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.

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

With Newt in Virginia


Cover of "With Lee In Virginia: A Story O...

Cover via Amazon

In response to Newt Gingrich‘s allusion to Pearl Harbor as a parallel to his campaign failure in Virginia, I offer the preface to a book called “With Lee in Virginia (A story of the American civil war)”, written by G. A. Henty. Published by Hurst and Company, New York, it does not identify a publication date or claim a copyright. The inscription indicates that this copy has been in the family since January, 1901. Antiques Roadshow type stuff. It doesn’t look anything like the cover from Amazon.

I found Gingrich’s comparison to an infamous attack to be arrogantly dismissive of the tragedy and horror of war. His scapegoating was an insult to the courage and sacrifice of our citizen soldiers and their families, as well as a testament to the empty rhetoric of “personal responsibility” that is fundamental to the conservative desire to re-engineer America. He also demonstrated ignorance of relevant laws and outright contempt for rules that hinder his agenda in any way.

His failure in Virginia, and his response to it demonstrate conclusively that he should only enter the White House with a visitor’s pass and a Secret Service escort.

On a more personal note, I have called the present ideological battles a political civil war. I thought it would be appropriate to momentarily revisit that point in our history.

Yes, it really is all one paragraph in the book…

“My Dear Lads:
The Great War between the Northern and Southern States of America possesses a peculiar interest to us, not only because it was a struggle between two sections of a people akin to us in race and language, but because of the heroic courage with which the weaker party, with ill-fed, ill-clad, ill-equipped regiments, for four years sustained the contest with an adversary not only possessed of immense numerical superiority, but having the command of the sea, and being able to draw its arms and munitions of war from all the manufactories of Europe. Authorities still differ as to the rights of the case. The Confederates firmly believed that the States, having voluntarily united, retained the right of withdrawing from the Union when they considered it for their advantage to do so. The Northerners took the opposite point of view, and an appeal to arms became inevitable. During the first two years of the war the struggle was conducted without inflicting unnecessary hardship upon the general population. But later on the character of the war changed, and the Federal armies carried widespread destruction wherever they marched. Upon the other hand, the moment the struggle was over the conduct of the conquerors was marked by a clemency and generosity altogether unexampled in history, a complete amnesty being granted, and none, whether soldiers or civilians, being made to suffer for their share in the rebellion. The credit of this magnanimous conduct was to a great extent due to Generals Grant and Sherman, the former of whom took upon himself the responsibility granting terms which, although they were finally ratified by his government, were at the time received with anger and indignation in the North. It was impossible, in the course of a single volume, to give even a sketch of the numerous and complicated operations of the war, and I have therefore confined myself to the central point of the great struggle – the attempts of the Northern armies to force their way to Richmond, the capital of Virginia and the heart of the Confederacy. Even in recounting the leading events in these campaigns, I have burdened my story with as few details as possible, it being my object now, as always, to amuse, as well as to give instruction in the facts of history.
Yours sincerely,
G. A. Henty.”

As a bonus for those who were curious enough to slog through this post, I shall include an excerpt from the last page of the book (covering reconstruction):

“For the next three or four years times were very hard in Virginia, and Mrs. Wingfield had to draw upon her savings to keep up the house in its former state; while the great majority of the planters were utterly ruined. The negroes, however, for the most part remained steadily working on the estate. A few wandered away, but their places were easily filled; for the majority of the freed slaves very soon discovered that their lot was a far harder one than it had been before, and that freedom so suddenly given was a curse rather than a blessing to them.

Thus, while so many went down, the Wingfields weathered the storm, and the step that had been taken in preparing their hands for the general abolition of slavery was a complete success.

With the gradual return of prosperity to the South the prices of produce improved, and ten years after the conclusion of the rebellion the income of the Orangery was nearly as large as it had been previous to its outbreak.”

I found it an interesting glimpse into the past, but with points that still resonate today. It would be interesting to explore just how closely the book parallels the plantation-era ideology of the modern republican party, if I had the time. What is one of the most surprising things for me was to find that the book is still in print, on tape, and even Kindle.

[UPDATE 12/26/2011]

Paul Goldman helps Newt Gingrich with Virginia ballot
Now that Slacker Newt has failed to meet the minimum requirements for getting on the Virginia primary ballot, he has decided that it would violate someone else’s rights if they did not get to vote for him. How modest.

All he needed was 10,000 valid signatures. Signatures vetted by his own party. That’s less than half of the population of the suburb I live in. In WI, Democrats are collecting an average of about 25,000 signatures/day to recall Walker. Even a minor politician should be able to collect 10,000 signatures in their own home state.

Basically, he is embracing every derogatory mis-characterization conservatives have aimed at liberals, and justifying liberal cynicism toward conservatives at the same time. IOKIYAR.

“According to press reports over the weekend,” continued Pascoe, “the Chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, per Section 24.2-545 of the Code of Virginia, has indicated that he will be certifying only two candidates for inclusion on the 2012 GOP presidential primary ballot. Based on our collective knowledge and understanding of the state’s election laws – including a previous successful legal action by Mr. Goldman as concerns a Democratic Party nomination process – we intend to formally challenge such certification for specific reasons to be detailed at the appropriate time.

