Saturday: Solidarity, SisterhoodPosted: March 12, 2011 Filed under: Economy, Hillary Clinton: Her Campaign for All of Us, morning reads, Women's Rights | Tags: 2012, 8.9 quake in Japan, bees, Bernie Sanders, Bradley Manning, civil liberties, collective bargaining, FDR, Joan Baez, Liberalism, Phil Ochs, Rep. King "hearings" on "radical Islam", US State Department, Wisconsin, womancession, Women's and children's health 74 Comments
Grab your morning brew, and let’s go!
- It’s farmer-labor day today at the WI Capitol building, starting at noon, complete with a “tractorcade.”
- Next, a piece I treasure. Plain Talk: Squandering 100 years of progress, by Dave Zweifel. Please take the time to click over and read this one sometime over the weekend if you can.
- Guess who is going to Egypt and Tunisia next week. In her FY 2012 budget request before Congress on Thursday, Hillary announced she will be meeting with transitional leaders in both Tunis and Cairo as well as with Libyan opposition while she’s in the region. For the new Arab world that is emerging to be new at all, women cannot be left behind. Who better to put that world on notice than Hillary Rodham Clinton?
(second link will take you to an AFP report on Hillary’s remarks at Friday’s Women in the World conference in NY. See also her remarks at the 2011 Women of Courage event for more.)
- This week–on International Women’s day no less–our advocate-in-chief helped to launch a Global Partnership on Maternal and Child Health, bringing a long-neglected development goal further out of the shadows. Brava, Madam Secretary!
(see also Hillary’s 100 Women Initiative. If you don’t know what it is, click and find out.)
- From Politico’s quotes of the week: “Her Excellency, Madam President… I love saying that.”
— Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, introducing the president of Kyrgyzstan at a State Department event.
- Hillary and Julia from their bilateral on Tuesday.
- If you’re a Hillary fan who can’t get enough of all things Hill and missed my essays from earlier this week, knock yourself out. One is the mischievously titled Hillary: Warmonger and the other is Women, Workers, and The Sisterhood.
- My response to Rand Paul’s hypocritical libertarian rant on “choice” (choice of toilet, that is). Shorter Wonk: I hope Rand has a working garbage disposal, because he sure talks a lot of trash.
- See here for RH Reality Check’s exhaustive coverage of the latest developments from yesterday. Also, Minkoff Minx wrote to her Georgia state representative, Stephen Allison (R-8) and received a letter from Rep. Allison that you might find of interest. Scroll to the end of the post to see it.
- My $0.02 on Allison’s response: The excuse that the most draconian of these bills will never pass is baloney. The rise of mini-Stupaks in states across the country has built up a momentum in the war against women, and that momentum is helping to get other horrible versions of these bills passed. Furthermore, the preponderance of such nonsense legislation clearly indicates a concerted effort to use women and their civil rights as a tool of division and distraction from the economy, degrading those rights in the process and blocking unfettered access to reproductive healthcare for women–all women. The rich will get their safe abortions on demand one way or another, and we all know it.
Tired of hearing about Charlie Sheen?
- Here’s the fix. At least on the Internet.
- Bernie Sanders introduces The Emergency Deficit Reduction Act. Sanders’ press release says the bill would a) create a 5.4% surtax on millionaires, yielding up to $50 billion annually for the US Treasury, and b) end tax breaks for Big Oil, yielding about $3.5 billion a year in new revenue. Thank you, Bernie Sanders!
- Krugman: Dumbing Deficits Down
- BBC News Magazine: Are call centres the factories of the 21st Century?
- Womancession/nifty graph pick of the week: Women Lead in Unpaid Work. Click graph for more info.
US Politics: 2012
- Nate Silver/NYT: Wisconsin Dispute Could Mobilize Democratic Base
- Andrew Leonard/Salon: Do rising gas prices spell doom for Obama?
- US News & World Report says wedge issues are back just in time for the 2012 electoral cycle. In other news… Water? Yep, wet as ever. (When did wedge issues ever leave?)
- Here’s a derivative piece if ever there was one… Cameron Lynch says Barack Obama is the “Surprisingly Silent President.” This echoes Ruth Marcus last week suddenly discovering that Obama is the “Where’s Waldo” president. Obama told America who he was from 2004 to 2008. The
creativeclueless class was too busy chattering away and creating “a different kind of politician” narrative to take note that Obama was telegraphing very clearly that he would make an indifferent kind of president.
- Have you read Glenn Greenwald’s takedown of the NYT editors and Andrew Sullivan yet? Glenzilla exposes the hypocrisy of their “Bush-tortured” defenses for Obama’s indefinite detention.
- Amnesty International petition to Secretary Gates and President Obama: End the punitive detention of Bradley Manning
- This next one is an amazing development. Via Laura Rozen over at her new Yahoo digs, The Envoy — Reporter: State Department official raps Pentagon treatment of Manning as “counterproductive and stupid.” We’re talking about PJ Crowley over at Hillary Clinton’s state department, y’all. He told that to veteran BBC reporter Philippa Thomas without thinking twice. Thomas blogged about it here.
