Monday, August 29, 2011

Join Nurses Across the Country on September 1 to Demand a Tax on Wall St...



Urge your legislators to support the tax on Wall Street for jobs, healthcare and education on Main Street!
Thursday.  11 A.M. Lungren's Field office. 2339 Gold Meadow Way
Gold River, California.  95670 

8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance | Activism & Vision | AlterNet

8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance | Activism & Vision | AlterNet
This was posted to my wall by a friend.  I wonder how others see this issue?  Do you agree?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wall Street's moral hazard

Wall Street's moral hazard
Explains how the banks are continuing to make billions by taking it from former homeowners.
the Easy Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Make Wall Street Pay- Join the Nurses



Urge your legislators to support the tax on Wall Street for jobs, healthcare and education on Main Street!
Thursday.  11 A.M. Lungren's Field office. 2339 Gold Meadow Way
Gold River, California.  95670 

On September 1st, nurses across America will lead Main Street actions to publicize support for a Financial Transaction Tax on Wall Street to repair Main Street and begin restoring economic fairness to our nation.  For more information, please visit

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Drum Major for Justice

Now that he is safely dead,
Let us praise him,
Build monuments to his glory,
Sing hosannas to his name.
Dead men make such convenient heroes.
They cannot rise to challenge the images
We would fashion from their lives.
And besides,
It is easier to build monuments
Than to make a better world.
So now that he is safely dead,
We, with eased consciences, will
Teach our children that he was a great man,
Knowing that the cause for which he lived
Is still a cause
And the dream for which he died
Is still a dream,
A dead man's dream.
--Carl Wendell Hines, Jr.

Van Jones: Want Jobs? Rebuild the Dream

by Sarah van Gelder, Huffington Post, 8/19/11
With politics in D.C. hitting new lows, few progressives look to either the Obama administration or the two major parties for leadership in restoring the middle class and transitioning to a green, just economy. Instead, many are returning to a strategy that actually brought real progress during the last century: building strong, unified and sustained people's movements.
Van Jones is one of those working to build people power today. Jones is a co-founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and Green for All. He was appointed as a White House advisor on green jobs, but an attack led by Glenn Beck of Fox News led to his resignation in September 2009. Jones is currently a senior fellow on green jobs and climate solutions at the Center for American Progress and a visiting fellow at Princeton University.
I spoke to Jones shortly before he launched the movement to Rebuild the American Dream. With groups involved ranging from to organized labor, could this be the 21st-century movement that makes hope and change relevant again?
Sarah van Gelder: You are launching a movement to rebuild the American Dream. Can you tell me about what you're planning?
2011-08-18-VanJonesImage.jpgVan Jones: Sure. It's been almost two years since I resigned from my position at the White House. I spent a year teaching at Princeton and reflecting on what happened and what we can do next.
I came away with some thoughts about how the Tea Party movement was able to derail our movement for hope and change. We didn't have a grassroots mechanism to consolidate our own vision and our own voices. So now the politics of war and austerity have taken over Washington, D.C., and the politics of peace and prosperity don't have a voice in American society.
So, we can continue doing what we've been doing -- each of us fighting our own battles, often fighting well, but fighting alone and leaving the coordinated, coherent, consolidated movement on the other side to wipe us all out as individual causes.
Or, all the folks who are fighting foreclosures, who are trying to make banks more accountable to the American people, fighting against union busting, fighting against major cutbacks in essential services, fighting against the attempt to destroy Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and fighting for jobs -- all these Americans could stand together under a common banner of defending the American Dream.
For the YES! Magazine readership, which is a very conscious, green and spiritually grounded readership, the idea of defending the American Dream might sit poorly at first. I think that's because what used to be called the American Dream got turned into the American fantasy, which is the idea that everybody is going to be rich and that buying a bunch of things will somehow make you happy. Well, that American fantasy has led to an American nightmare.
But that does not take away from the power of the American Dream itself. The very first thing Dr. King says about his dream in his famous speech is this: "I have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American Dream." He's referring to the notion that hard work should pay; that ordinary people, no matter what sort of family they were born into, should be able to work hard and get someplace. Ordinary people, if they're willing and able to work, should be able to get up in the morning, find a job, and walk through the front door with the dignity of a paycheck able to give their kids a better life. And they should be able to retire with dignity.
That is the American Dream. That is why people have come here from all around the world, and that's why those of us whose families didn't choose to come here have chosen to stay -- because we believe that we, too, can make good on that promise.
Well, that dream is exactly what is being destroyed for tens of millions of Americans by dream killers who are shoving an austerity agenda down our throats. They have painted a wrecking ball red, white and blue, and they expect the American people to stand here and salute while they knock down the pillars of America's great middle class and all the pathways into the middle class for Americans who are not yet there.
I think that we have a responsibility to meet that cheap patriotism with a deeper patriotism that defends the best values of our country.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Working on a Dream

Activist Van Jones explains how progressives can best the Tea Party.

