On October 15th in Washington DC, The People are Rising Up & Marching for Jobs and Justice!

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On the day of the historic unveiling of the Martin Luther King National Memorial on the Mall next Saturday, October 15, there will also be a march on Washington beforehand to reiterate some of the ideals supported by the Occupy Wall Street movement currently sweeping the country– the ideal that Congress needs to start doing its  damn job of putting Americans back to work.

With unemployment hovering at 9.1%, Americans continue to suffer at the hand of an economy weakened by the Great Financial Meltdown of 2008, largely caused by the deregulation of financial markets.  To add insult to injury, the prior administration giving massive tax cuts to the wealthy while plunging our nation into two unpaid wars has almost bankrupted the county. The Great Recession was nearly staved off via President Obama’s 2009 stimulus, until relentless Republicans and corporate obstruction, supported by media propaganda, brought economic growth to a screeching halt after the Republicans took back the House in January of 2011.

Although GOP candidates of the 2010 election ran on the platform of “jobs, jobs, jobs,” the only action on jobs that we have witnessed the Republican winners of that election act upon thus far is the cutting of over 500,000 public jobs, while engaging in a continuous national campaign of maintaining those massive tax cuts for corporations and the rich.

It is important to note that there are two rarely cited laws on the books regarding congressional responsibility to ensure that our nation is as fully employed as possible.  These appear to be rules of law that the Republicans have chosen to ignore. The first is the Employment Act of 1946, which encouraged the federal government to “promote maximum employment, production, and purchasing power.”  The follow-up 1978 Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act (15 USC § 3101) gave more explicit instructions to lawmakers that the nation should strive towards full employment, as well as growth in production, price stability, and balance of trade and budget. These laws need to be mentioned as often as possible, and lawmakers  need to enforce these laws NOW in the spirit that they were intended. The President is doing just that, while the GOP-led House is doing nothing.

There are many in the media who want us to believe that no one has any idea why Occupy Wall Street is even happening.  In addition, there has been little media publicity about the upcoming Jobs March on Washington, unlike the generous coverage that the media gifted the April 15th Tea Party’s rally a couple of years back.  However, it can be said with certainty that regardless of how consistently the corporate media continues to misinform us, the people who have been hit the hardest by our weak economy and those participating in these two separate events know doggone well why they are protesting a Do-Not-a-Damn-Thing Congress. It is not by accident that this particular Congress’s approval rating is at an historical low;  they have yet to do a damn thing about jobs, jobs, jobs, and unless we put their feet to some hot coals, they will continue doing their business as usual, supporting the top 1% while ignoring the other 99% of us. Continue reading On October 15th in Washington DC, the People are Rising Up & Marching for Jobs and Justice!

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We All Have a Choice in the 2012 Election

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My choice come November 6, 2012 will not be a surprise, as I will vote to re-elect the incumbent President, Barack Obama.

The reasons why I will work hard to re-elect the President and try to give him an overwhelming congressional majority in both the House and the Senate are very clear to me, and self-serving as they are, I believe my actions will also benefit a majority of Americans; even those who don’t quite know it yet.  By reading the rest of my commentary,  the reasons for my stubborn partisan stance will be made clear,  and as the election cycle progresses, I shall often make myself clearer still.

What I’d like folks to envision in the meantime is what would happen if progressives woke up the morning of November 7th, and reality hit that the President-elect is not Barack Obama?

Sure,  some on the Left would feel vindicated to witness Barack Obama defeated, believing that they had won the battle of “principles” they’d waged for four years to show President Obama their disappointment in him.  They would inevitably blame him for their choice not to donate, not to work, and/or simply not to have voted.

I believe, however, for those progressives willing to be intellectually honest, and who understand the concrete reality of political consequences (see Election 2010), we must also be willing to ask ourselves hard questions before the election, as opposed to after the fact.

You see, these questions will be answered regardless, either now, or for four long years (or eight even longer years) following November 6th.

