Thursday, August 31, 2006

If They Can Violate IRS Rules, So SHOULD We!!

Simply put, I find Evangelical Christians of the fringe currently running the Republican party--otherwise known as Christocrats--to be THE most close to Radical Islamic fundamentalists Americans' suffer on our soil, and I do mean suffer. Given their way, we will all serve God--mark my words--they serve the God of their interpretation and of their Bible and will do whatever it takes to distort from every angle they can find some legal proof that they have a divine right somehow even the atheists who founded the United States were "guided" to follow. So I say that since they have gone to so much trouble to pervert the church into a political arena--that leftists of all religious stripes--from Universalists to Pagans make hay this election season and follow suit!

Let's turn all those tax-exempt places you call a church into first-class fund-raising, get-out-the-vote, pro-peace campaign hot spots ASAP! And then, should the IRS come a-knockin', we can refer them to the Liberty Counsel attorneys on our behalf. After all, wouldn't all of God's people have access to the same interpretation of the laws these folks give themselves? Wouldn't those attorneys, as Americans, fight for our right to equal protection of our religious rights too?

I should think so...follow the handy link to their diatribe on how to skirt IRS restrictions and raise funds in your "church" too!
Pastors, Churches and Politics: "A growing number of prominent evangelical pastors have been publicly expressing their biblical and moral views on such social and political issues as traditional marriage, abortion and cloning. In his weekly, personal editorial column known as the Falwell Confidential, Dr. Jerry Falwell compared and contrasted the positions of presidential candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry. He personally endorsed President George W. Bush, stating that he could not imagine any other choice. Barry Lynn, with the ultraliberal Americans United for Separation of Church and State, complained that Falwell had 'crossed the line' by allegedly violating IRS rules."
From 1934 to the present, not one church has ever lost either its IRS tax-exempt letter ruling or its tax-exempt status for engaging in too much lobbying.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Novak Pushed Falsehoods--No--Not Bob?!

All things being equal (i.e. Iraq continues to tank and Republicans--in a screamingly funny rush to the bottom base-- continue to "out" their racist and Christocrat "values") we will be rid of Republican dominance in the Congress and even Senate (Novak admitted that himself) come this fall.

Does Bob also know that when that happens there will be a mad rush by populists (such as yours truly) to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, pretty much putting him back on square one of the journalistic tower of babble (pun intended)?

Imagine this: News filled with facts. Wow. Now that's a political promise, not a dream, in the making...
Novak pushed falsehoods about judge's NSA's warrantless eavesdropping decision: "In his column, Robert Novak falsely suggested that U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor's decision striking down the administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program was so off-the-wall that it 'has been stayed and probably will be reversed,' that 'Taylor ended up with the case because of forum-shopping,' and that professor Jack Balkin had criticized the decision's legal reasoning but nevertheless 'rejoiced' over it for 'political' reasons."

Another Liberty (False) Alert

This is fascinating. Liberty Alert attorneys assert that because a school is asking sexual questions of a child it is also asserting, as they put it: 'Parents - back off. Susie belongs to the public school'... .
Liberty Alert: "The Petition states: 'No one believes when a child is dropped off at day care, soccer practice, or summer camp that parents cease being parents.... Although parents might object to subjecting seven-year-old Susie to probing questions about her sexual thoughts, feelings and experiences, as long as the school does not commit treason, the Ninth Circuit's decision says: 'Parents - back off. Susie belongs to the public school'... . The breadth of this decision is staggering. It presents an issue of exceptional importance.'"
It seems Liberty fails to recognize that sexual abuse--most of which occurs between kids and people in their immediate family or friends of the family--can be discovered in this manner and in fact the school may be protecting children from sexual predators in their own home!

That schools protect children and begin to help them become individuals free of parental restraint or even parental neglect and abuse is *not* what Christocrats are aiming for. Their aim is dead-on the public school system--disassembling it until the only schools left are parochial and home-based or otherwise privatized. Christocrats are firmly entrenched in the destruction of the common-wealth of American public education.

