Archive for class warfare

ENTIRE VIDEO- Obama on income inequality, #Obamacare: "Tell us what you’d do differently," GOP.

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obama economic speech december 2013

Here are some excerpts from the video of President Obama's speech:

I believe this is the defining challenge of our time – making sure our economy works for every working American. It’s why I ran for President. ...It drives everything I do in this office.... And I am convinced that the decisions we make on these issues over the next few years will determine whether or not our children will grow up in an America where opportunity is real.

After all, the premise that we’re all created equal is the opening line in our American story. And while we don’t promise equal outcomes, we have strived to deliver equal opportunity – the idea that success doesn’t depend on being born into wealth or privilege, but on effort and merit...

When millions lived in poverty, FDR fought for Social Security, insurance for the unemployed, and a minimum wage.

When millions died without health insurance, LBJ fought for Medicare and Medicaid.

Together, we forged a New Deal, declared a War on Poverty, built a ladder of opportunity to climb and stretched out a safety net beneath so that if we fell, it wouldn’t be too far, and we could bounce back. As a result, America built the largest middle class the world has ever known. And for the three decades after World War II, it was the engine of our prosperity...

But when the music stopped, and the crisis hit, millions of families were stripped of whatever cushion they had left.

The result is an economy that has become profoundly unequal, and families that are more insecure. Since 1979, when I graduated from high school, our productivity is up more than 90%, but the income of the typical family has increased by less than eight percent. Since 1979, our economy has more than doubled in size, but most of that growth has flowed to a fortunate few. The top ten percent no longer takes in one-third of our income – it now takes half. Whereas in the past, the average CEO made about twenty to thirty times the income of the average worker, today’s CEO now makes 273 times more. Meanwhile, a family in the top 1% has a net worth 288 times higher than the typical family – a record for this country...

Just last week, the Pope himself spoke to it at eloquent length. “How can it be,” he wrote, “that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”...

The idea that so many children are born into poverty in the wealthiest nation on Earth is heartbreaking enough. The idea that she may never be able escape it because she lacks access to a decent education, or health care, or a community that views her future as their own should offend us all, and compel us to action. We are a better country than this.

So let me repeat – the combined trends of increasing inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe...

Finally, rising inequality and declining mobility are bad for our democracy. Ordinary folks can’t write massive campaign checks or hire high-priced lobbyists and lawyers to secure policies that tilt the playing field in their favor at everyone else’s expense. They get the foul taste that the system is rigged, and that increases cynicism, and polarization, and decreases the political participation that is a requisite part of our system of self-government...

[T]here’s the myth that this is a problem restricted to a small share of predominantly minority poor. It’s true that the painful legacy of discrimination means that African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are far more likely to suffer from a lack of opportunity. It’s true that women still make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. So we’ll still need anti-discrimination laws, immigration reform that grows the economy, and targeted initiatives to close those gaps.

But the decades-long shifts in the economy have hurt all groups: poor and middle class; inner city and rural folks; men and women; and Americans of all races. As a consequence, some of the social patterns that contribute to declining mobility, once attributed to urban poor, now show up everywhere... The fact is this: the opportunity gap in America is now as much about class as it is about race, and that gap is growing...

It’s time to ensure our collective bargaining laws function as they’re supposed to, so that unions have a level playing field to organize for a better deal for workers, and better wages for the middle class. It’s time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, so that women will have more tools to fight pay discrimination. It’s time to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, so workers can’t be fired for who they love. And even though we’re bringing manufacturing jobs back to America, and creating more good-paying jobs in education, health care, and business services, we know that there are airport workers, fast-food workers, nurse assistants, and retail salespeople who work their tails off and are still living at or barely above poverty. That’s why it’s well past the time to raise a minimum wage that in real terms is below where it was when Harry Truman was in office...

“Of all the forms of inequality,” Martin Luther King, Jr, once said, “injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhuman.”

Not anymore.

In the three years since we passed this law, the share of Americans with insurance is up, and the growth of health care costs is down – to its slowest rate in 50 years. More people with insurance have new benefits and protections – the 100 million Americans who’ve gained the right to free preventive care like mammograms and contraception; the more than seven million Americans who’ve saved an average of $1,200 on their prescription medicine; every American who won’t go broke when they get sick because their insurer can’t limit their care anymore. More people without insurance have gained insurance – the more than three million young Americans who’ve been able to stay on their parents’ plan, and the more than half a million Americans and counting who are poised to get covered starting January 1st – some for the very first time.

It is these numbers, not the ones in any poll, that will ultimately determine the fate of this law...

[E]ven as I keep offering my own ideas for expanding opportunity, I’ll also keep challenging those who oppose my ideas to offer their own. If Republicans have concrete plans that will actually reduce inequality, build the middle class, or provide more ladders of opportunity to the poor, let’s hear them. If you don’t think we should raise the minimum wage, let’s hear your idea to increase people’s earnings.

If you don’t think every child should have access to preschool, tell us what you’d do differently to give them a better shot. If you still don’t like Obamacare, even though it’s built on market-based ideas of choice and competition, you should explain how, exactly, you’d cut costs, cover more people, and make insurance more secure. You owe it to the American people to tell us what you are for, not just what you’re against, so we can have a vigorous and meaningful debate. That’s what the American people deserve. That’s what the times demand. It’s not enough to say we should just get our government out of the way, and let the unfettered market take care of it. For our experience tells us that’s just not true.

