|Progressive Calendar 12.09.10||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2010 13:31:48 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 12.09.10 1. Undoc students 12.09 4pm 2. Eagan peace vigil 12.09 4:30pm 3. Northtown vigil 12.09 5pm 4. FBI vs anti-war 12.09 6:30pm 5. Mumia call-in 12.09 6. Call-in v FBI/war 12.09 7. ed - Pledge 2012 No vote for Obama/12.09.10 8. Stephen Lendman - Challenging Obama's anti-progressivism 9. James McEnteer - Obama, can this really be the end? 10. Glen Ford - Obama: the Republican's reliable interlocutor 11. Sen Bernie Sanders - Obama's tax deal is a 'moral outrage' 12. William Astore - The rich get richer, the poor poorer 13. Elise Viebeck - Nader looking for someone to challenge Obama in 2012 14. Chuck Collins - Obama tax deal - death spiral to plutocracy 15. Arthur Waskow - A song: no spine at all --------1 of 15-------- From: Jason Stone <jason.stone [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Undoc students 12.09 4pm NAVIGATE Summit: Allies for MN's Undocumented Students 12/9/10 Register: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/navigate2010 ( http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/navigate2010) December 9, 2010 Program: 4:00 6:00 p.m. - Reception: 6:00 p.m. Augsburg College, Kennedy Center 303-305 Join NAVIGATE to discuss the challenges Minnesotas undocumented students face when accessing a college education. In this summit, speakers will share their legal, professional, and personal experience to give allies the tools to become more effective supporters and advocates for undocumented students. - -CEU Credits Available- (On Augsburg College campus contact Arianna Genis at genis [at] augsburg.edu (mailto: genis [at] augsburg.edu)) Registration: $15, also accepted at the door. To be invoiced or to make other arrangements, contact Annie Levenson-Falk at alevensonfalk [at] citizensleague.org (http://ue.org/). --------2 of 15-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 12.09 4:30pm PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------3 of 15-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 12.09 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------4 of 15-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: FBI vs anti-war 12.09 6:30pm Solidarity in a Post 9-11 World: How the U.S. War on Terrorism Affects Movements for Peace and Justice at Home and Abroad Thursday, December 9, 6:30 p.m. Walker Library, Large Meeting Room, 2880 Hennepin Avenue (Hennepin and Lagoon), Minneapolis. Activists are fighting here to end U.S. military aid to the apartheid Israeli government and to the death squad government of Colombia. Meanwhile activists in Palestine and Colombia are fighting for peace with justice in their homelands. The FBI is investigating the Anti-War Committee and a U.S. Attorney is using a grand jury to intimidate and potentially to indict folks on charges of "material support for terrorism." Come hear from Anti-War Committee members and Bruce Nestor of the National Lawyers Guild about why our solidarity work is critical and why now more than ever you should speak out in support of the people of Palestine and Colombia! Organized by: the Anti-War Committee. --------5 of 15-------- From: info [at] freemumia.com To: Mumia call-in 12.09 We call on all mumia abu-jamal supporters across the globe to join us Tomorrow, thursday, december 9, 2010 the 29th anniversary of the Beginning of the legal lynching of mumia, in deluging attorney general Eric holder and the department of justice with calls and e-mails Demanding a civil rights investigation into this case now!!! We are awaiting the decision by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals as to whether they will re-impose the death penalty on Mumia, that is, plan to execute him, or accept the "life in prison without parole" sentence. We are not sure how long the Court will take to announce its decision, but we know that regardless of how it decides, those alternatives are totally unacceptable to us. Mumia is innocent and must be released not only from death row but from prison. The Department of Justice has the authority and responsibility to investigate a case that could only have gotten to this point through the open and/or tacit collaboration of police, prosecutors, and judges. It is responsible for police and judiciary misconduct and can offer a variety of remedies. Amnesty International has now twice called for a new trial and has twice asserted that neither the trial nor the appeals process met "minimal international standards safeguarding the fairness of legal proceedings." Instead of heeding this highly respected organization's recommendation, the courts are escalating their punitiveness toward Mumia and moving toward execution. The Open World Conference Against War and Exploitation, held in Algiers from November 27 through November 29, just this past month, took a strong position of support for Mumia and plans to send an international delegation to Washington to demand justice for him. Demonstrations were also held and statements were issued in many parts of the world as the Third Circuit Court of Appeals was debating Mumia's fate on November 9, and many more protests are planned for tomorrow. The outrage across the globe at the hypocrisy and viciousness of the United States on the issue of human rights is palpable. With this in mind: Call the department of justice tomorrow, december 9, and demand a civil rights investigation. Explain forcefully but politely that you are fully aware that the doj has jurisdiction over such extensive police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct as has been involved in mumia's case I cite amnesty international's assessment of the case as not meeting minimal constitutional or international standards for legal proceedings Ii refer to the fact that in 2001, a judge in this case, pamela dembe, ruled that the report that the judge in the original case, albert sabo, said to another judge, "i'm going to help them fry the nigger" did not show racist rulings or bias in that judge's court behavior Iii refer to the withholding of evidence from mumia: A. The polokoff photographs, which are hard evidence 1. challenging the prosecutor's version of what happened on December 9, 1981 (there are no divots in the sidewalk where