Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Koch Brothers Defeated by Eighty-Two-Year-Old Man in Wheelchair

Only in America.

This is how a one-legged, 82-year-old man is going to defeat the Koch brothers and their millions.

Even as I write this, my friend of 46 years, George Stamfen, is headed out in his wheelchair to lead a team of ten other retirees in doing voter registration throughout today.

Tomorrow he's going to "hold signs".  That means stand on street corners or on overpasses with signs promoting a candidate or the Democratic ticket.  Except George will be sitting down in his wheelchair.

The next day he's going to walk precincts. Actually he will be wheeling them.  Precinct work means going to the voter's door to promote your candidate.  At the same time you find out if the voter supports your candidate and if so, you note that down so that voter is targeted for get-out-the-vote on election day.

That's what wins elections. It's George negotiating getting up and down curbs and finding a doorbell he can reach.  Not the Koch brothers' millions.  And here's why.

First, the sincerity and personal effort of a volunteer precinct worker impresses the hell out of voters even if the worker is not in a wheelchair.  "Someone came to my door!"  Paid workers don't have the sincerity, and voters aren't dumb.  They can spot phonies, i.e. paid precinct workers. And paid precinct workers often cheat.  Check the dumpsters for GOP materials tossed by their paid workers instead of delivered door-to-door.  (The Kochs say they are planning to spend millions on precinct work and get-out-the-vote.  Good.  They're wasting their money.  The motto of the paid precinct workers is "Take the money and run!")

Second, any ads the Kochs  buy aren't nearly as effective as precinct work and get-out-the-vote.  When was the last time you bought something because of an ad on TV?   And haven't the big spenders in politics heard about the fast forward button?  No one watches TV ads!  Especially not campaign ads. In a campaign a TV smear job may indeed have to be refuted, but elections are not won by TV ads.

This flies in the face of all you've heard from the media and from such tub-thumping fund-raisers as Nancy Pelosi.  The media and Nancy want your money, not because it wins elections but because it finances their organizations. The media lives on ad income; Nancy's whole position is built on hiring flashy headquarters and lots of staff and cars, plus doling out campaign funds to her fellow Congress members so they will continue to support her leadership.

By contrast, you can build a local campaign organization in a cheap storefront or someone's garage and, beyond rent money, only need enough additional to buy pizza for the volunteers who are hungry after all that walking.

Third reason that George will beat the Kochs?  The wheelchair.  It's for real.  So is his age.  Eighty-two and still concerned about America.  The voters  know that what he's doing isn't for himself and his future.  He doesn't have a future.

He's doing it for them and their kids and their grandkids.  He cares about the people and he cares about America.  Only by a Herculean effort that comes from the heart could he have gotten to their door that day.

But each of you who does precinct work has similar impact.  You took the TIME out of your life to come to that door.  In this day of busy busy busy that sacrifice speaks volumes.

The voters tune out the TV ads.  But they will never tune out that you came to their doors.

Now go and save America and the world and the future one doorstep at a time!  Poke the Kochs!  Right in the eyes! And make mine a mushroom pizza please.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Great Good News You Don't Know

Dollars to donuts you don't know these three great pieces of good news.

First,  Obamacare's great success has gotten greater.  In April, the media was caught gape-mouthed by the fact that eight million people had signed up for the new federal health insurance program.  Well, here's an even bigger surprise:  When enrollment opens again this fall, it is forecast that the number will jump to thirteen million.  That's more than a 50% increase!

And where are all the horrible things that were supposed to happen?  The "death panels", for example.  Au contraire, mon cher.  There aren't any. Nobody in government is ordering sick people be killed. Further, and aside from Obamacare, good old Medicare is apparently going to start quietly paying for doctor/patient end-of-life conferences to let grandma make pre-decisions about any future plug-pulling.  Some insurance companies are beginning to do so for the rest of the folks.

Nor did the other horrors happen that the GOP fanatics predicted.  That's why the GOP has completely dropped the subject.  This election year was supposed to be about Obamacare's "failure" and it isn't.  BECAUSE OBAMACARE HAS SUCCEEDED!

Let's look at another great piece of good news that has been virtually ignored by the media.  Medicare is NOT bankrupting the country.  The cost of Medicare has been dropping drastically even with Baby Boomers beginning to flood into old age. And this isn't a one-year fluke or a product of the now-ended recession.  It's a steady, heartening trend.  How nice for us elders to know we are not "robbing our grandchildren" by going to the doctor, as the GOP claimed.  (Sounds like the GOP would like to pull the plug on us elders even before we get to the hospital!)

How wicked of the media to have buried this story that was reported recently on an inside page of the NY Times.  The reporter started off by saying virtually, "This is a big, big story", but the editor buried it anyway.  To my knowledge no other outlet gave the story any play.  If a government story doesn't get NYT big play, it isn't considered news by the rest of the media.

The story IS BIG, not only for what it says about Medicare but for what it says about the Big Lie the GOP told these past six years, the one about this country going bankrupt soon and the need to cut spending on infrastructure, food stamps, school lunches, student aid, national parks, and all other programs that help someone besides the rich. It was this looming and phony bankruptcy notion that triggered the near-disastrous GOP threats to default on our debt by not raising the debt ceiling. It was this non-issue that drove us into a government shut-down.  It was this fake gloom-and-doom narrative that slowed our recovery from the Bush Recession.

And let's look at another piece of good news.  The Democrats were right and the Republicans were WRONG about the path to get out of the Recession.  The Democrats wanted federal spending to pick up the slack in the private sector and thus stimulate the economy.  They got some of it, enough that we have climbed out of the ditch the GOP drove us into.  The Europeans, however, followed the GOP misguided idea of government belt-tightening.  We are out of the ditch now, while Europe is still spinning its wheels in a depressed economic condition.  Ten years from now Europe may be another Japan, a repressed economic power that was once a roaring lion.  May the GOP all move to the continent that pitifully followed the GOP advice.

As for us, get used to good news. I've got some more coming up for you. But there's a price. You have to promise you'll pass it along.  It's the least we can do for the man who made it all happen.  If the media won't tell the Obama story, we must.  Thank you, Mr. President.  You've done well.  So well that I have every confidence you will now handle the overseas stuff just fine.

And now into the Congressional elections!