Thursday, May 31, 2012

"First Lady Michelle Obama Answers Your Twitter Questions" (with video)

BarackObamadotcom, video (06:27):
First Lady Michelle Obama answered a few questions sent via Twitter—check out what she said about increasing voter registration in your community (0:11), all of the inspiring people she's met as First Lady (1:40), if there will be a woman president anytime soon (3:28), and the First Family's discussions on marriage equality (5:20).

"AP’s ‘napalm girl’ photo is savior, curse for survivor of attack in Vietnam 40 years ago"

She was finally free from the minders and reporters hounding her at home, but her life was far from normal. Ut, then working at the AP in Los Angeles, traveled to meet her in 1989, but they never had a moment alone. There was no way for him to know she desperately wanted his help again. “I knew in my dream that one day Uncle Ut could help me to have freedom,” said Phuc, referring to him by an affectionate Vietnamese term. “But I was in Cuba. I was really disappointed because I couldn’t contact with him. I couldn’t do anything.” MORE...

Greg Sargent: "Democrats are lousy storytellers"

Greg Sargent:
Yesterday’s Marquette poll showing Scott Walker up by seven points also had another striking finding: Half of Wisconsinites think Walker would do a better at creating jobs, while only 43 percent think that of Tom Barrett.
Heather Digby Barton — otherwise known as “Digby” — comments:
Even though Walker is being recalled mostly because of a fight with workers and the state is dead-last in job creation, 50% of the voters think he’ll be better at job creation than the other guy? Nobody in the country has done worse! MORE...

"Best jokes from Bush portrait unveiling' (video)

Talking Points Memo with video (02:29):
Politics took a backseat at the White House Thursday as President George W. Bush and Laura Bush returned to witness the unveiling of their official portraits — and to trade zingers with the current occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
“George, I will always remember the gathering you hosted for all of the living former presidents before I took office. Your fine words of encouragement,” President Obama said. “Plus you also left me a really good TV sports package. I use it.”
Things only got better from there.
“When you are wandering these halls as you wrestle with tough decisions, you will now be able to gaze at this portrait and ask, ‘What would George do?’” joked Bush.
Howie P.S.: Laura looks (see photo below) like she saved some of Shrub's stash from his younger days.It would be less difficult to join in the yuks if the stench of violence and mendacity could have been banished from the occasion.

The Young Turks: "Barry Obama & The Choom Gang" (video)

TheYoungTurks, with video (04:38):
Via Washington Post: "The Internet is buzzing after the Washingtonian published a review of Washington Post associate editor David Maraniss's forthcoming book "Barack Obama: The Story," including an excerpt about President Obama's high school clique and their favorite pastime. The group of friends smoked marijuana frequently enough to nickname themselves the "Choom Gang."" Support The Young Turks by Subscribing
Howie P.S.: Instead of dinner with Bill Clinton, I wonder how much Obama could raise for a chance to be a member of "The Choom Gang" for one night?

Seattle: "Volunteer for Wisconsin GOTV phone banks this week"
Many local union members have volunteered for Seattle-area phone banks today through Thursday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at the IAM 751 and UFCW 21 halls, but MORE VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED! If you can’t make it to those sites but have access to a computer and a phone, you can work shifts online by RSVPing and getting a username and password to log in to the system. Sign up to help by calling Max Brown at 206-441-8510 or Lori Province at 206-351-2956. MORE...

"Why the drive to recall Scott Walker is justified"

Greg Sargent:
My pick for read of the morning is E.J. Dionne’s explanation of what’s really at stake in the Wisconsin recall fight, and why the drive to recall Scott Walker represents a legitimate response to broader aspects of the national conservative movement:
Walker is being challenged not because he pursued conservative policies but because Wisconsin has become the most glaring example of a new and genuinely alarming approach to politics on the right. It seeks to use incumbency to alter the rules and tilt the legal and electoral playing field decisively toward the interests of those in power...MORE...

"Why Wisconsin's Recall Clusterf#@k Matters"

Rick Perlstein (Rolling Stone):
OK, but why should anyone outside of Wisconsin care about this? Here's why: the voting in Wisconsin this spring "will be the first national test of the possibility of democracy in the Citizens United era," writes Ruth Conniff of the Madison-based magazine The Progressive, referring to the historic Supreme Court ruling that allowed unlimited spending on polticial campaigns. If conservatives succeed in breaking public unions in Wisconsin, they will try the same thing everywhere, with mind-blowing seriousness. Already by this February, Walker, taking advantage of a loophole that allows donors to recall targets to blow through the state's $10,000 contribution cap, had raised an astonishing $12.2 million dollars; then, by April, he had added $13.2 million more. MORE...

