Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Obama’s Globalist Centrism & ‘Blue-Eyed Bankers’

On Bill Fletcher's Thoughts on Obama

  By Tom Hayden

Progressive America Rising via

I agree with Bill Fletcher’s essay on how to approach Obama in 2012. I only wish to add these thoughts.

First, I knew very well that Obama was a centrist, because he declared himself to be at the midpoint between Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson and “Tom Hayden Democrats” such as myself. I knew where things stood from the get-go. No matter how reasonably I described my beliefs, Obama would keep moving to the right of them in order to maintain his role as a centrist. Aside from the frustrations this would mean for progressives like myself, it also meant that Obama was defining “center” in an unfortunate way. He apparently didn’t mean a midpoint between the 75 percent majorities and 25 percent minorities on taxing the rich, saving Medicare and Social Security, and getting out of Afghanistan. He meant staying in the middle between the poles he chose to consider relevant, which meant the far right and the middle, leaving the Democratic Party liberals stranded on many issues.

His call.

But now Obama has stranded himself, with a majority of Americans favoring “another candidate” in 2012, and a fall-off of about 30 percent among all Democrats and Latinos. His strategy obviously is to get Democrats and Independents to hold their noses and vote for him against an obnoxious Republican in 2012.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Romney: War is Peace

Down the Memory Hole ‘Peacetime’ Line

Presumes Ignorance is Strength in 2012

By Jon Walker

Beaver County Peace Links via FireDogLake

April 25 - In an op-ed for the New Hampshire Union Leader, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney attacked President Obama for a “peacetime spending binge,” as pointed out by Greg Sargent. From the Op-ed:

“Barack Obama is facing a financial emergency on a grander scale. Yet his approach has been to engage in one of the biggest peacetime spending binges in American history. With its failed stimulus package, its grandiose new social programs, its fervor for more taxes and government regulations, and its hostility toward business, the administration has made the debt problem worse, hindered economic recovery and needlessly cost American workers countless jobs.”

This is a frightening level disconnection from reality from the guy that is supposed to be the most sensible of the Republican candidates.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Budget Debate: Getting Us Headed in a Progressive Direction

Photo: Progressive Caucus Members announcing their alternative

The People's Budget:

Quick Summary of a Good Plan

By Kay Kirkpatrick
Beaver County Blue

Among the budgets proposed in Congress recently, one eliminates the deficit in 10 years, puts Americans back to work, and restores our economic competitiveness.

Unlike the GOP proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the People’ Budget does not seek to crush those with a low-income, the elderly or otherwise cripple vital government services.

Instead, it preserves Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployment benefits; expands jobs and job training programs; shifts the tax burden off the backs of the people; eliminates tax credits for the oil and gas industries and subsidies for new nuclear power plants; invests in infrastructure and brings our troops home.

This version of our financial future, proposed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), is not only in keeping with priorities of the majority of the American people, it is viable, reasonable and sustainable.

The CPC plan ends the budget deficit two decades earlier than the Ryan plan. Specifically, the budget offers:

· $5.6 trillion in deficit reduction

· $869 billion in spending cuts

· $856 billion net interest savings

· $3.9 trillion revenue increase

· $1.7 trillion in public investment, and

· $30.7 billion in a budget surplus in 2021.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Needed: Debt Relief for Youth

War Against the Young: Recent Graduates

Not Only Move Back Home, But Stay There

By Amanda M Fairbanks
Progressive America Rising via Huffington Post

NEW YORK, April 22, 2011 -- Ashley Moore never planned on moving back in with her parents.

Nearly a year after graduating from college, Moore, 22, also never expected to still be waking up in her old twin bed every morning.

“It’s been difficult because not only was I on my own, I was really far away,” explains Moore, a St. Louis, Mo., native who graduated from Pace University in New York City. At one point, she spent an entire year away. “What I miss most is my freedom and having my own space.”

Like many 20-somethings, Moore is experiencing what it’s like to not only move back home, but stay there.

Despite a recent report released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which predicts that 2011 graduates may enter into an improved job market, many remain skeptical.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Obama, 2012 and Focusing Hope

How Do We Bring Obama Home?

