Texan4Hillary offers his perspective as a movement progressive activist.
Thanks to Rachel Maddow for hammering the hypocrisy of our puritanical pols in saying progressive Congressman Weiner resign. Unlike Ed Schultz, who has begged all week for Weiner to go, Maddow has hammered at the Right. She gets that having a progressive who can speak with passion on the issues is critical. She notes Weiner never campaigned on being high and mighty like many in the GOP do all the time. But leave it to the puritans of DC to try and dictate this man’s career. Cantor, Foley (yes), Huckabee, Tim Kaine have no shame. Here is Maddow’s must see bit on our DC puritans:
Trumka took it a step further against both parties at the National Nurses Union conference this week. This was one hell of a speech, and even had a four letter word in it about corporate Dems:
“For too long, we’ve been left after Election Day holding a canceled check, waving it about—‘Remember us? Remember us? Remember us?’—asking someone to pay a little attention to us,” recalled Trumka, who like many union leaders was frustrated with the failure of the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act and other needed labor law reforms. “Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a snootful of that shit!”
There was no way to misread Trumka’s message for Democrats who have strayed on issues …
“When it comes to politics, we’re looking for real champions of working women and men. And I have a message for some of our “friends.” It doesn’t matter if candidates and parties are controlling the wrecking ball or simply standing aside—the outcome is the same either way,” he explained. “If leaders aren’t blocking the wrecking ball and advancing working families’ interests, working people will not support them. This is where our focus will be—now, in 2012 and beyond.”
Single Payer champion Margaret Flowers, among others, are organizing mass protests in Washington DC October 6th against the austerity mania sweeping the political elite and the war machine. Here is part of her stirring message and plan:
… We have witnessed the Arab Spring and the blossoming of the European Summer. We ask ourselves if now we will experience the American Autumn.
People in America see that corporate power controls the political process and the media. The Forces of Greed steal our treasure and squander it on militarism and needless wars for empire. Forces of Greed render our White House, Congress and Supreme Court dysfunctional so that the denizens of these bodies regurgitate what their corporate paymasters feed them.
Our country faces crises on every front: the economy, education, jobs, the environment, health care, housing, the wealth divide, an empire stretched too thin and ready to shred. None of these crises has to exist. Just and sustainable solutions are available and known. What stands in the way of all these solutions is concentrated corporate power.
The normal tools of democracy no longer work.
October 6 is the 10th anniversary of the Afghanistan invasion, and the beginning of the new federal budget year—an austerity budget for everything except for war and the corporate security state. On this day, we are calling for sustained and nonviolent mass resistance in Washington, D.C. The action, Stop the Machine! Create a New World!, portends an American Tahrir Square at Freedom Plaza between the White House and Congress, a block away from the National Press Club and a few blocks from the Chamber of Commerce and K Street, the stomping ground of corporate lobbyists.
An impressive array of people have already signed on. Among them: Ann Wright, …Chris Hedges, Cornel West, .. Glen Ford, Jane Hamsher, Jodie Evans, Leah Bolger, Medea Benjamin, Mike Ferner, Larry Pinkney, Rabbi Michael Lerner, …
We know however, that it is not leaders who make change, but people united who insist on change that will succeed!
If interested in this new progressive organization go here.
In the same vein the Guardian’s Peter Wilby may have one very good idea for why we have not yet seen massive civil unrest from the vanishing middle and working classes:
One reason why the working classes so often disappointed the left was that, having little daily contact with the rich and little knowledge of how they lived, they simply didn’t think about inequality much, or regard the wealthy as direct competitors for resources. As the sociologist Garry Runciman observed: “Envy is a difficult emotion to sustain across a broad social distance.” Nearly 50 years ago he found manual workers were less likely than non-manual workers to think other people were “noticeably better off.” Even now most Britons underestimate the rewards of bankers and executives. Top pay has reached such levels that, rather like interstellar distances, what the figures mean is hard to grasp.
But the gap between the richest 1% or 2% and everybody else in the top 20% or 30% is now so great and growing so rapidly that, one might reasonably think, it should change the terms of political trade. The income distance may be huge but the social distance is not. Those in the top 2% and the next 28% have often been to the same schools and universities. More important, they compete for scarce resources: places in fee-charging schools, houses in the best areas, high-end personal services. The super-rich have provoked raging inflation in the prices of these goods. Many of the not-so-rich were born into the professional classes and high expectations. Now, to their surprise, they find themselves struggling. In income distribution, their interests are closer to those of the mass of the population than to people they once saw as their peers.
