Saturday, February 14, 2009

We Must Take the Fight to the Right and Win--Tell President Obama!


Now that predictably the Republican Right has publicly chumped Obama, his administration, and most importantly the American people (i.e. the rest of us) in the most lewd, crude, and contemptuous manner possible maybe now Barack will finally grow some political cojones and move far away from genuflecting before the maniacal rightwing PIMPMOBILE in the highly compromised name of "cooperation." It's way past time now for all of us to finally face down these greedy rightwing criminals, hustlers, and thieves masquerading as a legitimate political party and openly fight for social, economic, and political justice (and the real power to determine the course of our own lives on every single level of civil society from the electoral system to the streets). This means "taking no shorts" when it comes to our own political clarity, committment, and independence as citizens. This also means of course relentlessly holding Obama, his administration, and the Democratic Party fully accountable and responsible for everything they do as well as completely rejecting the coercive ideological and political straitjacket of the Republican Party and all of their many public surrogates and flunkies...


"Dare to Struggle, Dare To Win"

February 14, 2009

Bipartisanship Isn’t So Easy, Obama Sees


WASHINGTON — On the day before the big vote, President Obama took a freshman Republican member of Congress aboard Air Force One to visit Illinois. Before an audience in Representative Aaron Schock’s district, Mr. Obama praised him as “a very talented young man” and expressed “great confidence in him to do the right thing for the people of Peoria.”

But when Mr. Schock stood up on the House floor on Friday, less than 24 hours later, his view of the right thing for the people of Peoria was to vote against the most important initiative of Mr. Obama’s young presidency.

“They know that this bill is not stimulus,” Mr. Schock, 27, said of his constituents. “They know that this bill will not do anything to create long-term, sustained economic growth.”

Whatever it will do for the economy, the legislation that passed Friday will clearly not do anything to create long-term, sustained bipartisan reconciliation. Not one Republican voted for Mr. Obama’s plan in the House and just three voted for it in the Senate as it headed to final passage on Friday night. The party-line schism, coupled with the withdrawal on Thursday of a Republican senator, Judd Gregg, as a nominee to Mr. Obama’s cabinet, made clear the futility so far of the president’s effort to move Washington toward post-partisanship.

Their unrequited overtures to Republicans over the past several weeks taught Mr. Obama and his aides some hard lessons. Advisers concluded that they allowed the measure of bipartisanship to be defined as winning Republican votes rather than bringing civility to the debate, distracting attention from what have otherwise been major legislative victories. Although Mr. Obama vowed to keep reaching out to Republicans, advisers now believe the environment will probably not change in coming months.

Rather than forging broad consensus with Republicans, the Obama advisers said they would have to narrow their ambitions and look for discrete areas where they might build temporary coalitions based on regional interests rather than party, as on energy legislation. They said they would also turn to Republican governors for support — a tactic that showed promise during the debate over the economic package — even if they found few Republican allies in Washington.

And they laid out plans to get Mr. Obama out of Washington more so he could preserve his image as a reformer and use his popularity to rally public pressure on lawmakers to go along with his program. After spending his first three weeks as president in Washington, Mr. Obama hit the road this week with stops in Indiana, Florida and Illinois. Next week he will travel to Colorado and Arizona.

“He’s committed to getting out of town at least once a week,” said David Axelrod, the White House senior adviser. “It’s easy to get cloistered and get carried away by the tat-tat-tat of insider palaver. That’s not what’s important. What’s important is what’s going on in people’s lives.”

The polarized vote on Capitol Hill, Mr. Axelrod added, should not obscure the “enormous achievement” of passing a $787 billion economic program, the largest of its kind in generations.

“Yes, we’ve learned some lessons from this,” Mr. Axelrod said. “But primarily we’re happy with the way it turned out.”

More experienced Washington hands said the White House had been unrealistic to expect to win much Republican support.

“I’m not sure I would describe it as naïve, but wishful thinking,” said John D. Podesta, a former White House chief of staff who ran Mr. Obama’s transition and still informally advises his team.

The White House will be able to “pick off” individual Republicans on individual issues, Mr. Podesta predicted, but will not be able to change the calculation made by the opposition party to be in opposition.

“What would make it change?” Mr. Podesta asked, referring to the Republican determination to challenge Mr. Obama. “If you’re going to do this at the moment of greatest need, at the height of his popularity, what sort of thing would get you to change?”

The lesson, Democrats said, is that it is not so important to win bipartisan support as long as Mr. Obama is seen by the public as trying.