How to Respond to Obama

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Progressive America Rising via

Rather than dwell on the question of whether we can bring Obama home, whether he ever was home, etc., I want to refocus on this question of how to respond to him, particularly as we start to think about 2012.

First, what do we now say about 2008? Contrary to those who have thrown up their hands and feel betrayed by what the Obama administration has not done, I start in a different place. I continue to assert that Obama was knowable in 2008. He was a charismatic, smart candidate who made the right call on the Iraq War and stepped out on the issue when it was necessary. He was also, as I said at the time, someone who could appear to be different things to different people. The problem was that too many of his supporters saw what they wanted to see rather than what existed.

What existed? Well, from the beginning he was a corporate candidate. We knew that. The question was not whether he was one but the extent to which his views could be shifted in order to take progressive, non-corporate stands. Second, he was a candidate who was going to avoid race as you or I would avoid a plague ship. He went out of his way to prove that he was not an ‘angry black man’ and that race was not going to be an issue that he would harp on. Third, he was clear that he wanted to change the image of the USA around the world, but it was not clear to what extent he wanted to change the substance of the relationship of the USA to the rest of the world.


Monday, April 18, 2011

PowerShift: 10,000 Youth Gather in DC

Obama to Thousands of Young

Climate Activists: Push Me

By Mark Hertsgaard
Progressive America Rising via The Nation

April 18, 2011 - The following article first appeared in The Nation magazine. For more great content from The Nation, sign up for their email newsletters here.

Bring to Washington, D.C., ten thousand political organizers who are willing to play hardball, and you can get serious face time with the president of the United States. Even if you aren’t yet 25 years old.

Shortly after 4 p.m. last Friday, April 15, Barack Obama dropped in unexpectedly on a White House meeting that his aides were holding with the Environmental Action Coalition, a network of climate change groups on college campuses that had drawn the ten thousand organizers to its PowerShift conference in the nation’s capital. Interviews with multiple sources in the room indicate that Obama spent twenty-five minutes with the young EAC activists, telling them, “You have power, that’s why I’m here.” Ten of the eleven activists were women; none was older than 31. Their discussion with the president was friendly but plain-spoken—one young woman even interrupted Obama, who didn’t seem to mind—as the activists urged the president to be the clean energy champion they and their peers had done so much to elect in 2008.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Scorecards & Players: Political Economy for 2012

Graphic: Milton Friedman of the ‘Chicago School’

What is Neoliberalism?

A Brief Definition for Activists

By Elizabeth Martinez and Arnoldo Garcia
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

"Neo-liberalism" is a set of economic policies that have become widespread during the last 25 years or so. Although the word is rarely heard in the United States, you can clearly see the effects of neo-liberalism here as the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer.
Liberalism" can refer to political, economic, or even religious ideas. In the U.S. political liberalism has been a strategy to prevent social conflict. It is presented to poor and working people as progressive compared to conservative or Rightwing. Economic liberalism is different. Conservative politicians who say they hate "liberals" -- meaning the political type -- have no real problem with economic liberalism, including neoliberalism.
Neo" means we are talking about a new kind of liberalism. So what was the old kind? The liberal school of economics became famous in Europe when Adam Smith, an Scottish economist, published a book in 1776 called THE WEALTH OF NATIONS. He and others advocated the abolition of government intervention in economic matters. No restrictions on manufacturing, no barriers to commerce, no tariffs, he said; free trade was the best way for a nation's economy to develop. Such ideas were "liberal" in the sense of no controls. This application of individualism encouraged "free" enterprise," "free" competition -- which came to mean, free for the capitalists to make huge profits as they wished.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fighting for Our Future & Honoring Martin Luther King With Solidarity

April 4 'We Are One' Events:

Uniting Labor and Community

For an Upsurge in Class War

By Carl Davidson
Beaver County Blue

Working-class solidarity actions involving thousands of workers were among the lead news items in the headlines in nearly 1200 cities and town around the country over the April 4 weekend. The Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Eastern Ohio 'rust belt' region was no exception.

The occasion commemorated the anniversary of the April 4, 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during his effort to help striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee win union recognition. The entire U.S. labor movement seized the time to organize public protest against the outrageous rightwing attacks on worker rights in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio. The AFL-CIO knows full well that more attacks are coming, and its 'We Are One' campaign for the day was a grassroots dress rehearsal and consciousness-raising effort to prepare both its troops and its community-based allies for more battles to come.

