Zera's Blog

A Citizen's View from Main Street

Four Reasons Elizabeth Warren Should Not Run For President


To all those who are trying to persuade Senator Warren to run for President: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

  1. I am delighted that Elizabeth Warren was elected to the Senate, and that she was given a position of leadership within the Democratic Party. It seems to me that the Democratic Party has lost its way. Obama has been unreliable as a Democrat. He has failed to explain his controversial decisions, or promote his policies to any meaningful (read effective) degree. He has worked against his base far too often, confusing public perceptions of what the Democrats stand for – even as conservatives worked hard to demonize them. His trade agreements under negotiation seem to be worse than simply bad for the country, but an assault on the very concept of Sovereign Nations. It will be difficult for the Democrats to repair their reputation after Obama, and I think that Warren is their best hope to do that.
  2. Obama made a habit of using office-holding Democrats for political appointments. I think it was a mistake that opened doors for Republicans and ultimately weakened the Democratic Party. I would prefer to see Warren remain in the Senate; gaining experience, building working relationships and coalitions, guiding progressive populist policies, and fighting corporatocracy.
  3. Obama was a short-term senator who was eloquent and inspiring, and not Republican, but naive and surrounded by mediocre advisers. In short, he wasn’t really ready to be President. That is how a lot of people see him, and that would easily transfer to Senator Warren – ideological and inexperienced. The “once burned” effect may be harder to overcome than Hillary’s ties to Wall Street.
  4. Senator Warren is currently focused on specific issues critical to our future, and we need her driving those issues from the “trenches” more than we need her speaking from the fading voice of the “bully pulpit”.

Rather than run for president herself, I would call on her to evaluate each candidate from both parties. She is in a unique position to expose anti-consumer Republicans, and identify Democrats who are not beholden to Wall Street.

At this point in time I think the Elizabeth Warren most visibly represents the interests of the vast majority of Americans, and her opinions and endorsements could carry considerable weight in the next election.

January 5, 2015 Posted by | Campaign Strategy, Candidates, Democrats | , , | Leave a comment

John Carter of Mars


You never know when a moment of inspiration will come along and distract you right when you were minding your own business. I had such a moment in the past week.

It has been a long time since I read Edgar Rice Burroughs, and with the pending release of the “John Carter” movie I thought I would go back and re-read the books the movie was based on.

No, this isn’t going to be a book report. I went through my ERB phase many years ago. This reading was just to refresh my memory, but it got me thinking…

One of the fundamental themes of the story is the unimpeachable honor of the protagonists. It is, perhaps, a caricature or an idealistic representation of an age when a man’s word was his bond, when a handshake was as good as a signed contract.

When I read the John Carter and Tarzan books back in the 80’s, the willingness of the characters to accept calamity and even death rather than betray their honor seemed, at times, frustrating in its absoluteness. Yet its idealistic view of humanity had its appeal.

Adherence to a code of honor is what made the heroes, heroes; and the failure to live up to such a code made the villains, villains. Redemption was often achieved through a return to a code of honor. A century ago, the stories were popular and the ideals respected. John Carter of Mars Pictures, Images and Photos

To set a time reference, the tale of John Carter began as a serialized story entitled “Under the Moons of Mars” published from February to July, 1912. Five years later, that story was published in book form under the title “A Princess of Mars”. There are eleven books in the series. They are all in my library.

These stories thrived through two World Wars and the Great Depression. Times when hope was in high demand. Perhaps John Carter, and Tarzan, paved the way for the golden age of westerns. The age of John Wayne, Zorro, The Lone Ranger, Bonanza, and many others.

I’ve been watching reruns of The Rifleman on MeTV lately, and the stories seem like they were from a different age. This was a show that I watched as a kid, but I see things in it now that I don’t remember from the past. Maybe I took the whole “code of honor” thing for granted back then, and maybe I absorbed it as an impressionable child. But in this day and age, it seems out of place. Cities, and people, have changed.

It also seems like the environment that conservatives want to herd us toward.

A time when almost everyone carried guns, and the rule of law hung by a thread. A hair trigger. The next shootout. Funny how things get broken or shot up each week, but nobody goes broke from the cost of the damage. Somebody gets shot, and they are either recovered or written out to the script by the next episode. Lukas McCain spends almost no time working his ranch. Personal responsibility. Self reliance. Nice and clean. How Utopian. All honor and community – and no consequences. The government is not giving away free homestead land anymore. People’s lives are too interconnected – with other people and with businesses. We are no longer an agrarian culture, and there is no going back.John Carter of Mars Pictures, Images and Photos

ERB called his fictitious version of Mars “Barsoom”. It was a dying world where where life was both cheap and precious because the resources that supported life were scarce and dwindling – and fought over. We wouldn’t do that, would we?

