November 17, 2007

Durbin, Obama offer bill to improve VA medical care

The U.S. Senators from Illinois co-sponsored a bill to improve quality control and remove incompetent doctors in VA hospitals throughout the nation, after 15 veterans died in the space of five months in one hospital. The policies proposed should become the standard for all hospitals, public and private! Too many doctors are getting away with maiming, even killing patients. I worked as temp in an insurance company for doctors once, and was amazed at the people they defended, and the way they misjudged the value of people's lives to save costs.

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November 16, 2007

Obama's Got the Youth Vote, And They Can In Fact Vote

Clinton dissed youth! I register and recruit young first-time voters for Obama, and they don't just vote, they organize! They're a shot in the arm at all events, the steam that keeps the engines purring with outreach, including canvassing, the all-important face-to-face contact that brings people of all ages to caucuses and primary elections.

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November 14, 2007

Obama to appoint Chief Technology Officer

In the writer's own description of the plan: "Here’s what I concluded. First, the plan represent[s] the most comprehensive set of policies for open government I’ve seen." If that's not enough, it includes expanding broadband access, increasing access to the public airwaves, training Americans for tech jobs, and easily enforced network neutrality.

Second, Obama makes new stances on several other areas of technology of interest to Silicon Valley’s tech community. He calls more aggressive government support of broadband access. Specifically, he calls for subsidies for phone carriers to be given to only those carriers offering both regular phone service and Internet broadband to rural areas. To date, carriers offering merely phone service have been able to claim subsidies from the so-called Universal Service Fund, giving them little incentive to roll out out broadband. This is also new, in that he hasn’t proposed this before.

Obama’s plan also calls for reviewing the decision by the Federal Communications Commission to open the wireless spectrum for competition. Specifically, Obama feels the FCC may not have gone far enough with its recent ruling. He wants to conduct a multi-year review, but is strongly considering support to open up valuable spectrum on the 700 MHz band so that third parties can lease it on a wholesale basis. This is to ensure that the winners of a pending auction for the spectrum — expected to be large phone carriers like Verizon — don’t just sit on the spectrum and not use it. They may do that to avoid other entrants from competing with them. He’s also leaning toward support for the for service providers to interconnect a licensee’s wireless network. Google is expected to bid on the wireless spectrum.

Obama also is supporting network neutrality, a policy that would ensure Google wouldn’t be forced to pay an Internet service provider extra to ensure the speedy transfer of its data over the Internet. Stanford legal expert, Larry Lessig, called me up this afternoon (apparently under recommendation from the campaign) saying Obama has the most nicely balanced policy among the democrats. Obama’s plan, he says, imposes minimal regulatory burden. So: Unlike John Edwards who, proposes to “enforce net neutrality ensuring no degradation or blocking of access to websites,” Obama would not ban differential service. He would simply require that the terms offered one website or company are no better or worse than those offered anyone else. This is a kind of “most favored nations” network neutrality, much simpler to enforce than one that looks to technical factors to determine whether the regulation is obeyed. Venture people should be very interested in this, Lessig says, because “if network neutrality regulation is going to be passed (as it will if a Dem is president) this imposes a very minimal (and relatively easy to monitor) burden on network owner.”

Obama’s plan calls for a review of the H1-B visa program. First, the plan calls for ways increased training of Americans so that they can fill the technology jobs requiring a Bachelor’s degree — thus minimizing the demand by companies for immigrants to fill those jobs.

At the same time, Obama’ plan seeks to address another shortcoming of the H1-B program, which is that immigrants with short-term visas find it difficult to stay because of country-specific caps on permanent visas. A large number of short-term visa new arrivals are from China and India, but the country-specific cap on permanent visas means many Chinese and Indians are held in limbo for years. All the while, they’re unable to move freely between jobs — leaving them vulnerable to exploration by employers.

On privacy, Obama will call for the creation of what he calls “Public Media 2.0.” While vague on details, campaign managers said Obama hopes to bring Tivo-like technologies so parents can ensure safe TV viewing. Obama also wants to raise sanctions against companies offering indecent – violent or sexually explicit – content.

