May 19 2010
This is a different sort of diary from what I usually write.
John B. Judis has an excellent article in The New republic entitled Tea Minus Zero in which he examines the socialogical basis of many Tea party adherents and the ideas that seem to animate their popularity. While the Tea Party is used and sometimes directed by Big Business and the Republican Party, Judis suggests that those of us, inlcuding me at times, have been too simplistic in our analysis. While I find his article extremely interesting, I think he undervalues the extent of white supremacy in forming the core ideology of Tea Party adherents. I see many Tea Partiers to be ideological descendants of “The Democracy” of the Jacksonian era.
Here is a key point before the fold: Most actual tea party folks are “marginal middle class” and they “look uneasily upward at corporate CEOs and investment bankers, and downward at low-wage service workers and laborers, many of whom are minorities. And their political outlook is defined by whether they primarily blame those below or above for the social and economic anxieties they feel.”
More after the fold.
May 06 2010
The SEIU is going up with an ad on black radio in Arkansas that directly contradicts President Obama’s claims about Blanche Lincoln on health care and Wall Street reform.
The script features a number of ordinary Arkansans in succession:
“I’m a strong supporter of President Obama.”
“But I’m voting for Bill Halter for Senate.”
“I love President Obama. But I can’t vote for Blanche Lincoln again.”
“She voted to bail out Wall Street.”
“Senator Lincoln says she supported health reform.”
“But we all know she refused to take on the big insurance companies.”
And so on. The spot directly contradicts Obama’s recent claims that Lincoln is “leading the fight to hold Wall Street accountable” and that she “took on big insurance companies by voting to end discrimination against Arkansans with preexisting conditions.” As Chris Good notes, SEIU is one of Obama’s most powerful backers, and now the union’s support for Halter has them on opposite sides.
It is good to see labor standing up to this.
Yesterday, Presdient Obama entered into the primary with a radio ad claiming Lincoln was a “populist” friend of the worker! Lincoln voted to end the estate tax and for all of Bush’s tax cuts for the rich. She helped kill the EFCA and the public option. Some populist.
The odious radio ad itself:
Help Halter: Bill Halter on Act Blue
Apr 07 2010
More deaths for dollars this week as miners died for company greed. Maximizing shareholder value on the lives of workers.
Mother Jones is often quoted as saying, “Pray for the Dead, Fight like hell for the Living.” The 25 miners who lost their lives in the Upper Big Branch mining disaster call us to both prayer and activism.
We must pray for the miners still missing, the miners who have lost their colleagues and the families of those killed. Let us pray for them individually and through our congregations. … We must also fight to protect those who work in dangerous workplaces like mines.
Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO:
However, this incident isn’t just a matter of happenstance, but rather the inevitable result of a profit-driven system and reckless corporate conduct. Many mining companies have given too little attention to safety over the years and too much to the bottom line.
Also on Daily Kos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/…
More after the fold.
Mar 05 2010
Yes, another one. First a right wing terrorist flies a plane into an IRS office. Now one attacks the Pentagon. From TPM:
The California man who opened fire last night outside the Pentagon was a property rights extremist who railed against the government’s ability to “confiscate the resources of their citizens to fund schemes that need only be justified by lies and deception,” and wanted to “eliminate the role of the government in education.”
In a recorded manifesto called “Directions To Freedom”, the audio of which he posted online in 2006, John Patrick Bedell, of Hollister, California, praised private property as “the most successful basis for structuring society that humanity has ever known.”
Bedell shot two police officers last night during the rampage, before being mortally wounded himself.
“Communist and socialist governments that abolished or disregarded private property,” said Bedell in the recording, “created poverty, repression and murder on a truly enormous scale.” But, he continued, “Even in the United States, however, there has been a continual erosion of protection of private property justified by the belief that government is an efficient instrument for the positive direction of society.”
Where is the outrage from Dick Cheney and the nether regions of GlennBeckistan?
