Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dec. 1, 11:45 AM: Granny Peace Brigade - Kick off 2010 Peace Toy Campaign

Wed. Dec 1, 11:45AM

Meet north of the recruiting center near 44th and Broadway
to kick off the 2010 Peace Toy Campaign.

The Raging Grannies will also be there with songs.

Subsequent actions will be on Friday, Dec 10th and
Thursday, Dec 16th at the same place.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Did GOP's Cantor Commit treason?

The following is a story by Lawrence Davidson from consortiumnews.com detailing Congressmember Eric Cantor's devious attempt "to tell the Israeli Prime Minister that he and the Republican Party will use the power of the House of Representatives to protect Israel from U.S. government policy." Davidson believes this was a violation of the Logan Act. It seems to me that Cantor's attempt to undermine the power of the secretary of state and the president may very well be an act of treason. After all, whatever Mr. Cantor may think (if he thinks at all) Barack Obama is charged with carrying out U.S. foreign policy not either Cantor or the Republican/Tea Party. As we know from Shakespeare, hubris has never been the path to success. And Cantor seems imbued with overbearing arrogance.

Did GOP's Cantor Cross Line on Israel?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chronicles of capitalism

From today's (11/18) Democracy Now:

(1) Insurers Gave Chamber Over $86M to Defeat Healthcare Reform

Newly disclosed figures show the nation’s largest health insurance corporations funneled some $86.2 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to oppose healthcare reform last year. Companies including UnitedHealth and CIGNA provided the money through their main lobbying group, America’s Health Insurance Plans. The spending exceeded the group’s entire budget from the year before and accounted for 40 percent of the Chamber’s 2009 budget. The money was used to fund ads, polling and public events to stir opposition to the healthcare overhaul. An anonymous source confirmed to Bloomberg News that the money came from insurers because federal tax laws don’t require identification of donors. In a statement, the Center for Responsive Politics said, "Perhaps this key debate would have progressed differently if the true source of the chamber’s spending had been known at the time."

(2) Study: Lawmakers’ Personal Wealth Increased 16% in 2008

A new study shows members of Congress saw a boost in personal wealth as the U.S. economy suffered the worst of the economic recession. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, lawmakers’ personal wealth increased an average 16 percent between 2008 and 2009. The number of millionaires rose to 261, nearly half the total members of Congress. The median wealth of a House member topped $765,000, while the average for a senator was more than $2.3 million.

(3) GOP Blocks Paycheck Fairness Act in Senate

Republican senators have blocked a measure to fight wage discrimination against female workers. The Paycheck Fairness Act would increase enforcement of laws requiring equal pay for men and women. But on Wednesday, all Republican senators voted to prevent the bill from coming to a vote.
[Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson was the only Democrat who voted with the Republicans.]
(4) FBI Meets with Google, Facebook in Wiretap Push

The Obama administration is intensifying a push to expand government wiretapping of online communications, including emails, Facebook postings and internet phone calls. The administration wants Congress to require immediate compliance with wiretap orders seeking government monitoring of encrypted messages sent over the internet. The New York Times reports FBI Director Robert Mueller met with top executives at several major Silicon Valley firms, including Google and Facebook, earlier this week. The White House proposals include a requirement that any services based overseas be routed communications through a U.S. server where they could be wiretapped.

Did someone say something about democracy?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

FDR to A. Philip Randolph: "Make me"

I know we all want Obama to stand up against the onslaught of Republican Tea Party madness. It's clear from this afternoon's press conference that this isn't going to easily happen. He seems to be repeating the same mistakes he made at the beginning of his administration. No matter how obviously obstructionist they are, he is going to talk about compromise and agreement. That's what he did two years ago. Remember what they say about someone who keeps doing the same thing and expects different results.

But there is another side to this story: presidents (and other politicians) don't act in the interests of the people without enormous pressure from outside. The probably apocryphal story that FDR's response when Sleeping Car-porters union organizer A. Philip Randolph came to him to ask him to integrate the war industries: "make me" led to the first March on Washington.