Each side will try to impose a price on the other. Democrats have begun a radio advertising campaign in the districts of 28 House Republicans, calling them “out of step.” Republicans are responding next week with radio advertisements in the districts of 30 Democrats, accusing them of “wasteful Washington spending.”

Mr. Obama is the third president in a row to arrive in Washington promising to work across the aisle, only to trip over it instead. Bill Clinton’s economic plan in 1993 passed without a single Republican vote, setting the tone for years of partisan warfare. George W. Bush vowed to change the tone, but his disputed election in 2000 engendered deep bitterness, and though he won some Democratic support on some of his early initiatives, he quickly found himself facing intense opposition.

Mr. Obama tried to overcome that history, going to Capitol Hill to meet with the Republican caucuses, calling Republican lawmakers and inviting three Republicans into his cabinet. But Republicans dismissed that as more talk than action, complaining that he did not address their substantive complaints about the economic plan. The withdrawal of Mr. Gregg punctuated the sense that Mr. Obama had found the limits of bipartisanship.

The personal wooing would only go so far. When Mr. Schock was invited to fly to Peoria with Mr. Obama, he said in an interview that he made clear that he thought the economic measure was filled with spending that would not boost the economy.

“If you’re telling me that the only way I can get on Air Force One is to vote for the bill,” Mr. Schock recalled saying, “the answer is no.”

Mr. Schock was invited to ride anyway. And on Friday afternoon, he voted no.

Jeff Zeleny contributed reporting.
Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company


I just read the following letter below on "The Fabulous Williams Sisters" messageboard by a brother from Toledo, Ohio whose board name is "Makare." The message is wonderfully self explanatory. Please check it out if you're so inclined...Words of wisdom indeed...


'PEARLS BEFORE SWINE': Open Letter from a brother who knows and cares


I was driving with my son through the Poconos on my way to Connecticut to see my relatives
when two motorcycles pulled in front of us. It was raining, the road was slippery, and one of the cycles flipped over and the driver hit the pavement hard. We pulled over and rushed to help the guy.

I could see he was knocked out and I wanted to administer some kind of respiratory relief
but his leather jacket was so tightly on him I couldn't get it loose.

It appeared to be restricting his airflow and choking him. I asked his partner to help me loosen his clothes because I thought he was dying.

The guy (White guy) just glared at me and stood there frozen. He would not lift a finger.
I, finally, got his jacket loose and as I did a great rush of breathe came from him
and he woke up and said, "thank you". His partner still just stood there glaring at me.
I walked away and got in my car and left them there since I realized that the fallen rider was okay.

What I learned or rather what I already knew and it was reinforced by the experience is the nature of racism in America. A White man would rather die or let his best friend die than accept help from a Black man, especially if by accepting that help he must relenquish his hatred and belief in the inferiority of a Black man.

This is what Obama is experiencing from the Republicans.

They are terrified at what this man is able to do.

They cannot accept it or acknowledge it in their consciousness.

Logic has no place in their mentallity.

To embrace the possibility that Obama can improve their lives with the actions of his Presidency
is not a concept that they can ever accept.

They would rather destroy their own party and let the country go into The Great Depression ll
than support his efforts.

The only position they can envision is the Rush Limbaugh mantra, "I hope he fails".

Yes, that means "I hope America fails if it means a Black man must save us".

If Barack Obama fed the multitudes with a loaf of bread and a fish;
walked on water;
raised the dead;
healed the sick;
made the blind to see again;
and parted the Red Sea by raising his blackberry
it would not be enough to convince myopic Republicans that their salvation was at hand.

It would be well that Barack Obama heeds the words of one, Jesus of Nazareth, when he said:

"Give not that which is holy unto dogs,
neither cast ye your pearls before swine,
lest they trample them under their feet,
and turn again and rend you."

Good words to live by, Barack.



60 TO 38





Republican Party Sabotages Obama's Economic Stimulus Bill


The economic stimulus bill passes but it has still been hijacked, sabotaged, and considerably weakened by the reactionary Republicans who, as a result of Democratic Party "compromises" in the Senate (where the DP is two votes short of having a 60-40 majority and thus are always subjected to a potential filibuster by the Republicans) have cut over nearly 100 billion dollars of the original bill that Obama and the House Democrats wrote and sponsored, including over 50 billion dollars for direct financial aid to individual states that are greatly suffering economically, and nearly another 50 billion for schools, employment and healthcare benefits, and housing. So much for all the rhetorical bullshit about "bipartisanship." Obviously if the President and the Dems in the House and Senate don't push the Republican right aside and impose their and OUR collective political will on them, the American rightwing will continue to obstruct, sabotage, and destroy any and all vestiges of progressive/radical legislation, and thus continue to hold us all hostage to their utterly destructive and oppressive agenda.