Feb 23 2010
Big Insurance has been feeling pretty smug, thinking they’d killed the public option. But it’s hard to keep down something that a majority of Americans want. The public option IS BACK!
The new spot, a Web video that recasts the footage from the earlier spot with permission from Graham herself, shows reps from the insurance industry feeling smug about having killed the public option, only to be startled when she reappears.
“When a majority of Americans supports something, it’s hard to keep a good idea down,” the spot says. “The public option is making a comeback. Over 20 Senators and over 100 House members have endorsed putting the public option back on the table.”
Feb 09 2010
What can one say? I can imagine a punishment for this guy. But on a deeper level, this may be chickens coming home to roost from American use of torture and the failure to punish war criminals such as George Bush, Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld, and others. When torture is allowed against anyone, a taboo is broken and the crazy may use it on others, including a 4 year old child:
A crazed G.I. was arrested for waterboarding his 4-year-old daughter because she wouldn’t say her ABCs.
Cops said Army Sgt. Joshua Tabor, 27, who served 15 months in Iraq, admitted to punishing his daughter by holding her down on the kitchen counter in suburban Washington State and repeatedly pushing her head backward into a full sink.
“He explained she’s deathly afraid of water,” said Todd Stancil, police chief in Yelm, Wash.
“He would lay her down on her back and push her head into the water right up to her eyeline. He was open about it. He did it all the time. To him, that was an acceptable form of punishment – because she wasn’t able to say the alphabet.”
Stancil said neighbors told cops that he also ran water over the flailing girl’s face, taking her to the edge of drowning, but Tabor denied that.
“It was hot! The water was hot!” the girl said, according to the police report.
Disgusting! How can any person do that to a child?
There’s more here in the New York Daily News about this:
Feb 03 2010
Giumarra Vineyards, the world’s largest table grape company, harvests approximately 1 out of every 10 bunches of grapes picked in the US. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has just filed suit against Giumarra Vineyards for allegedly violating federal law by sexually harassing a teenage female farm worker and retaliating against farm workers who came to her aid:
According to the EEOC’s suit (EEOC v. Giumarra Vineyards Corporation, et al, Case No. 1:09-cv-02255), the young woman “was subjected to sexual advances, sexually inappropriate touching and abusive and offensive sexual comments about the male sex organ by a male co-worker.” The EEOC further alleged that after witnessing the sexual harassment, farm workers came to the aid of the teenage victim and complained to Giumarra Vineyards.
So the company fired the woman who was harrassed!
One day after reporting the incident, the victim and people who helped her were fired. The EEOC suit states they “were summarily discharged in retaliation for their opposition to the sexual harassment.” (More details in the EEOC’s press release.)
The United Farm Workers has started a petition. Dolores Huerta, who is the co-founder and First Vice President Emeritus of the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO (UFW), will be leading a women’s delegation to hand the petition in on Monday Feb 15. The UFW already have more than 7,000 signatures.
I am astonished and dismayed at Giumarra’s disregard of the law. This is not medieval times. In the 21st century workers have the right to speak up to protect themselves and others. Giumarra is not above the law. It is astonishing that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was forced to file suit against Giumarra Vineyards for violating federal law by sexually harassing a teenage female farm worker and retaliating against farm workers who came to her aid.
As the world’s largest table grape company, your behavior helps set the industry standard. You should be ashamed of the example you are setting both in this case with the sexual harassment and retaliation and with your dismal history of worker protection. This behavior reflects negatively on your company and your Nature’s Partner label.
It’s time for your company to realize that you are not above the law. Stop the sexual harassment and retaliation for field workers who speak up or support the UFW. Your consumers are watching.
Please sign the Petition and help the women in the fields.
Jan 09 2010
Congressman Waxman wrote a vicious attack on Marcy Wingrad and in support of blue dog Jane Harman.
Here is part of his disgusting letter attacking a progressive:
To me, the notion that a Member of Congress could hold these views is alarming. Ms. Winograd is far, far outside the bipartisan mainstream of views that has long insisted that US policy be based upon rock-solid support for our only democratic ally in the Middle East.
