Home | News | Campaigns | Calendar | Photos
Blog | Alumni | About Us | Officers | Links | Contact Us

Monday, September 12, 2005

March on Washington

On September 24th, people from all over the country will gather in the nation's capital to send forth a rally cry: "End the War on Iraq!"The Notre Dame Peace Coalition will sponsor a delegation to attend this March on Washington. In order to gauge interest in this trip, we are holding sign-ups NOW at the front desk of the Center for Social Concerns. Sign-ups will continue until Wednesday, September 14th.The tentative schedule for the trip includes us leaving Notre Dame Friday (September 23) following the dismissal of classes (probably 12 noon) and returning to campus Sunday evening (September 25). We will stay with Notre Dame graduates in Washington. There may be a small transporation cost, along with meal expenses.Saturday's events include a peace and justice festival, a march beginning at the Washington monument and "Operation Ceasefire" concert/rally featuring Cindy Sheehan. For more information about event specifics, visit www.unitedforpeace.org. This is a great opportunity to learn more and become involved the ongoing debate about the U.S. strategy in Iraq. With questions or concerns, contact Stephanie at sgharakh@nd.edu or Peter at pquarant@nd.edu.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

GENOCIDE HITS HOME

Communities and Congress Talk Darfur

Darfur advocates have written letters, made phone calls, even traveled toWashington, D.C. to urge our government to help end the genocide. ThisAugust, The Genocide Intervention Fund, Students Taking Action Now:Darfur, and the Save Darfur Coalition offer you a unique opportunity tomake more noise.

As Congresspeople return to their home districts during the August recess,volunteer organizers across the nation are bringing together members oftheir local communities and going directly to hometown congressionaloffices--or even Representatives themselves--to demand greater U.S.action.

After just one week, Genocide Hits Home already has volunteers signed upin more than 60 cities in 23 states, from Washington to Florida, Minnesotato Texas, New York to Hawaii (yes, *that* Hawaii).

The Genocide Hits Home campaign seeks volunteers willing to donate just afew hours per week during the month of August to this cause. We willprovide all the guidance and resources necessary to reach out to yourcommunity, spread the word about Darfur, lead a local congressional visit,and show Congress that a broad range of diverse constituents care aboutstopping the genocide.

You can get started right now: Visit www.GenocideHitsHome.org for all thenecessary instructions and materials.

VIRTUAL TOWN HALL with Stephanie Nyombaire

On Thursday, August 25th at 1:00 pm Stephanie--Rwandan native,Spokesperson for Genocide Intervention Fund and student at SwarthmoreCollege '08--will be leading a virtual town hall meeting about thegenocide in Darfur, her experience meeting refugees in Chad and what wecan do to protect civilians on the ground . Please RSVP totownhall@pfaw.org to express your intention to participate in the call byMonday, August 22nd at 5:00P.M. We encourage you to forward thisinvitation to friends and colleagues who might be interested in the TownHall.

GIF FALL ACTION KIT

Schools from around the country have been joining the efforts of theGenocide Intervention Fund by holding action events on their campuses. Wehave an up-to-date Fall Action Student Organizing Kit that can help youorganize action events at your school. If you would like to receive acopy of our Kit, please e-mail Outreach@GenocideInterventionFund.org. Besure to include your name, school, and contact info in the e-mail. We lookforward to hearing from you and collaborating with you in the Fall.

---http://www.GenocideInterventionFund.org

To donate to the Genocide Intervention Fund, please see
http://www.genocideinterventionfund.org/donate/

If you would like to receive daily Darfur news briefs, go to
http://www.thegif.org/dnb

Have A Hand In Stopping Genocide------------------------------------------------
Advocate: http://www.genocideinterventionfund.org/action/
Educate: http://mail.thegif.org/mailman/listinfo/dnb_thegif.org
Donate: http://www.genocideinterventionfund.org/donate/

Monday, July 25, 2005

Greetings from the CDA Convention!

I write encouragingly from Washington, D.C. where Danielle Nunez and I had the chance to attend the College Democrats of America (CDA) convention this past week from July 21 - 23. The convention was markedly enthusiastic and effective, affirming that the path of the Democratic Party is strong and unwavering in its commitments to core principles: equality, fairness, and the expansion of opportunity. Particularly lasting about the 3-day convention was the sense that college students from around the country, as well as the Democratic organizers from the DNC and elsewhere, are neither dejected nor defeated about Nov 2, 2004. Upward and outward convey the mood here in DC. The highlights of the weekend included energetic welcomes by Senator Clinton and Governor Dean, Chair of the DNC. Personally, I was overwhelmingly struck by the notorious frankness of Dean, who charged the crowd of nearly 300 presidential hopefuls to reach out to Christians, donate little and often to the party, and consider running for office at an early age. He reiterated that the 15 state strategy stands, and that the DNC is committed to a precinct-based model of organizing that seeks to have 4 organizers in every state, regardless of partisan history. The weekend was not all oratorical rousing, however. Valuable sessions included organizing strategies and national CDA elections. I will return with a rather sizeable binder for our chapter, and the willing and able participation of the Indiana federation to build a broad base of Democrats on campuses throughout the state. While plenty of work remains to be done by us at Notre Dame, by our elected officials, and others, there is certainly hope and encouragement for the young people in this party. Hope you are well and looking forward to setting that work into motion this fall!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Speech: A New Compact for Iraq

On Tuesday, June 21, Sen. Jospeph R. Biden (D-Del) delivered a new vision for Iraq to the Brookings Institution. In it, he describes that the Bush administration failed to level with the American people on Iraq or to provide a clear and thoughtful strategy for bringing US operations there to a conclusion.

Sen. Biden's comments outline a responsible alternative and a more effective approach than the President. To read the speech, go to:

http://biden.senate.gov/newsroom/details.cfm?id=239302&

Reid Statement on Bush Iraq Speech

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Democratic Leader Harry Reid released the following statement:

Tonight's address offered the President an excellent opportunity to level with the American people about the current situation in Iraq, put forth a path for success, and provide the means to assess our progress. Unfortunately he fell short on all counts.

There is a growing feeling among the American people that the President's Iraq policy is adrift, disconnected from the reality on the ground and in need of major mid-course corrections.

Staying the course, as the President advocates, is neither sustainable nor likely to lead to the success we all seek.

The President's numerous references to September 11th did not provide a way forward in Iraq, they only served to remind the American people that our most dangerous enemy, namely Osama bin Laden, is still on the loose and Al Qaeda remains capable of doing this nation great harm nearly four years after it attacked America.

Democrats stand united and committed to seeing that we achieve success in Iraq and provide our troops, their families, and our veterans everything they need and deserve for their sacrifices for our nation. The stakes are too high, and failure in Iraq cannot be an option. Success is only possible if the President significantly alters his current course. That requires the President to work with Congress and finally begin to speak openly and honestly with our troops and the American people about the difficult road ahead.

Our troops and their families deserve no less.

Pelosi Statement on Bush Speech on Iraq

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement tonight in response to the President's speech on the war in Iraq, and his failure to provide the American people with strategy for success:

The President missed an opportunity tonight for straight talk to the American people. He would have done more to honor the sacrifices of the brave men and women of the All-American Division before whom he spoke had he given all Americans specifics about a strategy for success in Iraq.

The President's frequent references to the terrorist attacks of September 11 show the weakness of his arguments. He is willing to exploit the sacred ground of 9/11, knowing that there is no connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq.

As the President noted, it is only one year after the return of sovereignty, but it has been 27 months since the President launched his pre-emptive strike. Iraq is now what it was not when the war began, a magnet for terrorism, because the President invaded Iraq with no idea of what it would take to secure the country after Baghdad fell. The insurgency took root in the unstable conditions that have now existed in substantial parts of Iraq for far too long.

The American people understand what is at stake in Iraq and in the Middle East. That is why it is so disappointing that the President failed tonight, as he has failed consistently since the war began, to lay out specifics for success, including performance benchmarks.

Regrettably, the President did not address key questions that must be answered: What will it take to train the Iraqi security forces to a level that will allow them to conduct combat operations without the assistance of our troops? How will reconstruction be done a priority so that electricity flows regularly, people are put to work, and Iraqis see a future in which they have a stake? When will diplomacy be employed effectively so that leaders in the region know that we recognize that their assistance is crucial to taking pressure off our troops and to fashioning an inclusive political process in Iraq?

Our commitment in Iraq does not have to be measured by timetables, but neither can it be open-ended. The President must still do what he did not do tonight: lay out clearly the task that remains for the United States in Iraq and how it is to be accomplished.

Monday, March 14, 2005

CIW Wins Taco Bell Boycott

Hello Allies
As of March 8, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers achieved victory in their boycott campaign against Taco Bell and Yum! Foods for justice in the Florida fields. The struggle for farmworker rights continues beyond this historic victory. Let us celebrate this accomplishment and commemorate Notre Dame's own feat in this campaign as the anniversary of Progressive Student Alliance's Hunger Strike Campaign to Boot Taco Bell from our campus occurs next month.

Come to Progressive Student Alliance meeting this Tuesday (and every Tuesday) at 9:30- O'Shag Great Hall to discuss our next steps in this struggle for justice in the fields and all workplaces.
--------------------
Coalition of Immokalee Workers Win Taco Bell Boycott!

National convergence in Louisville, KY on March 11th & 12th celebrated, charted next steps...

=============

"The consumer boycott is the only open door in the dark corridor of nothingness down which farmworkers have had to walk for many years. It is a gate of hope through which they expect to find the sunlight of a better life for themselves and their families" (Cesar Chavez)

On March 8, after nearly four years of struggle and amidst the momentum of the 2005 Taco Bell Truth Tour, farmworkers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers scored a decisive victory in their national boycott of Taco Bell. Caving under the weight of an intense grassroots campaign, the fast-food giant has agreed to work with the Florida-based farmworker organization to improve the wages and working conditions of farmworkers in the Florida tomato industry by paying a penny-per-pound surcharge demanded by the workers. The farmworkers' sub-poverty wages have been stagnant and declining in real terms since 1978.

"This is an important victory for farmworkers, one that establishes a new standard of social responsibility for the fast-food industry and makes an immediate material change in the lives of workers. This sends a clear challenge to other industry leaders," said Lucas Benitez, a member of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. The CIW's precedent-setting victory is also an important step forward for student/youth, global justice, and poor peoples' movements throughout the U.S. who have worked in solidarity with the farmworkers, forcing the world's largest restaurant corporation (Yum! Brands, Taco Bell's parent company) to accept responsibility for conditions in its supply chain.

By the final tally, students organized to prevent or remove Taco Bell from 22 different campuses throughout the country. This semester, there have been several campuses with campaigns close to success as well. Without a doubt, this victory shows the incredible potential of students and young people partnering with farmworkers to win real, concrete changes in the agricultural and fast-food industries, as well as with large corporations in general. For student and youth activists, there are many powerful lessons to be drawn from this experience.

As planned, farmworkers and their allies will gather in Louisville, KY on March 11th and 12th to celebrate the victory and chart the next steps in the movement to end sweatshops in the fields. Please join us in Louisville.... now more than ever! The battle is won; the war continues.

To view the details of this precedent-setting agreement, click here:
http://www.ciw-online.org/we%20won.html

To view a statement from Lucas Benitez of the CIW, click here:
http://www.ciw-online.org/lucasspeech.html

For complete coverage of the 2005 Taco Bell Truth Tour (photos, video, audio), click here:
http://www.ciw-online.org/tz_site-revision/breaking_news/2005dailyupdates.shtml

For complete Indymedia coverage of the 2005 Truth Tour (photos, video, audio), click here:
http://indymedia.us/en/index.shtml

Notre Dame and Local Groups Protest Bush

On March 4th, Over 300 Notre Dame Students, Faculty, and Staff along with community members converged to protest President Bush's proposals for social security overhaul. Touring the country proclaiming a phony crisis, President Bush wants to privatize this historic social program to cushion the stock market and help the haves and have mores. The Rally, organized by representatives from the Progressive Student Alliance, ND Peace Coalition, and College Democrats, drew media and citizens across the state. We showed the President and South Bend "What Democracy Looks Like" and that we would not let social security go without a fight.
For Pictures- see link
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mamorico/sets/148125/

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Dean is in

Howard Dean being named as DNC Chair may be the first step on the road to victory. In his acceptance speech Dean laid out a bold vision on how to remake the party. Dean is the right choice in that he is ready and open to doing the intellectual work of reframing the Democratic party and also the hard work of grassroots organizing to build the party from the local level up to Washington D.C.
Check out his speech below... It's go time Dems.