Ari Melber: "Where to draw the line on drone strikes" (video)

MSNBC-Dylan Ratigan, video (03:31).

Howie P.S.: Memo to Dylan Ratigan-Ari is great and the background noise on the set during this segment was very distracting.

"Seattle Cafe Shooter Kills 5, Self After Citywide Manhunt"

Jim Vojtech, Alyssa Newcomb and Michael S. James (ABC-Good Morning America via Yahoo):
"We've had two tragic shootings today that have shaken this city," Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn told reporters. He said he has asked police to find ways to end the gun violence. "It's their highest priority to identify the strategies we need to employ to try to bring an end to this wave of gun violence that this city is seeing," he said. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Maybe Hizzoner could talk to some people, like VIOLENCE PREVENTION EXPERTS, and come up with an idea or two of his own. The police haven't been successful on this front, so far.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Michelle Obama's 'Daily Show' Appearance: First Lady Discusses President's Past, Joe Biden" (with video)

HuffPo with video from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:
First Lady Michelle Obama weighed in on recent revelations about her husband's past drug use on Tuesday, acknowledging that President Obama realized at a young age that he "could do more with his life."
During an appearance on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" to promote her new cookbook, the First Lady was asked by host Jon Stewart about the president's high school and college years. An excerpt released last week from David Maraniss's forthcoming biography of the president contained details about Obama's marijuana use as a teenager. Stewart joked that the stories about the president as a young man resembled the "script of a Cheech and Chong movie." MORE...
Here's Part 2 of the interview:

"Romney takes a gamble and embraces Donald Trump" (with photo)

John Dickerson (Slate via CBSNews):
Mitt Romney and Donald Trump are teaming up for a Las Vegas fundraiser tonight. We've seen this movie before: The straight-laced square goes to Vegas with his outrageous friend and wakes up with a Mike Tyson tattoo, next to a woman who draws a heart over the "i" in her stage name. Romney's general-election strategy has been to allow no distraction from his focus on the economy. Trump's strategy is pure distraction. In neon. Recently he tried to raise --yet another time-- questions about the president's birthplace. Today, Trump put the birthplace question at the center of the election: "@BarackObama is practically begging @MittRomney to disavow the place of birth movement, he is afraid of it and for good reason. He keeps using @SenJohnMcCain as an example, however, @SenJohnMcCain lost the election. Don't let it happen again."  MORE...
Howie P.S.: It appears, to me, that The Donald is pulling Mitt towards him in the photo and Mitt is not going all the way there. H/t to the Field Negro for the photo.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Building toward November"-Become a volunteer on the grassroots organizing team in your area!

OFA Washington:
We had another great weekend registering hundreds of new voters across Washington State. Don't miss out on the fun! Click here to sign up and volunteer today.
Howie P.S.: I have been volunteering, doing phone banking and voter registration for Organizing for America-Washington. You can get involved doing a variety of activities between now and November. Email Scott Laeser, Regional Field Director- King County:

Monday, May 28, 2012

"Congressional Black Caucus rallies preachers to tackle voter-ID laws"

 "The NAACP and President Ben Jealous have launched what it says will be its biggest ever push to register voters ahead of the 2012 election." | Rerinhold Matay/AP
William Douglas (McClatchy Newspapers):
African-American churches, historically at the forefront of the nation’s civil and voting rights efforts, are grappling this election year with how to navigate through the wave of new voting-access laws approved in many Republican-controlled states, laws that many African-Americans believe were implemented to suppress the votes of minorities and others.MORE...

David Horsey: "You won't have to lie awake at night worrying about lesbians getting married" (cartoon)

H/t to Ron Sims.

"Cold, hard numbers" via Norman Goldman

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE. H/t to Norman Goldman.

"Democrat (Jim McDermott) To Offer A ‘Lifeline’ For Single-Payer Health Care"

Igor Volsky (
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) will soon introduce legislation that would allow states to use federal funds they’re receiving through Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care programs to build a universal single-payer system. Advocates are describing the bill as a “lifeline” for advocates: MORE...

AlJazeeraEnglish: "US candidates look to swing state N Carolina" (with video)

AlJazeeraEnglish with video (02:54):
With less than six months until 150m US voters head to the polls, the likely candidates in the 2012 presidential election are already eyeing the so-called "swing states" necessary to secure victory. As far back as 1888, these battleground states where no single candidate or party can secure overwhelming support, have played key roles in determining an election's outcome. This year, incumbent Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney, the presumed Repubican candidate, will look to states like North Carolina, to move one step closer to the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidency in November. Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler reports from one of those swing states, North Carolina.

