NDN Blog

MoveOn addresses the McCain Doctrine

MoveOn.org is running the ad below on John McCain's views on troop escalation. The voice on the ad says: "John McCain has done more than just embrace George Bush's failed policy in Iraq. It's actually his idea to escalate the war there. It's John McCain's idea to send tens of thousands of more soldiers to Iraq and to keep them there with no timeline for bringing them home. The McCain plan to escalate. Going from bad. To Worse."

(Via Greg from TPMCafe)

A New Global Moveon

As I have said many times before at the New Politics Institute website, the most fundamental shift going on in our world today is the shift to the global. It plays out in the economy through globalization. In security and defense, via the new enemy of global terrorists. And in the mounting pressure of climate change, a global problem if ever there was one.

And so it should come as no surprise that politics is morphing to these new global realities – in fits and starts, to be sure, but inexorably. It will be one of the defining stories of the next decade.

And so here’s another sign of the shift: the beginning of a global Moveon.org, in the form of Avaaz.org. The analogy to Moveon is not just in passing. One of the half-dozen founders is Eli Pariser, the executive director of Moveon.

They have just launched their first Moveon-like campaign, but this time in explicitly connecting up citizens from around the world.  Their objective this time is the same: shifting U.S. policy towards the Iraq war. So global citizens are using new tools of the internet to do their part to move the ball of American politics. This is a development worth watching.

Instead of me describing what they are, check out some of their mission statement:

As major new challenges like climate change and escalating religious conflict threaten our common future, people from around the world are coming together to take global politics into their own hands. Avaaz.org (Our name means "Voice" or "Song" in several languages including Hindi, Urdu and Farsi) is a community of global citizens who take action on the major issues facing the world today. Our aim is to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people -- and not just political elites and unaccountable corporations -- shape global decisions. Avaaz.org members are taking action for a more just and peaceful world and a vision of globalization with a human face.

In our inter-connected world, the actions of political leaders and corporations are having a profound impact on all of us. To match the power and reach of global leaders and borderless corporations, Avaaz.org members are building a powerful movement of citizens without borders. As citizens without borders, we might not have the resources of governments, corporations or the media, but working together we can bring together millions of people around the world and make global public opinion really count on major global issues like poverty, climate change, human rights and global security.

Using the latest technology, Avaaz.org empowers ordinary people from every corner of the globe to directly contact key global decision-makers, corporations and the media. By signing up to receive updates from Avaaz.org, members receive emails and text messages alerting them to new campaigns and opportunities to act online and offline, and to make a real difference on pressing global issues.

If interested, go to the site. One of the most striking things when you arrive is to see the language options. English is just one option of many….

Peter Leyden

Dan Balz on Obama and Hillary

You may think you've read it already when it comes to analysis of Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, but Dan Balz has an excellent take in today's WAPO:

Democrats moved a step closer yesterday to what shapes up as one of the most historic and compelling contests ever for their party's presidential nomination, a study in contrasting styles and candidacies in which race and gender play central roles in the competition.

At center stage stand Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, who set up his presidential exploratory committee yesterday, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who is set to make clear her intentions soon. Never has a party begun a nomination contest with its two most celebrated candidates a woman and an African American.

Senator Jim Webb to Give Democratic Response to the State of the Union

Senator Jim Webb has been tapped to give the Democrats' response to President Bush's State of the Union next week.  It's short notice, but this is a man who wrote his own op-ed for the Wall Street Journal without running it by his staff, so his speech may end up being must-see-tv, with more candor than usual.  Senator Webb is a marine combat veteran, whose son is currently serving in Iraq, and his outspoken oppostion to the President's Iraq policy will provide an important voice, as we debate America's involvement going forward

Piolin branches out

Tune in your radios, New York. According to an article in The New York Times, Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo, one of the LA deejays who helped bring hundreds of thousands of protestors to pro-immigrant rallies in LA and across the nation, is coming to a radio near you.

Below: a picture of Simon and Joe with Piolín (and his "Democratas Unidos" jersey) in LA.

Stem Cell Innovation in NY

In NDN's Agenda for Hope and Progress, we urge our leaders to "invest in and encourage the extraordinary promise of the knowledge revolution in science and medical care."

Now, a good friend, Gov. Eliot Spitzer is stepping up and fighting NY's legendary legislative inertia in the effort to make NY a leader in the important field of stem cell research.  Read more, and note the emphasis on a post-ideological, new politics that meets the governing challenges of our time. 

In his first address to the Legislature, Gov. Eliot Spitzer called this month for passage of a $2 billion 10-year bond initiative for research and development, at least half of which would be set aside to pay for stem cell research. And the project is being tailored as an economic development effort in the hopes of attracting support from upstate Republican lawmakers.

Politically Motivated Firings at the Justice Department?