- Required Reading for all Liberals: Lynn Parramore’s Torture: The Movie (via New Deal 2.0) and Margaret Kimberly’s Peace Prize Torture (via Black Agenda Report).
- Adam Serwer (via the American Prospect) has an important read up that puts it all in perspective… Good Cop, Bad Cop: “On counterterrorism, the only difference between Republicans and Obama is rhetorical.”
Disaster in Japan and Elsewhere
- Foreign Policy’s The Cable: Crowley deleted tweet comparing Middle East ‘tsunami’ to Japan crisis.
(Also, Crowley confirmed his comments about Manning to The Cable:”What I said was my personal opinion. It does not reflect an official USG policy position. I defer to the Department of Defense regarding the treatment of Bradley Manning.”)
- See the NYT’s photojournalism blog — Lens — for dramatic shots of the devastation from the 8.9 quake and tsunami in Japan, as well as other harrowing pictures from around the world yesterday, that tell the story of tragedy and strife.
- “The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century. Human beings have fabricated the illusion that in the 21st century they have the technological prowess to be independent of nature. Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less dependent on nature’s services in a world of close to seven billion people.”
–Achim Steiner, the executive director of UN Environment Programme
This Day in History (March 12)
- First fireside chat: “It is your problem no less than it is mine. Together we cannot fail.” –FDR, 1933 (even FDR sounds like he’s saying Solidarity forever!)
What Kind of Liberal are You?
- Take the quiz. I’m a “Working Class Warrior.” How about you?
- I mostly linked to this silly quiz so I could share this priceless bumper sticker quote from the first question: “May the fetus you save be gay.”
Song of Protest for Saturday
Extra verse added to the PPM version: “Show me the famine, show me the frail, eyes with no future that show how we failed, and I’ll show you the children with so many reasons why there but for fortune, go you or I.”
- Also see Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune, and check for a screening near you.
I’m turning the Saturday reads over to you in the comments… Take the quiz and let us know how you score, share a song, link us to what’s on your blogging list this weekend…and have a great day!
[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Taylor Marsh and Liberal Rapture]
Saturday Sequel: Solidarity from across These United StatesPosted: February 26, 2011 Filed under: morning reads | Tags: 50 state solidarity, collective bargaining, FDR, Frances Perkins, GOP hearts Coolidge, jazz, Mother Jones, Obama Hearts Reagan, public workers, rightwing canards, sisterhood 41 Comments
Good morning, news junkies!
Last Saturday, I rounded up some headlines state-by-state, in solidarity. Well, it’s time to supersize: This Saturday is set for a 50-State Solidarity March. MoveOn.org has organized gatherings, dubbed “Rally to Save the American Dream,” in front of every statehouse and in every major city, at noon local time today, to stand in solidarity with the workers of Wisconsin.
I don’t know about you, but a 50-state solidarity has my attention in a way that Dr. Dean’s 50-state strategy–to court “socially conservative economic moderates”–never did.
I’m not the biggest fan of MoveOn, given their timidity in the age of Obama, but if today’s rallies are the start of a concerted effort by everyone involved to–as Krugman and Wells put it at the start of the year–“delink their political fate from Obama,” then more power to ’em.
Okay, so let me get started with my offerings to go with your morning brew.
New Deal 2.0’s Lynn Parramore put out a great read this week about Coolidge, Reagan, and Governor Walker, in response to the revisionist anti-union propaganda being promulgated by Amity Shlaes and other rightwing hacks.
Shlaes’ narrative is a hoot. According to this rightwing propaganda, Coolidge put himself on the national map by crushing unions and firing striking police officers in Massachusetts, which turned him into a hero and real man of the people. Soon enough Coolidge becomes Harding’s VP (Shlaes says that like it’s a good thing!) and then president himself. Union membership went down, and so did joblessness… apparently the birds started singing, the sun was shining…as Parramore quips, the way Shlaes tells it, it was “Morning in America” again. Thus, the code words “Boston Police” cemented the American principle that union causes do not trump others.
Are these people insane?
The money quote from Parramore’s response to Shlaes:
Coolidge got to the White House for crushing unions, where he slept ten hours a day and hopped on and off a mechanical horse in his underpants and a cowboy hat.
Here’s what America got: the Great Depression.
Between Shlaes and Glenn Beckistan, I wonder how much more warped the conservative reading of history is going to get. I’m sure it can *get* much worse, since there is no depth they won’t sink to (for the latest proof on that, see the Nebraska bill that would effectively legalize murder of abortion providers).
Still, it’s hard to imagine *how* their reading can get much worse. Harding and Coolidge were horrible presidents, remembered for corruption and corporate cronyism. The Harding and Coolidge “prosperity” of the roaring twenties existed side-by-side with quiet desperation, evidenced by the growing phenomenon of Hoovervilles. Is this really the history the right wanted to remind us of while we watch the current-day battle over unions play out? If the Republican overreach to annihilate public worker unions is astonishing, the conservative attempts to brand this move as Coolidgesque are utterly inexplicable.
