HOST A HOUSE PARTY To Help Save Social Security

(Earlier post moved to top of page)

Help save Social Security! Join up and SIGN UP TO HOLD A HOUSE PARTY WEDNESDAY the night of the State of the Union address!

There will be a conference call when the speech ends, which will include question and answer time, so your guests will learn about how to help fight back about Bush’s drive to phase out Social Security.

This website is being developed as I write, so sign up now, but check back at the site regularly.

UpdateFLYERS for handing out at your party or otherwise.

Iraq Vote

If the turnout reports are accurate (i.e. not propaganda) this is a great day for Iraq and for all of us. Congratulations to the Iraqis!

On the other hand, I’m a bit concerned by the early turnout reports. Somehow the American mainstream media’s crowing about massive turnout reminds me of the story of the JFK “Oswald did it” assassination headline running an hour before the assassination.

“In the heart of the so-called Sunni triangle, a total of just 300 ballots were cast in the town of Al-Ramadi, many of them by police officers and soldiers.”

I love some of the headlines, like Bush critics admit turnout triumph, and High turnout a win for White House.

Dean Supporters

Dear Dean Supporters –

Threatening to destroy the Democratic Party if your guy doesn’t win is probably not a super strategy for convincing DNC members that your guy is a dedicated and committed supporter of the party. Think about that.

Update - The day after their executive committee voted to back Fowler, State Democrats back Dean for DNC post. This represents a lot of votes on the DNC. Comes close to clinching it.

Stabbed-in-the-back

I’ve been waiting for the stabbed-in-the-back talk to start getting serious. I had expected it to begin about January 21, so it’s a little late — I guess the operatives took a well-earned break right after the inauguration. Here’s Instapundit:

When Ted Kennedy can make an absurd and borderline-traitorous speech on the war, when Michael Moore shares a VIP box with the last Democratic President but one, when Barbara Boxer endorses a Democratic consultant/blogger whose view of American casualties in Iraq is “screw ‘em,” well, this is the authentic face of the Left. Or what remains of it.

There was a time when the Left opposed fascism and supported democracy, when it wasn’t a seething-yet-shrinking mass of self-hatred and idiocy. That day is long past, and the moral and intellectual decay of the Left is far gone. Link

Here’s John Hinderaker:

John H. Hinderaker, founder of Time Magazine’s “Blog of the Year,” and clearly a reasonable, rational person, was just on WABC-AM with Larry Kudlow. After calling the Iraq elections a “bombshell” (interesting word choice) for the Middle East, he went on to say that it was “pretty clear” that in our country, “the Left had lined up behind the terrorists.” Link

These are not marginal figures, but two of the most respected conservatives on the net. Basically, they’ve taken over the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler’s message and cleaned up his language a bit.

I really don’t think that Democrats are prepared for what’s coming. This isn’t going to be business as usual, especially when they start getting public opinion ready for war against Iran.

National Conference for Media Reform

Carolyn Kay of Make Them Accountable just notified me of the 2005 National Conference for Media Reform to be held from May 13 to May 15, 2005, in St. Louis, Missouri. Al Franken, Robert McChesney, Amy Goodman, and a lot of other good people will be there.( More information here. Early registration ends March 31.)

It looks good, but it’s just the usual suspects – I don’t see any signs of money people. My estimate is that it will cost about $500,000,000 to redress the media balance in this country, making sure that every American has free-media access to the liberal point of view, the way every American is already automatically exposed to the wingnut point of view. Many people just accept the ambient opinion, and in today’s world the majority of them end up Republicans.

I don’t think any more that this can be done by voluntarism. So if any of my readers is able to unload ten million bucks or more, now is the time for them to do it.


Defined benefits and defined contributions

Guest-poster Camilo Wilson lives in Monterey, California. He has had a long, long career in computers and software, including writing the popular VolksWriter word processor and publishing Correct Grammar and the American Heritage Dictionary. He is the founder of his very privately held cogix.com. He studied political philosophy in Berkeley in the 60’s and incorporated that world view into a self-designated fiscally responsible liberal in 1980. He likes living in the forest.

