Saturday, October 28, 2006

One Woman's Ballot 2006

Two Important Phone Numbers For Election Day:

Polling Place Info: 1-866-MY-VOTE-1

Voter Suppression or Fraud: 1-866-OUR-VOTE

Find Your Polling Place

"The GOP's message, according to Clinton, is this: "If you vote for those Democrats, they're going to tax you into the poor house, and on the way to the poor house you'll meet a terrorist on every street corner. And when you try to run away from the terrorist, you will trip over an illegal immigrant."

President Bill Clinton 11/1/06 at a rally for CA House candidate Jerry McNerney

Women's Ballot Box circa 1890s Illinois

Here it is folks, my personal, mid-term election ballot. This is how I voted on my absentee ballot in Contra Costa County, California. Please feel free to use my endorsements and to share them with your loved ones. Also, check the many links on the side of this page for more information about Who/What/How to vote.

It's also my birthday, 2 days before the election, and if you want to get me the gift I want most...I'd really like a new Congress! The one that's currently entrenched is so beholden to multi-national corporations they don't even remember us, THE PEOPLE. Please do what you can to clean up the House, and while you're at it, the Senate too! I'll be ever so grateful!

They Feast at the Same Trough © 2006 Roberta Loach


Governor - Phil Angelides

Lieutenant Governor - John Garamendi

Secretary of State - Debra Bowen

Controller - John Chiang

Treasurer - Bill Lockyer

Attorney General - Jerry Brown

Insurance Commissioner - Cruz Bustamante

State Board of Equalization (district 1) - Betty T. Yee

US Senator - No Vote

US Representative 10th District - Ellen Tauscher

Member of the State Assembly 14th District - Loni Hancock

Judicial - Only a YES for Carol A. Corrigan

WVWV - My First Time 60 sec. PSA


West Contra Costa Unified School District

Antonia Medrano

Marguerite Meade

Charles Ramsey

City of El Cerrito City Council

Janet Abelson

Sandi Potter

East Bay Municipal Utility District - Andy Katz

Alameda - Contra Costa Transit District - Rebecca Kaplan

East Bay Regional Park District - Nancy Skinner


1A - Transportation - NO

1B - Highway - NO

1C - Housing - YES

1D - Schools - YES

1E - Disaster Preparedness - YES

83 - Sex Offenders - NO

84 - Good Water - YES

85 - Anti-Abortion - NO!

86 - Cigarette Tax - YES

87 - Tax Oil, Invest in Alternative Energy - YES!

88 - Education - YES

89 - Clean Elections - YES!

90 - Deconstruct local government - NO!


L - Land Preservation - YES

M - Supervisors - YES

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

CA Judicial Candidates and More!

The Future of California

Out of the mouths of babes...righteous truths!

Don't you hate getting to that quite large part of the ballot for judicial candidates and having NO IDEA who to vote for? Judges are non-partisan (supposedly) but we all know that an anti-abortion, or pro-death-penalty, judge can wreak havoc upon our laws and defendants. Here is a helpful website to look up judges on. It's our duty to take a little extra time to research these people who will be deciding so much of our legal fate:
CA Smart Voter
and California Courts

Note: I'll soon be finished with my own absentee ballot and will publish Who and What I voted for. It may help you decide what to do on your own ballot.

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT (This sounds fascinating):

Thursday, Oct 26, Rockridge Institute Forum
"What Are Americans Voting For?"
Wheeler Auditorium, UC Berkeley,
7:30 p.m. Free and open to the public.

* George Lakoff, Senior Fellow of the Institute and UC Berkeley Professor of Linguistics

* Robert Reich, UC Berkeley Professor of Public Policy

* Joan Blades, cofounder of and Momsrising

* Markos Moulitsas, founder of Daily Kos

Bruce Cain, Director of UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, Moderator


Volunteer to help Jerry McNerney kick Abramoff-tainted, enviro-destroying, Bush-kowtowing Richard Pombo out of California's 11th District. There's an amazing variety of Phone Banks & Precinct Walks between now and the election. You don't have to be in the 11th district to help elect a wind-power engineer to Congress in place of a politician bought by the oil lobby.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Congressional Candidates!