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Cartoons of the Day- The GOP's Class Warfare

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classwar2

Chan Lowe

classwar

David Horsey

classwar1

Cameron Cardow

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Financing the Destruction of Planet Earth Are the Same Banks That Cratered Our Economy

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climate change if were bank would have been saved

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

[T]he same banks that nearly turned America into an economic dust bowl in 2008 are the ones financing the earth-destroying companies that promote toxic climate change like heroin to junkies. [...]

[Rev. Billy] Talen is hopeful that awareness is spreading that the banks too big to fail are failing our planet:

Everyone in the precinct house wanted an explanation of our action. When we said that Chase was financing climate disruption  --  the cops agreed! The thing is... we believe that employees inside the big banks also know this. Most Americans know that the biosphere is dying by human violence, whether it is chemicals, bulldozer blades, or outright population growth. We are all behind this great structure that we cannot surmount; this corporate wall. But we know that the Earth crisis is a kind of cry. The Earth cries out to us -- or through us....We are The Earth's cry as we shout in the banks that finance all that death.

The good reverend of the "church of stop shopping" has a distinct point: "shouting inside a bank about its climate-killing investments is a good thing."

Please read the entire post here.

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Cartoons of the Day- The Haves And The Have Nots

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Food Stamps

Rob Rogers

haves

John Cole

Rising Tide

Rob Rogers

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The success of the #Occupy movement: "Invisible suffering was made visible" #OWS

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ows 99 percent

Rebecca Solnit wrote an inspiring op-ed in today's L.A. Times, one I've been waiting for someone to write. If you need a morale boost, please read it in full. Solnit is an author who spent time at Occupy San Francisco, Occupy Oakland and Occupy Wall Street in 2011. A longer version of the op-ed can be found at tomdispatch.com.

In her piece, she traces movements, activist groups, a unique person here and there, and identifies their transformative moments. She identifies milestones and special people who have made a meaningful difference and changed the world because they galvanized others with their mission.

Real change may at first be incremental, halting, and sometimes frustratingly imperceptible to those who aren't really paying attention, but eventually, it takes hold in ways unimagined.

In other words, the efforts can result in achievements that have lasting impact. And that impact can be on the whole wide world, a country, a legislative body, or on the very participants of a movement. And then those participants pay it forward.

[T]he moment that counts is the one where civil society is its own rule, improvising the terms of an ideal society for a day, a month, a season [...]

Almost as soon as Occupy Wall Street appeared in the fall of 2011, the national conversation changed and the brutality and obscenity of Wall Street were suddenly being openly discussed. The suffering of ordinary people crushed by the burden of medical, housing or college debt came out of the shadows.

California passed a homeowner's bill of rights to curtail the viciousness of the banks, and in late 2012, Strike Debt emerged as an Occupy offshoot to address indebtedness in creative and subversive ways. Student debt suddenly became (and remains) a topic of national discussion, and proposals for student loan reform began to gain traction.

Invisible suffering was made visible. And, though Occupy was never primarily about electoral politics, it was nonetheless a significant part of the conversation that got Elizabeth Warren elected senator and prompted a few other politicians to do good things in the cesspit of the capital.

Change often happens when the brutality of the status quo is made visible and therefore intolerable. [...]

Occupy Wall Street allowed those silenced by shame, invisibility or lack of interest from the media to speak up. ... [T]he media and politicians had to change their language to adjust to a series of previously ignored realities.

Part of what gave Occupy its particular beauty was the way the movement defined "we" as the 99%. That phrase (along with that contagious meme "the 1%") entered our language, offering a far more inclusive way of imagining the world.

Occupy is still working behind the scenes. I know this because I communicate regularly with those who are deeply involved, and I see reports of their impressive accomplishments. The tents are now gone, the drums stopped beating... but Occupy's heart didn't.

patience

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What I will not write about today

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frustrated32

Sometimes I get so frustrated and/or disheartened and/or annoyed by some of the news stories of the day that I can’t bring myself to write about them. Here are a few recent reports that made my blood pressure hit the roof. I am avoiding delving into them at length out of concern for my physical and mental health.

See what I mean? So who’s up for a couple of Margs or a trough of wine?

drunk license place CA

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You know that "Obama phone"? Oops! More like "Reagan phone" and "GW Bush phone."

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obama phone

This post is dedicated to every ignorant right wing conspiracy theorist troll who has proudly left comments here at The Political Carnival slamming Big Bad Marxist Kenyan Socialist Obama for allegedly giving out free phones (false rumors) to The (black) Takers, those slovenly (black), irresponsible (black) moochers who just want a (black) free ride from Big Guvm'nt; blah (black) voters who say they're broke but actually have extravagant, frivolous appliances like *gasp!* refrigerators!

"You food shilling motherf***ers! How DARE you?"

 

Not. So. Fast conspiracy theorists.

Via the Washington Post:

“Obama phone” is the widely used — and misleading — nickname of a 28-year-old federal program known as Lifeline. It provides discounts, averaging $9.25 a month, on phone service for 13.3 million low-income subscribers. [...]

In the 3 1/2 years after false rumors started that the Obama administration was giving free cellphones to poor people — and six months after a racially charged video about it went viral — a once-obscure phone service subsidy is getting renewed scrutiny on Capitol Hill. [...]

Lifeline was begun not by President Obama but under Ronald Reagan. It expanded to include cellphone service during the presidency of another Republican, George W. Bush.

oops4

Conservative talk radio went full-on nuts, pushing the “Obama phone” stories, accusing President Obama of distributing them to get poor people and minorities to vote for him. As I mentioned at the top, I continue to get smug comments about this, yet the phones were originally Reagan and W projects.

You know, kinda like when President Obama inherited the recession. And I wonder how these finger-pointers felt when they saw Reagan insisting that Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit...

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