"It’s a Wrap, Obama on Track: Gallup Speaks, Experts Squeak"

Robert S. Becker:
Yet this strange year plods on, though what other than irony wins if the status quo triumphs? Are we not really talking the "status quo to believe in?" The "audacity of equilibrium"? Reluctantly, Oscar Wilde's 19thC. zinger comes to mind: however once blessed with high hopes, democracy descends to simply "the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people." Most of us still have food, shelter, so take solace: after all, "summer is acomin' in, loudly sings cuckoo." Cuckoos, indeed. MORE...
 Howie P.S.: For the record, I am not feeling as bleak as the author.

George Will on Trump: "Bloviating ignoramus"

the Field Negro:
Finally, I see that Donald won't let this birther thing rest. He started up again last week, and this time he has even right wing mouthpiece, George Will, begging him to STFU. "Bloviating ignoramus"? Oh my! The man with the ugly haircut and huge ego will not like that one. Mr. Will even told Flipper to dump the Donald for fear of alienating normal sane people who might vote come November. I doubt that he will take his advice, though. Donald has a fundraiser in the works for Flipper, and Flipper has to restock his war chest. MORE...
Howie P.S.: I just wish I could have come up with that description (see headline).

Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Why do poor white voters reject the Democrats? Well, why shouldn't they?"

The late author, Joe Bageant, who wrote a book on how Democrats have lost the political support of poor rural whites and how the Republican Party has convinced these individuals to vote against their own economic self-interest. (photo: Joe 

Gary Younge (GuardianUK):
The white working class is said to 'vote against its own interests'. This only exposes the patronising assumptions of their accusers---Those who are struggling and believe Romney will improve their economic lot are wrong, regardless of their race. Eight years of George W Bush proved that. But it does not follow automatically from that that their home should be supporting Democrats under whom things have gotten less bad less quickly. True, those are the only two choices on offer. But if you're poor they are not great choices. What they need is a party that represents their interests. In a country where corporate money chooses the candidates and therefore shapes the debate that will demand a change in politics, not just politicians. MORE...

Meg Lanker-Simons Interviews Ari Berman about "Herding Donkeys" (audio)

Meg Lanker Simons (Cognitive Dissonance) with audio:
I interviewed Ari Berman, writer for The Nation magazine, at the Wyoming State Democratic Convention. We discussed how progressive politics can make a comeback in a red state, and how Wyoming is its own unique breed. Oh, and we mention boomsticks as a GOP talking point. MORE...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

"Des Moines, Iowa: A grassroots event with President Obama - full speech" (video)

BarackObamadotcom, with video (41:18):
At a grassroots event on the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines yesterday, President Obama spoke to volunteers and supporters about why he's running for re-election. Thousands of Iowans lined up in the rain to get a spot inside. The President was fired up to be back in Iowa again, and he laid out the stark contrast between Mitt Romney's experience as a corporate buyout specialist and his own experience as President of the United States.

Friday, May 25, 2012

ED on "Romney's Weak Record, In Politics and Business" (video)

MSNBC-ED Show, video (07:44):
One of Mitt Romney’s campaign tactics is to attack President Obama as someone who doesn’t understand how a free market economy works. In this appearance on The Ed Show, Nation writer Ilyse Hogue explains why Romney chooses to do so—and why that approach is unlikely to work.

"McDermott Plans to Endorse I-502, Following the Lead of His Challenger"

Dominic Holden (SLOG):
Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott gave a weaselly nonanswer about where he stood on marijuana legalization in this week's paper, saying ending pot arrests wasn't a "pressing issue" or something. Weaselly.
So I began pressing his office. After all, his whippersnapper opponent, Andrew Hughes, had drawn his primary policy distinction between himself and McDermott on this issue—Hughes supports legalizing marijuana and McDermott didn't. Furthermore, voters in Washington State all have to make up their minds this fall where they stand on Initiative 502, which would legalize and regulate pot, so surely a Congressman who makes laws for a living can buck up, too. It took a couple days of prodding his office, sending my questions, and waiting—at long last—for these answers: MORE...

Papantonio: "Jefferson Was Right -- Fear The Bankers" (video)

golefttv, video (09:10):
Thomas Jefferson said, "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies." Sixty-three years later, Abraham Lincoln expanded that warning. Here is what Lincoln said: "I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the financial institution in the rear. Of the two, the one in the rear is the greatest enemy... I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before in the midst of war." Both Jefferson and Lincoln look like oracles today.

