Sunday, October 31, 2010

We need to keep the Alliance going

Following Tuesday's election outcome

we might be seeing these two corrupt elitists running Congress and promising a much more regressive direction for the country. Let's keep the Mid Hudson Progressive Alliance, and other local, grass roots progressive organizations vibrant and active, for the sake of truth and democracy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"No Compomise", promise the GOP

This article is in today's Daily Kos, in which Republicans let their followers just what's in store, should they win back Congress, i.e., much much more gridlock and ideological warfare.

A Quick Reflection from Howard "Lev" Levin

As a conservative thinker and a full time progressive tinkerer, I am often reminded of my sometimes bleeding hearts. I mean you can only chase your tail in a dizzy so long, before you realize that your extremities,are just as much integral to your life,as the blood pumping and coursing to that tail.

So,why am I waxing poetic?

Simple: to remind all not to retire from our wonderful progressive alliance. Because, at best our alliance is like the blood of harmony that flows between us, for the further development of justice for all.

I believe that progress is developing mindfulness, even in my sometimes conservative thought.


P.S. Get out and vote!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

This is a revision of something I recently wrote on the Daily Kos website, which is a website that publishes largely Democratic/progressive posts on current politics, and then posted to Facebook, where, because it generated a lot of interesting discussion, I am now posting here. Anyway, here is what 1st wrote on Daily Kos.

My father was a good man. He was born in NJ in 1929, and passed away from a stroke in 1992, and was living in Florida at the time. My dad was a young guy, in his early 20s, when he served his country in uniform in the Korean War And while he didn't always understand the social and cultural changes taking place in this country in the 1960s and 70s, when I was a kid, my dad was a good man, who tried, ultimately, to understand the world, particularly as it was explained to him by his three kids.

And while my dad - a Democrat to the very end - was a bit more conservative than his three kids, he would likely be disgusted by a the Tea Party and all of their stupidity. My dad also happened to have lived in the district where this piece of right wing thuggery occurred recently.

So when I saw this, I immediately thought of my dad and my visits to Florida to visit with him. I miss him and I wish he were still around. I'd also really like to hear his take on this.

Anyway, there is something of a disconnect between myself and some of my friends and relatives when it comes to politics and it is something that, I must admit, I have a very hard time understanding. It is very hard for me to understand how people who, like me, grew up not living in a mansion and flying off on a family private jet to an exotic vacation but rather with blue collar roots, can support Republicanism, that is, Republican party candidates, Republican rhetorical statements, and Republican media, like Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Fox News. I can't, for the life of me, see how people - who I see as decent, smart, and ultimately, fair-minded - can get behind this. Is it a dissatisfaction with Obama, the Democrats, and the political status quo? I am not entirely satisfied with these things, though I do think that Obama is trying to do his best. Is it religion, or specifically Christianity? If so, I too was raised with a pretty authoritarian version of Christianity, but in spite of this, I never quite saw how Jesus Christ supported violence, free market libertarian capitalism, war and torture, or the hatred of gays. Christianity, like all religions, can easily become distorted and used, as Marx said, as a sort of opium of the masses.

Anyway, I don't think that I could ever support the Republican Party because as far as I can tell the Republican Party doesn't support me or the things - fairness and equality, tolerance for difference, the rights of workers and consumers, separation of church and state, protecting the environment - that I think are important. The GOP as far as I can see has given us cultural warfare in an alliance with the Religious Right and with social conservatives who seem to want to take us back to the 1800s. And they have given us class warfare in an alliance with big banks, investment banks, and corporations (though admittedly, a few too many Democrats have also sought out this alliance, which is why some of their base has grown a bit dejected). The GOP has also played the race card, starting back when I was much younger and Richard Nixon began recruiting in 1968 Southern Dixiecrats into the Republican Party, and then continuing with Ronald Reagan and his code words ("states rights," "welfare queen") and then Willie Horton, Jesse Helms. and most recently the Tea Party and its candidates appealing to xenophobia and Islamophobia. Of course, no one ever wants to admit to their own complicity with racism. Finally, the Republicans also pretty much stood and cheered as Bush and Cheney led us into a costly and illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, which was accompanied by torture and indefinite detentions of people who were presumed guilty before being proven guilty; and during this time, here on the domestic front, Bush engaged in a policy of secret, illegal domestic surveillance; where were the Tea Party protesters, with their stated concerns about obeying the Constitution, when the previous administration was tearing the Constitution to shreds?

That said, and again, acknowledging that everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion, with friends/loved ones who express political views that are the opposite of mine and when they do so in direct response to me expressing my views, my response is to try, via dialogue, to arrive at mutual understanding. Because, I really do believe that there are decent people on all sides of the political spectrum and that we are all in this together. I won't pretend to respect the political party that you support, because I don't respect it, but I can respect and care about those to whom I am connected.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Letter to the Poughkeepsie Journal

I read the Poughkeepsie Journal everyday and recently had this letter published on the hate filled candidacy of Carl Paladino. What does it say about NY state Republicans who would support this truly loathsome character?

