Art offers his perspective as a movement progressive activist.
“Join the company of lions rather than assume the lead among foxes.” – The Talmud
Progressives had a great week in the elections. Ohio voters saved their union rights, in Maine folks reversed their government’s law ending same day voter registrations, while in Arizona State Senate Leader Pierce, hated for his role in the draconian Arizona anti-immigrant law, was ousted in a recall. Oh and let us not forget Iowa, where the state senate was at risk of going to the GOP. But the open seat was won by a progressive Democrat in a surprise.
Memo to the DNC elites: doing things for the 99 percent will get you elected. Like local Dems organizing and winning back union rights in Ohio. The latest PPP poll shows this. Obama is now up 9 points over Romney in Ohio. And better, Senator Sherrod Brown, who is a advocate on blue collar issues like Fair Trade, still holds a commanding lead against all possible challengers.
In the U.S. House 12 congressmembers are taking a food stamp challenge. Going to the store on the measly amount given for food stamp recipients. As the Super Committee eyes starving out the poor with cuts on these benefits Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Ca) shows vividly how hard it is to survive on food stamps:
Another member of congress, Rep. Schakowsky (D-Il), took the challenge as well and documented it in a diary. Think about trying to live on about 30.00 dollars a week for food. It’s a nightmare for 47 million Americans. She writes:
I finally was able to go shopping at the Jewel store down the street from my home in Evanston, Illinois, at about 7:30 p.m. I spent $29.93, which means I have $.32 remaining ..I got some good buys. Big chicken breasts were on sale for $.99/lb and I bought a package of five for $4.62. Three pounds of apples were $3.49 and bananas were $.39/lb.
It took me significantly longer to shop. I added up the cost as I went. I weighed the produce before I put it in the cart. I checked out the sodium in canned veggies and soups. Yikes! I have high blood pressure, so I put them back. I forgot to calculate the tax so I had to pull some things out when the checker finished tabulating. We’ll see how well I shopped as the week goes on.
Here’s what I bought:
1 can 29 oz can of yams
1 box of rotini pasta
1 wheat bread
Dozen large eggs
Bag of fresh whole carrots
5 plum tomatoes
1 head of lettuce
2 yellow onions
2 cans of tuna in water
1 box of spaghetti
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
.90 pounds of broccoli crowns
Very small bag of coffee (1.75 splurge)
1 frozen dinner
5 chicken breasts
3 lbs of Gala apples
Using my Jewel discount card, I saved $6.58. I relied heavily on the house brands and items that were on sale. I have basil that I grow in my yard to add to the salad.
And congress wants to cut SNAP?
The Obama Whitehouse keeps trying to get that cushy deal for the banks on foreclosures by trying to have all states sign onto a corrupt bargain. Ah but the California Attorney General Harris is blocking the deal fiercely, as Robert Scheer explains:
..forget relying on the federal government to hold the Wall Street swindlers accountable. Indeed, the Obama administration has been involved in negotiating a deal with state attorneys general to settle their complaints with the banks for a pittance of compensation for the victims. In return, the states would promise not to institute further legal proceedings against the banks.
The fix was in for what a New York Times editorial on Tuesday headlined “Letting the Banks Off Easy” described as “paltry” mortgage relief, reducing by less than $20 billion the balances of 14.5 million underwater homeowners who are “drowning in some $700 billion of negative equity.” The deal has been stalled by the refusal of California Attorney General Kamala Harris to accept this sellout. Among its other disastrous concessions would be ending further investigation by the states into financial skullduggery connected with the housing meltdown. ..As the Times summarized it: “The proposed settlement reportedly would prevent the states from pursuing claims against banks relating to fraud or abuse in the origination of the bubble. It would also prevent states from pursuing claims for foreclosure abuses, like improper denial of loan modifications.”
Traditionally the states provided the essential regulation of mortgage origination, ownership and sales as a transparent process duly recorded and subject to public examination at the county level. But in order to facilitate the gathering of those mortgages into the sort of collateralized debt obligations that the banks could then bet on and trade worldwide, homeownership became a murky matter. Many of the mortgages now in question, including the ones that Citigroup’s “synthetic” derivative was based on, are no longer owned by the banks that originated them. They are instead part of the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) database..
The MERS system is described by the Times as “a land registry system implicated in bubble-era violations of tax, trust and property law.” The Obama-supported settlement would make it very difficult if not impossible to investigate at long last the workings of MERS …
Thankfully, we have a few state attorneys general, most prominently California’s Harris, standing up for the American people, but it is outrageous that a president who avowedly committed to defending the public interest would now be subverting that effort rather than leading it.
On the Super Committee some fools, including our favorite Sen. Ma Baucus (D-Mt), want to permanently keep the bush tax cuts. Find savings through ending some loopholes while finding more cuts on our backs. Sounds great! Not.
Oh and the cuts these fools propose would literally steal wheelchairs from the poor and grandma. Eskow lays it out.
At least we have some progressives running for office in 2012 advocating real values. Norman Solomon is running in a primary to replace Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Ca). His platform is to set up a WPA, single payer, take on the banks and more. He also is a disenchanted former Obama delegate. The DNC will try and stop him. Here is a interview just done with him. A heck of a congressman this man could make: