it was nothing more than a pimple on the backside of the elections. Americans saw all this and when they had a chance, well, they took it.
So did the Republicans simply blow it, or did the Democrats win it? Well the Republicans blew it big time. They went out of their way to do a bad job of governing and never made any attempt to work for the good of the country as a whole. The Democrats, on the other hand, won. The Democrats wanted it. They worked harder and fought harded than the Republicans and wrested victory from Republicans hands. Oh the Republicans tried. They tried every dirty trick and the book and invented new ones. The Republicans overwhelmingly controlled the message and the means of delivery. At every turn the Right used the huge networks they controlled on TV, cable and in print to pound the Democrats into the ground. Millions of dollars in deceptive and lying negative ads poured out of TV sets and radios attacking Democrats. Millions of pieces of negative literature filled mailboxes. And then, at the last moment, millions of deceptive, lying and often illegal robotic calls try to swing the vote by annoying voters in key districts. It was all there at unprecidented levels. But in the end it didn't work. Why? Because in the first place Americans didn't believe it. They didn't believe or accept all the negativity. But the Republicans had nothing else. Six years of total governmental control and they couldn't/didn't pass anything their base wanted. So all they could do was attack the opposition. The Democrats fought back. Not with negative ads (while there were some it was only a fraction of what the Republicans did), but with people power. While the Corporate Media was touting the Republican organization machine, the Democrats spent months putting their own new model of organization together. Millions of voter contacts and ids were made. Dr. Dean's 50 state strategy left no district uncovered and abandoned as teams were put together at the Congressional district level. Good candidates were chosen by the people in the districts, ignoring the "advice" and demands of DLC inside-the-beltway pundits. And the Democrats worked. The made the calls, had the meetings, knocked on doors and spoke to people. The Republicans sat back and hired other people to do the work for them. You saw far fewer volunteers among the Republican campaigns and far more paid staffers. The Republicans paid for canvassing and door knockers; they paid for people to stand on street corners with signs; they paid for thugs to attend the opposition's rallys to cause trouble, and in the end paid to have computers make millions of harassing phone calls to Democrats. It didn't work. The "much vaunted" 72-hour blitz from "genius" Karl Rove fell flat on it's face. You'll here Corporate Media sounding bewildered as to why Rove's 3 million phone calls and hundreds of thousands of doors knocked didn't do the trick like it did last time. Well here's the answer: The Democrats made 3.5 million phone calls in the last days and knocked on millions of doors and met hundreds of thousands of voters face to face, with real people. An election like this one is not something you can send your maid or butler out to do for you. It needs you, yes you, a real face talking to someone face to face and believing what you say. You know we made calls for MoveOn's "Call for Change" and we kept hearing how the other side was making recorded calls and using professional phone banks where everyone read off of prepared scripts, and while they were sick of all the calls they still talked to us, at length. Why? Because we were real people, authentic, and we listened rather than lectured. Believe me, it made a difference.
There's a great "Memo to Every Democrat" from Kos where he points out that it wasn't any one person or organization, or even pairs of such that were "The Deciding Factor." It makes sense to me. This was a real overthrow of a corrupt regime. Oh sure, it's not complete and total. We still have a lot to do. But most Americans have now rejected the Republican meme of "bigotry, hatred and fear," for one of changing the status quo and taking America forward.
The Deciding Factor? There was no one thing or even; it was the totality of the past six years, taken as a whole.
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Vote Supression

This is an amazing video from Colorado: this is the line to vote at one of the new "Voter Centers." Don't believe it? Well watch the whole video as the photographer walks down the entire line.

The idea here was to eliminate precincts and centralize voting, so the voter wouldn't have to worry about which precinct they were supposed to vote in (I've never met anyone who worried about that). But the idea was horribly put in place with far too few voting machines, many of which broke down. As a result of that and a long ballot, some voters waited 5 and 6 hours to vote. But wait they did. That's what worked this time: too many people wise to voter suppression tricks in too many areas, and while the tricks worked they were not effective enough to overcome the turnout.
Video for the Vote, via Georgia10 at DailyKos
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Friday, November 10, 2006

Canadians get serious about science education

"Teach sex and evolution or close, Quebec evangelical schools told"

unlicensed right-wing evangelical schools in Quebec are being told by the Ministry of Education that they have to follow the provincial standards for education. It was discovered, recently, that these schools were teaching their own brand of Bible-based science and the provincial authorities are having nothing of it.
Ottawa Citizen via The Really Good News
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The new Chair of the Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security calls for new hearings in Iraq

In an interview with Truthdig, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), the next potential chair of the Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations, calls for new hearings on how the U.S. ended up in Iraq. The congressman said this is not about how a congressmember voted on the Iraq issue based on "old information," but a reexamination of the information as we now know it, and how information was distorted to foster a war effort.

