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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

Wanting to rein in Wall Street & Fighting for Gay Rights aren't mutually exclusive - ask Liz Warren

People here who only read the Elizabeth Warren vs Wall Street headlines are missing the stories that aren't making headline news every day.

Here are some of her less well-known stances on gay rights~

Elizabeth Warren to Obama: Evolve already
March 2012

Massachusetts Senate candidate and former interim head of the consumer bureau Elizabeth Warren says in an interview with the Washington Blade that President Obama needs to evolve already on the issue of same-sex marriage:

Asked whether she wants Obama to finish evolving and support same-sex marriage, Warren chuckled and responded that was indeed her view.

“I want to see the president evolve because I believe that is right; marriage equality is morally right,” Warren said.

Warren expressed similar sentiments about the Democratic Party platform, saying it would build support for ending the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act.

“I’d be glad to see it included in the Democratic platform,” she said. “It helps raise awareness of the impact of DOMA and it helps build support to repeal it.”

http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/03/elizabeth-warren-to-obama-evolve-already-118346.html


Elizabeth Warren Says Gay Men Should Be Able To Donate Blood
Dec 2014

Elizabeth Warren and a host of Democratic lawmakers are demanding the Obama administration stand up for gay rights.

A coalition of 80 senators and House members spearheaded by the Massachusetts senator—alongside Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Reps. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)—sent a letter Monday to Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, protesting the long-standing prohibition that bars men who have had sex with men from donating blood in the United States....

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/12/gay-blood-ban-senators-letter-elizabeth-warren



Elizabeth Warren marching in the 2012 Boston Gay Pride Parade Faith Ninivaggi/AP

EXCLUSIVE: Elizabeth Warren pledges to lead on LGBT rights
Washington Blade
Mar 2012

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/03/21/exclusive-elizabeth-warren-pledges-to-lead-on-lgbt-rights/


Sept 2013~



She's living proof politicians can fight for economic justice right along with social justice.

Maybe that's why she was also honored with an MLK award~

Jan 2015~

BOSTON - JANUARY 11: U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren received the MLK Leadership Award during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation service at Twelfth Baptist Church in the Roxbury neighborhood on January 11, 2015. (Photo by Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Thanks Enthusiast!

Wish more than an article here & there in independent non-corporate media stepped on those toes, but it'll do for now.


U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office with staff, including Vice President Joe Biden, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter R. Orszag, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and Director of the White House National Economic Council Lawrence Summers.

Larry Summers~
Summers was appointed Undersecretary for International Affairs of the United States Department of the Treasury under the Clinton Administration. In 1995, he was promoted to Deputy Secretary of the Treasury under his long-time political mentor Robert Rubin. In 1999, he succeeded Rubin as Secretary of the Treasury. While working for the Clinton administration Summers played a leading role in the American response to the 1994 economic crisis in Mexico, the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and the Russian financial crisis. He was also influential in the American advised privatization of the economies of the Post-Soviet states, and in the deregulation of the U.S financial system, including the abolishment of the Glass-Steagall Act.

Following the end of Clinton's term, Summers served as the 27th President of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006. Summers resigned as Harvard's president in the wake of a no-confidence vote by Harvard faculty that resulted in large part from Summers's conflict with Cornel West, financial conflict of interest questions regarding his relationship with Andrei Shleifer, and a 2005 speech in which he suggested that the under-representation of women in science and engineering could be due to a "different availability of aptitude at the high end", and less to patterns of discrimination and socialization.

After his departure from Harvard, Summers made millions as a managing partner at the hedge fund D. E. Shaw & Co., and by giving paid speeches to major financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers. Summers rejoined public service during the Obama administration, serving as the Director of the White House United States National Economic Council for President Barack Obama from January 2009 until November 2010, where he emerged as a key economic decision-maker in the Obama administration's response to the Great Recession. After his departure from the NEC in December 2010, Summers has worked in the private sector and as a columnist in major newspapers. In mid-2013, his name was widely floated as the potential successor to Ben Bernanke as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, though after pushback from the left...

National Economic Council

Upon the nomination of Barack Obama as President in January 2009, Summers was appointed to the post of Director of the National Economic Council. In this position Summers emerged as a key economic decision-maker in the Obama administration, where he attracted both praise and criticism. There had been friction between Summers and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, as Volcker accused Summers of delaying the effort to organize a panel of outside economic advisers, and Summers had cut Volcker out of White House meetings and had not shown interest in collaborating on policy solutions to the economic crisis.[50] On the other hand, Obama himself was reportedly thrilled with the work Summers did in his first few weeks on the job. And Peter Orszag, another top economic advisor, called Summers "one of the world's most brilliant economists."[51] According to Henry Kissinger Larry Summers should "be given a White House post in which he was charged with shooting down or fixing bad ideas." [52]

In January 2009, as the Obama Administration tried to pass an economic stimulus spending bill, Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR.) criticized Summers, saying that he thought that President Barack Obama is "ill-advised by Larry Summers. Larry Summers hates infrastructure."[53] DeFazio, along with liberal economists including Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, had argued that more of the stimulus should be spent on infrastructure,[54] while Summers had supported tax cuts.[55] In late 2008, Summers and economic advisors for then-President-elect Obama presented a memo with options for an economic stimulus package ranging from $550 billion to $900 billion.[56] According to The New Republic, economic advisor Christina Romer initially recommended a $1.8-trillion package, which proposal Summers quickly rejected, believing any stimulus approaching $1 trillion would not pass through Congress. Romer revised her recommendation to $1.2 trillion, which Summers agreed to include in the memo, but Summers struck the figure at the last minute.[57]

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


TIME:
1/15/15

Hillary Clinton’s allies appear to be taking their first shot at framing an economic policy agenda for her presumptive 2016 presidential campaign, with a new report out Thursday from the Clinton-friendly liberal think tank Center for American Progress.

This report is very significant for many reasons. For starters, as I mentioned in my TIME column this week about how progressive Elizabeth Warren is pushing Clinton further left, the CAP report was spearheaded by former Clinton economic adviser and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. Like his predecessor Robert Rubin, this is a guy much better known for deregulating financial markets than worrying about the working classes. I think the report is a sign not only that Summers is trying to reinvent himself, but that wage stagnation and the plight of the middle class is going to be the key economic issue in the 2016 presidential race.

The Robert E. Rubin wing of the Democratic Party, the "Establishment Dems"

The banks have fought their war against financial reform on four fronts.

They have pushed for delays, lobbied allies in Congress to repeal aspects of Dodd-Frank, worked over regulators to make the rules as loose as possible and threatened legal challenges and filed lawsuits.


The battle has been overwhelming, with a scrappy band of pro-reform rebels outnumbered and overpowered by the empire's resources. The public appears to be on the side of the insurgents, but perhaps can't follow or understand debates about whether "swaps" — what are those? — should be "pushed out" or not — what's that? (English translation below.)

During all of these fights, the banks have had a stalwart ally holding back greater reform: Establishment Democrats.

Such Democrats, the Robert E. Rubin wing of the Democratic Party, opposed moves to break up the big banks after the 2008 global crisis. These stalwarts prevented a reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall separation of commercial and investment banking.

Of course, most Republicans opposed such bold moves, but they weren't in control of Congress in the immediate aftermath of the crisis. The lack of sweeping financial reform begins at the top. President Obama did not back such a vision, and his administration has repeatedly put forward nominees with Wall Street connections for major oversight roles.

If the Obama administration had taken a different stance, financial reform would have been stronger. Indeed, the White House actively squelched efforts for broader reform. During the debate over the Dodd-Frank Act, for example, the administration lobbied against an amendment offered by Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Ted Kaufman of Delaware to cap the size of banks.

As detailed by "Act of Congress: How America's Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn't," a 2013 book by the Washington Post reporter Robert G. Kaiser, Dodd-Frank was built mostly on legislation and ideas that were developed before the crisis, not after.

