Friday, May 27, 2011

Gar Alperovitz, "The New-Economy Movement"

Published on Friday, May 27, 2011 by The Nation
The New-Economy Movement

by Gar Alperovitz

The idea that we need a “new economy”—that the entire economic system must be radically restructured if critical social and environmental goals are to be met—runs directly counter to the American creed that capitalism as we know it is the best, and only possible, option. Over the past few decades, however, a deepening sense of the profound ecological challenges facing the planet and growing despair at the inability of traditional politics to address economic failings have fueled an extraordinary amount of experimentation by activists, economists and socially minded business leaders. Most of the projects, ideas and research efforts have gained traction slowly and with little notice. But in the wake of the financial crisis, they have proliferated and earned a surprising amount of support—and not only among the usual suspects on the left. As the threat of a global climate crisis grows increasingly dire and the nation sinks deeper into an economic slump for which conventional wisdom offers no adequate remedies, more and more Americans are coming to realize that it is time to begin defining, demanding and organizing to build a new-economy movement.

That the term “new economy” has begun to explode into public use in diverse areas may be an indication that the movement has reached a critical stage of development—and a sign that the domination of traditional thinking may be starting to weaken. Although precisely what “changing the system” means is a matter of considerable debate, certain key points are clear: the movement seeks an economy that is increasingly green and socially responsible, and one that is based on rethinking the nature of ownership and the growth paradigm that guides conventional policies.

Monthly Organizing Meeting Announcement

Progressive Alliance 
Monthly Organizing Meeting
Tuesday, May 31, 6-8pm
Old Soul Coffee House at the Weatherstone
812 21st Street, Sacramento, CA 95811
Click here to RSVP

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Michelle Alexander, "The Age of Obama as a Racial Nightmare"

By Michelle Alexander

08 March, 2010

Ever since Barack Obama lifted his right hand and took his oath of office, pledging to serve the United States as its 44th president, ordinary people and their leaders around the globe have been celebrating our nation’s “triumph over race.” Obama’s election has been touted as the final nail in the coffin of Jim Crow, the bookend placed on the history of racial caste in America.

Obama’s mere presence in the Oval Office is offered as proof that “the land of the free” has finally made good on its promise of equality. There’s an implicit yet undeniable message embedded in his appearance on the world stage: this is what freedom looks like; this is what democracy can do for you. If you are poor, marginalized, or relegated to an inferior caste, there is hope for you. Trust us. Trust our rules, laws, customs, and wars. You, too, can get to the promised land.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cornel West & Melissa Harris-Perry Debate the Merits of President Obama on the Ed Show

Dr. Duane Campbell, "Trade Agreements: Changing The Economic Balance of Power"

You are invited. Sacramento United NationsAssociation-USA Presents

CSUS Professor Emeritus

Monday, May 23, 7 p.m.
SMUD Headquarters Bldg.,
6201 S Street, Main Floor, Sacramento

Professor Campbell, currently Director of the Institute for Democ-racy and Education, will bring considerable knowledge of the impact of trade agreements on workers here and abroad. He is Chair of the Sacramento Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America and serves on the Editorial Board of Democratic Left. He received his doctorate from Carnegie-Mellon University and at CSUS was Founding Chair of the Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies Program from 1972-1994.

The Post-Wisconsin Game Plan

Published on The Nation (

John Nichols | May 11, 2011

Mary Kay Henry had just spent a day talking with many of the thousands of Wisconsinites who had packed the State Capitol in Madison for the February protests against Republican Governor Scott Walker’s proposals to scrap collective bargaining rights and slash funding for public education and services. Now, as she waited in a legislative hearing room that had been turned into a makeshift studio for a Pennsylvania labor radio show, the new president of the 2.2 million–member Service Employees International Union was marveling at what she had seen. “It’s inspiring, so inspiring, but we have to pay attention to what’s happening here,” she said, in a calm, thoughtful voice. “We’ve got to take this national, and we’ve got to keep the spirit, the energy. We’ve got to do it right.”