Also tomorrow, several well-known local players are expected to announce their support for Obama’s plan, including two former FCC Chairmen under President Clinton, Lessig and John Roos, chief executive of Silicon Valley’s respected law firm, Wilson Sonsini. In fact, Roos also called me earlier today. Roos said Obama’s proposal a few days ago for a clean technology venture capital fund, to be backed by a whopping $50 billion in federal funding for five years, is particularly encouraging.

Finally, Lessig pointed out another issue no one is talking about — though related to the issue of open government I talked about above. All sorts of amazing innovations like and are building new tools to monitor government — to track influence, identify corruption, etc. They’ve all been hampered by the fact that government data (by design or accident) is impossibly difficult to get access to. Obama wans to make the raw data available: “So think about all the value that gets added to the free weather data given away by the government. This is the same idea in the context of data to make government more transparent, and less corrupt.”
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November 5, 2007

Rage Against the DLC Machine

I am done with Sen. Feinstein, and, by proxy, with Sen. Hillary Clinton, whom Sen. Feinstein has endorsed.

I will not accept, as her constituent, Sen. Feinstein's approval of torture-boy Mukasey for Attorney General of the United States. I will not accept a legal officer of the U.S. government, a Senator, who provides cover for past and present crimes of a U.S. Justice System that condones torture.

I will work and vote for Sen. Obama, who stands unabashedly against torture. I will also work for Sen. Feinstein's recall, as this is her third strike: She voted against the Dream Act, for the Iran resolution, and now for "Simulated Drowning Isn't Torture (Maybe?)" Mukasey.

All DLC Democrats need to be expunged from the Senate and House of Representatives. They are the wing of the Democratic Party that has been so spineless, so Republican-lite as to provide real Democratic constituents no alternative at all.

I called Sen. Clinton's campaign office at (703) 469-2008 and advised them that I will be voting for Sen. Obama because he does not spew justifications and rationalizations for torture. In Barack's words "This is not who we are"!

I voted for Rep. Pelosi, Sen. Feinstein and Sen. Boxer when all three got into office. I am Latina and female and will not vote for any other candidate on the basis of being female. Two of the three I helped vote in have disappointed me beyond redemption, only Sen. Boxer has not given me major cause for regret.

Thus a vote for a woman is not a vote for all women, and any obligation I felt for voting for Clinton because she's a female is gone. Even if she gets the nomination, I will not vote for her. I will write in "Barack Obama", who I know is a staunch defender of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Dianne Feinstein should be recalled, or forced to join Sen. Joe Lieberman's Independent Pro-War Pro-Torture Party.

Type rest of the post here
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November 2, 2007

A Boxer, Bullhorn or Statesman for President?

As always, categories are generalizations, but the pundits' unending armchair quarterbacking of Obama and his campaign have snapped my last nerve. I literally groan when political reports sound, not even like sports casts – at this point racing analogies would be a relief! – but like boxing match pre-game hype: “He’s gotta move in, really let her have it!”

Even liberal talk show hosts I used to love to hear and join in the "amen" choir have picked up the same blood-lust, gladiator-arena political style that they used to criticize when it was all we saw/heard from FOX, CNN, MSNBC, etc.

Look, entertainment choices are one thing, I love to be entertained, but when it comes to who will lead this nation and represent us here and to the world, I'm not looking for entertainment. I'm looking for a statesman or woman. Unfortunately (since I’m a woman wanting that ceiling broken through, too), the woman the Democrats gave me does not meet my standards in any way, so this term, I found my statesman, thankfully and amen!

Did any pundits mention Barack Obama was the most presidential, statesman-like candidate at the Democratic Debate? No. Was he? Yes, if "statesman" means the most rational, the one least easily flustered, the least incendiary, the most well-informed and prepared with details, facts, and real contrasts in the most important areas of all - character and judgment.

Do debates allow candidates to present detailed facts? What do they tell us about policies, plans, advisers? What do they tell us about who is behind our candidates, funding them, getting earmarks from them, getting donations to their favorite organizations? Why do these moderators act like we don't pass that very information around among ourselves from everywhere we can get it, because they won't?

Do debate moderators want the debates to be contentious and full of arguments and even anger? Yes, it keeps people from changing the channel and justifies their absurd advertisement rates. Does a contentious, in-your-face President help or hurt the U.S.? We've got one right now, it isn't hard to answer that one: It hurts us!

