Lois Herr for Congress in PA

Hi everyone! My name is Lois Herr, and I'm the Democratic candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania's 16th District.
In my view, policymaking in Washington has become severely disconnected from our sense of right and wrong. Instead of caring for the least fortunate among us, we push the poor off Medicaid rolls and give tax breaks to those who don't need them. Instead of investing in clean, renewable sources of energy and keeping the environment safe for our children, we pass out massive giveaways to oil companies. And instead of considering issues of war and peace with the utmost humility and deliberation, we swagger into conflict unprepared and indifferent to the aftermath. We can do better, and we must - we're all in this together.
I look forward to our conversation, everyone! In the meantime, please check out my website - www.loisherr.us - to learn more about the campaign.

Thanks!
Lois

Posted by Jessica Falker on June 12, 2006 at 02:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (32)

Communicating

A recent article entitled "Central Casting" written by Jeffrey Goldberg in the May 29th issue of The New Yorker makes the claim that if the Democrats truly want to win back those Republican seats come November then they better know "how" to talk to hog farmers.

Likewise, in the article "Red Politics & Blue in Wyoming" in the June issue of The Sun, David Romtvedt maintains that gathered together under one venue - Wyoming citizens listen respectfully to each other even if they detest your message. In the East we closet ourselves with like personalities which allows us to isolate ourselves, which in turn forces us to live intellectually and emotionally impoverished lives.

Is there a message here for the upcoming campaign and November elections?

Post by Bob Winkler - June 5th

Posted by Jessica Falker on June 5, 2006 at 07:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Help Us Help San Diego!

This message was originally posted by Amy Mignosi on May 31st but repeated here to encourage further discussion.
Hello fellow activists! My name is Amy and I'm an intern for EMILY's List in Washington, D.C., a political network for pro choice Democratic women. I want to encourage you to join our efforts to elect Francine Busby in California's 50th [San Diego]. This is a special election - so on June 6th the Democrats can take back a Republican seat!! How can "YOU" get involved? Join us and canvass around San Diego. Never canvassed before? Don't worry - we will train you and give you everything you need to join in this exciting campaign! You'll be knocking on the doors of Democracts - reminding them how important it is to vote. Take advantage of this incredible opportunity and get involved in a dynamic political campaign, gaining unique experiences and friendships. You can make the difference while having a blast! Sign up at: http://californiawomenvote.org Go Blue!

Posted by Bob Winkler - June 1st

Posted by Jessica Falker on June 1, 2006 at 09:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

A Living Democracy/Equitable Sharing of the Earth's Resources

Similar to the recent toxic benzene spill on the Songhua River some 236 miles upriver from Harbin, China - which eventually contaminated the city's water for some 4 million residents, and was not reported for 10 days after the spill - the true long term environmental disasters facing New Orleans are mostly unreported and don't seem to appear as a concern for the current administration.
As Vandana Shiva states in her paper The Myths of Globalization Exposed: Advancing toward Living Democracy - "...as millions lose their livelihoods, millions lose their democratic rights."
Economically, environmentally, and politically our globally dependent corporate systems are failing us and the consequences could become explosive in nature as people strike out to recover their livelihoods.
Vandana suggests that we take three steps in a movement toward a "living democracy" where there is an equitable sharing of the earth's resources.
1] Passing legislation which decentralizes democracy - where local communities and towns have more power than state or federal governments,
2] Electing, by law, at least 30% women representatives - thereby our governing bodies woud become more inclusive, less sexist, and a more balanced form of governance, and
3] Developing an earth or ecological community - a sense of place - where we live, work, and share a common ecological vision.
Whether New Orleans is rebuilt or reconstructed elsewhere, perhaps the new "sustainable politics" as suggested by Vandana is an urgent first step in the right direction.

Posted by rwinkler on December 2, 2005 at 11:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (20)

Biometrics

Biometrics

Recently a friend of mine lost his Naturalization Certificate in a fire. This is the one of most coveted documents in history because it grants foreign born citizens a new identity, being an American. In order to replace the Naturalization Certificate, the Department of Homeland Security which now houses the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) denied the replacement certificate pending a Biometric analysis. The notification from CIS included local sites that perform the biometric analysis for a fee.

Biometrics are automated methods of recognizing a person based on a physiological or behavioral characteristic.  Some of the features include measurements of; face, fingerprints, handwriting, hand geometry, iris, retinal, vein, and voice.   Biometric technology is now the foundation of a secure identification and personal information data collection system maintained by the Department of Homeland Security.

The information is uploaded for various purposes to be utilized by numerous governmental agencies for verification and distribution, all under the premise of increasing security.

In 1903 NY State Prison began fingerprinting prisoners for security purposes and since then the government has systematically proposed various schemes to collect information on the citizenry. Since then, states have been collecting personal information for anyone requesting a driver’s license, professional license, Medicaid or welfare benefits. The Judicial Branch in several states has ruled against mass collection of personal information as a violation of personal privacy.

In Perkey v. Department of Motor Vehicles (1986) the Supreme Court of California ruled that, "The collection of fingerprints for ... unspecified and widespread usage infringes on individual privacy rights." 

Fingerprints, facial geometry, and retinal scans and the communication thereof are protected under the right to liberty and property which is a basic understanding of the US Constitution which has been backed by 200 years of case law, protecting these basic human rights.

The government’s stance is that the war on terror has prompted the need for increased security measures. When the citizenry allows blatant violations of basic Civil Liberties it is the death of Democracy. In Politics Aristotle said, “ The basis for a democratic state is liberty”

We must save our liberty for the democratic state is in an ominous risk of extinction.

Ok everyone; look into the retinal camera for your close-up.

Posted by Narges Niedzwiecki on May 6, 2005 at 08:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (19)

We Just Graduated!

Politics operates at such different levels -- simultaneously.
It's truly amazing it works at all.

Here we are, less than a week after the Presidential Election, and everything is rosy in America. The Dow is up, Halliburton stock is up, and the President has a mandate. What could be better? NOT!

We are 55 Million citizens - voters - together with 100+ Million more who did not vote - effectively shut out of the national dialogue. The "winners" have declared a mandate and "damn the torpedos." You say you want a voice? Forget it. The electorate has spoken. Your time to speak is over. You don't like it? Then "off with your head". The image is engraven on the American consciousness since Nicholas Berg.

What are we to do? some ask. The fact is, we're already doing it! Our organizational and training efforts leading up to the 2004 Election were not for naught. The election effort helped us to hone our skills, to give us perspective, on what worked, what could have been done better, what never to try again. We now all have a collective understanding of the process and have begun to internalize the organizational requirements of the effort for "next time." Next time, many of us realize, is now.

Groups from around the country are coming together to discuss what has been learned and what we need to do moving forward. At the least, we can work in our neighborhoods and workplaces -- discussing the future; we have begun, now in day 3, the process of initiating dialogue with those whom we did not agree with, those who did not express their opinions and thoughts earlier, those who remained undecided until the bitter end then voted for a second Bush term. We need to understand them, their needs, their aspirations, their fears, their goals and aspirations, and provide them hope, solutions and empowerment. These are the people who will be most affected by the next four years. These are the people we need to make sure are represented in the mainstream and grassroots dialogue in the months and years to come; these are the people we need to bring together; these are the people we need to win. 70% of the citizens of America did NOT vote for this second term presidency. If we, as a party, as individuals, or as grassroots affinity groupings, can open ourselves to LISTENING to those we engage, and promoting our progressive values within the context of our listener's own worlds, lives and realities, we can begin to take the necessary first steps to winning with significantly wider margins than we have seen in the past few elections.

The good thing is that we know how to do this. We have learned what it takes to organize at the local, state and national levels. Some of us understand how to work as grassroots volunteers. Others how to work as party representatives. Those who started with Dean are not as green as in the Summer of 2003.

On November 2, 2004, we graduated.

- RALPH MILLER

Posted by Jessica Falker on November 5, 2004 at 06:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Final Push

Well, I just wanted to wish good luck to those running for office, and many thanks to those who gave of their time and effort to bring the Progressive message across - and also to those who participated in our conversations over the past months. I think the post election world will look and be a far better place because of our united efforts. It's been a grand ride into the future. Thanks.

