There's a reason why Ted Kennedy got angry about
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
There's a reason why Ted Kennedy got angry about
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Right up there is Bill Clinton's Fred Thomasesque speech in Missouri Saturday night. It was all about Bill and not much about Hillary. The anchors at CNN and MSNBC didn't make that up. It was there on the screen.
There's empathy and there is pseudo-empathy. There is the empathy of one who truly feels your pain and the pseudo-empathy of a narcissist who adopts empathy as a mask for his or her self involvement. In Missouri, after Hillary's lost, Bill Clinton by talking about himself and his administration definitively defined himself. It was all about him. His empathy has all the sincerity of Mitt Romney's smile.
Maybe it's time that the Clintonistas started reviewing the great accomplishments of the Clinton administration. Was he better on the environment than Bush - by a million millions. Was he better on the economy: Clinton rode the Wall Street wave and left office just before the deluge. We also lost the Congress in 1992 and didn’t win it back until 14 years later in 2006.
NAFTA was his, remember? Not to denigrate his entire administration. To me, the most pressing issue for electing almost any Democrat will be, and remains, the reactionary packing of the Supreme Court. We lose this one and the Court may be gone for a generation.
In 2000 I played a minor role in helping Hillary get her the Sierra Club endorsement. I have no regrets. I wish her a long, long productive career in the United States Senate. I hope she will have one.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
For over a decade, I was fairly active in the Sierra Club, but for multiple reasons over the past two years, I have had to let Sierra Club stuff slide. But now, something has happened that requires some comment. Carl Pope, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club has announced an exciting new “partnership” with Clorox to develop green products. The question to many is Clorox bleaching the green Sierra Club white.
What we are watching is perhaps the final chapter of the conversion of the Sierra Club ‑ on a national level ‑ from an activists driven organization to a corporate driven organization where the interest of the Sierra Club as a corporation invariably trumps the interest of the Sierra Club as an activists’ organization. I struggled against that mentality for about three years and then, as pressures from my practice, and my son Mike's illness, moved front and center had to cede the struggle to others. I would bring to your attention several hall marks of this struggle which have ramifications not only of Sierra Club members but for the nation at large.
(1) the decision to pull all criticism of Bush from the Club's web site taken in haste without due deliberation in aftermath of 9/11. According to the President of the Club, the was a no-brainer because of concerns about corporate contributors.
(2) the refusal of the BOD of directors in February 2002 to seriously implement the report of the Global Environmental and Security Task Force which I happened to chair. We recommended that the Club “message to security” and demonstrate that our environmental goals are intrinsically related to national security. Robert Kennedy, Jr. had earlier made the same point a few weeks after 9/11.
When we reported to the Club Board of Directors (“BOD”) the Executive Director ostentatiously read the newspaper and then said that "We have passed this by focus groups and they don’t think that this is something the Club should get involved with.” I subsequently coined a phrase "focus group morality" to express my disdain for those who would substitute the opinions of focus groups for the dictates of conscience. Incidentally, a number of people have pointed out that it was reliance on focus groups to dictate strategy that was key element of Kerry’s 2004 loss.
(3) I believe it was the same year that saw the creation of the Sierra Club Mutual Fund which was supposed to open the door to unlimited wealth for the Club. I thought at the time that proposal would create a rather run-of-the-mill fund which would not really be truly extraordinary and arguably not all that green.
(4) Then there was the struggle in the fall of 2002 to get the Club to oppose the
The Club’s Council of Conservation Leaders, (CCL) passed a resolution in September of 2002, that the Club opposed the looming invasion of
The great “what if” of American politics is “what if” we had vigorously opposed the war resolution? Could we have budged Kerry or Edwards. I don't think Hillary was budgeable. How different our political history would have been had either Kerry or Edwards voted "no" and at least in Edward's case we now know it was a very close call (thanks to the venomous memoir of perpetual loser and focus group freak Bob Shrum).
The low-point of the affair was when the National Conservation Director threatened to discipline the San Francisco Chapter for proposing to thank Nancy Pelosi for her vote against the 2002 resolution.
It was only after an E-Mail proposal by Pope to expel the members of the Glen Canyon Group in
And then there was the 2003 BOD election where independent voices were purged from the BOD under guise of protecting us from the anti-immigration faction. I am told that the husband of one candidate invested $125,000 dollars in that effort. The main problem was that among those purged in the immigration struggle were independent voices that opposed the efforts of the anti immigration faction.
Perhaps, the final blow was the closing of the CCL E-Mail list that allowed a free flow of ideas among members nationwide.
But Sierra Club members at the local level should not lose heart. They still have enough autonomy to deal with local issues and your voice n what happens in our communities is vitally important. You are doing God's work. Whatever the penzavotte at the national level do: "Keep the faith, baby."
When I objected to the purging of Bush from the Club web site in 2001, the Club President defended that act by saying that they had a telephone conference that afternoon and that the purge was a "no-brainer" because of the impact of 9/11 on the corporate donors.
She was right. It was a no brainer. It was also a no guts. The struggle for a habitable environment demands both brains and guts.
Is Clorox bleaching the green Sierra Club white? Perhaps I am being unfair, maybe the Club has just changed interest from green trees to green papers.