An old organizing vehicle, the union, has recently come on the scene in a new guise that promises to shake up the political process. Specifically, it is a new union for the unemployed (and underemployed), known by its nickname, UCubed.
It’s been only a month that a union for the unemployed has come into existence through an ingenious grass-roots organizing campaign. In case you haven’t heard about it, the union’s name is “UR Union of the Unemployed” or its nickname, “UCubed,” because of its unique method of organizing.
In an alternate, bizzarro universe, things have worked out very differently in the health care reform debate: President Obama is preparing to sign legislation that includes making Medicare available to all, stringent insurance industry regulations and the ability for Americans to import cheaper medications from abroad.
In this same alternate reality, lobbyists for insurance and pharmaceutical corporations are busy persuading their clients that this compromise represents a "win", even though it will cost them billions of dollars in lost revenue. In the editorial pages of the Washington Post, Aetna’s CEO defends the President and Democratic party leaders for failing to deliver for his industry, citing the intractability of rogue Senators and arcane rules surrounding the filibuster. “In his heart of hearts,” the CEO writes, “President Obama really understands the concerns of our fellow insurance corporations and has done his best within the realm of the possible”.
Back in the real world, that would never happen, of course.
This article originally appeared at Alternet.org
Barack Obama told Oprah last year that he deserved a “B+” for his first year in office. If he were being more honest, he’d give himself a “C.”
I’ve been willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt simply because he is not George W. Bush. The Bush presidency was a Haley’s Comet of badness, the sort of presidency that America can survive only because it occurs once every 80 years. The only historical events comparable to the Bush presidency are Herbert Hoover’s and James Buchanan’s.
All the same, Obama has not had a stellar start. In fact, I’d argue that the most disappointing part of the Obama presidency so far has been its ordinariness. Despite a lot of initial progressive hype, Barack Obama campaigned as an establishment Beltway Democrat and so far has governed no differently.
Are you concerned about the country’s large budget deficits? Are you wondering how we are going to pay for two wars, bank bailouts and economic recovery projects while continuing to maintain our roads and bridges and pay for our schools and police and firefighters? Are you wondering what we can do about the great concentration of wealth and income into the hands of a very few at the top?
There are so many budget problems. It would be so nice if we could just go back to a simpler time.
Well there is something we can do to solve most of these problems in one fell swoop. We really can just go back to a simpler time. Why don’t we just go back to the income tax structure that we had back when budgets were balanced, our infrastructure was maintained, our schools were good, the economy grew at a nice, fast clip and the middle class knew that their incomes would grow steadily? What I am suggesting is that we just return the income and corporate tax rates to where they were during the Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations.
Visitors to this website are encouraged to send us their thoughts, ideas and questions through our feedback form. This morning, we received a message that is typical of much of the rhetoric coming out of the "Tea Party" camp.
What gives you people the idea you have the right to control the American People by passing laws that go against the Constitution. We the people control our own lives and the Federal Goverment dosen't have the power to control what we eat or what car we drive or where we live. Get off you high minded self or we the people will vote everyone you support out of elected office and restore our rights. We Tea Party Patriot's will take back our country by peaceful means. I love my country.
Sometimes these messages are a little mysterious -- I have no idea what laws this gentleman was talking about, nor what rights he feels have been stripped away. Still, we respond to everyone who writes in, so I took a few minutes and wrote this message:
“Centrist” Democrats opposing a government-run public health insurance plan have seemingly forgotten the first rule of crafting public policy – namely, that the policy should be popular with the public.
First, some background: because both the Obama White House and Democratic leaders deemed a single-payer system too politically risky and difficult to implement, they settled on a mandatory insurance plan that would provide government subsidies to Americans who couldn’t afford to buy health insurance on the private market. The insurance companies generally favored this scheme because it would guarantee them tens of millions of new customers who had previously been priced out of the market.
Even though mandatory health insurance is essentially a way to pay off private insurers in order to attain universal health care coverage, most legislators don’t simply want to hand them a blank check. This is why progressives have insisted on a public option to compete with health insurance corporations.
White House Garden Won't Make Up for Obama's Nomination of Pesticide Lobbyist for US Chief Agriculture Negotiator
(This article orginally appeared at Alternet.org)
Barack Obama came to power by calling for a change in politics as usual, but he's not delivering on that promise. While his rhetoric is a breath of fresh air compared to the inflammatory and often dishonest statements of politicians past, his actions don't live up to his promise of change. In classic politician form, Obama has placated advocates of sustainable agriculture by planting an organic garden and appointing Kathleen Merrigan to the number two spot at the USDA while simultaneously pursuing a rather unsustainable agenda. Obama's own statements about food and agriculture trend moderate to progressive, but his nominations for top positions in his administration tell a different story.
An Ask Kate question:
Please read this article on the efforts of Secretary of State Clinton: "Clinton Makes Women's Economic Power, Security Key Policy Goals." I am wondering what we can do to help? --Helen
The attention Secretary of State Clinton was able to get for women's legal and social rights, as discussed in this article, exemplifies what women can do when they are in leadership positions and when they have the courage and determination to take action.
But we don't have to be Secretary of State to make a difference. The kinds of things all of us can do to improve the status of women in our country and around the world are: get informed, speak out, take political and personal action, and provide financial support. Here are some suggestions: