Sunday, June 17, 2007

A closer look at the 2008 Republican frontrunners (new video)

Jason Lange and I are out with a new video, "Who are they really?" that takes a closer look at several of the 2008 Republican Presidential candidates. After several months of speeches and debates, a picture of each candidate is starting to emerge...(and it ain't pretty).

Feel free to share it with friends. (-:

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Progressive Manifesto for the Global Economy

The New York Times published a brilliant article today on where each ingredient in a loaf of Sara Lee bread comes from. A single loaf of bread contains ingredients from as many as 17 countries including China, India, Mexico, and Vietnam. Which is fine insofar as that goes. But the problem is that many of these countries have different environmental laws (and labor laws and food safety laws) than we do. What's the point of banning a pesticide in the United States, if the food I ingest is grown in a country that doesn't ban (or doesn't enforce the ban on) that same carcinogen!? This article followed on the heels of another article that explained that "no major vitamin manufacturers remain in the U.S." So we have laws governing our air, land, and water, but our food and our vitamins don't always come from our air, land, or water.

So all of this has got me thinking that we need some common sense rules for how things are going to go in this global economy (not the rules we're currently following, but rules that actually benefit people.) This is still a work in progress obviously so feel free to add ideas and suggestions. But here's my first hit on things:

1. Local, local, local. I know most of you already understand this idea (so I'm a little late to the party) but, I'm just starting to get how important this is. Locally grown food, locally sourced materials, locally hired people, locally produced goods. (But also check out # 6 below).

2. If we're gonna trade with a country, both countries should have the same labor, environmental, and food safety laws.

3. If the laws are not harmonious--then the higher standard (between the two countries) shall be the binding standard for both countries. (In a nutshell, that's why the agreement that created the EU is better than NAFTA--Europe insisted on upward harmonization of standards).

4. There need to be international agencies that have the power to enforce environmental, labor, and food safety laws. We also need standing international police and courts to support the enforcement of those laws. (BTW equal labor laws mean that if we're gonna trade with Europe, then we should have the same number of mandatory vacation days as they do. Woo hoo!).

5. We need direct election of delegates to the United Nations. I think people would be a lot more invested in a world governing body if they had a direct say in electing the delegates to that body.

6. If capital can be invested anywhere on the planet to make an additional buck for investors then people should be free to go anywhere on the planet to make an additional buck for their families. It make NO sense that capital is free to pursue opportunities worldwide but people are stuck with whatever miserable government they were born with.

That's all I got for right now. As always, feel free to add additional ideas to the comments.

Friday, June 15, 2007

2 home runs!

You've got to check out "I've Got a Crush on Obama." I thought it sounded a lot like My Box in a Box. So I looked it up and sure enough Leah Kauffman wrote and sang both songs. Box in a Box has 3,000,000 views on YouTube alone and the Obama video is already over 600,000. Leah Kauffman is a YouTube video genius! Deep bow.

Update: The connection runs deeper than I thought. Ben Relles produced both Box in a Box and I've Got a Crush on Obama. Very impressive.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Some of you may have already seen this on Americablog a few months ago. I just stumbled across it today and thought it was amazing. Pink is about more than just 'gettin' the party started'--she has a beautiful voice and sometimes, every once in a while, she really breaks through with something amazing. Check it out:

I like the way that she tapped into the enormous well of frustration that people feel towards this administration while also trying to find some thread of humanity in Bush.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Closer Look at the 2008 Republican Presidential Candidates

Truth is, it's a pretty lean year for Republican Presidential candidates. There doesn't seem to be a genuine leader in the bunch. And I think we need to remind people of that every single time we mention the candidates' names (to the extent that we speak of them at all). So here are some keywords for describing the candidates, (along with explanations in the parenthesis), and the reason why this man should not be President.

Mayor and tobacco lobbyist Rudolph Giuliani
(he's never held a statewide or national office)
Chose to put the Emergency Commander Center inside the World Trade Center.

soon to be 72 year old John McCain
(he'd be the oldest President in U.S. history)
He's not the man he once was.