they would be if the prosecutor's scenario were accurate) 2. witness perjury (the taxi that one of the witnesses claimed to be present is nowhere to be seen) 3. and police tampering with evidence B. The fact that a fourth person was at the scene of the crime, which The police and prosecutor knew about but did not share with mumia's Attorneys You cannot cite all of this, but pick one or two points or just list the evidence of Mumia's innocence briefly to demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about the case. Department of Justice phone numbers: 202 353-1555 Comment Line Open 24 hours 202 514-2000 Switchboard Open 24 hours If you are sending an e-mail, you can just refer to the "extensive evidence of police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct" as justifying a civil rights investigation. Attorney General Eric Holder's e-mail address is AskDoJ [at] usdoj.gov, and his fax number is 202 397-6777 ALSO, KEEP THE PETITIONS COMING. IF YOU'RE MAILING THEM, SEND TO: Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC) PO Box 16 College Station New York, NY 10030 --------6 of 15-------- From: kim defranco <kimdefranco [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Call-in vs FBI/war 12.09 Call Off the Grand Jury Witch-hunt Against Anti-war and Solidarity Activists! Stop FBI Repression! Call U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald at 312-353-5300, then dial 0 (zero) for operator and ask to leave a message with the Duty Clerk (paralegal). You could say: "My name is __________, I am from _______(city), in ______(state). I am calling U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to demand that he call off the Grand Jury and stop FBI repression against the anti-war and international solidarity movements. I oppose political repression and defend the right to free speech and right to assembly of the 19 activists subpoenaed." UPDATE: Two more people were subpoenaed on Thursday Dec. 8. That brings to total number of subpoenas to 19. Look for an update later today or tomorrow. Please send a short message to stopfbi [at] gmail.com to let us know that you called. Background info from our Dec. 7 alert: Fitzgerald Expands Repression with 3 New Subpoenas in Chicago Under the direction of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's office, the FBI is expanding their repression of anti-war and Palestine solidarity activists in Chicago. On Friday, December 3, 2010, the FBI targeted three young women who traveled to Palestine together last summer. After the FBI called to question a young Jewish-American woman Sarah Smith, FBI agents knocked on the door of two young Palestinian-American sisters. One sister was already on the phone with lawyer Jim Fennerty and handed the phone to the FBI, causing the FBI to leave. The FBI agents soon returned however with subpoenas to the Grand Jury targeting anti-war and solidarity activists, dated for January 25, 2011. The three are standing strong with the other 14 subpoenaed activists from Illinois, Minneapolis, and Michigan. Over 100 people protested in Chicago on Monday against the expanding repression. Help Keep 3 Minneapolis Women Out of Jail Fitzgerald's new wave of repression comes a week after the re-activation of subpoenas for three Palestine solidarity activist women in Minneapolis. Tracy Molm, Anh Pham, and Sarah Martin are being asked to appear before the Grand Jury again, despite refusing to speak in October. In Minneapolis and other cities the week of actions demanded "Protest to keep Anh, Tracy, and Sarah, out of jail!" Lawyers for each of the three are meeting with Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Fox this week. However, on orders from Fitzgerald's office, the FBI shenanigans continue with visits to anti-war activist's homes. So please stand with the 17 subpoenaed anti-war and solidarity activists and make a phone call to Fitzgerald at 312-353-5300. **Please sign and circulate our petition at http://www.iacenter.org/stopfbi/ Visit www.StopFBI.net or write StopFBI [at] gmail.com or call 612-379-3585. Thank you, Tom Burke for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression -- National: StopFBI.net MN: mnstopfbi.wordpress.com Petition: stopfbi.net/sign-the-petition MN list serve: groups.google.com/group/stopfbi-mn and, check your Spam folder! --------7 of 15-------- From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: Pledge 2012 No vote for Obama/12.09.10 [Here, after a 3 month rest, is your chance to pledge no vote for Obama in 2012. Each month, week, day, gives more reasons for the pledge. See several of the articles posted below for more new reasons. -ds] Pledge 2012 No vote for Obama Some of Barack Obama's bad actions: 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan record high military budget bombing by unmanned drones in Pakistan continued Iraq war rejection of landmine treaty continued torture and coverup of past torture support for Honduras coup support for Israeli occupation of Palestine suppression of Goldstone Gaza war report bank bailout no prosecution or even investigation of Bush & Co reaffirmation of Patriot Act for insurance companies & vs single payer support for expanded nuclear power For these, and many other bad actions, We the undersigned publicly pledge not to vote for Barack Obama for US president in 2012. Robert Halfhill Amber Garlan Tom Cleland David Weisberg Dave Bicking Andy Hamerlinck Doug Mann Ted Dooley Melissa Hill Dori Ullman Ryan Carey Jan McGee Bill Oldfather Carol Mellom Michelle Gross Mike Whelan Robert Palmer Tom Dooley Tim Nolan Johnny Hazard Suzanne Linton Michael Cavlan Steven Boyer John Simcox Louise Bouta Vanessa Vogl Lisa Grant M J Schoen Clinton Dietrich Lydia Howell Farheen Hakeem Jan Nye Margaret Beegle Dave Berger Brandy Baker (MD) Myles Hoenig (MD) Danene Provencher Donald L Maxwell Neil Lageson Molly Reiter Mustafa Adam Bob Schmitz Mary Metchnek Dan Dittman James Benthall [Rochester MN] Maria Balla Alan Maki Judy Bjorke Kenny Kalligher Diane Williams Paul Busch Tony Hunnicutt Alan Makinen Nolan Zavoral Hans Simons David Shove [room for YOUR name] ==end of pledge To sign this pledge, send to shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu an email from your standard personal email address, with your name, and the words: No Obama 2012 vote. The