The Unfortunate Shockwaves of Victory

Posted in Politics with tags , , , on October 23, 2012 by cn8of10

With the General Election fast approaching, time is running out for the GOP standard bearer to create a sustained surge in public opinion for Romney to win. The third and final Presidential debate for 2012 was not a good showing for his Foreign Policy credentials. If, as it appears likely, President Obama is elected to a second term, the GOP will find the root cause for a Romney defeat not in his 2012 GOP Primary or Presidential performance. The outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election was decided on November 2, 2010.

The GOP made historic gains in the 2010 mid-term elections at the national and state level riding on the coattails of the Tea Party movement. During the campaigns, GOP incumbents and challengers made every effort to position their stances as far to the political Right as was legally and socially acceptable. The depressed state of the economy only fueled the anti-government, anti-incumbent sentiment that was sweeping the nation. Not surprisingly, the 2012 Presidential hopefuls could not resist the urge to try and repeat history.

While the right-wing rhetoric still has an appeal to the lingering Tea Party constituency, a slowly recovering economy, spear-headed by the Obama Administration economic policy, has sapped some of the fuel of the anti-government sentiment among swing voters. This fact was either not realized or tactically ignored during the GOP Presidential Primaries and the Presidential hopefuls again made every efforts to position their stated political agenda as far to the Right as possible in order to appeal to their Conservative, Tea Party dominant, base. That bruising contest forced Romney to take many political stances that are anathema to many moderate and swing voters. His necessary swing back toward the political middle while campaigning against the incumbent President makes him appear indecisive and untrustworthy.

This GOP strategy and likely outcome is not surprising. Much of it may even have been predicted in the political punditry. What will be interesting is to watch the evolution or dissolution of the existing GOP brand going into the 2014 mid-terms and 2016 General Election with the economic recovery accelerating. What will their platform be with 2012 signature items like Obamacare or the Bush Era Tax Cuts off the table? How will changing demographics have an impact?

This 2012 Election contests are not at an end. There is still work to be done and no outcome is assured, but the trajectory is trending favorably for the Democrats. As economic and political trends tend to be cyclical, one cannot help but look at the lessons of the past to try and get a peek at what may lay beyond the horizon of tomorrow.

Romney’s Tax Return Paradox

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2012 by cn8of10

The release of Mitt Romney’s 2011 Federal Income Tax Return along with statements from his surrogates has opened the GOP Presidential Candidate to a host of new and distracting questions. Although the Romney Campaign has not demonstrated much in the way of political adroitness, it is doubtful that even they could not have seen this coming. As such, I’ll make the following conjecture:

The full release of Romney’s Federal Income Tax Returns is impending and the campaign is trying to get out ahead of it.

The release of the secretly recorded fundraising video where Romney disparages 47% of Americans as incorrigible slackers who will never “take personal responsibility and care for their lives” has kept the campaign on the defensive for another week. Some GOP congressional candidates in tight races have been distancing themselves from the disparaging remarks and the professional right have publicly and, in some cases, vociferously chastised the Romney Campaign about the statements. With a full week of this in the public arena, however, this story was beginning to lose some of its edge. Conflicting factions within the GOP had blown off some of their respective steam and were beginning to coalesce in support of the Candidate again. The Campaign could have spent the upcoming week getting Romney back on the offensive and on message making his case to the American people ahead of the upcoming debates.

The next few days of news cycles will be packed with analysis and condemnation of the revelations from the Tax Returns and will only re-double speculation about what information is in the Tax Returns that have not been released. This completely predictable scenario must be a calculated risk by the Campaign to either reduce the effects of a larger release of (Tax Return) information or distract attention from something worse that is looming. Although this is pure conjecture, I’ll error on the side of caution and presume that there is nothing that is universally damning against Romney out there (I hope). Even if there was, this would just be a feloniously stupid way getting ahead of it. So I’ll go with the first option; the increasingly battle-hardened veterans of this Campaign know that a larger, narrative defying, release of Tax Return information is looming and they want to try and control the way that information will be interpreted before the bulk of it hits the mainstream media. It will cause more condemnation, and some outright defections, but they will have had a practice run at controlling the message. (Perhaps Tim Pawlenty was already aware of this and opted-out).

This is all conjecture. I have no evidence to prove or disprove it. I just find it difficult to accept that a Presidential Campaign could be inept enough to make such an obvious un-forced error.