Choom Time (photo)

Howie P.S.: I wouldn't mind having a tee-shirt with this on the front. Arthur Delaney Tweets:
Awaiting OFA Choom Gang T-shirts, beer cozies, and grill aprons.

"Obama pressures Romney to explain Bain" (video)

MSNBC-The Last Word, video (14:35).

Howie P.S.: Ari Melber, Martin Bashir, Krystal Ball and E.J. Dionne Jr. chew the fat.

"Community groups say proposed Seattle Police reforms lacking" (with video)

Linda Byron (KING 5 News),with video (03:29):
The fatal police shooting of native woodcarver John T Williams. An undercover officer kicking an African American teen who appears to be surrendering. A veteran gang detective using racially charged language. These and other cases were at the heart of the ACLU's call for a federal investigation into the Seattle Police Department's use of excessive force. "It showed a pretty consistent pattern that people of color were being targeted,” said Jennifer Shaw, Deputy Director, ACLU of Washington. The Department of Justice is pushing for a Consent Decree - a court enforced settlement with the City of Seattle - for major reforms in how police officers do their jobs. Yet the city's proposal - recently delivered to Justice - deals only with curtailing excessive force. It says nothing about ways to ensure minorities aren't treated differently. "And that signals to the communities of color in Seattle that they aren't important enough to be included in these very important documents,” said Shaw. MORE...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Democrats About to Give Away the Store on Bush Tax Cuts. Seriously??"

Jared Bernstein (Rolling Stone):
Whenever I do anything my 12-year old daughter finds embarrassing – which is pretty much whenever I do anything—she says, "Really, Dad?  Seriously??"
That was pretty much my reaction to House minority leader Rep Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) letter to Rep Boehner yesterday, wherein she mixed a very good idea with a very bad one.  Details here.

Ari Melber and Joy-Ann Reid on MSNBC on Romney, Bain and "the mystery behind private equity" (video)

MSNBC-Very Last Word, video (02:29).

"So Rich, So Poor: Peter Edelman on Ending U.S. Poverty & Why He Left Clinton Admin over Welfare Law" (with video)

Democracy Now! with video:
"Basically, right now, welfare is gone," Edelman says. "We have six million people in this country whose only income is food stamps. That’s an income at a third of the poverty line. ... Nineteen states serve less than 10 percent of their poor children. It’s a terrible hole in the safety net. Welfare has basically disappeared in large parts of this country." MORE...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Seattle Times: "Developer interests guide McGinn in proposals to ease some rules"

Bob Young (Seattle Times):
Mayor Mike McGinn's proposals to create jobs and housing by easing development rules were drafted by a group largely composed of folks in the building industry, with key elements that would save developers money. Seattle neighborhood leaders complain they had no say and contend McGinn has been less than transparent about where the "regulatory reform" proposals originated and whom they might benefit. MORE...

"An Obama Spending Spree? Hardly" (CHART)


 Sahil Kapur (TPMDC):
A dominant theme of the national political discourse has been the crushing spending spree the U.S. has ostensibly embarked on during the Obama presidency. That argument, ignited by Republicans and picked up by many elite opinion makers, has infused the national dialogue and shaped the public debate in nearly every major budget battle of the last thee years. But the numbers tell a different story. MORE...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Glenn Greenwald: "Rep. Smith on his controversial bills"

Glenn Greenwald:
The Washington Democrat discusses his bills to ban domestic indefinite detention but allow domestic "propaganda"---Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) is the co-sponsor of two controversial amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act: one which would ban the use of indefinite detention for any accused Terrorist apprehended on U.S. soil (the House rejected that amendment earlier this week), and the other, as Michael Hastings first reported, which would repeal a long-standing prohibition under the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 on the dissemination inside the U.S. of State Department information campaigns (what the State Department calls “public diplomacy” and what others call “state propaganda”). Rep. Smith was my guest today on Salon Radio to discuss both of his proposed amendments, and the 15-minute interview, which heavily focuses on his Smith-Mundt proposal, can be heard on the player below (the Smith-Mundt discussion begins at 5:15). MORE...

AP: "Romney's playbook on Bain unclear as attacks grow"

Steve Peoples (AP):
The core of his presidential candidacy under attack, Mitt Romney has yet to shape a playbook to defend a quarter-century in the business world that created great riches for him and great hardship, at times, for some American workers. MORE...

(UPDATED) Swiftboating 2012: "Subtler Entry From Masters of Attack Ads" (with video)


"Steven J. Law of Crossroads GPS said a new ad was aimed at voters who may like President Obama but are disillusioned."

Jeremy W. Peters (NY Times) with video (01:02):
The ad is the work of two of the most fearsome players in Republican politics: Larry McCarthy, the producer behind the infamous Willie Horton commercial in 1988, and Crossroads GPS, the political battle squad founded by Karl Rove. When it makes its debut Wednesday in 10 swing states as the centerpiece of a $25 million campaign, it is expected to become one of the most heavily broadcast political commercials of this phase of the general election. Yet what Mr. McCarthy and Crossroads have produced is not the kind of searing denunciation of President Obama that their track records would suggest. More soft-pedal than Swift Boat, the 60-second advertisement, complete with special effects, is a deeply researched, delicately worded story of a struggling family; its relatively low-key tone is all the more striking, coming at a point in the campaign when each side is accusing the other of excessive negativity. MORE...
Howie P.S.: In case you're wondering if the ad fits into the definition of swiftboating:
the term "swiftboating" (or "Swift-boating", or "Swift Boating") commonly refers to a harsh attack by a political opponent that is dishonest, personal and unfair.
H/t to Jeff Greenfield. Hint: "The ad still uses traditional accusations, but it veils them in the scripted narrative to blunt the attack. And while not offering any wholly inaccurate facts, the ad oversimplifies the president's positions on issues like raising taxes and spending, making them sound much more absolute than they really are."

"Republicans vs. Romney's Record" as a "vulture capitalist" (video), video (02:05).

AP: "Hints of impropriety in McKenna’s files Election: Documents suggest work on King Council campaigns"

"Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna works the room before delivering the keynote speech at the annual Lincoln Day dinner at the Hilton Vancouver Washington on Saturday" (March 17, 2012).

 Mike Baker (AP):
Using a fax machine and letterhead from the King County Council in April 2002, the office of then-Councilman Rob McKenna sent off an invitation to the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. McKenna, listed as the sender on both the fax cover page and underlying note, requested on behalf of the Washington State Republican Party that the Cabinet leader speak at the party’s annual convention. It was a political memo that might have placed McKenna’s office afoul of state or county ethics laws, which bar the use of government facilities for “personal convenience” and political campaigns. MORE...
Howie P.S.: How come I'm not surprised about this? The dude's an attorney but I guess he forgot to read the law.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Papantonio: "Booker Has No Courage For A Fight" (with video)

golefttv, with video (11:19):
Mike Papantonio and Ed Schultz discuss how some weak-kneed Democrats, much like Cory Booker, could potentially take down President Obama's 2012 campaign by being unwilling to fight back against the onslaught of Republican attacks.

WA: "Democrats Ate Cory Booker Alive Over the Weekend" (with video)

Paul Constant (SLOG) with video (00:24):
If you don't have video where you are, Booker is saying that Democratic attacks on Bain Capital should be off-limits, and he's defending private equity firms in general. This soundbite is part of a greater argument Booker is making about the political discourse getting out-of-hand. (He says that Reverend Wright attacks from the right are unacceptable, too.) I personally disagree with Booker; I think Romney is running away from his record as governor of Massachusetts and centering Bain Capital as the most relevant part of his resumé—sorry, but organizing a Winter Olympics should not automatically qualify you for Commander-in-Chief—and so Bain attacks are totally acceptable. But Democrats proceeded to tear Booker to bits all day Sunday, and it was a nasty affair. Irrelevant blowhard Keith Olbermann hilariously accused Booker of " believ[ing] in nothing but Cory Booker." Many others accused him of being a stooge for the Republican Party, and others stopped just short of calling for the death of private equity firms everywhere. By yesterday evening, Booker had produced an apologetic video walking back his comments. I've always admired Democrats' refusal to fall, creepily, in line on every single issue the way Republicans do. It's a weakness for the party within the 24-hour-media-cycle, but it's also a strength because it doesn't force us into stupid purity-test-style political traps.
Now, the Republicans are featuring Booker in ads and John McCain is publicly thanking him. This is a shrewd political move, because it increases resentment against a man who many—including myself—have said should be a serious Democratic presidential candidate within the next three election cycles. Republicans are playing chess here by trying to take down a major star of the party. And as a bonus, it plays Democrats against each other in a shrill, teabagger-style purity argument that the news networks will love rehashing for the next week or so.
There's a local angle to all this: On Friday, June 1st, Booker is scheduled to deliver a big speech at the Washington State Democratic Convention. When the speech was scheduled, Booker was a hero who saved people from burning buildings; now he's a controversial figure. I hope he goes through with this speech, and I hope that he's treated well, here. If Democrats persist in knocking around one of their stars for expressing an unpopular opinion, we'll be no better than the teabaggers who swallow their own moderates. Arguing that Booker is for the 1% and accusing him of being a sellout (or worse) is just ridiculous.
Howie P.S.: Personally, I think the only just punishment for Booker would be to require him to make 100 cold calls on behalf of Joe Lieberman, asking for contributions to AIPAC.