Currently, Social Security pays a predictable amount until the end your days, just like a “defined benefit plan”. The privatization proposals take 2/3 of employee contributions and invest them in a classical “defined contribution plan”.

This terminology is important, as many people who care about retirement understand the difference perfectly well. A defined benefit spells out what you’re going to get, and it is the government/employer’s problem how it will meet its obligations, not yours. A defined contribution plan relieves that burden from the government/employee and transfers it squarely onto you, who now must make wise investment choices to make the money last until the end of your days.

The need to invest aggressively guarantees that people will make poor choices, and makes them specially vulnerable to greedy promoters. With the privatization option, you’re giving up a rock solid, predictable pension for the rest of your life in return for a small amount of money you can gamble put to work today.

Who are the "Rational Conservatives"?

(As most STF readers know by now, since the election I’ve been alternating between fairly reasonable posts, and gloom and doom. This one is gloom and doom. I originally posted it, in somewhat different form, on the Crooked Timber comments, where some classic illiberals were defiantly holding the fort .)

Since the election I believe more than I ever did that all significant political debates in the US are now just matters of affiliation. Bush is in the driver’s seat, and people can affiliate for him or against him.

The otherwise-rational conservatives who remain on Bush’s team remain there on the basis of a personal anti-liberal existential commitment that they made after some life-changing experience, perhaps after rehabbing from drugs while blaming liberalism for all their problems. (The pro-conservative aspect of that kind of rehab is always weaker than the anti-liberal one).

For them to cease to be illiberals now would require a second existential crisis, and most people don’t want to have too many of those in one lifetime.

It’s not just Iraq. There still are many who, flying in the face of 24 years of political reality, call themselves fiscal conservatives and for that reason absolutely refuse ever to vote for a Democrat. Their politics is like their body type, changable only with major surgery.

The starve-the-beast Armageddonist neo-Confederate World War Four advocates are influencing policy now, and we aren’t — and neither are the hapless rational conservatives who continue to support Bush. We’re just watching, and so are they (whether they know it or not.)

People are pleased that Bush’s attempt to destroy social security seems to be failing, but that’s sort of as though Boston, all alone, were making a stout defense against the forces of Robert E Lee. Bush has the Democrats fighting in their last ditch.

And no, I don’t think that I am the irrational one here. The Bush loyalists are a bunch of very sick puppies. Arguing with them is pointless.

Update: Corrected from New York City to Boston per Lizardbreath.

Arnold No Moderate

Just look at what he is doing!

California regulators suspend wireless customer protections:

“California utility regulators on Thursday suspended an 8-month-old crackdown on abusive practices in the wireless telephone industry, rebuffing the protests of consumer activists and the state’s top law enforcement officials.

[. . .] the PUC’s makeup has changed with the terms of two commissioners expiring. [. . .] …first week on the job after being appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last month. Schwarzenegger has appointed high-tech entrepreneur Steve Poizner to fill the PUC’s remaining board seat.

[. . .] “I fear what we are going to start to hear is that what’s good for business is necessarily good for consumers, and we know that’s just not so,” said Robert Finkelstein, executive director for The Utility Reform Network.

[. . .] The decision also provoked objections from consumer groups, state Attorney General Bill Lockyer and all 58 district attorneys in California.

The district attorneys say widespread consumer complaints about the wireless phone industry are diverting their attention from other law enforcement issues. “

You get the picture. Consumers of California, vuck ovv! Big corporations rule!

Our Rule

Remember the Seeing the Forest rule: when you see a Republican accusing others of something, it means they are probably doing that thing. So we have a Republican reporter, (the same one mentioned in an earlier post) saying,

“the press corps, which, of course, deserves to be gone around because they’re not telling the truth about Social Security reform. They continue to work off of the talking points provided them from the opposition.”

