Wedges and Winning: Your Letters
So Many Wedges, So Little Time
Re: The Progressive Wedge by Bernie Horn
I must disagree with Bernie Horn that for Dems to win elections means they must develop and promote a sound economic policy. True, that's important, but voters don't vote from the standpoint of policies. They vote emotionally, as the so-called religious right demonstrates. No, in order to win big in elections, Dems need to show themselves as either religious/spiritual or non-religious/ethical. When voters get it through their thick skulls that Democrats are not "godless commies," then they will vote Democratic.
Thank you for your interesting and very important article. At some point, we must address the voting machine problem as no matter how many good candidates we have and no matter how many good ideas we have, the party now in power has the ability to "fix" the voting machines so that we lose, they win. We have been cheated once, cheated twice—when are we going to do something about it? They also "fix" voters as to who can vote and who cannot. Please address this as it is the most important issue in the country. Fair voting. The purple finger may be the answer.
On the issue of election wedge issues that would favor progressives: One glaring omission is the important issue of outsourcing American jobs overseas. This is of major importance to working Americans. It is unfair for corporations to drain a company town of its lifeblood and then bolt overseas for cheap, slave labor and leave middle Americans to fend for themselves w/o any health care or pension benefits. If progressives don't see the injustice in this issue, they will flail around hopelessly in all the forthcoming elections and we will continue to have years and years of reactionary politicians who continue to destroy our nation.
Money Out Of Politics
Re: Corrupting Influences by Nick Nyhart
The real source of the scandal problem is the financing our federal elections. Until such time as we take the effect of big money out of our elections, we are going to continue to have "Katrina" events. That is, we will the substitution of the agenda of special interests for the real agenda and needs of the nations. Congressmen and women will always be at the beck and call of those who put them in office. If we can spend billions on a war and billions more on the nation in which the war occurs, we can finance our federal elections.
You are right that money is the primary corrupting influence in government. Most good lawmakers hate to have to spend so much of their time looking for it.
Controlling the amount spent by candidates to get their messages out is the problem. There should be a way to limit the amount a candidate or his or her political party can spend on TV, newspaper ads, radio ads, printed material or on their campaigns. If public funding were offered only when a candidate has qualified by obtaining a required minimum of signatures and money (and has fully revealed the source of the money), it might be possible to reduce the undue influence of money in selecting our political leaders.
I suggest that there be a limit to the amount a candidate can spend per registered voter in his district. Also, have our taxes pay most of that amount once the candidate has qualified. Make it a duty of every eligible citizen to vote in every election. If someone does not vote, he or she should have to pay a fine. The fines would not exceed $10 per person per election and would be collected through the local tax authorities. Exemptions from voting would be granted to people that cannot get to the polls or are mentally disabled. If the voter does not want to vote for one of the candidates, he would still be required to indicate that by casting a blank vote or write in a name.
Re:What Ted Kennedy Didn't Talk About (blog) by Conor Clarke
I agree that it is frustrating that Dems have been acting so sheepishly on abortion for the past serveal years. However, I see a different angle in Senator Kennedy's approach. That is, very few Republicans, if any, will vote against Alito based on the judge's archaic views about women's rights. However, there may be several who are alarmed about the threat to the constitution that unlimited executive power allows for. It is Republican minds, a handful, which must be swayed against Alito if there is any chance of blocking him at all. So I think Kennedy is correct, in this case, in making a case based on what Republicans might find disturbing about the nominee. If Kennedy spends too much breath on the abortion issues, Republicans will tune him out and Alito is as good as confirmed, since there are not enough Democratic votes to block him.
I also attended Ted Kennedy's speech at the Center for American Progress and agree with Conor Clarke's comments. But I was also distressed by Kennedy's failure to advocate, much less mention, a Democratic filibuster to delay Alito's confirmation. It would give the Democrats an opportunity to expose Alito's reactionary record as a judge and Justice Dept. official—an opportunity muffed during the hearings.
The American people need to know why Alito is an even worse choice for the Court than Harriet Miers. Kennedy isn't the only senator who could lead a filibuster. Other possibilities include: Sens. Leahy, Durbin, Feingold, Byrd, Boxer and Feinstein. It's about time the Democrats showed they still have some spine left.
(Former aide to Sen. Paul D. Wellstone)
Let's Vote Molly
Re: The Patriotic Bully Card (blog) by Alexandra Walker
I am glad to see my sentiments finally making print. Hillary Clinton is the worst candidate the Dems could run for the reasons cited in Molly's piece. Also, let's not forget the radical right's rabid hatred of her. No move to the right will change that. She couldn't govern from any position.