The Obama administration sees it differently, of course. To the president, the law is a signature achievement, capped by the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an entire agency to protect the little guy from financial predators.

All the while, the Obama administration, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and the other Rubinite leaders of the Democratic Party could tell themselves a story that they were standing firm against the Visigothic know-nothings of its populist wing.

So that's the story of how the American public got a law of incremental tinkering with existing rules. Dodd-Frank is the Clement Attlee of legislation: a modest law with much to be modest about. This history and context needs to be understood to grasp what is happening now.

Republicans have taken over Congress. Among their early acts has been to deliver for the banks. After splitting their contributions more or less evenly for years, the financial industry switched to favor Republican candidates. In the last two election cycles, 62 percent of finance sector donations in 2014 and 69 percent in 2012 went to Republicans.

Even before Republicans secured control of the Senate, their counterparts in the House attached an amendment to a must-pass budget bill to avert that pesky "swaps push out" that I referred to above.

The arcane phrase refers to a provision in Dodd-Frank that required government-insured banks to "push out" the riskiest derivatives (like metals and energy swaps) into a separately capitalized unit. The idea was to insulate financial institutions from the effects of a volatile transaction gone wrong. In the new year, House Republicans have pushed a series of provisions aimed at gutting financial reform. Excuse me: The proper terminology, according to the Republican supporters, is "technical corrections."

Not only that, but many Democrats support these "fixes." Plenty of moderate Democrats are lily-livered about taking on the banks....

http://www.propublica.org/thetrade/item/obama-stands-at-crossroads-on-financial-reform


FYI, most here know this, but just in case~
As Clinton's two-term Secretary of the Treasury, Rubin sharply opposed any regulation of collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps and other so-called "derivative" financial instruments which—despite having already created havoc for companies such as Procter & Gamble and Gibson Greetings, and disastrous consequences in 1994 for Orange County, California with its $1.5 billion default and subsequent bankruptcy—were nevertheless becoming the chief engine of profitability for Rubin's former employer Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms.[33] When Brooksley Born, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, circulated a letter urging increased regulation of derivatives in line with a 1994 General Accounting Office report, Rubin took the unusual step (for a Secretary of the Treasury) of going public in June 1998 to denounce Born and her proposal, eventually urging that the CFTC be stripped of its regulatory authority.[33]

Rubin sparked controversy in 2001 when he contacted an acquaintance at the U.S. Treasury Department and asked if the department could convince bond-rating agencies not to downgrade the corporate debt of Enron, a debtor of Citigroup. The Treasury official refused. A subsequent congressional staff investigation cleared Rubin of having done anything illegal.[34]

Journalist Robert Scheer, in his book The Great American Stickup, claims the repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act was a key factor in the 2008 financial crisis.[page needed] Enacted just after the 1930s Great Depression, the Glass–Steagall Act separated commercial and investment banking. The law was repealed by Congress in 1999 during the Clinton presidency, while Rubin was Treasury Secretary.

...Upon Rubin's retirement, Clinton called him the "greatest secretary of the Treasury since Alexander Hamilton".

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



Anti-Koch: The Fight For Green Energy is a Fight for the 99 Percent

Anti-Koch: The Fight For Green Energy is a Fight for the 99 Percent
1/28/2015

The fact that this even needs to be said demonstrates that there’s been a breakdown in the democratic process, but we’ll say it anyway: Our number one priority should be protecting the planet for future generations. That said, green energy makes sense even if we base our thinking on economic considerations alone.

Energy policies can roughly be divided into two kinds: those that benefit society as a whole, and those that only benefit the very few – the Koch brothers and their ilk.

Guess which kind the GOP supports? Republicans are blocking pro-growth, job-creating green energy investments while pushing a pipeline that would enrich the few at the expense of the many – with potentially disastrous environmental consequences.

If you want to know why, follow the money.

The “99 Percent Plan”

A new report from the Political Economy Research Institute and the Center for American Progress (the “PERI-CAP” report) offers a plan to bring the United States in line with an international emissions-reduction goal: 40 percent reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2035.