above will be published regularly on the Progressive Calendar, Green Party lists, etc. Continuing chances for additional people to sign. If you need to research any topic raised here, go to eg: CounterPunch http://counterpunch.org Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org Common Dreams http://commondreams.org Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones MD = Maryland --------8 of 15-------- Challenging Obama's Anti-Progressivism by Stephen Lendman December 7th, 2010 Dissident Voice Believing Obama is progressive is like calling a cat a dog. Only the delusional think so. He's, in fact, hard-right, a neocon, a warrior president, a corporatist pursuing anti-populist policies favoring wealth and privilege, not social justice when more than ever it's needed. He's a fraud, an elitist, chosen years ago, then put on a fast track to power. Big monied interests love him. So do war profiteers and members of America's aristocracy. He's one of them. Only the voting millions who backed him were defrauded. Will they awaken, finally understand, and express their ire publicly more strongly than in mid-term theatrics, throwing out bums for new ones? It's high time. A year two Obama assessment is coming. Watch for it, parts I and II. A year one analysis can be accessed here and here. Definitions of Progressivism Merriam Webster defines it as people "believing in moderate political change and especially social improvement by governmental action". The Oxford Dictionary says it's anyone "advocating or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas". Wikipedia calls it a "political attitude favoring or advocating changes or reforms through governmental action". Progressivism began in the 19th century to end slavery, support women's rights including suffrage, small farmers, and political populism; namely, social reforms benefitting ordinary Americans; citizens having more control over government; establishing comprehensive education as a universal right; curbing excessive corporate power; eliminating corruption and waste; supporting organized labor; laws to prevent child worker exploitation; environmental conservation; and more stressing social values above financial gain. Obama's agenda is mirror opposite - anti-progressive/populist/liberal. Judge him by his advisors and top officials. They support power, not working Americans. Their policies are pro-war, pro-business, pro-privilege, pro-super wealth, anti-dissent, anti-democracy, anti-freedom, anti-civil and human rights, anti-environmental sanity, and anti-government of, by and for the people. They oppose virtually everything most people want, need but don't get under either party, one a near clone of the other. After eight Bush/Cheney/Republican years, Americans wanted change. Obama's promise won the most sweeping non-incumbent victory in over 50 years, along with congressional Democrats gaining large House and Senate majorities. Out with the old. In with the new. Everything changed but stayed the same. In fact, it worsened with perhaps greater harshness coming in Obama's next two years, including escalated imperial wars, neoliberal austerity, greater than ever impoverishment, desperation and despair, as well as hardened repression to curb popular anger. Surprisingly, however, Obama's approval rating still hovers close to 50%. On December 6, the conservative Rasmussen Reports Daily Presidential Tracking Poll said "47% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president's performance. Fifty-three percent (53%) disapprove". It also found 28% strongly approve, 41% strongly disapproving, "giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -13". It's about the same one he's had all year despite greater numbers being harmed, a trend showing no sign of abating. One progressive, Tikkun's Rabbi Michael Lerner, expressed concern in a December 4 Washington Post op-ed headlined, "Save Obama's presidency by challenging him on the left," saying: People who used to say, "Give (Obama) more time" when (he) was criticized for capitulating to the right, or who argued that (he) must have a plan to turn things around, are now largely depressed and angry. If so, polls like Rasmussen's don't show it, at least not convincingly. Lerner, however, believes "many liberals and progressives" are mad about Obama's unwillingness to veto "tax relief for billionaires," besides continued imperial wars, escalated in Afghanistan, abandoning the health care public option, refusal to prosecute Bush war criminals, and his overall unpopular agenda. Instead of condemning Obama and congressional Democrats, Lerner worries mostly about "a full-scale Republican return to power in 2012". A "disaster" he said, given their economic policies and environmental record, as well as disdain for social justice and world peace. Clearly, Lerner's been largely AWOL during the past two years, mindless that Obama's extremism exceeded Bush and that Democrats overall are as hardline as Republicans. Their rhetoric alone differs. On core issues like war and peace, corporatism, police state repression, and environmental pillaging, there's not a dime's worth of difference between them, what Lerner and other progressives should understand, highlight, repeat, and preach to their faithful, not believe leopards can change spots. He does, wanting Obama to be "the candidate whom most Americans believed they elected in 2008:" the myth, not the man whom James Petras calls: "the perfect incarnation of Melville's Confidence Man. He catches your eye while he picks your pocket. He gives thanks as he packs you off to imperial wars. The "first Jewish president," he "unconditional(ly) support(s the) pro-Israeli Lobby and the colonial expansionist and bellicose policies of the Jewish state". Liberals, progressives, and intellectuals who "support a politician who publicly and openly embraces new wars, billionaire bailouts," and mass privatizations, including essential services like health care, Medicare, education, perhaps Social Security, and more are what C. Wright Mills called "crackpot realists" . Their followers are what Walter Lippman described as the "bewildered herd," clueless of the world around them, mostly how gravely they and their loved ones are harmed. No matter. Lerner, and others like him, want Obama's presidency saved - "by challenging him in the 2012 presidential primaries with a candidate who would unequivocally commit to a well-defined progressive agenda and contrast it with" his. Those Democrats, however, don't exist, and progressive independents aren't welcome in a party embracing Democrat Leadership Council (DLC) extremism. As neocon as Republicans, they're anti-populist, anti-environmental sanity, anti-labor, anti-welfare, anti-peace, pro-business, pro-privilege, pro-war, pro-Israeli belligerency and occupation, and pro-imperial zealotry for global dominance. They support super-wealth and oppose social justice for Blacks, Hispanics, Latino immigrants, Muslims, working Americans, the poor and disadvantaged, consumer protections, populism, progressivism, honest elections, human and civil rights, and democratic values. [In short, they are not good men, not be trusted, especially with our lives and future. -ed] Obama buys it, governing accordingly. Believing he can be shoved to the left is "crackpot" lunacy. So is thinking congressional Democrats can, any of them. They cannot, what checking their voting records show, supporting pro-war defense budgets, Obamacare, pro-Wall Street finance reform, pro-agribusiness food "safety," pro-Big Oil/Wall Street cap and trade, and much more. [Not good men. -ed] Progressives? Hardly! They're not likely to change - not now, next year, in 2012 or thereafter. They won't follow Lerner's platform embracing "love, kindness and generosity. .a new New Deal..(a) Caring Society: .Caring for Each Other and the Earth.. " They support same old, same old, business as usual, softened only rhetorically. It's high time Lerner and other progressives understood, concluding other ways must be found for change outside the two-party dictatorship - independents committed to populism, real elections, excluding big money donors, social justice, civil and human rights, democratic values, and unconditionally ending imperial wars and occupations immediately, as well as slashing the defense budget, closing all overseas bases, and cutting force levels, no ifs, ands or buts. In today's environment, however, achieving those goals is enormously challenging. But it's no reason not to try! To borrow a phrase, there is no alternative. A Final Comment On December 6, the New York Times reported Obama's capitulation to Republicans on extending the Bush tax cuts for the super-rich on income, capital gains, and dividends. Also on their federal estate tax that lapsed at the start of 2010. Despite their rhetorical disapproval, congressional Democrats will likely concur, while at the same time agreeing to deep austerity cuts for working Americans. Obama again showed his allegiance to wealth and power. The two-party dictatorship is venal and broken. Replacing it with real progressive change is vital. Indeed, there is no alternative! Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. Contact him at: lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM-1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening. --------9 of 15-------- Acid Reflux Flashbacks Obama, Can This Really be the End? By JAMES McENTEER CounterPunch December 8, 2010 To be stuck with Bush's tax cuts and progressive blues again... I can't wait any longer. I'm putting on my t-shirt that says: "I voted for Hope and Change and all I got was Bubba Lite." I'm having classic Sixties flashbacks, like to '64, when Lyndon Johnson tarred his presidential opponent Barry Goldwater as a crazy warmonger, then escalated Vietnam into a hella conflict. Guantanamo's still in business. Fifty thousand troops remain in Iraq and it's clear now that some always will. Afghanistan, a famously hopeless quagmire for invaders long before the Soviets spent their blood and treasure there two decades ago, remains a sinkhole of American hopes and ideals. What would victory there look like? O when will they ever learn? O when will we ever learn? Now we know why Obama won't prosecute Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld for crimes against the Constitution and humanity. He's following their blueprint. For liberals, what could be worse than George WTF Bush? How about a well-spoken version of that putz, who knows better but continues all his uncivilized policies anyway? Then it's one, two, three, what are we voting for? Don't ask me, we don't have a voice. All we've got is Hobson's Choice. Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Damn-nation. With millions of Americans unemployed where are the strategies for job creation? Investments in infrastructure? Education? Only the military is hiring. They've got turnover. What are they/we fighting for again? Oil? Goldman Sachs? Weapons testing? Are we for or against the Pakistanis? The Turks? The Argentines? Suppose they gave a war and nobody came? Wikileaks reveals cynical, duplicitous U.S. State Department machinations. But unlike the Pentagon Papers, these new data dumps don't surprise a jaded, already shell-shocked public. Some things and people have changed since the 60s. No one these days expects our government or mass media to tell the truth. Hillary Clinton now condemns the transparency of government she once favored back in the day at Wellesley. She's gone over to the Dark Side now, where Bill O'Reilly and other right-wing screamers demand Death to Julian Assange! Wikileaks underscores how the so-called U.S. "news establishment" professionals are mere mouthpieces for their corporate/political masters. Real reporting threatens them. The U.S. is spying on its allies and has a low opinion of almost all foreign leaders? Death to Julian Assange! Just as Obama held out hope for the Republicans long after all hope was gone, I held out hope for Obama long after his actions and inactions exposed the ugly truth. He may never give up on John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. But I have finally finally given up on him. Let's have a REAL election in 2012. Screw the Paralyzed, Compromised Center. Who is their constituency? Screw the lesser of two evils. Let's get the whole country emotionally involved at last and figure out who we really want to be. Stop with the tiptoes! Let the Tea Party nominate Sarah Palin while the Republican Establishment puts up Mitt Romney. Democratic Regulars can stand behind Obama if they must. It's time for progressives