Category Archives: Democrats

Get the Word Out About One Nation ~ One Nation Working Together

Posted by: Audiegrl

One Nation Working Together For Jobs, Justice and Education for All

Who We Are..

We are One Nation, born from many, determined to build a more united America – with jobs, justice and education for all.

We are young people, frustrated that society seems willing to spend more locking up our bodies than educating our minds, yet still we find ways to succeed and shine.

We are students and newly-returned veterans – persevering in the face of mounting debt – determined not to be the first generation to end up worse off than our parents.

We are baby boomers and seniors – who saw hope killed in 1968 and will not let the dream of a united America be taken from us again.

We are conservatives and moderates, progressives and liberals, non-believers and people of deep faith, united by escalating assaults on our reason, our environment, and our rights.

We are workers of every age, faith, race, sex, nationality, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and ability – who have suffered discrimination but never stopped loving our neighbors, or our nation.

We are American Indians and Alaska Natives – citizens of Native nations – who maintain our cultures, protect our sovereignty, and strength America’s economy.

We are the new immigrants, raising our children in the torchlight of the Statue of Liberty, while confronting the shadows that are bigotry and mass deportations.

We are the native born.  We inherited the divided legacies of settlers and American Indians, black slaves and white and Asian indentured servants. And yet, in this moment of shared suffering, we rejoice in newfound friendships and new alliances.

We are people who got thrown out – thrown out of our jobs, schools, houses, farms and small businesses – while Wall Street’s wrongdoers got bailed out. We are families who pray every day – for peace and prosperity; for deliverance from foreclosures; for good jobs to come back to urban and rural America.

We are unemployed workers – forced to watch hopes for bold action dashed – because some Senators threaten filibusters, and other would-be champions fold in fear.

And yet, we are the majority – fueled by hope, not hate. We have the pride, power and determination to keep ourselves – and our country – moving up and out of the valley greed created.

And most importantly – from ensuring women are treated fairly at work, to expanding health care coverage for millions– we have been victorious whenever we worked together. We have proven the only thing we need to succeed is each other.

And so, on 10-2-10, we come back together – to march.

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Why We March…

We march for a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. We march for jobs, justice, and education. We march for an economy that works for all.  We march for a nation in which each person who wants to work can find a job that pays enough to support a family.

We march to create a million new jobs right away, because the national values that got us out of the Great Depression will get us out of the Great Recession.

We march to build a world-class public education system, from pre-school to community college and beyond – because our nation must start unleashing the greatness of every child today.

We march to end racial profiling and re-segregation– from Arizona to Atlanta. We march to defend the Voting Rights Act and the 14th Amendment.  We march to advance human rights, civil rights, equal protection, and dignity for all.

We march to fix the broken immigration system – because no child should live in fear that her parents will be deported.

We march to ensure every worker has a voice at work. We march for green jobs and safe workplaces, so no worker will have to choose between her livelihood and her life.

We march for a clean environment, so no child is ever forced to decide between drinking the water or breathing the air and staying healthy.

We march to move our nation beyond this moment when a handful of Senators can block urgently needed progress – skewing our national budget towards tax cuts for the wealthy, unjustified military spending and prisons.

We march to demand full equality for all women in all communities, indulging an end to wage discrimination.

We march for peace abroad and job creation at home. We march for energy independence, public safety, and public transportation because the nation we want to build most is our own.

We march to demand full equality for all women in all communities, indulging an end to wage discrimination.

And on 11-2-10, we will march again – into the voting booths. We will bring our families, our friends, and our neighbors. And once the ballots are counted, we will keep organizing, we will hold our leaders accountable, and we will keep making our dream real.

This movement will grow.  It will put America back to work, pull America back together, and keep us moving ever forward.

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Working together for the creation, protection, and advancement of good jobs

Create new jobs in every sector, so that everyone in our country who wants to work can find a job. There should be a job in America for everyone who wants to work.

Provide immediate relief for those who are currently unemployed

  • Extend the federal unemployment program, COBRA, mortgage assistance, and other targeted initiatives helping those who are currently without a job
  • Target help for populations and communities in the greatest need, including youth summer jobs and training initiatives

Provide immediate action to stimulate job growth and retention; and consumer demand

  • Provide aid to states and cities—including direct job creation at local levels—especially in education, health care, social services and first responder workforces
  • Increase the ability of small businesses to obtain assistance and support, including short term loans, grants and other forms of assistance
  • Fund infrastructure investment that spurs higher economic growth, clean energy enterprises, and green jobs

Provide a fair chance for every worker in our country to succeed and advance in the workplace

