We’re happy to announce that our voter guide for this year, including statewide candidates and the propositions, is now up…
Speak Out California’s 2006 General Election Progressive Voter Guide
Please do start linking to this and sending it around. We’ll have more details on the props and the printable versions up soon. There have been some interesting developments in the election this week…
As Phil Angelides and the Democratic Party remind Californians that our Governor is almost single-handedly responsible for helping Bush take Ohio and thus the Presidency in 2004, I shouldn’t have been surprised to see the right-wing spin machine attempting to trivialize what that means for California. In fact, one of the paid right-wing spin-masters went so far as to ask that very question, “How is that relevant to us here in California?”. I guess when people vote for a guy because they like his movies, it just may be time to explain the obvious when the Bush campaign machine (now running Schwarzenegger’s reelection campaign) tries to deflect the very important fact that we are in the predicament we’re in because Schwarzenegger played macho-man to help re-elect the most corrupt, incompetent and dangerous administration in the history of this country. By going to Ohio and nuzzling with Bush right before the election, we now see a national politics emanating from the White House which continues to disrupt, demean and disrespect our civil liberties, stature in the world community and our critically important environmental and consumer protection laws.
With the passing of one of Texas’ and perhaps one of America’s finest political icons, it seems an appropriate time to reflect upon what true leadership is and why we’re having such a hard time finding it in our state and country today.
To consider this question , it is important to talk about a white haired, pull-no-punches, assume -no -airs and talk- no nonsense- kind of political leader who raised hell in her state, got the job done and got put out to pasture prematurely by a dishonest, right-wing cabal that has since taken over the reigns of government in our country.
Many of us first saw Ann Richards in action at the memorable Democratic Convention in 1988 when , as Texas State Treasurer, she delivered the keynote speech and observed ,without missing a beat, that George Bush (Senior) was born with a silver foot- in- his- mouth.The line was delivered with such relish that you knew no speech-writer had come up with the phrase, but it was rather, the dry and acerbic wit of the speaker delivering the line. Although totally irreverent, it said it all about the man who was running to be President of the United States. It was delivered by a woman who started life not at the top, but from the bottom-up and had come through it a winner.
She also served as the Chair of the 1992 Democratic National Convention that nominated Bill Clinton to be President.
Ann Richards was a down-to-earth kind of woman. She was an alcoholic ( in recovery for years) who wouldn’t have thought for a moment to lie about her disease or hide behind handlers in admitting her weaknesses or failings. In fact, she was very open about her alcoholism, sharing her stories with people in prison who she felt needed to know they, too, could pull themselves up by the same bootstraps. She had succeeded and so could they.
Ann married at the age of 19 and raised four children. She served almost two decades in pubilc office, winning her first political election in 1976.In 1982 she became the first woman to win statewide office in 50 years as Texas’ State Treasurer, a position she held for eight years before becoming Governor in 1990. She bought herself a Harley Davidson motorcyle for her 50th birthday and knew how to ride it.
Ann Richards was a genuine, get- the- job- done and don’t- waste- my- time with ego or pretention along the way type of leader. She was extremely intelligent, capable and charismatic and focused on what she believed were the needs of the people. She had difficulty suffering fools and incompetents (which must have made for a very difficult concession speak after her re-election defeat in 1994 to W).
She was great for the State of Texas. Unfortunately, Texas rewarded her by denying her a second term because she took on the NRA and vetoed their legislation that would have allowed citizens to carry concealed handguns and automatic weapons and cop-killer bullets. SHe also angered the powers-that-be by vetoeing legislation that would have destroyed the environment over the Edwards Aquifer, a major water source in the state. She was also the victim of the Bush/Rove machine that was emerging as a national political player that didn’t hesitate to lie about its enemies (such as creating the rumor in South Carolina during the 2000 Presidential primary that then opponent John McCain had fathered a black child). Against Ann, they insinuated that she was a Lesbian. Sadly, in the great state of Texas, the lies and deceptions worked, giving us the first iteration of the most corrupt and incompetent Governor, now President of our country. But this isn’t about the Bushies, this is about a real leader.
Thanks go to the Sac. Bee’s editorial today on pointing out that progress in dealing with the serious healthcare crisis in California-and nationwide is that government is not the bad guy that the Bush/ Schwarzenegger team try to portray but that government has a proven track-record on this issue (with Medicare and Medicaid as obvious examples) and will continue to demonstrate that it has a very important role in the solution.
We here at Speak Out California believe it is critically important to scratch off the thin veneer the Bush spin machine has created in order to mislead Californians into believing that the Governor is “moderate” and not beholden to the same special interests that control the Bush administration’s shameless pro-corporate agenda. The fact is that this Governor is completely beholden to the same large corporate influences, among them the same insurance giants that are fighting against making health care available to all Californians because it will, by necessity,pull the plug on their corporate greed.
In order to get the full and complete picture of SB 840 and the Governor’s complete dishonesty in characterizing the terms of the measure, we asked Andrew McGuire, the Executive Director of Health Care for All-California to give us his thoughts on this important and ground-breaking effort to bring real health care REFORM to our state. Here are his observations and a call-to-action for all Californians who believe the time has come to take the profit out of healthcare and give Californians the opportunity to have healthy lives for themselves and their families:
This past Monday we celebrated our tradition of Labor Day. This holiday is intended to reflect upon and honor the hard work and honest wages of Americans who serve their employers in the caverns of huge and impersonal bureaucracies, toil with their sweat and back-breaking energy to plant and harvest the food we eat, assemble the precision equipment and machines used to make the products we consume, inspire and encourage our youth, care for our needy and provide the fuel that allows big businesses to flourish. All these efforts comprise the backbone of America and the engine of our economy.
Reviewing the numbers provided by credible researchers from all political perspectives, the one thing that is clear is that the Bush Administration and Republican policies in general care little, if anything, for the working people who make this country great. From the middle class that has experienced a decrease in its net spendable income, to the poor who see no hope at all, the failure of the Republicans to try to lift the lot of the overwhelming majority of Americans is stunning in its neglect and indifference. While the top 1% or “earners” have seen their incomes increase an average of 22%, the median household income fell 2.7% from 2000 to 2005.
Rather than let the Republican spin-machine manipulate these numbers in their misleading boasts about economic prosperity, what we see today in America is the massive expansion of the income divide, fueled by policies than encourage big corporations to renege on their pension commitment to their workers, push people into part-time work so they don’t have to pay overtime, reduce or cancel health insurance for their employees and otherwise scoop up profits that should be shared with their workers. They have successfully shifted their policies to give bigger paychecks and fatter retirements to their uppper eschelon management and CEO’s.This intentional shift to serve multi-national corporations and their greed have generated policies that have made the road so tough for working families to keep up, let alone move forward.
The Republican policies simply shift who the tax-collector is: It’s EXXON/MOBIL and SHELLwho tax us now in the form of unconscionable profits, BLUE CROSS and SECURE HORIZONS for health care. The new taxes are the uncontrolled increase in insurance premiums. Unlike our traditional taxes, however, where the money goes to provide services and and critical functions like fixing our roads, educating our children and providing public safety and firefighting protection, the Republican taxes go into the pockets of fat-cat CEO’s who have seen their incomes increase hundred-fold while the poor working stiff has seen his or her income stagnate and buying power diminish.
Today we pay less into our public coffers so services are diminished while we pay more into corporate coffers because Republicans like George Bush and Arnold Schwarzeneggerare more concerned with their corporate contributors than the citizens of our country.
Let’s call it like it is: The Republican tax. Where your hard earned money goes out the door to pay the ever-increasing prices at the gas pump; the increase in health care insurance; the increases in fees and tuition at our colleges and universities and what do we get in return?