Sunday, February 03, 2008

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer in Buffalo

Joan Pauly Schneider from Buffalo organized a really fun event. Bluewoman and I will probably try to organize an event like this in SD 18.

I'll post photos later in the day!

One of the most important facets of this event was that it brought out other Democrats that I had not met in Wright County. About 60 people were in attendance at this event and I probably knew right around half the group. Normally, we recognize nearly everyone.

Coffee and rolls are always good with a fun group of Democrats around. Jack worked the room, eventually getting to BW and I. We had a fun and short chat.

After some introductions Jack spoke. His focus on not only the issues but real solutions was powerful.

He highlighted 4 areas, chief concerns he has heard as he has traveled the state. In Buffalo, Iraq may be #1, but in Fergus Falls, it could be education. Regardless of where he is though, these 4 issues are most certanly the most important.

Global Warming: The military industrial complex moved our society forward post World War II. The time to move from the MIC to a Marshall Plan to rebuild our energy infrastructure. We spend more in 1/2 day in Iraq than we do on renewable/sustainable energy funding in the United States.

"Without urgent action we will experience devastating effects, including coastal flooding, an unprecedented refugee crisis, prolonged droughts and heat waves, and water shortages. While our country is the largest contributor of greenhouse emissions, the Bush administration has refused to join international efforts to address global warming. The economic costs of not acting to address global warming are far greater than the costs of taking bold action now."

"We need to enact effective public policies to address global warming and build a renewable energy economy. This includes setting an ambitious national goal to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2030 through conservation, efficiency, better mileage vehicles, mass transit, responsible building codes and carbon taxes. Creating a renewable energy economy will generate millions of high-paying jobs. Federal research and development dollars must be reprioritized away from new weapons systems to renewable energy."

Iraq: Going to war in Iraq based on the Bush Administration intelligence was wrong, it was criminal. Continuing our militarization of Iraq with permanent bases and lengthy multiple deployments is even more wrong. Providing lacking support to our returning soldiers and Veterans is immoral.

"The Bush administration never had an exit strategy for Iraq because it does not plan on leaving. The Bush administration invaded and occupies Iraq in pursuit of two principle goals: to establish permanent military bases and to control Iraq’s vast oil supplies. Responsibly ending the occupation depends on rejecting these goals."

"All of our hopes and dreams are held hostage to the Iraq war. The $12 billion per month we spend on the war not only hurts Iraqis, it also cripples domestic efforts to address pressing environmental, health, education and other needs at home. It is shameful that the Bush administration demands hundreds of billions of dollars to continue an unnecessary war while refusing to adequately fund programs for returning vets or health care programs for uninsured US children. "

Health Care: 50 million Americans who go with no coverage is immoral. Lobbyists and the pharmaceutical industry have a stranglehold on the American health care system.

He supports a single payer health care system that provides universal coverage, focuses on prevention, and offers parity between mental and physical health needs.

Education: Jack understands the importance of high quality public education. He is the only candidate in the Senate race who has sent his kids entirely through the public school system.
"Shifting the costs of education from general taxes to property taxes also strains budgets, aggravates inequalities and erodes financial support for public education. One day of Iraq War spending could pay for 9,600 more teachers for a year."
Intertwined within each of these areas is the facet of the economy. Shifting focus from a military industrial complex based system to a sustainable / renewable energy economy will kickstart our nations security concerns and will allow ourselves to be energy independent. The wasteful spending in Iraq, putting on our future children's credit cards, harms the economy in a profound way.
Instead of taking care of our infrastructure needs, we are taking care of the needs of another nation we destroyed.
Before his Q&A session, JNP used a FDR quote. Fortunately, BW and I had visited the FDR Memorial in DC this past November and captured the quote in stone.

"Unless the peace that follows recognizes that the whole world is on neighborhood and does justice to the whole human race, the germs of another world war will remain as a constant threat to mankind."

BW and I hung around for a bit after the event, spoke to people who had not seen him speak before, as well as spoke to some of the campaign staff about organizing activities.

It was a wonderful event. It galvanizes my progressive side. I'll always support candidates who embrace hope, compassion, and the struggles that face working and middle class American's. Candidates who have a vision for change and are working to create a movement to bring forth this change always get my support.

JNP described, in part, voter dissatisfaction with Congress. “The Democrats treat the environment (or Iraq, Education, Health Care) as if we are in a car going 150 miles per hour towards a cliff and they propose to slow the car down to 100 mph. But we need a change of direction.”

Until we reject candidates of the status quo we'll continue our 100 mph plunge off a cliff.

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