by Bob Brigham, Tue Oct 12, 2010 at 11:02:22 PM EDT
by Bob Brigham, Fri Sep 17, 2010 at 06:35:26 PM EDT
Today's Friday Afternoon News Dump from the White House was the official announcement by President Obama that Elizabeth Warren would not be appointed to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Instead, Warren was appointed as an assistant to the President and special adviser to Timothy Geithner (i.e. answer to both Rahm and Geithner instead of being an independent voice for consumers).
What this means for policy remains to be seen. Yves Smith lays out a strong case that this is the sidelining of Warren:
However, the end game seems obvious: keep her in orbit through mid-terms to prevent a hissy fit from her many fans, then name a more bank friendly permanent director (the argument no doubt being that her effectiveness is compromised by her not being confirmed, and with the odds high that the elections will put more Republicans in Senate seats, the Administration will argue its hands are tied).
While what this means from a policy standpoint remains to be seen, this is very clearly a total loss when it comes to the politics of the matter. Obama ducked a fight where the GOP would have had to defend Wall Street ripping off consumers, just before the election. This was a fight Democrats wanted -- Democrats needed -- yet Obama let the GOP off the hook. It was a squandered opportunity.
UPDATE: Quick thought exercise: In the 24 hours since the Friday afternoon announcement, in how many senate races has there been local media coverage on whether the GOP nominee supports Elizabeth Warren or defends allowing Wall Street to swindle consumers?
by Bob Brigham, Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 05:38:05 PM EDT
I doesn't seem like it was that long ago when MyDD celebrated the Democratic Sweep in Montana that elected Brian Schweitzer Governor. But next spring will be Governor Schweitzer's last legislative session and due to term limits the seat will be open in 2012.
The great news is that former Congressman Pat Williams is considering a run for governor!
Pat Williams, like his cousin Evel Knievel, came up on the rough and tumble streets of Butte, America. But he was such a fierce advocate as a public servant that the Williams family is now widely considered to be the first family of Montana politics. After choosing not to run for re-election in 1996, he became one of the most popular professors at the University of Montana. In honoring Williams just last week, UM President George Dennison said Pat Williams, "embodies the ideals of civic engagement."
If Williams runs, it would be a very exciting race. He was famous for running bigger door-to-door campaigns than Montana had ever seen before (or has seen since). In 1992, when Montana's two congressional districts were combined into a single at-large seat, Williams beat another sitting congressman in the most legendary statewide campaign in decades. While respect for Williams runs wide across Montana, his bold progressive stances have earned him a depth of support that runs deeper than can easily be explained.
Keep an eye on this one.
UPDATE: The Montana blog 4&20 Blackbirds says:
Like Pogie, all I need to know is “Where can I donate? Where do I sign up to volunteer?”
UPDATE II: Chuck Johnson got him on record:
"My phone's been ringing again, really for a year, but especially since the story on the Internet," he said in a telephone interview. "I'm honored that this is the third time that Montanans have generously asked me to run for governor. If I ran, I'm convinced that I'd win the primary by a good margin and then the general by a smaller but safe margin.
"I'm 72 years old, and I am more knowledgeable and wiser than I was at my so-called prime at 35. The other thing I know is that there will be a lot of good candidate on both sides, Republican and Democratic, but I will not be one of them."
by Bob Brigham, Wed Sep 01, 2010 at 09:32:10 PM EDT
Moraga, California is the scene the first U.S. Senate debate between Carly Fiorina and Barbara Boxer. The one hour debate begins at 7 PM Pacific and will be aired live in every media market in California and nationally on C-SPAN.
The stakes are high, according to the two most recent public polls, Senator Boxer is either winning by five points or losing by five points.
The focus tonight should be on jobs. In fact, it would make sense for the debate to only focus on jobs and leave everything else for other debates. California is in a serious jobs crisis. Today's July numbers, showed that 12 of the 17 metro areas with unemployment over 15% are in California. The metro area with highest unemployment is in California, scoring over 30%. When it comes to voting this fall, Californians especially need to know where the candidates stand on jobs.
by Bob Brigham, Fri Aug 06, 2010 at 04:53:12 PM EDT
In the latest sign Bizarro World is the new normal, Center for American Progress Policy Analyst Ian Millhiser took to Think Progress to attack Dr. Howard Dean. The slam on Governor Dean came up during a discussion on Proposition C, a ballot initiative in the battleground state of Missouri against the individual mandate that just passed with over 70% of the vote.
