Bloggers Were Right: It WAS Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
The bloggers were right, it was about the jobs, jobs, jobs. For the first half of the year all the progressive bloggers were saying that the November election is going to turn out very, very badly for Democrats if they don’t focus on jobs. We said please, please drop this “austerity” nonsense, the only way to cut the deficit is to grow the economy. We were going kind of nuts about it, saying if you don’t spend money on jobs the voters will punish you.
But the administration and many in Congress were busy on an “austerity” fad. The “centrists” and the big-media pundits and the rest of the “serious people’ were saying we needed to do something about the deficits because “the markets” wanted them to.
So here we are. The bloggers were right (I include Paul Krugman among us), and the voters are punishing the politicians who listened to the same old DC elite pundits and campaign consultants and party insiders who demanded “austerity” cutbacks for We, the People.
For example, May 11, I wrote in It’s The JOBS, Stupid! Why DC Elites Don’t See This:

People care about jobs. They still care about jobs. And politicians who don’t care about jobs will lose their jobs, because that is what motivates voters.

I concluded the May 26 post, Teacher Layoffs Loom Nationwide, DC Restaurants Humming, Jobs & Justice

President Obama has talked about a bold, large scale vision for a new direction for the country. But Congress and the President are getting trapped in austerity budget thinking that won’t allow them to go in the direction of stimulus and helping regular people. If there is to be no money because of an austerity budget then American competitiveness, the economy and the mood of the public can only get worse. Do the DC elites actually believe the public is going to reward this with votes?

June, The Real Deficit Is Jobs!

The real deficit is jobs. That is one more of those things that everyone can see in front of their faces, but we’re told it isn’t what it is.
. . . The excuse is that “the markets” will “lose confidence” in us. Apparently we aren’t working the salt mines hard enough. “The markets” — that’s the crowd who got in trouble and insisted that the world would end unless we immediately handed over to them all the rest of the money in the world — will “lose confidence” in our ability to work the mines hard enough, and will cut us off, unless we cut our pensions, sell off (to them) our resources, and promise never to be lazy and make demands for better wages, pensions, workplace safety, and do it now.

August’s Where Are The Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs? began:

The economy is stuck. We need jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. Not tax cuts.

Why is it that often the progressives come to a consensus on an issue, while the DC elite, the campaign consultants, the big-media pundits and the “centrist” politicians come to their own different conclusion, and then later it turns out that the progressives were right not just on the policy but on the politics, and the DC-centrist-consultant-pundit class were wrong. This happens time after time after time on the things that matter.
Well, I have to say it: We told you so.
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Eight False Things The Public “Knows” Prior To Election Day

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture I am a Fellow with CAF.

There are a number things the public “knows” as we head into the election that are just false. If people elect leaders based on false information, the things those leaders do in office will not be what the public expects or needs.
Here are eight of the biggest myths that are out there:

1) President Obama tripled the deficit.

Reality: Bush’s last budget had a $1.416 trillion deficit. Obama’s first budget reduced that to $1.29 trillion.
2) President Obama raised taxes, which hurt the economy.

Reality: Obama cut taxes. 40% of the “stimulus” was wasted on tax cuts which only create debt, which is why it was so much less effective than it could have been.

3) President Obama bailed out the banks.

Reality: While many people conflate the “stimulus” with the bank bailouts, the bank bailouts were requested by President Bush and his Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson. (Paulson also wanted the bailouts to be “non-reviewable by any court or any agency.”) The bailouts passed and began before the 2008 election of President Obama.

4) The stimulus didn’t work.

Reality: The stimulus worked, but was not enough. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus raised employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.

5) Businesses will hire if they get tax cuts.

Reality: A business hires the right number of employees to meet demand. Having extra cash does not cause a business to hire, but a business that has a demand for what it does will find the money to hire. Businesses want customers, not tax cuts.

6) Health care reform costs $1 trillion.

Reality: The health care reform reduces government deficits by $138 billion.

7) Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, is “going broke,” people live longer, fewer workers per retiree, etc.

Reality: Social Security has run a surplus since it began, has a trust fund in the trillions, is completely sound for at least 25 more years and cannot legally borrow so cannot contribute to the deficit (compare that to the military budget!) Life expectancy is only longer because fewer babies die; people who reach 65 live about the same number of years as they used to.

8) Government spending takes money out of the economy.

Reality: Government is We, the People and the money it spends is on We, the People. Many people do not know that it is government that builds the roads, airports, ports, courts, schools and other things that are the soil in which business thrives. Many people think that all government spending is on “welfare” and “foreign aid” when that is only a small part of the government’s budget.

