Wednesday, October 25, 2006

" ___ makes cowards of us all. "

So many people have played off this line from Hamlet:
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all.
Vince Lombardi used it as "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." Tim Canvanaugh changed it to "Cartoons make cowards of us all." when discussing editorial policy and the (in)famous Danish cartoons on the intafada.

Maybe it shoud be paraphrased again about political debate where anyone with something to lose will refrain from meeting bright, well prepared challengers with nothing to lose. So it happened with Dr. Forrest Hill and the advertised "debate" with candidates for Secretary of State that was to be held in San Diego.

Unfortunately, such debate is now going to be a seminar on electoral reform. For the one candidate with significant new ideas to not have a chance to debate them with Bowen and McPherson indicates that neither is really interested in changing the status quo.

The session will still be held, same time, same location and Hill will be a speaker. It just lacks the abilty to make it into major media.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Good News

While still a long way from where we want to be, there are signs that the GPCA is making progress in its ability to get into the media and to participate in the interplay of ideas and values that should make up politicl discourse in this state. The evidence is there and includes:

Dr. Forrest Hill has gotten incuded in at least one debate between candidates for Secretary of State. That debate focuses on electoral reform, Hill's signature issue. As the one candidate with a practical solution to our problems, he should more than hold his own.

Byron De Lear (28th CD) is getting getting into the press and is running an Ad (along with Peter Thottam, Candidate for Assembly) in the L. A. Weekly.

Bill Paparian (29th CD) has garnered the endorsement of Danny Bakewell, owner of the largest African American owned newspaper in the state and also that of Bob McCloskey, who lost the Democratic Primary to incumbent Adam Schiff. Schiff is now making trumped up charges, not against the Republican Candidate, but against Paparian and uses the Nader effect as a scare tactic.

In general, Green Candidates have become more sophisticated in the manner in which they use the media to extend their reach and attract more voters. Some of this direction is coming from the Media Committee and from the GPCA Press Secretary, Cress Velucci.

As a blogger, one area where I know we can improve is the use of the internet and blogs as a tool for increasing the community of users and motivating grassroots support. In the campaign where I am most active, that in the 11th Congressional District, the staff of the Democratic Candidate, Jerry McNerney, has learned how to utilize this community (PomboWatch, SayNoToPombo, CA-11, Progressive 11) to help the campaign. The bloggers have played a major role in organizing activists from the Bay Area to participate in door-to-door canvassing, show up for rally's, protest at Pombo events. They have been effective enough at this that Pombo even complained about it to a local (Manteca Bulletin) reporter.

At the same time, they have used the diaries in DailyKos to encourage participation and to help manage the perception that McNerney can win. In this case, the target was really the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who was so sure that McNerney could NOT win that they backed someone else in the primary.

In a TV interview for NBC 11 (San Jose) McNerney gave credit saying that "the grassroots are on fire." The final result is a late campaign addition of DCCC produced television ads in the district, already up on You Tube and SayNoToPombo concurrent with being shown on TV in the district.

The key is to not lose what we have learned, not to let those media contacts be lost, but to carry this forward, past this election, aiming to use the media credibility we have established and to be in a position to define the next big story.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Forrest Hill Joins Debate

If there is a single issue that separates Forrest Hill from the other candidates for Sec. of State (Bowen and McPherson) it is that of electoral reform. When a pre-election debate is going to focus on that one issue, he needs to be in the debate and, for once, a major paper recognizes that fact.
Forrest to join Bowen and McPherson at Elections Debate

Dr. Forrest Hill is scheduled to debate Debra Bowen (D) and Bruce McPherson (R) at a Town Hall meeting in San Diego on the issue of election integrity. The meeting is scheduled to be covered by local TV and news outlets.

Date: Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Location: San Diego County Office of Education
Address: 6401 Linda Vista Road, CA 92111
Time: 5:50 p.m.

View Map of debate location

For more information contact Sherry at or call Jim at 760 500-1927.

From early on, I have supported Forrest and urge S. Cal. Greens to follow the debate, or better yet, attend it.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Truth in Advertising

If politics had a truth in advertising law, there are a lot of politicians who would find themselves fined or behind bars. Let me give you a case in point.

