Why Obamacare Is Here to Stay

It is really very simple. The essence of which is captured by the following three images…

The post-Raygun destruction of the American Middle Class not only means a loss in ages. Faced with ballooning medical costs driven by private insurers, companies have shifted payment of health coverage off the “benefits” list and onto the shoulders of the employee. Now, even your average college grad is only one illness away from poverty.

 

And then – there is Mom…

The biggest non-criminal racket in the world is care for the elderly in the US. Conservatives would have you believe it is “Death Taxes”, which is a crock designed to fool the stupid into believing that the $10,000 a month it will cost you to put Mom or Dad in a senior center is irrelevant. For most of the middle class anymore, there quite simply isn’t any intergenerational wealth being passed on because of this.

Let’s be very clear. There is going to be a war in America on this come next election cycle. It is going to get ugly, when folks wake up and see these images with their mother, their kids, or brother or sister…

Even Tea Bagger hog calls to racism against the black President doesn’t trump mom dying.

If There Were a 1% Debate… MLK vs. Romney

What would MLK do? What would MLK say?

There is very little evidence that MLK would have anything good to say about today’s Republican Party. Indeed – for many folks today’s Republican have gone about as low as you can go.

Here is a mash up of points by MLK and “Willard” Romney…

American Tent Cities

What is the difference between Picture 1 and Picture 2?

But they live here and allowed me inside

Picture 1

 

Picture 2

 

Picture 1 is in America – right here in New Jersey. It, and the “Tent City” it is in, are all some luckless Americans have to live in anymore.  Picture 2 is of a Tent City in Haiti.

They, a poor country to begin with,  suffered a massive earthquake, destroying tens of thousands of homes and villages… These Americans are trying to survive the impact of conservatism in America, where our country’s jobs and manufacturing have been sold to the lowest bidder, and 28% of the Middle Class has fallen into poverty. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, with no chance of getting them back anytime soon. Millions of Americans have lost their homes due to predatory lending and the bust of the Credit bubble. Millions try and survive without Healthcare.

It is the Second Great Depression.

I see Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas leading in the Republican Primaries bragging on his Texas Economic Miracle…

Except it seems that the Texas Economic Miracle is about as fake as the Texas Education Miracle under the last Texas Governor to run for the Presidency.

Texas ranks 6th in terms of people living in poverty. Some 18.4% of Texans were impoverished in 2010, up from 17.3% a year earlier, according to Census Bureau data released this week. The national average is 15.1%.

And being poor in Texas isn’t easy. The state has one of the lowest rates of spending on its citizens per capita and the highest share of those lacking health insurance. It doesn’t provide a lot of support services to those in need: Relatively few collect food stamps and qualifying for cash assistance is particularly tough.

Lot of folks figured out former Governor, former President Bush was “all hat an no cattle” to borrow a Texas phrase. Seems that Governor Perry doesn’t even have the “hat” part right.

Which is why the Tea Party Republicans are trying so hard to sell racism against the nation’s first black President…

Instead of politics.

 

 

Verizon – The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back?

Can You Hear Me Now?

Been wondering for years when exactly the isht was going to hit the proverbial fan in this country. Workers have been disenfranchised in the millions, their jobs outsourced in an economy where even doing all the right things and punching all the right educational and academic tickets is no assurance of a basic wage…

Well… The strike at Verizon may have finally lit the fuse.

Verizon Strike Update: Company Calls in Hundreds of Non-Union Replacements

Verizon called in hundreds of non-union employees and additional management to fill in for striking workers as the work stoppage by unions enters its tenth day.

The company said the replacements are handling customer service and network operational duties.

“We’ve called up hundreds of additional employees in the last few days,” said Verizon spokesman Rich Young.

“Our plan is to do what we have to do to keep our networks running. By and large, 10 days into the strike, our networks are performing solidly.”

Meanwhile, the Communication Workers of America union said that more than 100,000 people have signed a petition asking the company’s chief executive to start serious negotiations with strikers.

The union claims that Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam is “trying to push Verizon workers out of the middle class.”

Much of the impasse between Verizon and unions, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, centers on $1 billion in concessions that the strikers claim the company is demanding from them.

Union officials, who say they don’t want to lose their members’ free health care benefits, assert that since Verizon is a very profitable company (and has paid in excess of $258 million over the past four years to five top executives); the workers shouldn’t be forced to make such sacrifices.

“We will never have an economic recovery if profitable companies like Verizon can demand huge concessions from workers,” said CWA Communications Director Candice Johnson.

“You don’t build a middle class by cutting workers’ wages, benefits and standard of living,” she added. “That’s just one reason why Verizon is becoming synonymous with VeryGreedy.”

Fight Against Charter Schools Moves to the Suburbs

2009 CREDO Report Stanford University - http://sacdac.org/Paradox.aspx

Charter School advocates have expanded their desire to “corporatize” and privatize education to the suburbs, even pursuing establishing specialized Charter Schools in well to do areas with excellent school systems. Unlike in poor areas where parents have little political clout – suburban residents are pushing back hard against what they see as a drain upon the resources of their school systems, and a ripoff of their tax dollars.

Charter School Battle Shifts to Affluent Suburbs

MILLBURN, N.J. — Matthew Stewart believes there is a place forcharter schools. Just not in his schoolyard.

Mr. Stewart, a stay-at-home father of three boys, moved to this wealthy township, about 20 miles from Midtown Manhattan, three years ago, filling his life with class activities and soccer practices. But in recent months, he has traded play dates for protests, enlisting more than 200 families in a campaign to block two Mandarin-immersion charter schools from opening in the area.

