Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fight Back Against McCain Attacks

By: Harry Waisbren

The Real McCain campaign at Brave New Films has come out with a new video aimed to entice McCain to disavow his dishonest Obama ad. Of course, there are many dishonest Obama ads they could be referring to, but McCain's recent exploitation of our soldiers is particulalry egregious.

The ad below highlights McCain's plans to attack Obama's treatment of our troops regardless of whether or not he visited them in Germany:

The ad is accompanied by a petition you can sign that highlights the bipartisan disgust over McCain's tactics. This sort of shameful conduct is not out of the norm for McCain though, as he has already been lying about his collpasing reputation amongst veterans organizations...a problem no doubt compounded by such ridiculous campaign tactics.

Moveon Attacks McCain "Gimmick"

By: Harry Waisbren released a new ad today attacking John McCain's plan for reducing our dependence on foreign oil by increasing offshore drilling. Watch this ad, entitled "gimmick", below (via Huffington Post):

"Voters can see through gimmicks like offshore drilling, which will produce no oil for years and even then will hardly reduce the price of gas," describes Eli Pariser, MoveOn's Executive Director. "The question is, who do we trust to lead us to a post-oil economy - McCain, who has taken over a million dollars from oil companies and voted for billions in subsidies for Big Oil, or Obama who has a real plan to solve our energy crisis and to create millions of jobs doing it?"

This ad strikes McCain on a particularly vulnerable issue, considering the myriad of reasons for not lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling. In fact, this issue is so cut and dry that our very own Oil-Baron-in-Chief's top energy forecaster has said that it will not help at the pump. Furthermore, even one of McCain's top advisors admitted that it will have no immediate effect on gas prices.

Perhaps this decision has something to do with the flood of oil money--$1.1 million in the last month--that McCain has received after his flip flop on drilling. The oil companies can't help McCain's argument on the issue though, as he has already resorted to claiming that this is important despite the lack of immediate relief due to the "psychological impact" it'd have on rubes like the American people.

It's issues just like this one that led Brave New Films to create the video "Big Oil Fuels the Straight Talk Express". Check it out below (via Think Progress):

Obama Fights Back!

By: Harry Waisbren

It's about time Obama slams McCain and his media worshippers for the blatant hypocrisy inherrent in the "Straight Talk Express" all but saying that our country can't afford to elect an uppity terrorist darky:

This ad represents the tactic that John Kerry refused to employ: self respect. Obama isn't remotely going as far as he can, but at least he's exposing the unserious and contemptable nature of McCain's Rovian tactics. Obama's self defense has only come in response to McCain upping the anty of Rovian sleeze in a new ad relating Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears:

Chris Bowers noted the super-villain nature in this ad's utilization of all the worst forms of identity politics including how:
  • Obama is a girly-man. The ad only compares Obama to female celebrities, which is a direct shot at Obama's "manliness."
  • Obama will sleep with your white daughters: Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears are known for their sexuality as much as anything else. That must go for Barack Obama, too. And the history of attacking African-Americans in association with white women is such a positive one.
  • Obama is too young: For a campaign that is hyper-sensitive to attacks on McCain's age, they certainly have no problem attacking Obama's age. Which is what comparing Obama to Spears and Hilton is.
  • Obama is a Hollywood liberal: This is also a run of the mill attack on Obama as a Hollywood, liberal elite, in line with decades of conservative backlash narratives.

Good for Obama for fighting back against this narrative, but shame on our media for constantly helping the Republican party spread such unAmerican trash. If you don't yet believe the media is complicit in this shell game, maybe you'll be convinced by the venerable Jon Stewart:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pledge to Hold the Media Accountable

By: Harry Waisbren

Media Matters has a new video and petition out designed to combat our media's McCain manlove:

This is an incredibly important issue for this election, especially considering our mainstream media is already going so far as to literally edit out McCain's mistakes. This sort of despicable conduct was not unexpected though, as it was explained in the Media Matters' produced book "Free Ride: John McCain and the Media". Fortuantely for the country, we have groups like Media Matters to help lead the pushback against the McCain media through actions just like this one:
Following a week of coverage focused on unfounded complaints of media bias by Sen. John McCain and his surrogates, Media Matters Action Network today launched an ad campaign highlighting the media’s long-held affection for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and seeking public support to hold the media accountable.The ad follows on the heels of a new study from the conservative Center for Media and Public Affairs, which reportedly found that during the initial phase of the general election, network evening news coverage has been more favorable toward John McCain than Barack Obama. Though Obama has received a greater volume of coverage at times, the tone of his coverage has been more negative, according to CMPA.