“We have to give the American people a
coherent alternative,” Van Jones says.  “The
America we thought  we were voting for in
 2008.”  (Photo by: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Born the same year Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated, Van Jones is a champion of the poor, the environment and—since launching a new national campaign in June—the American Dream. Jones, author of The Green Collar Economy, served in the Obama administration as “green jobs advisor” in 2009, until Glenn Beck falsely accused and vehemently attacked him for being a 9/11 truther. He resigned his post and began studying the Tea Party movement.

Now, two years later, Jones has partnered with progressive organizations like MoveOn, labor unions, advocacy groups and blogs to develop the Rebuild the American Dream campaign—basically, a liberal version of the Tea Party—which tries to shift political leaders’ focus from budget austerities to struggling Americans. I spoke with Jones at a Clinton Global Initiative meeting in late June, and followed up with him a month later to discuss his latest progressive project.

You were demonized by the right and forced out of your job. Do you think progressives should use similar tactics (with the truth, rather than lies) against conservatives?

I think that we should be willing to tell the truth with the same audacity that they are willing to tell their lies. That said, I don’t think we are ever going to out-ugly our opponents. I think that what we need is a tough-minded idealist—a Bobby Kennedy. Somebody who won’t back down from a fight but who is clearly motivated by higher ideals than just being in the fight.
What is the American Dream and how should it be rebuilt?
Dr. Martin Luther King says in his speech, “I have a dream.” Then he says, “It is a dream deeply rooted in the American Dream.” He was talking about the idea that an ordinary person, without a fancy name, could work hard and get somewhere in our country and give their kids a better life.
That’s the American Dream—but there are people in this country who are trying to kill it. These dream-killers have wrapped themselves in a mantel of cheap patriotism, but their agenda is a wrecking ball to every institution that has made America great. A wrecking ball for the unions, a wrecking ball for the safety net, a wrecking ball for public education, a wrecking ball for everything that has made America exceptional. My view is that the Tea Party used the tools of democracy very well to hijack the conversation and make the solution to every problem more cutbacks. I think we should use the tools of democracy to take the conversation back.
Is that going to take policy changes?
It will take ideas and solutions that resonate with the American people. For example, tax those lightning-fast trades run by computer algorithms on Wall Street. If you tax them at one tenth of a penny you could take tens of billions off of Wall Street and use that to invest in America. There’s not a single person in America who doesn’t work on Wall Street who’s going to say that’s a bad idea. We could go back to the Clinton era tax rates on wealthy people and get $80 billion in two years. That’s not socialism, that’s the ’90s.
What about moving back to pre-Reagan-era tax rates?
Well, sure, just as long as we don’t stay stuck on stupid. I mean, where you draw the line is a function of both policy and politics. You can increase revenues. You can also reduce expenses. But no American family would say, ‘We got a budget problem, let’s starve Grandma. … Let’s starve the dog and the kids.’
Imagine if you had $3.3 billion—one week of expenses in Iraq and Afghanistan. We could take that $3.3 billion and do some nation-building right here in America. Unbelievable amounts of greed and malfeasance from Wall Street and neglect from D.C. … have left ordinary Americans lost, confused and angry. People in red states and blue states agree that we are a better country than this. If you make it concrete—how can we make America better?—people get excited.

Create a state bank as a public utility

Senator Darrell Steinberg,
            I encourage you to use your leadership position in the Senate to assist in passing AB 750, the bill to study the establishment of a California Trust (bank) as a partial response to the economic crisis.
    We refuse to accept the severe cuts in social services, education, police and fire protection, and health care among others. Relying upon budget cuts to “balance” the budget means leaving in place the many current corporate subsidies for the well off while producing more unemployment and hardship for the majority.
            Passing AB 750 would begin the process of finding a better way. A state bank would  take our money out of Wall Street and bring it back to California, where it will be lent out to small businesses to create jobs, in partnership with community banks, so they can start hiring, and put Californians back to work. This is an imaginative alternative to raising taxes, cutting services, or selling state property.
  Dr. Duane E. Campbell,
Electoral Chair :  Sacramento Progressive Alliance.
Please contact your Senator today.  Then, attend the Lungren Town Hall listed below.
Update. I received an email from Senator Steinberg.  He announced that he voted to place AB 750 in the Suspense file.  That means it has been defeated for now. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dan Lungren Town Hall Meeting

Rep. Dan Lungren Town Hall Meeting
Let’s tell him our position on Medicare!

Wednesday, August 24th @ 6:30 PM
La Sierra Community Center
5325 Engle Road, Carmichael, CA 95608

We have known for years that Congressman Dan Lungren is no friend to working families.  However, Lungren has hit a new low this year with his positions on eliminating Medicare for seniors.

Over the last three months, Lungren and Republicans in Congress have voted three times to end Medicare.  Lungren voted for the “Cut, Cap and Balance Plan” in July that is more extreme than the Ryan Budget was.  The plan would again force an end to Medicare and raise health care costs for seniors while protecting tax breaks for big oil companies and multi-millionaires.

Lungren must be held accountable for his harmful votes to working families and seniors.  Please attend one of Lungren’s town halls (arrive early at 6:30 PM) and tell him: Hands off our Medicare!

For more information or questions, please call 916-813-6658 or email

Thursday, August 18, 2011

FDR Went to Wisconsin to Battle 'Economic Royalists,' But Obama Avoids the State and the Fight

by John Nichols
Published on Tuesday, August 16, 2011 by The Nation

FDR in Wisconsin, 1934
President Obama is interrupting his long vacation to bus across the battleground states of the Midwest this week, on an officially “non-political” journey that his aides obviously hope will renew a connection with the people who overwhelmingly elected him president in 2008. It is an essential endeavor, as Obama’s uncertain tenure has frustrated voters who once saw him as a transformational leader but now wonder whether there is a point to his presidency.  
The disconnect between Obama and his base has grown more profound this year, as he has focused on the compromises of Washington while working people in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and other states have engaged in “Which side are you on?” fights against a Republican austerity agenda that threatens the very underpinnings of civil society and democratic experiment.
Obama’s absence from the scene has raised questions about how the man who once promised to march with workers in defense of collective bargaining rights (“If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I’ll will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.”) could remain so distant from the struggles that matter most.
Nothing summed up the disconnection between Obama and the base so thoroughly as White House spokesman Jay Carney’s response to a question about last week’s Wisconsin recall elections. Even as the New York Times hailed the recall results as an “impressive” signal regarding voter opposition to unionbusting, while arguing that “voters around the country who oppose the widespread efforts to undermine public unions—largely financed by corporate interests—should draw strength from Tuesday’s success,” Carney said he did not know if Obama was paying attention.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Americans Are Angry. Why Aren't They Protesting?

By David S. Meyer 
Progressive America Rising via Washington Post
August 12, 2011 - There’s something exciting, sometimes terrifying, about people taking to the streets to get what they want. In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, they gathered to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. In Athens, demonstrators set up a gallows in front of Parliament, threatening the socialist government, which was imposing austerity measures in the face of 15 percent unemployment. Most recently, in London and across England, young people have assembled at night, looting stores and burning cars to demand — well, that’s not clear yet.

Whether you’re inspired or appalled depends on your politics. Demonstrators who play to our hopes are heroes; those who challenge our beliefs are at best misguided and at worst terrorists. Regardless, those in the streets carrying petrol or placards project their anger and aspirations to an audience as broad as possible. When they’re successful, we talk about their concerns as well as their tactics.
What about here in the United States? Polls consistently show that fewer than half of Americans approve of the job that President Obama is doing, and those ratings are far higher than Congress or either political party receives. Unemployment remains stubbornly above 9 percent. There is plenty of anger in America today: anger about joblessness across the nation, about cutbacks in services in the states, about increased tuition at our universities, about economic and political inequality that seems to be increasing, and at a government that seems unable to do anything about any of this. Where are the people taking to the streets?
This is largely because although movements carry anger, anger doesn’t make a movement — organizers do. Anger helps, of course; it’s a resource that organizers can stoke, channel and exploit.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Verizon Strike as the Next Wisconsin

Published on Saturday, August 13, 2011 by Dissent Magazine
by Mark Engler

The picket lines are up. This past weekend 45,000 Verizon workers on the East Coast, represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), went on strike. The cause of the strike was the company’s attempts to win massive concessions from the unions. Verizon argued that the employees should give up gains they had won over many years of struggle and negotiation in previous contract fights.
As the Wall Street Journal put it, “Verizon Communications Inc. is seeking some of the biggest concessions in years from its unions.” Demands include the weakening of health-care benefits, cuts in pensions, reduced job security, and elimination of paid holidays such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This despite the fact that the company reported billions in profit last year, and that, in the words of New York Times reporter Steven Greenhouse, “Verizon’s top five executives received a total of $258 million in compensation, including stock options, over the last four years.” The unions argue that Verizon has made some $20 billion in profit in the same time period, and Citizens for Tax Justice has pointed out that the company has done so while paying little to nothing in corporate income taxes.