Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Democrat Grace Ross for Governor?

Grace Ross (who left the Green-Rainbow Party shortly after her run for Governor three years ago) posted to the BlueMassGroup blog yesterday that she is considering joining the Democratic Party and challenging Deval Patrick for Governor in the primaries in September - or possibly running as an independent.


At this point obviously she would need to line up prominent political, labor and movement leaders in the state to endorse her campaign, and would need people to put up some starter money, quickly. There are rumors that the state and national PDA are encouraging her to run.

There is a core group of activists pushing Grace to run. Part of their impetus is coming from their sense that the grass-roots activists simply won't turn out to work for Patrick this time, and that November will be a disaster, a re-run of Coakley/Brown but maybe worse. Many legislators, shocked by Coakley's loss, are worried about keeping their seats with Patrick at the head of the ticket. And, there seems to be no one else ready at this point to step forward to challenge him in the primaries.

My own sense from going door to door in three campaigns since June is that Patrick is in big trouble with the voters. I didn't initiate conversations about him, but his name kept coming up. Also, my strong sense is that many of the Party insiders don't understand this. (Which illustrates one of the many reasons why EVERY member of our Party from Governor or Senator on down needs to be going door-to-door, every election, talking to their own neighbors - the people who won't be intimidated because they saw them on TV!)

My sense also is that Grace Ross would be a serious candidate and would make a great governor.

Wrong Lesson from Brown Campaign

Posted to T&G 1/26 re article Pres offers Discretionary Spending Cap:

This is what I feared. We elected Scott Brown to the Senate to send Washington a message - and they got exactly the wrong message!

Hundreds of thousands of Democrats and Independents voted for Brown because they were so angry, because Obama hasn't kept the promises he made and has shown no stomach for really fighting for them. So what does he do? He gives up the fight and goes groveling to the Republicans begging them to help him give away the store!

Some other posters have pointed to the places where the cuts need to be made: ending three unnecessary wars and bringing home the troops we have stationed in 140 countries (what insanity!); eliminating the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy; and capping the bailouts. The "discretionary spending" Obama's talking about capping is peanuts compared to those, but it's not peanuts to the people who depend on or benefit from those programs!

And cutting Medicare and Social Security will not only cause a lot of misery, it will help to further drive the economy into the tank!

So Dear President Obama, grow a backbone while you still can!

Draw the line!

Here in Massachusetts, home of the "Massachusetts Miracle" that Obama used as a model for the Health Care Bill, people with insurance are regularly being driven to bankruptcy by the out-of-pocket costs of a health emergency. People with insurance are regularly being denied needed surgeries and help, turned away because they can't afford the deductables and co-pays, can't put enough money up front.

Last year our friend, Cindy Chapman, was unable to find a personal physician who would take her as a patient for what Medicare pays. She was obviously very ill and in incredible pain, but was literally thrown out of the UMass Med ER by the campus police when she refused to leave until she was admitted. When we finally found a physician who would take her case she was diagnosed with Stage IV Cancer within hours. She was dead within two weeks.

Cindy had worked all her life, but had fallen off the last rung of the ladder and the system abandoned her. With proper medical care this wouldn't have happened.

Voting and politics aren't working. Our health care system is a disaster, and it is literally killing people like Khoury and Chapman. The injustice and cruelty of it has become unbearable.

This is beyond something that can be dealt with by bake sales and taking up collections. Are we to hold an event at Union Station for every victim who can't raise the down payment for their wife's operation?

It's out of control. It has to stop.

The time has come for determined people to draw a line. It's time to say that medical care is a human right. Time to say that no one should be ruined or left to die because of money. It's time to say, no business as usual until you fix this.

One victim at a time. Every time.

We just finished celebrating Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s holiday. King, who led us in putting our bodies on the line to confront racism and injustice. King, who declared health care a human right.

What would King have told us to do?

Monday, January 25, 2010


Woah! There is way too much ugliness on display on this page! We need to get a grip! Many of us are hurting and scared, but this is a time to try to think clearly about how to find our way out of this mess, a time to remember we're all in this together.

Think about what you're saying when you blame the "breeders".

You were a child once - not so different from "them". You grew up protected by police and firefighters, a public sanitation department, a public health department and a water department. You probably went to publicly-funded schools and programs, got around on school and city busses, and maybe went to the city's parks, museums or swimming pools. The very air is breathable because of state and Federal regulations.

Your parents may have benefited from minimum wage laws and unions. If they borrowed or invested they were protected by all kinds of regulations, and when they shopped, by all kinds of inspectors.

Worcester is a city of immigrants. All of this was built by immigrants, who came here and had babies and raised their children here. And every immigrant group had higher birth rates at first. That was OK. People have children. They grow up - with the help of their communities.

We worked together, and as new groups arrived we drew them in and showed them the ropes and made them part of the process. There were fights and struggles, but we got over them.
And we joined together in electing governments to meet our common needs.

We never forgot that the children are our future. Not just the ones who looked and talked like us. All of them. We haven't completely forgotten yet. We all still brake for a child - any child.

Now we are in a great crisis and things are going haywire. Anyone who's not scared isn't paying attention . But we can get through this - if we just remember that we're all in it together, that we need to look out for each other - all of us - and that the children are still our future - all of them.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Obama Campaign

Originally posted in August, 2008.
We can take nothing for granted. Obama's hot and McCain's a stiff and the public is thoroughly fed up with the Republican agenda, but the campaign is going to be vicious and the vote count rigged in many places so we have to win by a landslide to win. And Bush has McCain's back and the power to force a change in the topic.

And the Media is not our friend. For example, last week Obama stated in an interview that as President he will sit down immediately and review all of Bush's executive orders, signing statements and other fiat laws and rescind any that violate the Constitution. That's important news. It was carried on Reuters and APF Wire and was widely reported in Europe. A regular reader of the London Telegraph or Moscow News or Le Monde got that story. /i/ But in the US only the Boston Globe, the Baltimore Sun and Yahoo News carried it. ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, FOX, CNN, AOL, msn, Detroit Free Press, the Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Los Angeles Times, Little Rock Democrat Gazette, Atlanta Constitution, San Francisco Chronicle, Miami Herald, St.Louis Post Dispatch, Denver Post, AP, UPI, or Bloomburg wire, to name a few, did not. Neither did the New York Times, NPR or PBS! /i/

An accident? Not! This kind of thought control is common, even routine. It is thorough, systematic and nearly invisible. It's really shocking, unbelievable, unimaginable, what the Media Barons are doing and getting away with! They are already using this to shape Obama's agenda and the agenda of the campaign. For example, on the story about rescinding Bush's laws, Obama needs the people behind him demanding that this be done. How can that happen when the people don't get the news?

To win we have to be a movement, even in Massachusetts. A people's movement cheering Obama on, raising money, demanding his agenda of the Congress and of him, and broadcasting good information through every channel we can lay our hands on.

How to get started: lets do some brainstorming.


Rules for brainstorming: just blurt out any idea you have, whether someone else has or not, without worrying about whether it is right or good or doable or impossible or whether it will look stupid or foolish,. Just get it out there and then we can talk about what will work and what we want to do and in what order things can happen.

I'll start:


Obama bumper stickers are available now from Move-on.org; one free, 10 for $5, 100 for $25. Imagine the effect of thousands of Obama stickers showing up on cars all over Massachusetts, now.

Standouts. Imagine standouts at intersections all across Massachusetts for Obama, starting now! Collecting info on people who want to get involved. Passing out leaflets.

Organizing ourselves: imagine obama campaign clubs in every neighborhood and town in Massachusetts! How can we make that happen? House parties? Phone calls?

What organization do we have now? How do we activate it?

Leaders: who do we have out there to coordinate things and make them happen? Whatever it is, i've seen one election cycle after another go by with nothing much happening here that I could see. We can't wait for it to just happen.