  • Everyone who works in America should have the right to join with their co-workers to have a voice on the job
  • Pay all workers a living family wage
  • Increase and index the minimum wage
  • Close the race-, gender-, and all other unjust pay gaps
  • End all forms of workplace discrimination and expand anti-discrimination law to be inclusive of everyone
  • Protect, honor, fully apply, and expand equal opportunity and diverse business inclusion practices
  • Create employment pathways and training opportunities for workers who want to advance their careers
  • Make every job a safe job
  • Provide paid sick days and paid family leave for all workers

Rebuild the U.S. economy for the 21st Century

  • Reorient our country’s trade and tax policies to tackle job loss and currency manipulation, and promote the creation of good jobs at home
  • Create a national industrial policy to transform our economy into a sustainable one that provides good jobs and a good quality of life for America’s families
  • Provide greater national investment in new jobs, improved infrastructure, and public education instead of escalating military spending
  • Prevent the repeat of the economic crisis by addressing the problem of financial institutions, including those deemed “too big to fail”
  • Put an end to the exploitative practices that contributed to the economic crisis; increase watchdog powers of institutions such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and prohibit and punish predatory lending and mortgage scams

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Working together for justice and equal opportunity for all

Advance and implement policy principles and practices that prohibit and prevent discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or ability.

Enhance, strengthen and preserve voting rights for all Americans

  • Enact policies that expand access to the polls for everyone, including former felons
  • Preserve policies that established to address systematic voter disenfranchisement, including the elimination of deceptive practices
  • Secure voting representation in Congress and full democracy for the residents of the District of Columbia, so that our pledge of “liberty and justice for all” will apply equally to all who live in our nation’s capital

End discriminatory practices within the criminal justice system

  • End racial profiling by law enforcement officials
  • Eliminate statutes, such as mandatory minimums, which have had a disparately devastating impact on the poor as well as racial and ethnic minorities
  • Restore trust between police officers and the communities they serve by establishing competent civilian review boards with real authority to identify and address misconduct
  • Establish policies to help ex-felony offenders reintegrate into society, including job training, educational opportunities, and voting rights that reducing recidivism rates

Preserve and honor our history as a nation that is inclusive of immigrants and maintain respect for the rule of law

  • Fix our broken immigration system in a way that provides for due process; protects workers and our national security; quickly reunites families, holds employers accountable, and provides a fair path to citizenship.
  • Avoid or end ineffective, costly, and dangerous proposals or provisions that seek to round up, detain, and deport 12 million unauthorized workers, split families, encourage racial profiling, and divert scarce resources away from crime fighting.
  • Provide for a path to citizenship for individuals who are completing an education and/or serve in their community, or in the military

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Working together to protect and strengthen the safety net, and create opportunity for all

  • End the foreclosure epidemic and save the homes of America’s families
  • Require principal write downs in exchange for government aid for mortgage lenders or services
  • Reform bankruptcy laws to protect families, working people, seniors, and students
  • Prioritize safe, secure and affordable housing for all
  • Provide adequate resources to end all forms of discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing
  • Protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare
  • Repair private pension systems
  • Complete the promise of accessible and affordable health care for all people, including the public option and other effective means to provide coverage for all; and implementation of anti-discrimination provisions

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Working together for quality public education for all

  • Ensure that all people have equal access to affordable, adequately resourced, high quality public education throughout their lives, from preschool through college
  • Provide for quality teaching jobs with training, and support necessary to continuously improve classroom practice and safety, and serve students better
  • Increase federal support to institutions of higher education that provide opportunities for underserved communities, including women’s institutions, community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Institutions
  • Increase access to higher education by increasing affordability and decreasing dependency on student loans
  • End the school-to-prison pipeline by investing in public education systems not prisons, and provide more education opportunities for incarcerated youth
  • Create systems and structures which maximize diverse community input to assist in ending all policies and actions that directly or indirectly lead to re-segregation by race or ethnicity of our public schools

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Conclusion

As One Nation Working Together we will work for policy principles that restore the inclusion of all communities striving to achieve the American Dream. One Nation Working Together will push for an economy that works for everyone by advocating for policy principles that result in good jobs, and well trained work forces. We will work for quality public education and training for our children, who are tomorrow’s work force. We will work for principles and laws that provide for equal opportunity for everyone, so that all have a chance to achieve the American Dream. Finally, we will support policy principles that create a path toward economic and environmental sustainability for today and for generations to come.

Join us. We are One Nation Working Together: For Jobs, For Justice, For Education, For All.