In Marcy Winograd’s foreign policy, Israel would cease to exist. In Marcy Winograd’s vision, Jews would be at the mercy of those who do not respect democracy or human rights. These are not trivial issues; they cannot be ignored or overlooked. Jane’s victory will represent a clear repudiation of these views.
Here is Marcy’s response to Waxman:
Jan 01 2010
Robert Reich, professor at the University of California and former Secretary of Labor under President Clinton in the 1990s, has an excellent blogpost about how working people got screwed in 2009 and a pessimistic view of the future unless people force change:
As long as income and wealth keep concentrating at the top, and the great divide between America’s have-mores and have-lesses continues to widen, the Great Recession won’t end — at least not in the real economy.
Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO, generally agrees with How We Got Here:
In other words, merely rebuilding the same economy will not help working people.
More, after the fold. (x-posted from Daily Kos:
Dec 14 2009
[I posted this diary On Daily Kos this morning. It’s on the Rec List and well received by some on all “sides” of this divide, although a few people also personally attacked me and rejected any attempt at reaproachment and peace. There are some who personally hate me and seek no coalition on Daily Kos. Rather, they seek total victory in which many people leave, especially the “evil” TomP. I think that is harmful to all of us, just as a total victory on Daily Kos would be harmful. The left and center need each other now.
It is not fun to lose friends, to be called a racist or to be hated. Nonetheless, I have to what I think is right and speak the truths I see. Others may see different truths and I should strive to respect that they do see things differently. As a human being, no doubt I will fall short in that, but I’ll try anyway.
I thought I should I post this diary here, where many people are more critical of President Obama. The two updates are very important, for they are comments from strong supporters of President Obama who do seek peace and coalition. Peace happens with people who have been “enemies” find common ground and cease hostilities. I have to let go of past anger just as they do. Anyway, for your comments.]
On 60 Minutes last night, the President addressed many issues, including the economy. One thing I found to be very important and encouraging was his strong statement regarding banks:
Obama: I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of, you know, fat cat bankers on Wall Street.
There has been a lot of support and criticism of Barack Obama here, often much of it personal and not issue-based on all sides.
I believe the President when he says this. I believe he really wants some change. My hope is that he will take stronger measures to obtain change in our economy.
More, after the fold
Aug 22 2009
We are beginning to see a labor/netroots alliance. Jane Hamsher is announcing that Richard Trumka, who likely will be leader of the AFL-CIO and is now Secretary-Treasurer, will be on firedoglake on Monday to talk with us.
Along with Howard Dean, Trumka is one of the only leading figures to defy Rahm Emanuel’s decree that “f&!ing liberals” leave Blue Dogs and ConservaDems alone on health care.
We’re excited to have Richard Trumka on FDL on Monday at 4pm ET/1pm PT to discuss health care reform.
This week, Trumka said no support for those who vote against public option.
More, after the fold
Aug 18 2009
August 17, 2009
The Honorable Kathleen Sebe1ius
Secretary, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20201
Dear Secretary Sebelius,
We write to you concerning your recent comments about the public option in health insurance refonn.
We stand in strong opposition to your statement that the public option is “not the essential element” of comprehensive reform. The opportunity to improve access to healthcare is a onetime opportunity. Americans deserve reform that is real-not smoke and mirrors. We cannot rely solely on the insurance companies’ good faith efforts to provide for our constituents. A robust public option is essential, if we are to ensure that all Americans can receive healthcare that is accessible, guaranteed and of high-quality.
To take the public option off the table would be a grave error; passage in the House of Representatives depends upon inclusion of it.
We have attached, for your review, a letter from 60 Members of Congress who are firm in their Position that any legislation that moves forward through both chambers, and into a final proposal for the President’s signature, MUST contain a public option.
Congressional Progressive Caucus Lynn Woolsey
Congressional Progressive Caucus Barbara Lee
Congressional Black Caucus
Pass it on to Obama.