Talk to local Move.on people, who may already be in action. Who?

Organizing others: visiting and speaking at neighborhood organizations, union local meetings, conservation and other issue group meetings, talking to local leaders, asking people to get involved, reminding them what the stakes are. First ourselves, though!

Leaflets. Yes, leaflets! Anybody old enough to remember those? Snappy, simple, easy to read leaflets, on busses, trains, street corners. Hand out 500 on a ride to Boston or a couple of walkthroughs on a red line train or at a shop gate in an hour. Imagine 1000 people doing that once a month!

Spreading news via email.

Trips to swing states like New Hampshire and Maine to campaign.

OK your turn!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dred Scott 2010

This outrageous ruling reminds me of the Dred Scott decision before the Civil War - a ruling that helped set it off - that declared that "Negroes" have no rights that a "white" person is bound to respect. It is a stake in the heart of what's left of our democracy, and can't be allowed to stand.

What's next? Corporations can sue for slander? Corporations get to vote in elections? Corporations can serve on juries? If corporations are "persons" that would be logical!

We shouldn't need a constitutional amendment to make clear that corporations are not persons, but apparently we do - so let's get to work and pass one!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brown wins,Coakley carries Worcester.

Martha Coakley was not a great candidate, and Scott Brown ran a great campaign. But this was above all a referendum on the Obama Administration - and also the Patrick Administration. And on the health care bill - that miserable giveaway to the insurance companies being foisted on us as a reform.

In a normal country, what would happen next is that Obama would accept blame for what happened. Then he would either resign or fire his cabinet, starting with Rahm Emanuel, who has been his point person on the Health Care bill, and then Geithner and Summers who have managed the disgraceful bank bailouts, and Gates who has engineered our escalation of an un-winable and unnecessary war in Afghanistan.

That isn't going to happen. Electing a right-wing Republican is not going to make anything better, because they aren't going to get the right message. The Democratic politicians in the main are not going to get the message that they need to be more democratic, and need to deliver on the change they promised.

One pol who gets it is our new Mayor Joe O'Brien. His answer: Organize, Organize, Organize! Organize a real grass roots democratic Democratic Party, from the base up, one where the members really get the final say on what it stands for, what it does, who it runs and what is expected of them after they win.

Another person who was working hard for Coakley and who gets it is Grace Ross. But does she get it enough to join the Democratic Party?

The bright spot for me is that Coakley carried Worcester - and carried my own good blue-collar precinct by 3 to 1. The activist base overcame our disappointment at the outcome of the primaries, and despite Coakley snubbing us, turned out in the last weeks to work hard for her. And the good people of Worcester turned out to vote for her in spite of her.

Thank you Worcester, birthplace of the American Revolution. In the midst of my disappointment you give me a lump of pride in my throat.

What about Pakistan? And India?

Response to a post by a Pakistani talking about the absurdity of the Pakistani arguments for supporting the US in Afghanistan:


Interesting insights and a good demonstration that the current rhetoric coming out of the Pakistani media is nonsense; but there are so many more dimensions to this situation.

On the one hand there is the matter of what strategic game the global imperialists are playing and why, and on the other hand there are the struggle of the Indian and Pakistani people with their own ruling classes - nationally and locally, politically and day-to-day.

Then there are the struggles between different factions of the Indian and Pakistani ruling classes, and the strategy of the dominant factions for regional hegemony.

Against all of this there is the struggle of the people on both sides of the border for democracy, in India the play of religions against each other in a divide and conquer strategy that always seems to draw in the specter of Pakistan, and in Pakistan the actions of the military officer corps as an apparently semi-autonomous component of the ruling class, fighting not only to keep the people down but to keep its own place in the structure, and justifying its actions by the danger from India which must always be kept alive.

Then there is the influence of the CIA and the multi-national corporations, with their agents, the political and military leaders they have turned, and the corporate leaders on both sides that they have drawn into their web. And add the budding US-Indian alliance and the continuing struggle of China to preserve or regain its special relationship with Pakistan.