No matter what state you live in, here is a list of every contested, important seat in Congress that is in the mix for power change on Tuesday November 7th. Find your district, state, candidate and VOTE!

And if you can't figure out why you need to vote, why this election is so damn crucial, why another loss to the radical right wing rapturists could irrevocably destroy our democracy read this comprehensive, shocking, exposé from Rolling Stone It'll blow your mind!

Ballot Box © Dan Collins 2006

P.S. Only SIX original screen prints by acclaimed San Francisco Bay Area artist Art Hazelwood are left! Make a donation to any or all the candidates listed on my ActBlue progressive fund-raising page. Make your $$$ work for BLUE!

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

To share your opinion on this or any other post, please click the word "COMMENTS" below.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Have You Had Enough?

(Click image to see larger version)
Mr. Bush © Patricia Dahlman 2004
An idea for a sculpture comes from a person or event in my life or in the world, that has a lot of significance to me and I make an object about that person or event. To begin with I make very loose drawings to get a general idea of what I want to do. I then sew and stuff canvas forms together adding wire, cloth and sometimes additional objects such as mirrors. I continually take the forms apart, change the form and arrangement of the forms then sew them back together again. I also draw on the canvas with thread, drawing recognizable images that sometimes come from photographs, sometimes from life but mostly from memory. I work on these sculptures for weeks until it comes together in what I think is a visually coherent statement. - Patricia Dahlman

(Click image to see larger version)
War Zone © Patricia Dahlman 2004

During the Republican Convention in New York City and the election in 2004 a number of galleries in New York City had anti Bush exhibitions. George Adams of George Adams Gallery asked me to do an anti Bush work and I gladly made "Mr. Bush." I worked from pictures of George Bush from news magazines to make his head, and I made his body an American flag-narcissus flower. Like Narcissus, Bush is glaring into the water-mirror. I added a word bubble, thinking about Echo, myself and the people of New York City, that says "Mr. Bush, The people of the city of the World Trade Center Attack want peace in the Middle East now!" -
Patricia Dahlman

(Click image to see larger version)
Freedom © Patricia Dahlman 2004

Hearing President Bush constantly use the word freedom made my blood boil and I made the work "Freedom?" Once again I made Bush glaring into the water-mirror now as a snake, saying "freedom." I added numerous word bubbles that say, "What about the right to vote in Florida? What about equal rights for gays? What about health insurance for all? What about our right to choose? And Cancel the Patriot Act!" I finished "Freedom?" on election night, listening to the returns on November 2, 2004. -
Patricia Dahlman

Don't be like so many fearful Americans, Listen to the truth:

(Click image to see larger version)
Can't Hear © Patricia Dahlman 2004


Jerry McNerney for CA-11th

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

YO! California Watch This Video Clip!

This, dear California readers, is an opportunity for us to take back the power of our government. As California goes...eventually so goes the nation. Let's show them how it's done!

Yes On 89 TV Ad:

Sunday, October 15, 2006

How Can I Convince You?

That YOU dear reader are the solution to the problems America faces? It so simple, and it's true. YOU are the solution when you stop being afraid and join with your fellow citizens and tell our "leaders" they MUST END their immoral, unethical, and criminal behavior.

Oil Fields Are More Important Harvey Lloyd 2006

YOU can demand to know, from your Senators, and House Representative, and news outlets, why no one cares to find, and prosecute Osama Bin Laden. Why isn't our government using its vast resources, and the military it constantly brags about, to capture our greatest enemy, this so-called "evil-doer"? Why isn't bin Laden "Wanted Dead or Alive" any more?

Osama on Broadway Harvey Lloyd 2006

And YOU can demand that U.S. soldiers never be sent to war for a lie, and that if sent into battle they always get proper equipment. You can demand our soldiers never be used as guinea pigs for petro or bio chemical experiments. YOU can insist that wounded soldiers return home to the best medical and mental-health treatment we have and that their families be cared for as well. YOU can raise a cry against nuclear arms escalation that would be heard all the way to North Korea!