Yet once again, the law should not apply to a republican. It’s just not fair. The dog ate his petition.

“Our mutual goal is to ensure that the voting rights of the citizens of Virginia are fully protected.”

So they have turned against the GOP voter suppression agenda?

“As with everything we do in the field of public policy, CFTR’s goal is to empower the individual, in the belief that a free choice in the marketplace of ideas is what Virginians want to have their leaders achieve in time for 2012 presidential primary.”

Whatever they are trying to say seems to have gotten lost in the confusion of ill-fitting catch-phrases. This is just meaningless BS.

If he had been applying for a job (which he was), and he failed to fill out the application before showing up for the initial interview, they would have shown him the door without wasting any more time on someone who had already failed key tasks and started making excuses.

Cirque du GOP is coming to Virginia. Enjoy the show, folks.

December 26, 2011 Posted by | 2012 Candidates, 2012 Election, Candidates, Elections | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rick Santorum In Iowa Ahead Of 2012: ‘Schools Indoctrinate Our Children’


Indoctrina­te? From our very beginning, schools have been introducin­g students to knowledge that family could not. They taught English to foreign language and illiterate citizens, and their children. Small rural communitie­s would hire a teacher to teach their children “the three R’s” so that they would be able to read contracts and newspapers­, and add bills and not get cheated. Schools taught history so that those who lived in isolated communitie­s would understand that they were part of a far larger country, to give them something to base a sense of patriotism on, to know what it is they might have to fight to defend. Education has been one of our greatest strengths.

Indoctrina­te? Words have meaning. They influence thinking. Using pejorative words to describe the public school system is subversive­, seeking to create distrust and division. Santorum and other conservati­ves are deliberate­ly trying to turn Americans against their public school system. Not for the good of the country or the will of the people, but to advance a biased ideology.

Indoctrina­tion? Methinks he doth protest too much.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

August 5, 2011 Posted by | 2012 Candidates, Candidates, Education | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Michele Bachmann Talks Evolution, Intelligent Design At Republican Leadership Conference 2011


“I support intelligen­t design,” Bachmann told reporters in New Orleans following her speech to the Republican Leadership Conference­. “What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide. I don’t think it’s a good idea for government to come down on one side of scientific issue or another, when there is reasonable doubt on both sides.”

I wonder if her class on the Constituti­on made it as far as the First Amendment. She simply does not believe in Separation of Church and State. This tells us, in turn, that she does not comprehend the reason for Separation – or, for that matter, the demands and limitations of democracy.

As far as scientific issues go, she’s wrong on that point too. A federal court ruled that intelligen­t design is NOT science, but religion presented as science. I guess that law degree from a faith-base­d “universit­y” isn’t really working for her. One would think that her time at William & Mary School of Law would have straightened her out on the law.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

June 18, 2011 Posted by | Candidates, Constitution, First Amendment | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Herman Cain: The American dream is under attack…we are on the attack


“The American dream is under attack, that’s the bad news,” said Cain while speaking at the forum. “The good news is we are on the attack. We have got to lead this nation from an entitlement society to an empowerment society. We must defend those principles this nation was founded on.”

Except that his party is the one that’s attacking everything America stands for and was founded on.

From religious freedom to voting rights to representational government, they have bills pending to set it all aside.

Michigan Set To Enact Sweeping ‘Financial Martial Law’ Bill

The War Against the Republic: The Battle Of Madison

Milwaukee Ald. Milele Coggs says bill would give Wisconsin the most restrictive voter ID law in the nation

Lawmaker Behind South Dakota’s ‘Justifiable Homicide’ Bill Defends Measure [UPDATE]

English-only bill could create civil rights problems, groups say

2011 Wis SJR10 – Continuity of state and local gov. operations

The republican party is aggressively terminating the Great Experiment, with strong support from people who don’t even know what the experiment is.

If the Tea Party really wanted to take back our country, they should be fighting the corporations instead of shilling for them.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Herman Cain: First Amendment ‘Doesn’t Say People Can’t Have Religion In Government’

March 18, 2011 Posted by | Candidates, First Amendment, Religion | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Scott Brown Finds Himself On Tea Party’s 2012 Hit List


There is a lot of appeal in a throw-the-bums-out approach, but (like everything else involved) it has it’s down side.

For one thing, some positions of leadership in Congress require experience or expertise. It takes time to learn the intricacies of laws and the consequences of loopholes, or even what a loophole looks like and how it can be exploited, and by whom. If we lose all our experience without replacing it, we make ourselves vulnerable to foreign and corporate interests.

It also takes time to get a boatload of strangers to start rowing in the same direction. A coalition of strangers is not much of a basis for consensus. The congressional whips need considerable influence over their party membership, the kind that only comes from time.

Ultimately, though, it fails to address the root problem. Changing the faces in Congress will mean next to nothing as long as corporate money flows in Washington.