And then there's the politics of The Bomb.

Finally toss into this mix the struggles of the little nations along the borderlands for autonomy or independence and the struggle over Kashmir. Like a bunch of wild cards that can turn the game unpredictably.

Now take this pot and turn up the heat on it with a global economic crisis, the US military buildup in Afghanistan and the invasion of Pakistan by flying killer robots and mercenary death squads, arousing the patriotic anger of the people, who have already had a brief, sweet taste of revolution.


What about that?

As in many parts of the world this situation has reached a point of great tension, with a lot of stored and repressed energy - like an n-dimensional chess board where only a few pawns have been taken as each player has developed their positions and strategies to the limit. What happens when the denouement begins?

That's the question you are raising. It deserves a deeper answer.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Election Eve Analysis

I have been going door to door in my immediate neighborhood canvassing for Coakley.

After campaigning for Capuano in the primaries I dropped back to get my life back together, and then left town and fell out of contact for a week. When I returned I found three emails from one (fairly progressive) democratic activist and one from MoveOn.org about the campaign - when the Internet should have been abuzz with traffic about it. I am told that she made no outreach to the Capuano and Khazei campaigns to include them and their supporters, who have responded by sitting on their hands. For the last week however everyone has been in panic mode.

The Brown Campaign with the help of the media has been moving to turn this election into a referendum on Obama, Gov. Patrick, the Democratic Party - and most especially on the health care bill. When I warned that the Democrats would pay dearly for allowing and supporting this bill I knew I was right but didn't imagine that it would come home to roost so soon! This issue is getting a lot of traction from working people, young professionals and from some activists who should know better.

I came across clusters of young working-class men who are just plain angry and full of blame and want someone to pay; men who think they're voting for Joe Camel - who probably more closely resembles the public Scott Brown than does the one his wife knows. It's all about image and anger - and a deep substrate of racism - but the individual mandate in the health care bill is their Exhibit A for why the Democrats need to be taught a lesson.

Another concern is vote fraud. Our much-vaunted scanned card system is hackable, and nearly all of the votes are counted on Diebold or LHS Associates equipment. The latter group has been described as thuggish and devious, and openly engages in practices that could easily be turned to fraud. Most importantly, we are not dealing with the Massachusetts Republican Party now, we're dealing with the right wing of the National Republican Party, which has been pouring money and volunteers into the state and for whom fraud is a standard MO. Rules for hand counts of the ballots are sufficiently restrictive so that it is possible that even a suspicious losing candidate might not succeed in catching it. Luckily, Coakley is concerned enough to have called in a team of experts in from Florida to monitor the election.

It has been a while since there has been documented or suspected fraud here in Massachusetts, and Democratic activists whom I've spoken to have dismissed the possibility out of hand - which makes them all the more vulnerable.

My guess is that Coakley will carry my neighborhood, and perhaps Worcester. The pundits think she will win statewide despite the poll numbers. My gut is telling me something different. My gut sense is that too many people are fed up with the Democrats, and Brown will win, with or without fraud. Even if Coakley wins though, it will be a squeaker, which it shouldn't have been by all conventional calculations. There should be some interesting and frank discussions at the campaign get-together Tuesday night.

The Democratic Party is in crisis in Massachusetts, and from what I can see is unable to adapt. The people and the activist base are fed up with the corporatist and high-handed Deval Patrick Administration and it is headed for defeat by the Republicans this November, unless the activist base can put up a candidate that can beat him in the primaries in September. Time for this however is running out. In the meantime the insiders are playing their games in full confidence that they can control the outcomes within the Party, and with utter lack of concern for whether that is dooming the Party's chances in the general election.

In general the people here are losing what's left of their belief that the political system is capable of responding to their needs and opinions. This is not good - they don't have genuine leaders that they trust, and their ranks are riddled with tea-baggers who will take directions from Fox. When the next shock hits, anything can happen.