This stuff really matters.

If the public votes in a new Congress because a majority of voters think this one tripled the deficit, and as a result the new people follow the policies that actually tripled the deficit, the country could go broke.

If the public votes in a new Congress that rejects the idea of helping to create demand in the economy because they think it didn’t work, then the new Congress could do things that cause a depression.

If the public votes in a new Congress because they think the health care reform will increase the deficit when it is actually projected to reduce the deficit, then the new Congress could repeal health care reform and thereby make the deficit worse. And on it goes.

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Millions More Votes For Democracy Next Time

Millions of people who wanted to vote either couldn’t vote, were kept from voting, were tricked out of voting, were tricked into voting the wrong way or voted but their votes were just not counted. There was voter suppression, voter roll purging, voter caging, intimidation, deception, misinformation and other efforts to keep citizens from voting for who they wanted to represent them in our government. On top of these efforts to there were also systemic problems that kept people from voting or kept their votes from counting.
I learned about these horrors while working on the Election Protection Wiki project, a non-partisan collaboration of citizens, journalists and researchers on the larger SourceWatch wiki. The EP WIki is a one-stop-shop for exposing voter suppression, voting machine problems, common election-worker screwups and other threats to election integrity.
Now that the voting is (mostly) done, we’re working to document the problems with the election in order to stop this from happening next time. Here’s what we’ve documented thus far, but if you see anything we’ve missed, please come over and add it in. I’m happy to help:
Suppression — In several states there was systematic purging of voters from the registration rolls. Any excuse was used to remove voters, including something as simple as a misspelled street name or even the use of ‘Bob’ for ‘Robert’. A Brennan Center for Justice study of voter purging estimated the number of voters purged before the 2008 election to be in the “millions.”
Lines and delays — One way to keep people from voting is to create conditions that cause long lines to form. Extremely long lines with waiting times of several hours for early voting and on election day were reported in different areas. Eventually people give up and go to work or home. Placing too few voting machines in precincts that tend to vote a certain way is one example of this tactic. In some areas lines were so long that people waited four, five, six and in some cases as many as eight hours to vote. We have no way of knowing how many people were kept from voting by these lines.
Some of the lines were a byproduct of the voter-roll purges. People arrive at polling places where they have voted in election after election, only to be told they are not registered. So they complain and demand provisional ballots, which can take a long time to complete. Lines grow ever longer as each of these voters is accommodated.
Intimidation — Flyers warning that people with parking tickets will be arrested appeared in different areas. Students were warned that they could be arrested for voting where they go to school. Police were stationed at precincts with lots of Latino voters. Partisans were challenging voters in some areas.
Systemic problems – voting machines malfunction, scanners get clogged with ink, absentee ballots are not mailed, and other systemic problems kept an unknown number of people from voting or their votes from counting.
Just not counting votes — collecting provisional ballots and then not counting them.
Tricks — One big emerging story involved text messages sent to Democrats in several states, advising them they should avoid the lines and vote Wednesday. This happened in Missouri, Florida, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Virginia and several other states. Similarly voters in several states reported receiving robo-calls with a similar message. This was clearly an organized effort to keep people from voting.
In Florida Democratic voters were called and told they could avoid lines by voting by phone, given a number to call, and after “voting” were told they didn’t have to go to the polls. This was also clearly an organized operation.
And these were only the scams that we heard about.
Beyond deliberate suppression and deception there were many other problems. How many people were denied or tricked out of their right to vote? How many never received absentee ballots? How many showed up only to be told they are not registered? How many voted using provisional ballots, without knowing if they will ever be counted? How many believed that they could avoid lines by waiting a day? There is really no way to know. But we can work to make sure these things pen again.
At least there is a place where the media, policymakers and citizens can find a collection of election problem reports and policy suggestions to help guide the reform process: the Election Protection Wiki.
Help us document the problems that occurred on Election Day. Help us collect proposals for election reform. You can get directly involved; we need your help!
If we fix these problems and stop these suppression efforts we will bring millions of new voters into our democracy. If we do not we will see all the long lines, registration problems, machine malfunctions and untrustworthiness, voter suppression schemes and tricks that we see during every election all over again, losing millions of votes.
Democracy is about all of the people having an equal voice in deciding how our country will be managed. So all of us owe it to the rest of us to help perfect this. After each election we should look at the problems that occurred and take steps to prevent them from happening again.

Help With The Election Protection Wiki

I am working with the Election Protection Wiki project, and we need your help gathering and entering relevant information before election day.