Remarks by Governor Howard Dean Accepting the Chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee

I. INTRODUCTION/ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
if you told me one year ago that I'd be standing here today, as your choice for Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, I wouldn't have believed you. And neither would have a lot of other people.
But let me say that standing here with the opportunity to lead this Party, is a great honor.
I am thankful.
I am humbled.
And I'm ready to get to work.
This was the first race for DNC chairman truly driven by the grassroots of this Party. And so, I want you to know this is not my chairmanship, this is our chairmanship.
You have given me an enormous responsibility. But it is a responsibility we share.
We can change this Party… but only by working together and competing in all 50 states. We can change this Party… but only by working together and becoming a national party again. We can change this Party… but only by working together at the local level.
If we want to win nationally, we have to win locally.
With your help, I am certain that today will not mark the end of the process of selecting a DNC chair. Today will be the beginning of the reemergence of the Democratic Party.
We have a lot of work to do.
But we have a bright future… exemplified by the other candidates who joined me in this race. They are all great Democrats.
I want to thank Terry McAuliffe. He has given this party so much. Not to mention every waking day of the past four years as our Chairman.
He has also given us something else — a Party in strong financial shape, with the infrastructure to meet the challenges of the future. That is no small gift. Thank you, Terry McAuliffe.
I also want to thank my family. I wouldn't be here without their support, or their belief in a more fair and just America.
I especially want to thank my wife, Judy, for her patience and her love. She's here with me today.
We all know that we're the party of the big tent and new ideas.
We know that we're the party for young Americans looking for a government that speaks to them… we know that we're the party for working Americans desperate for a government that looks out for them… and we know that we're the party for older Americans and veterans and members of the Armed Services expecting and deserving a government that honors them.
And we know that no matter where you live or who you are, what you look like or how you worship, ours is the diverse party that welcomes you.
But right now, as important as all of that is… it is not enough. We have to move forward. We cannot win if all we are is against the current President.
Republicans wandered around in the political wilderness for 40 years before they took back Congress. But the reason we lost control is that we forgot why we were entrusted with control to begin with.
The American people can't afford to wait for 40 years for us to put Washington back to work for them.
It can't take us that long.
And it won't take us that long… not if we stand up for what we believe in… organize at the local level… and recognize that this Party's strength doesn't come from the consultants down, it comes from grassroots up.


II. STANDING UP FOR WHAT WE BELIEVE IN


The first thing we have to do is stand up for what we believe in.


This week, the Republicans introduced a $2.5 trillion budget that deliberately conceals the cost of their fiscal recklessness.


Their budget doesn't account for the cost of the war in Iraq, or privatizing Social Security. It cuts education, children's health, veterans benefits, and community policing.


As far as I'm concerned, this budget does only two things:


It brings Enron-style accounting to our nation's capital.


And it demonstrates what Americans are beginning to see: Republicans cannot be trusted with your money.


The Republicans know the America they want… and they are not afraid to use any means to get there.


But there is something that this Administration and the Republican Party are very afraid of. It is that we may actually begin fighting for what we believe — the fiscally responsible, socially progressive values for which Democrats have always stood and fought.


Because we are what we believe.


We Democrats believe in fiscal responsibility and we're the only ones who have delivered it.


The first time our nation balanced its budget, it was Andrew Jackson, father of the Democratic Party, who did it. The last time our nation balanced its budget, it was Bill Clinton who did it. Democratic governors do it every single year.


Not one Republican President has balanced the budget in almost 40 years. Borrow and spend. Borrow and spend. Borrow and spend. Americans cannot trust the Republicans with their money.


Americans want a strong and smart national security.


It was Democrats who pushed to create a Department of Homeland Security. It was Democrats who pushed to make our airlines safer. It is Democrats who are now working to make sure we close the remaining gaps in our security. It was Democrats who demanded reform of the intelligence community.


And it is Democrats who are pushing for a foreign policy that honestly deals with the threats of today, and the threats of tomorrow — like securing the nuclear materials around the world.


Republicans had to be dragged kicking and screaming to our side on all of these issues. There is no reason for Democrats to be defensive on national defense.


We believe that a good job is the foundation of a strong family, a strong community, and a strong country. We're going to work to create good high-paying jobs here in America, and we're going to keep good high paying jobs here in America.


And there is no reason for us to apologize for being willing to stand up for our belief that Americans who get up and go to work everyday have the right to join a union.


We believe every American should have access to affordable health care. It is wrong that we remain the only industrialized nation in the world that does not assure health care for all of its citizens, particularly our children


We believe the path to a better future goes directly through our public schools.


We believe that every single American has a voice and that it should be heard in the halls of power every day. And most importantly, it ought to be heard by guaranteeing an open and fair vote on Election Day.


And finally, we believe that a lifetime of work earns you a retirement of dignity. We won't let that be put at risk by leaders who continually invent false crises to justify policies that don't work… in this case, borrowing from our children and shredding our country's social safety net in the process.


The President's plan for Social Security does nothing to guarantee Social Security's future. But it will cut benefits and cost an estimated 2 trillion dollars. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, we will have to borrow 4.5 trillion dollars to finance the privatization of Social Security in the first 20 years alone.


Let me give you a sense of how much money that is. There are 118 million people under the age of 30 in America today. That means borrowing nearly $45,000 in each of their names.


That's a legacy of debt our children don't deserve.


Social Security is one of the proudest achievements of the Democratic Party, and we don't intend to let it fall victim to a dishonest scheme that only serves to heap greater debt on America's young people.


We need to set the agenda. And we're going to work with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and our Democratic governors and local elected officials to do just that.


I met with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid this past week, and we are looking forward to standing together in the battles ahead.


We're all going to need to be united. And we're going to need to be organized.


Really organized.


III. ORGANIZE


That means we frame the issues; Republicans will not tell America what our agenda is. We will do that.


Organizing means raising money not only from big donors but small contributors, not only through dinners and telephone solicitations and direct mail, but also through the Internet and person-to-person outreach.


Organizing means transforming us into a Party that can communicate with its supporters and with all Americans.


Politics is at its best when we create and inspire a sense of community. The tools that were in part pioneered in my campaign — like blogs and Meetups and most importantly, community building — are just a start.


We are going to use all of the power and potential of technology as part of an aggressive outreach to meet and include voters, to work with your state parties, and to get our message out.


We cannot run 18 state presidential campaigns and expect to win.


You all know we have a strategy for every state and territory. It's very simple. Show up.


People will vote for Democratic candidates in Texas, and Utah, and West Virginia if we knock on their door, introduce ourselves and tell them what we believe. That's what organization allows us to do.


IV. GRASSROOTS


But all of the ideas and organization in the world won't matter if people don't see our ideas as relevant to them, or the political process as connected to them.


So, third, we are going to recognize that our strength lies at the grassroots.


If we are to take our country back for everyday working Americans, Democrats will have to match or exceed the Republicans' ability to motivate voters.


You might find this hard to believe… but I'm not much of a zen person. But I've found that the path to power, oddly enough, is to trust others with it. That means putting the power where the voters are.


That is something Republicans will never understand.


But we do.