(Then again, we live in an era where creative class progressives–the operative word there being creative–think Obama, an ostensibly Democratic president, being Reagan’s true heir is something to brag about. I’m reminded here too of the Heritage Foundation’s newfound interest in heeding the admonitions of FDR. We live in topsy-turvy times. But, more on that later.)
Parramore goes on to say:
Intuiting correctly that the public may not be on their side in this battle, conservatives have relentlessly pushed the deceptive idea that public employees enjoy higher salaries and better benefits than their private-sector counterparts. But this has been widely debunked. Careful research has shown that when you adjust for skill levels, public sector workers are not overpaid relative to private sector pay scales.
It’s the age old scapegoat story of the Little Guy falling for the lie that everything is the fault of the even Littler Guy, while the Too Big to Fails laugh all the way to the bank.
More from Parramore:
Governor Walker says he’s fighting for ordinary Americans. So why does he want to require unions to re-certify every year, but we don’t hear a peep about corporations being required to renew their charters every year? Why does he want to control the salaries of public employees, but doesn’t have any interest in controlling the salaries of grossly overcompensated corporate CEOs? Why does he call for sacrifices from hard-working people who have been screwed by the economy through no fault of their own, and none from the financiers who caused the crisis?
Maybe it’s because he has quite a bit in common with Coolidge and Reagan after all. In Reagan’s case, as in Coolidge’s, union-busting led to some of the biggest peacetime income re-distributions in modern history. Democracy got weaker, oligopolies got stronger, the rich got richer, and the rest of us got left behind.
I was born a couple months after Reagan took office, so all I’ve ever seen is “democracy getting weaker, oligopolies growing stronger, the rich getting richer, and the rest of us getting left behind.”
Except, of course, for that dreadful “pause” called the “Clinton nineties.” I so much prefer Obama’s rewinding back to Reagan over that icky pausing thing. Thanks for that,
creative clueless class!
But, I digress. Parramore concludes:
The real lesson from Coolidge and Reagan is this: If Governor Walker and his Republican friends are allowed to crush the public unions, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
My takeaway from all of this is if Republicans want to follow in the footsteps of Coolidge and the Democrats want to follow in the footsteps of Reagan, perhaps we should all just call our efforts to secure all these human ‘luxuries’ we’ve been fighting for (i.e. jobs, food, shelter, education, healthcare, collective bargaining, etc.) a real nice try, declare it’s time for an “orderly transition,” and get in line at our local soup kitchens. Why prolong the inevitable. We need to do this as orderly as possible so we can ensure maximum “stability” for the too-big-to-fails!
Sorry to get so sardonic on a solidarity Saturday, but this is what we’re up against. We’re only to listen to FDR when it’s to crush unions, and both wings (D and R) of our Corporate party are chasing the corporate welfare ghosts of Coolidge and Reagan. It’s a good thing the Oscars are tomorrow, because bread and circuses is all we have left.
Anyhow, be sure to read the rest of Parramore’s piece when you get a chance. It’s a meaty and satisfying read.
There’s more, so go get your morning cuppa refilled, and then click to continue.
Sunday Reads: “Icy Ice” and other thingsPosted: February 6, 2011 Filed under: Barack Obama, just because, Media | Tags: Eleanor Roosevelt, FDR, Texas Blackouts, winter storm 26 Comments
Good Sunday Morning,I have been very busy working on the blog site, so if these links are a bit repetitive, I apologize. Well, here your reads for today.
Have you seen this? It seems that Wisner, the envoy Obama sent to Egypt to speak to Mubarak, has been…cough…let go. BBC News – Egypt unrest: US disowns envoy comment on Hosni Mubarak
Mr Wisner, a former ambassador to Egypt, was sent by President Obama to Cairo on Monday, apparently to urge Mr Mubarak to announce his departure.
“We need to get a national consensus around the pre-conditions for the next step forward. The president must stay in office to steer those changes,” he told the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.
“I believe that President Mubarak’s continued leadership is critical – it’s his chance to write his own legacy.
“He has given 60 years of his life to the service of his country, this is an ideal moment for him to show the way forward.”
But in Washington, state department spokesman PJ Crowley said: “We have great respect for Frank Wisner and we were deeply appreciative of his willingness to travel to Egypt last week.”
“He has not continued in any official capacity following the trip. The views he expressed today are his own. He did not co-ordinate his comments with the US government.”
With all the praise that we heard about Wisner, it seems strange that he would make a statement about supporting Mubarak without the Administration knowing about it. Then the late coming announcement of Crowley, that Wisner has been fired. For most of the evening Saturday, I heard the US media talk about the effect this has had on the Egyptian protesters. The building of anti-American sentiment. I guess I am too tired to make anything more of it. I would like to hear what you all think about it.
West Backs Gradual Egyptian Transition – NYTimes.com
The United States and leading European nations on Saturday threw their weight behind Egypt’s vice president, Omar Suleiman, backing his attempt to defuse a popular uprising without immediately removing President Hosni Mubarak from power.