What Does This Mean?

I really do not quite know what to make of this. All I can do is give this link, and let the rest of you figure it out. I presume it's probably accurate. It's the opensecrets.org political donor profile for Exxon Mobil. Look for the blue and red (more red by far) bar graph showing what Exxon Mobil contributed from 1990 to 2006. Note the peculiar curve!

HERE!

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Strip-mining the Grassroots (pt 5): Grassroots Campaigns, Inc's canvassing model

(This is the fifth in a series of posts (cross-posted from DailyKos) about a particular breed of ground operations that is increasingly popular among progressive organizations -- its clients now include the DNC and MoveOn. I'll argue -- and I'm not the first to do so -- that this model of subcontracted 'grassroots' activism is unhealthy for the progressive movement; that it saps vital energy and does not effectively advance our cause.)

In this series so far, I've written about the DNC's recently-relaunched direct fundraising campaign, which is operated by an organization called Grassroots Campaigns, Inc (GCI). In 2004, GCI's campaign claimed to be engaged in the cause to 'beat Bush,' when in reality the money it raised essentially only paid for itself. I've described this operation as being shallow (unengaged in healthy progressive activism), narrow (focused only upon raising money), and driven by unsustainable working conditions. But GCI's 2004 campaign didn't just happen out of nowhere--it is part of a long tradition of 'grassroots' campaigns, the most recent in a history that might be uncomfortably familiar to many of you...

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Strip-mining the grassroots (pt4): Grassroots Campaigns' slash-n-burn-out war

(This is the fourth in a series of posts (cross-posted from DailyKos) about a particular breed of ground operations that is increasingly popular among progressive organizations -- including the DNC and MoveOn. I'll argue -- and I'm not the first to do so, that this model of 'grassroots' activism is unhealthy for the progressive movement; that it saps vital energy and does not effectively advance our cause.)

In 2004, the DNC subcontracted Grassroots Campaigns, Inc (GCI) to run a fundraising canvass that proclaimed its mission to 'beat Bush.' This misleading claim glossed over the fact that the canvass was entirely a 'base-building operation' with no bearing on the '04 election-- in other words, it brought new donors but only paid for itself with their donations. Now that the DNC has relaunched the GCI canvass for '06, I think it's important that the entire enterprise be reconsidered. In my last two posts, I assessed its function as shallow and narrow: instead of progressive civic engagement that would build identity and strength in the bonds between our base and party infrastructure, the canvass merely makes sales. It's cheap, shoddy base-building. And though this kind of canvassing may be a cost-effective way to create donors, cheaper than other fundraising methods, the hidden costs are severe. That per-donor value comes from somewhere, and in this post I'll explain how it comes off the back of thousands of hours of sub-minimum wage labor.

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Strip-mining the grassroots (pt3): The DNC's 'Grassroots Campaigns' canvassers

(This is the third in a series of posts, cross-posted from DailyKos, about a particular breed of ground operations that is increasingly popular among progressive organizations -- including the DNC and MoveOn. I'll argue -- and I'm not the first to do so -- that this model of 'grassroots' activism is unhealthy for the progressive movement -- that it saps vital energy and does not effectively advance our cause.)

My first post described the DNC's subcontracted fundraising campaign -- originally run in the 2004 election -- which uses canvassers employed by Grassroots Campaigns, Inc (GCI). Despite its 'beat Bush' banner, this was a base-building operation, not a tactical electoral strategy -- in other words, it essentially just paid for itself.  Now that the campaign has relaunched, it's important to reconsider the ongoing implications of the enterprise. In my second post, I sketched out a typical canvass interaction: the GCI canvasser does not carry voter registration forms, has no knowledge of local or state politics, and is not equipped to turn potential volunteers into active participants. In this post, I'll describe how the canvassers are recruited and trained to be effective salesmen. My question is: effective to what end?

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Busby Jumps to Major Fundraising Lead Over Bilbray

The race to succeed corrupt former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham is nearing a close with election day less than two weeks away and judging both by the polling and the fundraising numbers, this is definitely a race that the Democrats can win.

No doubt most of us have seen the ten day old Democratic poll (.pdf) that showed Democrat Francine Busby leading former GOP Congressman Brian Bilbray by a statistically significant 47 percent to 40 percent margin. Less publicized is the fact that Busby has been just dominant in the fundraising race, as Erica Werner reports for the AP.

Democrat Francine Busby is outraising Republican Brian Bilbray in the high-spending California race to replace disgraced ex-Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in Congress, campaign finance reports filed Thursday show.

Busby had raised $2.25 million as of May 17, including $755,139 in the most recent fundraising period. She ended the reporting period with about $185,000 in cash on-hand to take her through the June 6 election.

Bilbray had raised just over $1 million in his bid for the San Diego area seat, including $630,055 in the most recent period. He ended up with just over $100,000 on-hand.

The two candidates aren't the only ones putting a lot of chips on the table in this district. According to The Hill's Jonathan E. Kaplan the National Republican Congressional Committee reported spending $1.1 million on the race as of May 22 and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent close to $800,000 during the week of May 14 on television ads in the district. Said DCCC chair Rahm Emanuel of the race during an interview with MyDD earlier this month, "We spent already about a half of a million dollars down there. So I'm committed to be competitive and try to win wherever we can win."

It's not too late to help make a difference in this race, whether it's by heading down to the district to canvass during the waning moments of the campaign or thowing a few much-needed last minute dollars to the campaign. If you're interested in helping put the Democrats one seat closer to retaking the House for the first time in a dozen years and sending a signal to all of the Beltway pundits who think Americans aren't clamoring for real change, head on over to Busby's website today.

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