V. CONCLUSION


Standing up for our beliefs… organizing… and transforming our party into a grassroots organization that can win in all 50 states: That's how we will rebuild the Democratic Party.


We will rebuild our Party because only we are the party of reform. Republicans can stop progress, but only Democrats can start it again.


And we will rebuild our Party because our greatest strength is something the Republicans can and will never match — the diversity represented in this room.


Look around — we look like America. We are America. Republicans stop progress, but only Democrats start it.


It's going to take a lot of work. And I'm going to be asking a lot of all of you. It is not my chairmanship; it is ours.


Election by election… State by state… Precinct by precinct… Door by door… Vote by vote…


We're going to take this country back for the people who built it.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

A Health Care Plan for Every Child

By John Kerry
Every parent knows the fear of waking up to the cries of a sick baby or a child with an ear infection that will not go away. As parents, we both remember the countless times we called that first pediatrician to get answers to every last question.

But far too many parents have another fear, on top of their child’s health. They worry that a sick child means financial ruin. There are more than eight million uninsured children in our nation. These children are less likely to get a routine checkup, or to get treatment for common ailments like asthma. They miss more days of school. It is a disgrace that eight million children lack health insurance in the richest nation on earth.

Our plan starts by providing health insurance for every child in America. Under the Kerry plan, the federal government will pay the full costs for the 20 million children in the Medicaid program. In return, we will ask states to expand coverage to children in families with higher incomes than are currently eligible, as well as low-income adults. This plan will expand coverage to millions of people and provide much needed relief for states that are struggling under persistent growing budgetary pressures.

The plan will also simplify the health care system so we can prevent children from falling through the cracks. Right now, there are millions of kids who are eligible for federal/state health insurance programs but are not signed up.

There are lots of reasons — sometimes the enrollment forms require the skills of an accountant to figure out. Some states make parents sign up every six months in person, making it virtually impossible for a parent who cannot get time off or afford to lose a whole day of work. Some parents do not even know these programs are available.

Under our plan, kids will be signed up automatically at hospitals, community health centers, and schools. And $5 billion in enrollment bonuses will be available to states as an incentive to find uninsured children and keep them covered. Children do not choose their parents. They do not choose whether to have health insurance. Children deserve a good start—with both high quality education and health care. Under our plan, every child in America will have health insurance, and every parent will have a little more peace of mind.

Progressives: Get Ready to Fight

by Robert L. Borosage & Katrina vanden Heuvel

What Is to Be Done?

In the wake of defeat, there will and should be reassessment inside the Democratic Party. But progressives drive this party now--we provide the energy, the organizers, the ground forces, the ideas and much of the money. We should organize the opposition. Here's a start:

§ Get Ready to Fight. Bush's agenda will ignite opposition. The current offensive in Iraq will galvanize antiwar sentiment across the world--including among the conservative realists in the Republican Party. The President's budget, featuring some $70 billion more for Iraq plus cuts across the board for education and other domestic programs, will highlight the financial costs of his folly. Progressives should continue to challenge this war and educate Americans on how it is making us less safe.

The President claims a mandate for a radical domestic agenda--privatization of Social Security, tax reform to reward wealth over work, drill-and-burn energy policy, tort "reform" to limit victims' rights to recover from negligent corporations, more testing in schools while cutting resources needed to fix the problems. He's likely to make an early Supreme Court appointment. These are all battles that progressives should fight, offering Americans a clear choice.

§ Take the Offensive. Progressives should mount a powerful assault on Republican boss Tom DeLay and the most corrupt Congress in memory, exposing the blatant giveaway of taxpayers' money to corporate contributors and spreading the word to Republican districts so voters learn about the crony corruption that is emblematic of this crowd.

§ Ideas and Local Invention. Progressives have to do more than oppose. We have to develop compelling arguments for moving the country in a different direction: What should America's role in the world be? How can we create a fairer economy? What kind of society do we want to be? This requires new big ideas--strategic initiatives for good jobs and energy independence like those of the Apollo Alliance. Progressives should turn states and localities into "laboratories of democracy." California voters just passed an initiative to borrow $3 billion to seed stem-cell research, insuring that that state will be a global center in this area. The Apollo Alliance is developing state initiatives on energy efficiency and renewable energy. In the Midwest, conservative Federal Reserve analysts are leading the argument for investing in preschool and early-childhood healthcare as an economic development policy.

In this election Progressive Majority recruited a team of progressive candidates for state and local office in three battleground states--Washington, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In Washington, their victories helped shift the State Senate into Democratic hands. All told, their candidates won 57 percent of open seats. Now they are gearing up to expand to ten states in the next cycle, finding the next generation of Paul Wellstones who see themselves as part of a movement.

§ Argue Our Case. Progressives should be aggressively arguing our case--and learning how to argue our case more effectively. Politicians are now scrambling for ways to appeal to the "values" voter. Some of this is common sense: Religious observance is not a Republican monopoly. Democrats who are comfortable with religion, like Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson and Bill Clinton, fare better in this very religious country. And progressives should be making our case in moral terms, not simply in the language of policy seminars.
But that does not mean abandoning the party's principles on social issues like choice or equal rights. Democrats champion the values of the civilizing movements of recent decades--the civil rights movement, the women's movement, the environmental movement, the human rights movement. We should lead the forces of tolerance against the forces of intolerance. We win by being the party of progress, not by blurring differences with the new reactionaries.

§ Build Independent Capacity. Progressives should build on this year's extraordinary efforts to register, educate and mobilize voters. New focus should be on building volunteer networks from community organizations (as the right has done with evangelical churches). The competition over the growing Hispanic vote is a case in point. With Republicans in control of the leading Hispanic TV and radio networks, this project can't be left to the party, or to chance.

At the same time, progressives have to expand their capacity to generate ideas, develop a message, communicate issues and carry out campaigns that can compete with the right. This is a long-term project that requires significant investment. Major donors and national and grassroots groups are already discussing it. MoveOn.org and Dean's Democracy for America have demonstrated the potential for building powerful movements based upon citizen involvement and small-donor support. That will be key if the debate is to break out of the narrow constraints of the Clinton years.

Progressives did more this year than anyone could have anticipated--and we still got beat by a bad President espousing a politics of division and distraction. So we have to get smarter, work harder, learn how to make our case better and find ways to communicate it across America's increasingly separated nations. The task is daunting. But we can undertake it, confident that, as Dr. King taught, the arc of history is long but it bends toward justice.

Katrina vanden Heuvel is editor of The Nation magazine.