Last appeal on Coakley and Brown

Voting for Scott Brown as a protest is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Yes, the health care bill stinks, but we're going to get a health care bill one way or the other, and the only question is how much worse will it be tilted in favor of the insurance companies. Scott Brown almost always votes the way his corporate sponsors want him to. With Martha Coakley we will at least have someone with a history of standing against the big corporations on the side of the people, who has spoken for a 'Medicare for all' solution.

If you're angry about how the good jobs are gone, angry about how you played the game of life by the rules and did everything right and you were supposed to be rewarded for it with a 'middle class' life, but now you're trapped in a lousy job (or can't even find one of those), and you want to show the world how you feel about that, voting for Scott Brown is the wrong way to do it. They'll get the wrong message!

'I drive a truck' my patootie! Brown also puts his pants on one leg at a time and maybe he even roots for the Red Sox (at least when he's in Boston). Does that make him a regular guy? He's no more 'one of us' than Bush Junior was. 'Dubya' with his Yale education, son of a President, grandson of the founder of the CIA for Criminy's sakes, and his 'good old Texas country boy' act!

Fool me once ...

I don't know what country club Scott belongs to, but I'll bet you they wouldn't even let one of us walk in the door, much less let us join - even if we had the $20,000 initiation fee!

If you have to send a protest, and just can't bring yourself to vote for another corporate Democrat, cast a blank ballot. That will be noticed. But for Goshen's sake don't cast your vote for a George Bush clone who's guaranteed to turn a deaf ear to the people when we need someone to speak for us.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


(rejected comment to T&G 1/17)

Just wanted to give y'all a heads up about why anyone would want to take a potshot at our boys, who are after all just trying to help. It will look like awful ingratitude, but there's a long and terrible history to it.

Haiti is not some faraway exotic place whose people brought ruin on themselves. We are sending troops into a country whose popularly elected government was overthrown by US troops twice in just the last twenty years! A country that was directly ruled by the US for twenty of the last hundred years, and whose brutal dictatorships - like that of Papa Doc Duvalier - were propped up by US aid and invasions, one after another.

Haiti was the richest provence of France in 1789, but most of its people were slaves. The French Revolution happened there too, and ended slavery, but Napoleon sent an army and tried to reimpose slavery on the people, after they had been free for ten years! The resulting war of independence was ferocious, and just about ruined Haiti.

When the people finally drove out the French, the slaveowners who dominated the US government, like Thomas Jefferson, reacted in fear and horror. All the nations of the world united to isolate, crush and regain control of this country, where the former slaves had dared to claim to be the equals of any person, and make an example of it. They have been punishing Haiti ever since.

The US does have a responsibility for helping Haiti to rebuild.. Equally important, we have a responsibility to let them have the democratic revolution they need and reclaim control of their own country.

We in Worcester should look at extending a helping hand to the many Haitians among us who are trying to help their loved ones, rather than send it all to outside charities and churches.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Final Brown/Coakley Debate

There have been many comments on whether Brown is a coward, because of all the many times he said "I am afraid ..." That debate misses the point.

The point is that *we*, the people, are afraid, and with good reason. Our economy is collapsing around us, the government services we depend on are collapsing and the Federal Government is pursuing a policy of wars and more wars. Interest rates and hospital rates are out of control, foreclosures and layoffs continue, hunger and homelessness are growing, and small businesses are being driven to the wall by collapsing demand and credit. Brown is just tapping into our fear, resonating with it, feeding off of it - and spreading it.

Brown and the Republicans thrive on the politics of fear, but I doubt very much if *he* is afraid. He's got it made. Win or lose, he's rich, powerful and well-connected. But I would expect he has well-paid consultants coaching him on how to say "I am afraid" convincingly.

Maybe Brown could get some tips from Glen Beck on how to cry on cue, but he won't need a coach to tell him how to laugh all the way to the inauguration if he wins - and the joke will be on us!