At least seven United States attorneys are being fired for no apparent reason, and Senator Diane Feinstein (see video below) is not happy about it.  Among those being dismissed is Carol Lam, the top prosecuter in the Duke Cunningham case.  Conservative Congressman Darrell Issa said that her work on the bribery case against Republican Cunningham was "a credit to her leadership and her office."  So why are she and six other qualified prosecutors being fired?  The NYT points to the answer:

Ms. Feinstein said the departmentmight be removing the prosecutors to take advantage of a little-noticed provision in the 2006 reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act that expanded its authority to make indefinite interim appointments.

Previously, a federal judge would appoint an interim United States attorney to serve until the Senate confirmed the president’s nominee. Now the attorney general can nominate someone to serve without confirmation for the remainder of Mr. Bush’s term. Ms. Feinstein, Mr. Pryor and Mr. Leahy have introduced legislation to restore the role of naming interim prosecutors to the judiciary.

Update 1/17/06 at 5:55pm:

Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) has admitted that he inserted the provision that makes these unconfirmed appointments possible - at the last second, when members of Congress wouldn't have a chance to review it - into the Patriot Act.  No explanation at to why he did so. 

Also, Josh Marshall raises the excellent point that if these firings go through, there will be six new prosecutors with supena power, hand-picked by the Bush Administration.  Just when you thought there couldn't be any new abuses of executive authority...

Shapiro speaks on globalization at EPI

One of the most important governing challenges facing our nation is to ensure that American corporations, capital and people all prosper together in this age of ever more intense globalization.

To that end, last year NDN established a new Globalization Initiative led by Dr. Robert J. Shapiro, a former Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs in the Clinton Administration. On our website you can find an overview of the project and its work, including video of our major events, speeches, studies, policy recommendations and essays.

Last week, Rob Shapiro was a featured speaker at the Economic Policy Institute's forum: Agenda for Shared Prosperity, where he spoke about "The Challenges of Globalization":

If we don’t step up to plate with serious answers to reduce the rapid increases in health care, pension and energy costs – three areas in which the current administration has been missing in action for six years – the U.S. job creating machine will stall out, and the incomes of a majority of Americans will slowly fall for the next generation. If we don’t step up to the plate with a serious training and education strategies that can ensure that Americans can do their jobs more efficiently than anyone in any developing country –another area where this administration has checked out – offshore outsourcing, especially in the new areas of services, will hollow out part of the American middle class.

You can find his complete remarks, reflecting his latest thinking on our website, and feel free to weigh in with comments here on our blog.

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Related links:
Watch
EPI's Ross Eisenbray at a recent Globalization Initiative event

Obama Running? Part 2

Below is the video of Sen. Barack Obama announcing his decision to form an exploratory committee:

Related news: Simon's quoted in this FT/MSNBC article on Senator Obama's decision, saying:

"This is the most open presidential contest in living memory," said Simon Rosenberg, director of the New Democratic Network, a centrist group. "The fact that we have such a weak White House that will bequeath a troubling legacy to the next president is also driving this early campaign."

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

Senator Allard (R-CO) Not Running in '08

Markos Moulitsas (Kos at Dailykos.com) is fast becoming an authority on the electoral map.  His take on Wayne Allard's decision not to run for re-election, and how that helps Democrats, is below.  And stay tuned for in-depth analysis from NDN on demographic and political changes in the increasingly progressive West.

Senate Republicans are weeping today.

Sen. Wayne Allard said today he will honor his term-limits pledge and leave at the end of 2008, creating a replacement fight that should turn Colorado into one of the country’s biggest electoral battlegrounds.

"I just didn't think I could back away from the (term limits) commitment. It is a matter of integrity and keeping your commitments. I have never wavered on that," Allard told the Rocky Mountain News.

Colorado was already the Democrats' top pickup opportunity, with Allard winning his two terms with razor-thin margins and a Blue wave sweeping the Rocky Mountain state.

Rep. Mark Udall, who represents the CO-02 district, announced his candidacy back in 2005 when he bowed out of the governor's race. The popular scion of the long-serving political family should have a clear shot through the primaries.

On the Republican side, former Gov. Bill Owens has said he won't run. Tancredo is running for president, though could pivot and shoot for the open Senate seat. That wouldn't just create a competitive open seat race in CO-06, but would also exacerbate fierce divisions in the state's GOP on immigration. Bigoted Rep. Marylin Musgrave barely survived her own race in 2006, and will be hard-pressed to stay in Congress, much less get a promotion in the Senate.

Former Rep. Scott McInnis has expressed interest in an open seat race, and would be no slouch. But remember, the rising star of the Colorado GOP, the guy they pinned their future on, was Rep. Bob Beauprez. And here's what happened to his gubernatorial bid this past November:

Beauprez (R) 41%

Ritter (D) 56%

That demonstrates better than anything else the dismal state of the Colorado Republican Party.

This will be a Democratic pickup in 2008.

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