Monday, November 01, 2004

VOTE

John Kerry For President

Please make sure you vote and work to get out the vote in this crucial election. I know we've heard this a great deal, but really imagine waking up on Nov. 3rd and regretting not working hard enough or not voting. You'd be mortified if Bush won. But, that's not going to happen if you get out and vote, for John Kerry and John Edwards, the team which will usher in a better age for America than Bush has.



Sunday, October 17, 2004

Education Contrast

Education Contrast

Kerry: http://www.johnkerry.com/issues/education/college.html
Bush: http://www.democrats.org/specialreports/highered/
·
Mr. Bush's Record
At a time when college is more important than ever, Bush is slamming the doors of college shut. Over the last three years, tuition at public universities has increased by a record 35 percent -- more than $1,200 per year. · State budget cuts fueled by the Bush recession have forced colleges to hike tuitions and fees-threatening access to higher education for low-income students. Public universities and colleges in 49 states increased their tuition in 2003. Tuition and fees at public two-year institutions has increased 16 percent since Bush took office, and four-year public institution tuition and fees have increased 35 percent. · The American Association of Community Colleges describes the new Bush budget as inadequate, saying: "Although the budget has a few bright spots, it freezes or cuts many programs that are essential for community colleges and their students. . . The Administration's budget threatens college access for millions of Americans, and it undermines the quality of academic and technical programs responsible for training a workforce that increasingly requires postsecondary education." · House Republicans are considering adding a provision to the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act to switch student loans from fixed to variable interest rates, meaning higher payments for millions of college graduates over the next few years. According to Henry Howard, President of the U.S. Education Finance Group, students could ultimately wind up paying twice as much in interest payments under the proposal as they pay now.
·
Mr. Kerry's Plan
For many young people, college is a distant dream. John Kerry and John Edwards believe we should reach out to young people and show them the path to college. Through initiatives like GEAR UP, John Kerry will expand tutoring, mentoring, and college preparation classes, and he will also help more young people negotiate the college application process. · John Kerry will offer a College Opportunity Tax Credit on up to $4000 of tuition for four years of college. This credit will be fully available to families having trouble with the costs of college and to young people who are paying their way through school. And John Kerry will work with colleges to provide the benefits of the credit at the beginning of each school year, when students need it most. · To relieve the fiscal pressure on states that causes tuitions to rise, John Kerry and John Edwards have proposed $25 billion in aid to states. Their plan includes $50 billion in tax credits to help Americans afford all four years of college.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Catholics for Kerry

Voting Our Conscience, Not Our Religion
The New York Times
October 11, 2004
By MARK W. ROCHE

South Bend, Ind. — For more than a century, from the wave of immigrants in the 19th century to the election of the first Catholic president in 1960, American Catholics overwhelmingly identified with the Democratic Party. In the past few decades, however, that allegiance has largely faded. Now Catholics are prototypical "swing voters": in 2000, they split almost evenly between Al Gore and George W. Bush, and recent polls show Mr. Bush ahead of Senator John Kerry, himself a Catholic, among white Catholics.

There are compelling reasons - cultural, socioeconomic and political - for this shift. But if Catholic voters honestly examine the issues of consequence in this election, they may find themselves returning to their Democratic roots in 2004.

The parties appeal to Catholics in different ways. The Republican Party opposes abortion and the destruction of embryos for stem-cell research, both positions in accord with Catholic doctrine. Also, Republican support of various faith-based initiatives, including school vouchers, tends to resonate with Catholic voters.

Members of the Democratic Party, meanwhile, are more likely to criticize the handling of the war in Iraq, to oppose capital punishment and to support universal heath care, environmental stewardship, a just welfare state and more equitable taxes. These stances are also in harmony with Catholic teachings, even if they may be less popular among individual Catholics.

When values come into conflict, it is useful to develop principles that help place those values in a hierarchy. One reasonable principle is that issues of life and death are more important than other issues. This seems to be the strategy of some Catholic and church leaders, who directly or indirectly support the Republican Party because of its unambiguous critique of abortion. Indeed, many Catholics seem to think that if they are truly religious, they must cast their ballots for Republicans.

This position has two problems. First, abortion is not the only life-and-death issue in this election. While the Republicans line up with the Catholic stance on abortion and stem-cell research, the Democrats are closer to the Catholic position on the death penalty, universal health care and environmental protection.

More important, given the most distinctive issue of the current election, Catholics who support President Bush must reckon with the Catholic doctrine of "just war." This doctrine stipulates that a war is just only if all possible alternative strategies have been pursued to their ultimate conclusion; the war is conducted in accordance with moral principles (for example, the avoidance of unnecessary civilian casualties and the treatment of prisoners with dignity); and the war leads to a more moral state of affairs than existed before it began. While Mr. Kerry, like many other Democrats, voted for the war, he has since objected to the way it was planned and waged.

Second, politics is the art of the possible. During the eight years of the Reagan presidency, the number of legal abortions increased by more than 5 percent; during the eight years of the Clinton presidency, the number dropped by 36 percent. The overall abortion rate (calculated as the number of abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44) was more or less stable during the Reagan years, but during the Clinton presidency it dropped by 11 percent.

There are many reasons for this shift. Yet surely the traditional Democratic concern with the social safety net makes it easier for pregnant women to make responsible decisions and for young life to flourish; among the most economically disadvantaged, abortion rates have always been and remain the highest. The world's lowest abortion rates are in Belgium and the Netherlands, where abortion is legal but where the welfare state is strong. Latin America, where almost all abortions are illegal, has one of the highest rates in the world.
None of this is to argue that abortion should be acceptable. History will judge our society's support of abortion in much the same way we view earlier generations' support of torture and slavery - it will be universally condemned. The moral condemnation of abortion, however, need not lead to the conclusion that criminal prosecution is the best way to limit the number of abortions. Those who view abortion as the most significant issue in this campaign may well want to supplement their abstract desire for moral rectitude with a more realistic focus on how best to ensure that fewer abortions take place.

In many ways, Catholic voters' growing political independence has led to a profusion of moral dilemmas: they often feel they must abandon one good for the sake of another. But while they may be dismayed at John Kerry's position on abortion and stem-cell research, they should be no less troubled by George W. Bush's stance on the death penalty, health care, the environment and just war. Given the recent history of higher rates of abortion with Republicans in the White House, along with the tradition of Democratic support of equitable taxes and greater integration into the world community, more Catholics may want to reaffirm their tradition of allegiance to the Democratic Party in 2004.

Mark W. Roche is dean of the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame.