to nominate someone else, someone real, who will walk the walk, not just lip sync the talk. Those of us on the left who backed Obama as the Anti-Bush have been betrayed. He resembles Bill Clinton in '92, who knew what progressives wanted to hear, then raced right to save his political life, selling his shriveled soul for "Welfare Reform." Same old same old. Rahm Emmanuel and Joe Biden told us to stop whining because Obama's all we've got. Go piss up a rope, guys. Obama's not with us or for us and now it's painfully clear he never was. As they used to say in the Sixties, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. That's Barack around the clock. I voted for him in 2008 but I won't vote for him in 2012 if he runs unopposed. James McEnteer is not entirely certain what happened in the 1960s, but he was there. --------10 of 15-------- Published on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 by Black Agenda Report Obama: The Republican's Reliable Interlocutor by Glen Ford Common Dreams Barack Obama reacted reflexively to Monday's orchestration of angry calls to the White House by lefties outraged at his latest grand accommodation with the GOP, spending much of his Tuesday press conference attempting a limp smack-down of Left Democrats. Oozing condescension and a certain cattiness, Obama dismissed Democratic critics for playing "games" while he did what was necessary to wring an unemployment benefits extension from the Republicans. As Obama tells it, he stood like a pragmatic rock - if one can imagine such a thing - between the Republican "hostage-takers" and the "purist" and "sanctimonious" Democrats - a party of one. The president harkened back to "the debate that we had during health care" when much of his party complained that he was too "willing to compromise" with Republicans and bargained away the public option. Actually, Obama was determined from the start of his presidency to conspire with Republicans and corporate leaders to derail any possibility of a bill that might set the stage for single-payer legislation in 2009 or some future Congress. Instead, Obama protected private insurers by locking them so tightly into the system that it will be near impossible to dislodge them in the foreseeable future. Obama accomplished this, not just by ruthlessly marginalizing single-payer supporters, but also by choosing his own congressional operatives and effectively bypassing Democratic leadership - much the same m.o. as in his latest "compromise" with the GOP. He wielded the power of the White House and the false lure of bipartisanism to utterly smash the left half of his party, deriding the dwindling "public option" holdouts as starry-eyed perfectionists who had become the enemies of the good - a performance he reprised on Tuesday in lambasting critics of deal with the GOP on taxes on the rich. In the course of the long health care battle - a struggle waged entirely within Democratic ranks - Obama let the air out of the Democratic balloon, and the GOP steadily rose from its valley of near-death. The Republicans wound up conceding nothing on health care, while their corporate patrons won more than they could have dared imagine back on Election Day, 2008, when it seemed that single-payer was an idea whose time had come. The health care victory that Obama still celebrates was a defeat of fellow Democrats by the combination of a solid Republican minority, the right wing of congressional Democrats, and Obama's White House. This is Obama's formula for governance - what I call his "comfort zone" - a political space previously inhabited by Bill Clinton. Whatever the Clintons and Obama think about each other on the personal level, they have together laid a great money pipeline that flows from Wall Street to the coffers of corporate Democrats - most dramatically, bankrolling much of Obama's $700 million presidential campaign. In return, Obama reinstated the Clinton finance capitalist team that had a decade earlier reversed Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal banking regulations. Obama turned the Wall Streeters loose to engineer the greatest transfer of wealth in human history - an ongoing project that has in less than two years transformed the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve into sugar daddies and guarantors of finance capital, worldwide, at a cost of tens of trillions of dollars. The bailouts have melded with and overshadowed in the public mind Obama's tepid 2009 stimulus, so that Republicans can speak effectively of the two phenomena as if they are the same thing - a trick made much easier by the fact that Obama also rhetorically linked the bailouts and stimulus as one-two Democratic economic punches. With the Democrat Party, particularly the First Black President, so thoroughly and deservedly identified with Wall Street, the Republicans were empowered to pull off what would have previously been thought impossible: the GOP's brown-shirted wing, the white supremacist-based Tea Party, which purports to abhor government and, therefore, regulation, claimed with some success to be the anti-bailout, anti-Wall Street party. Meanwhile, Obama guided the Democrats to pass a fraudulent financial regulation bill that left the derivatives casino-economy intact, if not more strongly entrenched. The Great Recession, which by all historical rights should have sent the Republicans into eclipse for a generation, instead saw a miraculous GOP rebound that left the Democrats shattered and pitifully incoherent. That's the real big picture of Obama's brief presidency - a period of breathtaking dissolution of the Democratic Party as Obama facilitated the swallowing whole of the American state by Wall Street. Obama doesn't really want folks to take the long view of his time in office. His modus operandi after every debacle is to claim to have rescued bits and pieces of the Democratic agenda from GOP savaging: a health care bill that, in total, is worse than none at all, a financial "reform" unworthy of the name. He early in his term set in motion his infernal deficit reduction commission, knowing it would attack social spending across the board, so that he could later "rescue" selected programs from extinction and claim saviorhood. Obama will claim to have "saved" extension of unemployment benefits by this week's "compromise" with the Republican minority in the lame duck Congress when, in reality, it is Obama's center-right modalities of governance and back-channel dealings that have allowed the GOP minority to behave like a majority. The overarching truth of the last two years Is that Obama has been at constant war with the New Deal and the left hemisphere of his party, acting as Wall Street's Trojan Horse in the White House. Tuesday's press conference starred an unrepentant, unreconstructed, center-right, corporate operative who sees his primary duty as destroying what remains of the Democrat's progressive legacy. And the first term of the disaster is less than half over. 2010 Black Agenda Report BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford [at] BlackAgendaReport.com. --------11 of 15-------- Published on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 by CommonDreams.org Senator Bernie Sanders: Obama's Tax Deal is a 'Moral Outrage' Statement by Senator Bernie Sanders WASHINGTON - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement today on the agreement announced Monday between the White House and congressional Republicans: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has been among the most outspoken critics on Capitol Hill of Obama's capitulation to the GOP on extending tax benefits for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. He called it a 'moral outrage' and vowed to do all in his power to "defeat this agreement.""In my view, it is a moral outrage that at a time when this country has a $13.8 trillion national debt, a collapsing middle class and a growing gap between the very rich and everybody else that the Republicans would deny extended unemployment benefits to 2 million workers who are desperately struggling to pay their bills and maintain their dignity. It is also beyond comprehension that the Republicans would hold hostage the entire middle class of this country so that millionaires and billionaires would receive huge tax breaks. In my view, that is not what this country is about and it is not what the American people want to see. Our job is to save the disappearing middle class, not lower taxes for people who are already extraordinarily wealthy and increase the national debt that our children and grandchildren would have to pay. "The immediate political task in front of us is to rally the American people so that in the next several weeks we can find at least a few Republicans who will join us in saying no to increasing the deficit by giving tax breaks to the wealthy and no to holding the unemployed and the middle class hostage. "I believe that we have the American people on our side on this issue. My office, and I come from a small state, has received more than 600 calls today, 99 percent of them in opposition to this so-called compromise that the president negotiated with the Republicans. "I will do everything in my power to stand up for the American middle class and defeat this agreement." --------12 of 15-------- Published on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 by The Huffington Post The Rich Get Richer, the Poor Poorer by William Astore More tax breaks for the rich in exchange for another year's worth of unemployment benefits for the desperate: Now there's a compromise that makes me proud to be an American. My father wouldn't have been surprised. He grew up during the Great Depression and worked in factories before he was drafted and served in the Army during World War II. Dad told me that the harder he worked (physically), the less he got paid. And he told me there was nothing like repetitive and physically-grueling factory work to make you want to improve yourself. By becoming a civil servant (a firefighter), he escaped the factory and its dismal pay for a job that paid enough to provide five children with a lower-middle-class existence. Today's political elites seem to think that the proper way to stimulate economic growth is to empower the exploiters. That way, some of their enormous wealth will trickle down on the little people. My father knew from experience that it usually wasn't money that trickled down from the high heights of the rich. In the spirit of the holiday season, here's a story from my Dad that recounts his attempt to get a dime pay raise at the local factory. Consider it a parable for the realities our working classes face day in and day out in this country: It seems that Mike Calabrese on his own asked Harry Callahan [one of the owners] for a pay raise and he was refused. Mike decided to organize the men members and go down in a group. In our group he got ten men to approach Harry C. for a raise. But when it was time to "bell the cat" only three fellows went to see Harry. Well Mike said he couldn't join the group because he had already tried to get a raise. I knew I was being used but I was entitled to a raise. Well Harry said to me, "What can I do for you men?" So I said to Harry: 1) Living costs were going up; 2) We deserved a raise. So Harry said, "How much?" and I said ten cents an hour would be a fair raise. So he said I'll give you a nickel an hour raise and later you'll get the other nickel. We agreed. So, I asked Harry will everyone get a raise and he replied, "Only the ones that I think deserve it." Well a month later I was drinking water at the bubbler and Harry saw me and said what a hard job they had to get the money to pay our raises. Well, Willie, Harry Callahan and his brother Sam and their two other Italian brother partners all died millionaires. No other truer saying than, "That the rich have no sympathy or use for the poor." Today, Americans are uncomfortable calling attention to pay discrepancies and exploitation because it smacks of class warfare or even Marxism. It's true that some of the worst abuses have been curbed (for example, my father worked from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. without the benefit of overtime pay or time-and-a-half), but today's workers are simply scared: scared that their jobs will be outsourced, scared that they'll be fired; scared that they'll be replaced by automated robots. Thus they put up and shut up. So, what's the moral to the story? Our president promised hope and change. "Hope" has come in the form of more tax breaks for the rich. And "change"? To paraphrase my father: No truer