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davidswanson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:19 AM
Original message
When Woolsey Met Harman
As I sit waiting to fly out of LAX, secure in the knowledge that while most of our money is going into the greatest effort the world has ever seen to make most of its people hate a particular nation, everyone around me has had to take off their coats and shoes and display their toothpaste, except for the people living on the streets of Los Angeles who aren't part of the airport traveling world, and -- this ought to help things -- Lynn Woolsey came to this city yesterday to support Jane Harman.

Jane Harman has never seen a war she didn't like or a crime by anyone important that she couldn't excuse. When caught on a warrantless wiretap by the Bush-Cheney gang conspiring with representatives of the Israeli government against her own, Harman chose to allow herself to be blackmailed. She pressured the New York Times to keep the story of warrantless spying programs secret until Bush could get into a second term as president. Harman's loyalty is not to the wishes of her constituents, not to the political fate of her party (the Democrats) and not to her country. In other words she's a model congress member.

Lynn Woolsey, another Democratic congress member, from Northern California, sometimes -- in fact more than almost anyone else -- votes against her party's leadership but with her constituents and the majority of Americans. She votes for peace, justice, decency, and good governance. But just about the only thing she does is vote right. And all of her good votes are countered by someone like Jane Harman, who always votes the worst way she can manage.

I like Lynn Woolsey. She has good intentions. She's spoken at peace rallies. She and I have spoken together at the same peace rallies. I've made a website to raise money for her. But I spoke up in her district last week, and her constituents cheered when I denounced what she was planning to do in Los Angeles.

A crowd of people was protesting yesterday outside a fundraiser for Harman, according to the report I got from my friend, Ray McGovern. And they were progressive activists, the same people who usually cheer for Woolsey when they see her. Now they were protesting her action, and she had to run the gauntlet to enter the event. According to Ray, Congresswoman Woolsey kept her eyes on the ground and gave the appearance of a criminal being paraded before the cameras after being convicted of some highly embarrassing crime. When she passed by him, Ray said "I am very disappointed in you, Lynn," but she wouldnt look at him. When she reached the door, Woolsey raised her fist in triumph, as if to say "I made it through you nonviolent peacenik riff-raff, hurrah!"

It was an accomplishment not much less significant than any of Woolsey's accomplishments as co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC).

Several caucuses in Congress behave as caucuses. The Blue Dog Caucus, for example, has been known to tell the congressional leadership that its members will vote against a piece of legislation unless it is made worse in certain specified ways. And so it is. These other caucuses are taken seriously and have an impact because they don't just say things. They do things. They threaten to vote No if they don't get their way, and they follow through. The CPC has never ever ever done that. As a result it is universally ignored, despite being the largest so-called caucus in Congress.

CPC membership is resume padding. There are no requirements to join it, no duties to be discharged, no requirements to act as a block. A couple of years ago, virtually the entire caucus, and some non-caucus members, a total of 90 congress members, signed a commitment not to vote for war funding. And with a few exceptions, they all turned around and voted for it. A few members, like Woolsey, will often vote the right way, once they are assured that the bill will go the wrong way and their vote won't actually displease Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In fact, Pelosi herself often votes against murderous legislation after guaranteeing its passage.

Last June the CPC corralled 57 congress members who signed a letter to Pelosi swearing they would oppose a healthcare bill that didn't meet certain minimum standards. When those standards were not met, 55 of those 57, including Woolsey, flipped and voted for the bill, a bill she now champions in its diminished, destructive, and arguably unconstitutional state, refusing to the end to take a meaningful stand on anything, even on language that would facilitate a real healthcare solution in the state of California and other states.

And this is about the best we get from any congress member, with the obvious exception of Dennis Kucinich. Woolsey votes the right way when it can have no impact, and does so more than just about anybody else. But is that ENOUGH, when Congress is funding mass murder with all of the money we need for saving lives, when people are losing their homes, when lifeguards are being pulled off the beaches for lack of funds out here, when state and city services are being eliminated, when our rotten education system is collapsing on itself, when the state of Hawaii will go without a congress member for lack of funds to hold an election, when a new record in military waste is set every year, and NFL football announcers on television welcome the imperial troops viewing the game in 177 nations around the world?

What more would I have Lynn Woolsey and every other so-called progressive member of Congress do? I would have them do what you or I would do if we were there: publicly commit to voting No on war money ahead of time, publicly and privately lobby and pressure colleagues and leadership to do the same, vote No on the procedural votes that allow the policy votes, quit monkeying around with bills that express displeasure or which will never pass the Senate and be signed into law, and focus instead relentlessly and uncompromisingly on blocking the funding in the House. An all-out peace advocate would not raise money for Jane Harman, but would instead publicly shame Jane Harman's funders and call for a criminal investigation of both Harman and her blackmailers.