Here's how Millhiser quotes Dr. Dean:
[T]he truth is the mandate’s not essential to the plan anyway. It never was essential to the plan. They did it in Massachusetts and had a mandate, but we have universal health care for kids in my state without a mandate. … I made this prediction before and I’m going to make it again: by the time this thing goes into effect in 2014, I think the mandate will be gone either through the courts or because it’s unpopular.
To make the case against Dean, Millhiser claims that Dean is wrong in that a mandate is essential and that he is wrong that a mandate might be thrown out by the courts. But look at how he quotes Dr. Dean, see those ellipses? Here's what Dean said directly before Millhiser continued his selective quotation:
I thought the President was right in the campaign. Academically, you want a mandate. The American people aren't going to put up with a mandate.
The line Millhiser decided not to quote undermines his entire slam. While "analysts" like Millhiser favor a mandate, the fact is the American people hate the idea of the government forcing them to pay tribute to a private company. Dean acknowledged that to come to his conclusion. Not just on the right, there is no philosophical argument that holds water with the left on how you can have a mandate absent a public option. This is why the left fought against RomneyCare (mandate being the essential feature), the same reason why California progressives fought against the end package in the "Year of Health Care Reform" once AB-8 became AB-1x.
Don't believe me? This was one of the key points of contrast between Obama and Clinton that helped him win the primary.
As was shown in the key state of Missouri just this week, the individual mandate is a 70-30 issue. It is not popular and is a clear political and rhetorical winner for anyone fighting against it, whether from the left or from the right.
Instead of looking at the mandate in the context of pre-existing conditions, it needs to be seen in the context the public option. Without a public option, mandates aren't just hated by the right, but by many on the left too. Since mandates are what made HCR a giant gift to insurance industry profits, a future GOP congress may choose donors over voters, and lay off seizing this great issue. But Dean was right, Obama was right before he was wrong, the individual mandate is disgusting policy.
It would be nice, if CAP is going to go after Dr. Dean, to go after his conclusion, not selectively quote him for straw man wankery.
by Bob Brigham, Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 07:40:10 PM EDT
UPDATE: The fix was in, the vote wasn't even close. Sad day for California Democrats who value winning.
California is beyond crisis. Yet unfortunately, there has not been an appropriate effort by the California Democratic Party establishment to respond. The complete and total failure to respond to the budget crisis was malpractice, but now it seems the CDP doesn't even want to bother trying to win in November. The issue in question is California's Proposition 19, to tax and regulate marijuana, which has become the latest test of whether the CDP wants to win elections. A vote today by the state party Resolutions Committee showed the fix to be in against incorporating all of the new energy around Prop 19 into Democrats' GOTV program. When it came down to trying to win, or trying to be "very serious people" who are content to lose, they decided they value propping up Mexican drug cartels more than they value electing Jerry Brown.
by Bob Brigham, Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 03:05:50 PM EDT
Five years ago, the blogosphere united to fight for Social Security and help score the first win against Bush. While we should have used a silver bullet or a stake through the heart or maybe something like this, we're back to 2005, probably even in worse position then we were then. I'm not the only one with déjà vu, check out the new Sam Seder "That's Bullshit" video: A big thanks to everyone who helped block Bush from destroying Social Security in 2005. And apologies that Obama is picking up where Bush left off.
by Bob Brigham, Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 03:48:46 PM EDT
I believe I used a Prodigy email address to sign an online petition calling on congress to "censure President Clinton and move on" back in 1998. As I'm sure you know, out of those efforts rose the organization MoveOn, which sent emails to my Yahoo account for years and to my gmail for the last six years or so. It has been one of my favorite organizations, through their ups and downs, for a decade.
Which is why I simply can't fathom the blunder they made yesterday, thrusting themselves into the California Attorney General's race to fluff former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer (best oxymoron ever) Chris Kelly. In the final days of the campaign, no less.