Christocrats are interested in the freedom from governmental interference in their religious prosecutions, not the freedom of others to avoid or be free of religion. Hypocritical in every sense of the word!
Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, stated: "The Ninth Circuit's ruling is deplorable as it strips parents of their constitutional rights to protect their children. Parental involvement in the education of their children should be encouraged, not punished. This ruling is an assault on every parent whose child attends public school. Parents do not cease being parents when their child walks through the schoolhouse gate."
I find it fascinating that Christocrats' definition of freedom only includes the freedom to pursue -- not freedom from -- indoctrination by Christians.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bob Novak's Plame Source

Is the White House developing the lengthiest list of telling lies or what? They even lie about who they'll *punish* for lying!
AlterNet: Bob Novak's Plame Source Identified: "The outing of Armitage does change the contours of the leak case. The initial leaker was not plotting vengeance. He and Powell had not been gung-ho supporters of the war. Yet Bush backers cannot claim the leak was merely an innocent slip. Rove confirmed the classified information to Novak and then leaked it himself as part of an effort to undermine a White House critic. Afterward, the White House falsely insisted that neither Rove nor Libby had been involved in the leak and vowed that anyone who had participated in it would be bounced from the administration. Yet when Isikoff and Newsweek in July 2005 revealed a Matt Cooper email showing that Rove had leaked to Cooper, the White House refused to acknowledge this damning evidence, declined to comment on the case, and did not dismiss Rove. To date, the president has not addressed Rove's"

Church and State Sitting in a Tree--K.I.S.S.I.N.G

This is one of those areas where the laws of this country are being "broken" and reset (as one creates a Bonsai tree) to reflect an understanding those laws never had--the doctrine of one religion allowed to set standards for nonbelievers in America.

What do I mean?

Besides atheists, there are religions that do not believe life begins at conception as well as adherents to religion who make that decision personally. Let's see one of them allowed to distribute pamphlets and have Freedom Days to celebrate all those women who responsibly chose their own free and good will to abort unwanted pregnancies.

Liberty Alert August 28, 2006: "Atlanta, GA - In a unanimous decision, a federal court of appeals has struck down an antireligious school board policy that banned students from distributing religious literature within the Lee County School Board, located in Florida. The students in the lawsuit were represented by Liberty Counsel.

While in seventh grade in Cypress Lake Middle School, Michelle Heinkel sought permission to distribute religious and pro-life literature about the Day of Remembrance, which was a day to remember unborn children who lost their lives through abortion. The Day of Remembrance was sponsored by Freedom to Learn.
Stop me if I'm wrong here but how old *is* a seventh-grader? TWELVE??! Are you kidding me? What am I missing here? How does a twelve-year old get interested in a clearly disguised campaign to recognize the "deaths" of cell clumps? I want to know--when these kids think of those unborn clumps--do they visualize babies or the truth--cell clumps they could not be seen on the dot at the end of this sentence? Or worse--were they the size of pencil erasers? GASP--Oh NO!

Too bad those twelve-year olds aren't shown the pictures of ten-year olds working in mines to produce food for their sisters or brothers, who live in countries where their mothers could have had abortions instead of twelve kids they have to set to slavery or prostitution, where religion *is* government. Too bad Michelle's parents don't love her enough to tell her the truth about why abortion exists--about material poverty and how it is created by slavish devotion to myths about God and country that don't work to do the only thing they promise *to* do, set people free.....
However, Superintendent James Browder denied the request. The school board policy prohibited students from distributing literature that is political, religious or proselytizing. The next year, Browder again denied Heinkel's request, along with the request of Nate Cordray, a student at Riverdale High School. The federal district court upheld the policy, but the court of appeals found it unconstitutional.

In its unanimous decision, the court of appeals ruled that the policy's ban on all political and religious literature was an unconstitutional content-based restriction. The court also ruled that the policy gave too much unrestricted discretion to school officials to deny speech. The court struck down the entire policy as a violation of the First Amendment.

Erik Stanley, Chief Counsel of Liberty Counsel, said, 'Public school students have a right to free speech, which includes verbal or written speech, before, after or in between classes. A school's desire to squelch speech because of discomfort with the message is unconstitutional.'

Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, who argued the case before the district court and on appeal, commented: 'Religious and political speech are twin sisters, without which we have no freedom. Freedom to accomplish what? Freedom to proselytize and therefore infringe on the rights of other's to avoid solicitation? Do we now need to put "No Soliciting" signs on our chests to avoid this mockery of human thought--indoctrination into religion?
Public schools may ban obscenity and libel, but religious and political speech does not stop at the schoolhouse door. Banning religious speech sends the wrong message that religion is taboo or second class,
Only if you think other forms of speech are second class--a false argument if in fact speech *is* free--meaning the speaker is free to voice opinion with OR about any topic including those requiring what appears to others as obscenity or slander--to accomplish making the point.

How thin-skinned the religious are when it comes to truly "free" expression! It is clear that in their minds expression is only "free" to express things about which they agree, not all or actual things including the idea that God may in fact, not exist and that abortion is a safe medical procedure that kills nothing independent or alive. Not free to express one's whole identity if that identity offends those who believe such identity is unwholesome by that religion's standards.

Nothing here is new--religion brings it's hypocrisy back to the open stage--fine. Lets have it.
"...which proposition neither this court nor the Constitution is willing to tolerate. Educators need education about American history and the Constitution.'"
And Liberty Counsel needs to be outed for what it is--an organ of anti-Constitutional scholars whose sole intention is to make the state an instrument of their church. They are in short, Christocrats.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

How to Talk to Republicans

Linguistics prof. George Lakoff dissects the "war on terror" and other conservative catchphrases: "This is not rocket science: you should show respect, know your values, always reframe, and say what you believe. The important thing is not to accept their framing of the issues, nor just negate their framing — that just reinforces it. Simply confronting them with facts won't help. Frames trump facts. The facts alone will not set you free. You have to reframe the issues before the facts can become meaningful and powerful."

Don't Think of a Pink President

When is a war not a war? When a Republican drags out an occupation:
The war was over when Bush said "Mission Accomplished." A war has one army fighting another army over territory. Our fighting men and women defeated Saddam's military machine three years ago. Then the occupation began. Our troops were trained to fight a war, not to occupy a country where they don't know the language and culture; where they lack enough troops; where they face an anti-occupation insurgency by the Iraqis themselves; where most of the population wants them out; where they are being shot at and killed by the very Iraqis they are training; and where the U.S. has given up on reconstruction and can't do much positive good there.

The Occupation Frame fits a politically inconvenient truth. Most people don't want to think of our army as an occupying force, but it is. An occupying army can't win anything. The occupation only helps Al Qaeda, which Iraqis don't want in their country because Al Qaeda attracts foreigners who have been killing Iraqis.

Our nation has been held trapped in a fallacious War Frame that serves the interests of the Bush administration and the Republican Party. The term "cut and run," currently being used to vilify Democrats, is defined relative to the following frame:

There is a war against evil that must be fought. Fighting requires courage and bravery. Those fully committed to the cause are brave. Those who "cut and run" are motivated by self-interest; they are only interested in saving their own skins, not in the moral cause. They are cowards. And since those fighting for the cause need all the support they can get, anyone who decides to "cut and run" endangers both the moral cause and the lives of those brave people who are fighting for it. Those who have courage and conviction should stand and fight.

Once the false frame is set, it is hard to use any pure self-interest frame that ignores the just cause of fighting evil. That is the trap the Democrats have fallen into. Their proposed slogans evoke self-interest frames: Both John Murtha's "stay and pay" and John Kerry's "lie and die" have an X-and-Y structure that evokes — and thus reinforces — "cut and run."
'The Cut-and-Run Frame, when put forth as a reason why we cannot withdraw from Iraq, fits a gallant war. It does not fit a failed occupation.'

These, as well as Senator Jack Reed's "The Republican Plan to Be in Iraq Forever," are self-interest frames that accept the "cut and run" frame, but says it is in our interest to leave. We "pay," we "die," we are stuck there forever. As long as Democrats accept the war-against-evil frame, any self-interest framing will be treated as immoral — acting as a coward, letting evil win out, and endangering our troops.

The Cut-and-Run Frame, when put forth as a reason why we cannot withdraw from Iraq, fits a gallant war. It does not fit a failed occupation. When you have become the villain and target to the people you are trying to help, it's time to do the right thing — admit the truth that this is an occupation and think and act accordingly. All occupations end with withdrawal. The issue is not bravery versus cowardice in a good cause. The Cut-and-Run Frame does not apply.

In an occupation, there are pragmatic issues: Are we welcome? Are we doing the Iraqis more harm than good? How badly are we being hurt? The question is not whether to withdraw, but when and how. What to say? You might prefer "End the occupation now" or "End the occupation by the end of the year" or "End the occupation within a year," but certainly Congress and most Americans should be able to agree on "End the occupation soon."

In an occupation, not a war, should the president still have war powers? How, if at all, is the Supreme Court decision on military tribunals at Guantanamo affected if we are in an occupation, not a war? What high-handed actions by the President, if any, are ruled out if we are no longer at war?

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Drum Beats for Iran

How can Americans be so duped?
NBC, L.A. Times, Gannett labeled House report "bipartisan," but most of it was written by Republicans: "NBC, L.A. Times, Gannett labeled House report 'bipartisan,' but most of it was written by Republicans

Summary: Various print and television news outlets discussing a House report of U.S. intelligence on Iran characterized the report as 'bipartisan' without noting that it was primarily written by Republican staff members and came under criticism from House Democrats."

Bush EPA Loss is Your Win -- Celebrate!

Ruling that the Bush administration "plainly violated" the Endangered Species Act, a federal judge overturned a regulation Thursday that streamlined approval of pesticides by eliminating reviews by wildlife officials responsible for protecting rare animals and plants.

The judge restored pre-2004 standards requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to consult federal wildlife biologists before licensing pesticides.
"Up to now, EPA's track record in addressing the effects of pesticides on endangered species has been abysmal," said Jamie Rappaport Clark, former director of the Fish and Wildlife Service and now executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife, a plaintiff in the case. "Instead of solving the problem, they simply weakened the rules…. The court has put a stop to that."

Republican Katrina Survivor Praises Bush. That's Creole For "Job Hunting"...

If you want the facts on Katrina watch When The Levees Broke -- all six hours.

Then of course watch this for the propoganda:
CNN provided forum for Katrina survivor to praise Bush on Katrina, omitted that he's a Republican: "On the August 23 edition of CNN's Live From..., host Kyra Phillips allowed Katrina survivor Rockey Vaccarella to repeatedly praise or deflect blame from President Bush over his handling of Hurricane Katrina, yet failed to note that Vaccarella once ran for local office as a Republican or challenge Vaccarella's various attempts to excuse the federal government's slow response. As Philadelphia Daily News senior writer Will Bunch has reported, Vaccarella ran in 1999 for the St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, commission as a Republican, according to a October 15, 1999, candidate profile in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. While Phillips noted that Vaccarella 'ran for office in the past in St. Bernard Parish,' she failed to mention his party affiliation. Later, on The Situation Room, CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux did note his Republican Party affiliation while reporting that the White House denied having known it.

Vaccarella -- who, as Bunch reported, was listed in his 1999 candidate profile as director of operations for a company that operated 31 Pizza Hut restaurants -- towed a 'mock but realistic-looking' version of the trailer issued to him and his family after the hurricane by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from Louisiana to Washington with the intention of cooking a meal of 'shrimp and redfish and other good food' for Bush inside the trailer. According to the Times-Picayune, Vaccarella instead met with the president in a private session."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Count All the Votes!!!

As Black Box Voting's Bev Harris has said: "We're counting the votes--get over it!":
New Zogby Poll On Electronic Voting Attitudes: "A recent Zogby poll documents ground breaking information on the attitudes of American voters toward electronic voting. They are quite clear in the belief that the outcome of an entire election can be changed due to flaws in computerized voting machines. At a stunning rate of 92%, Americans insist on the right to watch their votes being counted. And, at an overwhelming 80%, they strongly object to the use of secret computer software to tabulate votes without citizen access to that software."