You might call it the “99 percent plan,” since its economic benefits would accrue to all income levels, and throughout the economy as a whole....The report projects a net gain of 2.7 million jobs, at all income levels, for a decrease of 1.5 percent in the unemployment rate.

...Republicans are openly hostile to investments of this kind. If they succeed in blocking plans like this one from taking effect, we’ll never see those 2.7 million jobs – or the increases in middle-class income that would accompany a stronger labor market. We’ll lose the net savings in energy costs (after making back the initial investment on an average three-year time frame) and the money that would be freed up for other kinds of spending.

If a plan like this isn’t implemented as part of a global initiative – one it could help set in motion — we’ll spend an estimated $1.5 trillion more every 10 years as the result of unchecked climate change....

In short, even if we set aside our concerns for the future of the planet, the Republicans’ obstructionist approach to green energy policy will cost our nation a great deal of money...

...All of this offers some important lessons. One is that green energy is redistributive, while fossil-fuel investments like the Keystone XL pipeline tend to reinforce inequality.

Another is that the deferred costs of bad energy policy – whether they’re based on a more unstable climate or future disasters – can be hard for people to grasp. The pro-environment/pro-growth movement needs to do a better job of communicating these costs, and the benefits of good energy policy.

We’re also learning that it’s getting harder to defend our economic and environmental interests against the corrupting influence of campaign cash. The struggle for a fairer economy is inseparable from the struggle to protect the planet – and both will be more successful once we’ve removed big money from our political process.

Until then, we’ll have to keep fighting the Koch brothers’ bought-and-paid-for Republican servants – to protect our environment and our economy from projects like Keystone XL, and to promote smart proposals like the PERI-CAP plan.

http://ourfuture.org/20150128/anti-koch-the-fight-for-green-energy-is-a-fight-for-the-99

This Map Reveals Just How Unequal The So-Called Recovery Is

This Map Reveals Just How Unequal The So-Called Recovery Is
1/26/15

...In all states, the rebound in income in the three years after the recession pretty much all went to the richest of the rich, the EPI found.

"Over this period, the average income of the bottom 99 percent in the United States actually fell (by 0.4 percent)," the paper states. "In contrast, the average income of the top 1 percent climbed 36.8 percent."

The map below shows where the richest 1 percent captured the greatest percentage of the overall income gained between 2009 and 2012. The darker orange and red shades show where the largest share of income growth went to the 1 percent.



Since the recession ended more than five years ago, wages have been one of the slowest parts of the economy to recover. In his speech last week, Obama applauded the 11 million new private-sector jobs created since 2009 and claimed that "Wages are finally starting to rise again."

But wage growth is still a lot slower than it was before the recession. And it's still too slow to keep up with the growth enjoyed by the 1 percent, who typically don't have to beg employers for raises.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/26/most-unequal-states-in-america-map_n_6532350.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&ir=Politics


I think alot of damage has occurred from Republicans passing themselves off as Democrats.

To our party and to our country...and to our planet.

And the switch we saw between candidate Obama & president Obama only echoed what happened with the previous Democratic president~

...As one of them said to the Washington Post recently, inequality “just didn’t exist then as a public issue.”

But of course it did. It existed then more sensationally than at any time until the second George Bush brought it back in full force in 2008. In 1992 the country was basically in flames over the economic effects of Reaganism. That year, Jerry Brown, Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan and, yes, Bill Clinton all ran as populists who would rescue the declining middle class by one method or another. On the campaign trail, Clinton reportedly carried with him and quoted from a copy of a three-alarm best-seller called “America: What Went Wrong?” Get it off the shelf today and you’ll find that its first two sentences run as follows: “The wage and salary structure of American business, encouraged by federal tax policies, is pushing the nation toward a two-class society. The top 4 percent make as much as the bottom half of U.S. workers.” And here are the first few paragraphs of a New York Times story that ran in May of 1992:

When Bill Clinton wants to galvanize his audience, he thunders from the podium that the top 1 percent of families got 60 percent of the gains from economic growth during the 1980s and owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.