They are not, however, imminently likely to join a crusade for equality. This generation of the middle classes has internalized the values of individualist aspiration, as zealously propagated by Tony Blair as by Margaret Thatcher. It does not look to the application of social justice to improve its lot. It expects to rely on its own efforts to get ahead and, crucially, to maintain its position.
Reagan, Thatcher and the Right have brainwashed a generation that we do not need social justice per say. Nope we can solve our problems if we simply work harder. But we are approaching a breaking point here.
Labor makes a primary threat on Dem Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD). He is not up for re-election until 2014, but he currently chairs the Banking Cmte. And he is a corporate hack who is flirting with undoing provisions of FinReg. So AFL-CIO has told him if he screws with Wall St. reform he will be primaried.
Arianna Huffington’s piece slamming Obama on his mishandling of the economy has gained much attention since she supported him so in 2008. There is a growing cry from the Left for Obama to change course on jobs and Arianna gives a must read:
..the White House embraced the GOP message that the deficit is a bigger problem than jobs, kneecapping its ability to push for additional ways of stimulating the economy. And now the president and his team wanly claim there’s not much they can do. But what they don’t mention is how complicit they were in creating the conditions that have left them with not much to do. They gave away all the ammo and now plead helplessness because of… a lack of ammo.
The conventional wisdom is that “there is no appetite in Congress” for additional stimulus measures. But, in fact, members of Congress have an appetite for whatever their constituents have an appetite for. And for months, the American people have been hearing the president agree with the GOP that the deficit is the biggest problem in the country. Had the White House told the truth — that the lack of jobs and anemic economic growth are far greater threats to the country — people would be a lot more open to job creation proposals.
Instead the president, even on the heels of the latest round of depressing numbers, is oddly passive. “This economy took a big hit,” he said Friday. “It is just like if you had a bad illness, if you got hit by a truck, it’s going to take a while for you to mend.”
Being hit by a truck is not a bad metaphor — but he left something out. If you get hit by a truck, you are taken to a hospital for major interventions. When you are wheeled through the emergency room doors on a gurney, people react; they move purposefully and quickly; machines are brought out; desperate measures are taken. But that’s not at all what happened with the economy. Instead, the economy got hit by a truck, was wheeled into the ER, and those in charge largely left the patient to heal on his own while they went into a back room to talk about the long-term building plan for the hospital. And, every now and again, they come out to tell the patient: “Remember, you were hit by a truck. It’s going to take a while to mend.”
You know what might help speed along the mending? Surgery.
Many are worried about the WH cutting a deal on Medicaid spending with the GOP. 41 Senate Democrats wrote to Obama and told him they will block any cute deals altering the Medicaid program. Sen. Rockefeller, from W.V., is pushing against any deals on the program and his state, one of the poorest, cannot afford such bargains.
Early this week the Obama WH said Senate Democrats shouldn’t persue job creation programs because it would cost too much. You that correctly. Ah but Senate Dems have their own ideas and met with progressive economist Jared Bernstein on crafting a jobs package.
Liberals and even some conservadems are rallying around the need for stimulus. One way might be a infrastructure package funded by closure of offshore tax breaks. The Hill reports:
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, endorsed Harkin’s argument for more infrastructure spending, and said it is gaining support in the broader caucus.
“There’s very broad support,” Rockefeller said. “There’s no other way to get at this problem.”
Rockefeller said a spending package was discussed at several meetings Wednesday and that there’s a recognition Democrats need to be tougher in negotiations with Republicans.
“We have to be much more aggressive about all this, because as soon as they say ‘We’re not going to do that,’ as they’ve been saying for so long about so many things, you just kind of say ‘oh.’ We’ve got to stop saying ‘oh,’ ” he said, referring to the hard line Republicans have taken for Medicare cuts and against tax increases.
Even centrists like Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) say a major infrastructure package funded by tax revenue-generating measures is what’s needed to strengthen the economy….
Bernstein told the Dems in the Senate that they:
…should not shy away from spending money to energize the economy.
“There are some things you can do without spending money, but that’s obviously a very tough constraint and not one that politicians should accept,” he said.
Bernstein, who met with the Democratic Caucus Thursday, said it would be ambitious to hope that more infrastructure spending could reduce unemployment by 2 points, but nevertheless said it’s a smart idea.
Even if it passed the Senate, the GOP House would kill it since it makes sense and would improve lives. But Dems should push it especially if there is a grand budget deal.