Tag Archives: November election

Mitt Romney: waging class warfare (don’t worry! he’s probably cost himself the elction!)

All that we need to know. Romney is losing ground and will keep losing ground due to his latest and largest gaffe. Robinson says it all … . – R. T.

Romney’s class warfare

By Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, September 20

“Now, at least, there can be no doubt about who is waging class warfare in this presidential campaign. Mitt Romney would pit the winners against the “victims,” the smug-and-rich against the down-on-their-luck, the wealthy tax avoiders against those too poor to owe income tax. He sees nearly half of all Americans as chumps who sit around waiting for a handout.

“When Romney disclosed those views at a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla., this year, he and his audience had no idea they were being surreptitiously recorded. Romney obviously believed he was among friends who shared his worldview, which I would translate as: “We must stop coddling the servants.”

I am not exaggerating. Thanks to whoever leaked the recording to Mother Jones magazine, we know what Romney really thinks about the nation he seeks to lead:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right? There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that — that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they’re entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. . . . These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax.”

This analysis is not only grossly offensive but astonishingly ignorant. Romney suggests that nearly half of Americans are layabouts who leave the house only when they need to cash a government check — or when it’s time to vote for President Obama. Greetings, lazy bums, I’m Mitt Romney. Vote for me!

“The truth is that Romney is mixing apples, oranges and bananas. The three groups he mentions — those who support the president, those who receive payments from entitlement programs and those who are not required to pay federal income tax — are not the same people. Quite a few senior citizens who receive Social Security and Medicare are Republicans. Quite a few working-class voters are not charter members of Team Obama.

But Romney’s ignorance is not as shocking as his callousness. Here’s what he says next about the 47 percent: “And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

“To all the single parents holding down two minimum-wage jobs to make ends meet, all the seniors who saw their savings dwindle and had to go back to work part time, all the breadwinners who lost their jobs when private-equity firms swooped down to slash and burn — to all struggling Americans, it must come as a surprise to learn how irresponsible they’ve been. … “


p.s. I think Obama has got it – four more years – thanks to the hideous campaign/candidate that is Mitt Romney. Paul Ryan just makes things worse. – R. Tirella


By Steven R. Maher

A ballot question in the November 2012 election would bring much needed competition to the auto repair business.

“This proposed law would prohibit any motor vehicle manufacturer, starting with model year 2015, from selling or leasing, either directly or through a dealer, a new motor vehicle without allowing the owner to have access to the same diagnostic and repair information made available to the manufacturer’s dealers and in-state authorized repair facilities,” says the Secretary of State’s web site.

“The manufacturer would have to allow the owner, or the owner’s designated in-state independent repair facility (one not affiliated with a manufacturer or its authorized dealers), to obtain diagnostic and repair information electronically, on an hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly subscription basis, for no more than fair market value and on terms that do not unfairly favor dealers and authorized repair facilities.

“The manufacturer would have to provide access to the information through a non-proprietary vehicle interface, using a standard applied in federal emissions-control regulations. Such information would have to include the same content, and be in the same form and accessible in the same manner, as is provided to the manufacturer’s dealers and authorized repair facilities.”
2002 through 2014

“For vehicles manufactured from 2002 through model year 2014, the proposed law would require a manufacturer of motor vehicles sold in Massachusetts to make available for purchase, by vehicle owners and in-state independent repair facilities, the same diagnostic and repair information that the manufacturer makes available through an electronic system to its dealers and in-state authorized repair facilities. Manufacturers would have to make such information available in the same form and manner, and to the same extent, as they do for dealers and authorized repair facilities,” continued the web site. “The information would be available for purchase on an hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly subscription basis, for no more than fair market value and on terms that do not unfairly favor dealers and authorized repair facilities.

“For vehicles manufactured from 2002 through model year 2014, the proposed law would also require manufacturers to make available for purchase, by vehicle owners and in-state independent repair facilities, all diagnostic repair tools, incorporating the same diagnostic, repair and wireless capabilities as those available to dealers and authorized repair facilities. Such tools would have to be made available for no more than fair market value and on terms that do not unfairly favor dealers and authorized repair facilities.