CMPA reportedly examined all statements by anchors and reporters on the network
evening news broadcasts between June 8, the day after Hillary Clinton dropped out of the Democratic race, and July 21. Though most of the comments were neutral in tone, CMPA reportedly found that when there was an opinion offered, it was more likely negative against Obama. Only 28% of the opinions offered about Obama were positive, while 72% were negative. McCain’s numbers were clearly better: 43% positive opinions versus 57% negative.

I know many people who recognize the problems with our media yet do not know how to work stop it. Media Matters is an incredible outlet to do just that, and I suggest to any progressive activist to begin working with Media Matters to expose the farce that our "unbiased" and "nonideological" press has become.

Monday, July 28, 2008

First "W." Movie Trailer

By: Harry Waisbren

The first trailer for "W.", the upcoming Oliver Stone Bush biopic, is embedded below and I highly recommend checking it out. The movie stars Josh Brolin as the second President Bush, Elizabeth Banks as Laura, and Richard Dreyfuss as Vice President/Supreme Overlord Cheney (via Huffington Post):

Despite the rush to release the film before the presidential election, Oliver Stone denies the charges that he is making a political hit piece:

''Bush may turn out to be the worst president in history,'' he declares as he peeks into room after room. ''I think history is going to be very tough on him. But that doesn't mean he isn't a great story. It's almost Capra-esque, the story of a guy who had very limited talents in life, except for the ability to sell himself. The fact that he had to overcome the shadow of his father and the weight of his family name — you have to admire his tenacity. There's almost an Andy Griffith quality to him, from A Face in the Crowd. If Fitzgerald were alive today, he might be writing about him. He's sort of a reverse Gatsby.''

Stone is creating quite the hard hitting portrait of our president with a focus on how his relationship with his father affected his presidency. It will also have some of the none too flattering depictions of his problem drinking that have been disappeared by our press corps, giving focus to the issues that should have been covered since the beginning and making the movie quite the fitting capstone to the most disasterous presidency our country has ever seen.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

July 27th edition of Forward Forum

By: John Quinlan

This is John Quinlan. Please join me, co-host Harry Waisbren, and producer Stephanie Woods for this week's Forward Forum. On this week's show:

* With memories of last weekend's pride celebrations still fresh, Dane County proposes domestic partner benefits

* In a weekend of celebration for our Latino communities, a view into the virulent hatred being manipulated and targeted at courageous woman who is a longtime advocate of immigrants' rights along our southern border.... and much, much more.

"Forward Forum" airs Sunday evenings from 7-9 pm on WTDY, 1670 AM, and streams live and podcasts at Join in the pre and post-show dialogue on our blog at Show website: . Please join in our discussion by calling 321-1670, or toll free *123 for US Cellular users, and 1-877-867-1670 toll free, if calling from further afield.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Meet the Bloggers

By: Harry Waisbren

Watch Meet the Bloggers
Meet the Bloggers is an impressively innovative and promising new program that will be a huge benefit to die hard bloggers and dead tree press readers (whose newspapers need to be torn from their cold dead hands) alike.
Meet the Bloggers is a live online video show created by Brave New Foundation which is broadcast online every Friday focusing on unconventional political opinion and analysis. Affiliate blogs include The Huffington Post, Think Progress, Alternet, Jack & Jill Politics and Of América. When not live, shows will be made available on-demand on, as well as iTunes, and RSS Feeds. In addition to its web distribution, Meet The Bloggers will be televised on FreeSpeechTV and Link TV.

Cenk Uygur does a great job hosting, and they have already had a series of quality guests including some of my personal favorite bloggers Arianna Huffington, Marcy Wheeler, Nico Pitney, and Matt Stoller. The show also landed Senate Majority leader Harry Reid in its second episode, and it has Air America superstar Rachel Maddow coming up next week.