Former Massachusetts Governor Willard "Varmint Hunter" Romney
(The ultimate flip flopper.)
Have you read Under the Banner of Heaven? I'm all for freedom of conscience but any religion with secret underwear is wacky.

Thespian and asbestos lobbyist Fred Thompson
(I hope all those "shut up and sing" Republicans will remind Thompson that they want thespians to know their place and stop talking politics.)
18 year Washington lobbyist running as an "outsider."

Soft on Crime Governor Mike Huckabee
(Pardoned rapist Wayne Dumond who later raped and killed another woman.)
Can you say Willie Horton?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Al Gore, Part II

Al Gore is getting a lot of love in the media right now. Indeed, Gore deserves enormous credit for drawing the world's attention to the problem of global warming.

But every time I see Joe Lieberman cheerleading for Bush's insane war (as Lieberman did yesterday), I can't help but think to myself, "Al Gore wanted this guy to be his vice president!?"

Now look, I get that Gore is not Lieberman's keeper. And maybe Lieberman developed Stockholm syndrome after the 2000 election so there was no way to really know that Lieberman would turn out to be so crazy.

But we do know this: the choice of a Vice Presidential running mate is perhaps THE most important decision a presidential candidate can make. It tells shows the voters exactly how you will make decisions as President. And the one thing we did know about Lieberman (during the Monica scandal) was that when push came to shove--Lieberman chose to side with the other guys.

And Al Gore wanted this guy to be his Vice President?

If Gore had chosen Bob Graham to be his running mate, he would be President right now (probably no 9/11, certainly no Iraq war, the Katrina disaster never spirals out of control, no Roberts or Alito on the Supreme Court).

It seems to me that Gore did everything he could to just barely lose--he picked Lieberman, hired Bob Shrum, didn't ask Clinton to campaign for him, just shucked and jived the entire campaign rather than taking credit for 8 years of peace and prosperity (and the crazy part is--he still got the most votes). Gore's a good man, I voted for him in 1992 and 1996, but I don't think he should run in 2008.

Election 2000: How Gore should have played it

It seems to me that politics is like wrestling--there's always another move that you can make to counter your opponent.

One of the problems with the recount fiasco in the 2000 elections is that Gore declared that he would abide by the decision of the United States Supreme Court (which by the way, had ABSOLUTELY NO JURISDICTION over Florida election law and so should not have taken the case in the first place). At the time, 7 of the 9 members of the Supreme Court had been appointed by Republican Presidents. Think about it--77% of the court are Republican political appointees and Gore declares that they have the final say. He gave away all his leverage. I believe there was another move he could have made.

In 2000, Democrats held the governorships in 18 states. More importantly, a Democrat was the governor of California (Gray Davis), Oregon (John Kitzhaber), and Washington (Gary Locke)--Democrats controlled the entire west coast and also Washington D.C. itself.

The winning move would have been for Gore to reach out to Democratic governors and get them to agree to pull out of the union if every vote wasn't counted. After all, THAT'S WHAT REPUBLICANS WOULD HAVE DONE if the shoe had been on the other foot. The argument would have been simple--"In this country, we count every vote. If you stop the vote count, this is no longer a democracy, and we are doing to form our own country." The Mayor of Washington D.C. could have declared D.C. part of this newly formed country as well and evicted the former United States government from his country.

The question then would have become--what is the military going to do? At the time, Clinton was still commander in chief of the military and he could have ordered them to stand down. Remember Clinton was still very popular and Gore had just won the popular vote in the election--it would have been extremely difficult for the military to challenge these decisions.

In the end, Al Gore would have become the President of the Democratic States of America, George Bush would have come the President of the Confederate Republican States of America and everyone would have basically gotten what they wanted.

I'm not saying it would have worked. I'm just asking if Gore ever made the phone call to the Governors to propose the idea to them? That's hardball politics--understanding that politics at its core is about power--getting people to follow your leadership.