In the interview with Truthdig's Kucinich said of Bush's dismissal this week of his Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld: "Rumsfeld may no longer be secretary of defense, but he made decisions
based on lies that took people to their deaths. He has to be held
accountable—secretary or not. And the rest of the people who were
involved with the decision-making process have to be held accountable."
from Truthdig
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Webb talks about fairness in policy

Interesting interview with Virginia Senator-elect Jim Web. It appears there's room for everyone to take part in the American Experiment
UPDATE: Note that the Right is claiming "victory" in this week's elections, stating that it was "conservative Democrats" who won. Webb is just one of the newly elected Democrats they claim represents the Republican point of view. But listen to what Webb says: it's about raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations who have not been paying their fair share. An apparently interesting twist on the conservative agenda. Note also that just before the election the Right claimed that Webb and the other Democrats running against incumbent Republicans were for too Liberal for America.

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AFT outs Mehlman

The right-wing extremist Christianist group Americans for Truth (what does that tell you?) says that RNC Chairman Ken Mehlmen is targeted for outing as gay. The group claims that gays working within the Republican Party are purposely working against the right-wing agenda and their alleged "presence" in campaigns like that of Virginia (now former) Senator "Macaca" Allen cost Allen his seat.
Note that AFT is dedicated to attacking homosexual and transgender "activist agendas," (whatever those are).
via Christian News Wire
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Accountability for Rummy?

Apparently disgraced secretary of "war" Donald Rumsfeld may face charges as a war criminal, according to an article in Time Magazine. Documents to be filed in Germany next week are alleged to name Rumsfeld along with Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales, George Tenent (former CIA director) and other top Bush administration officials for their roles in alleged abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The case is to be files by 11 Iraqis and at least one Saudi who claim that there were held and tortured by U.S. and coalition forces. Rumsfeld is know to have personally approved various "special interrogation techniques," which are considered torture internationally. Gonzales was the legal architect for the use of the techniques and avoiding scrutiny by Congress.
Time via RawStory
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Had to see this coming

Florida, ah sunny Florida. Miami Herald is reporting that Sarasota is bracing for "intense" recounts in Florida's 13th Congressional District. Astronomical undercounts of votes in the House race make the election highly suspect. The current count puts the Republican up by only 368 votes, while at the same time showing that some 18,000 voters, 13 percent of the total, chose to vote in other races but skipped the House race, leaving that part of their ballot blank.
via RawStory
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Thursday, November 09, 2006

What? Isn't that a timetable?

The Times online is now reporting that "American and Iraqi officials have set a date for giving Iraq’s forces responsibility for security across the country." The item goes on to say that only hours after Rumsfeld was shown the door American, British and Iraqi officials met to accelerate the handover process. They're talking about a date in late 2007 for the handover. Sounds like a timetable to me. Sounds like Bush is having a little trouble with "stay the course" with Speaker Pelosi breathing down his neck.
via RawStory
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They're not stopping and neither should we

Noted anti-tax activist (and close friend of both George Bush and convicted lobbiest Jack Abramoff) Grover Norquist, has joined some of his extremist right wing friends to start planning a comeback. According to an item in the Los Angeles times Norquist claims that a "refocus" on their extremist agenda will garner wins in 2008. Of course the fact that the American voter all but completely rejected the radical's policy of incompetent management, wild spending and zero accountablility while at the same time ignoring right-winger's dire warning of how America would crumble were the "evil" Democrats wrest power from corrupt Republicans seems to have escaped them.
LA Times via ThinkProgress
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Charlie Rangel measures drapes for Cheney's office

It seems that for the past few years one of the undisclosed locations where "quickdraw" Dick Cheney has been hiding is an office in the House of Representatives. Why there? Well, I don't know, maybe just because no one would look for him there. Anyway. . . it turns out that the office Cheney's occupying actually belongs to the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. With this week's "changing of the tide," Harlem's Representative Charles Rangle is poised to take over as Chairman of Ways and Means. There is no love lost between Rangle and Cheney, and Rangle has been talking to Speaker-of-the-House-to-be Nancy Pelosi about ways to "gently" toss the quick triggered Cheney out on the street.
From New York Daily News via RawStory
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Living Word: more illegal campaigning in Church?