This show will be syndicated on Mad Progress from here on out, and for those of you who want to catch up I'm embedding the first two episodes below:

July 25, 2008: The energy crisis

July 18, 2008: Karl Rove in contempt

Great Vote Vets Ad

By: Harry Waisbren

I'm a huge fan of the work vote vets does as they are extremely hard hitting in pointing out the Republican party's contempt for our soldiers. Their hypocrisy over dissent equating to a lack of support of the troops is monumental and should render their credibility non-existant in a sane world.

Their new ad points out how the Republicans ignoring the wishes of the democratically elected Iraqi government betrays the notion that our troops' role in Iraq was really one involving "freeing" the Iraqis:

Iraqi veteran and Vote Vets Chairman Jon Soltz discussed this ad at the Huffington Post today and wrote:
John McCain sure is a maverick, I'll give him that.

In just a week, he's managed to alienate the Iraqi Prime Minister, the Iraqi people, the American people, and the veterans community. The question is, is this the kind of maverick that we really want to see?

First, just after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki backed Barack Obama's plan for a timeline to redeploy from Iraq, Senator McCain stubbornly said that he
would not listen to the Iraqis
, despite past statements saying he would. This, despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Iraqis want us to set some kind of timeline, that the American people want some kind of timeline, and that the Bush administration even had to cave on timelines.

In response, we at launched this ad, featuring Iraq War Veteran Brandon Woods. In the ad, Brandon makes clear - we fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and freedom means the Iraqi's sovereign government and the Iraqi people have the right to self-determination.

I, for one, can't wait to see how McCain will respond when he can no longer exploit the troops to endorse his imperialistic aspirations. Considering President Bush is already shilling for him by pretending he actively worked for the new GI Bill when, in reality, he was its prime opponent, I will venture to say that this might just get ugly.

McCain: We'll Do It Live!

By: Harry Waisbren

Here's a particularly hilarious new video of John McCain as Bill O'reilly in his famous "we'll do it live" on set f-bomb filled freak out. This video was produced as part of Stephen Colbert's ongoing green screen challenge (via Crooksandliars): - Watch more free videos

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama Speaks in Berlin

By: Harry Waisbren

Barack Obama made a speech in front of 200,000 in Berlin today that I found to be a stark reminder of the promise that a president Obama holds---not only to our nation, but to the world at large. I couldn't suggest watching this whole video enough, if only to ensure that you can fully bypass the inane analysis from our out of touch beltway political class.

Chris Bowers discussed today how our Beltway Stars have not yet recognized that our country has moved on past their xenophobic hysteria, past the days of freedom fries and general euro-bashing. This speech, more than anything, represents the potential coming to power of all the best that is inherrent in America's pluralistic upbringing. All the best that is inherrent in Obama's upbringing. All the best of what America can hopefully share with the world once again:

More than a mere presidential candidate or a return to power to the Democratic party, Obama represents the hope for a change in America and in the world at large. A hope for the return to American power that stems not merely from our military superiority, but from the preeminence of a moral code codified in our Declaration of Independence. These are ideals that have changed the world far more than America the country, as they are ideals that inspire hope in all men, a hope in the potential of mankind.

Like Martin Luther King Jr., I see no separation between the current anti-war and civil rights movements. Like King, I believe that the Iraq war is symbolic of the greater "malady of the American spirit" that is anethama to freedom, democracy, and the American Dream. Obama took the opportunity to discuss this theme in Germany, although not in nearly the controversial fashion that King engaged in his Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence speech. If Obama would have done that, he would have had to watch his reputation be destroyed by the same establishment that denigrated King's character for this very speech...a political hit job that led directly to his assasination one year to the day from when he first broke his own silence about Vietnam in this masterful and historic speech.

It was no coincidence that Obama chose to speak in Berlin, as Obama discussed how this very struggle was symbolized by the fall of the Berlin wall not too long ago:
"The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand,"
Obama said, speaking not far from where the Berlin Wall once divided the

"The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least
cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes, natives and immigrants,
Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand."

Ever since I heard Obama speak at the 2004 Democratic National Convention I have been astonished by how effectively he is able to express the ideal that is America, and the hope--shared by those across the world--that better days are yet to come. The hope that is the American Dream.

As Obama closed this speech, I recognized, once again, how as often as progressives may disagree with him, we must remember that Obama's embodiment of the best of America may accomplish far more than Obama the politician ever could on his own:

People of Berlin - and people of the world - the scale of our challenge is
great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are
heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. With an eye
toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and
answer our destiny, and remake the world once again.