Catholics for Kerry

Voting Our Conscience, Not Our Religion
The New York Times
October 11, 2004
By MARK W. ROCHE

South Bend, Ind. — For more than a century, from the wave of immigrants in the 19th century to the election of the first Catholic president in 1960, American Catholics overwhelmingly identified with the Democratic Party. In the past few decades, however, that allegiance has largely faded. Now Catholics are prototypical "swing voters": in 2000, they split almost evenly between Al Gore and George W. Bush, and recent polls show Mr. Bush ahead of Senator John Kerry, himself a Catholic, among white Catholics.

There are compelling reasons - cultural, socioeconomic and political - for this shift. But if Catholic voters honestly examine the issues of consequence in this election, they may find themselves returning to their Democratic roots in 2004.

The parties appeal to Catholics in different ways. The Republican Party opposes abortion and the destruction of embryos for stem-cell research, both positions in accord with Catholic doctrine. Also, Republican support of various faith-based initiatives, including school vouchers, tends to resonate with Catholic voters.
Members of the Democratic Party, meanwhile, are more likely to criticize the handling of the war in Iraq, to oppose capital punishment and to support universal heath care, environmental stewardship, a just welfare state and more equitable taxes. These stances are also in harmony with Catholic teachings, even if they may be less popular among individual Catholics.

When values come into conflict, it is useful to develop principles that help place those values in a hierarchy. One reasonable principle is that issues of life and death are more important than other issues. This seems to be the strategy of some Catholic and church leaders, who directly or indirectly support the Republican Party because of its unambiguous critique of abortion. Indeed, many Catholics seem to think that if they are truly religious, they must cast their ballots for Republicans.

This position has two problems. First, abortion is not the only life-and-death issue in this election. While the Republicans line up with the Catholic stance on abortion and stem-cell research, the Democrats are closer to the Catholic position on the death penalty, universal health care and environmental protection.

More important, given the most distinctive issue of the current election, Catholics who support President Bush must reckon with the Catholic doctrine of "just war." This doctrine stipulates that a war is just only if all possible alternative strategies have been pursued to their ultimate conclusion; the war is conducted in accordance with moral principles (for example, the avoidance of unnecessary civilian casualties and the treatment of prisoners with dignity); and the war leads to a more moral state of affairs than existed before it began. While Mr. Kerry, like many other Democrats, voted for the war, he has since objected to the way it was planned and waged.

Second, politics is the art of the possible. During the eight years of the Reagan presidency, the number of legal abortions increased by more than 5 percent; during the eight years of the Clinton presidency, the number dropped by 36 percent. The overall abortion rate (calculated as the number of abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44) was more or less stable during the Reagan years, but during the Clinton presidency it dropped by 11 percent.

There are many reasons for this shift. Yet surely the traditional Democratic concern with the social safety net makes it easier for pregnant women to make responsible decisions and for young life to flourish; among the most economically disadvantaged, abortion rates have always been and remain the highest. The world's lowest abortion rates are in Belgium and the Netherlands, where abortion is legal but where the welfare state is strong. Latin America, where almost all abortions are illegal, has one of the highest rates in the world.
None of this is to argue that abortion should be acceptable. History will judge our society's support of abortion in much the same way we view earlier generations' support of torture and slavery - it will be universally condemned. The moral condemnation of abortion, however, need not lead to the conclusion that criminal prosecution is the best way to limit the number of abortions. Those who view abortion as the most significant issue in this campaign may well want to supplement their abstract desire for moral rectitude with a more realistic focus on how best to ensure that fewer abortions take place.

In many ways, Catholic voters' growing political independence has led to a profusion of moral dilemmas: they often feel they must abandon one good for the sake of another. But while they may be dismayed at John Kerry's position on abortion and stem-cell research, they should be no less troubled by George W. Bush's stance on the death penalty, health care, the environment and just war. Given the recent history of higher rates of abortion with Republicans in the White House, along with the tradition of Democratic support of equitable taxes and greater integration into the world community, more Catholics may want to reaffirm their tradition of allegiance to the Democratic Party in 2004.

Mark W. Roche is dean of the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Solidarity Forever...

...For the union makes us strong
Greetings Democrats,
A short message from your friends on the farther left. The Higgins Labor Research Center and the Progressive Student Alliance would like to invite you all to the McBride Labor Lecture. Marco Trbovich, from the United Steelworkers of America, will be here WEDNESDAY at 8pm in room C-100 of the Hesburgh Center for International Studies. His talk, entitled “The Power of Labor in Presidential Politics” will cover labor and unions issues in this pivotal election. If that alone does not make you want to camp out at the Hesburgh Center until Wednesday, Mr. Trbovich is Senator John Kerry's director of labor policy. Come out, and show some Kerry love and labor solidarity- Wednesday 8pm.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Letter to the Editor

In case any of you missed the Observer today, the following Letter to the Editor ran in the Viewpoint section. I'm glad to see that the recent actions of the College Republicans have been publically called into question -- by a member of their own party!! The student body should be aware of how this organization conducts itself.


Republicans Stack the Vote


'This Wednesday, the College Republicans voted unanimously against democracy.During a motion to support outreach to the community, the College Republicans had the audacity to tell Rock the Vote commissioners that they would rather have citizens not vote than vote for their opposition. On the table was a program to register and educate ignorant voters in the area through the TRANSPO citywide bus system. By distributing flyers, students through Rock the Vote would help South Bend commuters register and find their polling locations on Election Day. The goal was simply to help citizens learn where to exercise their civic duty. The motion failed.The club rejected any funding or involvement with this initiative. Based on prejudicial assumptions regarding race and income, the College Republicans claimed they had no interest in helping these concerned citizens reach the polls. Any of the twelve bus routes, they alleged, would simply help Democrats in November. The College Republicans would rather citizens not know where to vote than to vote Democrat.As a Republican, a minority and an American, I am deeply offended by the position of this organization. In addition to their racial and economic profiling, College Republicans have decided against a fair election. This club would rather win with an unrepresentative minority than let democracy truly work.If President George W. Bush is truly worried about Indiana on Election Day, the College Republicans have a lot more to worry about than this nonpartisan college group. Regardless, if you are a Democrat and want to vote in November, don\'t tell the College Republicans. They would rather you stay silent. Rock the Vote, on the other hand, will not stand for this position. We are committed to helping any and every citizen take part in the democratic process, regardless of party. A true win on Nov. 2 is not only for the political party that takes power, but rather for every American who fills out his/her ballot.

Philip Wells
junior
Dillon Hall


Sunday, September 19, 2004

Shameful

No Stars, Just Cuffs
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: September 19, 2004, The New York Times

I and II, gold star mothers were the queens of their neighborhoods, the stars in their windows ensuring that they would be treated with great respect for their sacrifice in sending sons overseas to fight and die against the Germans and Japanese.