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Filed under Democrats, Independents, One Nation, Political Organizations, Politics, Uncategorized

Palin’s “Mama Grizzlies” Are Devouring the GOP Not Obama

Posted by: BuellBoy

Written by Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Sarah Palin recently told an anti-abortion activist group that “mama grizzlies” will eat up the Democrats in November and shove the country back into the GOP’s arms. Her home grown, home state animal kingdom analogy would have been more apt and frightening a year ago when the Tea Party first gathered steam. Then GOP leaders banked that the Tea Party would be their back channel hammer to pound Obama and the Democrats in November. Things went well in the beginning. The party’s angry protests, marches, and parades, the passion, zealotry, their sloganeering, name calling, their anti-tax, anti big government, and defense of freedoms code word racism boded well. President Obama seemed the perfect made-in-heaven foil. He’s a moderate, African-American, Democrat who they recast as a closet unpatriotic, race baiting, socialist.

The set script, though, has suddenly radically changed. In quick succession, GOP stalwarts in Utah, Florida, Kentucky, and Maine, and John McCain in Arizona have either been knocked out the box or are under withering fire from Tea Party activists. The white hot anti-incumbent rhetoric in Tea Party circles is almost totally aimed at the GOP incumbents and candidates. Any hint from a GOP incumbent in their words, actions, or voting record of making nice with Democrats and Obama guarantees a tongue lash from Palin, and relentless hectoring, harassment, and even physical threats from street level activists. GOP leaders have slowly woke to the recognition that Tea Party activists will settle for nothing less than a full blown exorcism of any trace of moderation or compromise from the GOP.

The danger looms for the GOP that 2010 could be 1964 all over again. That was the year that a right insurgency powered by ferocious Deep South and Western opposition to the civil rights movement, legislative and court ordered desegregation, and pending civil rights rights bills rammed the GOP to the hard right and in that year’s presidential election, to political disaster. The GOP suffered mightily in the aftermath of LBJ and the Democrat’s landslide sweep. But the crushing defeat did not totally transform the GOP into a hard core rightwing opposition party. There were many conservative Republicans who were still willing to compromise, conciliate, and work when necessary with Democrats.

The best case in point is McCain. Pre-presidential candidate Obama’s ascension, he was widely held up as the standard model of the responsible, pragmatic, Republican conservative who was willing to reach across the congressional aisle to get things done. It’s a far different story in the Obama White House days. McCain’s sprouted wings on his heels in his mad dash to the right to keep his Senatorial job. His rush to the right typifies the GOP’s Catch 22 dilemma. He can’t win, or at least the perception is that he can’t win, by ticking off Tea Party activists. Yet, catering to them types him as a pandering, captive of the loose jointed right, shill.

Either case scenario poses the grave threat that the GOP could be a fractured, unhinged party months before the November showdown. Polls and surveys show this potentially chilling scenario. In a Pew survey 40 percent of Democrats say they have no faith in their elected representatives in Congress. That’s an all time low in the history of the Pew survey. But even fewer Republicans say that they have any faith in their congressional representatives. That’s a crushing load the GOP could drag into the fall elections. A pack of hard right candidates that carry the GOP banner will be a powerful turn-off to thousands of politically crucial independent voters. In past polls, many of them registered disgust, frustration and anger at Obama and the Democrat’s policies and signaled a willingness to shift back to the GOP. This could be out the window.

Then there’s Palin. She poses absolutely no threat to Obama’s solid or lukewarm Democratic base. The mere mention of her as a possible presidential candidate is more than enough to terrorize disappointed liberal Democrats out of their Obama inertia. The real damage that she can do will be to further confuse, rile up, and split Republicans. Polls show that while voters in general say Palin’s not presidential timber, a huge minority of Republicans say that she is. This could translate into a stock of disgruntled, frustrated voters who would be sorely tempted to push, prod and hector the GOP to give Palin her due as a possible presidential candidate. This kind of talk will propel even more independents away from the GOP.

Palin can talk all day about “mama grizzlies” ousting Democrats from power in November and beyond. But the stark political reality is that so far the only ones who have been threatened or devoured wear the GOP tag. This wasn’t in the GOP mainstream’s script for Palin and the Tea Party.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge (Middle Passage Press).
Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter

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Filed under 2010 Elections, 2012 Elections, Conservative, Democrats, Pres. Barack Obama, Republicans, Senate, Uncategorized

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Speak at the DNC Women’s Leadership Forum Issues Conference

Posted by: Audiegrl

When you need something done and you ask women to do it, it gets done~First Lady Michelle Obama

DNC~The first half of today’s Women’s Leadership Forum event was capped by appearances by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, who have worked closely together on issues from military families to their recent visit to Haiti.

Dr. Biden spoke about her work teaching at a community college, and some of the extraordinary women she’s met who are working to improve their lives and the lives of those around them:

“I am profoundly moved by the women I meet, whether in my travels or in my classroom each day, by their determination to learn, and their quest to make a better life for themselves and their families.”