The Election Protection Wiki will be an election-day clearinghouse for election information for all states but focusing on key swing states.  The EP Wiki organizes information about problems that have come up in the past, problems that are likely to come up, who to contact, national and state election protection organizations and other resources.  This will help people to overcome election-day problems.

The EP Wiki isn’t trying to duplicate any of the number of great election integrity sites out there – we are instead trying to fill a gaping hole in the greater election protection movement: to be a central hub with spokes out to all the sites and information that even dedicated researchers can easily overlook in the noise of the web.

We are trying to locate and link to every relevant organization and gather or link to all relevant information.  Because this is a project of SourceWatch the EP Wiki already has a very high Google ranking, with its information coming up at or near the top of searches.

It is not difficult to add information to a Wiki.  Every existing page has an Edit tab, and sections of the page have Edit links.  One you sign up for an account you can click to edit the page, add the information, and save it.  There are how-to guides and help/reference articles as well as editors like myself available to work with you.

The Election Protection Wiki project is working in conjunction with the Voter Suppression Wiki.  VSW is taking an activist bent to engage in election protection efforts. The information we collect at the Election Protection Wiki project about the threats to elections in each state helps highlight the greatest ones and provide the necessary background to take informed action.

Please visit and let others know about the Election Protection Wiki project, and help us get this project ready for election day.

What I Expect In 2008

The election is a year away and the Republicans are working hard to set the stage and prime the public for their campaign themes. Here are my predictions for the 2008 election environment the Republicans will try to set up.
1) Iraq will not be in the news, and the Dems will be blamed for any failures. If there is failure the “stabbed in the back” narrative will be perfected. If things are calm, the Democrats will be blamed for trying to get us out prematurely.
And, above all, even if nothing changes, never forget that on Oct. 26, just before the 1972 election, all the headlines read “Peace is at hand!

NYT10.27.72PeaceIsAtHand.jpg

2) Immigration: Republicans assuredly have polling and testing that show this as a strong issue. This week’s elections saw them testing messages to find out what works. Don’t think this was beaten back, it was only field-tested. They’re going to use this to divide us and drive wedges between us and split groups apart — it’s what they do.
3) Accusations that we have a Do-Nothing Ineffective Congress — Republicans are filibustering everything, and Bush is vetoing the rest. Every single bill. The media is already running with a “Dems won’t compromise’ and “Dems can’t get anything done” narrative and Congress is at a record low approval. You bet we’ll be hearing this – they are hard at work developing it. Unless the Democrats start making a lot of noise about this and sustain it -and get the media to report the facts – the Republicans will get away with it.

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I Predict Trouble Next Week Because Of Paperles Machines

There’s trouble coming next week. Regardless of which candidates and parties are said to win next week, there is a problem coming. This is because there is no way to prove to people whether or not the electronic voting machines reported the votes correctly. And this raises the possibility that large numbers of people will not accept the reported election results.
In this highly partisan atmosphere with such high stakes this is a recipe for civil disorder.
If you vote absentee or use a paper ballot, or use a machine that prints your vote on paper and lets you see that it was correctly recorded, you can feel like your vote was correctly counted. But if you vote on a machine that just asks you to trust that it records your vote correctly, and YOUR candidate loses, you’re going to feel like you MIGHT have been cheated. That is human nature.
And even if you know that YOUR vote was correctly recorded, if these machines are in use in your local election, then you are going to feel uneasy about the results.
AND even if your entire district uses safe methods, you are going to feel uneasy about the results from OTHER districts.
So no matter which party is in said to be in the majority after Tuesday, there is no reason for the losers to accept that. (Or the winners, for that matter.)
I don’t see any way around trouble coming out of this.

Do More Than Vote

I want to tell you about an organization Do More Than Vote, show you their great video and ask you to help spread the word.
Watch the video, spread the word.

There is a KOS Diary about them at Daily Kos: A Tool to Help Rally the Troops, and here’s what they sent me:

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Feingold’s Bandwagon Is Getting Crowded

On August 18th, 2005, Senator Feingold proposed a gradual, phased withdrawal from Iraq with a target date of December, 2006. The stated goals of Feingold’s proposal were:

Feingold has argued that this kind of clarity, combined with an effective reconstruction effort and constructive assistance to the political process, could help the U.S. to:
• Undermine the recruiting efforts and the unity of insurgents;
• Encourage Iraqi ownership of the transition process and bolster the legitimacy of the Iraqi authorities;
• Reassure the American people that our Iraq policy is not directionless; and
• Most importantly, create space for a broader discussion of our real national security priorities.

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