Greetings from "No NATO" Chicago via Tim Pool (photo)

: "We're being followed, harassed by this officer, has been following us since the train."

"Seattle's One Functional Wing of Government"

Dominic Holden (SLOG):
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, who oversees all misdemeanor prosecutions and acts as the city's lawyer, has issued his annual report for 2011. It's a good read and a reminder that we have one brave elected official at City Hall who is both capable of pushing the envelope and accomplishing his agenda. (And, yeah, that's a dig at our timid, innovation-is-the-enemy city council and bold-yet-bungling mayor.) Holmes has his ups and down, of course. He's tempered the hogwild police union by bringing police defense work in-house, unsuccessfully sued a cop, negotiated terms with the state to build a $4.2 billion tunnel, wasted a bunch of money trying to stop the public from voting on that tunnel, successfully sued to shut down a strip club, helped hash out rules for medical marijuana dispensaries, and lots more. Grade that report card how you will, but Holmes is uncommonly accomplished.

CYNTHIA BOAZ - "The Arab Spring: Myths, Realities, and Prospects for Nonviolent Change." (with video) with video (01:21:29):
The events of the last year have stimulated renewed interest in nonviolent strategy as a source of political and social change. In this talk, Dr. Boaz provided an introduction to the dynamics of nonviolent struggle, discussed how these strategies have been implemented in the Arab World, and considered the longer-term prospects for democratic change in the region. She addressed several common misconceptions including those related to the efficacy of nonviolent action, the relationship between power and violence, and the role of culture in the Arab uprisings. She concluded by considering how citizens of democratic societies can support people in other parts of the world who are trying to gain rights, freedom or democracy through nonviolent means. Dr. Cynthia Boaz is assistant professor of political science at Sonoma State University, where she specializes in political development, quality of democracy, political communication and media, civil resistance, and nonviolent struggles. She has written extensively on the nonviolent democracy movements in Iran and Burma. She is also an analyst and consultant on nonviolent action, is an academic advisor for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, the Vice President of the Metta Center for Nonviolence, and on the Executive Board of the Media Freedom Foundation. She is also contributing writer with Truthout and the Huffington Post. She is currently writing a book on media framing of civil resistance and nonviolent struggles for University of Queensland Press.

Juan Cole: "Congress Wants the Department of Defense to Propagandize Americans"

Juan Cole (Informed Comment):
Two congressmen are attempting to insert a provision in the National Defense Authorization act that would allow the Department of Defense to subject the US domestic public to propaganda. The bipartisan amendment was introduced by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State. Nothing speaks more urgently to the creeping fascism of American politics than the assertion by our representatives, who apparently have never read a book on Germany in the 1930s-1940s or on the Soviet Union in the Stalin period, that forbidding DoD and the State Department from subjecting us to government propaganda “ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible way.” And mind you, they want to use our own money to wash our brains! MORE...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Melissa Harris-Perry: "The Evolution was Televised" (with video)

Melissa Harris-Perry with video (10:17):
Both the First Lady Michelle Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivered college commencement speeches on Saturday, but each speaker set a very different tone in addressing marriage equality. Melissa Harris-Perry and her guests – including University of Pennsylvania professor Anthea Butler, Newsweek/The Daily Beast correspondent Michael Tomasky, and editor Chloe Angyal – break down the narratives behind both messages.

Horsey: "Feeding Time" (cartoon and text)

David Horsey (Los Angeles Times):
If money is the mother’s milk of politics, then America’s big corporations are Big Mama and Big Baby is the Republican Party suckling at the enormous bosom of business. Democrats, meanwhile, are abandoned brats scrounging for nourishment wherever they can find it. (SNIP) Corporate America has always gotten a good return on its investment in politics. Business interests hold inordinate sway over the legislation that affects them (Heck, their lobbyists write most of the bills). Now, though, with the Republican Party as their wholly owned subsidiary, the titans of industry apparently feel no need to hedge their bets by helping out a few Democrats. The corporations no longer pretend they do not have a favorite child. They have picked their favorite and, like a doting mother, they will hold him close, they will baby him, they will keep him fat and happy, and they will ask for only one thing in return: obedience. MORE...
H/t to Marcia Kato.

Friday, May 18, 2012

"Proven: Andrew Hughes Can Bicycle and Kayak. But, Can He Beat Jim McDermott?"

