Daily Archives: September 12th, 2011

Progressive changes: Both movements – of the 1930s and the 1960s – were diverse, mass, militant and spontaneous as well as organized

Millions make change

September 2 2011

The two main eras of progressive change in our country in the last century were accompanied by a broad and spirited upsurge of people.

In the Depression years, a powerful people’s movement, in the forefront of which was the working class and its organized sector (trade unions), crystallized into a mighty force for social progress. It was the backbone of a series of people’s legislative victories – Social Security, unemployment insurance, welfare benefits, the right to organize into unions, etc.

Three decades later a movement led by Martin Luther King broke the back of legal segregation and enacted civil rights laws, while at the same time inspiring a host of popular struggles that followed on its heels.

Both movements – of the 1930s and the 1960s – were diverse, mass, militant and spontaneous as well as organized. Both combined political action and mass action. And both, as mentioned, were decisive to the change process specific to their era.

In other words, had they not been on the scene at the time, progressive change would either not have occurred or occurred in a much more limited way.

Which brings me to the present. Following the recent debt agreement between the president and the Republicans, progressive and left voices were critical of the administration. Many felt that it gave up too much and got little in return.

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US, Beware the consequences in Afghanistan: Blast from the Past

Written by Edward Girardet Wednesday, 07 September 2011

“The following article by Essential Edge co-editor Edward Girardet was published by the Christian Science Monitor on October 22, 2001, two weeks after the start of US and British bombing in Afghanistan. Despite warnings that military intervention would lead to new war, the Bush and Tony Blair administrations thought they knew best. Since then, their policies have proven disastrous killing almost as many US and NATO troops – not including the nearly 20,000 Afghans – as the number of victims  from the attacks of  9/11.”

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As Their States’ Bridges And Roads Crumble, GOP Leaders Remain Opposed To Infrastructure Investment

By Travis Waldron and Tanya Somanader on Sep 9, 2011 at 3:25 pm

“President Obama’s plan to kickstart the economy and put the American people back to work includes investing in the nation’s rapidly deteriorating infrastructure, which, as studies have shown, is in need of as much as $2 trillion in immediate investment just to bring it up to date. In the past, Republicans have agreed that infrastructure improvements are needed, but in the context of economic stimulus and in their effort to remain opposed to anything Obama offers, they have chosen to ignore the nation’s infrastructure and jobs crises. Unfortunately, that approach doesn’t mean either crisis will go away.

Republican leadership has continually blocked efforts by Obama and Congressional Democrats to invest in infrastructure improvements, and as a result, bridges and roadways in their states are crumbling. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, about 12 percent of the nation’s bridges are considered “structurally deficient,” the same rating given to the Minneapolis bridge that collapsed in 2007, killing 13 people. Roughly another 12 percent are considered “functionally obsolete.” In four of the five states represented by Republican congressional leadership, the rate of structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges outpaces the national average.”

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How ‘Small Government’ Conservatives Raise Your Taxes Through Stealthy Back-Door Fees

By Joshua Holland
AlterNet

From drivers’ licenses to public schools, state and local governments are raising money any way they can–all while cutting taxes on the rich.

Here’s a simple fact the Right would like you to ignore: cutting public spending doesn’t lead to fewer dollars being “taken out of your pocket” for the services government provides; it merely shifts those costs around, and often increases them.

When conservatives say, “I’m for lower taxes and fiscal responsibility,” what they really mean is that they favor cutting top marginal tax rates – those paid by a relatively wealthy few – capital gains taxes on investments, inheritance taxes and taxes on corporations. And to make up for those revenue losses, they are happy to run higher deficits and very quick to raise taxes on the rest of us.

At the federal level, they can and do finance some of the tax cuts they hand out to their patrons through deficit spending. That’s why Ronald Reagan increased the national debt by almost 14 percent per year, both Bushes upped it by around 10 percent annually and yet under Bill Clinton it increased by just 4.2 percent per year.

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If we want to reduce poverty, we have to stop doing the things that make people poor and keep them that way

“Today, the answer seems both more modest and more challenging: if we want to reduce poverty, we have to stop doing the things that make people poor and keep them that way. Stop underpaying people for the jobs they do. Stop treating working people as potential criminals and let them have the right to organize for better wages and working conditions.” ~ Barbara Ehrenreich

GOP Voted For $50 Billion To Rebuild Iraq Without Cuts, Now Insist On Cuts To Offset Funding To Rebuild America

By Tanya Somanader on Sep 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm

The recent unprecedented onslaughtof natural disasters has left already cash-strapped states with a record $36 billion in damages. Ten different natural disasters have struck in 2011. According to FEMA, damages from Hurricane Irene alone will cost at least $1.5 billion in disaster relief — and the hurricane season isn’t over.

This disastrous year is also the year that many Republican lawmakers have also decided to break precedent and demand that much-needed disaster relief be offset with cuts elsewhere in the federal budget.

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How 2 American Whistleblowers Allegedly Tortured in Iraq May Force Donald Rumsfeld to Pay for His Crimes

The U.S. Court of Appeals has refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Rumsfeld for creating policies that caused American civilians to be tortured in Iraq.

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1 Million Dead in Iraq? 6 Reasons the Media Hide the True Human Toll of War

……And Why We Let Them

By John Tirman

“As the U.S. war in Iraq winds down, we are entering a familiar phase, the season of forgetting—forgetting the harsh realities of the war. Mostly we forget the victims of the war, the Iraqi civilians whose lives and society have been devastated by eight years of armed conflict. The act of forgetting is a social and political act, abetted by the American news media. Throughout the war, but especially now, the minimal news we get from Iraq consistently devalues the death toll of Iraqi civilians.”

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