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RiverLover

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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Dec 1, 2011, 12:59 PM
Number of posts: 7,830

About Me

FDR Populist Progressive who believes the environment trumps all. We\'re sinking the only ship we\'ve got, and govt leaders are ignoring it.

Journal Archives

The D.C. Centrists' Straw Men (Huffpo)

The D.C. Centrists' Straw Men
3/4/2015

One of the tiredest clichés in all of American politics -- and a favorite of D.C. "centrists" -- is that economic populism is all about beating up on the rich and redistributing income instead of pursuing economic growth.

A note here before I get into the main point of this piece: In that sentence above I put "centrists" in quotation marks because in Washington, D.C., centrism seems to be about being in line with certain kinds of big-money special interests rather than supporting what the center of the country, in terms of voters, believes. D.C. centrists believe in cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits; not taxing Wall Street tycoons at the same levels as their secretaries; weakening regulations on the kinds of financial speculation that caused the 2008 financial panic; bailing out bankers when they get in trouble, and not prosecuting them when they break the law; and doing trade deals that have historically benefited mostly big business and created bigger trade deficits. Voters are in opposition to all those policies by very big numbers, so those positions certainly aren't centrist to them, but that doesn't seem to matter much to the insider D.C. "centrists."...

...Perhaps most irritating of all, a man who has been bashed for years by a lot of these same "centrists" decided to join them in their critique. Here's Howard Dean quoted in the same article:

"Our program cannot be soak the rich -- that's a mistake and alienates middle class people. But on substance, the Warren wing is correct," said Dean.


"The rhetoric about wealth creation needs to be scaled back because Americans like wealth creation," he added. "The level playing field argument wins it for us. The reason you do not want to talk about 'tax the rich' is because when middle class people hear it, they hear 'they're going to raise our taxes.' Democrats can't do that."

I appreciate Howard Dean saying that on substance the Warren wing is correct. And I know that, having endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, he is now in the uncomfortable place of trying to walk a tightrope between Hillary's politics and the views of his old progressive friends. But let me reassure him and his fellow worriers: Elizabeth Warren and her fellow progressives are not, either in rhetoric or policy, anti-growth or anti-business or out to "soak" the rich (unless by "soak" you mean taxing them at the same rate as their secretaries). And to say that they are is a cliché completely unsupported by anything they are saying.

...Creating new jobs, raising the income of middle-class workers and retirees, investing in the infrastructure businesses need for transportation and a good workforce, investing in the creation of new technologies and products -- these policies are not against economic growth. In fact, they would do more to promote economic growth than any policy proposal I have seen from the corporate-oriented Democrats.

All these things Warren talks about -- new jobs, more money for most people to spend, modern infrastructure, promoting manufacturing and small business, R&D -- do in fact create economic growth. Her entire economic program is about creating sustainable economic growth.

And I looked and looked for all the times where Warren bashes the rich or uses negative "rhetoric about wealth creation" that Dean refers to. I went through every recent speech, committee transcript, and floor debate where she spoke that I could find, and I couldn't find any instances where she said there is anything wrong with being rich or wealth creation. I couldn't find them because they don't exist.

These are the ultimate "centrist" straw men that D.C. insiders set up in order to knock down: that progressive populists don't care about economic growth, and that they bash the wealthy.

Now, I will admit one thing: There are certain big corporations that Elizabeth Warren has spoken ill of. She didn't like it, for example, that HSBC laundered drug-cartel money but no executive went to jail for those crimes. She's not big into Wall Street banks blatantly cheating their customers and clients and never being held to account for it. ...

She wants a level playing field for low- and middle-income folks with the wealthy and powerful. Is that what is so radical that is scaring all these D.C. establishment folks? Seriously? Come on, guys, this is just silly. You don't want accountability for banks that launder drug money and cheat their customers? Look, if you want to make arguments as to why we shouldn't regulate or prosecute Wall Street, make them. If you think progressive taxation or a higher minimum wage is a bad idea, tell us why. But don't set up these ridiculous straw men and tell us that the Warren message is all about stuff she has never said.

Let me close by saying this specifically to my friend Howard Dean: You are a good man who has spent the last decade-plus courageously standing up to D.C. insiders even when they attacked you in these same ways. Don't let yourself be used by these same insiders when they are trashing Elizabeth Warren and other progressives.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-lux/the-dc-centrists-straw-me_b_6800302.html

Hundreds of Farmers Block Roads in Protest of Monsanto’s GMO Crops

In Poland.

Hundreds of Farmers Block Roads in Protest of Monsanto’s GMO Crops
3/1/2015

A convoy of Polish tractors on the road as part of the biggest farmers' uprising the country has ever experienced. Photo: via Land Workers Alliance.