Again, if the worse-case scenario were to occur  and we end up with a President other than Barack Obama (which is not out of the realm of possibility, as there are powerful forces working hard on this as we speak), what will happen then?

Some will say that my questions are nothing more than my cynical attempt to use fear, but I strongly disagree.  I am only asking you to picture what could very well happen.  If it is something to fear, you should duly note it.

I respectfully suggest that some of the questions we should all ask ourselves, especially those who haven’t already done so, are as follows:

How will you feel when the new President nominates partisan cabinet members like Phil Gramm for Treasury, Jeb Bush for the Justice Department, John Kasich for the Office of Management and Budget, Scott Walker for Labor Secretary, Paul Ryan for Health and Human Services, Rudy Giuliani as Secretary of State, John McCain as Secretary of Defense, and Newt Gingrich as UN Ambassador?  Sure, it may not be those particular ideologues in those exact positions; in fact, it could be worse still.  Keep that in mind. Continue reading We All Have a Choice in the 2012 Election

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Dear Rep. Barbara Lee, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Can We Talk?

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As a constituent who resides in your district, I just want to weigh in on the hatred and political divisiveness that I hear and read about on the news and on the Internet. There are forces working very hard at making sure that President Obama is defeated in 2012. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they took an oath or signed a pledge to that effect.

The newest political strategy is to turn the African-American community against the first black president. The idea is to get black folks to scream at the President and to threaten to withhold our support come November 2012.  Due to the very high unemployment rate in the black community, this could be an easy sell. The well-paid professional propagandists don’t ask African-Americans to lay the blame for the lack of employment at the feet of the business world (which is hoarding up a couple of trillions in their rainy-day fund), or to consider the fact that governors everywhere are cutting down on the public sector workforce (comprised of  large numbers of black Americans per capita), or to holler at the Republican-dominated House, which has blocked most of the job-creating programs introduced by Democrats. Instead, they want us to aim our fire solely at our President and to blame him for 30 years of white men’s policies.

Now, I have already informed myself on what this President has done to help the American population in general, and African-Americans in particular.

Considering 2.7 years as the current timetable of his accomplishments, I would note that President Obama has reformed the health care system, which will provide subsidies for lower-income individuals who may not currently be covered (many who are AA), and also provides funding for badly needed community clinics, while  doing away with pre-existing condition restrictions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary heart disease,  all ailments suffered in alarming rates by members of the black community.

In addition, women will soon get birth control free of charge if insured, which means that women who were previously going to Planned Parenthood – because, even with insurance, they couldn’t afford the price of contraceptives – won’t need to anymore. This leaves women who are uninsured more resources to get birth control via Planned Parenthood. Plus, the stimulus saved the biggest health care provider to the black community, the various state Medicaid programs. As well, the President closed the Medicare donut hole in prescription drugs, reduced seniors’ prescription prices by 50% through the use of generic drugs, and sent $250 payments to seniors to make up to the lack of a COLA increase for two years now. Continue reading Dear Rep. Barbara Lee, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Can We Talk?

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Steven Leser - Tea Party Pushing US Toward Default

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Democrats for Progress columnist Steven Leser appeared on Russia Today this morning to discuss Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the US credit rating from AAA to AA+, the state of the US economy, and the Tea Party’s attempts to . . . → Read More: Steven Leser – Tea Party Pushing US Toward Default

Because there's nothing more important for House Republicans to do

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Hey, is there anything important going on in Washington? I thought there was a near crisis caused by House Republicans refusing to raise the debt ceiling. I thought there was more work to do in order . . . → Read More: Because House Republicans have nothing important to do

Proposed Congressional Map Provides Opportunities for Downstate Illinois Democrats

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The legislature passed an incumbent-protection map for Illinois members of Congress in 2000. In contrast, the proposed map released this morning could mix things up. I found the Google Maps version at . . . → Read More: Proposed Congressional Map Provides Opportunities for Downstate Illinois Democrats