Governor Clinton, the likely Democratic Presidential nominee, had been searching for months for facts to illustrate his claim that America’s middle class benefited little from 12 years of Republican rule. The explosion of riches at the top struck him as a perfect vehicle. Not only did the widening gap between the rich and the rest of Americans conflict with traditional notions of democracy, but it also went right to the pocketbook sources of middle-class discontent.

In 1992, one might conclude, the nation chose to reverse the plutocratizing effects of neoliberalism. What we got was something else—a soft Reaganism that admitted, “the era of big government is over.” And that’s why, in the months and years to come, we will see Clinton loyalists do all they can to delete that New Gilded Age from memory even as they rail against the current New Gilded Age. Were we to judge Bill Clinton by the standards of 1992, his presidency was something of a failure, eight years of deregulation and New Economy platitudes. If we judge him by the rich rewards that his booming stock market showered on the wealthy, however, his term in the White House was a towering success.

The original Gilded Age ended when Democrats and Republicans came together around the old populist program of financial regulation, antitrust enforcement, income tax, and legitimacy for organized labor. This time around there is no end in sight, because Republicans and Democrats have come together on a program that is almost the opposite
—dismantling the regulatory state at the behest of the One Percent while assuring an ever angrier public that they feel our pain, that they’re Putting People First, that they’d be great to have a beer with, that Yes We Can. The heart sickens at the thought of these many long years of fake populism, and the stomach turns to imagine how little time there is before we are swept up in it all over again.

http://www.salon.com/2014/06/22/hillary_clinton_forgets_the_90s_our_latest_gilded_age_and_our_latest_phony_populists/


We need Democrats to be Democrats once elected, otherwise, what is the point of having 2 parties? Lets just call it what it is, one big corporate party with different colored jerseys.

Pitchforks Against Plutocracy

Patrick Walker 1/17/2015

...Today's Democratic Party faces an urgent crisis, one that simply can't be settled by compromising for sake of party unity. The plutocrats, militarists, and climate destroyers already own a party--the Republicans--and there's plenty of room for Hillary and her donors there. It's not merely as if Warren and Clinton are matter and anti-matter, incompatible to the point of mutual annihilation if confined to the same space; it's actually worse. If Hillary Clinton becomes president, plutocrats' agenda simply wins, for Clinton will have every means--not just distracting wars--for sabotaging Warren's program. For example, does anyone think for one second Clinton will actively stump for "Warren wing" Congressional candidates, providing the electoral coattails needed to enact Warren's populist agenda? Hillary's plutocrat donors would undoubtedly clamp shut their spigots of cash if she did. A Clinton presidency would likely mean a Congress dominated by Republicans and "Blue Dog" Democrats--the ideal monkey wrench for sabotaging Warren. Only Warren herself--or a Warren-wing candidate strongly endorsed by Warren--can produce populist electoral coattails, paving the way for Warren's urgent reforms.

Letting Clinton become president will be an unmitigated disaster for those policies. As the only progressive politician powerful enough to stop Hillary, Warren must be made to see that. A large minority of united activists from different causes--united in refusing categorically to vote for Clinton--can help Warren to see the folly of endorsing her saboteur, who, dancing on donors' puppeteer strings, can do nothing conceivable to gain our trust. The Pitchforks Against Plutocracy movement is now considering launching a massive pledge to vote against Hillary, even if that means abandoning Democrats and voting third party. To show your support for such a potential pledge, please like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CitizensAgainstPlutocracy

Warren may fear appearing a political traitor by withdrawing her support for Clinton, and that may pose the chief obstacle to her candidacy. A forceful popular refusal to vote Democratic if Clinton's the nominee could force Warren to rush--from duty not rivalry--to her party's electoral rescue. If you'd love to see Warren run for president--or someone like Bernie Sanders run with her endorsement--we strongly urge you to like the Pitchforks Against Plutocracy page and prepare to sign our upcoming pledge against Clinton.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Can-t-Warren-Read-the-Dub-by-Patrick-Walker-Activists_Climate_Commander-in-chief_Congress-150117-411.html




Politico: The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats
July 2014 Nick Hanauer

You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about....