Henry was not just speaking in the excitement of the moment. Even before the Wisconsin uprising and ensuing demonstrations in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Maine, SEIU had been drawing the outlines of a Fight for a Fair Economy campaign that would use the resources of the union to mobilize low-wage workers—be they union members or not—into a movement aimed at transforming a national debate that has been defined by conservative talking points and ginned-up Tea Party “populism.” After the frustrating experience of trying to get the Employee Free Choice Act through a supposedly friendly Congress in the first two years of President Obama’s administration, Henry and a growing number of labor leaders are coming to recognize that simply electing Democrats is not enough. A memo that circulated in January among members of the union’s executive board declared, “We can’t spark an organizing surge without changing the environment, so that workers see unions not as self-interested institutions but as vehicles through which they can collectively stand up for a more fair economy.”

Michelle Alexander's visit to Sacramento May 25, 2011

On Wednesday, May 25, 2011 from 6:30pm-8pm at the Women’s Civic Improvement Center, 3555 3rd Ave., Sacramento, CA the Sacramento Chapter of All of Us Or None (AOUON) and the Sacramento Area Black Caucus (SABC), is inviting the public to a free lecture and book signing events featuring Michelle Alexander, legal scholar and noted author of “Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.”

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (The New Press, 2010). See The book is a bold challenge to the widespread belief that our nation has finally "triumphed over race" with the election of Barack Obama. Jim Crow laws were wiped off the books decades ago, but an astounding percentage of the African American community is warehoused in prisons or trapped in a permanent, second-class status. By targeting African Americans through the War on Drugs and the "get tough" movement, the U.S. criminal justice system now functions as a contemporary system of racial control. So many of the old forms of discrimination -- denial of the right to vote, automatic exclusion from juries, and legal discrimination in employment, housing, education, and public benefits -- are suddenly legal again once you have been branded a felon. Alexander argues that we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.

For more info contact: All of Us or None 916-226-7623 OR
Faye Kennedy (SABC) (916) 4845025/

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cornel West v. Barack Obama

Published on The Nation (

Melissa Harris-Perry | May 17, 2011

Professor Cornel West is President Obama’s silenced, disregarded, disrespected moral conscience, according to Chris Hedges’s recent column, “The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West went Ballistic.” [1] In a self-aggrandizing, victimology sermon deceptively wrapped in the discourse of prophetic witness, Professor West offers thin criticism of President Obama and stunning insight into the delicate ego of the self-appointed black leadership class that has been largely supplanted in recent years.

West begins with a bit of historical revision. West suggests that the President discarded him without provocation after he offered the Obama for America campaign his loyal service and prayers. But anyone with a casual knowledge of this rift knows it began during the Democratic primary not after the election. It began, not with a puffed up President, but when Cornel West’s “dear brother” Tavis Smiley threw a public tantrum [2] because Senator Obama refused to attend Smiley's annual State of Black America. Smiley repeatedly suggested that his forum was the necessary black vetting space for the Democratic nominees. He needed to ask Obama and Clinton tough questions so that black America could get the answers it needed. But black America was doing a fine job making up its own mind in the primaries and didn’t need Smiley’s blessing to determine their own electoral preferences. Indeed, when Smiley got a chance to hold candidate Clinton “accountable” he spent more time fawning over her than probing about her symbolic or substantive policy stances that impacted black communities. Fiercely loyal to his friend, Professor West chose sides and began to undermine candidate Obama is small and large ways. Candidate Obama ceased calling West back because he was in the middle of a fierce campaign and West’s loyalties were, at best, divided. I suspect candidate Obama did not trust his “dear brother” to keep the campaign secrets and strategies. I also suspect he was not inaccurate in his hesitancy.

