Art offers his perspective as a movement progressive activist.
BREAKING NEWS: JANE HAMSHER AND DOZENS MORE HAVE BEEN ARRESTED OUTSIDE THE WHITEHOUSE PROTESTING A PROPOSED OIL PIPELINE. More here.
Clip of Minority Leader Pelosi getting heckled over her debt deal vote :
Minority Leader Pelosi, Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Raul Grijalva held a townhall in Oakland. And it was not pretty. When Pelosi spoke of the debt deal outbursts broke out from liberals. Folks were supposed to be allowed to give testimony on the economy, but alas just more frustrations:
“Sellout!” someone shouted as Pelosi began addressing the crowd of about 900; shouts of “Tax the rich!“ and ”End the war!” punctuated her speech on job creation…When she cited the recent deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and cut the budget without raising any new revenues, a man angrily shouted, “Why did you vote for it?”…
Bathsheba Jackson, 25, of Oakland, a single mother of a 2-year-old, said she was laid off in 2009 and had to go on welfare. She’s working and studying for a degree now through the San Leandro-based Low-Income Families’ Empowerment Through Education program, but she fears that this — her “last resort” — could be in danger at Congress’ hands. “No more budget cuts, please.”
Grijalva summed up what he’d heard: “Democrats need to act like Democrats in Congress. … Boldness has to be part of the agenda.”
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Ca) is on the CBC jobs tour. She went to Detroit, where unemployment is near 50pct and Obama is not to be seen. Rep. Waters and others would like to be more vocal in pressuring Obama on jobs:
…” our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don’t know what the strategy is. We don’t know why on this trip that he’s in the United States now, he’s not in any black community…we don’t know that.”
Rep. John Conyers, dean of the CBC, spoke in Detroit as well:
“We should be in front, three to five, six thousand people the day before we open our 40th conference on Tuesday, September the 20th, in front of the White House, demanding jobs.” Referring to jobs resolutions the CBC has attempted to introduce in the House of Representatives, Conyers said the president “hasn’t gotten behind any one of these programs yet. He’s got to come and go for mine, yours, hers.”…
Many in the audience complained that the president has not come to Detroit at all during the worst days of the recession. And with real unemployment in the city at almost 50 percent, one community member stated, “where else is there for him to be?”
Congresswoman Waters and Congressman Conyers have been among the handful of moral voices of the Congress. When the electors of Florida were to be certified by the mostly white Senate it was Waters and Conyers who bravely stood up and said no. Sadly not one senator joined their plea for justice to have the electors challenged. In 2004 once again it was Waters who stood up to challenge the electors of Ohio, where mass disenfranchisement of blacks Americans occurred.
So pay heed when these guys speak up. Waters and Conyers know things cannot continue the way they are. The Tea Party has compelled many in the African American community to defend Obama over and over. But with rising unemployment Waters and other CBC members hopefully will feel they have the license from their constituents to be more public in taking on Obama for the sake of the need for jobs.
In Georgia the CBC continued their jobs march, this time with Rep. John Lewis, civil rights icon as well. Over 5,000 came. The time of silence is over:
“Our problem is we’re too quiet, too darn quiet,” Lewis said. “We have to find a way to get in the way.”
Waters picked up on the theme: “Do not be afraid to speak up! It is honorable to step up to the plate. It is honorable to do what needs to be done.”
For their part, the members allowed that they might have been able to do more to stand out in the budget debate earlier this year. But their days of silence, they said, are over.
Obama cannot win unless there is a massive turnout from the black communities in places like Detroit. Trouble abound.
In Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, outspoken progressive, is touring the state with townhall events and the feedback is apparently not good for Obama. Worse, DeFazio is telling his constituents Obama has betrayed them:
In his Eugene office Wednesday, Defazio accused the President of lacking the will to fight for the promises he made to get elected.
“Fight? I don’t think it’s a word in his vocabulary,” said the Springfield Democrat, who specifically cited Obama’s lack of follow-through in promises to restore Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
“He repeatedly said that. Then the Republicans telegraphed to him they were going to use a fake crisis over the debt limit in order to muscle some major spending reductions or other things on to him. And that was in December. And what happens? Suddenly he flip flops and concedes everything to the Republicans.”
DeFazio is shall we say uncertain about Obama getting re elected:
Asked whether he thought the President had a shot at re-election, Defazio was skeptical.
“At this point it pretty much depends on how far out there the Republican nominee is. You know with a respectable–someone who is a little bit toward the middle of the road–Republican nominee, he’s going to have a very tough time getting re-elected,” said DeFazio.
He’s also not convinced the President will do well in usually blue Oregon:
“I believe Oregon is very much in play. I mean we are one of the harder hit states in the union, particularly my part of the state. I’ve just done six town hall meetings, have seven to go but people are shaking their heads and saying ‘I don’t know if I’d vote for him again.’” Defazio said.
Too bad Obama won’t make an alliance with progressives to get things done. He would not be in this situation otherwise.
Here is the video of Rep. DeFazio on the local tv news in Oregon. http://www.kgw.com/news/local/Democratic-Oregon-Congressman-Rips-into-President-128046958.html”>Damning.
Want to know why the will of the people is ignored in Congress so often? Rollcall lists the 50 richest members of Congress. Bingo. See here.
Poor Senator Scott Brown (R-Ma), not only does it look likely crusader for the middle class Elizabeth Warren will challenge him, but he had protests break out in MA over his job killing votes:
A major grassroots movement to abolish Citizens United and corporate personhood is having success. Over 30 cities so far have passed resolutions opposing corporate personhood. Several state legislatures are now taking up the issue. Call you city hall councilperson and urge a vote on ending corporate personhood.
Elizabeth Warren will run for Senate against incumbent Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown. Grassroots progressives have been very energized by the potential of this race: to put a true champion of the middle class and groundbreaking policy champion into the U.S. Senate. Better yet, should she win she would be the first woman to represent MA in the Senate. Groups are organizing volunteers and money for her. More here .
This week’s nut watch winner is Senator Coburn (R-Ok). At a townhall he was asked about cuts to Medicare. Don’t worry he had a insane cruel response:
..if you look in the Constitution, where is it the federal government’s role to do that? That’s number one. Number two is the way I was brought up that’s a family responsibility, not a government responsibility.
Here is the video clip of what he said, NOTE the audience even applauds what he says. Something is very wrong here:
In a major anti-austerity move, California Governor Jerry Brown has decided to push forward with a massive high speed rail project connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco. The cost is about 43 billion dollars. His reasoning is that:
..while the nation is in a “period of massive retrenchment,” Brown told The Fresno Bee’s editorial board, “I would like to be part of the group that gets America to think big again.”
How refreshing. Doing big things again