The reason for liberal talk radio was originally (or so I heard) to provide real balance, real coverage of the issues and the background players usually not exposed or analyzed in mainstream media. So how are we doing?

I just watched/heard a Young Turks clip (Air America regular program), just aired Nov. 1st, hosted by Cenk. Cenk reminds me more of Chris Matthews than Amy Goodman, not that Amy walks on water for me; she's better than most and certainly not as confrontational and pugnacious as Matthews. Perhaps that's Cenk, the host's, intention. Cenk phone-interviewed Mr. James Traub of the NY Times and nicely and quickly covered Obama's positive aspects from Traub’s article on Obama:

1. Foreign Policy - distinctly different philosophy, different from Hillary on policies and plans that favor containment and multilateral as well as face-to-face diplomacy and negotiations without preconditions, and Obama serving on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee gives him standing.
2. Foreign and Domestic Policy Advisors - a Who's Who of the most widely read and respected experts on all matters of foreign relations, and national security - not to mention on disarmament of both conventional and nuclear weapons, and on preventing and reversing genocide, which Cenk and Mr. Traub did not mention! That little oversight is chronic in left, right and center media, and it irks me no end, as you can probably tell. If I ever hear Obama's policy experts listed again without including Stephanie Power, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide, I might start pulling out my overabundant hair!
3. Judgment: Obama has the experience, not to play insider-politics, but to use good judgment in the most important decisions facing us.

Right after listing all that, Cenk launches into a [planned] longer segment yelling at Mr. Traub that Obama has to fight, fight, fight! Cenk says Obama should be leading the charge to impeach Bush and Cheney! Cenk says Obama should have led the charge to impeach the Attorney General! Cenk says even though he would lose those fights! And, get this - Cenk says Obama has to keep saying Hillary's Republican Lite. Of course, Obama did, but not lately, because is that really smart when so many moderate Republicans and Independents are leaning toward him, even changing their registration where needed to vote for him in the Democratic Primary?!? And when both Republicans and Democrats are sick of their parties?)

At this point, Cenk roars at Mr. Traub that Obama must keep saying he has the best judgment! Oh yes, I know, you're laughing hysterically by now, because how often have we devotees who read/watch and listen to everything Obama says heard him say just that?

Mr. James Traub, you did a magnificent job pointing out exactly what Obama has done right, including what Cenk was roaring he should, and you kept your cool despite some no-doubt irritating moments. Traub led discussion back to audience perception; he could've analyzed his own media peers more to be more informative, imho, but he's the smart one who sees Obama's approach may be the most appealing to voters in the end.

There are two general reactions we - the people who know the difference between the candidates and choose Obama - have to the unending and often baseless criticisms from the left, right and center pundits (not many analysts, unfortunately - more pundits, horse-race announcers, armchair quarterbacks):
1. disgust with the entire process, and/or
2. a rush of energy to pick up the phone, help organize another phonebank, another canvass, another event, and shut them all up with our latest Committed Voters for Obama tally from our precinct, city, district and neighboring early voting states!

I will continue to work to help organize all of the above here in Northern California, and help with phonebanking for rallies around the country for Obama. Before I do that, let me share why the pundits are dead wrong, imho:

* We will register many new voters; already have, and we've only just begun.

Even with all the new voters, if we raise voting by a whopping 10% in the primaries nationally, we would still only have about 28% of the eligible voters actually casting a ballot to choose the Democratic Party candidate. The dismal voter numbers are a major reason we want BO to win – he inspires civic action!

Of those primary voters, how many are party loyalists, how many are candidate-loyalists, how many are there for self-interest (read: to protect their beliefs and/or investments), and how many are there out of real love, respect for, defense of the democratic process?

* Of party loyalists, there are less every day. The percentage of Undeclared/Independent voters has skyrocketed - no surprise, given the frustration on both sides. Of all the Democrats, Obama draws the most Independent voters. Would coming out rabid against Republicans help or hurt him with Independents? Hurt, most likely. Lots of Independents were Republicans once, and they're often fiscal conservatives. Demonizing Republicans loses that growing segment of Democratic primary (not just general election) voters.