I firmly believe that it is unamerican to have faith in any politician, but I am unabashed in expressing the hope that I have for Obama. This is the hope that he can succeed not only at restoring the American Dream for our country, but at restoring the dream of equality and freedom of thought for any person, no matter their station in life, across the world. As much as I worry that my hope is misguided, it is within speeches like this one today that make me believe that, despite the audacity of hope, it can be accomplished if we work together.

"E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

McCain Doesn't Know What He's Talking About

By: Harry Waisbren

John McCain is quickly disintegrating the myth that he is a foreign policy genius. Now you'd think that his integral support of the Iraq war would have already made this media myth crash and burn, but it's better late than never I guess.

McCain is really starting to screw the pooch though, as he is either intentionally distorting the history of the surge to make it look better, or he simply has no conception of what it was exactly. Maybe this is why McCain is arguing that we should forget democracy and just do what the military says.

This gaffe came by way of CBS when McCain falsley attributed the surge for instigating the Sunni awakening and the resulting drop in violence...despite its occurence prior to even the discussion of a troop escalation.

Keith Olbermann highlighted this in a segment last night, as well as the question of why CBS specifically edited out this potentially damning gaffe (video below). This is quite curious considering it was their only remotely newsworthy element of the interview. It certainly wouldn't be the first time the media blatantly helped McCain and the Republicans by having amnesia with the surge, though it is a particularly explicit example of how they are looking to shill for him to keep the "surge is working" myth going.

Vice President Ferrell

By: Harry Waisbren

So Will Ferrell is on the campaign trail (at least while he pitched his movie on Letterman), and I think he's earned quite a prestigious position. Anyways, after these clowns leave office it's the least we can do to put a comedian in the White House to ensure our political satire stays on point.

Check out the video here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wait a Tic...

By: Harry Waisbren

Check out this particularly bad ass leopard dragging a crocodile out of the water and taking it down. (via Balloon-Juice)

Wikipedia explains how "the species' success in the wild owes in part to its opportunistic hunting behaviour, its adaptability to a variety of habitats and its ability to move at up to approximately 60 kilometres (37 miles) an hour. The leopard consumes virtually any animal it can hunt down and catch."

No kidding.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New Jib Jab Video

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Center for American Progress proposal

By: Harry Waisbren

This last week I attended three conferences sponsored by Campus Progress at their national headquarters in Washington DC. This included a grassroots training day, the Campus Progress National conference, and the National Youth Journalism conference cosponsored with the Nation. I will be providing added analysis to all three in posts of their own soon enough, but despite how phenomenal I found all the conferences to have been, I believe that I benefited even more from the networking ability these conferences provided me.

Specifically, I was able to present my proposal for integrating Mad Progress dramatically more with a variety of projects from the Center for American Progress. Campus Progress is one such project, as it is the student arm of CAP, and I have been so impressed by the work that they do that it not only inspired me to start my own chapter of Campus Progress but also to take a semester off school to intern for them (which turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life).

We will be discussing my plans to work increasingly more with Campus Progress and CAP alike on the latest editition of Forward Forum coming tonight, and below I am pasting excerpts from the proposal I presented to a variety of colleagues regarding this project:

Project Description

Mad Progress is a blog that is designed to act as the virtual headquarters for campus activists. The blog will provide both an analysis of pressing political issues as well as the ways activists can take part in the campaigns designed to solve them. This will be accomplished by utilizing a variety of mediums (including print, radio, and film) to properly cover and create this work, all of which will be centralized on the Mad Progress blog. This process will enable progressive academics to directly strategize with activists in regards to what sort of activism would be most appropriate. Furthermore, media produced in this project will be designed to be of the greatest possible use to the progressive blogosphere, as many of these blogs provide a wide enough viewer base to achieve a vastly increased audience and general effect for the activism. Madison’s chapter of Campus Progress is dedicated to crafting such newsworthy and educational media for the blogosphere and is currently in the process of creating a sustainable infrastructure to produce video, audio, and print content for this project.

Call for Collaboration

The Center for American Progress has many ties to the blogosphere which, if utilized for this project, could enable campus activists to directly strategize with prominent bloggers regarding the content that would be most beneficial to be produced. Furthermore, there is any number of CAP employees who could provide great assistance in crafting and creating such content by being guests in any of the mediums at Madison’s chapter of Campus Progress’ disposal. This would also entail the added benefit of further publicizing their work to a progressive niche audience as well. Collaboration regarding how such material can best be created and spread would not only be appreciated, but mutually beneficial as well.