Got that? He’s accusing “the press corps” of using Liberal talking points. So a little research uncovers … wanna guess? Oh yes! Talon News “reporter” lifts from GOP documents.

Simon Rosenberg For DNC Chair

I am a reform Democrat. My endorsement for the DNC Chair race goes to Simon Rosenberg first, second to Howard Dean, third to Donnie Fowler. I’d be very happy if any of these three win, and the Party will benefit greatly. (I also have some comments on Dean at the end of this post.)

My endorsement of Simon is based on his plan, “Renewing the DNC: Simon’s Plan”. Regardless of your own choice for a DNC Chair, please read his plan. Information about Simon is available online at SimonForChair.org. Info on Dean for Chair is available at DeanForChair.org. Info on Fowler is available at ChangeTheParty.org.

I’ll let Simon’s plan speak for itself. From his plan, (and regular readers will understand that this is close to my heart):

A New Commitment to Persuasion, Advocacy, and Mobilization

One of the greatest tasks in the next four years will be to move all the parties into the 21st century communications era. My background as a successful television writer and producer, veteran of the Clinton War Room, manager of the 31 state Clinton communications operations in 1992, technologist, often-quoted spokesperson, and seasoned message-crafter makes me uniquely qualified among the candidates for Chair to take on this challenge. I come from the successful Clinton school that built our politics around a powerful, optimistic vision for our nation, and believe that we must make modern advocacy a more important core competency of our parties in the years ahead.

At the core of the new politics of advocacy are changes in media and technology. We are leaving a 50 year-long run of the broadcast era of political communications, where the model was a single message centrally managed and broadcast out to many. The new era we are entering requires a much more distributed, real time, personal, and intimate type of communications. The vital investment by Terry McAuliffe in the DNC Datamart has given all of us the opportunity to build a new politics for a new era of communication that will require us putting people once again at the very center of our Party.

To facilitate our adoption of new techniques and learning, I will create a New Politics Institute at the DNC. The NPI will be charged with bringing in some of the top technologists, social networkers, netroots and community activists and media executives to help us together imagine and implement a new 21st century politics built up from people and databases using the very latest technology.

In the years ahead, succeeding at the new politics and countering the conservative machine also will require the party?s willingness to partner with think tanks, policy shops, commentator/bloggers, interested academics, and governments that Democrats control. Having worked at a think tank, and as a veteran of the successful Clinton policy years, I can bring concrete expertise in forging these vital national and state links. For more details on how I plan to utilize the ?blogosphere,? please visit my web site at www.simonforchair.org.”

Naturally a lot of readers will wonder why I endorse Simon over Dean when I was an enthusiastic support of Dean for President? My reason is that the DNC Chair is primarily a “behind-the-scenes” nuts-and-bolts position. I agree with Dean that reform of the party is badly needed, but I believe this will actually be better accomplished by electing Simon Rosenberg. If you read Simon’s plan you will see the level of detail that is behind his run for DNC Chair. This guy has thought it through.

I also believe that Howard Dean would be a GREAT candidate for President in 2008. But becoming DNC Chair means pledging not to run for President in 2008. I have heard many Dean supporters say that after everyone sees how well Dean does as DNC Chair, they’ll ask him to run anyway. I don’t see where the idea of taking a pledge not to run in 2008 means running in 2008, and I trust that he means it! And this brings in the issue of party unity. Dean represents a wing of the party. I support that wing. But I remember how the Dean people felt when we thought the DNC was opposing Dean. I can imagine how this could be usable as a wedge to divide all the other parts of the Democratic Party coalition during the next election. And, finally, what becomes of Dean’s organization Democracy for America should he become DNC Chair? This is one of the most vital, valuable movement organizations I have seen, and I think it is very important that it retains its independent-of-the-party role. This would be hard to do with its leader serving as DNC Chair.

So if you are a voting DNC member, please consider Simon Rosenberg to be Party Chair.

(Other Seeing the Forest writers might have other preferences.)

What do YOU think? Leave a comment.

Updatethis MyDD diary.