Pastor Mac Hammond may have a little trouble using "I didn't know" as an excuse for his violation of IRS rules that prohibit churches from campaigning. Most recently in hot water over his from-the-pulpit endorsement of evangelical extremist Michele Bachmann for the House seat in Minn. CD6. Not only that he allowed the controversial Bachmann to make campaign appeals from the pulpit during two separate Sunday services. Well now it appears that Hammond has a history of extending his evangelism into the political arena.
from Minnesota Monitor and Minnesota Campaign Report
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Bolton nomination DOA

Appears that Bush isn't going to be able to push through his nomination of the contentious and irrasable John Bolton before the end of the legislative session as he'd planned. Democrats and some Repubicans are joining together to keep the anti-UN activist out of the ambassador's chair at the UN.
Houston Chronicle online via RawStory
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More voting irregularities in Florida

the Democratic candidate for Atty. General in Florida may have been left off the ballots in some counties.
Miami Herald online via RawStory

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Mehlman going?

via AmericaBlog

CNN is reporting that RNC insiders expect Chairman Ken Mehlman to step down by the end of the year. Will wonders never cease this week? Of course he did do a terrible job of steering this election cycle and relying on fear and smear to win campaigns.

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More indications of Repub vote theft in Florida 13th

Southwest Florida's Herald Tribune is reporting more widespread problems with voting machines in the Florida 13th CD.
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Sec of State denies vote to college students

Right wing functionary Mary Kiffmeyer may be out of a job but she still hasn't stopped working hard on the right-wing agenda: to supress the vote of minorities and any possible progressive-leaning voters. Incoming Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who defeated Kiffmeyer in this week's midterm elections, says that Kiffmeyer's attempt to suppress student voters is "breaking the law."
via DFL website Read More

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Here we go again

Once again George W. has gone back to the "well" of his father's former staffers. This time it's to pluck Robert Gates out of near obscurity as his choice to replace the failed and disgraced Donald Rumsfield as Sec. of Defence. And, like so many of those connected to the Bush dynasty, Gates has his own nefarious past. Not only is Gates involved in the cooking of the pre-war intelligence on Iraq, he is also implicated in the Reagan/Bush Iran-Contra affair.
via CQ from Eschaton
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UPDATE: a little more on Gates on Think Progress: Read More
UPDATE: even the disgraced bug killer doesn't like Gates much: Read More

Voting machine problems in Florida

via AmericaBlog:

There are significant problems in the Florida 13th Congressional District, once represented by Republican show girl Katherine Harris. The Democrat is trailing by 368 votes, but the voting machines are reporting an undervote of some 18,382 votes, and only in the House race. Florida election officials are claiming that means that more than 18,000 people made a "protest" vote and chose not to vote for anyone in that one race. Not only is this claim absurd it is 15,000 times more "undervotes" than in the last midterm.

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Now what?

No, we didn't disappear completely. Instead we've been out working. Did calls for's Call for Change, walked precincts in the 5th and 3rd congressional districts. Worked all of election day on GOTV. Did four precincts making sure they were all covered three times over the course of the day, which ended poll watching to make sure everyone in line at 8pm got to vote.

It was a tremendous day with a great turnout; Minnesota once again leading the nation in voter turnout. We got almost everythign we worked for and a lot we didn't plan on.

So where do we go from here? Obvious the various campaigns need to take a little time off to recoup. But after that it's time to start working on '08. Not only do we need to hold onto this week's gains we need to further consolidate them and extend our leads in the House and Senate and look towards the presidency. We need to work on oversight and investigate the incompetence and corruption that has ruled Washington for the last 6 years. We need to pass positive legislation for middle class Americans. Earn less than $300,000? Then I'm talking to you.

We also need to hold the new Congress accountable. We cannot afford to turn over the keys to what could turn out to a new set of thieves. The American people are the only ones who can hold these public servants accountable. It's our job. We can't just complain. We need to step up and do the job.