“The proposed law would not require a manufacturer to reveal a trade secret and would not interfere with any agreement made by a manufacturer, dealer, or authorized repair facility that is in force on the effective date of the proposed law. Starting January 1, 2013, the proposed law would prohibit any agreement that waives or limits a manufacturer’s compliance with the proposed law.”

No brainer

This sounds like a no brainer to me. Instead of taking your out of warranty car to a dealer, who are notorious for charging high prices, when that “Engine Trouble” light goes on, you’ll be able to take it to your trusted repairman, who’s less likely to screw a dependeable customer.

That’s probably why both branches of the Massachusetts legislature voted down this law.

November ballot question #2: One view point

By Steven R. Maher

“It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” – Hubert H. Humphrey.

Assisting the elderly, the sick, the needy and the handicapped to kill themselves is not what Hubert Humphrey had in mind as a moral government.

A question on the November 2012 ballot would legalize suicide in Massachusetts, in which a physician would prescribe a drug whose sole purpose is to kill someone. It is opposed by the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, and the Massachusetts Medical Society.

Under the act, two witnesses will say the patient is capable, acting voluntarily, and not being coerced. Two doctors will certify that the person has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and is expected to die within six months. After a 15 day waiting period, the patient will communicate a second time their desire to commit suicide. Then the doctor will be allowed to prescribe drugs to the patient, who must ingest this poison voluntarily without assistance. “The death certificate would list the underlying terminal illness as the cause of death,” says the act.

Deep flaws

This law has several deep flaws. In several instances, what it doesn’t say is more important than what it does say. Some highlights:

• Family members need not be consulted. Two strangers will suffice under this act to witness the patient’s request to commit suicide. If you’re the parents, spouse, sibling, or children of the patient, they can kill themselves without you being informed, and because the death certificate will list the underlying terminal disease as the cause of death, you’ll never know your loved one killed themselves – or be given a chance to stop it.

• The law does not mention medical proxies. The person you have deemed – presumably when you were of sound mind – most suitable to make your medical decisions when you are emotionally or physically incapacitated, need not be consulted under the act.

• Beneficiaries of the suicidal person’s estate are specifically allowed to be one of the two witnesses under the act. There will undoubtedly be cases of “assisted murder” where an estate beneficiary will pressure a medically weakened patient to “end their pain and suffering” – and then help themselves to the decedent’s assets. Undoubtedly, there will be cases where a witness will be motivated by greed, not love for the person whose suicide they are authorizing.

• What if the medical diagnosis is incorrect? Well, that will just be too bad for the dead person and their loved ones. The law immunizes those involved in helping a person kill themselves “for actions that comply with the law, including actions taken in good faith that substantially comply.”

The act specifically bans euthanasia, the intentional medical ending of a life by a third party. But once we start down the slippery slope of allowing a person diagnosed as terminally ill to get permission to kill themselves, euthanasia is where we’re heading as a society. This act allows the patient to request suicide.

After we’re used to that, the next act will allow family members to get doctor’s permission to medically end their relative’s life. Then the final act will be to allow the medical establishment to make the decision on their own.

This wasn’t Hubert Humphrey’s vision of a moral government.

Is it yours?

Voter apathy and how we can “rock” the system

By Chris Horton

Retreat of the “Obama voters”

I’ve participated in 10 election campaigns in the past seven years, including President Obama’s, and the voters – my neighbors, many of them – have taught me a lot. The regular people of our city and commonwealth, are fed up with politics. “Black” or “white,” native or immigrant, Republican, Independent or Democrat, we’re all fed up. On the bread and butter issues like Social Security, Medicare, jobs, war and peace, who should pay the taxes and not letting the banks take our homes and drive us to ruin, most of us agree. But what we want doesn’t seem to matter. So a majority of the people in Worcester have just given up on voting.

And who can blame them? We keep re-electing a great Congressman, yet things keep getting worse. We elected – and hopefully will re-elect – a young, populist mayor, yet things seem to stay the same. And we turned out in near-record numbers to elect a dynamic young President who talks like the second coming of Jesus. Yet things keep getting worse.

So why bother?

