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Crossposted from Calitics

Here in California, what looked like a potentially disastrous election might not turn out so badly after all. Recent polling gives Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer a good chance of being re-elected, should the GOTV go well. Today's Field Poll shows Prop 23 trailing and Prop 25 leading, which is good, although Prop 19 is now trailing too, and nobody really knows what the fuck is happening with Prop 26.

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Crossposted from Calitics

Once again, Calitics is convening a panel on California politics at Netroots Nation. Those of you who attended last year's panel saw an excellent discussion, led by David Dayen, about our state's crisis.

This year, I'm organizing and moderating a California panel titled California's Challenge: From "Failifornia" to Progressive Laboratory, on Thursday July 22 at 3PM at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas, in room Brasilia 4.

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Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 12:17 PM PDT

We Were Right

by eugene

Nearly 9 years ago, on a late September afternoon in 2001, I joined maybe 150 other people at Westlake Center in Seattle to protest the looming war in Afghanistan.

It felt like screaming into the wind. Most passersby looked at us as if we had two heads. Others shouted at us, calling us traitors or terrorist-lovers. A few times a pickup truck with a big American flag on a pole mounted in the bed drove by and shouted at us. And this was in a city that, just a year and a half later, saw over 100,000 people march against the Iraq War.

The protest accomplished nothing. We didn't stop the invasion from happening or change many minds at all about the Afghanistan conflict. But as the war grinds on after 9 years, and as it becomes clear that it has been a failure, it's worth re-examining why we were right to protest it.

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Mon May 10, 2010 at 01:47 PM PDT

Meg Whitman's Meltdown (Updated)

by eugene

Crossposted from Calitics

Last week we reported that Steve Poizner's campaign claimed they'd closed the gap on Meg Whitman in the race for the GOP nomination for California governor, whittling her lead from 50 points to just 5. The Whitman campaign dismissed this and many others were skeptical, waiting to see independent confirmation of Poizner's big move.

Well, we've got it.

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Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 12:00 PM PDT

He Has a Confession To Make

by eugene

24908_116771841674299_113237935361023_205224_6441878_nRick Jacobs, chair of the Courage Campaign (where I, Robert Cruickshank, work as Public Policy Director) has a confession to make.

He's a recovering oil company executive.

When he was 24, Occidental Petroleum offered him a job as chief of staff to the CEO, and later made him the youngest vice president in company history. Rick later left Oxy because he felt they were not being responsible to their shareholders, and today devotes his time to the Courage Campaign as an unpaid Chair, holding corporations and politicians accountable to the progressive values most Californians share.

Why does this matter? Because Occidental is joining other oil companies on this Earth Day to attack California's efforts to address global warming.

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Just a few blocks from my apartment here in Monterey is a Valero gas station. They're all over the state of California, but this one is in a prominent location - just above Cannery Row, a common stop for tourists headed home to the Bay Area or the Central Valley or Southern California.

Those tourists come to Monterey to enjoy the natural beauty of this wonderful coastline. But little do they know that when they stop and buy Valero gas, whether here or anywhere else in the country, they are funding a right-wing effort to destroy the environment they came to enjoy.

That's because Valero, along with another Texas oil company, Tesoro, are the primary backers behind an effort to repeal California's landmark global warming solutions law, AB 32.

And we're going to stop them.

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UPDATE: The Courage Campaign, where I work as Public Policy Director, is asking our members this morning to call Loretta Sanchez and ask her to vote "yes" on the bill. OFA is also organizing an 11AM rally at Loretta Sanchez's Santa Ana campaign office - click here for details.

Original post (crossposted from Calitics):

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Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 03:26 PM PST

Meg Whitman's California

by eugene

Note: I'm Robert Cruickshank, Public Policy Director for the Courage Campaign

Meg Whitman is a master of slick campaigning. Her feelgood radio and TV ads are designed to make her seem like a moderate, pragmatic person who will help cure what ails California. Just today she launched her second TV ad, one in which the word "Republican" is never mentioned.

When it comes to the #1 task our next governor will face - solving the budget crisis - she is offering a continuation of Arnold Schwarzenegger's slash-and-burn cuts. But you wouldn't know that from Whitman's ads. She doesn't make reference to her refusal to embrace new revenues to save popular and vital services, even though the public supports doing so. Instead she offers vague pleasantries that mask her true intentions to destroy what remains of the California Dream.

That needs to change.

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Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 11:15 AM PST

How Jerry Brown Can Win the CA-Gov Race

by eugene

Crossposted from Calitics

Over the last few months I've been making some persistent criticisms of the way Jerry Brown is approaching the budget mess and his campaign for governor. As a progressive Democrat, these criticisms aren't intended to tear Brown down, but instead to rattle the cage of a sleepy candidate and campaign, pointing out that their present course will likely only lead to Governor Meg Whitman. Which none of us wants.