- Bob Winkler

Posted by Jessica Falker on October 25, 2004 at 10:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

An Anarchist Votes This Election

AlterNet had an October 15th article that I found hopeful and wanted to share, but I wish I heard of Utah Phillips before last night. After the Bush Family Fortunes premiere, I was speaking to a person that said his conscience wouldn't allow him to vote for Bush or Kerry. This gent was very thoughtful in his reasons and they are understandable--though I disagree with him. I really wish I could have told him about Utah's decision. I think it would resonate with someone that has spent their whole life opposing our cultural pressures.

The article, http://www.alternet.org/election04/20159/, is about Utah Phillips, a Korean War Veteran and a purposeful non-voter/anarchist, who will cast a vote for Kerry this year.

Below is an excerpt from an article by Carolyn Crane of The Nation:

Interview Q: "You've said that your choice to not vote, to not participate in the system in that way, is one of the most sacred promises you've made. I know what it means to you to make this decision. It's sobering, because I think: Are things really that bad?

Utah Phillips: "Yeah, it is that bad. Now, I am not putting myself forth as an example. I'm not putting myself forth as a role model. Anarchists don't make rules for other people. You make rules for yourself and then people have got to learn how to trust you. And if you blow it you have the courage to change, and you do change and an anarchist is always something you're becoming. I don't need any congratulations for what I'm doing at all. I feel lousy about it. I don't feel good about it all. I'm simply going to do it. And if there are consequences of my act, than I harvest those consequences. That too, is anarchy."

- Charlene Johnston

Posted by Jessica Falker on October 18, 2004 at 10:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Renewable Energy

The Renewable Energy Conference in Burlington, Vermont on Thursday, October 13th, brought together some 200+ Vermoners to talk about the future of wind, solar and biomass initiatives throughout the state. The major theme was the development of wind turbine farms, and how it could replace the coal and oil generated power that the United States, including New England, has become so dependent upon. Expansionist wars and health care issues aside, we have the technology to develop many types of renewable energy sources - but powerful individuals, energy interests, and politics has left us with future lives and health in grave jeopardy.
The parallel theme of why more women weren't panel participants or attendees at the conference, brought home the volitale nature of environmental issues, and how we continue to be antagonist toward each other, thus reducing the power of our message by throwing insults and accusations amongst our own believers.
One comes away from such conferences energized, but also frustrated at the cycle of special interests - individual, corporate or governmental - that continue to dominate the public's basic needs. Forming new alliances appeared to be the future way to bring about change, and now, regardless of the election results in November, seems to be the time to do just that.

- Bob Winkler

Posted by Jessica Falker on October 15, 2004 at 08:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Coastal Notes

To a friend in Oregon I wrote:
There's an interesting article in the October 11th edition of The New Yorker, entitled "Pump Dreams" - about energy independence, and how we're really going to have to conserve soon. But it's like telling a child "not" to do something - chances are they'll do it! As the article points out, after 9/11 American's reacted just the opposite of how they should. Instead of looking at our behaviors and making changes, we decided to fight wars that cost billions of dollars - and we can't afford, and then running out to buy more SUVs and Hummers - which costs even more money. That's a sad commentary on our society. And certainly the "little" things we do to conserve energy need to be done, but it's the bigger things that will continue to get us deeper and deeper into debt - further reducing the quality of our lives, and eventually drowning us with the high cost of oil - an artificial value for a commodity at best. The end suggestion, in the article, was to let the prices stay high and eventually the public will wake up! I'm not so sure about that. It also pointed out that neither Bush or Kerry has a very realistic handle on energy policies - so how could the American people? That's a pretty sad cup of tea - but that's the scoop from this side of the mesa...

Their reply:
Oh, I hear you! Of course you're right, and that "is" the sad part. It is so wearing to keep beating the drum on deaf ears.

-Bob Winkler

Posted by Jessica Falker on October 11, 2004 at 09:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)