Frankenrice-aroni: "The Agro-American Treat!"

When citizens are in control of the government again--after 2006 when the corrupt Republican congress is sent back to slither under its respective rocks--America can return to relationships with the rest of the civilized world...which means putting Americans' health before lobbyists' dollars:
GM contamination warning triggers call for ban on US rice: "Environment groups yesterday urged the European commission to follow Japan and restrict imports of American rice after the US government admitted that an illegal and untested genetically modified strain had contaminated the food chain.

The announcement said conventional long-grain rice had been contaminated by a GM rice that was grown at experimental sites between 1998 and 2001. However, there was no indication as to how widespread the contamination had been, how it occurred or why it had taken until now for the disclosure to be made. The UK imported 82,625 tonnes of US rice in 2004."

Monday, August 21, 2006

Gas Tax? Bring it On!

Higher Gas Tax Please:
"New crises demand new modes of thought.

In the early 20th century, scientists were baffled by the paradox that the speed of light never changes, even if the observer is rushing toward the light source. Einstein resolved the crisis by redefining time from a constant to a variable.

In the mid-20th Century, America was struggling to escape its centuries-old legacy of slavery and segregation. Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement found us all a way forward, by redefining racism as an assault on the souls of whites as well as blacks.

Today, America's and the world's prodigal use of fossil fuels is creating twin crises: a climate crisis from emissions of heat-trapping pollution into the atmosphere, and a security crisis self-created by the industrial world's thirst for other people's oil.

We can solve both crises, but only if we relinquish deep-seated beliefs about fuels and energy. And the attitude we must fling overboard first is our sense of entitlement to cheap energy. We need to recognize that energy does not cost too much; in fact, it doesn't cost nearly enough. To preserve Earth's climate, and wrest political authority from the corporate oil barons and petrodollar sheiks, we must conserve fuel massively and permanently, starting now."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Fear and Propoganda in America

Why do we even credit Republican strategists with any degree of integrity--or Republican supporters for that matter--when it is so obvious that all they are offering American citizens is overt propoganda?
Propaganda: America's Psychological Warriors: "At its root, propaganda plays on emotions, often defying reason and facts in order to reach into the psyche of the audience. Propaganda is a mind game — the skillful propagandist plays with your deepest emotions, exploiting your greatest fears and prejudices.

Propaganda researchers Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson define modern propaganda as 'mass 'suggestion' or 'influence' through the manipulation of symbols and the psychology of the individual. Propaganda involves the dexterous use of images, slogans and symbols that play on our prejudices and emotions; it is the communication of a point of view with the ultimate goal of having the recipient of the appeal come to 'voluntarily' accept this position as if it were his or her own.'

Fear is the best weapon of the propagandist. Fear of another 9/11 attack is stated or embedded into nearly every message produced by the White House. Labeling is another weapon of choice for the propagandist. In World War I, Germans were Huns, Krauts and Boche. World War II produced Japs and Nips, and Vietnam brought us Gooks. Today's label, 'terrorist,' is seldom missing from White House speeches."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

When the Right Eats Their Own...

...everybody wins:
Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: Defeatism and attacks on the Commander-in-Chief during a time of war: "Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer both said this weekend on Fox that Hezbollah won and Iran has been strengthened. Attacks on the Commander-in-Chief and proclamations of American defeat are ubiquitous - among the same group that insisted for the last five years that such attacks are dangerous and wrong and that talk of American defeat helps the terrorists.

Aren't terrorists going to be so happy to see that Americans are divided in this way? Doesn't it make us less safe for all of these people to be branding the U.S. as weak losers and to be glorifying the strength and power of our enemies? Don't these people realize that we're in a war and that weakening the Commander-in-Chief with such criticisms and declaring American defeat endangers all of us?"