Bravo to Molly Ivins! There is a vacuum in real leadership, and those pretenders she names should feel shame. I have lost respect for just about all people in government and business. Let's forget the "etiquette" of fine writing in this time, when "politics as usual" means no vision, no integrity and no leadership. It's time for people to talk the way Ms. Ivins writes: "What are we afraid of?" Bullies are usually bullies because of deep-seated insecurities. In the playground, when kids get together to stand up to the bully, the problem goes away—and the bully is often transformed. It's time to transform politics and our great country!
The Right To Survive
Re: Reproductive Regression by Carole Joffe
For a complex set of reasons, survival for a poor woman often means finding a man who will take her in. Lack of access/money leaves many of these women without birth control options. Welfare repeal, and turning what is left of social programs into something tremendously punitive, means that any sort of govt. assistance is usually not an option. If the man with whom the woman lives doesn't want the baby, the woman's choice is abortion or the streets. We Americans seem to have little reluctance to allow the poor to die on the streets.
This is the reality for low-income women today. The supposed "hand out" never was turned into a "hand up." Today, there is nothing for women in desperate circumstances to fall back on. Those without skills can rarely access training, and those with serious health problems can rarely obtain adequate help. Our celebrated "welfare reform" has set us back at least a century. The nation that advocates—indeed, demands—the "right to life" gets weirdly silent about "the right to survive."
D. H. Fabian
Signs of an insane society! Abortion is increasingly difficult to obtain, but the best way to avoid abortion—contraception—is increasingly difficult to obtain as well. Are we nuts or something? What better way to prevent and avoid abortin than to make contraception unavailable! I think every unwanted, unaborted baby should be left on the lawn of the White House for Bush and his junta to care for!
The social problems related to improper abortions are actually a separate problem unrelated to Roe v. Wade . These problems have persisted in spite of Roe v. Wade and not because of it. I want to make sure that you and everyone else realizes this. Roe v. Wade did not cause these problems nor was it actually a solution for these associated abortion problems. There is a difference. These problems are a result of social ills unrelated to Roe v. Wade .
Re: Civil War-Elect by Robert Dreyfuss
We had no right to invade Iraq or to make it a "central front in the war on terror," which it was not before we destroyed the existing government and left the social order to descend into chaos, even as we proclaimed we were masterminding the birth of a new, free and democratic Iraq.
The invasion of
Obviously, what would work in
Re: Alito's Clear And Present Danger by Paul Rogat Loeb
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden has said publicly that he would mount a filibuster if Congress tried to pass legislation that would outlaw
He's qualified, we hear. So was Robert Bork, but he was stopped. Samuel Alito may not be quite as wacky as Bork, but when has relative wackiness been the benchmark for selection or rejection? That Alito would favor the interests of big business and a unitary executive should be cause enough to filibuster. Democrats who do not filibuster should have to answer for it at the polls.
This is what I have stated before and I'm now saying it again: Women in this country have a long way to go! We are currently living in the 21st century, in the
People should not have to select a woman for the sake of selecting a woman as the Supreme Court nominee, but people should be able to choose a qualified, competent, capable, understanding and fair nominee that we all can agree upon!
Re: Shielding Big Pharma by Stephen Pizzo
Great piece! Don't forget, though , the connection to the K Street Project in the form of Pharma's head, former Louisiana Rep. Billy Tauzin. As I recall, he played a big role in the crafting of the current Medicare Prescription Drug fiasco and was rewarded with a fat annual salary to head the industry's lobbying effort.
Education Outside The Bubble
Re: Bush: Back To The Bubble by
The massive education cuts in the budget are designed as an end-run around the draft issue. This void in educational funding will hit the poorest students worst. Thus, forcing many, if not most, into the military. Voila! Killing lots of birds with one stone. Hip, Hip, Hooray!
Someone really needs to investigate the student loan industry. I am still paying one off from 20 years ago. I still owe more than I borrowed. At 9 percent interest, plus "capitalized" interest from the year I fought to get my loans consolidated, and the two times I needed the "hardship" time-out they generously allow (not), I will be paying this until I'm 90. And there seems to be no way for anyone with an existing loan to refinance it, to take advantage of the newer lower interest rates.
It's a rip-off, plain and simple. And I'm a lawyer, a political activist and blogger. What about those who can't make the usurious payments? Or can't even go to college anymore because of the policies you write about?
Yeah, Tiffany! During the
So, I guess Bush thought that all the students would be as drunk and stupid as he was at Yale.
However, the lack, or expense, of funding for college is only part of the overall problem. We are creating so many graduates, but we still have this antiquated apprentice mentality when it comes to hiring any of them. One is expected to