First Lady Michelle Obama then took to the stage, reminding the audience of when she’d last been with the group, at the Women’s Leadership Forum held in Chicago in 2008. The First Lady Lady spoke on what’s changed since and what remains the same now:

“The last time we were together, it was back in late October of 2008, and you were all meeting in my hometown, Chicago…A lot has changed since we last met. But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed. Back then I talked about the issues that we face—from the economy, to health care, to education. And I said that these issues aren’t and they still aren’t about politics. They’re personal. And they’re personal for every single one of us in this room, and they’re personal for every single one of us in this country.

It’s easy to lose sight of that fact with all the back and forth that goes on here in Washington — folks yelling at each other on TV so that little things get blown out of proportion and sometimes big, important things don’t always get the attention that they deserve.

But when Barack and I travel the country now and we spend time with ordinary folks, they don’t have much interest in the scorekeeping that goes on here in Washington. They really don’t…

The questions they ask have nothing to do with the daily chatter that goes on here, and it has everything to do with the struggles, the real struggles they’re facing in their lives. They tell us about insurance companies that refuse to pay for the treatment that they need, and they ask us, “What do I do now?” Or they tell us, “I’ve been out of a job for months.” And they ask, “What are you going to do to help folks like me?”

…They are the basis for every decision he makes—not whether it’s good politics, not whether it’s going to make good headlines, but whether it’s good for them and for their families.”

The First Lady has made working with young people around the globe a priority, recently taking her first solo international trip to Haiti and Mexico. She told the story of a young woman she had met in Mexico City, and the stories like hers that show how women are the ones leading the fight to improve the world for future generations:

“I’ll never forget about a young woman that I met there named Maricela, who I met at a roundtable discussion with young leaders in Mexico City…Her father had passed away, and her mother — she told a story of how she worked tirelessly to support her and her four siblings; said her mom was always the first one to wake up in the morning, and the last one to go to bed at night. But she told us about the fact that despite their hardships, her mother was determined to build a better life for her daughter.

…This is a story that is told every day all around the world, and right here in America — a story about the strength and determination of women. Women who haven’t had much in their own lives, but who know exactly what they want for their children. Women who work those extra shifts, and make those sacrifices, so their daughters –- and their sons –- can have opportunities they never imagined for themselves.

I’m talking about women like Lilly Ledbetter, who kept on fighting for equal pay even when she knew that it was too late for herself, because she wanted something more for the women who came after her…I’m talking about women like Dr. Dorothy Height, one of my heroes — who kept up the fight for civil and economic rights up through the final months of her life. She once said, “I want to be remembered as someone who used herself and anything she could touch to work for justice and freedom…I want to be remembered as someone who tried.”

And every day, across this country, so many women wake up every day and try -– using everything they have –- to make life a little better for others…and that’s what you all are doing—building a better world for our kids and grand kids. We need you to stay involved. When you need something done and you ask women to do it, it gets done.”

Remarks by The First Lady and Dr. Biden to the Women’s Leadership Forum Issues Conference

Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Filed under DNC, Dr. Jill Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, Uncategorized, Women's Issues

Kiss My Ash

Posted by: TheLCster

Written by Robert J. Elisberg

We’ve gotten to the point where the public today accepts glib political demagoguery from spokesmen for the Republican Party. Certainly, ideas and discourse exist in the GOP, but they’ve been elbowed out of the center ring. And of course there’s nothing acceptable about it. Because there are consequences to their words.

Mind you, I’m not referring to normal, everyday political razzle-dazzle. Lying, exaggeration, double-speak. That’s the lifeblood of all politics. Democrats included.

No, I’m talking about those who rant what they know not to be true, or don’t remotely believe in, or couldn’t care less whether it’s true or not, solely because the only thing they want is to create divisive anger in crowds and do nothing more than score political points.

There are consequences to their words.

All parties have long had irresponsible demagogues. But it has become a driving force within the Republican Party because of their lockstep march against All Things Obama.

Of course, today’s glib political demagoguery starts further back, fine-tuned during the Bush Administration which took the responsibility of national leadership and played it as if it was paintball. The whole “you’re with us or you’re a terrorist” mindset may have been great politics, but there were consequences. When your game is to destroy a CIA agent fighting that very terrorism, the points you get weaken America.

Glib political demagoguery is the thoughtless game that got Dick Cheney telling Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.” That too was fine politics – but there were consequences. A national debt doubling to $12 trillion. A budget deficit of $482 billion from surplus. And all America is digging ourselves out of them now.

This all hit home very clearly over the past month, as GOP glib political demagoguery has repeatedly showed its consequences, in all its devastation.