When Grace Ross campaigned for City Council a few years ago, our strategy was to find the people who don’t usually vote but who had turned out to vote for Obama. I went door to door talking to these “Obama voters,” and I caught an earful. Many agreed that we need a change in City Hall and that Grace sounded really good, but on the day of decision the Obama voters stayed home. The most common reason I heard for not voting was … Obama! I heard many versions of “We turned out and voted for Hope and Change and what did we get? Nothing!” More proof that voting doesn’t matter, that politicians are all lying to us, that once they get into office they’ll get sucked into the system and forget about us, and anyway they can’t change anything.

(The number two reason cited by people was the city pools! Over 600 people turned out for the public hearings the City Council organized. Hundreds spoke and nearly every one wanted all the old pools repaired. Yet the City Council turned around and voted for the City Manager’s one-pool plan as though the hearings had never happened! I would argue “that’s why we need Grace on the city council.” Some would nod and agree, but what they were really saying was “why bother voting?

It’s not apathy! It’s a boycott!

Do people care? They know a lot about what’s going on in Worcester. They’re concerned. They care enough to show their anger! And they’re clear about why they’re not voting! They, and sometimes their parents and their grandparents before them, are making a point. They’ve been boycotting the elections, for generations! They suspended their boycott to vote for Obama – and the result has confirmed their worst fears. So now they say they’re all done!

And yet, vote we must, so long as we still have that right. Not just to elect people who will truly represent us, but also for getting organized and learning how to stick up for ourselves and for each other.

Elections are times when people come together to talk about all the issues we face, to talk about programs and ideas that will bring us together, the times when we see how all of our struggles are part of a bigger picture. We need those conversations. We need to learn how to use elections to get together, to get organized, to build unity and community. But how?

Stop doing what doesn’t work!

The things people are doing to get elected these days are the very things most regular folk are sick of. If we want a different result from elections we need to admit what isn’t working and let go of it.

First, television spots, slick post cards, robo-calls, but most especially phone banking – volunteers calling computer-generated lists of most likely voters – may swing some of the usual voters, but are such a turn-off to most regular folks that they only increase the level of disgust and non-participation. Even door to door work in other people’s neighborhoods is pretty useless these days. People are only going to be moved by someone with whom they have some kind of connection.

Second, words aren’t enough. The candidate reaching us with his or her message isn’t enough. No one can top Obama for great speeches. Heck, he got a Nobel Prize for his speeches! But as my Grandma used to say, “Words butter no parsnips.” We’re so done with speeches and promises! We need campaigns that call us to action, to do something, to make a change, win or lose on election day.

Third, campaigns are not enough. Campaigns that are the personal property of the candidate, campaigns that end on election day, build nothing. Campaigns that put all the information gathered in a drawer, all the networks they built forgotten until the candidate decides to run again are a kind of theft from all the people who contribute to them, who go out organizing for them! That has to stop!

Finally, campaigns that pit the people who choose to run against each other have to go. In the City Council race of 2009, progressives Grace Ross, Kola Afolabi, Mary Keefe and Joe O’Brien ran for City Council, competing for resources and volunteers. If everyone who worked on their campaigns had worked to get all four elected, if they had coordinated, all three would have won. Instead, only O’Brien won, mostly with support from the usual voters.
O’Brien lives in District 4, and campaigned there. So the “Obama voters,” the ones who didn’t turn out for Grace, didn’t turn out for him either! Unless he can help change that, his base is shaky.
So how do we build a different kind of campaign?

First, every campaign should be real community organizing, real relationship building. Door to door canvassers should look for potential leaders on each block and get them together with the candidate; then support them in talking to their neighbors, talking over the issues, setting up events to meet the candidate and then geting each other out to the polls.

Organizers should be finding and drawing in the natural leaders in the District from every group and organization, getting conversations going in workplaces, community centers, religious and social communities, unions, finding ways to draw everyone’s interests together around the campaign.

Second, the campaign should organize people to struggle and win concrete things they need, during the campaign! Maybe including dramatic actions like stopping an eviction, a sit-in at City Hall until they vote to do something they promised, or a community takeover of an abandoned building! This makes clear what the election is about, not just issues, but power. Our power to make things happen when we stand together.

Third, campaigns should be about building grass-roots organizations that stand for something and belong to the members. Campaigns should belong to the people, and continue on from election to election and in-between. They should leave behind ward-level, precinct-level and block-level organizations, with precinct and block captains who will stay connected to their neighbors, lead them in struggles to stop an eviction or keep a food pantry open, and to hold the people we elected to account!