Santana is Booed for Using Baseball's Civil Rights Game to Speak Out for Civil Rights | The Nation

Santana is Booed for Using Baseball's Civil Rights Game to Speak Out for Civil Rights | The Nation

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West Went Ballistic

President Obama shakes hands with Princeton University
professor Cornel West after speaking at the National
Urban  League’s 100th Anniversary Convention in
Washington in July 2010.  AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Posted on May 16, 2011

By Chris Hedges,

The moral philosopher Cornel West, if Barack Obama’s ascent to power was a morality play, would be the voice of conscience. Rahm Emanuel, a cynical product of the Chicago political machine, would be Satan. Emanuel in the first scene of the play would dangle power, privilege, fame and money before Obama. West would warn Obama that the quality of a life is defined by its moral commitment, that his legacy will be determined by his willingness to defy the cruel assault by the corporate state and the financial elite against the poor and working men and women, and that justice must never be sacrificed on the altar of power.

Perhaps there was never much of a struggle in Obama’s heart. Perhaps West only provided a moral veneer. Perhaps the dark heart of Emanuel was always the dark heart of Obama. Only Obama knows. But we know how the play ends. West is banished like honest Kent in “King Lear.” Emanuel and immoral mediocrities from Lawrence Summers to Timothy Geithner to Robert Gates—think of Goneril and Regan in the Shakespearean tragedy—take power. We lose. And Obama becomes an obedient servant of the corporate elite in exchange for the hollow trappings of authority.

No one grasps this tragic descent better than West, who did 65 campaign events for Obama, believed in the potential for change and was encouraged by the populist rhetoric of the Obama campaign. He now nurses, like many others who placed their faith in Obama, the anguish of the deceived, manipulated and betrayed. He bitterly describes Obama as “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”

“When you look at a society you look at it through the lens of the least of these, the weak and the vulnerable; you are committed to loving them first, not exclusively, but first, and therefore giving them priority,” says West, the Class of 1943 University Professor of African American Studies and Religion at Princeton University. “And even at this moment, when the empire is in deep decline, the culture is in deep decay, the political system is broken, where nearly everyone is up for sale, you say all I have is the subversive memory of those who came before, personal integrity, trying to live a decent life, and a willingness to live and die for the love of folk who are catching hell. This means civil disobedience, going to jail, supporting progressive forums of social unrest if they in fact awaken the conscience, whatever conscience is left, of the nation. And that’s where I find myself now.

“I have to take some responsibility,” he admits of his support for Obama as we sit in his book-lined office. “I could have been reading into it more than was there.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

UN investigators want "facts" from US to justify bin Laden killing

May 6, 2011

Geneva/Brussels - United Nations investigators on Friday said they want the United States to provide 'facts' to prove that the operation which killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden respected international law.
Bin Laden was shot by US special troops early on Monday, when a raid was mounted on the villa where he was hiding in the Pakistani town of Abottabad.

Two officials from the Geneva-based UN Office for Human Rights said the US 'should disclose the supporting facts to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards' of the bin Laden operation.

'It will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture Bin Laden,' Christof Heyns, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and Martin Scheinin, Special Rapporteur on the human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.

In their joint statement, Heyns and Scheinin said 'use of deadly force may be permissible' against terrorists 'in certain exceptional cases.

Obama, bin Laden and the law

U.S. Navy Seals training at
Coronado Island, San Diego
The Hill (
By Anne Penketh

The United States still has questions to answer on the death of Osama bin Laden, as it no longer controls the shifting narrative. A counter-narrative has emerged from witnesses at the scene, in particular from the terrorist’s 12-year-old daughter, who has said that her father was captured alive at the house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, before being shot.

When Obama took office, it was with a pledge to restore the reputation of the United States in the world, after the thuggish “You’re either with us, or with the terrorists” worldview of George W. Bush. That meant restoring respect for international law.

Bin Laden deserved the death penalty. For many in this country it probably doesn’t matter whether his death was in a summary execution or in a trial, like Saddam Hussein. But — as Robert Redford says in his new film “The Conspirator” about the trial of the woman accused of involvement in the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln — America should stand for the rule of law, which makes this country a civilized nation.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

On Bill Fletcher's Thoughts on Obama
April 26, 2011

I agree with Bill Fletcher’s essay on how to approach Obama in 2012. I only wish to add these thoughts.

First, I knew very well that Obama was a centrist, because he declared himself to be at the midpoint between Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson and “Tom Hayden Democrats” such as myself. I knew where things stood from the get-go. No matter how reasonably I described my beliefs, Obama would keep moving to the right of them in order to maintain his role as a centrist. Aside from the frustrations this would mean for progressives like myself, it also meant that Obama was defining “center” in an unfortunate way. He apparently didn’t mean a midpoint between the 75 percent majorities and 25 percent minorities on taxing the rich, saving Medicare and Social Security, and getting out of Afghanistan. He meant staying in the middle between the poles he chose to consider relevant, which meant the far right and the middle, leaving the Democratic Party liberals stranded on many issues.

His call.

But now Obama has stranded himself, with a majority of Americans favoring “another candidate” in 2012, and a fall-off of about 30 percent among all Democrats and Latinos. His strategy obviously is to get Democrats and Independents to hold their noses and vote for him against an obnoxious Republican in 2012.

Bill Fletcher, Jr., "How Do We Bring Obama Home?"

How to Respond to Obama

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Progressive America Rising via, 4/25/11

Rather than dwell on the question of whether we can bring Obama home, whether he ever was home, etc., I want to refocus on this question of how to respond to him, particularly as we start to think about 2012.

First, what do we now say about 2008? Contrary to those who have thrown up their hands and feel betrayed by what the Obama administration has not done, I start in a different place. I continue to assert that Obama was knowable in 2008. He was a charismatic, smart candidate who made the right call on the Iraq War and stepped out on the issue when it was necessary. He was also, as I said at the time, someone who could appear to be different things to different people. The problem was that too many of his supporters saw what they wanted to see rather than what existed.

What existed? Well, from the beginning he was a corporate candidate. We knew that. The question was not whether he was one but the extent to which his views could be shifted in order to take progressive, non-corporate stands. Second, he was a candidate who was going to avoid race as you or I would avoid a plague ship. He went out of his way to prove that he was not an ‘angry black man’ and that race was not going to be an issue that he would harp on. Third, he was clear that he wanted to change the image of the USA around the world, but it was not clear to what extent he wanted to change the substance of the relationship of the USA to the rest of the world.

Raising these and other issues in 2008 was exceedingly difficult. Raising concerns regarding Obama and his views in 2008, even when one offered critical support to the campaign (as did I), was often met with accusations of throwing a wet towel on a fire, and other such metaphors. Of course, there were those who denounced Obama all the way, but they offered very little as an alternative, with the exception of what we must frankly characterize as symbolic political action. What these fierce critics failed to address was how to account for and speak with the masses of people from various social movements who were gravitating toward Obama’s campaign, individuals and groups looking to create something very different in the USA (and around the world). In fact, it was because of these masses of people, incorrectly described as a “movement” by some but certainly an energized base, and the potential of that base to become a transformative force, that it was correct to critically support the Obama campaign, despite the limitations of the campaign and the candidate.

Noam Chomsky: My Reaction to Osama bin Laden’s Death

We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.

By Noam Chomsky
Guernica (, May 6, 2011

It’s increasingly clear that the operation was a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law. There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by 80 commandos facing virtually no opposition—except, they claim, from his wife, who lunged towards them. In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial. I stress “suspects.” In April 2002, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it “believed” that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan, though implemented in the UAE and Germany. What they only believed in April 2002, they obviously didn’t know 8 months earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how serious, we do not know, because they were instantly dismissed) to extradite bin Laden if they were presented with evidence—which, as we soon learned, Washington didn’t have. Thus Obama was simply lying when he said, in his White House statement, that “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.”