Poland’s largest farmer uprising ever has occurred as convoys of tractors took to the roads recently in protest of GMO infiltration and land grabs by biotech and Big Ag corporations.

More than 150 farmers blocked roadways and held numerous demonstrations in order to bring attention to the important issue of food sovereignty in Poland. Their focus is a ban on GMOs and a restoration of small farmer’s rights after decades of oppressive health and safety regulations which take rights away from small farms and give them to mono-cropping, poisoning Big Ag mega-companies.

The farmers have been stalwart – refusing to call off their demonstrations until their demands are met. Rallies and demonstrations have littered the country – in over 50 locations. Hundreds are picketing government offices in addition to the road blockades.

In the largest organized farmer’s protest the country has likely ever seen, the farmers are demanding that legislators protect the small farmer from exploitation by monopolizing companies and refuse the sell off of their country’s land to these behemoths. As the farmers point out, once the land is sold, the Big Ag model can’t be stopped, and the land is forever lost.

Read: Record GMO Farmers Switching to NON-GMO Crops in 2015

Until government officials agree to talk with the farming unions, they have vowed to keep up their efforts. Edward Kosmal, chairman of the farmers protest committee for West-Pomeranian Region said:

“We are ready for dialogue. We look forward to meeting with you, Prime Minister, and beginning a comprehensive government commitment to solving the problems of Polish agriculture. If you do not enter into a dialogue with the Union, we will be forced to step up our protests.”...

http://www.nationofchange.org/2015/03/01/hundreds-of-farmers-block-roads-in-protest-of-monsantos-gmo-crops/



Editing to add info & refute comments below trying to smear this OP with lies, like Fox...

Key demands: land rights, no GMOs, legalize farm food sales

The four key demands of the farmers are:

Land rights - implement regulation to prevent land-grabs by Western companies and to protect family farmers rights to land - from 2016 foreign buyers will be legally able to buy Polish land.

Legalize direct sales of farm produce - the government must take action to improve farmers' position in the market, including the adoption of a law to facilitate direct sales of processed and unprocessed farm products (NB. Poland has the most exclusionary policies in Europe around on-farm processing of food products and direct sales, which make it impossible for family farmers to compete with bigger food companies).

Extend inheritance laws to include land under lease as a fully legal form of land use.

Ban the cultivation and sale of Genetically Modified Organisms in Poland

"We demand a legal ban on GM crops in Poland", said one protesting farmer and Solidarity member. "The value of Polish agriculture, unique in Europe, is the unpolluted environment and high quality food production. That's decisive concerning our competitiveness in global markets."

Another added: "We demand the introduction of legislation that will protect Polish land from exploitation by foreign capital! Agricultural land cannot be sold to commercial companies. It's part of Polish territory. Once sold it will be lost."...

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2747384/polish_farmers_block_motorways_for_land_rights_no_gmos.html


The Draft Warren movement: Crashing the gate of the 2016 election

The Draft Warren movement: Crashing the gate of the 2016 election
By Erica Sagrans
2/26/15

As the founder of Daily Kos, Markos Moulitsas led the movement to “crash the gate” of the political establishment in the mid 2000’s — channeling the energy of the newly formed netroots to completely shake up politics in Washington. Nine years after Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong published their book, “Crashing the Gate,” we believe it’s time to crash the gate again — this time, by leading a grassroots effort to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to run for president.

So it’s surprising that Moulitsas is now telling this people-powered movement urging Elizabeth Warren to run for president that we should just “pack it in” and go home. Just as the Iraq War did in 2004, today our movement is galvanized by growing income inequality and frustration at Wall Street banks that crashed our economy. It’s the way the system is rigged in favor of those at the very top, with too many Americans working harder than ever while falling behind. No one has spoken out more passionately or intelligently about these problems — and solutions — than Sen. Warren.

We completely agree with Moulitsas when he says that “Warren’s positions on key issues are extremely popular with voters, from student loan relief to breaking up too-big-to-fail banks to expanding Social Security.” Warren has inspired hundreds of thousands of people across the country with the way she’s fighting for progressive values. It’s rare that a leader emerges to meet the moment the way Warren has, and the energy we’re seeing behind Warren and her ideas is real.

Even with Hillary Clinton as the anticipated the front-runner, wouldn’t it be incredible to have two accomplished women out there representing the Democratic Party...

... Voters in Colorado recently surprised well-respected Democratic pollster Peter Hart, whose major takeaway from a bipartisan focus group was that “[people are] looking for someone who will be a voice for their cause. And Elizabeth Warren has broken through.”

Warren may not have the “narcissistic egotism” that Moulitsas believes leads some people to run for president. Warren is the rare leader who is motivated not by political power, but by political outcomes, and the chance to change people’s lives for the better...

