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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

Black Friday is the Donald Trump of holidays: Inside the absurdity of a holiday tradition

Black Friday is the Donald Trump of holidays: Inside the absurdity of a holiday tradition
by Bob Cesca

Black Friday is not unlike Donald Trump. It’s obnoxious and humiliating, yet it remains invariably popular...It’s difficult to think of another annual occasion that combines American excess with American indignity more than the day after Thanksgiving. No other episode in the calendar year illustrates our unique penchant for trading our self-respect for discounted merchandise....


While right-wing media figures have for years bemoaned a “War On Christmas,” in reality, there’s a war for Christmas, insofar as we’re still obligated by our consumer culture to purchase big-ticket items as a measure of social worth. And since we can’t afford much of it, too many of us are left with no choice but to blitz Wal-Mart at the crack of dawn, a way to overcome the dissonance between having less money, more credit and relentless corporate/socioeconomic pressure to buy cars, TVs and gadgets....

....snip...Black Friday brawls become more prevalent as incomes decline. Again, if you don’t have a lot of money and you’re relying upon Black Friday sales in order to satisfy the cultural demand to own things associated with higher incomes, you’d better be prepared to throw down in order to get there.

There’s something truly awful about it. Rather than building stronger middle- and working-class incomes to keep up, our politics and our corporate culture have collaborated on a humiliating work-around: cheaper crap that you might have to fight for.

Not too long ago, politicians from both parties* working in conjunction with their corporate bosses began to send American jobs overseas in pursuit of cheap labor.

Back home, we’re forced to take jobs for lower pay and less advancement, and the outsourced manufacturing yields relatively inexpensive products sent back to our stores.

Cutting to the chase, rather than being compensated with more money and better jobs to afford the things we want, we’re forced to earn less while being sold cheaper, more disposable goods.

And nowhere is this dynamic more obvious than on Black Friday....

Read in full~

*Its tough to face this history, but it happened. We need to face it so as not to repeat it.~

.....As Richard McCormack pointed out in the American Prospect, in the beginning of this century American companies stopped making the products Americans continued to buy, from clothing to computers. Manufacturers never emerged from the 2001 recession, which coincided with China's entry into the World Trade Organization. Between 2001 and 2009 the U.S. lost 42,400 factories and manufacturing employment dropped to 11.7 million, a loss of 32 percent of all manufacturing jobs. The last time fewer than 12 million people worked in the manufacturing sector was in 1941.

Clinton had the gall to accuse those who opposed China's entry into the WTO of "aligning themselves with the Chinese army and hard-liners in Beijing who do not want accession for China." Clinton claimed that the agreement that he championed "creates a win-win result for both countries," arguing that exports to China "now support hundreds of thousands of American jobs" and "these figures can grow substantially." (Clinton's press person at the Clinton Global Initiative did not respond to my requests for feedback.)

The facts contradict these assertions. Imports of computers and electronic parts accounted for almost half of the $178 billion increase in the U.S. trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2007 and the loss of 2.3 million jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Clinton then went on to enact NAFTA, or the North America Free Trade Act, which as American Prospect editor Robert Kuttner has observed, "was less about trade and more about making it easier for U.S. based multinationals and banks to take over Mexican companies." ....


The Democratic Party seems to no longer represents me, by pushing the ultimate corporate candidate

She is a DINO, the most powerful I've seen in my life. She's taking our party down & I will have no part of it.

If she is our nom, I will be voting Green Party Jill Stein & will remain with the Green Party until such time The Democrats begin working for the People of the US again & not Moneyed Interests.

All of my efforts will be towards getting $$ out of our govt.

Every problem this country has can be traced to corruption in the govt....no I will not vote for the Queen of Moneyed Corruption.