An Open Letter to the USADA

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on September 10, 2012 by cn8of10

Once again, the inept anti-doping enforcement and doping deterrence policy of the USADA has left the cycling world scrambling to re-write years of history. The magnitude of this failure of the public trust can not be understated and ultimately calls into question the relevance of the USADA involvement in the sport.

Emblazoned on the home page of the USADA website is the stated “Mission” of the agency:

We hold the public trust to:

Preserve the Integrity of Competition
We preserve the value and integrity of athletic competition through just initiatives that prevent, deter and detect violations of true sport.

Inspire True Sport
We inspire present and future generations of U.S. athletes through initiatives that impart the core principles of true sport — fair play, respect for one’s competitor and respect for the fundamental fairness of competition.

Protect the Rights of U.S. Athletes
We protect the right of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes to compete healthy and clean — to achieve their own personal victories as a result of unwavering commitment and hard work — to be celebrated as true heroes.

For the cycling world, the USADA mission has been a complete failure. The integrity of the sport is a tattered ruin, the USADA prevention and deterrence initiatives have clearly failed, and its doping detection methodology is at best, inadequate and at worst, a farce. Principled up and coming amateur cyclist know that they will not be able to compete with the cheaters and at best may receive delayed and much reduced recognition effectively negating the benefit of any protected right “to be celebrated as true heroes”. These conditions only provide incentive for young competitive riders to dope.

The litany of reasons for the USADA’s failed effort in policing pro-cycling include; inconsistent and/or ambiguous enforcement, inadequate doping detection methodology, and lack of transparency. This ineptitude has led to financial loss for corporate sponsors, the degradation of public support, and incalculable loss of prestige and potential financial compensation for cyclist that compete clean.

The expected justifications for the dilapidated state of USADA initiatives in cycling will most likely be its limited resources to complete the scope of the work. However, those excuses will do little to compensate for the financial losses that are being incurred by pro-cycling’s many stakeholders. The USADA should modify the scope of its cycling initiative to objectives that it can reasonably attain in a timely fashion.

The cheaters are, in large part, to blame for the current upheaval in the cycling world. That does not, however, absolve the USADA of its failed policing effort which has created an environment where the cheaters flourish and profit for years while the names and accomplishments of clean cyclist pass quietly and uncelebrated into the pages of history.

The USADA may not be beholden to public opinion but continued public support is the life-blood of the sport. The out-classed, meandering, and selective police effort of the USADA has put a noticeable drag on pro-cycling fan enthusiasm. There is an acute sense of distrust in the validity of the standings in the classifications at the end of every stage and every race (and this uncertainty can stretch on for years!). Uncorrected, the trajectory of this trend can lead to financial disaster for pro-cycling.

The doping situation in pro-cycling is real. Thus anti-doping enforcement needs to be real or, at best, realistic. The doping detection process needs to have a transparent method of being scientifically updated, institutionalized, and deployed efficiently. A common-sense statute of limitation for sanctioning and/or prosecuting athletes needs to be instituted. Anti-doping policy must apply to all athletes equally.

All of the stakeholders in pro-cycling have put nearly a century of commitment and incalculable resources in to building and growing this highly competitive and very exciting sport. The institution of pro-cycling is jeopardized by the under-resourced and over-reaching authority that the USADA holds over the sport. The USADA needs to make the commitment and “get in” to pro-cycling or please just get the hell out!


One Pissed-Off Cycling Fan

Wisconsin: You may have another option…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 1, 2011 by cn8of10

The pro-union protests in Wisconsin have been inspiring. I’ve been looking for something that the union supporters could use to gain the upper hand in this battle.  I ran across this:

  • “In November 2003, George was recalled from office,[3] because of corruption charges”

Which led to this…

  • “Reasons required for recall of local officials. A recall petition for a city, village, town, or school district officer must contain a statement of a reason for the recall which is related to the official responsibilities of the official for whom removal is sought. No reason need be provided for other offices.” [emphasis mine]
  • “Signature requirements and time limits. Recall petitions for state, judicial, or county officials, or members of Congress or the state legislature, or district attorneys must have valid signatures of electors equaling at least 25 percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor in the last preceding election.”

The “total vote cast for the office of governor” in 2010 is 2,133,144 –,_2010

Therefore if union supporters could gather enough signatures (at least 533,286) they could mount a recall challenge to GOP State Senate seats that won narrow victories in 2010:

-Leah Vukmir (District 5)

-Van Wanggaard (District 21)

-Pam Galloway (District 29)

Even the credible threat of such a recall could sway their vote on this highly visible issue.