MoveOn's fluffing of Kelly began yesterday morning when staffer Marika Shaub posted a link on MoveOn's FB Group, "Facebook, respect my privacy!" Shaub urged the 180,000 members to share a note from Chris Kelly with all of their Facebook friends and later MoveOn sent an email to an unknown number of members of MoveOn's giant list with Chris Kelly's message (I received it twice).
As I long-time Moveon member and devoted supporter, I was shocked that MoveOn's current leadership seems to have so little understanding of the dynamics and history of the battle for privacy. It was only back in 2007 that MoveOn went to war with Facebook, scoring a major victory for privacy by leading the organizing to shut down the infamous "Beacon" program. MoveOn was attacked repeatedly in the press by...Chris Kelly -- who was not defending privacy, but defending Beacon. In fact, Kelly made so much money eroding privacy at Facebook that he's dumped over $12,000,000 into his attempt to buy the California Democratic Party nomination for Attorney General.
If, like MoveOn apparently, you have forgotten how Chris Kelly fought MoveOn to defend Beacon, follow me after the jump. If you remember the history better than MoveOn, feel free to check out how Chris Kelly's campaign is already using MoveOn as a validator -- against attacks on Beacon, in the LA Times.
by Bob Brigham, Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 04:09:40 PM EDT
To be perfectly honest, I wasn't expecting Arizona Governor Jan Brewer would sign SB 1070 on Friday. I knew the teabaggers wanted their racism codified into law, but "show me your papers or go to jail" was so fascist I just couldn't imagine anyone wanting to declare a race war over such grounds. I was wrong.
As the messages to Boycott Arizona begin to fill my inbox and feeds, I wanted to escalate. My Mom's side is Latino and I'm actually a lot darker skinned than my name might suggest. My first thought was that beyond the boycott, we also needed to apply pressure through socially responsible investment. That's when I started thinking about the State of California's role in helping end Apartheid by pulling money out of South Africa. Then I knew the move.
The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) has over $200 billion in investments and a history of activism. A few years back, they charted a new approach towards investing in emerging markets, requiring countries to provide, "evidence of political stability, humane labor laws, a fair and functional legal system." I want CalPERS to take the same approach to investments in Arizona companies and real estate holdings in the state. On all three counts, Arizona fails.
Next, I needed a mechanism to spread the word. I decided upon Act.ly, which isn't a boring old petition site, but a list of everyone who has decided to broadcast their position on a move to everyone who follows them on Twitter -- petitions 2.0. Quickly, big names in progressive politics jumped on board and to-date the petition has been signed by twitter users who are followed by a collective 187,133 people (obviously with overlap, if you look who has signed you should be following most of them).
Act.ly provided an immediate way to kickstart this move, identifying who supports it concurrent with the researching going on to bring this move into the real world on Monday. If you'd like to see CalPERS make this move, please join. After the jump, you can see the chronology of how this move rolled out via tweets and retweets. And please use the comments for ideas.
by Bob Brigham, Fri Mar 12, 2010 at 08:54:24 PM EST
I think I could probably expand this one tweet into an entire book on San Francisco politics.
So, early this morning, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced at Caffe Roma he would indeed be running for California Lt. Governor. There is a popular support for his bid in San Francisco as if he won, the Board of Supervisors would pick who gets to finish out the last year of his term. The smart money is that the Board would go with current SF Democratic Party Chair and former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin.
Hours later, blogger and Examiner columist Sweet Melissa Griffin went to get her afternoon coffee at Caffe Trieste. For those of you who don't know SF, Trieste is 2.5 blocks and a world away from Roma. It is also known as Peskin's office. And there he was, with Janice Hahn -- who has been running for Lt. Gov for months.
Morning coffee at Roma vs afternoon coffee at Trieste pretty much describes the fault-line in North Beach politics.
No word on whether former Gray Davis, Joe Lieberman, & Gavin Newsom consultant Garry South was with Hahn. South went to Hahn after Newsom failed to raise any money in his gubernatorial bid. The news of South joining Newsom's gubernatorial bid was actually broken by a blogger who saw Newsom and South at Starbucks.
After the jump, an Open Letter to Garry South from Calitics & friends, asking him to resign from the Hahn campaign.