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Everything Old is New Again

From Terrorism: The Politics of Language, Noam Chomsky, 1986 -- excerpted from the book Stenographers to Power, David Barsamian
Most of the retail terrorism-what is called "terrorism" in the United States-comes out of Lebanon, and that started in 1982. It was a very marginal phenomenon before that, a major phenomenon, mainly in Europe, after 1982;so plainly something must have happened in 1982 to cause terrorism to start coming out of Lebanon. Well, yes, something happened in 1982: with enthusiastic American support, Israel attacked Lebanon. The purpose of the Israeli attack was to demolish the civilian society of the Palestinians so as to ensure Israeli control over the West Bank, and in the process it also destroyed much of what was left of Lebanon. Lebanon was left in ruins, the Palestinian community was destroyed, and Lebanon, already in bad shape, got the final blow. The United States supported it all the way. We vetoed U.N. resolutions trying to stop the aggression, we supplied Israel with arms, diplomatic support, the whole business, and naturally it was perfectly predictable that that was going to evoke international terrorism. You cut off every political option for people and they are going to turn to terrorism. And I should say that this was well understood in Israel. Here you can't talk about it, because we're a much more indoctrinated country, but in Israel, which is a more democratic society-at least for the Jewish majority-this was openly discussed. For example, the current prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir, pointed out that there was a threat to Israel from the Palestinians, but said it was a political, not a military threat. The threat was that they would compel Israel to enter into a political settlement that it didn't want, and that had to be stopped. Israel's and perhaps the world's leading specialist on the Palestinians, a professor at Hebrew University named Yehoshua Porath, wrote an analysis shortly after the invasion, a long, detailed article in Ha'aretz, Israel's major newspaper(kind of like Israel's New York Times), in which he explained what he thought, very plausibly, the invasion was about. He said, and I'm paraphrasing: Look, here's the situation. For the last year, the PLO has not engaged in any cross-border terrorism. Israel has tried to get them to do it, we have continually bombed them and murdered them and so on to try to evoke some response across the border, but they haven't done it. They've kept discipline despite the fact that we've bombed them, killing dozens of people and so forth. This is a veritable catastrophe for the Israeli leadership, since if the PLO continues to maintain this posture of not engaging in cross-border terrorism and demanding a diplomatic settlement, Israel might be driven to apolitical settlement, which it does not want because in a political settlement it would have to give up control of the occupied territories. What the Israeli leadership wants is to return the PLO to much earlier days when it engaged in random terrorism, a PLO that will hijack airplanes, kill many Jews and be a source of loathing and horror throughout the world. They don't want a peaceful PLO that refuses to respond to Israeli terrorist attacks and insists on negotiation. That's what the invasion will achieve.

--Noam Chomsky

Public Stoning: American Style

Is our onward rush to erase the line between separation of church and state good for everybody? I don't tell me:
Public Stoning: Not Just for the Taliban Anymore: "Two really devilish guys materialized in Toccoa, Ga., last month to harangue 600 true believers on the gospel of a thoroughly theocratic America. Along with lesser lights of the religious far right who spoke at American Vision's 'Worldview Super Conference 2006,' Herb Titus and Gary North called for nothing short of the overthrow of the United States of America."

Friday, August 11, 2006

Recount Begins in Mexico

Democracy begins at home, er, in Mexico...
Officials begin recount in Mexico: "Electoral officials fanned out across the country yesterday to begin a partial recount in Mexico’s tight presidential election, while leftists alleging vote fraud blocked bank headquarters in the capital and vowed to take their disruptive protests nationwide.

Guarded by soldiers and monitored by electoral judges and representatives of all of Mexico’s five political parties, authorities started sifting through ballots cast at 11,839 polling booths, about 9 percent of the 130,000 booths used during the July 2 election."
Hat tip: Kat L'Estrange

Monday, August 07, 2006

Democrats: Assert Your Brand!