...That’s the moment we’re in now: either Warren herself steps up, or nobody does. And as Moulitsas himself points out, Warren was hesitant to run for Senate in 2012 — until progressives changed her mind...

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/233827-the-draft-warren-movement-crashing-the-gate-of-the-2016-election



*President Elizabeth Warren*

Has a nice ring to it!!

Er, no I was working with MoveOn for the Obama campaign

Because he said he was progressive.

He said he was against fast track on trade agreements, for govt transparency, for financial regulation, for labor, for getting out of Iraq...you know all the left wing things us Democrats are for.

But for some reason, you equate being progressive with being for Romney.

I think your logic is illogical. I think its incredibly sad the people here & out there who are fighting for Democrats to be Democrats and for that to mean something (like being different from Wall Street loving, war-loving Rethugs) are being called right wing here. That's so messed up, there aren't words. Other than maybe triangulation.

Newsflash - its not just this "little" dem

Think of the millions in MoveOn & DFA...

This article in the New Republic will get you up to speed~

Elizabeth Warren Supporters: Hillary Clinton Is "Republican Lite" and "Completely Unacceptable"
2/1/2015

...“I’ve heard questions before, like, ‘I heard that she’s not running,’” one of the organizers, who asked to go only by his first name, Carl, said. “But they all say they’re not going to run before they run.” For many in the room, it’s Warren’s hesitance to self-promote that has won her so much respect.

Though the organizers asked participants to avoid trash-talking Clinton, Carl opened the meeting by calling for more than “a coronation” in the Democratic primary. Participants said that the sense of Clinton’s inevitability was a threat to the democratic process, and described Clinton as “Republican lite,” “in the pocket of big business,” and “completely unacceptable.” Zephyr Williams, a graduate student at American University, explained her wariness with establishment politicians. “I can imagine it’s difficult to avoid selling out when you’ve been in politics for as long as Hillary has,” she said, underlining what many in the group saw as Warren’s key strength as an outsider to politics. Others criticized Clinton for her hawkish foreign policy and support amongst Wall Street bankers. ...

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120928/run-warren-run-meeting-dc-hillary-clinton-republican-lite

In 'Tragic' Decision, Top Ohio Court Takes Away Local Power to Ban Fracking

In 'Tragic' Decision, Top Ohio Court Takes Away Local Power to Ban Fracking
2/18/2015


In a blow to anti-fracking campaigners across the state, the Ohio Supreme Court said this week that the authority to regulate oil and gas drilling activities—and therefore, to ban fracking within municipal borders—lies with the state as opposed to cities, towns, or counties.

As the Akron Beacon Journal put it: "The decision takes local control of drilling away from communities and supports the state as the continued main overseer of drilling."

Several Ohio cities, including Athens, Oberlin, and Mansfield, have passed similar ordinances to ban fracking—some as recently as November 2014—that may now be rendered moot by the court's decision.

By a 4-3 vote, the justices ruled (pdf) that the state has "exclusive authority" over shale-extraction activities and that cities and counties can neither ban nor regulate fracking through zoning laws or other restrictions.

The decision came in a case brought by an Akron suburb against Beck Energy Corp., which received a state-required permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in 2011 to drill a traditional well on private property in the northeast city of Munroe Falls. The city sued, saying the company illegally evaded local ordinances.

The state’s top court rejected Munroe Falls' assertion that it was validly exercising 'home rule,' which lets communities enact local rules and regulations as long as they don’t conflict with general state law. The court found Munroe Falls' ordinances amounted to an exercise of 'police power,' not self-government, and conflicted with state regulations first enacted in 2004....

Let’s be clear here," Justice William O’Neill wrote in his dissenting opinion. "The Ohio General Assembly has created a zookeeper to feed the elephant in the living room. What the drilling industry has bought and paid for in campaign contributions they shall receive. The oil and gas industry has gotten its way, and local control of drilling-location decisions has been unceremoniously taken away from the citizens of Ohio."...

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/02/18/tragic-decision-top-ohio-court-takes-away-local-power-ban-fracking



Democracy is Dead.



$312,500 per hour, fighting ISIS


Our nation has been engaged in military action against ISIS since June 2014, at the cost of $312,500 per hour to American taxpayers. In just the past eight months, we have spent more than $1.8 billion on military force in the Middle East, without Congressional authority or full debate by lawmakers about the costs of continued war in the region.

It is important that Congress engage in transparent discussion about the U.S.’s military role against ISIS, and we are glad that the president is finally asking for this debate through a Congressional vote on an Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF).