So if there is anything resembling a real, authentic, ORGANIZED American Left 'out there' in the general society NOW is the time to ACT. Mere talk alone is cheap and clearly insufficient-- if not irrelevant-- at this very late date in history. Man (and woman) your battle stations folks. This is real ideological and political war...


February 14, 2009
Stimulus Bill Passes in the House With No G.O.P. Support
New York Times

WASHINGTON — The House approved a $787 billion economic stimulus package Friday afternoon, with Democrats successfully promoting it as a boost for middle-class Americans and Republicans countering in vain that it will only stimulate wasteful government spending.

The vote was 246 to 183, reflecting the Democrats’ considerable majority in the House and the Republicans’ deep dissatisfaction with the measure, whose estimated price tag has fluctuated daily and was finally placed at $787 billion on Friday. Not a single Republican voted in favor of the bill.

The bill was immediately sent to the Senate, where Democrats described it as essential, whatever its faults, and most Republicans described it as an irresponsible exercise in big spending. The Senate was expected to vote on the final legislation Friday evening, clearing the way for the paperwork to go to President Obama, who is eager to sign the measure.

The bill is not perfect, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut who votes with the Democrats, said on Friday afternoon, but “it will stop the slide of our economy.”

Republicans continued to complain, however, that, whatever the bill’s original purpose, it had been stuffed by Democrats with “anything they wanted,” as Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, put it.

“We all understand the economy is in crisis,” Mr. Cornyn said. But he was among numerous Republicans who said they would vote “no” rather than endorse a bloated bill that will be paid for by future generations of taxpayers.

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, countered by alluding to the deficits that accumulated during the Bush administration and asking rhetorically, “Where were my colleagues on the other side of the aisle for the last eight years?”There was no suspense about the outcome earlier Friday in the House, since the Democrats hold a 255-to-178 advantage in the chamber.

"After all the debate, this legislation can be summed up in one word: Jobs," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said. "The American people need action and they need action now."

But Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House minority leader, lamented that a bill that was supposed to be about “jobs, jobs, jobs” had turned into one that was about “spending, spending, spending.”

“We owe it to the people to get this bill right,” Mr. Boehner said.

President Obama and Democrats in Congress contend the package will create or save 3.5 million jobs. In the Senate, the support of a few centrist Republicans has been essential to the prospects of the stimulus package because 60 votes are necesssary for passage.

In the House, the real suspense was how many, if any, Republicans would vote for the bill; none did two weeks ago, when the House approved its initial version of the legislation. Seven Democrats joined 176 Republicans in opposing the bill on Friday.

“The country needs this package,” said Representative David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who is chairman of the Appropriations Committee. “I think we ought to get on with it.”

But the committee’s ranking Republican, Jerry Lewis of California, asserted that the program would do far too little to finance road construction, flood control projects and other works for the public good.

“Facts are stubborn things,” Mr. Lewis said, describing the package as a recipe for bloated government programs that would saddle taxpayers with a debt burden “well, well into the future.”

The legislation is the product of negotiations between the House and Senate, which had favored a somewhat larger stimulus. The final package ended up considerably smaller than either the House or Senate had originally approved.

President Obama, speaking at the White House to the Business Council, an association of chief executives, described the vigorous debate leading to the votes in Congress as “a good thing.”

“Diverse viewpoints are the lifeblood of our democracy, and debating these viewpoints is how we learn from each other’s perspective and refine our approaches,” Mr. Obama said. The president said the program nearing passage would benefit not only middle-class families but “will also provide sensible tax relief to business that are trying to make payroll and create jobs.”

But as debate in the House went on, it was clear that the gulf between Democrats and Republicans was as wide as ever.

Representative Charles B. Rangel, the New York Democrat who is chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said the legislation would offer “hope not only for those people who are jobless, but hopeless.”

But Representative Dave Camp of Michigan, the committee’s ranking Republican, complained that Republicans had been “frozen out” by Democrats. “Most important, the American people were frozen out,” he said. “Record me as a ‘no’ on this legislation.”