Carrying on from this past week's show with Geoff Nunberg, an older but relevant piece on branding from the liberals' own Thom Hartmann:
We're still letting cons define our brand for us,: and they're still doing it aggressively. In the month of February, 2005, timed to coincide with the Academy Awards, a con group has rented prominent billboards in Hollywood that will show a smiling picture of George W. Bush with the slogan: "Thank you, Hollywood!". In a row under the prominent and smiling Bush are less flattering photos of Michael Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Afleck, and other outspoken liberals.

There are no Democratic billboards showing the biggest supporters of the Republican Party - corporate fat-cats like Ken Lay, with private jets and limousines, living in baronial mansions.

In classic marketing theory, there are two foundational concepts. Features ("what is it?") without benefits ("why should I care?") lack relevance. And, benefits without features lack credibility.

Once these are mastered, you "chunk up" (to use NLP terminology) to branding: "Features and benefits without identification ("Who am I when I use this product?") lack "stickiness" or persistence.

Progressives and Democrats are still working on features - the details of programs.

Most progressives know all the features they're interested in: Universal single payer health care, a viable social safety net, prison and sentencing reform, a livable wage, support for unions and the repeal of Taft-Hartley and its heirs, voting (and voting machine) reforms, revoking corporate personhood and getting corporate money out of politics, moral leadership in the world, and working for a reduction of crime and poverty at home and towards stable, lasting worldwide peace (to name a few).

But there's no "benefit statement" in lists like these. Sure, some people think they're obvious, but the cons know - as does any good marketer - that you have to lead with the benefit, and only then do you follow with the features. Sell "lower taxes" to everybody before rolling out tax cuts for the wealthy. Sell "personal accounts" for Social Security before rolling out benefit cuts for future generations. Sell "protect your children" before rolling out homophobia and theocracy.
Progressives and Democrats: Assert Your Brand! "The brand - the identity - of progressive ideals doesn't need to be reinvented. It's been with us since the founding of this nation. It long predates the Republican's Faustian deal with the Robber Barons and war profiteers. And when the Democratic Party has been strongest, it's been because Democrats have asserted a clear brand that stood in opposition to Republicans and their fat-cat owners. We are the - truly - We the People.

If the Democratic Party is to survive, it must embrace the progressive concepts that led to its founding in the late 1700s. It must tell average Americans what's in it for them, and once again give Americans a 'brand' with which they can identify. It must stop playing defense, letting the Republicans define the agenda of public debate, and instead reinvigorate traditional progressive rhetoric, legislation, and identity.

Democrats must reassert their brand, and establish their identity. To do this, the Party must say, loudly: 'We're for the average working stiff in America, and we'll prove it by bringing jobs back from overseas by pulling out of the WTO and NAFTA, supporting organized labor, strengthening the social safety net, and keeping government from being a honey pot for either churches or corporations.' And then they must come up with a simple name for it, like Newt's 'Contract' or Roosevelt's 'New Deal' or LBJ's 'Great Society' to provide voters with a hook for identification.

They must further back this up by working with Greens and progressives for Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), the end of Republican-affiliated corporations programming our voting machines, and advocate social, economic, and environmental reforms - and bringing them into the Party."

Saturday, August 05, 2006

David Brooks and the DLC: K-I-S-S-I-N-G

(It) figures:
Best Friends Forever?: "Brooks is the perfect priest of American conservatism, and by conservatism I don't mean the bloodthirsty, gun-toting, go-back-to-Africa, welfare-bashing right-winger conservatism of the NRA and Sean Hannity and the Bible Belt. I mean the dickless, power-worshipping, good-consumer pragmatic conservatism of Times readers and those other Bobos in Paradise who have exquisitely developed taste in furniture, coffee and television programming but would rather leave the uglier questions of politics to more decisive people, so long as they aren't dangerous radicals like Michael Moore or Markos Zuniga.

That's why the marriage of David Brooks and the Democratic Leadership Council makes perfect sense. It's repugnant and the kind of thing one should shield young children from knowing about, but it makes perfect sense. Both prefer a policy of being 'cautious soldiers,' 'incrementalists' who shun upheavals and vote the status quo, although they subscribe to this policy for different reasons.

