Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Benefit of Barack’s Youthful Magnetism

All politicians follow a script. A block set of stump lines in their minds. A stance they repeat over and over again with out precise details. But they give us dreams and visions of what America can be. And like sports, they get us talking and we side with our favorites.

Some though choose not to have a favorite, or choose not to care enough to investigate sides. Some choose to not even learn what the difference is between Democrat and Republican. They don’t have faith or concern, because they are seeing politics having no connection to their daily lives. They have seen what eight years of a bad politician can do, and they get discouraged.

Perhaps it's because there is the loss of creative idealism in politics. Or is it the youthful impulsiveness that is missed? People want things to be pragmatic, and mundane. You start talking big ideas and you get road blocks voiced to you quickly. Or, the degrading bad liberal finger pointing. Surely, for these reasons people change the channel and fail to get engaged.

The Barack Obama campaign though, overcomes these pitfalls, and then benefits from their choice to do so consequently. The opposition only can disagree with him because of his so called vagueness, and his youthfully dreamy campaign lacking experience.

Barack brings us a different politics. One that is young and new in places in between, offering the crazy idea of bringing government to the people. He offers to disclose the White House to the citizens, letting them know exactly what is going on. This shady concept of getting people involved in “the change" has people talking. An Idea that was not considered as an endeavor in the Clinton or past Bush campaigns.

Regardless of the political game that we see being played, who wins wins. That individual becomes one of the most powerful people in the world. At times this scares grown ups, because they can’t conceptualize a turn around. They either fear that Obama would let us down, or do something risky with all these substanceless ideas that will hurt America even more.

But Obama is still winning regardless, strangely getting more mature voters
too. He achieves this with a strait record of voting against and opposing what got America into trouble to begin with. He goes after the young creative minds that have not been spoiled yet from years of conservative rules. From there he draws them into his campaign. Youthful and steadfast like Bobby was.

Even despite Barack's admittance to drug use in his teens, he is a success. And he is not afraid to share that part of his life with you regardless of risking political suicide. He is confident enough to climb that wall. Youth can learn from him. They don’t learn anything nor do they trust a guy like Bush who lied about his youth. They would not learn anything meaningful from his stories anyway, of Yale parties and getting away with fraternity mischief.

Simply, Barrack Obama comes off as a mentor and a as a bit of a hero to our youth in this decade. And his youth works to his advantage. What a political rebel he is. There is a magnetism that revolves around him. A macrocosm from the heart that pulls in young people spreading a vibrant, dashing, colorful variance. Reaching out -- something the other politicians can't offer during this time of need, or can't offer as well as Obama . Something that gets us all excited about politics once again. And amazingly he could very well be our next Commander-in-Chief. Do you have butterflies in the stomach like I do?

Andrew Thibodeau
Poitical Advisor for the ICDP

Saturday, February 23, 2008

New York Times McCain Story Not About Sex - It's About Illegal and Inappropriate Actions of a US Senator on Behalf of a Lobbyist

Readers of a 3,000 word New York Times story on Thursday might have been surprised to read that John McCain, the likely nominee of the formerly-grand old party was a bit of a schmuck. But there was a lot more to the story that the rest of the media could have fleshed out if they did their homework.

The Times story indicated some possible hanky-panky with a female lobbyist, but if you only read the MSM (mainsteam media), without reading the actual Times story, it's about the sex, not the corruption.

But the truth appears to be that McCain went over and above the rules at the request of the attractive lobbyist representing Paxton Communications. Paxton wanted a favorable ruling from the FCC on the purchase of a broadcasting station and McCain wrote letters to the FCC in Paxton's favor. But the letters were unusual, inappropriate, ill-timed and illegal.