Photo: Revel Smith / Andrew Hughes Campaign-"The Stranger (left) defeated Andrew Hughes (right) in the biking portion of his trek. Hughes then easily defeated The Stranger in the kayak segment. Next up for defeat, Hughes hopes: Congressman Jim McDermott." 

Eli Sanders (SLOG):
Hughes, whose fledgeling campaign has knocked on 6,000 doors since April—with 2,000 of those doors knocked on by Hughes himself—admitted: "Mt. McDermott's a big mountain to climb." Which points directly to the question: Is Hughes up for that kind of challenge? MORE...
Howie P.S.: Does Hughes have to "win" this time out in order to have achieved "success?"

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Matt Stoller on "internet Democrats" and "institutional DC self-described progressive groups with money and glitz"

Matt Stoller (naked capitalism):
At this point, even Moveon members won’t vote for self-proclaimed progressive candidates. And labor and DC liberals can’t deliver votes, but money can. Those are the lessons that insiders are drawing from two important but little noted Congressional primaries that happened late last month, one in Illinois and one in Maryland. MORE...

"White House Correspondents’ Dinner: Soup to Nuts" (with video)

Hendrik Hertzberg (The New Yorker) with video (23:26):
President Obama acquitted himself handily. Jane has the video. In the bit I liked best, which begins at the fourteen-minute mark, Obama unveils his secret agenda for the second term. (“In my first term, we ended the war in Iraq. In my second term, I will win the war on Christmas.”) Jimmy Kimmel, who followed, did about as well as whatever professional comedian is chosen for the assignment usually does, which is to say that only about half his jokes misfired. But even if they’d all fizzled except one, that one would have redeemed him. It’s his take on Bill O’Reilly’s book about the Lincoln assassination, and it starts at about eight and a half minutes in (above). MORE...

Should we subsize oil companies or college students?

Just askin'.

"Frank Rich on the National Circus"

Frank Rich (New York Magazine):
The third-party group Americans Elect announced yesterday that although they had "achieved every stated operational goal," no candidate had gained enough support to actually get nominated at their online convention. Was this idea doomed from the start? This is a fascinating episode that deserves far more scrutiny. In a very short time this “centrist” group spent $35 million on its effort to harm Obama’s reelection campaign by plotting to place a moderate candidate on the ballot as a spoiler in all 50 states. Americans Elect’s most prominent and vocal supporters were Thomas L. Friedman of the Times, the Obama–loathing pollster Douglas Schoen (a nominal Democrat), and Mark McKinnon, the former George W. Bush ad guy who plays a congenial centrist on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. The hope was to get a Michael Bloomberg, Jon Huntsman, or David Petraeus to run; in the end, the leading Americans Elect candidate was the former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer, best known for being too inept to rise to the low single-digits polling level of even Huntsman during the GOP presidential primary contest last fall. My question: Who gave that $35 million and where did it all vanish in a matter of months? Paul Krugman, who has been relishing the demise of Americans Elect and slyly mocking his colleague Friedman for his support of it, should stay on the case. MORE...

"John Nichols: Scott Walker's Divide-and-Conquer Strategy" (with video)

Elizabeth Whitman (The Nation), with video (05:51):
A newly available video of a conversation between a donor and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker confirms Walker's true intentions about labor—his bill was not about balancing the budget, as he claims, but about taking away labor rights and destroying unions one after another. John Nichols appears on the Ed Show to explain the impact and the importance of this new evidence on upcoming recall elections.
Howie P.S.: This morning Nichols spoke with ED Schultz about this on the radio. They emphasized the national implications of the recall campaign and pushed hard on the DNC for their reluctance to show Wisconsin "the money."

David Letterman To Brian Williams: ‘What More Do We Want [Obama] To Do For Us, Honest To God?’ (with video)

Noah Rothman (MEDIAite) with video (11:23) from CBS:
NBC News anchor Brian Williams appeared on CBS’ The Late Show with David Letterman on Tuesday night. Letterman discussed Williams’s special on Rock Center about the killing of Osama bin Laden and became agitated when describing President Barack Obama’s successes as compared to what he sees as President George W. Bush’s failures in the War on Terror. “What more do we want this man to do for us, honest to god,” asked Letterman. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Not to repeat myself or (God forbid say "I told you so"), our best political commentary comes from the comedians.
Howie P.P.S.: Not to flip flop or anything on the above, Ari Melber is pretty good.