Instead of a gold star, Sue Niederer, 55, of Hopewell, N.J., got handcuffed, arrested and charged with a crime for daring to challenge the Bush policy in Iraq, where her son, Army First Lt. Seth Dvorin, 24, died in February while attempting to disarm a bomb.

She came to a Laura Bush rally last week at a firehouse in Hamilton, N.J., wearing a T-shirt that blazed with her agony and anger: "President Bush You Killed My Son."

Mrs. Niederer tried to shout while the first lady was delivering her standard ode to her husband's efforts to fight terrorism. She wanted to know why the Bush twins weren't serving in Iraq "if it's such a justified war," as she put it afterward. The Record of Hackensack, N.J., reported that the mother of the dead soldier was boxed in by Bush supporters yelling "Four more years!" and wielding "Bush/Cheney" signs. Though she eventually left voluntarily, she was charged with trespassing while talking to reporters.

The moment was emblematic of how far the Bushies will go to squelch any voice that presents a view of Iraq that's different from the sunny party line, which they continue to dish out despite a torrent of alarming evidence to the contrary.

Aside from moms who are handcuffed at Bush events and the Jersey 9/11 moms who are supporting John Kerry after growing disillusioned with White House attempts to suppress the 9/11 investigation, the president is doing very well with women. The so-called security moms, who have replaced soccer moms as a desirable demographic, are now flocking to Mr. Bush over Mr. Kerry, believing he can better protect their kids from scary terrorists.

In the new Times poll, 48 percent of women supported the president, compared with Mr. Kerry's 43 percent - a reversal from July, when Mr. Kerry had the women's vote 52 to 40 percent. This is an ominous sign for the Democrat, who lost his gender gap advantage after his listless summer and the G.O.P.'s convention swagger.
How did the president who has caused so much insecurity in the world become the hero of security moms? He was, after all, in charge when Al Qaeda struck, and he was the one to send off Mrs. Niederer's son and other kids to die in a war sold on a false premise. And that conflict has, despite what Mr. Bush claims, spurred more acts of terror and been a recruiting bonanza for Osama bin Laden.

In the Times poll, half of all registered voters said they had a lot of confidence in Mr. Bush's ability to protect the nation from another terrorist attack, compared with 26 percent who felt that way about Mr. Kerry.
While Mr. Bush managed to duck service in Vietnam and let Osama get away, he has been relentless in John Wayning the election and turning war hero John Kerry into a sniveling wimp.

Last week, Mr. Kerry finally tried to change the subject from Mr. Bush's mockery of Mr. Kerry's tortuous stances on Iraq to the awful reality of what's happening in Iraq.

He got an assist from the president's own intelligence community, which issued a gloomy report that gave the lie to the administration's continued insistence that Iraq is a desert flower of democracy.

This was followed by a report by Charles A. Duelfer, the top American weapons inspector in Iraq, that found no evidence that Iraq had begun any large-scale program for weapons production by the time of the American invasion last year. To rationalize its idée fixe on Iraq, the administration squandered 15 months, with 1,200 people - at a time when our scarce supply of Arabic experts should have been focused on the Iraqi insurgency and Al Qaeda - just to figure out that Saddam would have loved to have dangerous weapons if he could have, but he couldn't, so he didn't.

Even with the help of his new Clintonistas, Mr. Kerry is nibbling around the edges of the moral case against W(rong) and Dark Cheney. He charged that the president was living in "a fantasy world of spin" on Iraq.
But the Bushies are way beyond spin, which is a staple of politics. These guys are about turning the world upside down, and saying it's right side up. And that should really give security moms the jitters.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

What the College Republicans had to say...

It was officially confirmed today at the Republicans meeting that I attended on Wednesday night that they would not be supporting our voter initiative. It left several of the majorically freshman Republicans asking why the Republicans declined a perfect opportunity to engage in a nonpartisan event with the City of South Bend. This decision to manupulate small numbers in order to play politics when it was simply not neccessary (especially as a service project) was a bad one on the behalf of the leadership. I encourage all of those Republicans, especially the freshman that discouraged the action to truly consider the what was said tonight and to approach your leadership for a better explanation.
" and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free"
- John 8:32

For those still keeping your eyes on the prize to enfranchise the often neglected and voter disenfranchised areas of South Bend
"...be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord..."
- 1 Corinthians 15:58

We're doing good work let's keep up the momentum!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Oh, Ohio

This Saturday we will make our first pilgrimmage to the battle-ground of Ohio to campaign for Kerry-Edwards 2004. We'll leave at 7:30 am and return as early as 4:00, but some cars will stay later for those who wish to do so.
Our trip will be a great opportunity to get some presidential campaign experience under your belt and make a true difference in the election, which is incredibly close in Ohio: 47 Bush-46 Kerry among registered voters in polls as late as Friday.
If you want to take part and haven't yet signed up, contact Andrew Yi, ayi@nd.edu, to find out the details.


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Great Job!

Thanks to Jamie, Alli, and Kamaria for doing such a great job at the debate. The crowd reception of our side was so much more enthusiastic and passionate than the others. People were coming up to our debaters at the end and saying that our arguments had convinced them to vote for John Kerry. This shows that our debaters, who worked so very hard in preparing, did a great job and changed some minds in the right direction. That's the most we could have asked--and we got it. Also, thanks to Professor Ghilarducci and Professor Roos for their help in preparing for the debate. Much of the great arguments that were made were rooted in the Professors' guidance.

Thanks again to all those who helped. And great job, debaters.

Monday, September 06, 2004

A Labor Day Imperative

Rewarding 'Unskilled' Workers
By Beth Shulman
Washington Post, Monday, September 6, 2004; Page A23

Too many workers lack skills, declared Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan in response to growing pay inequality and wage sluggishness.

This mantra -- that American workers simply aren't taking advantage of training that will magically secure them well-paid jobs -- is appealing. But is it really only workers' skills that need upgrading?
As Morgan Stanley's chief economist, Stephen Roach, recently pointed out, from March to June, hiring in lower-end industries in our hourglass economy has accounted for 44 percent of the workforce. Twenty-five percent of our nation's workers earn less than $8.70 an hour (or $18,000 a year) before taxes or health insurance, which puts a family of four under the federal poverty level. These low-wage jobs -- nursing aides, security guards, teachers' assistants, janitors, home health aides, retail sales and food preparation -- are among the country's fastest-growing employment opportunities. Meanwhile, manufacturing and service jobs that once provided a middle-class income for millions of American families are disappearing. As Greenspan himself acknowledged, people are having a hard time finding jobs that pay as much as the "lost" ones.
Unfortunately, Greenspan's facile dismissal of low-wage jobs as "unskilled" is a way to avoid acknowledging these essential jobs and the men and women who perform them. It is a way of justifying their poverty wages and meager benefits and blaming them for our failure to properly reward them.