* Obama has the most loyal supporters. Sure, some fell off based on one issue, or simply on pollster/pundit negative messages - there are more than enough hot-button issues and negative messages to discourage all but the most determined civic-minded or devoted-to-a-candidate voters. Still, compare Obama's polls to Edwards, and he's holding or gaining ground the better people know him, not losing ground.

What's kept so many original supporters still on the bandwagon, after all that negativity? Obama's character, his refusal to pander, his refusal to straddle the fence, his insistence on giving us complete answers, even when he has to say:

[paraphrasing BO] Conditions might change, we may have to re-think this later, but you will always know what I'm thinking. You will always be informed of the options. You will always come before the lobbyists and political profiteers as a reward for wresting our democracy back, back for the civic participants, back for the people who've been slowly added to the list of "citizens" with full voting rights, back for the people who always had those rights but no longer felt their votes mattered.

See, Obama's made many more of us members of the last category I listed above: those here out of real love, real respect for democracy. With that and BO to work and vote for, it's become a serious not just willingness but burning desire to work for the democratic process. It turns out it's a joyful process, for all the hard work it is. It's a social process, and there's no way to do it without making new friends, learning new things.

We know the alternative to democracy and we reject it absolutely. We know we're at a crossroads and we will not be seduced again to hand over our authority to people who treat this like a game for personal profit.

Obama's not a savior; he's not going to end our (sometimes fatal) self-interest completely. He's only human and so are we. But as much as pundits want to belittle that sentiment, that love for democracy that's made so many of us hard-core cynics so starry-eyed again, it's that very aspect of Obama we see, feel and hear that inspires us to keep on keepin' on. Primaries are marathons. We're here 'til the Finish and we're here to Win!

It's not Obama's debating style that makes him the candidate with the highest "favorable" rating of any candidate, Democrat or Republican (a little publicized but consistent polling fact) - at least not in those moderator and advertiser gladiator-fests they call "debates".

It's Obama communication style when he has the podium or the stage, when he's got a microphone but also provides one for participants to ask him hard questions, in those hundreds of homes, back yards, meeting halls, and school auditoriums. Obama connects to everyone from there, and it is from the podium and the world stage, and always with hundreds of microphones trained on him, that Obama will lead us as President.

In the end, when we're alone with that ballot and these choices before us, we are self-interested, we want to vote for a “probable” winner, but we are also more conscious than ever before that the world waits to see how we choose.

Will we give ourselves and the world the most serious, most genuine, most intelligent, collaborative and open leader, with the seriousness and character and advisors the office merits, and with the most all-embracing and genuine smile presented from our shores in too, too long - or more of the same old plastic politics?
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Obama Envisions New Iran Approach

In an interview, Senator Barack Obama said that forging a new relationship with Iran would be part of his effort to stabilize Iraq. How novel! A comprehensive approach, thank you Obama! He refuses to engage in further threats to Iran and preconditions to negotiations, and actually offers rewards to Iran for complying with U.S. and international requests. Kindly note Obama is the only true leader and statesman who considers the fate of the Iraqis in determining what our future role will be in Iraq, as well as in Iran. His principle goal in having any U.S. troops even in neighboring countries is to prevent genocide in Iraq, stabilize the region and to train Iraqi police and army staff, not support them in daily incursions, and only if they end sectarian divisions and work together on political solutions. Obama is the only one proposing an increase in humanitarian aid and America Centers where people can learn more about our country and democracy than the current propaganda. His entire approach is: what will increase stability in the Middle East, and what best serves our overall interests.

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November 1, 2007

Barack in Dead Heat with Clinton in Iowa

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are statistically tied in Iowa. Edwards is losing steam.

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Hillary Clinton's Flip-Flops and Last Night's Debate

In the light of last night's debate and Hillary Clinton's refusal to answer one single question, here are a list of her flip-flops from this campaign season alone.

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Obama Insists: Violence against women, at home and abroad, must cease

Senator Obama comes out strongly in this policy statement against violence against women, here in the U.S. as well as overseas where rape and battery of women is being used as a weapon. I hope more media picks up on this story. I think this issue will receive long overdue attention when he and Michelle move into the West Wing. I, for one, deeply appreciate Obama for bringing this issue to the forefront. There's no doubt in my mind Barack Obama cares about women's and girls' safety and equal rights - it's so obvious he's genuine when you see him with the three females that are the center of his world: Michelle, Malia and Sasha.

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