saying than "that politicians have no sympathy or use for the poor." Copyright 2010 HuffingtonPost.com, Inc. Professor Astore writes regularly for TomDispatch.com and can be reached at wjastore [at] gmail.com. --------13 of 15-------- Published on Thursday, December 9, 2010 by The Hill Nader: I am Looking for Someone to Challenge Obama in 2012 by Elise Viebeck Common Dreams Perennial third-party candidate Ralph Nader predicted on Wednesday that President Obama's tax deal with Republicans will earn him a primary challenge in 2012. Consumer advocate, author, and Presidential candidate Ralph Nader in this file photo. Nader had harsh words for the president's approach to politics: "He has no fixed principles. He's opportunistic . he goes for expedience, like Clinton." (NBC News)Though he wouldn't rule out another presidential campaign himself, Nader, 76, said he hoped a new face would take up the progressive cause. "I'm not foreclosing the possibility ... There are just other things to do," he said in an interview. "And it's time for someone else to continue. I've done it so many times. When I go around the country, I'm telling people they need to find somebody." Nader, a consumer advocate, described the immense procedural difficulty - the "obstructions and litigations" - of appearing on the ballot in every state as a third-party candidate. He ran under the Green Party banner in 1996 and 2000 and as an independent in 2004 and 2008, and earned less than 3 percent of the overall vote each time. He said Obama's decision to allow tax-cut extensions for the wealthy in the lame-duck deal betrays the progressives who supported his campaign in 2008 and called the president a "con man." "There will be a primary," Nader said. "Just a question of how prominent a person [will run against Obama]. This deal is the last straw." "Obama's position has been that the liberal, progressive wing has nowhere to go, therefore they can't turn their back on the administration. But a challenge will hold his feet to the fire and signal that we do have somewhere to go." The tax deal, a blow to progressives, has prompted media speculation about such a challenge, although no names have been aired. Outgoing Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), one of the chamber's most reliably liberal voices, has said he's not interested. "He [Obama] keeps one step away from the liberal progressive grasp," Nader said, describing the mood among on the left. "He's always just one step ahead from them grabbing his neck." Nader had harsh words for the president's approach to politics: "He has no fixed principles. He's opportunistic - he goes for expedience, like Clinton. Some call him temperamentally conflict-averse. If you want to be harsher, you say he has no prlnciples and he's opportunistic." "He's a con man. I have no use for him," Nader said. In the 2000 election, Nader was criticized for contributing to Al Gore's defeat by taking votes from the left. He said then and again on Wednesday that the progressive agenda must be on the national ballot every four years. "These are majoritarian positions. The polling shows that. Living wage, single payer, cracking down on corporate crime. ... It's time for someone to continue this." 2010 The Hill --------14 of 15-------- Published on Thursday, December 9, 2010 by CommonDreams.org Obama Tax Deal Further Concentrates Wealth and Power: Stop the Death Spiral to Plutocracy by Chuck Collins In 2010, an essential moral test of a public policy choice is: Does it further concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a few? Or does it disperse concentrated wealth and power and strengthen possibilities for a democratic society with greater equality, improved health and well-being, shared prosperity and ecological sustainability? Does it move us toward Plutocracy or Peace and Plenty? Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, "We can have democracy or concentrated wealth. But we cannot have both." By the Brandeis Test, President Obama's "Tax Compromise" fails. By extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and instituting a significantly weakened estate tax, more wealth will flow into the hands of the richest one percent and within that to richest one-tenth of one percent. Most of us are aware of President Obama's willingness to trade away his campaign promise to let the tax cuts for high income households expire. This will cost $60 billion next year and an estimated $700 billion if it is permanently extended. But Obama also backed away from his position on the federal estate tax, which was to freeze it at 2009 levels (wealth exempted to $3.5 million, 45 percent rate). He now supports the Kyl-Lincoln amendment which would raise the exemption to $5 million ($10 million for a couple) and drop the rate to 35 percent. The cost difference between these two measures is at least $100 billion over ten years. For the last generation, this richest one percent, with some admirable exceptions, has been using its considerable wealth and clout to push for public policy changes that have further concentrated wealth. We are now in what I could characterize as "Death Spiral To Plutocracy." As wealth concentrates, a hyper-organized segment of this wealth-holder class uses its wealth, privilege and power to change the rules of the economy to further concentrate wealth and privilege. The logical progression of these policies is a society governed by wealth, a modern high-tech version of the Gilded Age of 1900. For thirty years, liberal Presidents and Democratic Congress members have cut deals with a growing a bi-partisan (mostly Republican Party) Pro-Plutocracy faction. We've won victories for working families family leave, increased minimum wage, expanded health care, middle class tax cuts but the price has always been very expensive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Under Clinton and Bush II, you couldn't get anything faintly progressive done without a big bone to the wealthy or corporate class another capital gains tax cut or corporate loophole. Such compromises have been central to the Obama political strategy: To get a stimulus package to save the economy, Congress allocates a third of $780 billion for tax breaks to corporations (and still didn't get one GOP vote). To get broader health care coverage for the