Radioactive Waste Harvey Lloyd 2006

And YOU can stop the bombing, killing, bleeding, torturing and horror our government is "contracting" upon other citizens outside our borders. YOU can take back the country that countless ordinary people, just like yourself and your neighbors, fought to make free and just.

I Am Becoming Death Harvey Lloyd 2006


We are here to learn, here on this earth willy nilly, as in Shakespeare's words from King Lear: "We must endure our coming hither as our going hence. Ripeness is all." At no age is the human mind limited. It is only when, shackled by the bonds of daily routine, mind-set and fear, the mind lies fallow, filled with detritus of boring work.

- From "The Art of Seeing Look Without Fear" by guest artist Harvey Lloyd.

NOTE: There are only SIX limited edition Art Hazelwood prints left for those readers who donate to my ActBlue page. More information about this unusual collaboration between art, politics and YOU here!

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

To share your opinion on this or any other post, please click the word "COMMENTS" below.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

You Can Own A Limited Edition, NEW, Art Hazelwood Print!

Habeus Corpus is Dead © 2006 Art Hazelwood

Yes dear readers it's true. Renowned San Francisco Bay Area artist Art Hazelwood has donated TEN hand-pulled copies of his newest print, to the first 10 donors to my ActBlue progressive donation page. This secure, cutting-edge, people-powered website allows folks like you and me to pool our political donations so that they have the most impact in this critical upcoming election on November 7th.

Please help one, or all of the candidates you see on my ActBlue page and then email me with your mailing address:

politicalartwork [at]

and I will have Art mail you one of his original, hand-pulled prints. Remember there are only TEN so you'd better act quickly. The prints are 2-color screen prints, made and printed by hand. The image is 17" x 13".

Here's your chance to own a unique artwork created during a tremendously historic moment. Let's show Art our appreciation for his artistic efforts to help win back our government and return the U.S. Congress to the American people!

The following is a transcript of MSNBC columnist Keith Olbermann's special report on habeas corpus, as aired on Tuesday, October 10, 2006
or watch the video
The president has now succeeded where no one has before. He’s managed to kill the writ of habeas corpus. Tonight, a special investigation, how that, in turn, kills nothing less than your Bill of Rights. Because the Mark Foley story began to break on the night of September 28, exploding the following day, many people may not have noticed the bill passed by the Senate that night.

Congress passed the Military Commission’s Act to give Mr. Bush the power to deal effectively with America’s enemies—those who seek to harm the country. He has been very clear on who he thinks that is.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For people to leak that program and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America.

That fact that we’re discussing this program is helping the enemy.


OLBERMANN: So, the president said it was urgent that Congress send him this bill as quickly as possible, not for the politics of next month’s elections, but for America.


BUSH: The need for this legislation is urgent. We need to insure that those questioning terrorists can continue to do everything within the limits of the law to get information that can save American lives. My administration will continue to work with the Congress to get this legislation enacted, but time is of the essence. Congress is in session just for a few more weeks and passing this legislation ought to be the top priority.

The families of those murdered that day have waited patiently for justice. Some of the families of with us today, they should have to wait no longer.


OLBERMANN: Because time was of the essence and to insure that the 9/11 families would wait no longer, as soon as he got the bill, the president whipped out his pen and immediately signed a statement saying he looks forward to signing the actual law eventually.

He has not signed it yet, almost two weeks later because, of course, he has been swamped by a series of campaign swings at which he has made up quotes from unnamed Democratic leaders and because when he is actually at work he’s been signing so many other important bills, such as the Credit Rating Agency Reform Act, the Third Higher Education Extension Act, ratification requests for extradition treaties with Malta, Estonia, and Latvia; his proclamation of German-American Day, the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Act; and his proclamation of Leif Erickson Day.

Still, getting the Military Commission’s Act to the president so he could immediately mull it over for two weeks was so important, some members of Congress did not even read the bill before voting on it. Thus, as some of its minutia escaped scrutiny.

One bit of trivia that caught our eye was the elimination of habeas corpus, which apparently use to be the right of anyone who’s tossed in prison to appear in court and say “Hey, why am I in prison?”

OLBERMANN: Why does habeas corpus hate America? And how is it so bad for us? Mr. Bush says it gets in the way of him doing his job.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) Olbermann makes comments between clips of speeches by different politicians below.

BUSH: This legislation passed in the House yesterday is a part of making sure that we do have the capacity to protect you. Our most solemn job is the security of this country.

OLBERMANN: It may be solemn.

BUSH: Bush, so solemnly swear.

OLBERMANN: But is that really his job? In this rarely seen footage, Mr. Bush seems to be describing a different job.

BUSH: And will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

OLBERMANN: COUNTDOWN has obtained a copy of this “Constitution” of the United States, and sources tell us it was originally sneaked through the constitutional convention and state ratification in order to establish America’s fundamental legal principles.

But this so-called “Constitution” is frustratingly vague about the right to trial. In fact, there’s only one reference to habeas corpus at all, quoting: “The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.”

But even Democrats, who voted against the Military Commission’s Act, concede that it doesn’t actually suspend habeas corpus.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: The bill before us would not merely suspend the great writ—the great writ—the writ of habeas corpus, it just eliminates it permanently.

OLBERMANN: And there is considerable debate whether the conditions for suspending habeas corpus, rebellion or invasion, have even been met.

LEAHY: Conditions for suspending habeas corpus have not been met.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER ®, PENNSYLVANIA: We do not have a rebellion or an invasion.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, we’re not in a rebellion nor are we being invaded.

OLBERMANN: OK, maybe the debate wasn’t that considerable. Nevertheless, COUNTDOWN has learned that habeas corpus actually predates the Constitution, meaning it’s not just pre-September 11 thinking, it’s also July 4 thinking.

In this those days, no one could have imagined that enemy combatants might one day attack Americans on native soil. In fact, COUNTDOWN has obtained a partially redacted copy of a colonial “declaration,” indicating that back then, depriving us of trial by jury was actually considered sufficient cause to start a war of independence based on the, then fashionable idea that “liberty” was an inalienable right.

But today, thanks to modern post-9/11 thinking, those rights are now fully alienable—for your protection.


OLBERMANN: The reality is without habeas corpus, a lot of other rights lose their meaning. But if you look at the actual Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments of that pesky Constitution, you’ll see just how many remain for your protection.

OK, No. 1 is gone. I mean, if you’re detained without trial, you lose your freedom of religion and speech, press, assembly, all the rest of that. So, you don’t need that any more.

And you know, you can’t petition the government for anything.

No. 2, While you are in prison, your right to keep and bear arms just might be infringed upon even if you’re in the NRA, so that’s gone.

Three, well OK, no forced sleepovers at your house by soldiers.

Three’s all right.

Four, you’re definitely not secure against searches and seizures, as it says here, with or without probable cause. And, in prison that’s not limited to just the guards, so forget the fourth.

Five, grand juries and due process, obviously out, so forget five and the little trailer up here.

Six, well trials are gone too, let alone the right to counsel. Speedy trials? You want it when?

Seven, well this is about—I thought we just covered trials and juries earlier so forget the seventh.

Eight, well, bail’s kind of a moot point isn’t it?

And nine, other rights retained by the people. Well, you know, if you can name them during your water boarding, we’ll consider them.

Ten, powers not delegated to the United States federal government. Well, they seem to have ended up there anyway. So as you can see, even without habeas corpus, at least one tenth of the Bill of Rights, I guess that’s the Bill of Right, now—remains virtually intact. No. 3 is still safe.

We can rest easy knowing that we will never, ever have to quarter soldiers in our homes as long as the third amendment still stands strong.

The president can just take care of that with a signing statement.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

...Because YOU Have Some Voting to do!

Can We Acknowledge © Janet Goldner

Today I'm featuring specific, concrete things YOU can do to help win back our country from the radical right wing rapturists who seemed determined to destroy it. It will take a bit of work on your part, but nothing you can't handle, and you can be sure it will be worth every bead of sweat you may shed.

The art featured here today is by sculptor Janet Goldner. I have to say I have immense respect for anyone working in steel. I think her giant metal books are remarkable and if I lived closer I'd definitely go and see them in person. Here's what she has to say about the multi-part sculpture, exhibited in here today:

Can We Acknowledge?, 4' x 25' x 4', steel, 2002.
This work is a continuation of my series of large steel books. The interplay of positive and negative space, of image and text is important to this work. This steel accordion-book/fence has five 4- foot x 4-foot steel pages which ask , "Can we acknowledge the pain we have caused in the world, even as we struggle with our own?"