The most prominent, of course, is the agonizing disaster of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. For two years, Republicans from Sarah Palin, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Michael Steele and beyond, have hyperventilated with their “Drill, Baby, Drill” pontification, not caring its risks, just that it was grand politics for riling up crowds. And now we see the ghastly consequences.

Already 1.6 million gallons of oil have spilled. It could reach past 11 million. In only one day, the slick went from an unthinkable 1,150 square miles to over 3.800. It’s growing faster than The Blob, and nearing the pristine Florida Keys. This is an economic disaster of such catastrophic proportions it could impact the climate. And 11 workers killed.

(It’s a macabre observation that oil is the sole area Sarah Palin has claimed supposed “expertise.” That was never expertise, mind you, but we see the naked Emperor’s Clothes laid bare. Imagine now how empty the rest of her non-existent qualifications are. And not a word from her since the disaster.)

Yet within just the past month, this is far from the only gruesome case by Republicans of glib political demagoguery that has resulted in crushing consequences.

Think back if you will to February 24, 2009. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was selected by the Republican Party to deliver its response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address. With dripping ridicule, Mr. Jindal derided the Obama stimulus investment of “$140 million for something called volcano monitoring.”

Never mind that Sarah Palin, then still governor of Alaska before resigning, let the glib political demagoguery pass. The callousness of this GOP strutting showed itself only a month later, when Mt. Redoubt erupted – in Alaska. There are consequences to glib political demagoguery. Far-greater devastation was only averted because of early volcano monitoring.

But even this isn’t the point. Because, remembering Bobby Jindal and the GOP’s calculated, snide mocking of “something called volcano monitoring,” as if it didn’t matter, as if it was a fake-Socialist, Big Government waste by Barack Obama because he’s Barack Obama – only weeks ago, the entire world saw this:

When Eyjafjallajokull Volcano in Iceland erupted, airline travel came to a complete halt throughout Europe. World commerce was suspended. The world’s climate was impacted. There were a billion dollars in losses. “In terms of closure of airspace, this is worse than after 9/11,” said a spokesman for Britain aviation. “The disruption is probably larger than anything we’ve seen.”

And only a year earlier, the GOP spokesman said: “Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington.”

I’m guessing they’d like to take back that wisecrack about “eruptions.”

This is why government monitor volcanoes. It matters. It has consequences.

It all matters. It all has consequences.

Again.

And again and again.

Like when you engage in glib political demagoguery to rile crowds and endlessly repeat a snarky mantra for political points by attacking “cap and trade” and roaring that “clean coal CLEAN COAL” is the solution, the only solution, the easy answer, you knowingly ignore that there are consequences. And one is the Upper Big Branch mine disaster with 29 men dead.

Disagreement is good. So, too, is active opposition.

But glib political demagoguery is where the line gets drawn.

Our words matters. When you create anger in others to score political points, dismissive of what the devastating results could be, you do not deserve to be on the stage.

The gravest oil disaster in U.S. history. The biggest airline disaster in world history. A mine disaster leaving 29 me dead. All within the last month alone.

The longer list makes it more shameless.

There are consequences for your words.

Far too many Republican spokesman have tried to gut the United States with a shiv, all for 30 pieces of silver and craven political expedience. Too many others in the GOP have quietly, sheepishly acquiesced and enabled them.

Go. Let the adults talk. Let the good and serious people still in your party – and all parties – have the microphone back. You’ve shown your worth. The world can no longer afford you.

Robert J. Elisberg has been a commentator and contributor to such publications as the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, C/NET and E! Online, and served on the editorial board for the Writers Guild of America. He has contributed political writing to the anthology, “Clued in on Politics,” 3rd edition (CQ Press).

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Filed under Democrats, Disaster, Environment, Greed, Republicans, Uncategorized

Republicans and Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) Vote As Bloc To Filibuster Wall Street Bill

Posted by: Audiegrl

Undaunted by a Senate setback, Democrats appeared increasingly confident Monday they will be able to take advantage of Americans’ anger at Wall Street and push through the most sweeping new controls on financial institutions since the Great Depression.

The Senate, in a 57-41 vote, failed to get the 60 supporters needed to proceed on the regulatory overhaul. One Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, joined with the Republicans.

But the evening vote was just part of a legislative ballet keeping bipartisan talks alive. At the end, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid switched his vote to “no,” too, but that was just a maneuver that will enable him to call for a new tally as early as Tuesday.

Democrats believe that public pressure and the scent of a Wall Street scandal have given them the upper hand. Republicans themselves have taken up the Democrats’ Wall Street-bashing rhetoric and have voiced hope that a bill will ultimately pass. In that light, the path to final approval seems clearer than it ever did during the contentious debate over health care.