This Is Still OUR Moment

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 22, 2010 by cn8of10

It’s been a tough week. We have had worse. Nov 2000. Nov 2004. Sept 2001. Yet we are still here. A little bruised and worse for wear but never broken..and always wiser. This has been a minor set back and we have precious little time to linger on it. Enough already!!

The greatest threat to the Progressive movement in America at the moment is US, the “disenchanted” Progressives. Because “enchanted” is just where we were a year ago, feeling vindicated, heady with victory, and full of hope. In reality, progress is much more grounded and balanced. That is where we need to be today and for the foreseeable future. To that end:

-Lets re-evaluate our use of social media. It is a very good grass roots tool. We need to get back to that.

-Hate and vitriol are NOT Progressive…and it clouds judgment. Before we Tweet/RT/Post consider, “How does this advance the movement.”

-Let us cease perpetuating defeatist memes among ourselves.

One year done, three to go. This is still OUR moment.

Mysterious Ways..

Posted in Uncategorized on January 21, 2010 by cn8of10

2010. Another year, another 44 thousand un-insured Americans dead. But, hey, at least its not in my back yard.

God Bless American corporations

…and the GOP

…and 5 out of 9 Supreme Court Justices

…and Massachusetts

…and no one else.



Posted in Uncategorized on January 21, 2010 by cn8of10

This is in response to a specific discussion that I was having with @Stranahan that the MA election outcome was a direct result of the lack of transparency during the HCR negotiations. The contention was that Candidate Obama promised public negotiations (on C-SPAN) for HCR and that the White House “backroom negotiations” with the pharmaceutical industry reneged that promise resulting in the loss of the Democratic seat in MA. I strongly disagree with that assertion as it was represented in the discussion.

The agreement, which was negotiated in the Roosevelt Room adjacent to the Oval Office, was that Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) pledged $80 billion dollars in cost savings over 10 years in exchange for the White House not pursuing a proposal to import cheaper drugs from Canada and Europe or a policy of government price setting for Medicare Part D (the drug program for seniors). PhRMA also agreed NOT to run any ad-campaigns in opposition to HCR and instead underwrote the multi-million (not taxpayer) dollar ad-campaign in support of HCR. Neither the White House or PhRMA shut the door on future negotiations to further reduce the price of prescription drugs. This negotiated agreement was completely appropriate to the scope of healthcare reform that the Democrats were attempting to get through Congress. It gave members of Congress a negotiated agreement in hand to take back to their constituents during the Summer recess and one less 700lbs-gorilla to fight. Even with it, many Democratic town hall gatherings were dominated by a boisterous, inflammatory minority organized by the GOP and Conservative extremist.

The possible demise of healthcare reform is not due to lack of transparency. In fact, it is the scope of the proposed reform and public visibility into the day-to-day procedural politics (specifically) in the Senate that will probably be its ultimate demise. To be clear, with a few exceptions, Progressives and moderates would most likely be satisfied with the provisions of the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962) that passed in the House of Representatives. Yet with a popularly elected 59 member majority in the Senate, the People watched as 41 corporate-owned Senators stripped a good bill of everything the public really wanted in it. It is clear to many of us why this is possible, but it had a devastating effect on the morale of many people who have been entertaining the thought of a “robust public option” since Spring of 2009. The Democratic Party and the White House allowed expectations to be set too high for a reform bill of this scope. This does not mean that the public should have been denied visibility into the process, it means that the scope of the bill should have been significantly reduced.

Candidate Obama promised healthcare reform from early in his campaign. But the housing-market meltdown was an opportunity to justify taking all big ticket bills off the agenda and to focus on the economy and helping the American people get through the financial crisis. The Administration could have offered 6-months of full Medicare benefits to the unemployed as a part of the extension of unemployment benefits. The tax-increase to fund it could have been passed by budgetary reconciliation. Over time, this benefit could have been amended to cover the working un-insured, or those with pre-existing conditions. As the recession continued, the White House could then turn its attention on the pharmaceutical industry to lower the cost of prescription drugs for all Medicare recipients.

All this is, of course, speculation after the fact and will do nothing to change the outcome of the special election in Massachusetts. For Progressives the outcome of that election does not change the political landscape. Progressive Democrats did not have a super-majority in the Senate before this election. Now that the illusion of this advantage has been vanquished, it is time for Progressives in Congress to seize the day and step up. To that end, here are three recommendations:

– Initiating Progressive policy should preclude the appearance of bipartisanism

– Realize that many of the people you are trying to help have a short attention span and are easily distracted

– Keep it simple, stupid. Get good, simple framework policy passed and amend it later