He was well ahead of the environmentalists that conservatives denigrate. We are heading for such a world ourselves as the world population goes up even as our water and food supplies becomes more strained and vulnerable.

Big Oil brags about having 100 years of supply, if only we would exploit it. They use the promise of cheap and plentiful oil and natural gas to encourage us to burn through it as quickly as possible with no thought to the future. Barsoom paints an image of what happens when that oil and gas runs out, when the drinking water runs out, and we are not prepared for it because it was not profitable to pursue alternatives. It is a buggy-whip economy on steroids. I am sure the movie will be a special-effects extravaganza.

“Safely develop” supplies. “Millions of jobs” created.

There is no honor in perpetuating lies.

Where is the demonstration of honor? Is it in all the pledges that republicans require before they are let anywhere near the oath of office?

  • The Grover Norquist pledge
  • The Susan B. Anthony pledge
  • Contract with America
  • The Balanced Budget Amendment pledge
  • Family Leader
  • NOM
  • NRA
  • Personhood USA
  • and how many others?

Each pledge narrowing the constituency base they are committed to serve, until they are committed to serve only a small fraction of America. That…is a crime against representational government. The party that wants to radically re-engineer America around the towering code of honor represented by John Carter never fails to prove that they do not, themselves, embrace such a code to any meaningful degree.

Lee Atwater, Rush Limbaugh, James O’Keefe, and FOX News.

Watergate, the PATRIOT Act, the Iraq war, ALEC, sowing distrust of science, education, the free press, Congress, the Presidency, and the Judiciary.

The 2012 GOP primary season, and the death of the “eleventh commandment”.

The republican party is a living testament to the fatal flaws in their own ideology, living proof that they are committed to fantasy and failure – and dishonor.

They might as well be living on Mars.

John Carter of Mars Pictures, Images and Photos

As for me, I am presently in my Harry Potter/Honor Harrington phase. I still believe in honor, and am still drawn by its appeal.

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Now that’s a pledge to believe in.

March 8, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Campaign Strategy, Elections, GOP, Personal Notes | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Payroll Tax Cut Fight: ‘Wall Street Journal’ Editorial Rips Boehner, McConnell


The Wall Street Journal opinion piece passes out the business-c­entric blinders.

“No employer is going to hire a worker based on such a small and temporary decrease in employment costs, as this year’s tax holiday has demonstrat­ed. The entire exercise is political, but Republican­s have thoroughly botched the politics.”

True, but not the point of the exercise. Employers will hire when they see customers with money coming their way – which is the point of the tax holiday: Putting more money in consumer pockets. Wasn’t it the republican­s who said that people know best how to spend their own money? Conservatives consistently devalue the necessity of funding the demand side of supply and demand. Instead, they are aggressively working to weaken the economic foundation of the middle class.

“Their first mistake was adopting the President’­s language that he is proposing a tax cut rather than calling it a temporary tax holiday. People will understand the difference­—and discount the benefit.”

So people will understand when it comes time to end the Bush “tax holiday” for the rich?

“Republica­ns have also achieved the small miracle of letting Mr. Obama position himself as an election-y­ear tax cutter, although he’s spent most of his Presidency promoting tax increases and he would hit the economy with one of the largest tax increases ever in 2013. This should be impossible­.”

Except that Obama44 has been cutting taxes. The “tax holiday” in question is only one example. Conservati­ves keep changing the definition­s. Either the House republican­s have voted for a middle-cla­ss tax increase, or we need to end one of the largest unfunded tax holidays ever.

Conservatives are nibbling at the edges of doublethink. The Obama44 cuts to payroll taxes and the Bush43 income tax cuts to income taxes are both temporary cuts. There is one notable difference between the two though. The Obama cuts are being paid for – how is a major point of contention. The Bush43 cuts went straight to the national debt.