An all-out peace advocate in Congress would be exactly like . . . well, exactly like Marcy Winograd. Marcy is a brilliant, outspoken, hardworking, and principled activist citizen challenging Jane Harman in an electoral primary and scaring her into whatever pressure it is she put on Lynn Woolsey that brought her down to Los Angeles to provide "progressive" cover. If Lynn Woolsey wanted progressive change, rather than merely progressive branding and imagery, she would be standing shoulder to shoulder with Marcy Winograd. Fortunately, I get the impression that a great many Angelenos and Americans are principled, decent, and sophisticated enough to support Woolsey when she does right and oppose her when she does wrong, and to overwhelm her misplaced advocacy with our support, donations, and volunteer time for the woman who will be the leader of the fight for the people's views against the corporate agenda in the 112th Congress, Marcy Winograd.
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ima_sinnic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
1. rec'd--I've contributed to Winograd and will send some more
good analysis--your writings always appreciated.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yes indeed
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:11 AM
Response to Original message
3. K&R ....very disappointed in Woolsey.
Jane Harman is one of THE Worst.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:29 AM
Response to Original message
4. This disappoints me. nt
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:34 AM
Response to Original message
5. An eloquent explanation of why the Progressive Caucus is worthless and why Woolsey is
a pretender. You are absolutely correct, David. Thank you for enlightening us.

I live in a district that is very strongly liberal, yet our elected representative, David Price, who is now up for his eleventh or twelfth term, is a centrist/rightist on anything military or security-related. He votes progressive on many social issues, therefore he can market himself as someone who appeals to the voters of the district, but he voted against the wishes of his constituents regarding the Iraq War continuing resolutions, the FISA immunity, and impeaching Bush/Cheney. Also, the TARP giveaway in the fall of '08.

We cannot get another Democratic candidate to run against him because the party leadership supports him and will not even consider running anyone else. He's the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Homeland Security and serves on several other committees, so he's considered an essential by the Democratic leadership. Last year, for the first time in my life, I voted for a Republican--his opponent. I knew it was a "throw-away" because Rep. Price won re-election handily, but I could no longer support his candidacy.

The man is a good person, but he has been blinded by his tenure in D.C. I was expressing my frustrations about him to a friend who has been active in Democratic party politics for decades. She told me the story of how she and others tried to persuade him in the late 80's to stop funding of the Contras, but he told her that Communism was the biggest threat to our civilization and if we didn't fight them in Central/South America we could lose our freedoms. He still believes in that US versus Them philosophy that keeps the Empire on the march.

The only "up" side is that he is almost 70, so maybe he will retire soon.

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davidswanson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. it's sad
we need to be able to remove them in other ways than death, retirement, sex-scandal, or passage of atrocious healthcare bills
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
6. Hats off to Congresswoman Woolsey for not kowtowing to the far-left fringe
She isn't going to let a small but vocal minority stop her from doing the right thing.
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Raineyb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. Since the hell when is NOT supporting wireless wiretapping the purview of the
"far left fringe?"

The center has been moved so far right that things that people like you who are ignorant of what is REALLY the political spectrum call things that are barely left of center far left while calling far right bullshit centrist.

And then you wonder why people would vote third party? Why the hell wouldn't they if the party can't be bothered to actually attempt to represent the people instead of the corporations who pay their way?
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #12
21. The Democratic voters of Harman's district keep renominating her
Perhaps you know her better than they do?
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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 09:32 AM
Response to Reply #6
19. "the far-left fringe"
Who knew that Newt Gingrich was a DUer?
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #19
23. Anyone who thinks that a Congresswoman who votes with the Dem. Caucus more that 98% of the time is
in danger of being described as fringe.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
7. dupe
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 11:47 AM by Freddie Stubbs

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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
8. Harman is one of the worst members of Congress who claims
to be a Democrat. She supported Bush's wire-tapping program and airc, went so far as to condemn the whistle-blowers who exposed it.