Statement by President Obama on Financial Reform

“I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans voted in a block against allowing a public debate on Wall Street reform to begin. Some of these Senators may believe that this obstruction is a good political strategy, and others may see delay as an opportunity to take this debate behind closed doors, where financial industry lobbyists can water down reform or kill it altogether. But the American people can’t afford that. A lack of consumer protections and a lack of accountability on Wall Street nearly brought our economy to its knees, and helped cause the pain that has left millions of Americans without jobs and without homes. The reform that both parties have been working on for a year would prevent a crisis like this from happening again, and I urge the Senate to get back to work and put the interests of the country ahead of party.”

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Filed under (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid, Banking, Democrats, Economy, Pres. Barack Obama, Republicans, Senate, Uncategorized

Flip Flopping on Obama: Democrats are Wimps

Posted by: BuellBoy

Written by Dr. Jeff Schweitzer


We fully expect rats to abandon a sinking ship, but even those readily disloyal rodents wait for a leak to spring before contemplating a swim. In contrast, Democrats scramble frantically to jump overboard at the first whiff of a moist towel.

Nowhere was this unpleasant characteristic more glaringly evident than during the health care debate. Because Obama did not deliver the perfect bill instantly, the punditry immediately labeled the president “ineffective” and “passive” and “drifting” and “lost” and horror-of-horrors, “another Jimmy Carter.” Obama was criticized repeatedly because he “leads more from the head than the heart” and “relies more on listening than preaching,” as if those qualities were actually somehow negative. And those were the liberal talking heads. Obama was written off as a loser by his own team simply because he could not change 50 years of social inertia in his first year in office.

George Packer of The New Yorker loudly proclaimed “Obama’s Lost Year.” Robert Parry of The Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel lamented “How Obama Lost His Way.” Piling on were House Democrats who snidely disparaged the health care bill in February, but who now bask in the glory of its passage. These House members quickly toweled off after a premature dunk then tried to pretend they never panicked.

To place this cowardly behavior in context, remember that Republicans stuck stubbornly and loyally to George Bush for eight years in the face of illegal wire taps, disastrous wars, huge deficits, torture, economic collapse, environmental calamity and a terrible butchering of the English language. Democrats did not last eight months before whipping out the chains of self-flagellation because the president did not perform miracles or give us the public option (yet). That easy disloyalty is even more discouraging given that Democrats held the largest majority that either party has held in the Senate since Watergate and a 40-seat majority in the House.

Tackling legislation that has eluded every president for the last five decades is a delicate, tricky, complicated dance of nuance, strategy and hard-ball politics. The best analogy for what Obama has done, and how he achieved victory, is Dwight Eisenhower’s civil rights battle. In fact the recently-passed health care reform bill will likely prove to be similar to early civil rights legislation in many ways — breaking old barriers, creating significant social change, remapping political alliances and creating a better world with legislation that was initially deeply flawed or ineffective. Old Ike fired the first shot of civil rights legislation across the bow of a nation largely hostile to the idea. He faced fierce, nasty and sometimes violent opposition from southern Senators who wielded power far greater than anything we see today.

Consequently the resulting Civil Rights Act of 1957 was weak, flawed and largely impotent but miraculous in its passage nevertheless. The bill became law only after enduring the longest single-senator filibuster in our history. That paragon of racial intolerance, Strom Thurmond, read non-stop for more than 24 hours in a final but ultimately futile attempt to thwart passage. Ironically he read from the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, desecrating both in doing so. As with Obama and health care, what Ike did was important beyond the specific bill that passed; he breached a barrier that seemed impenetrable; he set the stage for progress.

He laid the foundation on which Lyndon Johnson built the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Without Eisenhower’s pioneering legislation, no matter how weak, Johnson would have never passed his landmark bill. Likewise, the public option, which is the end-game of true reform, will eventually become law because of the foundation created with this first attempt at health care reform.

In this light, and with this history, we should be embarrassed by our impatience with Obama as he marshaled health care legislation through a reluctant legislature and a populace confused by a vitriolic misinformation campaign. We lost temporal perspective, focusing on the moment to the exclusion of the future. Obama deserved our support and instead we bickered and told tales of woe because the bill was imperfect and not implemented quickly enough for our taste for the immediate. And the opposition nearly slaughtered us because we were unable to unite.

We argued passionately about the minutiae of specific language while the GOP was plotting a grand strategy of our destruction. Our impatience and immaturity aided and abetted that effort. Many Democrats I know and respect simply gave up on the president because he did not produce fast enough or give them everything they wanted. In the euphoria of electing one of our own, we forgot that ideological purity is not a recipe for pragmatic governance. We once again almost let the perfect become the enemy of the good, and were only saved from ourselves by strong leadership which ignored our plaintive and pathetic cries. Thankfully Obama was playing chess while we were trying to figuring out how to go from one to square to another in checkers.

