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Campaign for America’s Future NOW! June 1, 2009

Posted by Afflatus in Politics.
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12:10 pm – Day 1 of the conference I previously blogged about is underway (the previous post is here). So far it has been outstanding, electrifying, interesting!

The Economy: OMG!
The first panel I saw included Robert Kuttner, co-founder and current editor of The American Prospect. Kuttner also contributes to the Boston Globe, Huffington Post, and is the author of “Everything For Sale,” a book I plan on possibly reading after hearing him speak.

The second speaker was Jared Bernstein, Chief Economist and Economic Policy Advisor to Vice President Joseph Biden. Mr. Bernstein’s attendance was questionable because he is in the midst of an extremely hectic day with the automakers bailout hitting the fan today (a situation that strongly reminded me of West Wing). He showed up, delivered a fantastic speech, for which a packed audience was thoroughly appreciative. His intellect, and sharp mind blew me away. After taking one interesting question from the great moderator, Katrina vanden Heuvel of the Nation, he had to quickly return to the White House, Capitol, or somewhere important. Though, showing up at this conference was also very important for him. Thanks Mr. Bernstein for a GREAT speech.

I incorrectly expected the two remaining speakers to pale in comparison to a very strong beginning. However, John Podesta was next. Podesta was President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff. He was the main executive appointed to oversee President Obama’s transition team.

Finally, Emma Coleman Jordan spoke. This incredible speaker perhaps stole the show! She has litigated cases in front of the Supreme Court regarding financial law such as derivatives, check bouncing fees etc. One case she spoke about in particular was Crocker Bank vs. Purdue. A more academic summary I found through a quick google search is here. An easier article to read is here.

The panel was focused on economic recovery. President Obama’s 3 specific pillars of investing in health care, sustainable energy, and education were consistently repeated as the path to improving our economy, quality of life, and standard of living.

12:37 – The second panel is finishing right now. I plan to re-watch most of it because I was writing about the first. However, my mother who is sitting next to me tells this panel was equally as good as the first.

I cannot pretend to be able to summarize adequately the speakers’ words. Luckily, Campaign for America’s Future has video recorded everything and will be posting it in high-quality video streams. When these videos become available I will link them here.

Hopefully, more will follow!

2:47 pm – Of course more will follow.

Over lunch I reflected on how amazing a morning it had been. I return to the main room just in time to see two of the best speakers I have ever seen or heard.

“Change Congress” by Lawrence Lessig

Lessig is currently a professor at Stanford Law school. He pointed out that his tenure there permitted him to speak freely. Without his tenure, who knows how his outstanding “presentation” would have differed; the word “presentation” does not fully capture his “speech” or the following one (see below).

Brief Summary of Lessig: Let me preface this summary by pointing out the necessity of watch the video, which I will post later. Until then, perhaps my mediocre summary will whet your proverbial appetite. Lessig in a clever, creative, and incredibly effective presentation explains that “money buys results on capitol hill.” He thoroughly addresses the corruption in Washington. A cycle exists: Lobbyists give “currency” (it can take many forms) to a group he terms “members.” Members in turn give currency to special interests, who in turn repay it to lobbyists. Everyone benefits for these “payments” that continually go around this cycle. I repeat, he details the corruption in D.C. But this isnt the corruption of Abramoff, Blagojevich, Libby. This is more institutionalized corruption. Corruption of Hillary (which he details, but I cannot), corruption of a man named Richard Cassidy, who Lessig claims earned more than $100,000,000 dollars, that’s 100 million! This institutionalized corruption is often legal, and even considered ethical by some. Anyways, the video will be coming soon!

“End the Failed War on Drugs” by Ethan Nadelmann

Will describe later. And post video later!