It appears that the "Republican Angst" in this election does have a few bright spots, and one of them may be in LA County. Here, Democratic Incumbent Adam Schiff is pulling out all of the stops in his bid for re-election. In particular, he is playing the Nader card.

In a campaign with three acive candidates, Schiff seems to be so worried about losing that he is attacking not the Reublican candidate, but rather the Green Party Candidate Bill Paparian. The fear, that because of Paparian, a Republican might win, plays to the old Democratic phobia of all things Green.

Still, Schiff gives a very good example of why he should not be trusted by anyone, especially his Democratic constituents. He sent out a fundraising letter that stated "But this year, I also have a former elected official from my district running as a third party candidate who is outspending the Republican and has so far outspent me."

Well, truth never brought in any money, so why not try bullshit. If you want truth, you have only to look at the real data for expenditures in this race as reported to the Federal Elections Commission. When it comes to fundraising, truth might hurt.

We should get Bill a bit more money.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Clean Water and Dolores Huerta

There is a very real chance that the 11th CD race (Pombo vs. McNerney) will turn on an unexpected (especially by Pombo) series of events. There were a lot of things happening right now and some indicators show the race to be a tossup. A recent poll showed, given the right conditions, McNerney had a 10 point advantage. The "right conditions" were that these questions were asked after the poll taker read a positive statement on both candidates.

I was surprised when I head the results, because I happened to one who respoded to a poll that was structured exactly in that manner.

So, if it is that close, what are those difference makers? It is not the $650,000 + that the National Republican Campaign Comittee has thrown into the race. It is not the very large amounts spent by the Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club. Actually it starts with Proyecto las Voces del Valle, working in conjunction with Clean Water Fund, have registered 10,592 voters, including 5,946 Latinos in just San Juaquin County. This represents a radical change in voters when the overall voter registration has gone down. I discussed this in an earlier post on another blog.

The second major event was the fact the Dolores Huerta, still active and passionate at age 76, has been stumping the district to campaign for the Democratic Candidate, Jerry McNerney. This was very well described by columnist Marty Cheek in the Morgan Hill Times last Tuesday. (subscription required).
The 76-year-old woman, who worked closely with Cesar Chávez fighting for farm workers in the 1960s, told a crowd of about 50 people outside the club's Main Street headquarters that Latino voters must support McNerney in his race against incumbent Rep. Richard Pombo, a Republican. McNerney is a better choice, she said, because he stands for human rights, improving public education, and dealing wisely with immigration issues.
Huerta also reminded people that Pombo is Portuguese, not Hispanic, and in the Centeral Valley that is a distinction of class as much as it is of national origin.

As the population of California shifts, this change will play out in district after district. People with the charisma of Dolores Huerta will inevitably influence the manner in which these new voters enter the political spectrum. I wonder exactly what the Green Party is doing about it, because this is absolutely one area where we have made a lot of noise, but probably have not registered 5,946 Latinos.

For some more background. La Proyecto de los Voces del Valle is headed by Angel Picon. Picon is a SEIU activist and the past president of the Stockton Chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

Friday, October 13, 2006

From Santa Clara County to you.

The team in Santa Clara County managed to get fantastic coverage of a candidate's forum out of the Fox affiliate in Oakland, KTVU, Channel 2. You got that right, a FOX affiliate. I watche it when it ran, but now, thanks to the work of "jamboi" and also our Sec. of State candidate, Forrest Hill, we have the segment up on You Tube.

You can watch it here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Canada has a plan, what about California

I have been reading the Green Party of Canada document, GP2. Green Party, Green Plan. They consider it a "greenprint" for the future. There are two features of this plan that I think notable.

The very opening statement frames the entire document very well. "The Green Party of Canada plan for a sustainable future grounded in fiscal responsibility, ecological sanity and social justice is set out in its policies and in its 2006 federal election platform." It is not the whole nine yards of Green theory. It is a simple statement that there are three areas that must be considered together and without which no government can govern.

Still, on the first page, they signal the fact that they are willing to work with other parties on items of mutual interest.
The Green Party is committed to supporting other political parties who put forward substantial measures to improve environmental health, reducing health threats to our children and other vulnerable members of society – pregnant women, the unborn, the elderly, the sick and the poor – while averting global crises, particularly increasing climatic instability caused by rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Both of these seem to be anti-thetical to the rhetoric that dominates the discourse from some Greens including the top of our ticket, Peter Camejo. The rhetoric that says there is no difference between the two parties is only partly accurate. Yes, it is true in the political sense that they are both dependent on corporate money. It is not true in terms of policies. Greens, especially here in California, must learn that they can play a role as the difference maker, supporting some Democratic proposals, even supporting some Republican proposals and holding out for that which we all know is right when no one else gets it.