Well, now that the first health care bill has passed we at least learned our lesson, right? One would think, but one would be wrong. The cycle begins anew with Obama’s announcement that he will allow off-shore oil drilling. Oh the humanity!

As Ronald Reagan once famously said, “There you go again.” And we’re off and running, so predictably. Here is a typical response to Obama’s announcement, this from Frank Tursi from the North Carolina Coastal Federation: “To garner support for a bill that is intended to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the administration is willing to expand the very substance that causes those emissions in the first place. Pandering for votes that rely on a polluting fuel of the past is not the kind of change many of us expected.”

Sound eerily familiar to the dialogue on health care before the bill passed? Once again we fail to see the big picture and instead focus narrowly on our immediate interests and concerns. Passing meaningful climate change legislation will be every bit as difficult as health care reform, and will require the same type of unpleasant and disconcerting compromise. We must again choose between the easy comfort of ideological purity and the pragmatic necessity of governing if we actually want to do something about global warming. Saving the planet is probably the better option, even if less satisfying emotionally.

Obama did not choose drilling in a vacuum; the decision is part of his broader energy strategy. Yes, we must emphasize conservation and efficiency, and we must do everything possible to promote renewable and clean energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal. We must cut greenhouse gas emissions. But as we transition to a green economy, we have to keep the lights on and refrigerator running. That is the reality. The energy must come from somewhere, and even as we promote renewables many conservation groups are opposing wind energy, one of the most viable alternatives. Wind turbines disrupt migratory patterns, kill birds and bats and threaten certain species like the sage grouse. So should we support or oppose wind energy?

Something has to give, some compromise must be reached; we live in an imperfect world. Demanding perfection leads to paralysis — and victory for the opposition. Withdrawing support from Obama because he proposes a solution that does not meet our every wish makes little sense, particularly in light of what the other Party has to offer.

By no means do I propose that we blindly accept Obama’s proposed solutions or draft legislation. Debate, modify, argue, disagree: all of that is healthy. But do so knowing that ugly compromise is necessary, and that in a messy democracy no result will be perfectly satisfactory. Democrats need to learn from their Republican colleagues, who seem to know when to argue among themselves and when to coalesce into a unified bloc.

Whenever you feel disappointed or angry at Obama, just close your eyes and think of George W. Bush. Then, rally around, because no matter how imperfect Obama is, he’s better than the alternative.

Dr. Jeff Schweitzer served at the White House during the Clinton Administration as Assistant Director for International Affairs in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Schweitzer was responsible for providing scientific and technological policy advice and analysis for Al Gore, President Clinton and President Clinton’s Science Advisor, and to coordinate the U.S. government’s international science and technology cooperation. He worked with the president’s cabinet and 22 U.S. Government technical agencies, and with countries throughout the world, in a broad range of fields including biology, physics, chemistry, geophysics, agriculture, oceanography and marine sciences. He was instrumental in establishing the permanent Global Forum on Science and Technology at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to promote greater international scientific collaboration.

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Violence Erupts Over Health Care Bill

Posted by: Bluedog89

The Monroe County Democratic Committee in Rochester, New York, is vandalized by anti-health care legislation protesters. Photo courtesy WHEC.

CNN~Shots fired at a congressman’s campaign headquarters. Windows smashed at Democratic offices across the country. A coffin placed on a lawmaker’s lawn. Hate-filled voice mail messages left on members of Congress’ phone lines.

Those are just some of the incidents reported since the House passed historic health care reform legislation Sunday — a bill that became the law of the land.

The issue has unleashed a deep-seated anger from those worried about a government takeover of health care, and what they deem as the process being “rammed through” Congress.

James Leach, with the National Endowment for the Humanities, said that while many of the acts may be protected under First Amendment rights, “that doesn’t mean that they’re morally justified.”

“And we have to think of ourselves as, ‘what kind of people are we?’ ” Leach said. “Are we one people working together with rival thoughts, or are we enemies within? And I think there’s something that’s been let loose in American politics that has to be thought about.”

That anger was visible in unruly protests by health care activists at the Capitol over the weekend.

Republican House members encouraged protesters outside and inside the House gallery, some of whom carried messages like “Vote no or else” or “If Brown won’t stop it, a Browning will” — a reference to newly elected Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown accompanied by a silhouette of a pistol.

But the anger has boiled over into physical and verbal threats. Windows have been smashed at Democratic offices in at least three states, and federal agents are investigating whether a cut gas line at the home of a Virginia congressman’s brother was related to the lawmaker’s yes vote.

Republicans have the right to be angry over the Democrat’s health care bill, but “resorting to violent measures is exactly the wrong way to send a message,” Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Thursday night.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, confirmed Thursday that his district office in Queens received an envelope containing white powder and a threatening letter.

