Friday, July 24, 2009

Tompkins County Green Party Re-Energizes

The Democrats of New York's 24th congressional district are facing the birth of a new political reality that ought to alter their calculations of their party's conceptual positioning. The question is whether they realize it's the case.

The new reality is the alienation of the political left. At the height of Democratic victory, progressives are realizing that the Democratic Party has never intended to speak to their interests. All the promises of liberal reform from the last eight years are being exposed as crass manipulation used to bring the Democrats back into the centers of power.

The Blue Dog Coalition, of which Michael Arcuri is an enthusiastic member, represents the sort of Republican-lite ideology which is alienating increasing numbers of Democratic voters. The Republicans themselves cannot gain the attention of these disenchanted voters, given the way that the Republicans have abused the public's trust so conspicuously, for so long.

So, who can step into this breach, to take advantage of this political moment? In the 24th District, the Green Party may be doing so.

This week, sensing the opportunity created by the Democrats' disappointment, the Green Party of Tompkins County has re-organized, electing new officers and endorsing two candidates for local office in 2009. Most of Tompkins County is in Mike Arcuri's congressional district.

Will the Green Party challenge Arcuri from the left in 2010? Wait and see...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Arcuri Opposes Solid Science For Mustang Management

I cannot for the life of me understand why Congressman Michael Arcuri has voted against H. R. 1018, the Restore Our American Mustangs Act.

It can't be for the sake of fiscal responsibility. The fiscally responsible way to manage government programs, after all, is to conduct rigorous scientific studies, so that government spending can be applied in the most efficient way possible.

That's just what the Restore Our American Mustangs Act will do when it becomes law. Yet, Mike Arcuri voted against it.

Representative Arcuri voted against a scientific analysis to determine the most efficient method for managing America's wild horse populations. Instead, Arcuri voted to preserve the current system: Round up a bunch of mustangs, keep them in corrals for a while, and then shoot them in the head.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tompkins County Green Party Meeting This Tuesday!

The Tompkins County Green Party will be meeting this coming Tuesday, July 21 at 7:00 PM in Stewart Park in Ithaca, near the large pavilion. It's a great place for a green political meeting, given the beautiful outdoor location, and the availability of playground equipment for those Greens who might want to bring their kids.

All registered Green Party voters from Tompkins County are encouraged to attend. Those who are interested in re-registering Green are welcome as well.

The Tompkins Greens will be electing officers and setting an agenda for the coming year, which includes supporting local candidates for public office. Could it also include a Green Party challenge to Congressman Michael Arcuri in 2010?

Geographically, about 80 percent of Tompkins County is in Mike Arcuri's congressional district. Watch your left, Congressman Arcuri. Watch your left.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Mike Arcuri Helps The Rich, Votes Against The Rest

Congressman Mike Arcuri talks a lot about working to help ordinary working people in our district, but talk is easy. What's the truth about the Arcuri record? The sad truth about Representative Arcuri's true priorities is shown in terms of how he dealt with two different pieces of economic legislation.

The first piece of legislation helps everyday homeowners who work for a living. H.R. 1106, The Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, has been passed by the House, but not yet by the Senate. The bill, if it becomes law, will allow bankruptcy judges to work to restructure mortgage payments so that banks can continue to get money, and people can continue to stay in their homes. The fact is that rich people have had the power to make these very arrangements for mortgages on their vacation homes, and debts on their yachts, but ordinary working Americans aren't allowed the same opportunity.

Michael Arcuri voted against the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act. Arcuri told middle class homeowners that, in the middle of a deepening economic recession, he won't give them any help.

Congressman Arcuri has a very different standard for the wealthy. A few weeks ago, Arcuri himself wrote a bill to help out wealthy investors. H. R. 2798, the Support Investment Protection for Customers Reform Act of 2009, authorizes the government to provide an extra one and a half billion dollars to wealthy investors through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.

If you're a rich investor who's lost a some money because of the recession, Congressman Arcuri will not only cosponsor a bill for you and vote for it, he'll actually write the legislation to serve your needs. If you're an average working homeowner hit by hard economic times, Michael Arcuri won't write the bill to help you out. He won't cosponsors a bill to help you out. He won't even cast a vote for you.

Why should the homeowners of New York's 24th congressional district support the re-election of Congressman Arcuri in 2010, when he won't support them?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Mike Arcuri Orwellian About Big Oil

Representative Michael Arcuri has become a master of doublespeak, and on no issue is Arcuri's Orwellian approach more evident than with the environment. Arcuri calls himself a friend of the environment, but he just voted against taking action to deal with the costly consequences of climate change. He helped Big Oil, promoting the same old dirty energy track that America took during the disastrous years of Bush and Cheney.

Arcuri's services to Big Oil are nothing new. During the previous session in Congress, Arcuri voted to help out Big Oil too, but when campaign season came along, he described himself as a brave crusader standing up against the fossil fuel giants. One of his campaign advertisements last year announced,

"For too long, big oil special interests have blocked any efforts to reduce our dependence on oil. I'm Michael Arcuri. My priority's helping middle class families, not big oil companies.... I fought to expand domestic drilling, so we can bring down these gas prices. I'm Mike Arcuri and I approve this message because you sent me to Washington to get something done for a change."

Helping middle class families? By expanding offshore oil drilling? That's not fighting Big Oil - it's exactly what Big Oil wanted.

What's Congressman Arcuri going to tell us next - that he's fighting against corrupt pharmaceutical corporations by working to keep generic drugs off the market? Michael Arcuri seems to think that his constituents can't tell when he's speaking out of both sides of his mouth. For our sake, I hope he's wrong.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Arcuri Won't Support Conyers Commission

A resident of the 24th district that I know, a sincere progressive, has voted for Michael Arcuri both in 2006 and 2008. He dislikes Representative Arcuri's Blue Dog right wing slant as much as I do, but he has kept on holding out hope that adding another vote to the Democratic majority in Congress will help to bring about progressive change even as Arcuri himself resists that change.

Back in 2006, he said to me, "Can you imagine John Conyers as chair of the House Judiciary Committee, with subpoena power? Do you realize what that could do to Bush?" Actually, it accomplished almost nothing. Conyers was hobbled by the Democratic leadership of the House.

In 2008, his argument shifted to, "Can you imagine what will happen with a stronger Democratic majority in the House, and a veto-proof majority?"

We've got that Congress he wanted now, and still, that progressive agenda is not being enacted. The problem: In its pursuit for power, the Democratic Party has morphed into a timid copy of the Republican Party. Some say that the Republican Party has lost power. What I see is that the Republicans have won, by convincing Democratic politicians to act like Republicans. Mike Arcuri is part of that trend.

Consider, for example, the Conyers bill that attempted to establish a national commission to investigate President Bush's use of war powers and abuses of civil liberties. Only about one-fifth of all the Democrats in Congress support that commission. The rest support sweeping all the Bush crimes under the rug - after all, the Democrats' leader, Barack Obama, is now engaged in the use of the same extreme war powers and abuses of civil liberties that the Conyers commission would investigate.

Guess where Congressman Arcuri stands on the commission. That's right, he's among the right wing Democrats who want all the problems to be swept under the rug.

It's time that we 24th district progressives admit that the Democrats are not what we hoped they would be. It's time for us to begin organizing a true progressive challenge to Arcuri, from a true progressive party - the Green Party.