"We are one! We are one!' and 'What's Disgusting? Union busting!' were among the chants echoing off the concrete and glass walls of downtown Pittsburgh. Somewhere between 500 and 1000 marchers waved V-signs at passersby in cars and buses--but more often than in a long time, one saw a sea of the more militant clenched fist salutes as well. As usual, different contingents of workers wore their color coded T-Shirts for the day-camouflage for the UMWA, dark blue for the Steelworkers, red for Unite Here! hotel workers, and purple for SEIU service workers.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chomsky on Libya: The Issue is Control

Rebel guarding oil field in Eastern Libya

Libya and the World of Oil

By Noam Chomsky
Beaver County Peace Links via

April 5, 2011 - Last month, at the international tribunal on crimes during the civil war in Sierra Leone, the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor came to an end.

The chief prosecutor, U.S. law professor David Crane, informed The Times of London that the case was incomplete: The prosecutors intended to charge Moammar Gadhafi, who, Crane said, “was ultimately responsible for the mutilation, maiming and/or murder of 1.2 million people.”

But the charge was not to be. The U.S., U.K. and others intervened to block it. Asked why, Crane said, “Welcome to the world of oil.”

Another recent Gadhafi casualty was Sir Howard Davies, the director of the London School of Economics, who resigned after revelations of the school’s links to the Libyan dictator.

In Cambridge, Mass., the Monitor Group, a consultancy firm founded by Harvard professors, was well paid for such services as a book to bring Gadhafi’s immortal words to the public “in conversation with renowned international experts,” along with other efforts “to enhance international appreciation of (Gadhafi’s) Libya.”

The world of oil is rarely far in the background in affairs concerning this region.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Libya: Obama’s Tangled Web Is Unraveling

The CIA, the Libyan Rebellion, and the President

By David Bromwich
Beaver county Peace Links via Huffington Post -03/31/11

One of Barack Obama's first acts as president was to say that Guantanamo must go. It did not go. Soon after, he said that the Israeli settlements must go. They expanded. Obama made his peace in the end with Guantanamo and the Israeli settlements. He restarted the military tribunals at Guantanamo -- a feature of the Bush-Cheney constitution which he once had explicitly deplored -- and recently went out of his way to defend the Guantanamo-like abuse (compulsory nakedness and sleep deprivation) inflicted on an American prisoner, Bradley Manning, in the Marine Corps brig at Quantico.

One had come to think of "X must go" assertions by Obama as speculative prefaces to a non-existent work. His words, in his mind, are actions. When he speaks them once or twice, he has done what he was put here to do. If the existing powers defy his wishes, he embraces the powers and continues on his way.

The Egyptian protest of January and February saw a new siege of wishful commandments and reversals by the president. He told Mubarak to go. Then he told him to stay a while. Mubarak said he would stay, but after a time, he went; and in the mind of Obama, it appears, there was a relation of cause and effect between his initial request and the final result. He was consequently emboldened.

He said that Muammar Gaddafi must go. Gaddafi stayed. When the protest that gathered against Gaddafi would not disperse, the dictator shot at the protesters; and when some of them turned to armed rebellion, he went to war against the rebels. Obama for his part seemed ready to retire from an unpromising scene. His dryly prudent secretary of defense encouraged him to do so.

Then other forces intervened.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Many Americans Unhappy with Attacks on Libya

How Many Should Die To Send Qaddafi to the Hague?

By Robert Naiman

Beaver County Peace Links via DailyKOS

Here is a question I would like pollsters to ask American voters about the Libya War:

Is sending Qaddafi to the International Criminal Court a military objective worth having American troops "fight and possibly die" for?

I haven't seen any pollster ask this question. Indeed, the fact that sending Qaddafi to the Hague is a de facto military goal of the United States in Libya isn't even being clearly acknowledged yet in the U.S. media.

However, we can make an educated guess what he response might be, because a Quinnipiac University poll recently asked some questions that are closely related.

Voters say 61 - 30 percent that removing Qaddafi from power is not worth having American troops "fight and possibly die" for, the poll reports.


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