The President and the Democrats want the rich to pay for extending the payroll tax cuts, and put some of that idle money back in circulation as an economic stimulus. The republicans want the middle class and poor to pay for it, which would negate the simulative effect and hurt the economy in the long term. Redistribution of wealth at its most ineffective.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

December 21, 2011 Posted by | 2012 Election, Campaign Strategy, Economics, Legislation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Newt Gingrich Discusses Potential Obama Impeachment (VIDEO)



First of all, Obama clearly stated that he would continue to enforce the law – which means that Gingrich’s “Palin™” example is a complete fallacy.

Secondly, the courts have determined that DOMA is unconstitu­tional – at least in parts.

Lastly, Obama is not dropping ALL defense of DOMA. He is only dropping cases that involve weaker protection of rights for a minority group historical­ly discrimina­ted against.

“After careful considerat­ion, including a review of my recommenda­tion, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimina­tion, classifica­tions based on sexual orientatio­n should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitu­tional. Given that conclusion­, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the President’­s determinat­ion.”
http://www­.justice.g­ov/opa/pr/­2011/Febru­ary/11-ag-­223.html

There is nothing impeachabl­e here. Gingrich just wants to bring down the government in the grand GOP tradition of lies, fear-monge­ring, and prejudice.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

February 26, 2011 Posted by | Campaign Strategy, Direction, Ethics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tom DeLay: Liberals Sentenced Me To Jail (VIDEO)


Restricted money goes out, unrestrict­ed money comes back – the very definition of “money laundering­”. DeLay either is lying or he does not believe that the law applies to him. I am quite certain that DeLay and his lawyer are familiar with the concept of money laundering­.

DeLay makes pejorative statements about the court and the jury foreman, then claims he is not criticizin­g the jury. Might as well ask how hard it was for the prosecutor to find a court that was not biased in favor of republican­s. Or maybe the grand jury “just sworn in” was the only one not yet corrupted? (Is there a standing Grand Jury, or are they all “just sworn in”?)

He was prosecuted because he was so successful in redistrict­ing Texas? The republican­s were so successful that the courts found they had illegally disenfranc­hised an entire segment of the voters.

Political prosecutio­n? Political crime!

They claim that he was prosecuted because the Democrats turned people against politician­s and Washington­? Spin, Spin, Spin. Project, Project, Project. Lie, Lie, Lie.

There was no corporate money, except that Citizens United made it legal, except that the ruling was not in effect at the time of the crime, except … Their arguments are all over the map because they have no moral compass.

They will delay and appeal until political change gives him a free pass. It’s what Microsoft did ten years ago.

Justice delayed is justice denied, but the defendant is not always the one who gets screwed by delay.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Do you think he will ever spend a day in jail?

No. Simply because the Court of Criminal Appeals is an elected court, it’s all Republican, it’s highly political. It’s known as a prosecutors’ court, but in this case I would bet that they’re going to rule for the defendant. The Third Court of Appeals, where the appeal will start, is also a Republican court.

Lou Dubose, via Salon.com

January 15, 2011 Posted by | Campaign Finance, Campaign Strategy, Crime, Elections | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Steve Israel, New DCCC Chairman, Set To Go On ‘Offense’ For House Democrats


“Israel argues that the Republican­-redistric­ting-domin­ance story line is overplayed because the party picked up so many seats this fall, not only making it tougher for the GOP to draw Democrats out of districts but also creating potential intraparty squabbles over the lines. ”

This sort of short-sigh­ted thinking is why the republican­s keep outmaneuve­ring the democrats.

Save the BS for the vegetable garden, Steve, and give the people what they want – honesty.

Big promises provide target practice for the other side, and disillusio­nment for yours. We are tired of big talk and small action. Very tough times are ahead for the lower 98, and it gets worse by the month as long as conservati­ve propaganda dominates the public perception­s.

Rule #1: Never give a fact-check­er the opportunit­y to call you wrong.
Stick to the facts and statistics like glue. Keep the embellishm­ents to a minimum.

Rule #2: No overreachi­ng promises.
Set aggressive­, attainable goals. We need a Daedalus, not an Icarus.

Rule #3: No Headbuttin­g.
You get into a battle of words, conservati­ve media will bury you. Challenge the policies. Let the public challenge the personalit­ies.

Rule #4: Draw a picture, show your work.
No he-said/sh­e-said. Don’t just draw a conclusion­, show how you arrived at it. Give the facts and statistics in a Main Street friendly way. You won’t convince us if we cannot follow your reasoning, don’t believe it, or consider it BS.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

December 21, 2010 Posted by | Campaign Strategy | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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