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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #8
20. Yes. She is no friend to the progressive cause or civil liberities of the people.
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Jim Sagle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:03 PM
Response to Original message
10. Good on Woolsey. She's from the prosemitic wing of the Democratic party.
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 02:15 PM by Jim Sagle
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Raineyb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:05 PM
Response to Original message
11. It's things like this that irk the hell out of me when we start talking party politics.
There are people who will insist that you must vote for the Democrat no matter how far to the right they govern because having a Republican in office is worse. Their argument is that we can move them to the left. Now here we have a chance to actually get a progressive to run in a district and what does the party do? It raises money for the right of center Democrat and ignores and actively works against the progressive candidate. Why given this type of behavior should I vote for right of center Dems? This is exactly the type of thing that makes me want to vote 3rd party at times. These politicians are bloody useless. They don't give a damn what we want they're only interested in getting power, and keeping it and if on occasion they have to make progressive noises to do so they will but they don't actually give a shit what we think. And their sense of entitlement when it comes to our vote is especially galling when we see things like this.
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davidswanson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. vote for the Democrat?
winograd is a Democrat

this is a debate between engaging in some small d democracy and settling for permanent nobility
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cascadiance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:30 PM
Response to Original message
13. And Waxman also once again disappoints as well too! They "speak" for us, but "succeed" for us?!!
THAT is where it is really hard to figure out who are real friends are in congress, who are truly working against us, and who are being held hostage by the system. It is especially confusing within the Democratic Party. At least with the Republicans, we KNOW they are working against us.

Waxman already failed us by promising to help Sibel Edmonds testify, and then reneging on his promise after the Democrats took control of the House. Now he looks to be being blackmailed again (or working truly in a stealthy fashion against us) by supporting Harman as well. Both he and Woolsey are really disappointing me.

And many of us have questioned Sibel Edmonds' intentions when she brought out wiretaps that Jan Schakowsky denied too, who also "speaks for us", but one has to wonder if someone has some blackmail strings wrapped around her to only "allow" her to do certain things and not achieve significant success (in what she states she wants to do as a progressive).

If we had true progressives in the Senate, they'd have long ago either shut down or limit the filibuster rules so that the mess we have for a health care bill would be a real decent piece of reform instead. That is unless many of the other non-blue dogs are trying to "pretend" that they are progressives, knowing they don't have the votes to make something pass (either intentionally for their own beliefs, or supporting the arm twisting that's been done against them). And they are letting the Liebermanns, Nelsons, Landrieus, etc. be the focal point. And of course in the past, Liebermann, Nelson, and Landrieu could afford to hide more too than they can now, when they are the focal point of the "moderate opposition" with the 60 vote majority.

I recall when Barbara Boxer was also sending out campaign letters to her mailing list to California voters to support these other Blue Dog democrats too. You could tell that she was doing so to pay back "political favors" as well. I'd have expected that more from Feinstein, but evidently the shadowy leadership feels that Boxer would have more "pull" with us, much like they feel that Woolsey and Waxman would as well. We need to say NO! And get people like Marcy Winograd in congress instead.

Where do these congress critters' hearts really lie? It's hard to tell without true public campaign financing, which could serve to separate those who truly embrace corrupt practices of the current "financing" (aka bribery) system, and those who feel trapped by it (but can't appeal to us that they are doing so).

We need to, especially in the House, make a DEMAND that House reps we vote for will make it their priority to get public campaign financing passed in the next congress.
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ChiciB1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
14. THIS Is Disturbing To Me! Who's Next... Russ Feingold?? Woolsey Has Been
someone I've always admired, but perhaps she's now throwing in the towel!

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CaliforniaPeggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 03:41 PM
Response to Original message
15. Brilliantly said.
I too support Marcy Winograd.

You have clearly outlined what is going on.


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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 06:55 PM
Response to Original message
16. This is not the Lynn Woolsey that I knew. And it is not even the
Lynn Woolsey who spoke out against the Health Care Insurance Giveaway Bill late in the game, one night on Keith Olbermann.

I am doubting that much of this article is even factual.

Lynn was one of the few votes against the IWR, one of the early on politicians who said the Election of 2004 was stolen, and she is someone I admire.

I reserve my vitriol for the bigger people who are the bigger problem, not for the less well connected who do a great deal of heavy lifting, but who may occasionally lift the wrong weight.
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sce56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 04:49 PM
Response to Original message
18. As I have said before since I used to live in Jane's district she is firmly in the pocket of the
Congressional Military Industrial Complex! Her district has the giants in it like Raytheon, Boeing etc,etc.
Raytheon Co
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Raytheon Co
400 Continental Boulevard, El Segundo - (310) 426-2316
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Raytheon Space & Airborne System
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Aerospace Corporation's Dr. Wanda Austin Appointed to Defense Science Board

Since 1960 The Aerospace Corporation has operated a federally funded research and development center in support of national-security, civil and commercial space programs. We're applying the leading technologies and the brightest minds in the industry to meet the challenges of space.
Across the street from LA AFB which is home to part of SpaceCom. Lots of money spent there!

I supported Marcy last time and will again once my check book recovers from xmas and the otheer charities I support.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-20-10 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #18
24. Are you suggesting that she makes decisions based on the job security of her constituents?

No wonder they keep reelecting her.
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invictus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 10:51 AM
Response to Original message
22. kick
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