Nothing serious has been provided since. There is much talk of bin Laden’s “confession,” but that is rather like my confession that I won the Boston Marathon. He boasted of what he regarded as a great achievement.

There is also much media discussion of Washington’s anger that Pakistan didn’t turn over bin Laden, though surely elements of the military and security forces were aware of his presence in Abbottabad. Less is said about Pakistani anger that the U.S. invaded their territory to carry out a political assassination. Anti-American fervor is already very high in Pakistan, and these events are likely to exacerbate it. The decision to dump the body at sea is already, predictably, provoking both anger and skepticism in much of the Muslim world.
It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk… It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes “Jew” and “Gypsy.”

We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. Uncontroversially, his crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s, and he is not a “suspect” but uncontroversially the “decider” who gave the orders to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country, the bitter sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region.

There’s more to say about [Cuban airline bomber Orlando] Bosch, who just died peacefully in Florida, including reference to the “Bush doctrine” that societies that harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves and should be treated accordingly. No one seemed to notice that Bush was calling for invasion and destruction of the U.S. and murder of its criminal president.

Same with the name, Operation Geronimo. The imperial mentality is so profound, throughout western society, that no one can perceive that they are glorifying bin Laden by identifying him with courageous resistance against genocidal invaders. It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk… It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes “Jew” and “Gypsy.”
There is much more to say, but even the most obvious and elementary facts should provide us with a good deal to think about.

Copyright 2011 Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor emeritus in the MIT Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. He is the author of numerous best-selling political works. His latest books are a new edition of Power and Terror, The Essential Chomsky (edited by Anthony Arnove), a collection of his writings on politics and on language from the 1950s to the present, Gaza in Crisis, with Ilan Pappé, and Hopes and Prospects, also available as an audiobook.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Michael Moore Interview on the Military Operation Against Bin Laden

As he so often does, Michael Moore gives us a lot to think about with regards to this past Sunday's military operation against Osama bin Laden. And as is so often the case, I couldn't agree more. Thank you Michael Moore for reminding us, over and over again, of what genuine American values are supposed to be.

Part I

Part II

Does this make Obama invincible?

With bin Laden gone and no true 2012 opponent, how many steps ahead is the president? | AP Photo
By: Roger Simon,
May 5, 2011 04:45 AM EDT

It’s the oldest truism in politics: You can’t beat something with nothing. For 2012, the Democrats have something: Barack Obama. The Republicans, so far, have nothing.

This could change. But who is going to change it? And when? It may seem like the Republicans have a lot of time until the 2012 campaign, but they do not. Obama is already running for reelection and already raising money. Lots of money.

For the GOP, the sands are rushing through the hourglass.

Item: The Quinnipiac poll finds “Still No Clear Leader in GOP Field.” Pollster Peter Brown says: “It is difficult to get a handle on the 2012 Republican race. Many contenders are not well known, and many who are known are not liked, making their candidacies problematic.”

The killing of Osama bin Laden by the Obama administration shows what a difference a death can make. Not to world security; that is still dicey. But the Republican field has been fried like an egg.

Item: “The day after a one-day Washington Post poll found Obama getting a 9-point bounce in his approval rating, a new two-day New York Times/CBS News survey shows the president’s numbers increasing 11 points, from 46 percent last month to 57 percent now,” says First Read. “The increase in Mr. Obama’s ratings came largely from Republicans and independents.”

Monday, May 2, 2011

Kings announce team staying in Sacramento for one more season

By Tony Bizjak and Ryan Lillis
May 2, 2011

It's official. The Kings are staying.

After weeks of political drama and speculation, team officials said this morning they are dropping plans to move to Anaheim this year, co-owner George Maloof told The Bee.

"We are heading back to Sacramento. It was a tough decision. Ticket holders were reaching out to us, and it was the right thing to do to give it a shot at one more season," Maloof said.

The move comes just six hours before a league-imposed 2 p.m. deadline for the team to file a formal request to the league to relocation the team for the coming season.

Read more: