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UPDATED w/FDL Webinar Report! Dear Michael Moore: Put Up or Shut Up

6:03 am in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

OK, so I’m fresh off the FDL Member Webinar featuring Josh Koster, Dan Ellsberg and Michael Moore, and as requested in this diary’s comments, here’s my take.

After Josh Koster gave a roughly five-minute presentation on the efficacy and cost-efficiency of Internet advertising for political campaigns as compared to traditional media, Dan Ellsberg laid out his thoughts on a third-party challenge in 2012. Put succinctly (and I’m totally paraphrasing here) he said, “Protest electorally in the 40 or so states where you can build a movement, but not in swing states. There really are degrees of evil and despite how we all like to say there is no difference between the two major parties, there is. A Republican administration taking over again in 2012 would be far worse for the country than keeping this one in power, building a movement in the 40 or so non-swing states, and then seeing what we can do with that in 2016. Otherwise there’s a good chance that any dissenting party will steal enough votes to give the GOP the win, and will be ‘blamed’ for the loss, just as Nader was in 2000.”

Then it was Michael Moore’s turn, and he was nothing if not totally convincing as to his own indecisiveness. “How I feel about trying to put together a primary challenge and even a third party in 2012 depends on what day you ask me,” he said. (That was a pretty good approximation of the quote. What follows now will, as with Mr. Ellsberg above, be a paraphrased compilation of Moore’s major points.) “I totally understand how upset people are. More people than ever in my lifetime, I don’t know about before I was born, but I guess 1948 was close, more people are disgusted with both parties than ever. Even if we were to follow Dan’s suggested path [which, Ellsberg had explained, is essentially the one Ralph Nader pursued in 2000, prior to his decision to challenge Gore in FL, and a path Moore supported], there’s nothing saying that millions of people on the Left, progressives, liberals, won’t be angry enough to screw it up anyway [he meant this in a positive, not accusing way, and indicated a kind of okayness with the possibility].

Jane Hamsher raised the question of who might be possible primary challengers, and as Dan Ellsberg thought about it Moore repeatedly said, “Matt Damon,” which, Jane reported, got several positive IMs of support. Ellsberg thought Elizabeth Warren would be good, but quickly conceded that Warren or Russ Feingoold would likely never do it because they’d be excommunicated from the party post haste.

Donna M., one of the attendees, blunty challenged Ellsberg over his apparent support of lesser-evilism, but Ellsberg said he is not advocating for Obama. He said he has never heard a criticism of Obama that has gone too far, and regretted if his comments did not adequately convey that, but that he was trying to look at the question of third-party creation in the current climate objectively, and to think about how best to build something to replace the Democratic Party. Moore said he would support building a “New Democratic Party” and offered an electorial scenario that might produce the needed fragmentation of the electorate to do it, saying that if the Tea Party runs a candidate and splits the conservatives, it would open the possibility of a liberal third party to win the White House with perhaps 33 percent of the vote. He even at one point mentioned the NDP in Canada as a good example of a party that overtaken the neoliberal excuse for progressivism in that country.

There was of course much more in this hour-plus conference – and I was (of course) disappointed that my question wasn’t taken. It went like this: We always hear that THIS is not the year to build something new, to upset the apple cart. But don’t the past 50 years show that following that prescription has only made us more ill?

In closing this update, I’d like thanks Jane and the FDL staff for putting this together and encourage you to join FDL, so you can be on the line for future Webinars. I think they represent an important opportunity to get dissent in this country back to its rightful place. Front and center.

-agn
—————————–

Athena1 has written a nice diary. It shares a letter Michael Moore posted Friday at his website, which seems an effort to reach the younger contingent of the Democratic Party that was so instrumental in Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 – and that stayed away from the polls in droves last November.

Athena1′s post is probably just the reaction Moore was hoping for. But there’s a problem: Michael Moore has no more snapped out of denial than he’s given up donuts. He is perhaps sneaking up on snapping out. Maybe. But not yet.

One piece of evidence in favor of his possibly snapping out of it is, as Athena1 notes, his mention of October2011.org But when one reads between the lines, it’s clear that for all his bluster, Moore is no closer to getting beyond the Left/Right rhetoric routinely used by the powers that be to keep us divided – and conquered – than he’s ever been.

The following, buried deep in the letter, has all the trappings of a bold statement, I’ll grant you that:

We need to demand that the Democrats either get a spine and stop taking corporate money — or step aside.

The problem is, Moore has been saying this same thing for years – and it’s as far as he ever goes.

Don’t misunderstand. Moore’s work is trenchant and often hilarious (albeit in a what-a-fucking-shame kinda way). But he always always always tells his stories from the Dems-are-better, Republicans-are-the-enemy perspective, when he knows all too well that the enemy is the corporate cabal that owns BOTH parties, every elected federal official within them, and all the old white guy yes-men in both parties’ administrative operations.

And telling stories in a way that infers that supporting one wrong can make a right is, I’m afraid, the definition of lesser-evilism.

To wit, Moore’s listing at the end of his diatribe. It includes not only October2011 (good) but the AFL-CIO, and this no-words-minced comment: “They’ve learned their lesson and have a good president now.” The list also includes MoveOn, another perpetual Dem Party apologist that, like Moore, talks a great game – but never quite jumps completely out of line. And jumping out of line is exactly what these times demand.

The AFL-CIO and its “good president,” Richard Trumka, hasn’t learned anything. Trumka was all for a public option – meaning an option available to ALL THE PEOPLE – in the health reform shit sandwich bill. Until, that is, he decided protecting his organization’s members’ “Cadillac” insurance plans was more important, upon which making a deal to do just that, Trumka ran from WE THE PEOPLE faster than a – well, than a just-inaugurated Barack Obama.

And MoveOn? Puh. Leeze. In short, they haven’t MovedOn. Just spend a few minutes on their site and it’s clear they too are still stuck in the Left/Right mud they leveraged in founding their little false prog gravy train Democratic Party cheerleading org during the Clinton impeachment.

Whether it’s MM, corporatist “Unionists” like Trumka, or false prog orgs like MoveOn, pretending to call Democrats on the carpet for their bald-faced conspiracy with the corporate cabal that fills their campaign coffers simply won’t cut it anymore. Again, I love MM’s work and hope he will snap out of it and call openly, right now, for all to STOP VOTING FOR EITHER MAJOR PARTY in federal elections.

But until he does, he’ll continue hurtling toward irrelevance faster than a – well, you know.

Anthony Noel facilitates the New Progressive Alliance, a 100-percent volunteer organization founded online at MyFDL in 2010. The NPA is dedicated to uniting, through electoral activism and public dissent, all Americans who oppose war, value hard work at a living wage, and seek to stop corporate ownership of our government.

A Line Too Bright to Ignore

5:23 pm in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

Many of you have been active participants in the effort, begun here in September, to craft a long-term response to the utter selling out of average Americans by the Washington and Wall Street elite.

jeffroby has called it “Dump Obama.” I prefer Primary Obama/New Progressive Alliance. (And the really optimistic call it pointless!)

Beyond the names (and name calling) comes a clear choice, and how we choose might very well determine whether we succeed or fail.

jeffroby is of the opinion that a challenge to Obama is the main thing, and that it might well push the Democratic Party to the Left. He further believes in a “two-track” approach, where a populist (i.e., well-known) candidate would be the primary election challenger, leading what he’s called an independent entity within the Democratic party. Upon that challenger being denied the nomination, the independent entity would then break away from the party and put up a different opponent in the 2012 general election because, as Jeff wrote a few days ago:

In any event, whoever primaries Obama will likely sell us out. I go into this with eyes wide open, you don’t have to warn me about being sold out. It comes with the territory.

I believe, since we know this already, we should take steps to counter it right from the get-go. Rather than a two-track approach, I favor a comprehensive one, whereby our challenger – in order to become our challenger in the first place – must not only agree to run against Obama in the primaries, but to run as the new party’s candidate in the general as well.

Call it a loyalty vow.

This difference in approach may seem small; something we can deal with later. There is already much agreement that the main thing is the platform on which the challenger runs. That we must get away from identity politics and focus on the issues – the Democrats’ approach to which, even as I write, is promoting militarism, destroying what’s left of the middle class, and utterly ravaging the poor.

But even at this early stage, strategy is not a small consideration. Whether we like it or not, there is a bright line between those who believe the Democratic Party – and more broadly, the two-party system itself – is utterly and finally bankrupt, and those who believe some sort of meaningful, results-for-the-victimized duality can be restored by reforming the Democratic Party.

Whichever of these beliefs you might hold, that bright line exists nonetheless – and if we are serious about changing things, we ignore it at our peril.

Here’s why.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on seating a steering committee of prominent, respected Lefties for this effort. So far I’m batting 1.000 – the first two people I’ve approached have agreed. They are names you will immediately recognize, and while I am not ready to disclose them just yet, here’s the key point: One is willing to participate only if the goal is the establishment of a new party which seeks to bring together the disparate factions of the Left, toward the greater objective of giving the Left a real voice again. This person is even averse to a primary challenge, but would be willing, I think, to support it as a strategic first step – provided the ultimate goal is to give Lefties a unified voice which is not tied to the Democratic Party.

The ultimate form of political revolt is taking the very rules which the ensconsced powers believe protect them and turning them to the advantage of those seeking change. Our electoral process, as now operated, offers just that kind of opportunity.

Nothing is stopping us from both challenging Obama in the primaries AND running THE SAME candidate against him in the general, thereby leveraging the support that candidate – and with them, our platform – has generated throughout the primary process. Nobody is deluding themselves into thinking we can win, whether in the primaries or the general – unless “winning” is defined as launching a real Lefty counterpoint to the Right (Democratic), further-right (Republican) and daftly right (Tea) factions which now comprise our one-party system.

Moreover, naming a new candidate for the general means throwing away months of hard work in the primaries – work that could be focused on telling voters the truth: “We know we will be denied the nomination. When we are, if the movement we are building is to last, we will need your support. Won’t you become a charter member of the New Progressive Alliance, and help us provide a real voice for the Left in this country, long after the 2012 election is over?”

Insisting on the candidate’s loyalty right from the outset would also avoid the “tradition” of the challenger “throwing their support” to the nominee. This (outdated, ridiculous, anything-but-democratic) notion of “rallying ’round the victor” has clipped the wings of countless fledgling third-party efforts in the past. But by holding our challenger to a higher standard – namely, of putting our platform and its survival first, by agreeing not to “sell us out,” as Jeff puts it – we can assure that, this time, things will be very different indeed.

If the past two years have not fully and finally convinced us that the Democratic Party – and with it, the (so-called) two-party system – is irretreivably broken, I can only wonder: Are we really that stupid?

Party Name/Platform: Last Call for Nominations!

9:07 am in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

This is your final opportunity to place nominations for both party names and platform plank topics in the Primary Obama/new third party effort that has taken shape here over the past several weeks.

The lists below were gathered from the prior thread which was up last weekend. Nominations made in the comments here will be added to the voting thread which goes up Friday.

I’d also like your opinions on something. I’d initially wanted to keep the platfrom plank topics to 10, but given the list already, a limit of 20 may be more realistic. What do you think? I’m still in favor of keeping the text for each plank at 20 words or less in hopes our statements will be hard-hitting and to the point; but we’ll tackle the actual writing task after topics have been selected.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and nominations, and as always, “recommends” are appreciated, to ensure the whole community gets a chance to reply!

PARTY NAMES
<250K
250K And Unders
Alliance 420
American Peoples Party
Law and Order Party
Main Street Party
Make-Work Protectionist Party
Most Of Us Party
New Progressive Alliance
Party Alliance
Progressive Patriotic Alliance
Red-Green Party
Rent Is Too Damn High Party
Sustainable Democracy Party
Workers Party
Working Families Alliance

PLANK TOPICS
Bee Habitat
Bottom-Up Democracy
Campaign Finance Reform
Choice
Citizen Empowerment
Civil Liberties
Commerce
Constitutional
Defense
Democratize All Institutions
Economic Equality
Economy
End the Wars Now
Energy Farming
Environment
Environmental Sustainability
Fair Trade
Finance
Full Employment
Health Care
Hemp Reform
Human and Civil Rights
Jobs
Justice and Accountability
Labor
Legalize Marijuana
Living Wage
Lower Retirement Age
Manufacturing
Peace
Presidential Powers
Progressive Taxation
Retirement
Rule of Law
Safety Net
Schools
Sociable Urban Planning
Taxes
Torture
Transparecny
Triple Payer Health Care
Wall Street
War Crimes

Let’s Find a Name, and Platform Planks

5:11 pm in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

A week ago we voted on preferred primary challengers to Barack Obama in 2012 who might also agree to run as the nominee of a new third party in the general election.

There seems general agreement that the overarching goal of this effort is to build a broad, viable third party representing core progressive values, by using the period when Americans – and the media – pay the most attention to politics: The election cycle. An actual victory for the presidency in 2012 is not the focus, but that said, if we campaign as if it were, we greatly increase the likelihood of building a broadly based movement that is welcoming to the full range of those disgusted with the total co-option of our democratic process by profiteers and power seekers.

Our effort is being birthed under a variety of monikers, from “Dump Obama” (jeffroby) to “the movement” (Jim Moss) to Primary Obama/New Progressive Alliance (me), each of which has served its purpose. But, if we are sincere about building a new party, we’re going to need something that neatly describes our initiative – or alliance or movements – for the long term, so it can grow and prosper well beyond 2012.

We also need to build a platform. Jim Moss’s diary here floats some core platform principles, and welshTerrier2 has written that “political equity” – a hallmark of FDR’s ideology and appeal, and an overarching tenet of progressivism even before FDR – is key.

I believe the final platform should include an opening statement that covers our basic principles, followed by the platform itself, of no more than 10 planks. With this thread, I’d like us to “nominate” two different sets of things: Possible names for the movement, and titles for platform planks.

Two suggestions:

1) Remember that party names are often abbreviated into acronyms, so when you have a name you love, you’ll want to google it to check on any additional (and potentially negative) references before nominating it.

2) For platform plank titles, think as broadly as possible: Titles such as “Jobs” or “Defense” or “Environment.” As I’ve noted on other threads, one lesson we can – and I believe must – learn from the Right is the power of simply and forcefully stating where we stand. The best way to start is by keeping the plank title as direct as possible.

As you nominate party names or plank titles, read through others’ lists to avoid duplicates. There is no need to nominate 10 planks if some of those on your list are already posted. Also, when posting your ideas, please denote your lists as “PARTY NAME” or “PLANK.” Don’t worry for now about writing the text of the planks; we’ll tackle that after we’ve settled on titles.

Compared to the candidate selection process, I see this being much quicker; let’s shoot for wrapping it up over the next week.

Thanks as always, all!

Voting is Under Way! (Discussion Thread)

8:48 am in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

Did you vote yet?

It’s time to cast your ballot as we identify our most desired challengers to Barack Obama for the 2012 presidential campaign!

In case you missed the information earlier this week, this post reiterates the goals of this effort, the strategy we are applying in pursuing those goals, and the process by which we arrived at the list of roughly 120 nominees.

Goals
This effort has two main objectives:

(1) To supercharge the founding and growth of a viable third party representing the American Left; and/or
(2) To return the Democratic Party to its historically underpinning ideologies of unremitting support for the working class, dogged regulation of commerce, reluctance to enter into armed conflict abroad, conservation of our environment; and equal opportunity for all.

Strategy and Implementation

Consider the degree to which third parties have been successful up ’til now, and why. The answers to these questions are “not very” and “bad strategy,” respectively. Most efforts have followed the same flawed plan:
(1) Build a movement
(2) Name a candidate
(3) Get trounced

This effort turns that approach on its head, to wit:
(1) Network with other progressives – common people – to identify and rank potential candidates with proven, uncompromising records of activism strongly espousing progressive thought.
(2) Write the platform.
(3) Approach the desired candidates, one at a time, first choice first, second choice second, etc., until one agrees to run.

It seeks to recruit warriors, already hard at work fighting for progressive values, to the national stage in order to bring a progressive party to national prominence. We will do this by explaining the following rationale to each prospective candidate:

Because the Democrats, the defacto “Left” party in this country, have lost their way, we seek to run a TRUE Lefty for the party’s presidential nomination. We believe the Democratic Party needs either to be killed or wholesale inundated by a new party – rendering it, in its current form, obsolete.

Other third-party efforts have failed because they ignore the realities of the electoral system in this country, specifically, that if you are not initially competing head-to-head within one of the two major parties, you WILL be ignored. Even those who have done so and then ran in the election as Independents suffered from the lack of a party identity.

We therefore aim to give the Left that identity – a real, uncompromising voice – by challenging the spineless, utterly captive Democratic Party. Our effort may result in one or both of the above goals, and you’ll notice that getting elected is not one of them at the moment. We will use the electoral process in building a movement; a coalition of all the Lefty parties now at work in this country: Greens, Working Families, Socialists, etc. In short, a “new progressive alliance.”

As the lightbulb over the prospective candidate’s head starts glowing, we’ll lay out the conditions:

(1) Our candidate must run and run hard on a simple, clearly stated progressive platform drawn up by supporters;
(2) They must run as a challenger to the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee (whether that’s Obama or someone else) in the primaries; and
(3) They must vow to run on the new party’s ticket, assuming the attempt to become the Democratic nominee fails, as we wholly expect it will. (If by some Act of God it succeeds, they must agree that we will purge from the party’s administration at the national, state, and local level all refuse to pledge to pursue the progressive platform without compromise.)

Following this strategy will allow us to “supercharge” our membership base, thanks to the discontent and disappointment of those who supported Obama and other Democrats so strongly in 2008, only to be shunned for the next two years.

More important, it will allow for building a much larger base than any Lefty third party now enjoys, much more quickly, thanks to the media attention the effort will garner during the primaries. Our media love open conflict, and challenging a sitting president in his own party’s primary is just that. Conversely, the announcement of yet another run by yet another tiny third party’s candidate will be greeted by the media with, “Oh, really? Good for you. Now where did I put my donut…?”

If, during the campaign, we doggedly indict and attack the Democratic Party establishment for its complicity in pushing the party to the Right for the past 30 years, the media will never tire of our story, because there are so many issues on which the party has failed phenomenally. Each of which we’ll be more than happy to point out. Further, we’re the underdog – something else the media love.

The coverage we receive during the primary season will provide opportunities to capitalize the new party in every state, with people trailing along behind the campaign, explaining the strategy, and gathering signatures (and donations) to help ensure the party gets on the General election ballot.

(Note: Contrary to some of the information out there, so-called “sore loser” laws – which seek to prevent those who lose primaries from running in the General election with a different party – do not apply to presidential elections, according to Richard Winger, one of the country’s leading experts on ballot access. (hat tip: vagreen)

The Nomination Process

The list of prospective candidates being voted on here on was built at MyFDL over the past month or so. jeffroby’s diary on October 23 got it started, and I’ve posted four more since November 5 (see them here, here, here, and here). Much of the FDL community has participated; the linked diaries produced a total of over 580 comments from more than 90 different users.

Vote here by 11:59 p.m. Thursday (Pacific time). The same diary includes instructions for casting your ballot and the full list of eligible nominees.

Thanks for your help and participation, and please keep the discussion going with your thoughts, ideas, and insights on this thread.

Polls are Closed. Thanks, All!

11:59 pm in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

UPDATE: Thursday 11:59 p.m. Pacific – Thanks, one and all, so much. From those who nominated way back in October to those who voted the past two days, and everybody who saw the value in this effort along the way and did their bit to help it grow with their comments on the threads and encouragement. Rayne, Jane, and everybody at FDL deserve special thanks, as this thread went to the top of the recommended diary list early today and remained there until now.

Tabulation will take place over the next day during a long car ride to a distant wedding. Look for a post sometime Saturday midday with the results.

Thanks again, everybody. YOU ROCK!!

Over the past few weeks, an effort has taken shape here at MyFDL.

It aims to give a true Lefties in this country a big, broad, national voice again.

Even before the midterms, even before the notion spread that Barack Obama himself might not stand for a second term, diarists and commenters in the MyFDL community recognized that something had to be done to counter the wholesale capitulation of the Democratic Party.

What’s developed is the belief that our best option, under an electoral system so clearly designed to perpetuate the duopoly which has co-opted Lefty ideals, is to use the system to our advantage.

During the first weeks of the effort, a list of prospective challengers to whomever the Democrats stand up in 2012 was assembled. Over 90 individual commenters posted more than 580 comments on five “nominating” diaries. The list that resulted is included at the end of this post, and each name is linked to Wikipedia entries (where available) for further information and additional research.

Do we really believe this captive, center-right, Democratic Party In Name Only will allow anyone other than Obama (or some new, handpicked “nominee”) to win the nomination? Of course not. But we do think the act of primarying a sitting president (or other nominee of the party’s choosing) will garner attention and serve as a rallying point for the full range of disaffected Lefties in this country. (There’s more about the rationale, and links to all the nominating diaries, here.)

Now – finally! – through 11:59 p.m. Thursday (Pacific time), it’s time to vote!

The Ground Rules

- Reply to this diary only once, posting only your completed ballot, as detailed in the “How To Vote” section, below. Tabulation will be much easier if everyone abides by this request, and thanks very much in advance for doing so.

- Votes for living, qualified humans only will be counted. (Thirty-five years of age by Inauguration Day, 2013; natural born citizen; resident for at least 14 years.)

- No “ties” should be noted or other comments included. Just one name only, next to each number.

- You may post your ballot only once. If you vote a second time or try to change the order in a second post, not only will you be deemed a real pain in the ass, but the later vote will be thrown out; no exceptions. So, be sure you’re happy with your choices before submitting your ballot.

- Someone asked on one of the nomination threads if they could vote for the same person in every slot. While I can’t stop anyone from doing so, remember our goal: A list of 10 DIFFERENT, very strong potential challengers – not only for the Democratic Party nomination, but as founding members of a new Lefty party. So IMHO, entering the same name in all ten slots would be a waste of nine votes, since we will count the number of first-place votes people get, then the number of second-place votes, then the third-place votes, etc., to arrive at a prioritized list.

- Your voting options are not limited to the names on the list. I know a write-in campaign is under way for at least one person not listed (it’s discussed on the diary linked above). Still, if you are writing-in a name, please include the name only, no further comment.

- Please don’t link names on your ballot to additional information on this site or elsewhere. The Internet has search engines aplenty for those wishing to conduct further research on any write-ins, and the vast majority of nominees are linked to their Wikis in the list below.

- Finally, please advise your friends of this unique opportunity. I’d love to see an overwhelming turnout, because the bigger the response, the more attractive the idea of running will be to the candidates. (By the way, I am not above gently shaming any of the 90-plus commenters to the nomination diaries who haven’t voted by, say, Thursday afternoon. Think of it as being offered, very publicly, a “ride” to the polls. And don’t say I didn’t warn you! :)

How To Vote

We are voting under the instant runoff model, choosing our preferences by ranking them numerically. We seek a list of 10 strong potential challengers who are likely to agree to run as a Democrat in the 2012 primaries, and as the candidate of a new Lefty party in the general election.

To vote, first copy and paste the following numbers in the “Leave a Reply” box:

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Next, enter your 10 preferred nominees, with your most preferred at #1, in declining order, down to your least preferred at #10.

When finished, click “Submit.”

You’re almost done. There’s just one more thing: Please scroll to the bottom of this text and click “Recommend,” so this diary remains prominent and accessible to anyone who’d like to vote – both at MyFDL and on the shorter list of recommended diaries on the main page – throughout the 48 hours “the polls” are open. Thanks!

Here are the nominees:

Al Franken
Al Gore
Alan Grayson
Amy Goodman
Amy Klobuchar
Andrew Bacevich
Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Romanoff
Anuradha Bhagwati (no Wikipedia entry)
Brian Schweitzer
Ben Affleck
Bernie Sanders
Bill Maher
Bill McKibben
Bill Moyers
Bill Richardson
Billie Joe Armstrong
Brad Birkenfeld (note: Information on Birkenfeld’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Bruce Springsteen
Cindy Sheehan
Chuck Hagel
Cory Booker
Cynthia McKinney
Dahr Jamail
Danny Glover
Darcy Burner
David Corn
David Sirota
Dawn Johnsen
Dean Baker (note: Information on Baker’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Dennis Kucinich
Dick Durbin
Don Siegelman
Donna Edwards
Dylan Ratigan
Eddie Vedder
Eliot Spitzer
Elizabeth Edwards
Elizabeth Warren
Geoffrey Canada
George Clooney
George Miller
George J. Mitchell
Glenn Greenwald
Henry Waxman
Howard Dean
Henry Rollins
James Galbraith (note: Information on Galbraith’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Jane Fonda
Jane Hamsher
Jan Schakowsky
Janeane Garafalo
Jello Biafra
Jeff Merkley
Jerrold Nadler
Jerry Brown
Jesse Ventura
Jill Stein
Jim Hightower
Jim Webb
Jimmy Carter
Joan Baez
Joan Jett
Joe Sestak
John Aravosis (note: confirmation of Aravosis’s place of birth, listed in several places online as “America,” is not readily available)
John Hickenlooper
John R. Talbott (note: Information on Talbott’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Jon Bon Jovi
Jon Hamm
Jon Stewart
Jon Tester
Jonathan Turley (note: Information on Turley’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Joe Wilson
Joseph Patrick Kennedy
Joseph Stiglitz
Keith Olbermann
Laurence Fishburne
Leonard Peltier
Lewis Black
Lois Marie Gibbs
Madonna
Matt Taibbi (note: Information on Taibbi’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Matt Damon
Maurice Hinchey
Michael Moore
Mike Gravel
Nancy Pelosi
Patrick Fitzgerald
Paul Craig Roberts
Paul Krugman
Peter DeFazio
Rachel Maddow
Ralph Nader
Raul Grijalva
Richard Trumka
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Robert Reich
Robert Scheer
Ron Paul
Russ Feingold
Sanford Levinson
Sheldon Whitehouse
Sherrod Brown
Shirley Sherrod
Stephen Colbert
Steve Martin
Susan Sarandon
Tammy Baldwin
Tim Robbins
Tom Hanks
Tom Udall
Valerie Plame
Van Jones
Warren Beatty
Warren Mosler (no Wikipedia entry)
Whoopie Goldberg
William K. Black
Winona LaDuke
Yves Smith (no Wikipedia entry)

Saturday Midnight Approaches: Get Your Nomination In!

6:43 am in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

For those just joining us and wishing for some perspective on this effort’s progress, the first three post-midterms diaries, which built on a pre-midterms list of prospective nominees are here, here, and here. The pre-elections piece which generated the initial list is here.

At 11:59 p.m. Pacific time Saturday, the window will close on the nomination phase of an effort to identify potential primary challengers to oppose Barack Obama (or whatever DINO the Democratic Party puts up) in 2012. The alphabetical list at the bottom of this post incorporates all nominees put forward thus far, and like the prior diary, each name is linked to the person’s Wikipedia entry when one was available.

Great thanks to all who have participated thus far, and please, use e-mail and social networking to invite your friends to join in before time runs out.

Remember, to be included on the final list, name(s) must be formally placed in nomination in your comment. No nominations will be accepted after the deadline under any circumstances.

The final list, titled “Here Are Your Nominees,” will post Monday (11/15) for debate, cajoling, and campaigning. Then, next Wednesday morning (11/17), “Time To Vote: Pick Your Top Ten Primary Challengers” will go up, and you’ll be asked to follow a simple, specific format for listing your choices.

A few notes:

- A very small number of people have expressed disappointment at a minimum (disdain at worst), over some of the names others have put forward.

I must say, just through linking the nominees to their Wikis, I have been repeatedly amazed at some of the achievements and records of consistent activism and advocacy by people I might have simply dismissed out of hand. And while there have been an equal number of times I haven’t been surprised at all, my point is merely to encourage you to do your homework. I’ve tried to make it easy as possible to get started, with the links. And as I’ve said before, just doing that has pointed me to other viable nominees.

Finally on this topic: Have some faith in other people. If you feel you must again post your criticism, that’s your prerogative. But I hope you’ll trust that this community is smart, and that it will, when we’re done, produce 10 really smart choices.

- Please recommend this post to ensure it stays prominent through tomorrow.

- Thanks again to Rayne and everyone at MyFDL for giving this effort a chance to bloom.

Have a great weekend!

Al Franken
Al Gore
Alan Grayson
Alexander Cockburn
Amy Klobuchar
Andrew Bacevich
Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Romanoff
Anuradha Bhagwati (no Wikipedia entry)
Arianna Huffington
Brian Schweitzer
Ben Affleck
Bernie Sanders
William K. Black
Bill McKibben
Bill Maher
Bill Moyers
Bill Richardson
Billie Joe Armstrong
Brad Birkenfeld (note: Information on Birkenfeld’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Bruce Springsteen
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Cenk Uygar
Cindy Sheehan
Chuck Hagel
Cory Booker
Cynthia McKinney
Dahr Jamail
Dan Choi (Too young, but note for future consideration.)
Danny Glover
Darcy Burner
David Corn
David Sirota
Dawn Johnsen
Dean Baker (note: Information on Baker’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Dennis Kucinich
Dick Durbin
Don Siegelman
Donna Edwards
Dylan Ratigan
Ehren Watada (Too young, but note for future consideration.)
Eliot Spitzer
Eddie Vedder
Elizabeth Edwards
Elizabeth Warren
Geoffrey Canada
George Clooney
George Miller
George J. Mitchell
Glenn Greenwald
Henry Waxman
Howard Dean
James Galbraith (note: Information on Galbraith’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Henry Rollins
Janeane Garafalo
Jello Biafra
Jesse Ventura
Jill Stein
Joe Wilson
Jim Hightower
Jan Schakowsky
Jane Hamsher
Jeff Merkley
Jerrold Nadler
Jerry Brown
Jim Webb
Jimmy Carter
Joan Jett
Joe Sestak
John Aravosis (note: confirmation of Aravosis’s place of birth, listed in several places online as “America,” is not readily available)
John Hickenlooper
John R. Talbott (note: Information on Talbott’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Jon Bon Jovi
Jon Hamm
Jon Stewart
Jon Tester
Jonathan Turley (note: Information on Turley’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Joseph Patrick Kennedy
Joseph Stiglitz
Keith Olbermann
Laurence Fishburne
Leonard Peltier
Lewis Black
Lois Gibbs
Madonna
Matt Taibbi (note: Information on Galbraith’s place of birth is not readily accessible)
Matt Damon
Maurice Hinchey
Michael Moore
Mike Gravel
Nancy Pelosi
Patrick Fitzgerald
Paul Craig Roberts
Paul Krugman
Peter DeFazio
Rachel Maddow
Ralph Nader
Raul Grijalva
Richard Trumka
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Richard Trumka
Robert Reich
Robert Scheer
Ron Paul
Russ Feingold
Sheldon Whitehouse
Sherrod Brown
Shirley Sherrod
Stephen Colbert
Susan Sarandon
Tammy Baldwin
Tim Robbins
Tom Hanks
Tom Udall
Valerie Plame
Van Jones
Warren Beatty
Warren Mosler (no Wikipedia entry)
Whoppie Goldberg
Winona LaDuke
Yves Smith (no Wikipedia entry)

(Names struck with no further notation are nominees not born in the U.S.)

Even Mo Dowd Gets It

8:29 am in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

Though she beats up the prez early on for not being the Party Man she thinks he should be, Mo Dowd, in Saturday’s column, later showed that even a blind Village squirrel can sometimes find a nut:

…After two years of taking his base for granted, the former Pied Piper of America’s youth had to spar with Jon Stewart to try to get the attention of young people who once idolized him.

Obama still has the killer smile, but he’s more often sniffy than funny. When Stewart called White House legislation “timid,” Obama got defensive and offered a less-than-thrilling new mantra: “Yes, we can but …”

“We have done things that people don’t even know about,” said Obama, who left his Great Communicator mantle back in Grant Park on election night.

In 2008, the message was him. The promise was him. And that’s why 2010 is a referendum on him.

Fellow progressives, I urge you: Tomorrow, do not validate this president’s poor performance – nor that of his congressional co-conspirators.

Calling All Activists: The Pledge Needs You!

7:46 am in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

Whether you believe a viable third party is the only answer to the deepening crisis within the American political system or think open mutiny might wrest control of the Democratic Party from its beholden-to-corporations, scared-of-their-own-shadows leaders, a strategy to help make your point is gathering steam.

A few days ago I posted a pledge at an online petition site. Based on my recent series “Retaking Our Party, One Two Three,” it commits Lefties of all stripes to turning out in big numbers and registering their feelings at the polls on November 2, rather than sitting at home and falling prey to the typical media storyline of “voter apathy.”

Midterm elections are referendums on current leadership. The anger and frustration felt so deeply across the Lefty universe in view of Democrats’ utter capitulation on issues we hold dear is no secret. But if we don’t hang a number on that discontent at the ballot box it might as well be. Party leaders have shown again and again that, without the threat of losing our votes, they’re more than willing to take them, and then ignore us – the voting bloc that put them in power two years ago.

Some are convinced that nothing short of nationwide protests can stem the tide of corporate control of our political system, and I’m not sure they’re wrong. But an engine not firing on all cylinders isn’t as powerful as it should be, and if we’re not willing to pursue every opportunity for waking up our electorate – and our elected officials – we are squandering our power.

One more trip to the voting booth isn’t going to kill anybody, and the pledge offers three good options for hanging a number on our disgust. Not one of them includes voting for incumbent Democrats in U.S. House and Senate races.