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Ask Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn" tackles the DOJ-Seattle Police Dept. issue (audio)

"WEEKDAY" (KUOW-Steve Scher), with audio:
The city of Seattle faces a Wednesday deadline to respond a Justice Department plan for reforming the Seattle Police Department. The mayor and SPD, meanwhile, are pursuing their own 20–point, 20–month reform agenda. Mayor Mike McGinn says he's trying to negotiate a mutually agreeable solution. We'll ask him about it. We'll also talk about his call to ease development rules as well as the city's decision to pull the plug on its broadband network. Have a question for the mayor? Call 800.289.5869 or email "Weekday."
Howie P.S.: I was interested to learn that Hizzoner heard a lot of community "concerns" regarding public safety and police issues during his campaign for Mayor. It looks like it took the DOJ action to get his attention about really doing something about the issue(s). As is his custom, Scher is a polite interviewer and didn't put his guest on the "hot seat."

Obama campaign ad on Romney and Bain Capital: "Steel" (video)

BarackObamadotcom, video (02:03):
Kansas City's GST Steel had been making steel rods for 105 years when Romney and his partners took control in 1993. They cut corners and extracted profit from the business at every turn, placing it deeply in debt. When the company eventually declared bankruptcy, workers not only lost their jobs but were denied their full pensions and health insurance, and the government was forced to step in and provide a bailout.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"A Message from Trayvon Martin's Mother Sybrina Fulton" (video)

SecondChanceCampaign, video (01:01):
Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mom, released a video asking parents nationwide to support the Second Chance campaign, a new national campaign working to reform, repeal and prevent passage of new Florida-style "Shoot First" laws around the country. The Second Chance campaign launched after Martin's death with the NAACP, the National Urban League, the National Action Network, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, VoteVets and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to oppose reckless Shoot First laws that are on the books of 26 states and pending in 10 more.

"What Occupiers Learned From Obama - and What He Should Learn From Them"

 "Occupy Wall Street protesters march at Zuccotti Park on November 5, 2011." (Photo: David Shankbone)

Sarah Jaffe (Truthout):
Disillusionment with Obama, for many of these activists, led not to a search for another hero - as Micah Sifry noted - but a turn away from the idea of heroes and toward the specific problems that need to be fixed. "The conversations are between people who are looking at the politics of personalities and people who are looking at the politics," Evry noted and Raneem echoed her. Evry continued, "OWS is very issue-oriented. It's not being built around leaders. You start looking at what do you believe in, what do you want to organize around?" MORE...

"Mother's Day History"
Contrary to popular belief, Mother's Day was not conceived and fine-tuned in the boardroom of Hallmark. The earliest tributes to mothers date back to the annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to Rhea, the mother of many deities, and to the offerings ancient Romans made to their Great Mother of Gods, Cybele. Christians celebrated this festival on the fourth Sunday in Lent in honor of Mary, mother of Christ. In England this holiday was expanded to include all mothers and was called Mothering Sunday. In the United States, Mother's Day started nearly 150 years ago, when Anna Jarvis , an Appalachian homemaker, organized a day to raise awareness of poor health conditions in her community, a cause she believed would be best advocated by mothers. She called it "Mother's Work Day." Fifteen years later, Julia Ward Howe, a Boston poet, pacifist, suffragist, and author of the lyrics to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," organized a day encouraging mothers to rally for peace, since she believed they bore the loss of human life more harshly than anyone else. MORE...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Look who has a web ad on a progressive site!

From Booman Tribune.

"Around world, Obama's presidency a disappointment"

"In this July 24, 2008 file photo, President-elect Barack Obama waves as he arrives at the Victory Column in Berlin. In Europe, where more than 200,000 people thronged a Berlin rally in 2008 to hear Obama speak, there's disappointment that he hasn't kept his promise to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, and perceptions that he's shunting blame for the financial crisis."

Don Melvin, Rod McGuirk (AP):
In a world weary of war and economic crises, and concerned about global climate change, the consensus is that Obama has not lived up to the lofty expectations that surrounded his 2008 election and Nobel Peace Prize a year later. Many in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America were also taken aback by his support for gay marriage, a taboo subject among religious conservatives. But the Democrat still enjoys broad international support. In large part, it's because of unfavorable memories of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, and many people would still prefer Obama over his presumptive Republican challenger Mitt Romney. MORE...
Howie P.S.: I'm not sure the feelings described above don't resemble those of many here in the U.S.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Seattle: "Sources Say"

Brian Brown (The Stranger):
Jay Inslee, criticized by pundits for running a lackluster campaign, held a rally with DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz before 800 cheering supporters on May 3. You might not have heard about it, because virtually no media bothered to show up. But don't worry, the Times was there: the Seattle Emerald Chinese Times.
 • Seven and a half years into her eight-year regime, Governor Chris Gregoire on May 2 finally acknowledged that we need to raise taxes to fund education. A profile in courage!