In the mean time, equal protection, religious freedom, and our leadership role in the world are all at serious risk. Not to mention the pending economic crap-shoot.
More on Tea Party Movement
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

November 4, 2010 Posted by | Campaign Finance, Candidates, Direction, Elections | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Michele Bachmann Raises Record $5.4 Million In Three Months


Her support has nothing to do with her qualifications as a Representative and everything to do with her notoriety. She is a standard-bearer and symbol for the far right, a leader of their extremism and embodiment of their ineffectiveness and irresponsibility in matters of true governance.

She believes that we should be a theocracy, and her success is a testament to the incompatibility of theocracy and democracy. Christian fundamentalist money loves her.

She wants to dismantle government of the people in favor of corporate domination, no matter how irresponsible and destructive that is. Corporate money loves her.

Her district has the highest foreclosure and unemployment rates in the state. Little of her money comes from actual constituents.

She has formed a Tea Party Caucus in the House, and effectively dared republicans to join or else. She is accumulating power without any real accomplishment behind it. She says and does anything for political gain. She is the embodiment of what is wrong with American politics.

Those who vote for her fall into three categories:
1) Those who share her extreme ideology. They will vote for her no matter what.
2) Hardline republicans who vote the party no matter the candidate. Long-time republicans are starting to defect in her case as she becomes too extreme for them to accept anymore.
3) Those who don’t pay attention to politics and just vote the party or the name they remember or the ad they believe. A few facts make all the difference for them.

Michele Bachmann is antithetical to our survival as a country. She is pro-religious persecution and pro-corporatocracy, and anti-everything else.

  • Anti-worker
  • Anti-consumer
  • Anti-environment
  • Anti-freedom of religion other than hers.
  • Anti-civil rights that offend her personal prejudices.

Her economic policies have never worked, even for her, yet she clings to them like stone tablets.

She is exactly the sort of politician that we need to get out of government.

More on 2010 Elections
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

October 15, 2010 Posted by | Campaign Finance, Candidates, Capitalism, Constitution, Direction, Elections, Government, Religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sharron Angle Makes Light Of Media Timidity: ‘If The Press Comes Knocking, Don’t Say Anything’



The Tea Party claimed that Washington was not listening to the people. One primary victory and they fully adopt the founding justification for their party.

They have not yet been elected and they are already turning their backs on the non-sycophant majority of America.

They have already proven they will not build a responsive congress. The good news is that we do not have to throw them out, all we have to do is keep them out.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

October 11, 2010 Posted by | Candidates, Direction, Elections | , , , | Leave a comment

Meg Whitman’s Campaign Rocked With More Domestic Drama As Ex-Nanny Backs Up Housekeeper


When our forefathers gained independence from England and formed the United States, they eschewed both the forms and trappings of aristocracy. We were to be a country of the people, not kings or lords or bishops. Such is the extent to which we rejected aristocracy that the Constitution explicitly forbids the government from granting titles of nobility, and designates the chief executive as “President” – deliberately rejecting the title of “Lord” or “King” as was common at the time.

Meg Whitman represents a domestic insurgence of that aristocracy so antithetical to our founding principles. The names of the titles may have changed, but aristocracy has come to America nonetheless. They are now called CEOs and COOs and Directors instead of Princes and Lords, but their grip on the levers of power is the same.

Follow the money.

Whitman is putting more of her personal wealth into this race than the vast majority of Americans will ever see in their lifetimes. Are we to believe that she is so philanthropic that she would spend such sums for the chance to help the poor and the middle class? Is there substantial evidence of this in her past actions? How much evidence to the contrary exists? How much would this contradict the principles of her party?

It is easier to believe that she seeks to subdue California, and cause it to submit to the will of the aristocracy.

This is in no respect why we had a Tea Party so long ago.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

October 7, 2010 Posted by | Campaign Finance, Candidates, Elections | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Right Nation 2010 In Chicago: Glenn Beck Headlines, Journalists Not Invited (VIDEO)


Fear-mongering seems to be what passes for honor in his world. The free press, as the eyes of the people, is critical to a healthy democracy – what we are seeing here more closely resembles a conspiracy. I call them Fifth-Column Republicans.

We have a clear choice here:
Fiscal conservatives would have us submit to the power of money and the authority of unelected officials – Corporatocracy – under the baseless belief that, without government, problems will fix themselves. This is the path of taxation without representation.

Social conservatives would have us submit to their fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, in defiance of the Constitution and the core principle of our founding – the “Great Experiment” – that people could govern themselves well, independent of king or clergy. They believe they have a divine right to rule the rest of us. They do not. I call them The Religious Reich.

The Tea Party is driven by emotion, easily manipulated. I name them Political Vigilantes. They want to “take back” their country without understanding what that truly means. You cannot solve a three-dimensional problem with one-dimensional thinking, but they have been kept focused on the one dimension and do not perceive where their actions could lead. The freedom they seek, they instead surrender to Corporate America – which will disavow their support and betray their hopes. Caveat Emptor.

Then there are the Democrats, who have been demonized for doing what they were elected to do: make the hard choices – albeit clumsily and inefficiently.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

September 20, 2010 Posted by | Candidates | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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