In fact, skills are not the real problem. Today's workers have the requisite skills for their jobs as child-care providers, nursing-home aides, poultry processors and janitors. Without question, better education and fluency in new technologies are essential to improving job options for this and the next generation of working men and women. People in virtually any position should receive training throughout their careers to increase their opportunities for job and social mobility.

Yet these labor-intensive employers will continue to demand large numbers of workers. They are not prospects for outsourcing, because the jobs must be done in specific locations, face to face with patients or customers. For the people who hold these jobs to be in a position to support themselves and their families, the rewards of their jobs must be improved.

Without improvement, the rising gap between the haves and the have-nots will continue to grow, straining an already divided nation. A forthcoming study from the Russell Sage Foundation shows that once the income divide becomes entrenched, it is increasingly difficult for workers and their families ever to break free. Falling incomes among the poor make it more difficult for them to improve or escape from underfunded public schools, limiting their chances for future success.

If work does not work for millions of Americans, it undermines our most fundamental ideal: that if you work hard, you can support yourself and your family. Consigning millions of Americans to dead-end, low-wage jobs endangers the notion of equal opportunity.

A key to turning this around is understanding what made "good jobs" good. There is nothing inherent in welding bumpers onto cars or manufacturing steel girders that makes those better jobs than caring for children or guarding office buildings. Workers organizing through unions, and the passage of social legislation, raised wages and created paid leave and health and retirement benefits in these initially "bad" manufacturing jobs, changing them into good middle-class positions.

Fortunately, we can make choices as a society to make today's "bad" jobs "good" ones.

First, we can raise the minimum wage. Its earning power has not kept up with inflation. Frozen at $5.15 an hour since 1997, its value is 30 percent less today than in 1968, leaving millions of workers and their families well below the federal poverty line.

Second, we can clear the way for workers to unionize. Recent Labor Department statistics show that, on average, unionized service jobs pay nearly twice as much as nonunion service jobs. Compare the same positions in hotel-casinos in Reno and Las Vegas. They vary by more than $5 an hour, depending not on the skills of those who hold them but on whether they are unionized.

Third, we can reward businesses that provide their employees a living wage and basic benefits by offering taxpayer subsidies, contracts or grants.

Finally, we can provide access to health insurance for all Americans. Workers in the growing low-wage service sector are the least likely to get health insurance from their employers.

As a nation, we can decide to ensure that the people who protect and help our families can support themselves and their loved ones by making service jobs the good jobs of the 21st century. We must not simply label certain jobs "unskilled" and sentence a quarter of our population to a life of poverty just for doing their jobs.


Beth Shulman, author of "The Betrayal of Work," is a spokeswoman for the Russell Sage Foundation's project on social inequality.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Apocalypse Now

I can't believe I didn't see this before. The DNC was in Boston, home to Manny Ramirez and the Red Sox. The RNC is happening now in NYC, home to the Yankees, a.k.a. The Evil Empire. Yes, partisan politics have fallen into the most heated rivalry in all of American sports: Boston vs. New York. And now was the Red Sox hastily make up ground on the Yanks in the AL East (the Sox are 3.5 games back), this oh-so-sweet rivalry has taken on new political proportions. It is certain: we stand at a moment of historical immediacy. George Bush and John Kerry, I got two words for you both: Apocalypse now. So friends, grab a Fenway Frank (hot dog), pull up a seat and get ready, because this one's about to get ugly.

In all seriousness, it completely makes sense. The Republican Party is the Evil Empire. Arnold is Darth Vader. Alright, maybe Dick Cheney. And now them good ol' boys are getting together to plot how to take over the world. See Project for a New American Century (http://www.newamericancentury.org/) Seriously, huge tax cuts + increasing militarism + "free" trade agreements (i.e. FTAA) + cutting social programs + "wars of choice" + throwing the UN out the door + privatizing social security = a whole new world. And a damn scary world at that. The good ol' boys are all attacking Kerry and touting Dubya's "compassionate conservatism" this weekend, but you won't hear them talk a word about the 4 million folks, many of them families, that have dropped below the poverty line since 2000. You'll hear them talk about Kerry's flip-floppin' and their "supporting" the troops, but I doubt we'll hear anything about the veteran's benefits (esp. health benefits) that have been cut and the education programs that are being significantly cut, especially for inner-city poor kids. Laura Bush praised her husband last night in a rather eloquent and personal address, but she didn't really weigh in on The Patriot Act that has turned our beloved libraries into centers of McCarthyism. The First Lady is all about kids reading as long as they are reading the "right" books. Finally, we keep hearing all this talk about "compassionate conservatism," which has a nice ring, but just doesn't seem the correct diction to describe the Bush policies. My question for Rudy, Arnie, Dickie and all the good ol' boys is simple: Compassionate to whom? Halliburton and friends...

It is a reality that elections now ultimately come down to who does a better job of discrediting their opponent. "Politics of hope" were thrown out the door a long time ago. And so as the RNC continues on and we march forward in the next two months, we can expect nothing more than empty promises, smear campaigns and whole lotta rhetoric. The saddest part is that it is the poor and marginalized, those that government exists to protect, who get forgotten.


Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Compassion Sorely Missing

Given some newfound attention to the ND Dems Blog, I though it high time to get serious. As the Republicans try to paint their party as some sort of beacon of compassion through an owenership society, we must assess what has happened in the last 4 years and we'll see that this is the exact opposite of the Bush administration's spirit.

From every aspect of the Bush administration's domestic policy, from education, tax policy, environmental standards, and health care objectives, there is an utter lack of what they hope to cash in on tonight: compassion. If you look closely, you'll find this phenomenon in the specifics: many policies claim to be exactly what they aren't: No Child Left Behind, Clean Air Act, etc.

If you examine the Census Bureau's latest register of Poverty and Health, you'll find that poverty and those without health insurance have both gone up in the last several years. While not owed totally to Bush, he has done little to address these serious and pernicious economic nightmares.

I have to ask, where is the compassion?


Monday, August 30, 2004

Obstruction of Rights

The Notre Dame College Republicans have wholeheartedly refused to be part of our voter outreach project to the South Bend community. While not necessary, their participation would have been helpful and would have led to more manpower registering more people in the South Bend area. They contend they're satisfied with the voter participation levels in "the post-industrial, ethnic minority" neighborhoods in South Bend proper. Apparently, this is what the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, has taught the leaders of the ND College elephants.

This shrewd electioneering just leaves no chance for new participation by the underpriveleged people in South Bend.


College Dem Blogs