October 2015
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Month October 2015

Will Democrats Have the Courage to Stay Engaged in the World?

Foreign policy has been relegated to the back-burner in the primaries of both parties. We need to press the candidates on their vision for the role of the U.S. in the world. Barack Obama shared his vision for a more restrained and thoughtful foreign policy. Obama has shown a spine of steel sticking to this vision during an incredibly turbulent period, despite what people are saying today about yesterday’s announcement of a handful of trainers on the ground in Syria. (Would that we had listened to Joe Biden on the region.)   Liberal interventionism is part of the great American post-World War II optimism about the spread of real democracy around the world, ranging from the training of judges to other peaceful means of engagement such as the Peace Corps. As Americans, we need to stay engaged.   We Democrats must not let the disastrous decisions and bluster of George W. Bush haunt us into an isolationist closet.   It has been inspiring to hear Bernie Sanders boldly explain the need to wage a political fight to value, protect, and expand Social Security and other facets of American social democracy in plain language. But when it comes to foreign policy, he rarely […]

Let’s talk about EFFECTIVENESS

No picture this time. We’ve heard lots of talk about “electability”. We’ve heard lots of discussion about “flip-flopping”, about whether or not Americans are ready to elect a self-professed socialist, and of course we’ve had numerous horse-race stories and conversations. I’d like to see us address the EFFECTIVENESS of whomever we elect. Being right on the issues, and being unable to make substantive progress on those issues, strikes me as a prescription for a failed presidency. Deval Patrick was right on a LOT of issues (in my view, on most issues in fact). Sadly, he was singularly ineffective at turning those issue statements into concrete progress. As we watch the GOP continue its death-spiral into lunacy, it seems to me that it becomes increasingly important to ask ourselves which of our candidates is most likely to be able get the most done once elected. This is different from a legislative scorecard — I’m interested in how persuasive a candidate has been, and how likely is that candidate to be persuasive if elected? I think that one of Bill Clinton’s strengths was his skill at getting his agenda enacted, by hook or by crook. I think that Jimmy Carter’s greatest weakness […]

Clinton lead grows in all demos including under – 30s…

these latest youth numbers post the Biden withdrawal surprised me.www.democraticunderground.com Fred Rich LaRiccia

Clinton wins union support…

CNN is showing her endorsement this morning at Union Hall, SC by the International Longshoremen Union.  Hillary said : ” I’m here because I believe the American Labor Movement helped to build the middle class.” As a lifelong unionist recently retired public servant and the son of a union public school teacher Mom, I stand proudly with our Labor Union Champion and next President — Hillary Clinton.  I’d follow that heroic leader to hell and back again.  She’s got guts in spades. Fred Rich LaRiccia

Warren and Markey to ExxonMobil: Are You Still Funding Climate Denial?

Last month, investigative journalists uncovered documents showing that ExxonMobil knew about the link between carbon pollution and climate change as far back as the 1970, with its scientists making fairly accurate predictions about the future severity of global warming. Despite this internal knowledge, ExxonMobil spent decades funneling money into climate change denial groups in order to beat back efforts to take appropriate action. About a decade ago, ExxonMobil claimed to stop funding climate denial groups. This happened around the same time as the rise of anonymous donors for many right-wing groups, including those engaged in climate denial. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) sent a letter yesterday to the CEO of ExxonMobil to get some answers. Here is the text of the letter:

Benefit Concert Sunday for The Last Call Foundation (firefighters)

Just a heads-up, for those of you in the Metrowest area: Sunday I’m singing in a benefit concert for The Last Call Foundation, created in memory of fallen firefighter Michael Kennedy. It’s at the M. Steinert and Sons piano store (which contains a small performing venue, I gather), at the Natick Mall, Sunday afternoon 11/1 at 4pm. “The mission of the Last Call Foundation is to provide funding, education and research to advance the safety needs of the Boston firefighting community.” Since the Back Bay fire, many people have asked how to help, not just our family, but all the Boston firefighters who tried so desperately to save Michael. By establishing the Last Call Foundation we hope to inform the public, and gather the financial support needed for research, development, implementation and deployment of the best available safety equipment and protocols to support our firefighters.   I’m performing along with some really great local musicians. More about the program on the flip:  

New York’s Mayor DeBlasio Endorses Clinton…

in advance of an urban forum he will host in December. He joins Gov. www.democraticunderground.com/Howard Dean, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Civil Rights icon, Congressman John Lewis (D-GA). Fred Rich LaRiccia

Hillary hits 50 % in latest poll

since Joe Biden took himself out of contention. www.democraticunderground.com She still holds a 20 point lead over Bernie in this latest NBC online poll. In today’s Reuter’s tracking poll she leads 72 to 23. Fred Rich LaRiccia    

Joke Revue: GOP Debate winners and losers

The Onion summarizes the winners and losers of the GOP debate: Winners Ted Cruz: Emitted his policies toward the audience at an impressive 105 dB Chris Christie: Found a good, firm grip on his podium that he really liked Lindsey Graham: Home from early debate in time for American Pickers marathon Mike Huckabee: Won over audience with stirring, heartfelt story about everyday presidential candidates struggling to evade basic questions Debate Moderators: Somehow able to get under the skin of notoriously calm, reasonable group of GOP candidates … Jeb Bush: Only has to endure a couple more weeks of this Losers Rand Paul: Sure to plunge in the polls after committing cardinal sin of fighting with the debate moderators … Ben Carson: Failed to bring up his really cool Siamese twin separation thing even once CNBC: Independent of the night’s proceedings, CNBC remains a terrible network Working-Class Women: Forced to endure Carly Fiorina associating herself with them … More Onioning: Jeb Bush Inching Podium Closer To Center Of Stage During Commercial Breaks BOULDER, CO—Speculating that he might be nudging it just a tiny bit with his foot or something, Americans viewing Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate said that candidate Jeb Bush appeared […]

The Grand Bargain

Driving back from apple picking recently I stopped in one of those small New England towns west of Boston for a cup of coffee. I struck up a conversation with a gentleman sitting next to me. He has resided in this small New England town all his life – his family has lived there well over 100 years. You could see he was very attached to the village. However, he was not happy with the way things had been going in recent years. He noted that the town had changed a great deal since his youth and what he bemoaned the most was what he called a violation of the “Grand Bargain”. Intrigued by the phrase I asked him to explain further. He said that historically there was an understanding in town that when major decisions were made they were always made with an eye towards what was best for the entire community. The sense of maintaining a “good community” was always in the background of civic and political life. He emphasized that by good he didn’t mean exceptional or great. The underlying community impulse was to provide a well-balanced community life. Diverse interests were attended to and taken care […]