In other words what happens the next two years depends on us, not Obama.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Watch the election results tonight (8PM) on MNN1 or FStv

Tuesday, November 2, on MNN1 starting at 8PM Manhattan Neighborhood Network will join Free Speech TV to cover the mid-term elections the only way MNN knows how to do it... ALTERNATIVE NEWS STYLE!

The coverage will be hosted progressive media veterans, including Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, Laura Flanders, Thom Hartmann, Gloria Neal and Marc Steiner. It will feature analysis and commentary from social activists, community organizers and political analysts, including David Sirota, Herb Boyd, Rosa Clemente, Jim Hightower and John Nichols.

There will also be correspondents' reports from The Nation, Mother Jones and Yes Magazine and special guest appearances by NAACP’s Ben Jealous, AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka, former Denver mayor Wellington Webb and many more.

Faithful to their mission of providing fearless, innovative and fully-independent programming, Free Speech TV (FSTV) will offer this special elections coverage, entirely commercial-free and void of the mainstream media corporate spin.

"We at FSTV are delighted to be partnering with several other independent media entities and personalities to bring this unique election night broadcast to millions of homes around the country," said Don Rojas, Executive Director of Free Speech TV.

"This unprecedented media collaboration will make it possible for the nation to view a diverse collection of hosts and guests reporting and analyzing the results and the political implications of this crucial mid-term election through a progressive lens."

Monday, November 01, 2010

Some Thoughts on Tomorrow's Election

First of all, I'm voting a straight Working Family's Party line except for Governor I'm voting for Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins (because I won't vote for union-buster Andrew Cuomo) and for Senator Colia Clark also a Green candidate (because I swore I would never again vote for Charles Schumer when he supported the nomination of Bush's 3rd Attorney General Michael Mukasey).

I know that no one I vote for tomorrow is going to change anything, but I think fighting the right is an important thing to do. I also know that whatever disaster the Democrats experience tomorrow is to a large extent of their own making. But it is, if it's not already too late, the first pitch of the 2012 presidential election. Having ceded the narrative of this election to the Republican Tea Party the question is can they reclaim it for 2012. Although the media - not surprisingly - has fallen hook-line-&-sinker for the line that this election is a referendum on the Obama presidency, that could hardly be the case. It's not entirely clear when the Tea Party was born but it was some time between February 27 and April 15, 2009. If you remember it was only January 20, 2009 when Obama was inaugurated. So it would have been very difficult for him to have done enough to lead to the creation of a genuine grass-roots opposition. Here's a little of the early history of the Tea Party by Judson Berger on April 6, 2009 from Fox News online.
The Sons of Liberty of today is led by people like Rick Santelli, the CNBC reporter widely credited with helping spark the tea-party fever nationwide (though tea parties were being held before Santelli plugged them).

During an infamous on-air rant on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in February, Santelli called for modern-day tea parties to protest the economic trends in government.

He stirred up traders by shouting that the government was promoting "bad behavior" with its mortgage rescue plan. "This is America," he said. "How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills?"

Though he was mocked by the White House, Santelli might as well have yelled, "Give me liberty or give me death!"

Jenny Beth Martin, a Republican activist who's helping organize one of the higher-profile tea parties in Atlanta, said Santelli's rant led shortly afterward to a conference call of 22 activists, including herself.

From there, she said, organizers put together 48 tea parties -- from St. Louis to San Antonio to Chicago -- on Feb. 27.
The conception of the Tea Party "movement" long preceded its birth. But it also clearly long preceded the Obama presidency. It clearly takes more than a month to create a real movement. But puppeteers like long-time Republican operative Dick Armey were able to snow the media into believing the Tea Party phenomenon was spontaneous. And, suddenly, the Democrats were fighting back from behind from the first inning. It will be interesting to see if the Democrats can set the narrative for 2012. People like Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky have given them lots of ammunition:
The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president
There are Americans (and Iraqis and Afghanis) with their lives on the line but for the Republicans "the single most important thing we want to achieve is for Obama to be a one-term president;" we are in the middle of the greatest capitalist crisis sin ce the Great Depression, but for the Republicans "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." If the Democrats can't make something out of that they need to hang up their spikes.