Thursday, November 11, 2010

Europe knows how to respond

Over 50,000 Students Protest in London over Planned Cuts to Education Funding

Europe knows how to respond when the government wants to drastically harm people's lives in order that the bankers can make more money.

An estimated 52,000 students took to the streets of London on Tuesday to protest government plans to increase university tuition fees while cutting higher education funding by 40 percent. The demonstration was one of the biggest student protests in decades and the largest turnout against the British government’s austerity measures that were announced last month. We speak with Johann Hari, a columnist for the London Independent.

Johann Hari ....
Now, we know from history that bad leaders can be stopped from doing even more terrible things by public pressure. You know, one of the examples I used is Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were both presented with programs—with proposals by the Pentagon to launch a nuclear strike on Vietnam. And we know from the classified minutes that have now been released, they didn’t do it, not because they thought it was a bad idea, but because, as Lyndon Johnson said it, "Can you tell me how long it would take for the protesters to break over the White House wall and lynch their president if I did that?" So we know very clearly from history, the more you protest, the more obstacles you put in the way of bad leaders doing terrible things. Now, I have no doubt all those Vietnam protesters who went out felt they had failed. And it’s true they couldn’t do enough to stop the killing of three million Vietnamese and 56,000 Americans. But those people who went home from that protest thinking they had failed had in fact prevented a nuclear war. I think that’s a really good example of how protest has effects that we may not realize at the time, but it has a huge ripple effect that can be very positive for years afterwards.

Obama needs to look out of his window and see a few million pissed off Americans.

And, next election, Obama and the Democrats need to see Americans moving away from their pro-war, pro-wall street political party. Haven't we had enough of this yet?

We need politicians that will look out for ordinary working Americans, instead of always doing whatever the Pentagon and Wall Street wants him to do.  And that sure as heck ain't the Democrats.

So we know very clearly from history, the more you protest, the more obstacles you put in the way of bad leaders doing terrible things.

And speaking of bad leaders doing terrible things, keep reading below.

The Real Obama

Now that the mid-term elections are done, and Obama and the Democrats can drop their fake pretensions of not being Republicans, we now see Obama's agenda.

-- Cut Social Security. He wants to raise the retirement age and cut cost of living increases.
-- Cut Medicare.
-- Cut corporate taxes
-- Leave the Bush tax cuts in place
-- Extend the war in Afghanistan by another three years.
-- End middle-class tax breaks.
-- Cut public television.

Obama Deficit Commission Criticized for Proposals to Slash Social Security, Medicare
Axelrod: Admin to Accept Extension of Bush Tax Cut for Wealthy
U.S. to Extend Afghan Pullout Deadline to 2014

Oh, the Democrats will run their usual scam, in that they'll say its those awful Republicans who are making them do this.

So, lets see. When Obama and the Democrats had both Houses of Congress, they did nothing. They didn't expand social security benefits, they didn't expand medicare, they didn't lower the retirement age. They didn't raise corporate taxes. They didn't end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama and the Democrats didn't even try to do any of these things. Basically, they kept the Bush era policies rolling along as best they could in the face of the mass public opposition that had elected the Democrats.

Now, the Republicans take control of one house of the Congress, and suddenly Obama turns over control of all policy to the Republicans. Remember how the Senate can block anything with a filibuster? Apparently Obama feels that the current majority in the Senate can't even slow down the Republican majority in the House.

The key thing to realize is that the Democrats do not oppose the Republicans. When the Republicans are in power, the Democrats don't filibuster and don't stop anything that the Republicans want to do. When the Democrats are in power, they protect Republican policies and then try to do their best to let the Republicans do whatever they want to do.

If you want to solve the deficit, here's a short list.
-- stop spending hundreds of billions of dollars every year on the wars. That's a sizeable percentage of the trillion dollar a year deficit.
-- Cut the trillion dollars a year that we spend on 'defense'. We spend more than the rest of the world combined on 'defense'.
-- Stop giving Wall Street trillions of dollars any time they ask for it.
-- End the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy.
-- Stop the Republican policies of always cutting corporate taxes.

Obama of course will try to duck the blame for this. But, he's the one who appointed Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles to lead a commission to cut the deficit. He picked a Republican who's always wanted to see anyone who's not a millionaire starving in the streets. And he picked a Democrat who's on the board of Morgan Stanley.

This might not be the final deal. But of course, today's Democrats who always stick it to working people will 'compromise' with the Republicans. So, they'll give the Republicans most of what they want. Then the Republicans will reject the deal, and then Obama will give them most of the rest of what the Republicans want. All of this will occur while Obama and the Democrats try to get everyone to believe the strange message that we need to vote Democrat to stop this. They'll be hoping that no one notices that we voted Democrat and this was what we got.

This is Obama and the modern Democrats. Get out your magnifying glass to try to tell the difference between Obama and Ronald Reagan and Herbert Hoover. And as usual, the Democrats were just lying their rears off in the last election, because they sure weren't spending millions of their wall street dollars telling the people that this is what the Democrats were going to do.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Democrats’ broken promises

The Democrats’ broken promises by Phil Gasper

What this picture leaves out is the social role of the Democratic Party and the interests that it ultimately serves. Politics is not a pure battle of ideas. It is a struggle between different social classes to defend and advance their interests and to determine who will control how society is run. While the Democrats have historically represented themselves as the party of working people and oppressed minorities, in reality they are tied to protecting the interests of corporate America and the capitalist system just as much as the Republicans are, despite their differences in ideology. It is this and not primarily a failure to craft the right message that explains the broken promises.

There is also one other crucial factor that Lakoff and others like him ignore. While consciousness has moved to the left in the United States, that has not yet cohered into a political movement that can mobilize large numbers of people to fight for a progressive agenda. In the absence of such a movement, there is no pressure on the Democratic Party to enact reforms that will benefit working-class Americans rather than big business. When such movements exist, as in the 1930s and 1960s, politics can shift very rapidly to the left. It is no coincidence that it was during these decades that the most important gains were made by workers, the poor, racial minorities, and other oppressed groups.

For those who are angry at the Democrats’ for their broken promises, the solution is not offering better ways of packaging the party’s message, but building an independent movement on the ground that can fight both for immediate reforms and pose the vision of a different kind of society in the future.