Later Thursday, Weiner told CNN that initial tests indicated the powder was not a biological agent, but that he still was awaiting final word from the New York Police Department. Workers at the office turned over their clothes for testing and were given protective suits before being allowed to go home a few hours later, Weiner said.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are now looking into the threats, and at least 10 House Democrats have been given extra security.

The voice mail has been vicious toward Michigan’s Bart Stupak, who switched his vote to seal the deal for the bill. He has released one of the voice mails.

“Stupak, you are a lowlife, baby-murdering scumbag, pile of steaming crap. You’re a cowardly punk, Stupak, that’s what you are. You and your family are scum,” an unidentified caller said. “That’s what you are, Stupak. You are a piece of crap.”

“Go to hell, you piece of [expletive deleted]” another caller said.

On Sunday, Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan of Missouri had a coffin placed on his lawn, said his spokeswoman, Sarah Howard. She said Tea Party protesters at his office in St. Louis had a coffin with them and later brought it to his house. The coffin was later removed, she said.

Democratic congressional leaders have demanded Republicans join them in condemning a spate of threats and vandalism that has followed Sunday’s vote on the health care system overhaul.

The top Republican in the House, Minority Leader John Boehner, condemned the threats and vandalism, telling reporters Thursday that it “should not be part of a political debate.”

“There are ways for people to channel their anger, and they should do it in a constructive way,” he said.

Liz Mair, a Republican consultant, said protesters “are unfortunately crossing a line.”

“When we’re talking about violence, vandalism, threats, that crosses a legal line, in addition to being in plain old bad taste,” Mair said. “And I think that there’s a lot that is in plain old bad taste that is going on.”

Democrats aren’t the only ones being targeted.

Rep. Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives, said Thursday that a bullet had been fired through a window at his campaign office in Richmond, Virginia.

A Richmond police spokeswoman confirmed to CNN that a bullet was fired at the congressman’s office. “We are investigating the circumstance surrounding it,” spokeswoman Karla Peters said.

Cantor also said that he had received threatening messages but that he would not publicly release the messages out of concern that doing so would only incite further violence.

He also accused Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland — a member of the Democratic House leadership — of “fanning the flames” of violence by using threats that have been made against Democratic members “as political weapons.”

“Enough is enough,” Cantor said. “It has to stop.”

Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse hit back against Cantor’s claims.

“We disagree with the charge made by Rep. Cantor today that Democrats are using acts of violence for political gain,” he said. “Let’s be clear: Calling on Republican leaders who have contributed in part to this anger by wildly mischaracterizing the substance and motives of health reform to condemn these acts is entirely appropriate.”

Another Republican — Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida — said in a news release Thursday that she received what appeared to be a death threat on her district office’s voice mail.

“Just wanna let you know I have 27 people that are going to make sure that this b**** does not live to see her next term. Goodbye,” the voice mail said, according to the release.

Brown-Waite said she contacted both the Capitol Police and the Hernando County sheriff, and they are “looking into the matter and subpoenaing telephone records.”

At least one of the threats aimed at lawmakers appears to be racially based.

House Democratic Majority Whip James Clyburn, who is African-American, said he has received a fax in his office with a picture of a noose drawn on it and had threatening telephone calls at his home.

“We’re giving aid and comfort to these people, and this stuff gets ratcheted up,” Clyburn told CNN. “We in this Congress have got to come together in a bipartisan way and tamp this foolishness down. It doesn’t make sense. That’s not what a democracy is all about.”

Democratic officials and liberal Web sites are also upset that Sarah Palin used an image of crosshairs in a Facebook post this week listing 20 vulnerable Democrats who voted for the legislation. She plans to target them this election year with money from her political action committee.

Palin’s political “hit list” includes: Which Democrats has she singled out?
The list includes: Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Harry E. Mitchell (AZ), Gabrielle Giffords (AZ), John Salazar (CO), Betsy Markey (CO). Allen Boyd (FL), Suzanne M. Kosmas (FL), Baron P. Hill (IN), Earl Pomeroy (ND-AL), Charlie Wilson (OH), John Boccieri (OH), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA), Christopher Carney (PA), John M. Spratt, Jr. (SC), Tom Perriello (VA), Alan B. Mollohan (WV), and Nick J. Rahall II (WV).

Palin’s team is fighting claims that she is encouraging threats of violence. One House member mentioned her Facebook posting during a Wednesday meeting on safety concerns, a Democratic source told CNN’s Dana Bash. Mention of the map brought audible groans to the room, the source said.

An adviser to Palin responded by pointing to several instances in which the former Alaska governor has urged supporters to focus their energies on civil debate and action at the ballot box, not extremist activities.

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