21 Kids and a Climate Scientist Are Suing to Force Obama to Fight Climate Change

Kelsey Juliana, one plaintiff in the federal suit, at the People’s Climate March in September 2014. Marchers left ribbons with testimonials of what they would miss if no action is taken to combat climate change. (Sikay Tang/Moyers & Company)

Thursday, November 26, 2015 originally published on BillMoyers.com
21 Kids and a Climate Scientist Are Suing to Force Obama to Fight Climate Change
John Light

(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Bold highlighting is my own)

When the young people working with Our Children’s Trust talk about their lawsuits to compel governments to act on climate change, they like to use a quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

This month, it looks like these young activists have made it to step three: On Nov. 12, three fossil fuel lobby groups asked a judge to let them join the federal case as co-defendants against the 21 children (and a climate scientist) who are suing the Obama administration and federal regulatory agencies to take serious, science-based action on climate change.
Kelsey Juliana on Her Lawsuit Against Oregon

The case is the culmination of a series of lawsuits brought by various groups of young people in all 50 states since 2011. Their argument is that the federal government is infringing on the constitutional rights of America’s youth and future generations by continuing to allow fossil fuel extraction and consumption. These activities cause climate change by damaging the atmosphere, and the atmosphere is a public trust, they say, that should be protected for future generations. Ultimately, they argue that this type of pollution discriminates against young people, because young people will suffer the impact of climate change far more than today’s policymakers.

The youth have already had some success with their suits, including one case in Washington State. Last week, a Kings County Superior Court judge agreed with some aspects of the youth’s argument while stopping short of ordering the state’s Department of Ecology to draft rules cutting emissions, noting that the agency was already doing so on order of the governor. The judge wrote the eight young plaintiffs’ “very survival depends upon the will of their elders to act now, decisively and unequivocally, to stem the tide of global warming… before doing so becomes first too costly and then too late.” Our Children’s Trust and its allies say the judge’s agreement with the idea that America’s youth has a right to a clean environment is a victory. The case also won five of the plaintiffs, aged 11 through 15, a meeting with Washington’s climate-hawk governor, Jay Inslee, back in July. The meeting was scheduled to last 20 minutes but ran for 90, and came shortly before Inslee announced executive action to cap emissions (the law the Department of Ecology is currently working on).

Similar suits have met with even greater success elsewhere in the world. In June, a high court ordered the Dutch government to cut emissions after plaintiffs successfully argued that business as usual would violate the human rights of future generations. And in Pakistan last month, a farmer went before the high court in Lahore arguing that climate change threatened his future, and the court agreed: “The delay and lethargy of the state in implementing the [climate change] framework offend the fundamental rights of the citizens,” wrote Judge Syed Mansoor Ali Shah.

Dodging the influence of money in politics

The justice system is a wise choice for activists hoping to curb climate change, says Mary Christina Wood, the Philip H. Knight Professor of Law at the University of Oregon. “The fact is we have only three branches of government. So from a lawyer’s perspective, you have to look at the structure we have and ask which part is functional and which part of it has become corrupted through big industry money.

Two of the branches have become essentially corrupted because of the campaign contributions to those two branches of government. And so the third branch — while it’s not perfect, by any means — the federal judiciary is as close to insulated from that big money influence as you can get.”

In August, Our Children’s Trust took its case to the federal level with 21 young Americans and renowned climatologist James Hansen as plaintiffs. (Hansen’s 17-year-old granddaughter Sophie is one of the plaintiffs, and in the case he plays both the role of her guardian and “guardian” to as-yet-unborn generations.) Last Tuesday, the Obama administration filed a motion to dismiss the youths’ suit, arguing that the plaintiffs don’t have the right to bring the lawsuit in the first place, and that even if they did, the court doesn’t have authority to create climate policy. The judge may or may not choose to dismiss; if the case goes to trial, it will be this winter.

But for the plaintiffs, the big development this month was the request by three of Washington’s most powerful trade groups — each representing major players in the fossil fuel industry, including ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, Koch Industries and BP America — asking the judge to let them join the Obama administration in the suit as co-defendants. That means the American Petroleum Institute (API), the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) would make their case side-by-side with the Obama administration, using their own lawyers — including Roger Martella, the former General Counsel of George W. Bush’s EPA — to argue against the youths and Hansen.