Paladino's actions disqualify him

Sadly, once again we have seen racism and bigotry rear their ugly heads with this year's electoral races. We have seen, for example, a white supremacist running for Congress in New York's 18th District. And in the race for governor, we have the Republican candidate, Carl Paladino, who has displayed bigotry by referring to poor, unemployed people as lacking in hygiene, by referring to a Jewish Assembly leader, Shelly Silver, as an "anti-Christ," and most nefariously, by making blatantly racist jokes.

What does it say about the character of a man who would think amusing, images of President Obama as a pimp, Obama's supporters as dancing African tribesmen, and images that refer to black people using the racist "N" word? Paladino's supporters, seeing him as representing a needed potential shakeup of Albany, are quick to forgive him for forwarding e-mails containing these images, but the fact remains that Paladino has demonstrated extremely poor judgment. His actions were racist, and in the context of his campaign, are confrontationally so.

The rest of us have a choice, which is to stand up to racism and confront it or to tacitly condone it. Paladino's supporters and his fellow Republicans who do not condemn Paladino's racist behavior are themselves guilty of racism, no matter what their reason for support for Carl Paladino. Blatant racism — like a record of political corruption — ought to automatically disqualify one from holding public office.

Tom Conroy

Friday, October 8, 2010

Beacon Canvas on Sunday

The following message was posted on the MHPA Google page

This Sunday there will be a joint John Hall-Didi Barrett canvass in Beacon.

Canvassers will be meeting at 1pm at Zuzu's on Main Street.

Contact Adrian Culea, Field Organizer, NY-19, New York Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign, (845) 242-5391 if you have any questions.

Polling is showing that this race is statistically tied right now, no matter what the Hayworth campaign may claim.

Also, please everyone, note the following blog post reminder of Nan Hayworth's political extremism

Nan Hayworth is extreme indeed in her support of the "legislative roadmap" crafted by right-wing Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Ryan's plan calls for steep cuts in both Social Security, Medicare and other safety net programs, all in the name of reducing the federal debt.

In addition to cutting benefits, the plan calls for diverting individual Social Security contributions to private stock market accounts while, at the same time, leaving the federal government in the position of bailing out beneficiaries if the stock market declines. Ryan's plan also calls for abolishing Medicare for everyone currently below age 55 and replacing it with a voucher for purchasing private insurance. The catch of course is that the proposed voucher amount does not keep pace with increases in the cost of health care so would become increasingly inadequate over time, leaving seniors without access to needed care. Pataki health care ads make false claims

The Website Factcheck.Org has examined former Governor George Pataki's campaign against John Hall and the federal health care reform bill and finds them to be a lie. To quote,

* The ads claim the law will create "longer waits in doctors offices" and that "your right to keep your own doctor may be taken away." The group points to an opinion piece written by a health care expert who told FactCheck it is "bogus" to cite his article as support.
* The ad calls the health care law "government-run health care." While the law expands government regulation of health care, it maintains the nation's largely private health insurance system and creates more business for private insurers, says FactCheck.
* Viewers are told "costs will go up," while FactCheck says premiums would stay the same or decrease slightly for most Americans, while rising for people who buy their own insurance, and whose plans will be required to become more expansive.

Interviews with the Tea Party

Once upon a time, these sorts of ranting, irrational characters were thought of as a political "lunatic fringe," but now, they have more or less taken over the political party that put one of their own on a national ticket (that, of course, would be a certain Alaskan governor). That they are as prominent as they are, right now, seems to reflect a leadership void in the Republican Party, a party which may possibly gain the House this Fall, but which will then be very unlikely or unwilling to govern; not when it is being dragged around by people such as these.

My thanks to Andrew for posting this link.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

From the Huffington Post, article about New York's 19th Congressional District race

Insightful article by Jay Michaelson in the Huffington Post, focusing on the Tea Party takeover of the GOP in NY's 19th district.

Hayworth, in contrast, is a cookie-cutter Tea Party pseudo-libertarian. Her talking points are straight from the national strategy desk: Glenn Beck's rhetoric of patriotism and limited government, Sarah Palin's homey amateurism, and wild exaggerations of the evils of health care reform and other "nationalized" programs. Her platform is cookie-cutter as well: lowering the "oppressive, enterprise-killing taxation" (translation: lower taxes on the richest Americans -- including, in Hayworth's case, eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax), "reform" of social security (i.e., mandatory IRA's, which everyone knows are meant to replace, not reform, the existing system), increasing domestic oil production (read: more BP spills in the gulf, more drilling in Alaska), anti-immigration measures, and so on.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Open Thread

Use the comment window below to say what is on your mind.