...But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.

And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.

If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014.html


I wish I was on FB to add my name there, be another tine on the pitchfork!

He’s not suddenly Paul Krugman: Let’s not morph Obama into Elizabeth Warren quite yet

He’s not suddenly Paul Krugman: Let’s not morph Obama into Elizabeth Warren quite yet
1/25/15

Populist State of the Union with a fiery tone has liberals excited. They'd be wise to remember Obama's true nature

Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech capped an epic political makeover. In two months he went from the living avatar of the political and economic establishment to a self-styled populist scourge. It’s as if he walked into a plastic surgeon’s office after Election Day and said “make me look like Bernie Sanders.” No president has ever tried to alter his image so drastically or so fast. I wonder if he’ll pull it off.

...What should we make of this new Obama? Are he and his new agenda for real? For liberals, these are tender questions. When Obama first appeared, their response was almost worshipful. Even today, many liberals treat Obama’s progressive critics as apostates. Given their deep investment in him, the vitriol of Tea Party attacks and the looming specter of GOP rule, it’s easy to understand why. But it’s crucial now for his liberal critics and defenders alike to see him as he is.

...Consider climate change. While negotiating his China deal, Obama was also busy auctioning off drilling rights to 112 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico. As soon as the deal was done, he was on the phone urging Democrats to back a bill that cut EPA staff, let the Export-Import Bank fund coal-fired electric plants and blocked enforcement of new rules for energy-efficient light bulbs.

In his first term Obama passed the word to his top hires to quiet down about global warming. He likes fracking and brags about increasing oil production. He won’t let Congress approve the Keystone pipeline, but he may approve it himself. In short, he’s a study in mixed climate messages.

The net neutrality story is even more confounding. The statement Obama released was one of the more thoughtful of his presidency. But he’d already made Tom Wheeler, CEO of the most powerful lobby opposing net neutrality, head of the Federal Communications Commission. And they decide the issue. It’s an independent commission that does what it wants. Its members may be moved by Obama’s eloquent words, or just confused.

Perhaps the most troubling contradiction lies in foreign policy....That he’s bogged down in Afghanistan is no surprise, as these wars are always easier to start than finish. (It’s why they call them quagmires.) But in fact there are more than 15,000 Americans still left there. There are, for instance, the private contractors, whose number tripled under Obama. In early 2014, the last time figures were reported, there were 24,000. Obama says the “combat mission” is over — but the combat isn’t finished and neither is the mission.

On Wednesday, Mother Jones ran a story by Nick Turse of TomDispatch.com reporting that in 2014 Obama deployed U.S. Special Ops forces to 133 countries. That’s more than two-thirds of all the countries in the world; it’s a disturbing number and one that also grew exponentially on Obama’s watch. Even more disturbing are the drone strikes Obama has authorized, more than 10 times the number authorized by George W. Bush. American drones have now killed an estimate of more than 4,000 people. At least 20 percent of them were innocent civilians; less than 2 percent were high-value military targets....

http://www.salon.com/2015/01/25/hes_not_suddenly_paul_krugman_lets_not_morph_obama_into_elizabeth_warren_quite_yet/






Ken Burns' 'The Roosevelts' Reveals Everything Wrong With Our Current Political Class

Ken Burns' 'The Roosevelts' Reveals Everything Wrong With Our Current Political Class



By exploring the lives and times of TR, FDR, and ER Burns shows that in our not-so-distant past the governing institutions of this country were actually responsive to the needs and desires of working-class Americans. This superb and moving portrait is a perfect fit for our times. The utter failure of our current "leaders" is glaring by comparison.

Yes, TR was a warmonger, and FDR signed the order that imprisoned innocent Japanese Americans. There are long lists of both presidents' failures. But we shouldn't let those flaws bury the fact that both TR and FDR were not afraid to stand up to big corporations and Wall Street if they viewed their actions as damaging to the country. That alone is probably the biggest difference between those leaders of the early decades of the 20th Century and today.

After thirty years of "supply-side" economics that has left working people still waiting for better times to "trickle down"; eight years of George W. Bush's misrule that brought us war and recession; the Far-Right ascendency in 2010 that has all but shuttered the federal government in an attempt to destroy Barack Obama; and a Supreme Court that is proudly subservient to every tenet of plutocracy -- I think it's okay to flip on PBS and feel a bit nostalgic for a time when there existed effective politicians who actually gave a damn about the quality of life of the majority of Americans.

Over the past thirty years, Presidents and Congresses have become so subservient to corporations and Wall Street that the two major political parties are all but indistinguishable....

...Ironically, in the 1990s, when the Democratic Party grew more diverse based on race and gender, it shifted far closer to the Republicans in terms of class. We've seen one Democratic president (Bill Clinton) push NAFTA and other "free trade" deals that decimated labor unions; unravel the social safety net in the name of "welfare reform"; and deregulate Wall Street. And we've seen another Democratic president (Barack Obama) refuse to send any bankers to jail for the massive fraud they committed in the mortgage markets; choose to beat up teachers' unions with Arne Duncan's "Race to the Top"; and accommodate the profiteers inside our health care system.

All of these policies represent a capitulation to the interests of big corporations and Wall Street on the part of Democratic administrations at the expense of their own constituencies. ...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-a-palermo/ken-burns-the-roosevelts-_b_5858470.html

Yes, Obama “Won Twice” – as a Progressive. Deal With It, Everybody.

Yes, Obama “Won Twice” – as a Progressive. Deal With It, Everybody.
1/22/15

...But Obama is once again talking more or less like the kind of president his critics on the left have always wanted him to be – one who focuses less on process (does the public really care how nicely legislators get along?) and more on offering a clear alternative to the failed policies of the center-right.

That’s the attitude that gave the president those two victories in the first place. Republicans need to deal with that fact. So do the president and his party, come to think of it.

...The numbers tell the real story. Barack Obama won the presidency twice, with a clear majority each time. He’s the first president to do that since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, and the first Democrat since FDR. It’s a distinction Ronald Reagan never earned.

How did he do it? In 2008, Barack Obama presented himself as the candidate of progressive change. He defeated Hillary Clinton in the primaries and John McCain in the general election by promising to break away from the policies of the past.

Candidate Obama, contrary to the recollections of some, was not just a progressive in style. He also embraced many progressive policies. He initially rejected the idea, brewed up in a conservative think tank, of an “individual mandate” on health care (a proposal he later embraced). He opposed a tax on high-cost health plans (which he also later embraced) and backed a public option. He presented himself as the candidate who would rein in Wall Street and restore economic justice.

President Obama tilted considerably further to the right of Candidate Obama, as we now know....

What’s the message there?

With 61.6 percent of the electorate showing up to vote, Barack Obama won 52.9 percent of the popular vote in 2008. He won 51.1 percent of the vote in 2012, with 58.2 percent voting.

Turnout in the 2014 election was only 36.3 percent. That was the lowest in 72 years, since the election of 1942 – at a time when millions of Americans were on active military duty in World War II. Thanks to gerrymandering and other factors, Republicans in the House won 57 percent of the seats but only 51 percent of the relatively few votes that were cast.

“Left” Ideas Win

GOP operative Brad Dayspring, who was an aide for former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, tweeted that “if Democrats would have run (sic) on the tax hikes, regulations, et al Obama proposed in SOTU, they’d have lost even more Senate seats.”

Actually, that’s exactly what Obama did run on – and he won by far bigger margins than the Republicans did last year. If more Democrats had run on that platform in 2014, they might not have fared so poorly....

http://ourfuture.org/20150122/yes-obama-won-twice-as-a-progressive-now-he-can-lead-like-one-too


The majority of Americans WANT progressive policies. And we need it to be from someone who isn't just giving us campaign rhetoric but will truly fight for those policies once elected.
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