“It’s fairly common for trade associations to move to participate in lawsuits that could affect their interest,” says Michael B. Gerrard, a professor at Columbia Law School and the director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. “I think it shows that they’re not utterly certain it will be dismissed.”

2015 has been a good year for the climate movement, which declared victory after President Obama announced he would reject the Keystone XL pipeline earlier this month. Over the summer, Greenpeace and its allies also drew significant attention to their efforts opposing Shell’s ill-fated attempt to drill in the Arctic, and, last month, the Obama administration moved to block future drilling in the Arctic. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s recently launched investigation into whether Exxon misled its investors about the viability of its business in the 1980s and 1990s is just the latest blow to the fossil-fuel industry. All three Democratic presidential candidates have said they support a separate Department of Justice investigation of Exxon.

“I think that they see that they are losing traction in our political system and they’re going to lose traction in the courts as well,” says Julia Olson, executive director and lead attorney for Our Children’s Trust.

The Children's Climate Crusade

Oregon law professor Mary Christina Wood agrees with Olson: “Obviously the fossil fuel companies are scared by this litigation, and that’s why they’re moving to intervene,” she says. Wood is not involved with Our Children’s Trust’s work, but her research arguing that the atmosphere should be considered a public trust is integral to it. She sees the fossil fuel lobby’s interest in the case as a vote of confidence in Our Children’s Trust’s strategy. She also thinks the industry’s decision to challenge the youth may backfire.

“I think this is the most important case now on the planet because it would force carbon dioxide reductions,” Wood says. “And now the fossil fuel industry has just drawn a whole lot of public attention to this case and to its own practices.”

Still a long-shot strategy

Judges, because of their relative isolation from the electoral process, have often been responsible for ordering reluctant government agencies to protect vulnerable populations. Both Olson and Wood point to the Civil Rights movement and Brown v. Board of Education. At that time, Wood explains, “judges found there were fundamental constitutional rights to equality and courts supervised the enforcement of those rights.” The same would be the case here — the courts would require the government to make a change, and ensure that it did, but would not specify exactly how that change would occur.

That said, Our Children’s Trust’s effort is still a long shot at the US Supreme Court. “It’s hard to imagine that five members of the current Supreme Court would find a constitutional right to a clean environment,” says Gerrard. Reaching the Supreme Court, however, could take years, though Olson says that may eventually be where they’re headed. At Federal Court, in Oregon, the case will ultimately be decided by one of two judges, the first appointed by Obama and the second by Bill Clinton; the fact that both were appointed by Democrats is a mildly encouraging sign for the young plaintiffs.

Should the youths succeed, the federal government would be ordered by the court to devise a science-based plan to reduce emissions. According to one analysis by Hansen, the world would eventually need to phase out fuels like gas and oil altogether.

This lawsuit is made necessary by the at-best schizophrenic, if not suicidal, nature of US climate and energy policy,” Hansen wrote in an expert declaration along with the case. “Our government’s permitting of additional, new, or renewed fossil fuel projects is entirely antithetical to its fundamental responsibility to our children and their posterity. Their fundamental rights now hang in the balance.”


Student Op-Ed: "Hillary Is Not A Leftist"

Hillary Is Not A Leftist
16 hours ago | By RUSSELL GUILBAULT
The Spectrum, University of Buffalo

As the media and Hillary Clinton supporters continue to sidestep some very glaring issues with her role in this election and the sorts of policies she favors, I think it would be useful to try to outline them here – especially since they paint a radically different picture of her policy and class leanings.

Firstly, Clinton has firmly established herself as a neocon of the highest order over her career as Secretary of State. She supports a barrier in the West Bank, advocated recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and blamed Hamas for the destruction caused by Israel’s disproportionate assault on Gaza last year.

She supports the Iran sanctions, and has asserted that “no option can be taken off the table,” including war – a threat which, as Noam Chomsky noted, violates international law. She voted for the Iraq War Resolution and has refused to retract her support or to apologize. She condemned Snowden, supported the embargo of Cuba and the Patriot Act.

....SNIP.....more facts on the matter....

Clinton’s hawkish foreign policy alignment is already rather well known. Less frequently discussed, however, are her direct ties to Wall Street and the effects of those ties on her policies.

In Ben Whites’ article in POLITICO, he interviewed multiple GOP donors and financial executives, “turn[ing] up a consistent … consolidation candidate” in Clinton.

One executive said that “most people in the industry… have a track record with her.” Another, comparing her to more populist Republican candidates like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, called her “relatively tolerable.” Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein spoke of his enthusiastic support for her in the 2012 election.

....SNIP...more facts....

The picture of American politics that emerges is one in which it isn’t the distinction between Democrats and Republicans that matters, but that between populists and establishment supporters.

“Establishment” refers to the complex of lobbyists, donors, executives and lawmakers that has essentially total control of all policy decisions, a category in which Clinton decidedly falls.

....SNIP....It is clear, then, where Clinton’s class allegiance lies. And it is also clear that a Clinton presidency, while “fine” for the corporate-political establishment, would not be fine for the American people, who would suffer from her elitist policies.

Faced with this blatant betrayal of liberal ideas, Democratic supporters and all of us as citizens, need to start redirecting support to other candidates and organizations that stand for a system defined by genuine democracy.


There may be hope for US after all.

The agenda to continue destroying the Democratic Party

with pro-business hawkish conservative/rethug values, which began with Clinton1, has demonstrably long powerful spiderlike legs. If we don't cut them off now, we're done.

There is a sense of urgency here to protect true Democratic values & to protect against what could be done in the near future in the name of our party.


Thank you for one KICK ASS goodbye!!!

Clinton Sheds Progressive Façade with Bold Rightward Lurch

Clinton Sheds Progressive Façade with Bold Rightward Lurch
by Sarah Lazare
Common Dreams

"I don't take a backseat to anyone when it comes to progressive experience and progressive commitment," former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at the Democratic debate in October. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

From her call for a major air and ground war against ISIS to her attack on single-payer, observers note that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is rapidly shedding her "progressive" façade as she grows increasingly confident she has the Democratic nomination locked down (an assumption which, evidence shows, is debatable).

This trend comes despite her declaration during the first Democratic debate in October, after being pressed by the CNN moderator: "I don't take a backseat to anyone when it comes to progressive experience and progressive commitment."

Growing more hawkish by the day

In case there was any doubt, Clinton's much-anticipated foreign policy speech on Thursday makes it clear she plans to run on her hawkish credentials.

Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Clinton called for a "new phase" in the fight against the Islamic State (referred to as ISIS or IS), including a major intensification in a bombing campaign; "ground forces actually taking back more territory;" an "intelligence surge;" and no-fly zones over Syria. "Our goal is not to deter or contain ISIS, but to defeat and destroy ISIS," she said, in an implicit criticism of President Barack Obama as being too tepid on military intervention—and a signal that she intends to tack far to his right.

Since working under Obama's White House—hardly the image of restraint—that's exactly what Clinton has been doing. As Bob and Barbara Dreyfuss recently pointed out last year, Clinton used her secretary of state role to consistently advocate escalation of military force, from Afghanistan to Libya to Syria, making her the pro-war wing of the Obama administration.

Clinton has only moved further in the militarist direction after exiting the administration, expressing skepticism of the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, escalating her rhetoric towards Russia, and proclaiming an "unbreakable bond" with the widely-reviled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Clinton has stated publicly that she believes that her vote in favor of the 2003 invasion of Iraq was wrong and has been pressed on this issue during the campaign, including during Saturday's Democratic debate, where she admitted: "I don't think any sensible person would disagree that the invasion of Iraq led to the massive level of instability we are seeing right now."

But as many others have pointed out, in the years since Clinton cast her vote in favor of the Iraq War, she appears to have learned nothing. "If Hillary Clinton wins her party's nomination," Vox's Zack Beauchamp warned in April, "she'll be the most hawkish Democratic nominee since the Iraq War began."......

........Speaking in Dallas on Tuesday, Clinton launched an unbridled attack on Bernie Sanders' plan for a single-payer, publicly-funded, universal healthcare program. "I don’t see how you can be serious about raising working and middle class families' incomes if you also want to slap new taxes on them—no matter what the taxes will pay for," she said.

Her statements were followed up by those of top Clinton aides speaking to media outlets. "If you are truly concerned about raising incomes for middle-class families, the last thing you should do is cut their take-home pay right off the bat by raising their taxes," spokesperson Brian Fallon told Politico.

The push captured the ire of single-payer advocates, including National Nurses United. "Any politician that refuses to finance guaranteed healthcare has abandoned my patients, and I will never abandon my patients," said NNU Co-President Jean Ross, RN.

According to Slate staff writer Jim Newell, Clinton is "essentially red-baiting about Bernie Sanders’ Wacky Taxes in her dismissal of a policy that, on paper, draws plenty of support among Democratic voters."

Newell argued that Clinton, in fact, is going further than many in her own party by "appropriating one of the right’s central talking points against government-funded universal health insurance: Think of the taxes!

She’s not just saying that a single-payer system is a political nonstarter with conservatives. She’s reciting the actual conservative talking point that would make a single-payer system a political nonstarter."...........

..........Also on Saturday, Clinton—despite her vows to tackle Wall Street—reiterated her opposition to the Glass Steagall Act, which was repealed by her husband in 1999 and would break up big banks by splitting investment and commercial banking. Her position, in fact, is popular with Wall Street, but increasingly unpopular with those demanding economic equality and accountability for the financial institutions behind the 2008 financial crisis.

"The big six banks in this country have 43 percent more deposits, 81 percent more assets and three times the amount of cash they had before the financial crisis," author and Demos fellow Nomi Prins said last month. "A major reason America has such an inequality problem is that it has a highly concentrated, establishment-supported casino banking system
that disperses capital toward more risky endeavors than infrastructure building and small and mid-size business support."

Meanwhile, Walmart workers on Wednesday took their demands for $15 an hour to the Brooklyn headquarters of Clinton, who refused their request for all candidates to address their demands at last week's debates...........


(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Bold for emphasis is my own)

Can Democratic Socialism Pass the Electability Test? It Already Has

Can Democratic Socialism Pass the Electability Test? It Already Has
by John Nichols
The Nation

Long before Bernie Sanders, socialists were winning elections—and debates about the direction of the United States.


...When Sanders delivered his much-anticipated address on democratic socialism at Georgetown University Thursday, he linked his vision to that of a repeatedly-elected Democratic president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who did not identify as a democratic socialist but who borrowed freely from the platforms of his Socialist Party rival, Norman Thomas.

In particular, Sanders connected his contemporary vision to the one outlined by FDR in the 32nd president’s 1944 appeal for a “Second Bill of Rights” that would guarantee:

 The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

FDR ran for a fourth term in 1944 advocating for that program, and arguing that “We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. ‘Necessitous men are not free men.’ People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made. In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident.

We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

In his speech at Georgetown, Sanders quoted FDR’s words and recalled that “almost everything he proposed was called ‘socialist.’ ...

Please read in full here~

Thank you Bernie!! I am an FDR Dem. I am a Democratic Socialist!! Thanks for reminding me why Bernie!

"We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence."

OMG, you're the one who is misinformed. This is hillarious.

Someone needs to tell 'American Homes 4 Rent' they don't exist....


And you are trying to tell me I'm the one who doesn't know what I'm talking about.

Life is too short for this.

Here's another guy who says the same thing~


Lifelong Dem.

Its a sad time for US. Hillary is literally being forced on us, burying the progressive movement...
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