July 13th Edition of Forward Forum

By: John Quinlan

Please join me, my co-host Harry Waisbren and producer Stephanie Woods for this week's Forward Forum, 7 pm Sunday on WTDY 1670 AM and streaming live and podcasting at

On the Sunday evening, July 13th Forward Forum:

* A Dynamic Panel of Riders from the ACT 6 Wisconsin AIDS Ride (see for information on how you can lend your support). From Aug. 7-10, hundreds of dedicated volunteers will be riding and providing crew support to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to support prevention and treatment programs locally. It takes months of training--and the motivation for riding is often intensely personal--as you'll hear tonight from an group of this year's riders. Please be generous in your support of those who ride--and be there to cheer them on as each crosses the finish line during the highly inspiring closing ceremonies on Saturday, August, the 10th.

* Co-host Harry Waisbren continues his reports on the fusion between national movements for social change and UW-Madison activism. Harry is just back from a week in Washington, DC, where he attended the "Campus Progress" conference, and he's got some incredible stories to tell about the student-led aspect of the larger movement for change sweeping through our country.

* As always, a potpourri of upcoming local events, and thought-provoking discussions drawn from the week's headlines, including your chance to tell us about the events and issues that matter to you.

"Forward Forum" airs Sunday evenings from 7-9 pm on WTDY, 1670 AM, and streams live and podcasts at Join in the pre and post-show dialogue on our blog at Show website: . Please join in our discussion by calling 321-1670, or toll free *123 for US Cellular users, and 1-877-867-1670 toll free, if calling from further afield.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Campaign Alert: Health Care for America Now!

By: Harry Waisbren

I am happy to announce that Mad Progress will be participating in the newly launched Health Care for American Now! campaign. This is a national grassroots effort aiming to organize millions of Americans to win a guarantee of quality, affordable health care for all.

We're offering a bold new solution that gives you real choice and a guarantee of quality coverage you can afford: keep your current private insurance plan, pick a new private insurance plan, or join a public health insurance plan.

We're also calling for regulation on health insurance companies. We need to set and enforce rules that quash health insurance companies' greed once and for all.There is a huge divide between our plan and the insurance companies' plan for healthcare reform. We want to make sure you have the quality coverage you need at the price you can afford. They want to leave you alone to fend for yourself in the unregulated, bureaucratic health insurance market.

Our plan is affordable for people and business. Their plan is profitable for them. With no regulation, health insurance companies can and will charge whatever they want, set high deductibles, and continue to drop coverage when you get sick.

They have put together a very impressive coalition including over one hundred organizations. This includes the Center for American Progress, the parent organization of Campus Progress. If it was not encouraging enough for me to see my favorite think tank's involvement, Mike Lux put it over the top by reporting that this campaign will have a very netroots centered strategy:

HCAN's strategy will put the netroots at the center of its strategy, turning to us for feedback, fresh ideas and involvement. The netroots will be integral in promoting ideas and also opening up comment threads for discussions related to the health care debate.

Mad Progress will be helping out this campaign as much as we can, and we hope all of you can pitch in as well! Click this link to to alert the campaign that you are on the side of affordable health care, and check out their new advertisement below:

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Obama Fisa Conversation Continues

By: Harry Waisbren

Help Obama Get FISA Right

This last Thursday, I blogged about the open letter sent to Obama from the 15,000+ person group"Senator Obama – Please Vote NO on Telecom Immunity – Get FISA Right", and that group has now swelled to over 20,000. Since then, Barack Obama has responded directly to this letter, however, his argument regarding his rationale for not doing more to stop this atrocity to the rule of law was quite underwhelming.

Due to this state of affairs, the Get Fisa Right effort has crafted another open letter to the Democratic nominee for president, which I am reposting below:

An Open Letter to Senator Obama
From the 20,000+ members of the group
"Senator Obama – Please Vote NO on Telecom Immunity – Get FISA Right"

Dear Senator Obama,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to us with your post “My Position On FISA” dated July 3rd, 2008. In your response, you pledged to "listen to [our] concerns, take them seriously, and seek to earn [our] ongoing support," and in that spirit, we would like to continue this conversation. We ask that you help transfer our passion and political activism into getting the FISA bill right -- now.

