Thursday, November 29, 2007

Progressive Update--12/02/2007

The last broadcast email I sent was almost three months ago. I have, however, posted more than a half-dozen entries to my blog at ( I have changed my ‘MO’ due to my busy life and yours. I haven’t had time to send out a monthly, or even bi-monthly, progressive email. I suspect that you’d rather check on progressive items on your schedule. My blog permits you to get information when you are ready. I will try to post something every week to month, and I expect the frequency to increase as the elections approach.


The Republicans are pissed off that the country booted them out of Washington thirteen months ago, as the Democrats grabbed majority of both Houses. To soothe their fragile egos, and to confuse the country, they are pushing the polls that show that Americans are more frustrated with Congress than they are with Bush. This is right and accurate. It is right and accurate because the country (finally) knows that Bush is hopeless, however for a while there we had hope that this Congress could reverse our course, a hope since dashed. We are frustrated, frustrated that Congress can not restrain Bush. We are frustrated that, with a majority in Congress, Democrats are unable to get reasonable healthcare for kids, or an exit timetable from Iraq. This is not due to a weakness of Congressional Democrats, it is due to the Congressional rules, which permit 40 Senators to block most Senate action, and which permit 34 Senators to block an override of Bush’s vetoes. The Democratic Party’s sin is that we follow the US Constitution (unlike Bush), and we follow Senate rules.

The only fault of the Democratic Party is that they were not clearer in 2006—they should have said, give us the majority, and we will be able to stop Bush from making things worse, and we will be closer to getting the country on the right track. You (the country) got us into quite a pickle with so many conservative Republicans in Congress—it will take more than one mid-term election to get us back on track. If the NBA required that Michael Jordon wear lead shoes, we would be quite disappointed in his performance, however we would not be able to properly put the blame on him!


The surge is working! Really? The one thing that this country knows for certain about Iraq is that the Administration can not be trusted to tell the truth. I like the fact that Iraqi’s who are shot in the front of the head are counted differently from those shot in the back. Thirty to forty thousand more troops on the ground makes a difference in security? What news! Does that mean that this ten-month long surge is over? Of course not.

The American people in November 2006 voted for Democrats who called for an end to the Occupation. To address this, Bush sent in thirty thousand more troops. Not until we have thirty thousand troops fewer than we had in Iraq in November 2006 will I be satisfied that we are making progress. I have yet to hear of a single significant political milestone accomplished this year in Iraq. Bring the troops home, and we’ll talk about a working Iraq program.


I know that many of us were very disturbed by the responses to newly approved US Attorney General Mukasey to the issue of waterboarding. The kindest thing that can be said is that he was evasive. One Democratic Senator (Schumer?) reluctantly voted in favor of Mukasey, based on the ‘worst of two evils’ view that if Mukasey was rejected by the Senate, Bush would appoint a temporary AG for the remaining 13 months, and that Mukasey would very likely be far better than that alternative. I am not pleased with the result, however I feel that our energies should be focused on the bigger picture—torture, and executive excesses.

I find it very sad that the Congress needs to pass legislation that defines, and prohibits torture, however it is clear that this Administration needs such restrictions. I find it even more disturbing that Bush is not alone in justifying immoral torture executed by Americans. Several Republican candidates for President are falling over themselves touting their support for ‘appropriate torture’. If there is a snowball’s chance in Minnesota that one of these folks will follow Bush into the White House, then we need Congress now to pass legislation prohibiting torture. What a sad state!

Similarly, Bush has shredded so many Constitutional rules (eavesdropping on US citizens, for instance), and the balance of power must be restored. Otherwise, the Imperial Presidency will just have begun, rather than ended in January 2009. A friend of mine has nightmares thinking about the country, with the currently exercised presidential powers, under Rudy Guliani (for whom the ends always justify the means). The current Congress has the ability to begin rebalancing the three branches, and a stronger Democratic majority after the 11/08 elections will empower them to complete this restorative work.


I get really ticked off with the incessant delays in bringing wind power to Delaware. I had my letter to the editor published last week in the Wilmington News Journal. My unedited version read:

Pawns of Delmarva

I was very disappointed with the events covered in the “Last-ditch chance for wind farm” article on the 21st. I see that the ‘power’ in Delmarva Power doesn’t stand for energy, but rather power over Delaware’s government and citizens, power to line their pockets.

Months ago our state government selected Bluewater Wind in an open bid contest. Bluewater has worked tirelessly to move this process forward. Delmarva is another story. The article’s subtitle is that the state ‘agencies order contract negotiations’. Why must negotiations be ordered? Because at every turn, Delmarva has obstructed this process of bringing clean, sustainable energy to Delaware.

Delmarva is quoted as hoping ‘more companies will get the chance to bid on the wind contract’. That train has left the station; the bid process has already finished, and Bluewater was selected. I’m sorry that Delmarva doesn’t like it, but it isn’t their decision. What Delmarva is hoping, of course, is that more delays can continue their gravy train, at Delaware consumers’ expense. Delmarva’s spin machine had the nerve to complain about the cost increases due to the months and months of delay that Delmarva’s foot dragging has caused! Enough is enough.

The citizens and the state agencies have clearly stated that Bluewater should provide clean energy to our state. It’s time for Delmarva’s regulators to do their job and force Delmarva to stop holding the process hostage. Time (and energy) is wasting.

Keep your ears and eyes open for pressure on legislators and regulators to further delay this program, and speak up loudly and often. Your future wealth and health depends on it.

DEfog—DEfog stands for Delaware For Open Government. This is a new bipartisan, grass-roots group that is dedicated to open up state government to the people. FOIA is the Freedom of Information Act. When FOIA was passed by the state legislature, they conveniently made themselves exempt. Convenient, isn’t it? Senate Bill 4 is designed to have the General Assembly covered by FOIA. We expect that this bill will be mildly amended shortly, and will then have a good chance of passage, with your help. In the next two months I will let you know of opportunities to write to your elected officials and to the media to share your support for opening Dover to the light of day.

Delaware Governor Primary Race—I like both Jack Markell and John Carney. Of the two, Jack seems more progressive to me. Nonetheless, I plan to support neither in the primary race, unless one turns negative. I’d rather have my dollars used in campaigns against Republicans and conservative Democrats. I will support the primary’s victor in their campaign against their Republican rival.

28th Representative District—State Senator James Vaughn passed away this fall. 28th RD Representative Bruce Ennis ran for Vaughn’s seat and won, leaving open his seat in the 28th. Bill Carson was selected to run for the seat. While we are closing the gap to gain the majority in the House from the Republicans, we need this seat to avoid losing ground. I will post more information on this candidate when I receive it. lists volunteer opportunities for Carson’s campaign.

Election Season—The Delaware Democratic Party ( is working already towards the 2008 elections. They, and all fifty state parties, are working on developing a high-quality database of households in the state, to better focus campaigning efforts. The national Democratic Party recently noted that face-to-face visits are far and away more effective than phone calls and mailings. I know that I prefer face-to-face visits to phone calls—how about you?

I will keep an eye out for areas of high need, house (or senate) election districts where we can grab a seat from a Republican, like we did in the 25th with John Kowalko in 2006, and Bryon Short earlier this year. I will also keep an eye out for county and state seats that need some extra help, and will let you know when I see these opportunities

Pennsylvania—There is a website of progressives in southeastern PA:

Paul S Baumbach

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