As always, Amy Goodman's daily alternative media program, Democracy Now, did a much better job of filling in the details and revealed that the letters sent by McCain violated FCC rules -- they were illegal intrusion by the man who held fiscal sway over the FCC. Here is what a person on the other side of the battle had to say on the Amy Goodman show Friday morning about the letters:
"So the FCC rules explicitly prohibit communications that go to the merits or communications that go to urging the FCC to act by a specific date. So this was a clear violation of the FCC’s rules. And on December 20th, we actually filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission’s general counsel, alleging that he (McCain) had violated the rules, and we asked for them to act on it right away. They did not. However, eventually, in August of 2000, they did rule that the senator had violated the rules."
The NYT itself seemed to take a bit softer stance, letting the readers judge the facts as they had them thus far. In the opinion of the NYT's Public Editor, the person charged with responding to reader complaints and the paper's practices, the McCain story had more to do with a national official who was careless in how he conducted the public's business and he had this to say about what the Times editor told him:
BILL KELLER, the executive editor of The Times, said the article about John McCain that appeared in Thursday’s paper was about a man nearly felled by scandal who rebuilt himself as a fighter against corruption but is still “careless about appearances, careless about his reputation, and that’s a pretty important thing to know about somebody who wants to be president of the United States.”
If you are a Republican and you cheat on your wife, it's apparently OK as long as long as you marry that person and make her your next wife, just like Rudy Guilliani.

And just because McCain only got his hands slapped as a member of the Keating Five in the 1989 savings and loan scandal, doesn't mean he is the squeaky clean guy he likes to see himself as.

John McCain is now declining to comment any further on the matter and ironically even Rush Limbaugh is defending McCain now. If the Times had the story it must be wrong, the right wing wackos seem to feel. A week earlier McCain was too liberal.

I just can't wait to see if the MSM is really going to do its job or whether the rest of the story will come from the alternative media.

There is a lot more there there.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Now We Can Go See Dr. Wal-Mart

As health care concerns reach their zenith in this country, Wal-Mart has once again brilliantly added a new dimension to their business. They now are offering walk in health clinics in their stores. They plan on opening 400 co-branded convenient clinics by 2010.

Now, not only can we buy cheap goods, but we can receive cheap health care too! And that is what we are looking for right? It is a clever offer what Wal-Mart is doing, just like they did with the hurricane effort. They come to the rescue, a public relations ploy. Its nice what they did for New Orleans but they would not have done it if it did not make them money. If they wanted to do something about health care in the country they would offer coverage to all their employees. Now they see a nation in dire need of a better health care system and they capitalize off it. Offering cheap coverage right in their stores. Bringing in more potential costumers.

Not only has Wal-Mart managed to cheapen labor by averting unions but now they offer a cheap doctor's office. This is a brilliant public relations ploy in the midst of an election stressing the need for a new health care program. You can bet that people will utilize these offices too. Again Wal-Mart takes advantage of the poor and still looks good in the public eye for what they do for America.

But yes, we want to lower health care costs in this county, but do we want to make the service cheap? Do we want Wal-Mart as a provider? Do you want your children getting the best doctors or cheap ones? Some don't have a choice who are uninsured. Wal-Mart’s walk-in clinics are often run by independent entrepreneurs with little or no experience in health care.

Just goes to show how big the Wal-Mart Corporation is. That they can even tap into a nation's health care crisis. How scary that is.

Andrew Thibodeau
Political Advisor for the ICDP

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The "Hope" Factor of the Obama Campaign

We all go through life with challenges. Whether it is a broken relationship, mourning victims of college shootings, financial set backs, a bad addiction, legal problems, academic mistakes, layoffs, and so fourth. All these are conditions that we may have to endure at some point or another in our lives. And on rainy days they can drag us down and depress us. It is at these times when we could care less about politics.

But not today! Today we can look to the exiting Democratic race where Mr. Obama can be seen running away with the election. Something we never thought possible. It gives us personal hope as individual Americans. To think that the impossible can be achieved at times in our lives where hopelessness drains us of progressive ideas. Obama gives us something interesting to chat about in the community. He has us talking as he is winning the fight.

He had to go through life with challenges too. And perhaps he is in the midst of his biggest challenge right now. Running with his own name, running as an African American, and enduring political nepotism. But, he still stands tall on the stump delivering a message of hope with confidence. And we see this and say, wow he is a good speaker. It becomes difficult for us to reject the delivery of an idealism that will change America. Because of this I believe he is winning.

We can look up to him and believe in a better life. It is possible. We can go through life with challenges too. And yes, we can win and change too! It’s the Obama "hope" factor. We have never had anything like this before. A good guy is winning! And the sun will shine again like it always does.

Andrew Thibodeau
Political Advisor for the ICDP

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Superdelegates Could Decide Who Will Be the Democratic Candidate

That strange duck, a “superdelegate,” could be the deciding factor in whether Clinton or Obama will be the Democratic candidate. Who can be a superdelegate? Current or former elected officeholders and party officers. They are not selected through primaries or caucuses.