Senator, as a legal scholar who has done extensive study of our country's constitution you know that the FISA re-authorization bill currently before the Senate (HR 6304) threatens the rights guaranteed to American citizens in the Constitution, especially the Fourth Amendment.

One of the most troubling parts of this bill is its provision to provide retroactive immunity from civil lawsuits for telecommunications companies that may have assisted the Bush administration in violating the civil rights of Americans. You wrote in your statement that you “support striking Title II," which provides this immunity, "from the bill, and will work with Chris Dodd, Jeff Bingaman and others in an effort to remove this provision in the Senate.”

We ask that you back up your words with action by addressing your constituents on the floor of the Senate with the same oratorical power you used in Philadelphia to lay out your vision of a 'More Perfect Union.' The American people have just as much right to know of the dangerous precedent this Congress would be setting by granting retroactive immunity to those who "may have violated the law" and allowing spying on law-abiding citizens as we did to relearn of segregation and Jim Crow. The arm of government oppression reaches far and wide, Senator, and we must beat it back on whatever front we find it.

We ask you to reconsider your current position on the bill as a whole and strongly oppose a bill about which you said, "I know that the FISA bill that passed the House is far from perfect. I wouldn't have drafted the legislation like this, and it does not resolve all of the concerns that we have about President Bush's abuse of executive power." In your statement you also wrote, “In a dangerous world, government must have the authority to collect the intelligence we need to protect the American people. But in a free society, that authority cannot be unlimited." We agree. Our nation just spent the holiday weekend in celebration of our independence from unlimited government authority. America in 1776 wished to be strong and free. Much has changed in 232 years but Americans will never consciously abandon freedom.

Senator, while you wrote that not passing this bill would result in the government “losing important surveillance tools," these important surveillance tools are in fact blanket surveillance programs already underway solely due to the passage of the Protect America Act, which you rightly opposed and voted against. This is only one example of how, even without the provisions for retroactive immunity, this bill is still dangerous to the civil liberties of American citizens.

As we understand it Senator, your oath to uphold the Constitution requires you and others in the Congress to vote against HR 6304.

We appreciate your willingness to continue the discussion. We represent a large and vocal part of the movement you have nurtured and that has nurtured you during this campaign season, and include many of your most active and ardent supporters. As you have said time and again Senator, "we are the ones we have been waiting for," and we are here, working to bring about real change in Washington. We have grown to over 20,000 strong in the space of just a few days. We are lobbying our representatives, and working to get our friends, relatives and neighbors to do the same. We are organizing support for removing the immunity provisions for telecommunications companies and building opposition to this dangerous bill in its entirety.

Working together, we have a better chance to assist Senators Dodd and Bingaman, and can achieve what your commitment to us, your supporters, has been before your recent change in position. Together, we can protect our civil rights and continue to keep America safe. Please join us and let's work together to Get FISA Right.


This post ends with a call to join this effort, and if you so desire, please call your Senator, join the group on myBO and Facebook, and help get the word out. Remember: citizenship is something you do!

Moveon Rally for an Oil Free President

By: Barbara Wright

Our July Action Event is set: On Wednesday, July 9, from 5-6pm we will hold a “Rally for an Oil Free President” with other MoveOn members. The location is to be 735 E Washington Ave. We will meet at the designated location during the rush hour, 5pm. We will be waiving signs with the high prices at the gas station as our backdrop. We will also have educational flyers to hand out to pedestrians and passing cars. Hundreds of MoveOn chapters across the country will hold similar rallies. We are not targeting the gas stations or their owners themselves, but our location at gas stations will highlight the problem, and hopefully draw attention with great visuals. That’s where You come in! Please come and help us get this important word out.