Donna Edwards Introduces Constitutional Amendment to Undo SCOTUS Ruling

I am hoping that the MHPA can help support passage of this amendment, so that corporations cannot outright buy and sell our democracy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Some polling data on Obama's approval ratings

Some interesting polling data from Ezra Klein at the Washington Post. Approval or disapproval of Obama varies considerably by a variety of demographic factors.

Who likes Barack Obama -- and who doesn't -- in one table
Gallup breaks it down:

The Tea Party is taking its toll on the GOP

A highly recommended essay in the Daily Kos today which lays out the fact that a GOP sweep in the elections this year is hardly a done deal. Huffington Post also has a profile of Sharron Angle pointing to some inherent tensions between the establishment GOP and its loud activist faction.

The hardcore rightward drift of the GOP under the direction of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and the rest of the Tea Party appears to be taking a very negative toll on the GOP. I would also lump in some of our own candidates in NY, like George Phillips, Carl Paladino, and Nan Hayworth in with the GOP's Tea Party faction. Let's defeat them all this November!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Let's make Election Day a National Holiday!

This is an essay I originally posted on Daily Kos back in September 2008. I still believe in this idea.

Given that California is currently circulating a new initiative petition that would make Election Day a state holiday, I would like to support continuing suggestions that Election Day be made a paid national holiday. Given both the low voting rates in this country and the desire of many who have to work on that day to instead volunteer their day toward the election, such as by serving as an election monitor in a swing state, the status quo is an impediment to democracy.A while back, Senator Debbie Stabenow proposed the national election holiday idea

In an effort to boost participation in the nation's elections, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) offered legislation that would make Election Day in November a national holiday.

Stabenow says her proposal is rooted in studies of voter participation in the world's major democracies and in a survey completed by the U.S. Census Bureau. The legislation also draws on the findings of a bipartisan commission headed by former presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. The commission was created to recommend election reforms after the 2000 election.

"Studies of the 21 most advanced democracies, going all the way back to 1945, show the United States rate of voter participation is one of the lowest in the world - and continues to fall," Stabenow says. "Between 1980 and 2000, voter participation in Australia, Italy, Germany, Denmark and Sweden was 80 percent or better, and participation in Israel, Great Britain and Canada was 70 percent or better. Over the same period, however, voter participation in the United States was just 50 percent."

Stabenow notes a survey done by the U.S. Census Bureau shortly after the 2000 elections that found respondents cited a schedule conflict with work or school as the number one reason for not voting.

"Declaring Election Day a national holiday would make it easier for millions of busy Americans to get to the polls," Stabenow says. "In addition, we would have more public buildings - especially schools - available as potential polling places, and we would have a larger pool of potential poll workers to staff those locations."

Studies suggest that countries that vote on non work days have voting rates about 24% higher than in the U.S.

Of course, critics will counter that businesses would lose a day of productivity. Of course, merchants certainly don't complain when holidays free up people for a day of shopping.

Perhaps, as some suggest, we can trade Columbus Day for a national Electtion Day holiday. After all, why is a discovery myth more important than the vitality of our democracy? Or, perhaps the national election day can be combined with Veterans Day. What a better way to honor veterans than to enhance the sacred act of voting.

Incidentally, here is the link to Stabenow's bill also co-sponsored by Senators Durbin, Kerry, Landrieu, and Levin.
To make a well visited blog, I have heard a good advice somewhere.

The advice was to list references to as many other blogs, as possibly.

It will induce many cross visits.

My first recommendation is:

Education Notes Online

I met one of their contributors in search for information on one great history professor, Bela Kiraly.

One of his former students, Norm Scott answered my email. Norm blogs about education, and participates in the work of the union to preserve a high quality public education.

It is one noble cause.

This weekend's Washington DC rally for progress

As reported in today's New york Times, yesterday saw a large rally in the nation's capitol to promote a message of jobs, peace, and justice, with this a very timely concern just prior to the November elections. One of our members, Vane Lashua, was here. I am hoping that he might share his reflections on this event.

In the meantime, here from another website, is a slideshow of the rally.

A Portrait of the Bush Economy

Here is a detailed picture of the mess that Barack Obama inherited and a portrait of the GOP's war on working people.

John Hall for Congress

In 2006, the Mid Hudson Progressive Alliance endorsed and supported John Hall for Congress. This year, while we have not yet officially endorsed him, many of our members are active in helping toward his re-election. This year, given the shift in the political climate, he faces a tough fight.

If you want to get involved, here is how.

Updating this site

Hello Everyone!

The Mid Hudson Progressive Alliance continues to meet locally on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays in Beacon, NY and its members continue to engage in a variety of progressive activist efforts. We have also started a roundtable discussion series, in which people can share their knowledge and expertise in leading a discussion on a topic of interest.

This, our blog, will thus be updated so as to reflect on current developments.