So in the spirit of not being a critic sniping from the sidelines, I thought I'd lay out what Brown should do - and in fact must do - in order to get elected to a third term as governor of California. He cannot win unless these things are done.

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Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 10:20 AM PST

Reflections On Obama's Freeze

by eugene

Just wanted to follow up my diary from yesterday which seemed to have inadvertently caused a site-wide meltdown (I didn't mean to! Honest!) with some more thoughts on the spending freeze.

As Jed Lewison writes on the front page, the freeze isn't as broad as was feared in the initial reports. Already some of Obama's defenders are taking this to say there's nothing wrong with what was proposed and that we who criticize it are wrong, are hyperventilating, on and on.

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Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 05:44 PM PST

Obama Embraces Hooverism

by eugene

From the diaries. Susan.

There are no words to describe how disastrous this news is from TPM:

President Obama will propose freezing non-security discretionary government spending for the next three years, a sweeping plan to attempt deficit reduction that will save taxpayers $250 billion over 10 years.

When the administration releases its budget next week, the discretionary spending for government agencies from Health and Human Services to the Department of Treasury will be frozen at its 2010 level in fiscal years 2011, 2012 and 2013.

A senior administration official detailed the move, speaking on a condition of anonymity because Obama will announce his decision during his State of the Union address Wednesday night....

Exempted from the freeze would be Pentagon funding, and the budgets for Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security.

This is a massive mistake. No matter what you think of Obama's performance on the health care bill, or any other issue in 2009, if he sticks to his guns on this, the recession will get much worse, and Democrats will likely lose both Congress and the White House in 2012.

Why do I say this? Because there is no fucking way that this country will experience economic recovery without greater federal spending. Instead of the sensible PAYGO rules that Pelosi brought into force in 2007, which produce responsible spending by identifying new revenues, Obama is panicking and giving into the Larry Summers/Robert Rubin neoliberal argument that somehow, a lack of government spending will produce economic growth. Instead of embracing Keynes, he is embracing Hoover.

Realize this almost certainly means no second stimulus - unless Obama plans to define "frozen at 2010 level" as ongoing stimulus. Even if that's not the case, population growth and inflation necessitate ongoing spending increases over the years. So if a hard 2010 number is kept, that means that in 2011, 2012, and 2013 there will need to be cuts to programs and services in order to maintain the freeze.

That will be the equivalent of FDR's boneheaded move in 1937 to pull back on government spending. The result was a major recession that caused conservatives to win a lot of seats in the 1938 election and brought the New Deal to an end.

Yet FDR had already won his second term. Obama, on the other hand, is embracing a policy that has been proven to fail even before the midterm elections.

If he thinks this is even a realistic or economically feasible policy, he is out of his mind. If he thinks this will save his and Democrats' political bacon, he is very badly mistaken. Only greater government spending - MUCH greater spending - will pull us out of recession, create jobs, and produce lasting recovery.

Without greater spending, Obama is implying he is willing to live with high unemployment for the remainder of his first term. If one wanted to deal with the deficit, he could follow Bill Clinton's model of producing economic growth that would close the deficit in future years.

The reviews will likely come in soon from the progressive economist world. They're not likely to be very good. Congressional Democrats are being asked to cut their own throats here. They should say "oh hell no" to this nonsense, and choose progressive economic policy AND keeping their seats over following Obama over the cliff.

Update [2010-1-25 21:11:27 by eugene]:: Marc Ambinder fleshes this out:

The administration insist that important programs will be kept alive and functioning, and that funding for, say, education initiatives will rise, while funding for other programs will decline -- and that the president's priorities will be well-funded.  The freeze is irrelevant to health care because medicare, medicaid and taxes are all mandatory. So too are many of the programs for the neediest, such as unemployment insurance and Pell Grants.  And many of the other programs were plussed up recently so the White House is freezing them at a very high level.

This doesn't negate the basic Hooverism of freezing spending in the middle of a severe recession. But it does mean that the details of this matter a great deal. From my perspective, those details won't make this into a good or acceptable policy. But it will make the difference for families, the unemployed, and others who need the public services that this might hit. Progressives need to prepare for this battle and ensure that Hooverism doesn't prevail.


Later this month the long-awaited trial of Proposition 8 will commence in a federal courtroom in San Francisco. Judge Vaughn Walker will preside over the case brought by a legal dream team of Ted Olson (former Solicitor General under President Bush) and David Boies (who represented Al Gore in the Bush v. Gore case in 2000). Olson and Boies argue - correctly, in my view - that Proposition 8 is a straightforward violation of the 14th Amendment and should be struck down.

People across California and across the country are eagerly awaiting the trial, and fully expect to be able to follow it on television. But Judge Walker may close the courtroom to cameras, following on an outrageous demand from Prop 8 supporters. What do they have to hide? And how can we fight back? Scroll down to find out!

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