What makes them “super” is that they are automatically seated at the convention and are officially uncommitted. They are, in fact, the product of the reformation of the candidate selection process that occurred a couple of decades ago when the party was forced to give more “power to the people.” Superdelegates represent the party establishment and control up to 40 percent of the vote. I’ll write that again: 40 percent of the vote. has taken up the challenge to the prerogatives of the superdelegates by circulating a petition that will be printed in USA Today. Both the Obama and Clinton camps are pressuring the superdelegates for their support. The petition will demand that the superdelegates adhere to the will of the voters in their respective states. The next president of the United States will probably be a Democrat. Sign the petition and demand that the candidate is the one selected by Democrats in state primaries and caucuses and not just the party establishment.

You can sign the petition here

Hillary Would Lose a Real Michigan Contest - January Vote Does Not Represent Us

At this point conducting a Michigan caucus or do-over of the January fiasco is probably meaningless and perhaps impractical. But there is no way the result in January reflects the true wishes of Michigan Democrats.

Yes, for the first time in my life I crossed over and voted in the Republican primary just like thousands of other Democrats did because I believed the Democratic National Party that the January primary was meaningless because no delegates would be seated.

As a former Kucinich supporter turned Edwards supporter, it didn't matter to me anyway, but I would not have voted for a non-progressive Democrat, male or female and it irked me quite a bit that that woman is now claiming she won a majority of our state delegates. She didn't then and couldn't now in any kind of do-over. For Clinton to lay claim to our unrepresentative delegates now that the race is close is pathetic.

If Obama and Clinton both campaigned in Michigan it is my humble opinion that Obama would have won -- plain and simple and he will win if we do have a state caucus or other re-do.

I still hang on to this crazy notion even though a majority of folks may not agree with my politics, we should still respect their feelings in an untainted and un-rigged election. The will of the people is kind of an old fashioned notion, but one I happen to cling to. The January vote did not represent the will of the people.

Of course, none of this will likely matter anyway if the Obama steam roller racks up more victories.

Michigan Democratic reformers though didn't have much to lose by moving the primary up despite the threat of disbarment from the convention. In past presidential elections Michigan Democrats didn't have any role in choosing our candidate.

So nothing has changed. Perhaps we can do better in 2012.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

We Still Want Justice - Bush, Cheny and Co. Need Jail Time

Perhaps I should be euphoric -- as many other Democrats are -- now that it appears that we are headed to almost certain victory this November in the contest for the White House. But I've said it before as this year began and I say it again -- Bush and Cheney and their accomplices need to be brought to justice.

I am not normally a vindictive person, but when a President and his administration lies us into a war that has killed and maimed tens of thousands of people and robbed our national treasury while enriching their friends, I simply cannot imagine nothing will be done about it. I can't imagine that an administration that has destroyed our national honor and reputation in the world with violations of national and international law could simply walk away as if nothing has happened.

Up to this point I have not heard one question in any of the dozens of debates about the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush administration and what is to become of them. The MSM is not likely to bring it up. Yes, we know impeachment has been put off the table for action, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be discussing what should happen in lieu of impeachment.

My own preference is for an international tribunal -- an impartial look at the Bushco misdeeds after the Obama or Clinton administration takes office.

Maybe someone somewhere will raise this simple question to our two remaining Presidential candidates -- What do you think should be done about the impeachable offenses of the Bush administration?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Democracy Matters Episode 11 Features John Freeman

The ICDP-TV production Democracy Matters will begin airing its latest show beginning on Tuesday Feb. 12 on Charter Channel 3 in Clare, Gratiot and Isabella Counties at 8:30 p.m. The new show features John Freeman who discusses the ballot initiative for universal health care in Michigan with host John Dinse and regular panelist Charles Novitski.

Freeman, chairman of the Michigan Health Care Security Campaign, won the endorsement of the ICDP at the February meeting for the ballot initiative which would change the state Constitution and require the state legislature to come up with a plan to make sure all Michigan residents had access to health care. More than a million Michiganders today have no health insurance. In Episode 11 of Democracy Matters, Freeman explains why the reform is necessary to assure Michigan's economic health as well as health care for all residents.