Read the Canadian Plan and tell me if I am wrong. As the Green Party of CA (California, not Canada) sturggles to put together a two year plan, they could not go very wrong in using the Canadian plan as a model.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Nancy Pelosi vs. Bill Moyers

I sent the following note this AM to Krissy Keefer this AM. Keefer is running agains Nancy Pelosi for Congress in San Francisco.

The Sacrament Bee today has a story on Pelosi. They talk of her plan for her 1st 100 hrs. as Madam Speaker. Accoring to the AP reporter, D. Aspo,

Day One: Put new rules in place to "break the link between lobbyists and legislation."

However according to Bill Moyers on his Oct. 4 program, Capitol Crimes:
I saw the other day a very powerful House member, Democrat, saying, you know, "We're going after some uncharted sources of money in the financial community. And we're telling them that the next majority leader might be a Democrat.
Is "Madam Speaker" for real, or is she Tom Delay in a skirt?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Capital Crimes

I am not sure how many of you might have watched Bill Moyers program last night, Capitol Crimes. If you didn't, I suggest that you spend some time on the PBS site at the link above.

Moyers does his normally thorough job of disecting the issues surrounding Jack Abramoff and everything that he managed to accomplish to line his own bank account and consolidate his power. Some very specific points became abundantly clear.

Ralph Reed was a hypocrit of the highest order. For someone to stand up as a leader of the "Christian Coalition" and fund his lying efforts from gambling money while using an anti-gambling message to help keep down the competition is pure hypocrisy.

The power driven excesses of Tom DeLay, feeding a lavish life style and a retirement plan for Mrs. Delay (among other things) in exchange for passing (or killing) legislation is bad. Then, to stand there and refer to people seeing Christ in his posture as he resigned from the House puts DeLay ahead of even Reed in being a hypocrit.

Then, to come to Ed Buckham, who made his money building up a Christian non-profit that acted to launder money for the Abramoff / Delay machine, all the while praying with his pastor whom he had duped into heading the US Family Network. Thank you, Pastor Gleeson. for having the will to appear on Moyers's program.

After watching this, I went to the PBS site and find that they ask a simple question: After Abramoff, do you trust your Rep? Most people do.

The conslusion was interesting. A simple discussion with Moyers, historian Thomas Frank and journalist Norman Ornstein, both of who have recent books on the subject and both of whom a pessimistic about short range solutions to the problem because BOTH PARTIES (Nader was right on this) have a vested interest in the status quo. Moyers even cited on Democratic Fund raiser who was going to financial institutions to solicit money on the basis of the fact that "Democrats may control the new congress."

Ornstein probably hit the nail on the head. "We will get the reform when they (Congress) believe that we will have the tar cooking and the feathers waiting if they don't do reform."

The current Administration has lost it's moral authority to lead in world politics. The current Congress has lost it's moral authority to lead in American politics.

Greens in California should be taking this message to the people and offering themselves as an alternative. There is no organization so dedicated to the principles of grassroots advocacy and so much against the power of corporate money. As Green Alex Walker frequently complains, where is the outrage?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Too long gone

I have been gone too long from this venue. But, it has been worth it. Having Bush doing a fund raiser for my favorite target, Richard Pombo, is one indication of how exciting this race is getting. Hank Shaw of the Stockton Record provides the another with this story on the latest polling. Jerry McNerney 48%, Richard Pombo 46%. Undecided 6%. That is a low undecided number for this time in an election cycle.

As Hank wrote me in an email today, "This is shaping up to be a good one. Hang on!" I can't imagine anything that excites a political reporter more than a good, tight race, one that has tinges of sex scandals, charges of corruption, vast differences in policies, quickly changing demographics in the district and a lot of lazy media dealing us the conventional wisdom without looking at the facts.

In all of this, I have learned a lot about how to run a campaign and I can't wait to get started on the next one. It is great watching some masters (Pete McCloskey for one) at work.