While nothing can excuse the attack on the World Trade Center or the terrible loss of innocent life, it is not difficult to understand why people would be angry at the U.S. The text in Can We Acknowledge? addresses this aspect of the tragedy. - Janet Goldner 2006


Are you able to vote?
Click here to find out

How do I register?
Click here to do it!

Who/what is on the ballot in my state?
Find it here!

What about those rigged voting machines?
Reported malfunctions by state

Can We Acknowledge © Janet Goldner


Key Dates:

• Oct 9: Start Date to Apply for Absentee Ballot

• Oct 23: General Election Voter Registration Deadline

• Oct 24: General Election Filing Deadline (Write In)

• Oct 31: Deadline to Apply for Absentee Ballot

• Nov 7: General Election

Who/What should I vote for?
Find it here!

And here:
Contra Costa County

And here:
Alameda County (PDF file)
(You'll need Adobe Acrobat to read the PDF file.
Download it for free here)

Can We Acknowledge © Janet Goldner

What can we do about the corruption?
California Clean Money

and Barbara Boxer's Senate bill requiring paper ballots for all U.S. citizens. Sign the petition.

Can We Acknowledge © Janet Goldner

I want more information about this voting machine disenfranchisement that's been going on:

Counted as Cast

Voting Machine Vendors:
Voting machines vendors

Black Box Voting

Can We Acknowledge © Janet Goldner

Here is the entire piece put together (see a larger version at Janet's website):

Can We Acknowledge © Janet Goldner

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

To share your opinion on this or any other post, please click the word "COMMENTS" below.

Are Your Papers In Order?

Ballot Box © Dan Collins 2006

The above title may, for a second, have caused you to worry about your citizenship papers. Actually this installment is about voting, but isn't that really the same thing? Doesn't being a good citizen mean participating?

Are you ready to vote on November 7th? Are you sure?

I ask because there is a risk, for all of us American citizens, (even those of us living in "blue" liberal pockets of the U.S.), that our votes will not be properly counted.

As you know, each election since 2000 we've lost more of our country to the radical right wing. Each election since 2000 we've lost more of our credibility in the world, more resources, and more safety. Worst of all, we've lost hope, or have we? We cannot allow a single progressive vote to be lost, manipulated, or stolen.

Suffragettes © Detroit c. 1920

Three years ago I gave up on the Democratic Party and had joined the Greens in protest over Senator Dianne Feinstein's vote to go to war with Iraq. While the Green Party stands for many admirable progressive values, it lacks infrastructure and rarely has anyone winning political office even at the most local levels. So I wasn't happy with them either.

Then I heard a speech, a fiery, clear, energizing speech from a country doctor out of Vermont. Now he's the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, which considering how most of the National Democratic leadership feels about Howard Dean M.D. is a truly remarkable thing. How did he get there? "People power". It may sound simplistic or antiquated but it actually works.

One of the lesser known things that the Dean campaign did was produce a document back in 2003 called Common Sense for a New American Century. It was a modern updating of the principles enclosed in Thomas Paine's revolutionary pamphlet, "Common Sense". Paine's version helped spark the overthrow of England's King George. Now we seem to have another "King" George who needs overthrowing. Last time they did it with people power, and we can do it too.
The American people have a capacity for great things. We must once again set ourselves on a course to achieve them—based on those values that have sustained America throughout the centuries:

In a just America, money should not determine the limits of any American’s future, or deny any American the medical advancements that can save and sustain life. Health insurance, prescription drugs and higher education can be accessible and affordable for everyone.

Photo from Civil Rights Museum

Our tax burden today falls most heavily on hard work, while wealth is taxed less. We subsidize corporations that are polluting our environment or sending jobs overseas. But we can restore fairness to our tax code—rewarding hard work, ensuring that wealth pays its fair share, and penalizing waste.