For those who do not have access to cable TV in our area, all of our shows are also available on Google Video. Just scroll down click on the video links to the left. If you missed the discussion of the presidential race with CMU Political Science Professor Chris Owen on Episode 10, check it out also on Google Video. The lower resolution format is below and a higher resolution format is available on the link to the left.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Democracy Matters Episode 10 on Presidential Race

CMU Political Science Professor Chris Owens joins our panel to discuss the presidential race on Democracy Matters 11th show.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Socialist Con and Snow Removal

We all know what community is. We all understand what it means to have good neighbors that lend a hand once in a while. We operate on a truth bias as honest Americans, always willing to
lend a helping hand, or as Gordon Lightfoot put it, "to pity the stranger that stands at our door."

This kind of communal behavior is best seen when a huge snow storm hits Mid Michigan. Piles of white build in seconds making forsome, life hell. But in this white blizzard after Super Tuesday politics, we see people helping one another. Shoveling snow and snow blowing. Clearing the extra path for the old lady or offering some salt to a neighbor. Its all in the good hearted community spirit when confronted with such a strong, unprepared for, snowfall.

But at the same time the Socialist Con exists according to our right wing analysts. The liberal with the dangerous ideas. The leading Republican, how he is too liberal. Rush Limbaugh (still aired on several stations throughout Michigan) Will rant and rave about how evil social
and communal idealism is. That liberals are conning you to believe in a path of lawlessness and free living, he contends. But what he still does not understand is that overall, communal living
is all part of Americana.

As my neighbor seasonally maintains his John Deere snow blower, ready at any time to gear up to clear my parents driveway expecting nothing in return, I see and witness characteristics of socialism. And from acquiring a degree in sociology, I can point out some Marxism too. All in regards to how Americans behave in a community. Its this American spirit that ceases to amaze me every time. Its a spirit I share and its the heartbeat of social politics.

The point is, in times of uncontrollable treacherous weather we come together as Americans and neighbors to help. It's our basic nature. People come together to remove snow. We all show characteristics of socialism working this way as part of a community, we are not trying to con

Andrew Thibodeau
Political Avisor for the ICDP

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Michigan, Social Inequality, and Rugged Individualism

I can remember an undergraduate class I had on social inequality. I recall one student's explanation for unequal opportunities, one you hear often. Some people still don't understand the main point.

Its not that we all have good opportunities available as Americans, but it’s the scarcity of these opportunities in select socioeconomic areas that is important. Understanding that things are different in less fortunate areas is the key to understanding social inequality and the farce of the Horatio Alger Theory.

The student in my class wanted to claim that universal equal opportunity already exists throughout America. He used, as an example, his own experience of how much money he made running a lawn care business in high school. He said he had no problems finding work, building accounts, and maintaining the reputation of a professional entrepreneur. He believed that work can always be found if you want to work, and generally for those who are poor, it's their own fault. It turns out this individual grew up in the Grosse Point Shores area of Michigan; know as an upper class aristocratic area north of Detroit.

Where people live and parent's income does have an impact on an individual's upper mobility, and opportunities that are available. It helps explain statistically the probability of success for most young people. Going from rags to riches is harder to do than going from rich to richer. In fact, it's rare to see a large number of our inner city youth make it to the top.

So, when we visit the polls or engage in political arguments, remember the explanation for poverty like the one mentioned by the undergraduate in my class. The one that claims rugged individualism is all that matters -- that poverty is the fault of the individual alone.

Of course, striving for a better life and working to achieve it are part of the American Dream. But please understand that not everyone is gifted, wealthy, had responsible parents, were talented, or even mentally stable from growing up underprivileged. Poverty and homelessness are not excusable nor can they be pushed aside by explaining that people are just lazy. Decades of studies in the social sciences have provided us with empirical evidence to suggest otherwise. These studies conclude that the social and political arrangements of society maintain such a balance between rich and poor.

Now, in this great state the divide between our citizens is becoming more apparent. Social inequality has finally emerged in this election to be a serious challange, a reality that we cannot avoid, nor should we hide from. We need to develop a collective understanding that rugged individualism is a major part of the American work ethic, but at the same time it is not a good explanation for social inequality and poverty in Michigan.

We have to take this new understanding to the polls and vote democratic for a change that invites all citizens to a life with more available opportunities. This election is not just about you or me -- it's about all of us.

Andrew Thibodeau
Political Advisor for the ICDP