uninsured, lawmakers surrender the "public option" that would have forced competition and cut into the power and profits of the health industry cartel. To get a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau included in the June 2010 financial reform bill, lawmakers allow Wall Street to keep its risky casino operation in place laying the groundwork for future bubbles, meltdowns and bailouts. This is a very costly strategy. It diverts trillions of dollars from the Treasury that could be used for long overdue investments in infrastructure, education, energy independence things that could truly boost the real economy. But worse, it sets up future political battles where the very wealthy and powerful corporations continue to have most of the ammo. In the post "Citizens United" campaign finance environment, this is premeditated surrender. There are only a few ways to intervene to prevent the "Death Spiral to Plutocracy" and reverse course. They all require an engaged citizenry to clearly say: "We want an economy that serves everyone, not just the wealthy." The first intervention is through progressive income, wealth and estate taxes. We urgently need to reinstitute a progressive estate tax. Instead of cutting a deal to institute the Republican estate tax proposal that greatly weakens the law, Congress should press for the Responsible Estate Tax Act which would chip away at concentrated wealth. The second is through robust campaign finance reform that closes the nexus between wealth and political power. Anything that puts a speed bump between wealth and political influence helps slow the Death Spiral. The third is to mobilize the silent faction of the wealthy elites that actually see their stake in the common good. Not everyone in the wealth-holding class are actively lobbying to protect their power and privilege. We need a progressive counter-weight to organized defenders of power and privilege. The Wealth for the Common Good network is an inspiring start with several thousand business leaders and wealthy individuals advocating for policies to broaden prosperity and opportunity. They can counter the deep mythology around wealth creation and deservedness that often justify tax cuts for the wealthy and support the positions of engaged citizens. Senator Bernard Sanders is proposing a filibuster against the tax cuts and he plans to read hundreds of documents about the dangers of extreme inequality in the U.S. Let's all take a similar stand in our own lives and urge our elected officials to do the same. Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good (www.ips-dc.org/inequality). He is co-author of The Moral Measure of the Economy (Orbis Books) and with Bill Gates Sr. of Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes (Beacon). --------15 of 15-------- [Here's the song as I got it on the internet. It's fun to sing Obama has no spine at all, where his main fault is weakness. But he is not weak - he is strong for the wrong people (the elite); not weak but unscrupulous. "No scruples at all" has one too many syllables (scru ples), so to stick with body parts but come closer to the truth, "No heart at all." Not a fool or a coward, but a heartless calculating knave. -ed] From: Arthur Waskow [mailto:Awaskow [at] aol.com] Subject: A Song: No Spine at All No Spine at All, No Spine at All -- We Elected a President with No Spine at All! This song for the winter of our discontent has its roots in a folk song with a few words much bawdier than these. You can click to get the melody here. <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=aHLhmzrBqYsTJW7onEHTpye2%2FNQUQlUC> You're welcome to forward the version below to anyone you like. Regards -- Arthur No Spine at All Now listen America, a story you'll hear. A song I will sing you; 'twill fill you with fear. A charming young President we elected one Fall. But we voted for a man who had no spine at all. CHORUS: No spine at all, No spine at all. We elected a President who has no spine at all! On Inaugural Day our land was aghast: Homes were foreclosing, and jobs failing fast. We awaited with hope the trumpet's loud call; But from the White House -- no spine at all! CHORUS: No spine at all, No spine at all. We elected a President who has no spine at all! Americans all, oh, what shall we do? His Treasury Sec knows just who to screw!~ He's in bed with the big banks that ruined us all; While billionaires laugh: "He has no spine at all!" CHORUS: No spine at all, No spine at all. We elected a President who has no spine at all! It isn't a matter of woman or man -- We need a leader who MEANS "Yes we can!" We could sure use a woman who knows we need jobs, Not one who panders to Tea Party mobs!! CHORUS: No spine at all, No spine at all. We elected a President who has no spine at all! Bring back our kids from dying abroad In an Afghan War that the generals called. With a president who wants to spend money at home Building OUR nation, not Imperial Rome. CHORUS: No spine at all, No spine at all. We elected a President who has no spine at all! We loved what he said so well about race; But when jobs disappeared at a very fast pace, It was Blacks and Browns who first fell from the vine And suffered from policies missing real spine. CHORUS: No spine at all, No spine at all. We elected a President who has no spine at all! Break up the poisoners -- Big Oil and Big Coal, Help wind and sun energy meet our climate's real goal. The earth is suffering while the rich have a ball -- But to fix it takes a Movement with strong spine and all. CHORUS: No spine at all, No spine at all. We elected a President who has no spine at all! Somewhere are leaders who won't make us sad; Who don't think three Roosevelts were a mere passing fad. Brave women and men who will answer the call Of a country not willing to collapse and fall. CHORUS: No spine at all, No spine at all. Let's replace a President who has no spine at all! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress for governor now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 Research almost any topic raised here at: CounterPunch http://counterpunch.org Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org Common Dreams http://commondreams.org Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones
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