Monday, March 17, 2008

TBA2008 -- Opening Plenary

10:45: Okay, I'm not even sure where to begin with this conference. I guess I could direct you to the agenda here. It's hard to figure out which of the many sessions and events to attend, but I'll try. The opening speech is being given by Robert Borosage of the Institute for America's future.

Robert Borosage

10:48: The conference is going to focus on Iraq, energy, health care and two other key issues.

10:50: The plan is to announce the launch of the largest effort in memory to register and educate voters.

10:55: The next speaker is Diane Archer of the Health Care for All Project. We rank 37th in the world in terms of health care and our health care insurance system is broken. A coalition of health care organizations is organizing Health Care of America Now in order to improve America's health care system and move toward a more fair and equitable health care system.

Diane Archer

11:01: They back a program that backs a private-insurance system for those who like it, but also creates an expanded form of Medicare that is a public system for those who don't like the private system or can't afford it. This would drive $80 billion in annual savings on health care.

11:06: The next speaker is Van Jones of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Color of If we do not have a WWII-level mobilization to change our energy infrastructure, then we might not have a future. We have to beat the polluters, push back against Big Coal and forge a new energy future.

Van Jones

11:10: The government is on the side of the problem-makers -- the polluters, those who oppose new energy -- and we need to get the government on the side of the problem-solvers.

11:11: The movement towards creating a positive and progressive energy movement in the U.S., it will create thousands of contracts and millions of jobs. We can beat global warming, decrease poverty and eliminate the need to ever have a war for oil again.

11:13: Martin Luther King Jr. was killed not because he stuck up for African-Americans, but because he linked issues like race, poverty, war and others in a way that endangered the power of entrenched interests.

11:16: We do not believe in sink-or-swim politics. We are all in this together.

11:17: We are becoming the people who offer solutions not problems. We can build a movement that can say we are strong enough and innovative enough not just to take America back, but to take it forward.

11:18: The next speaker is Donna Edwards, Democratic nominee for Maryland's Fourth Congressional District.

Donna Edwards

11:21: She lost to Al Wynn in 2006, but that loss was a win that served as a springboard to her victory this year. She says a loss can build the groundwork for future success. The victory was based on a movement that was a coming together of groups like MoveOn, DFA, PDA and others.

11:24: In 2008, the voters get it on the Iraq war, Congress needs to get it, too. We need to invest in peace and progress, not war.

11:28: The media needs to return to talking about the war and putting stories about the war and the soldiers who are dying there back on the front pages of the newspapers. We need to contact our newspapers and get them to cover the stories again.

11:29: Edwards is signed on with the plan to end the war proposed by Darcy Burner and others (including Floridian Larry Byrnes, who appeared on Florida Progressive Radio yesterday).

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