Fairness also demands that we address the disparity between the incomes of women and the incomes of men. Closing the wage gap will benefit all Americans.

Today, technologies exist that can form the foundation of our economy for the next century. We should invest aggressively in them, just as when our nation invested in railroads, rural electrification, and in public highways.

We can create a new energy economy, relying on sources that will never run out, including solar power, wind power, ethanol and biomass. Doing so will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create new jobs for decades to come.

Moral Leadership in the World
Harry S. Truman said, “The only expansion we are interested in is the expansion of human freedom and the wider enjoyment of the good things of the earth in all countries. The only prize we covet is the respect and good will of our fellow members of the family of nations. The only realm in which we aspire to eminence exists in the minds of men, where authority is exercised through the qualities of sincerity, compassion and right conduct.” That is the American role in the world that we can restore.

Photo: Associated Press Iraq's Golden Temple

We can reform our republic—restoring a democracy in which every person has a voice and our government works for the benefit of all the people.

We have an obligation to one another as Americans and as human beings. America will be stronger when we recognize that we are dependent on each other, responsible for each other, and connected to each other. - Governor Howard Dean M.D. 2003

Return here tomorrow to discover specific, concrete steps you can take to help win back our country!

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

To share your opinion on this or any other post, please click the word "COMMENTS" below.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Walk the Talk, Talk the Walk!

Photo from World Can't Wait San Francisco 10/5/06

Today I'm featuring the second in a two-part series of "thinking points" from one of the nation's few progressive Think Tanks, the Rockridge Institute. The text excerpts are from linguist George Lakoff's new book, Thinking Points: Communicating Our American Values and Vision, A Progressive's Handbook.

I'm interspersing this heady stuff with images from some of yesterday's anti-Bush regime marches. I attended the San Francisco march, in the rain (first of the season) and was deeply gratified to see so many high school students out in the political streets. It gives you hope, it really does. You see these "kids" know that they will be the ones left to clean up the mess that George Bush and his radical right wing warmongers are creating, and they're PISSED about it!

Lakoff's thinking points are especially relevant in light of the recent scandal rocking the GOP regarding Representative Foley's inexcusable sexual advances towards a minor working as a Congressional page.

Photo from World Can't Wait San Francisco 10/5/06

For progressives to succeed in taking back this country, we need to stay true to our values and communicate them effectively. To accomplish this mission, we need to be aware of the traps that have often tripped up progressives in the past

Six of the Twelve Traps to Avoid (I blogged about the first six HERE:)

7. The Centrist Trap

There is a common belief that there is an ideological "center"--a large group of voters either with a consistent ideology of their own or lined up left to right on the issues or forming a "mainstream," all with the same positions on issues. In fact, the so-called center is actually made up of biconceptuals, people who are conservative in some aspects of life and progressive in others. Voters who self-identify as "conservative" often have significant progressive values in important areas of life. We should address these "partial progressive" biconceptuals through their progressive identities, which are often systematic and extensive.

A common mistaken ideology has convinced many progressives that they must "move to the right" to get more votes. In reality, this is counterproductive. By moving to the right, progressives actually help activate the right's values and give up on their own. In the process, they also alienate their base.

Photo from World Can't Wait Chicago 10/5/06

8. The "Misunderestimating" Trap

Too many progressives think that people who vote conservative are just stupid, especially those who vote against their economic self-interest. Progressives believe that we only have to tell them the real economic facts, and they will change the way they vote. The reality is that those who vote conservative have their reasons, and we had better understand them. Conservative populism is cultural--not economic--in nature. Conservative populists see themselves as oppressed by elitist liberals who look down their noses at them, when they are just ordinary, moral, right-thinking folks. They see liberals as trying to impose an immoral "political correctness" on them, and they are angry about it.

Progressives also paint conservative leaders as incompetent and not very smart, based on a misunderstanding of the conservative agenda. This results from looking at conservative goals through progressive values. Looking at conservative goals through conservative values yields insight and shows just how effective conservatives really are.