That being said, we are concerned about the implications for American taxpayers and our federal budget if the United States engages in renewed and expanded military action in the Middle East. Over the last 14 years, our nation has spent more than $1.6 trillion on war in Iraq and Afghanistan – plus countless more in the human cost and long-term investment necessary to care for veterans who return from a grueling conflict. With our federal budget still burdened by these seemingly endless wars, and many pressing social and economic needs at home, now is not the time to sink trillions more into an endless war overseas, especially when polling shows Americans would like to invest in domestic priorities.

Another point of concern is that while the proposed AUMF is limited to three years of military action, it leaves in place the broad and open-ended 2001 AUMF that authorized the use of force in Afghanistan, and under the president has justified current action against ISIS. This raises the question of whether the new AUMF in fact leaves open a very real possibility of a new open-ended war, with a price tag to match.

Ultimately, American taxpayers deserve to know whether ongoing and increased investment in war will actually reduce the threat of terrorism against our country. With compelling evidence that each round of war fuels subsequent wars and terrorist outbursts, there lie deeper questions about whether the trillions of dollars spent on military force only serve to foment more unrest...

https://www.nationalpriorities.org/blog/2015/02/12/presidents-aumf-and-cost-war/

New website to Draft Liz - Make a video! Send your postcard!

This is pretty cool~

http://dearelizabethwarren.com/home.html

(new video)












"No, Mr. Summers – it’s not the politics of envy. It’s the politics of responsibility."

The Politics of Responsibility – Not Envy
Next New Deal - Blog of the Roosevelt Institute
2/11/2015

Americans are looking for politicians who ask the wealthy to take responsibility for their fair share of our society.

According to former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers – who is emerging as a key economic advisor to Hillary Clinton – the big political challenge in addressing economic inequality is not to embrace “a politics of envy.”

No, Mr. Summers – it’s not the politics of envy. It’s the politics of responsibility.

Summers was quoted in The New York Times about “what has emerged as a central question of her [Hillary Clinton’s] early presidential campaign strategy: how to address the anger about income inequality without overly vilifying the wealthy.”

The rich may imagine that blaming them for the struggles of the rest of us is driven by envy, but that’s their own conceit to make them feel good. Americans don’t resent the rich. While we might fantasize about winning the lottery, we are not consumed by jealousy. What most Americans understand is that they are struggling financially because the wealthy have rigged the economic and political system to benefit them at the expense of the rest of us. That’s not envy: it’s reality.

Summer’s formulation is meant to give intellectual cover to the real problem that Democrats like Clinton face: taking on those who finance their political campaigns. As the Times puts it: “And she [Clinton] must convince a middle class that feels frustrated and left behind that she understands its struggles, even as she relies heavily on the financial industry and corporate interests to fund her candidacy.”

...For example, wages are stagnant because corporations engaged in concerted strategies to limit the proportion of profits shared with workers, including: busting unions, rather than negotiating with them; shipping jobs overseas rather than paying higher wages to American workers; and aggressively using campaign contributions and lobbyists to undermine labor standards (minimum wage; overtime protection; etc) and labor laws. Corporations spent their huge profits on stock buybacks and CEO pay, rather than better compensation for workers.

Then there’s Wall Street’s culpability for using its political clout to shred financial regulations and oversight while engaging in the orgy of financial speculation and predatory lending that triggered the Great Recession.

Or tax policy, where corporations pushed to reduce their proportion of taxes paid to the federal government and by the wealthy so that they now pay a lower share of taxes than the middle-class. The result: working and middle class families pay higher taxes and more for public services. A glaring example is the enormous rise in the cost of public higher education, as funding for public colleges and universities has been slashed.

The economic story about who is responsible requires acknowledging the democratic story. One thing that Americans on the left and right agree on is that the wealthy and corporate lobbyists have hijacked our democracy. That’s not cynical – it’s true....

http://www.nextnewdeal.net/politics-responsibility-%E2%80%93-not-envy



And btw, isn't it GREAT that one of the men responsible for repealing Glass-Steagall, and thus helping bring on 2008, during Bill Clinton's tenure is now a key economic advisor to Hillary?

Run, Hillary, Run!!

Summers hailed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999, which lifted more than six decades of restrictions against banks offering commercial banking, insurance, and investment services (by repealing key provisions in the 1933 Glass–Steagall Act): "Today Congress voted to update the rules that have governed financial services since the Great Depression and replace them with a system for the 21st century," Summers said.[17] "This historic legislation will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy."[17] Many critics, including President Barack Obama, have suggested the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis was caused by the partial repeal of the 1933 Glass–Steagall Act.[18] Indeed, as a member of President Clinton's Working Group on Financial Markets, Summers, along with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Arthur Levitt, Fed Chairman Greenspan, and Secretary Rubin, torpedoed an effort to regulate the derivatives that many blame for bringing the financial market down in Fall 2008.[19]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Summers

...



http://www.thenation.com/article/191457/how-many-ways-can-goldman-give
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