McCain has ties to Big Oil, and the American people know it. We want to communicate our displeasure with the Failed Energy policies of the past that John McCain keeps rolling out and show our support for Barack Obama and his view of an Energy independent America that emphasizes renewable resources. MoveOn members held similar rallies in the summer of 2006 for an ‘Oil-Free Congress,’ and they went great. So we can feel confident that this event will be one that both members and those driving by will respond to. Register for this event at:

Why are we doing this? For the last 8 years we've had an oil-funded president. Gas prices have risen to all-time highs, little is being done to curb global warming, and the Oil Industry is making record profits. Now Big Oil has a new candidate for president: their friend John McCain. McCain has taken over $1 million from the oil and gas industry. He has 20 former oil lobbyists running his campaign -- and now he's returning the favor by pushing for coastal oil drilling that will line the pockets of Big Oil and do nothing to help us with high gas prices. We simply can't count on McCain to fix our energy crisis, and we can’t count on the mainstream media to get the message across. So on July 9th, we'll tell the local and national media: the American people need an Oil-Free President -- and that is NOT John McCain. Can you spend an hour next Wednesday educating Madison commuters about the differences between the McCain and Obama energy policies?

For more information call Barbara at 256-8804. We hope to see you there!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Open Letter to Obama on FISA

By: Harry Waisbren

Below is an open letter to Senator Obama from the 15,000+ (and rapidly growing) members of the group"Senator Obama – Please Vote NO on Telecom Immunity – Get FISA Right"

They have asked for anyone to see this to REPOST WIDELY with the recommended tags being fisa, Obama, myBO, getfisaright. Once you do, they are asking us to add the link to the open letter repostings page. This campaign has already achieved a remarkable amount of press attention, and its potential impact should not be understated.

Dear Senator Obama,

On October 24, 2007, your campaign spokesman said, "To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."

On June 20, 2008 you said, of retroactive immunity, "I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses."

As the largest grass-roots group on your campaign website,, and in the spirit of your open/responsive government campaign pledges, we wish to share our ideas for how we may work together to further the goal of eliminating retroactive immunity from the FISA legislation scheduled for debate in the Senate next week. Although this is only one of the problems we see with legislation allows the government to wiretap the communications of its citizenry without a warrant, it's the area we think we can help you the most.

First, Senator Obama, we ask that you make the same tools that we used to call undecided voters in Iowa and New Hampshire available for us to call our fellow citizens in West Virginia, Nebraska, Delaware, Florida and other states that have Senators committed to voting against the amendment that would strip telecom immunity. You have the tools and we have the people power. Together, we are confident we can bring Change; we can make the government listen to the people instead of the telecom lobbyists.

Second, Senator Obama, we ask that you attend the Senate debate and schedule floor time to speak about the violence done to the rule of law when Congress retroactively immunizes the illegal conduct of a special interest. We know you understand that justice should not be sold to the highest special interest bidder; we also know that you can persuade other Senators that are not so clear on the issue. Of course, if you do this, our committed members will surely capture the video of your inspiring oratory, load it to YouTube and spread your words to our friends and family far and wide. We trust in your ability to bring a new way of doing business to Washington and look forward to helping you make that Change a reality.

Senator Obama, the caption reads, "I'm asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington… I'm asking you to believe in yours." We're ready to put these words into practice.

Thank you.

The 15,000+ (and rapidly growing) members of"Senator Obama – Please Vote NO on Telecom Immunity – Get FISA Right"

This whole campaign defies precedent, and I plan on doing whatever I can to help out. If you want to help you out as well, you can utilize this phenomenal tool from Blue America. Click here if you want to find out more about this tool and the larger campaign as well.

Remember everyone: citizenship is something you do!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Blue America Innovates

By: Harry Waisbren

Blue America has come out with a new tool to help community organizing. This is especially timely given the national effort ongoing to prevent the Democratic party's capitulation on FISA (and by extension, the rule of law). Christy Hardin Smith explains how it works:

You can use it to coordinate a meeting with a Senator or Representative, and then publish a notice so that other folks can also get involved. Or track public appearances of elected officials in local venues. Or put together a planning meet-up to come up with ideas to educate the public on FISA-- like leafletting or showing up at parades with signs


We wanted to make it easier for everyone to take action in their own neighborhood. Especially since elected officials seem to want to avoid us doing just that. If you know of a public appearance you can tell others about or want to plan an action in your area, you just need to log into the Blue America tool, input the information and...voila! Along with the whip call tool we launched this morning, we hope this will make it easier for everyone to take immediate action on FISA -- and beyond.

The 4th of July is coming up, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate our independence than by working to prevent the government from giving away our freedoms. If you are planning to attend a rally, consider joining the effort and ensure that our representatives know that our rights are not merely fodder to be given away for political points. Ben Masel is organizing a Wisconsin effort for this campaign, which you can check out here.