The walking lists, databases and notes – or copies of them – should stay with this organization and with the campaigners. When the next election comes around the office-holder should have to go back to us for support. So the officeholder would feel the need to keep coming back to the campaigners, coming to our ward and precinct and block meetings to explain themselves and take instructions from the people about how to vote!

Last, this great grass-roots organization, with block committees and precinct committees throughout the city, should decide who runs for us, and would become the ready-made kernal of thir campaign!

The way we’re doing it now is stupid and wrong. With all respect for some very good people we’ve elected that are trying to do their best, it’s not real democracy.

The challenge; rebuilding our democracy

Once upon a time we had parties that had a mass base. They were called Machines by the press, their leaders were called Ward Bosses, their activists were called Ward Heelers. The “reformers” – folks with money, mostly – organized to do away with them by making local elections – the heart of politics – “non-partisan.” Those “machines” were not democratic enough and were often corrupted, but they connected working people and their government every day, and turned working people out to vote.

Those “machines” elected Franklin Roosevelt four times, and helped win the New Deal. Boy, could we use some of that now!

We need something like that but controlled by the members. We could try rebuilding the Democratic Party, but the non-partisan election law may force us to build outside of it. A political movement that will give people a voice, connect us with each other and with our government, and draw all our other movements together. One that will require the politicians answer to and work with us, not just on election day but every day.
So my challenge to all the candidates for this City Council race is this: Build your campaign to last. Build it around connecting people, not just with you, but with each other, with our neighbors and all the leaders among us. Build it by design to go on fighting for our needs between elections, win or lose, with your leadership so long as you go on earning it. Fighting for things like stopping the foreclosures and saving Medicare and Social Security and saving or making jobs and making sure no one goes to bed hungry. Build it so it can resume campaigning for the candidate of its own choice in the elections next year and the year after that and the year after that.

Give it its freedom, and then go on being the leader we would choose again!

Successful Strategies in Schools

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee member

InCity Times has been a strong advocate for our children in Worcester and has especially attempted to support educational efforts on behalf of those families who have no voice in the decision-making process. One of the questions facing education across the nation is what can be done to help our children learn at high levels. Can poor children and children of color achieve success? Is it possible for schools to help children who face the substantial obstacles of poverty and discrimination learn to read, write and become educated citizens?
As a former Worcester Public Schools principal and a long-time educator, I believe the answer is “yes.” The question is how to do it and is it being done? Robert Gordon, education advisor to U. S. Senator John Kerry, pleads passionately for us to recognize that if we rectify our most glaring and manifest shortcomings, then we can achieve a social miracle. We can have an America where birth doesn’t dictate destiny. Nothing offends democratic ideals more than the fact that a typical African American 12th grader reads at the same level as a typical middle-class or white 8th grader. Nothing is a greater threat to middle-class prosperity than mediocre schools. Continue reading Successful Strategies in Schools

Joe blows!

By Rosalie Tirella

We hope Mayor Konstantina Lukes blows “Joe-Blow” O’Brien right outa the freakin’ water!

Amazing! Every election cycle the old Murray/Rushton/Donahue/Eddy brigade farts out yet another political wannabe. This time around the farted (oops! we mean annointed!) is Joe O’Brien, a guy with nothing to offer but his connections – and searing political ambitions.

Yes, yes, I know he has done some work on behalf of the schools, and he lives in Main South, etc, etc. But it seems to me O’Brien’s political work has always been in service to HIS POLITICAL CAREER – as if the ambitious O’Brien were just biding time until … the President came calling!

But President Obama hasn’t given O’Brien a ring-a-ding-ding. So O’Brien decides he wants to be mayor of Worcester -an idea that apparently popped into his head after spending a few years as Congressman Jim McGovern’s regional director. O’Brien’s job as McGovern’s top banana was a political plum thrown to him after helping run (so they say) L.G.’s Tim Murray campaign. (Talk about connections! Can’t the rest of us be connected too so we can get high-paying jobs for giving half-assed speeches on behalf of our pals?) Continue reading Joe blows!