Brooks worships the status quo because he has no penis and wants to spend the rest of his life buying periwinkle bath towels without troubling interruptions of conscience. The DLC, a nonprofit created in the mid-1980s to help big business have a say in the Democratic Party platform, supports the status quo because they are paid agents of the commercial interests that define it.

Moreover, Brooks and the DLC have this in common: While they both frown on the open flag-waving and ostentatious religiosity of the talk-radio right-wing as being gauche and in bad form, they're only truly offended by people of their own background who happen to be idealistic."

Friday, August 04, 2006

Time-Warner NY1 Silences Democratic Pro-Peace Opponent to Hillary Clinton

Democratic politicians sometimes have need of skepticism when they are challenged by opponents. Sometimes those challengers are being backed by Republicans in an effort to split the Democratic vote. Such is not the case here. Here the case is the DLC trying to suppress progressive Democratic views because they fear those voices will alienate moderate (i.e. Republican and Independent) voters. Supporting the interests of all Democrats is the job of strategists in the party and among those strategists are the DLC.

The majority of American citizens--not just those in the Democratic party--are frustrated with the course the occupation of Iraq has taken. Silencing a voice that will bring more solutions for Iraq to the table is not an option. NY1 and the DLC are acting as censors and in that decision both are wrong.
NY1 Silences Debate: "There is a heated debate among Democrats about the direction of the party, with centrist party stalwarts facing challenges from the left on issues like the Iraq War. But New York City voters will have a more difficult time seeing this debate play out, as New York City cable news channel NY1 (which is owned by Time Warner) has blocked the anti-war Democratic challenger Jonathan Tasini from a primary race debate against incumbent Sen. Hillary Clinton."

What Would Make Pat Robertson A "Rational Person" Convert?

Heat makes Pat Robertson a global warming "convert"�: "Conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson said on Thursday the wave of scorching temperatures across the United States has converted him into a believer in global warming.

'We really need to address the burning of fossil fuels,' Robertson said on his '700 Club' broadcast. 'It is getting hotter, and the icecaps are melting and there is a buildup of carbon dioxide in the air.'"
Hey Pat...ya think...???!!!!

Get On the Peace Train--The Declaration of Peace

Remember my post "Got Peace?" just a few days back? Well, for months now I've been telling my anti-war friends that working to end the occupation of Iraq (it is *not* a war) by using the term "anti-war" is a losing tactic. Why? Every time you say "anti" (which has no concrete image) and "war" which has a concrete image OF war, you reinstall the image of war in folks brains! If you want people to think about something different give them something different to think about! PEACE has entirely different mental images than "war"--so use those images--use pro-peace instead!!

Finally, someone is getting this:
The Declaration of Peace | A Nonviolent Action Campaign For an End to the US War in Iraq: "Take Action to End the US War in Iraq!

The Declaration of Peace is a nationwide campaign to establish by September 21, 2006 a concrete and rapid plan for peace in Iraq, including:

* a prompt timetable for withdrawal of troops and closure of bases
* a peace process for security, reconstruction, and reconciliation
* and the shift of funding for war to meeting human needs.

If this plan for peace is not created and activated by Congress by September 21, the International Day of Peace, Declaration signers across the U.S. will engage in nonviolent action in Washington, D.C. and in communities throughout the nation."
Now if we could just get folks to stop using "war" and use "occupation" instead, we could begin ramping down the FEAR emotion Hawks on the Right so desperately need for control!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Just Sayin...

If we stand up,
the Republicans will be forced to stand down,
because they have little to stand for,
but much they wish to stand on.

Don't let them stand on you.
Fight and get back what they have stolen.

or please stay home.

Hat Tip--Pete Cerchiara

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Election Integrity: Diebold Worse Then Suspected!!!

AZNetroots :: Diebold worse than we thought!: "Apparently, the Diebold TS machines can be switched to an alternate programming setup with a screwdriver and the flick of a switch. Guess which machines from Diebold Jan Brewer certified last year? The Diebold Election Systems, Inc. AccuVote-TS R6 Direct Record Electronic (DRE) WITHOUT THE PRINTER MODULE WHICH WAS AVAILABLE! "