With just a few days of promotion here at The Seminal, it’s become clear: As people learn about the pledge they are eager to sign on. What’s needed now is saturation, and I’m asking for your help. We’re 10 days out from the midterms, people. Let’s kick this thing into high gear.

We need to take the pledge throughout the Progressive blogosphere and beyond. We need to reach every dissatisfied Lefty. Every talking head we can think of. Every one of our friends. And we need to ask them to reach every one of their friends.

So if you haven’t already, please sign the pledge. Then set aside just 10 minutes per day for the next 10 days to link it to other blogs, to your facebook page, to tweet it, to digg it. To mail it to friends. To mail it to your favorite pundit.

Let’s use the ballot this year to beat Democrats over the head. They’ve certainly earned it. And whether our efforts wake them, further the drive for a viable third party, prove that broader protests are the next step, or achieve all of these, it will be a worthwhile effort indeed.

Thanks in advance for your help and support.

themalcontent is Anthony Noel, an award-winning writer, editor and former small-town journalist. E-mail him at admin@themalcontent.com.

Take the VOW, and Spread the Word!

5:10 am in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

As a follow-up to last week’s series, "Retaking Our Party" and the VOW described in the final installment, I have posted the following pledge at ipetitions. I hope you’ll consider signing and forwarding it to your friends and colleagues (a link to the pledge follows the text):

We, the undersigned Progressives and true Democrats who helped elect Barack Obama and the congressional majority which the Democratic Party now holds, are sorely disappointed with both the president’s and Congress’s performance during the past two years. Though federal "midterm" elections regularly see lower voter turnouts in comparison to those of presidential election years, they are also the voting public’s best opportunity, under our electoral system, to register approval or disapproval with the performance of incumbents holding national office, and to send a message to the president about needed corrections of course if he hopes to retain our votes – and ultimately, his office – two years hence.

When functioning properly, the relationship between a president and his congressional majority is one that asserts the electoral mandate it received by reversing the course taken by the prior administration. Instead, the policies and politics of this president and Congress during the past two years have perpetuated, and in some cases deepened, practices which go against the American ideal of individual liberty and non-intervention. From continued government spying on American citizens to the quagmire that is Afghanistan to the ongoing operation of Guantanamo Bay, this president and congressional leaders have abandoned key positions they took during the 2008 elections.

Further, though Democratic Party leaders extended their hands to the minority party early in the current congressional session, their offer of in-kind cooperation was rejected quickly and in no uncertain terms by that minority. Despite this rejection the president and his Democrat-led Congress proceeded to coddle this obstinate, obstructionist minority at every turn, from financial regulation to worker rights (EFCA) to human rights (torture, DADT), to – most prominently during the past two years – the effort to reform our broken health insurance system.

Through staffing choices, public statements and wrongheaded policy, this president and Congress have enabled the continued decimation of the American middle class (by Messrs Geithner and Bernanke); the silencing of the conscience of Democratic Party (by Messrs Gibbs and Kaine); and the second-class treatment of gay and lesbian soldiers who bleed just as red (white, and blue) as their heterosexual comrades (Mr. Gates).

Therefore we, the undersigned, herewith pledge to demonstrate the depth of our disappointment on November 2, 2010 – NOT by staying at home and having our absence characterized as "apathy," for we are anything but apathetic. Instead, we pledge to have that disappointment quantified at the polls. We will vote, but NOT for any incumbent U.S. House or Senate Democrat. And certainly not for any Republican. In races for those federal seats, we will vote one of the following three ways:

- For clearly Progressive/Lefty candidates of third parties, such as the Greens, Socialists, or Working Families parties. (Libertarians and Tea Party candidates will not get our votes, for they are fantasy-land inhabiting, mainly conservative rebels without a clue);

- Where a write-in option exists, by writing-in the phrase "PUBLIC OPTION" or "MEDICARE FOR ALL" in order to make clear our progressive stand on the most prominent FAIL of this Congress and president during the past two years; or

- For Democratic candidates who defeated incumbent Democrats in a primary election by running TO THE LEFT of that incumbent.

By voting rather than staying home, and doing so in a way that is opposite to the behavior which pollsters, Big Media, and Democratic Party analysts predict, we aim to send the very clear message to Congress and President Obama that they have pursued a course diametrically opposed to that which the true Democrats and Independent Progressives who elected them find acceptable, and that without major changes in personnel and policy, Mr. Obama will be a one-term president – because our votes will not be coming back. On the contrary, as we awaken to the opportunity for shaping Democratic Party policy which our electoral system provides, we will use it ever more strongly in successive elections, in order to return the party to representing the constituency it has traditionally been assumed to represent: The progressive, American Left.

After the election, this petition will be sent to the president; cc’ed to the White House Cheif of Staff and Democratic delegation leaders in the House and Senate.

Sign the pledge here, and please forward to your freinds and colleagues. Thanks!