David M. Herszenhorn contributed reporting.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company


There's obviously a great deal of intense political WORK and ORGANIZING to be done and We, the People, are going to have to do it--whether we want to or not. In other words: STRUGGLE is the watchword. Anything less than that is BULLSHIT...


"Dare To Struggle, Dare To Win"

Stimulus Plan Receives Final Approval in Congress
February 13, 2009
New York Times

Congress on Friday approved a $787 billion economic stimulus measure, meeting the crushing mid-February deadline that Democrats had set for adopting the centerpiece of President Obama’s early agenda but without quelling partisan divisions in Washington. Not a single House Republican voted for the bill.

The House vote was 246 to 183, with just 7 Democrats joining all 176 Republicans in opposition. In the Senate, the vote, 60 to 38, was similarly partisan. Only 3 centrist Republicans joined 55 Democrats and 2 independents in favor.

The Senate finally adopted the bill at 10:47 p.m. after what appeared to be the longest Congressional vote in history. The peculiar 5-hour 17-minute process was required because Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, had to return to Washington from his home state after attending a funeral home visitation for his mother, who died Feb. 2.

Under a procedural deal between the parties, the bill needed 60 votes to pass. The vote began at 5:30 p.m., but from 7:07 p.m., when Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, cast his “aye,” the tally hung at 59 to 38, until Mr. Brown arrived.

Mr. Obama is expected to sign the bill on Monday.

Among the senators voting against it was Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, who withdrew this week as the president’s nominee for commerce secretary.

Despite the bill’s promise of increased unemployment benefits and new health care subsidies, as well as more than $100 billion in aid for states, House Republicans did not break rank. Even those from states hit hardest by the recession opposed the bill, in a rebuke of the new president.

During the debate, the Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, angrily dropped the 1,073-page bill text to the floor with a thump, as he accused Democrats of failing to read the legislation.

“The president made clear when we started this process that this was about jobs,” Mr. Boehner said after the vote. “Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. And what it’s turned into is nothing more than spending, spending and more spending.”

The $787 billion plan — a combination of fast-acting tax cuts and longer-term government spending on public works projects, education, health care, energy and technology — was smaller than Democrats first proposed. But, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, more than 74 percent of the money will be spent within the next 18 months, a relatively rapid pace that could determine whether the plan succeeds.

The House voted in the afternoon, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democrats cheered on the floor. Ms. Pelosi handed out chocolate bars to her committee chairmen, a gift to her from Steven A. Ballmer, the chairman of Microsoft. The label showed a picture of the Capitol and read, “A stimulus package we can all sink our teeth into.”

At a news conference, Ms. Pelosi and her top lieutenants praised Mr. Obama for completing the legislation so quickly.

“The president requested swift, bold action,” Ms. Pelosi said. “The American people are feeling a great deal of pain. They have uncertainty about their jobs, about health care, about the ability to pay for the education of their children, and sad to say in our great country, even to put food on the table. And today we have passed legislation that does take that swift, bold action on their behalf.”

Just four weeks into Mr. Obama’s presidency, the Democrats boasted that they had already approved three major bills: a measure to curb pay-discrimination against women in the workplace, a broad expansion of the state children’s health insurance program and the stimulus.

“We have yet to pass the 30th day of this administration,” said the House majority leader, Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland. “And we have passed historic legislation.”


Mr. President,

It's long past time to take that iron fist out of your velvet glove and wage a concerted, disciplined, focused, and relentless ATTACK on the nefarious and contemptuous Republican Party and everything they stand for. Your national and global agenda is far too important, necessary, and valuable to simply placate the Repubican Party and their endless reactionary minions. Clearly, their rancid and destructive game is to absolutely DESTROY you and your administration and the signs are EVERYWHERE that their brazen performance over the first three weeks of your Presidency is only the mere surface of a gigantic political iceberg that the rightwing in this country fully intends to crack wide open and DROWN you and everything you stand for in the frozen sea below.

DON'T LET THEM DO IT!! FIGHT BACK! AND I MEAN HARD--WITH EVERYTHING IN YOUR PRESIDENTIAL KITBAG! You and the Democratic Party and the rest of the entire progressive American citizenry who support you are simply going to have to bulldoze your programs through if necessary because if you don't and you simply roll over and make meaningless accomodations and empty "compromises" the Right will blow you and your administration away for good. The ONLY THING these demagogues care about are the congressional elections of 2010 and the next presidential election in 2012. THEY'RE BETTING EVERY SINGLE CHIP OF THEIR DWINDLING POLITICAL CAPITAL ON THOSE OBJECTIVES ALONE. THEY DON'T GIVE A FLYING FUCK ABOUT THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF THE LARGER SOCIETY!

You and we can stop their thuggish bullying, lying, and propagandistic manipulation by STANDING ON PRINCIPLE, FIGHTING FOR WHAT'S RIGHT, AND ABSOLUTELY REFUSING TO BACK DOWN.

SO DO IT Mr. President. You need it. Your agenda needs it. And most importantly WE, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, NEED IT.

Meanwhile the vicious BULLSHIT continues...


February 13, 2009

Judd Gregg Withdraws as Commerce Nominee
New York Times

WASHINGTON - President Obama's choice for commerce secretary, Senator Judd Gregg, withdrew his nomination on Thursday, saying there were "irresolvable conflicts" between him and the administration.

"It has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the Census there are irresolvable conflicts for me," Mr. Gregg said in a statement. "Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns. We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy."

At a Washington news conference soon after his statement was issued, Mr. Gregg said it had become clear that he had made a mistake in accepting the president's offer to join the cabinet. "That was my mistake, not his," the senator said, adding that he admired President Obama and the team he has assembled.

"Bottom line," he concluded, "this is simply a bridge too far for me."

Mr. Gregg said that the Census had been "only a slight issue" in his decision to withdraw. Nevertheless, the Census has been a big issue between Republicans and Democrats for years, and Mr. Gregg has been involved in the dispute. A decade ago, he resisted efforts by President Bill Clinton to increase financing for the 2000 Census.The abrupt withdrawal comes one week after Mr. Gregg was selected to be the third Republican member of the Obama cabinet. And he is the second nominee for commerce secretary to withdraw.

Moments after the stunning announcement, Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, issued a statement that Mr. Gregg had "reached out to the president and offered his name for secretary of commerce."

"He was very clear throughout the interviewing process that despite past disagreements about policies, he would support, embrace, and move forward with the President's agenda," Mr. Gibbs said. "Once it became clear after his nomination that Senator Gregg was not going to be supporting some of President Obama's key economic priorities, it became necessary for Senator Gregg and the Obama administration to part ways."

Although Mr. Gregg, a Republican of New Hampshire, had not resigned his Senate seat, he has been away from the Senate floor this week - presumably preparing for his confirmation hearings - and he did not vote on the administration's $789 billion economic stimulus plan agreed on by the House and Senate.

Last Tuesday during a brief ceremony at the White House, Mr. Gregg stood by Mr. Obama as the president touted his nominee as a fiscal conservative who could help "shore up our financial system and revitalize our economy."

The president selected Mr. Gregg exactly two months after he nominated his first choice for commerce secretary, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who withdrew from consideration because of a federal investigation into state contracts. It was the first of several controversies surrounding the president's top nominees.

In announcing his withdrawal, Mr. Gregg released a statement through his Senate office. The surprising move was not announced by the White House, although aides said the president had been informed of Mr. Gregg's decision.

"Obviously the President requires a team that is fully supportive of all his initiatives," Mr. Gregg said in a statement. "I greatly admire President Obama and know our country will benefit from his leadership, but at this time I must withdraw my name from consideration for this position."

He added: "As a further matter of clarification, nothing about the vetting process played any role in this decision. I will continue to represent the people of New Hampshire in the United States Senate."

The once-a-decade Census has enormous implications, both social and political. It is used to distribute federal money to states and cities based on population, and it is used to redraw Congressional districts - determining how many seats in the House of Representatives that growing states like California and Florida will pick up at the expense of states whose populations are relatively stagnant.

The Commerce Department under the Clinton administration wanted to use statistical sampling in the 2000 to arrive at population figures on which Congressional districting would be based. Republicans resisted furiously, arguing that only a true head count was proper. Political analysts believed that statistical sampling would help Democrats by adding more urban and minority people to the totals.

In early 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that the 2000 census had to be done by traditional head count as far as redistricting was concerned, but that sampling could be used for other purposes, like the distribution of federal money.

In recent days, Republicans have been upset by suspicions that the Obama White House might try to assert more direct control over the Census, a prospect they find troubling, given that the president's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is a former Democratic Congressman from Chicago.

Mr. Gregg's withdrawal was the latest blow for the White House, which has seen three cabinet nominees withdraw from consideration. In addition to the withdrawal of Mr. Richardson, former Senator Tom Daschle took his name from consideration to lead the Health and Human Services Department last week amid questions about his tax returns.

David Stout contributed reporting.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company