Photo from World Can't Wait New York 10/5/06

9. The Reactive Trap

For the most part, we have been letting conservatives frame the debate. Conservatives are taking the initiative on policy making and getting their ideas out to the public. When progressives react, we echo the conservative frames and values, so our message is not heard or, even worse, reinforces their ideas. Progressives need a collection of proactive policies and communication techniques to get our own values out on our own terms. "War rooms" and "truth squads" must change frames, not reinforce conservative frames. But even then, they are not nearly enough. Progressive leaders, outside of any party, must come together in an ongoing, long-term, organized national campaign that honestly conveys progressive values to the public--day after day, week after week, year after year, no matter what the specific issues of the day are.

Photo from San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco 10/5/06

10. The Spin Trap

Some progressives believe that winning elections or getting public support is a matter of clever spin and catchy slogans--what we call "surface framing." Surface framing is meaningless without deep framing--our deepest moral convictions and political principles. Framing, used honestly at both the deep and surface levels, is needed to make the truth visible and our values clear. Spin, on the other hand, is the dishonest use of surface linguistic frames to hide the truth. And progressive values and principles--the deep frames--must be in place before slogans can have an effect; slogans alone accomplish nothing. Conservative slogans work because they have been communicating their deep frames for decades.

11. The Policyspeak Trap

Progressives consistently use legislative jargon and bureaucratic solutions, like "Medicare prescription drug benefits," to speak to the public about their positions. Instead, progressives should speak in terms of the common concerns of voters--for instance, how a policy will let you send your daughter to college, or how it will let you launch your own business.

Photo from World Can't Wait New York 10/5/06

12. The Blame Game Trap

It is convenient to blame our problems on the media and on conservative lies. Yes, conservative leaders have regularly lied and used Orwellian language to distort the truth, and yes, the media have been lax, repeating the conservatives' frames. But we have little control over that. We can control only how we communicate. Simply correcting a lie with the truth is not enough. We must reframe from our moral perspective so that the truth can be understood. This reframing is needed to get our deep frames into public discourse. If enough people around the country honestly, effectively, and regularly express a progressive vision, the media will be much more likely to adopt our frames.

You can download the entire first chapter, and more, at Rockridge Institute. This is a very useful manual for clear thinking and communication that progressives need to learn to use, and propagate. Read it, think on it, share it around your personal community and work it, work it, work it!

Photo from San Francisco Chronicle
Ironic sight up above the San Francisco protest 10/05/06

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Host a House Party, Save the World

Burning Tank © Grace Graupe-Pillard 2006

For a couple of years now I've been volunteering for and recently got a "promotion". I'm now a Support Corps Manager, which means when you send an email to it's likely it'll pass through my keyboard at some point in it's journey. I volunteer for MoveOn because although there are some very good progressive leaders in the Democratic Party, for the most part the party's leadership (aside from Chairman Howard Dean) is still beholden to many of the same multi-national corporations that fund the Republicans. That makes you, me, and all the rest of America's citizens last on the list of constituents.

So, I've thrown in with what has become one of the country's most powerful, progressive, member-driven organizations because they know how to get things done. So, now that I've explained my reason for supporting I want to suggest that you, dear reader, jump into the heat of the action, the battle for the soul of our country, with me. That means I'm asking you to do any of the following very satisfying things:

1) Host a house party (a cozy event at your home where neighbors, friends, and progressives from your community, gather) to make calls to voters in 30 of the most competitive Congressional races in the country. This program is already hugely successful (though the real telling will of course be on November 7th).

You can attend or host a house party most weekends between now and the November 7th election.

The next one is a national potluck, October 7th and 8th.

The following weekend, October 14th & 15th combines phone calling with a viewing of Robert Greenwald's shocking new film, Iraq for Sale

Light Show © Grace Graupe-Pillard 2003
Acclaimed progressive filmmaker Robert Greenwald just released his latest movie, Iraq for Sale, and it's a doozy. It's a blistering expose about war profiteering, and, five weeks before an election hinging on Iraq, it's a movie everyone needs to see.

There's no corporate distributor pushing Iraq for Sale into theaters, so we're holding hundreds of local screenings the weekend of October 14th and 15th (that's the weekend after next). And we won't just watch—we'll do something to end this mess by making calls to key voters through Call for Change.

2) Alternatively you can make calls to get out the progressive vote in key races, as your personal schedule permits by simply using your computer, a separate phone line (or cell phone) and your sense of purpose. It's's revolutionary "virtual phone bank" program called Call for Change

3) Too shy to call voters on your own? Not a very good party host? There's hope! You can still help by donating to MoveOn so that other members can make those calls on your behalf. Donate here. It might be the most well-used $20.00 you ever spent.

Why bother? Who cares? Whatsinitforme? Well...your actions in this election could help save someone across the world from ending up wounded, or killed by our government. That's a damn good reason to make a few phone calls don't you think?

Wounded © Grace Graupe-Pillard 2005

More background about from this excellent article in Alternet
What makes MoveOn's organizing model so threatening to those safely ensconced inside the Washington Beltway is that MoveOn, unlike its counterparts on the right, is largely bottom up, driven by constantly polling their members about which issues to focus on and which campaigns to support. To a great degree, that makes it immune to the conventional wisdom about what is and isn't important (and what is and isn't possible). Democratic strategists can whisper to Washington Post columnists that opposing the war in Iraq is bad politics, and that becomes the conventional wisdom. But MoveOn has to move with its membership. It has active campaigns for clean voting, clean election financing and renewable energy, all issues that are important to progressives, but to which the Democratic Party itself pays maddeningly little real attention.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bush Slithers Into California 10/02/06

The Puppet Show © Mark Bryan 2004

That's right folks the beleaguered, lowest-rated, most radical American President in modern times is coming to California tomorrow. Why? Because he and his teetering right wing cabal are afraid of this man.

Photo: McNerney for Congress Campaign 2006

UPDATE! 10/3/06This just in from McNerney's campaign,
SACRAMENTO - A new poll released Monday presents further proof that Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, is in a tight race with challenger Jerry McNerney.
Conducted by well-known Democratic pollster Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, the survey of 413 likely voters done last week shows McNerney leading Pombo 48 percent to 46 percent; this is within the poll's margin of error, so the two are in a statistical dead heat. Source

Jerry McNerney is a real human being and a true progressive. Being a wind power engineer by trade,

Photo: Unknown

Jerry walks his talk of environmental protection and expansion of renewable energy sources. I know because I've met the man and we've talked about the crisis our country is in. Jerry came to meetings that East Bay for Democracy sponsored in 2004 & 2005. These gatherings of concerned citizens, who had each been working towards removing Bush, and the Republicans, from power, met to discuss strategy and goals for taking back our country, from the radical right wing rapturists, who'd seized power in 2000. Every progressive group from MoveOn to Mainstreet Moms was represented by passionate, committed, and very determined volunteers. Jerry sat in on these discussions as an equal participant and a concerned fellow citizen trying to figure out how to save our country.

So Republican President George W. Bush is coming to California tomorrow to try and prop up the floundering campaign of the species-hating, Abramoff-funded, sleazebag Republican incumbent for California's 11th District, known as Richard Pombo.

President Bush compliments Congressman Pombo's clean shave at United Defense on May 2, 2003. Photo: From Pombo's own website.

So here's what you, Ms/Mr American Progressive need to do to let Bush and Pombo know what you think of their heinous political policies:

If you live in Northern California you should bring your body to these events:
October 3, 2006 - President Bush is coming to Stockton to help Tracy Rep. Richard Pombo raise money for his re-election bid. He is scheduled to appear at a breakfast event at the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium, according to the campaign.*

October 5, 2006 - Jerry McNerney will "debate" Richard Pombo at 7 p.m. at Poet Christian School, 1701 S. Central Ave., in Tracy.

If you don't live in Northern California, or are unable to attend either of the above events in person, please donate $5.00 or more to McNerney or Brown so that they can replace these frauds who are posing as our representatives in Congress. Go to my ActBlue Fundraising Page and help California progressives win back our government!

*Note: Bush will also appear at a fundraising lunch for the equally despicable Representative John Doolittle, who is being challenged by Democrat, and Vietnam Veteran, Charles D. Brown on October 3, 2006 at the Serrano Country Club in El Dorado Hills.

Background on both Pombo and Doolittle campaigns and why Bush has to come try and rescue them from the Trash Bin.

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