The group, Millburn Parents Against Charter Schools, argues that the schools would siphon money from its children’s education for unnecessarily specialized programs. The schools, to be based in nearby Maplewood and Livingston, would draw students and resources from Millburn and other area districts.

“I’m in favor of a quality education for everyone,” Mr. Stewart said. “In suburban areas like Millburn, there’s no evidence whatsoever that the local school district is not doing its job. So what’s the rationale for a charter school?”

Suburbs like Millburn, renowned for educational excellence, have become hotbeds in the nation’s charter school battles, raising fundamental questions about the goals of a movement that began 20 years ago in Minnesota.

Charter schools, which are publicly financed but independently operated, have mostly been promoted as a way to give poor children an alternative to underperforming urban schools — to provide options akin to what those who can afford them have in the suburbs or in private schools.

Now, educators and entrepreneurs are trying to bring the same principles of choice to places where schools generally succeed, typically by creating programs, called “boutique charters” by detractors like Mr. Stewart, with intensive instruction in a particular area.

In Montgomery County, Md., north of Washington, the school board is moving toward its first charter, a Montessori elementary school, after initially rejecting it and two others with global and environmental themes because, as one official said, “we have a very high bar in terms of performance.”

Imagine Schools, a large charter school operator, has held meetings in Loudoun County, Va., west of Washington, to gauge parental interest in charters marketed partly as an alternative to overcrowded schools.

In Illinois, where 103 of the current 116 charter schools are in Chicago, an Evanston school board committee is considering opening the district’s first charter school.

More than half of Americans live in suburbs, and about 1 in 5 of the 4,951 existing charter schools were located there in 2010, federal statistics show. Advocates say many proposed suburban charters have struggled because of a double standard that suggests charters are fine for poor urban areas, but are not needed in well-off neighborhoods.

“I think it has to do with comfort level and assumptions based on real estate and not reality,” said Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform in Washington, which studies and supports charter schools. “The houses are nice, people have money, and therefore the schools must be good.”…

The bigger problem, at least to my mind, is that despite a few exceptionally performing Charter Schools – the vast majority perform no better, and often worse than the schools they supposedly were designed to replace. Indeed, when comparing “Apples to Apples”, elite and selective public Schools versus Charters… It’s no contest. And while the concept of “special purpose” Charter Schools with specialized curriculum, WTF are we doing this when school districts across the country are cutting basic programs and laying off teachers because of the economic disaster the conservatives made of America?

 

Woman Who Confronted Obama on Economy, performance – Loses Her Job

Seriously doubt anyone had anything to do with this…

Except the piss-poor economy. But Velma Hart, who took President Obama to task on his failure to live up to expectations, has lost her job as CFO of AmVets – a Veterans Service Organization.

Mrs. Hart called President Obama out on the economy, his timid progress in achieving change, and his failure to live up to the ideals expressed during his campaign.  She isn’t the only one who has been saying it.

As we watch the chickensqat maneuvering of the Lame Duck Democrat Congress – we have to wonder if the Dems have learned their lesson yet.

Woman Who Confronted Obama on Economy Has Lost Her Job

Velma Hart, a woman who got President Obama’s attention when she said she was “exhausted” from defending him and his policies, has lost her job as chief financial officer with a Maryland-based veterans group.

Hart has been laid off by Am Vets, but not because of any failure of her part. “She got bit by the same snake that has bit a lot of people,” Am Vets Executive Director Jim King told the Washington Post. “It was a move to cut our bottom line. Most not-for-profits are seeing their money pinched.”

At a townhall meeting carried by CNBC in September, Hart told Obama that she and her husband thought “we were well beyond the hot-dogs-and-beans era of our lives.” But, she continued, “it’s starting to knock on our door and ring true that [this] might be where we’re headed again. And quite frankly , Mr. President, I need you to answer this honestly: Is this my new reality?” In response, Obama told Hart her family’s hard work should be rewarded and assured her, “We’re moving in the right direction.”

But the president got a earful at the event in Washington. “Quite frankly,” Hart said to him, “I’m exhausted — exhausted from defending you, defending your administration, defending the man for change I voted for and deeply disappointed with where we are right now.” Because she is an African-American and was speaking bluntly to the first black president, Hart’s comment were seen as evidence that Obama was losing ground with some of his core supporters.

At Am Vets, Jim King said he had not considered the irony of Hart being let go just two months after her emotional face-off with Obama. “She was at the townhall as a private citizen,” he said to the Post. “Whatever she had to say were her own thoughts.” Hart would not discuss the matter when contracted Monday by the newspaper.

A New Labor Movement to Roil The US?

American Labor has been comatose since Ronald Raygun fired the Air Traffic Controllers in 1983. However, the US economy has a greater gap in income and wealth since the time of the Robber Barons of the  last century, when Labor took to the streets and rocked the country.

Perhaps we are seeing the seeds of another great Labor uprising, putting middle class America back on their feet.

Our country tends to g in idelogical swings from the left to right and back every 40 years – I think the kickback against conservatism may be bigger, and more serious than even Liberals suspect – IF Progressives can define and enunciate the issues around the right wing noise machine. I think those of the generational poor due to color, and the middle class may indeed find common ground…

At which point there is going to be hell to pay.

Hat Tip to Truthout, for another insightful piece.

United by Hard Times: Workers Organize Across Race Lines

by: Carlos Jimenez  |  YES Magazine

The Lawrence textile strike (1912), with soldiers surrounding peaceful demonstrators

I’m feeling relieved. For a while it seemed like the historic election of our first African American president would give legitimacy to the idea that we live in a “post-racial” America. The idea that race is no longer a part of people’s daily experience is not merely false. It’s potentially dangerous when a majority of people are struggling to understand what’s happening to them economically.

What people are experiencing is exactly what’s supposed to happen to them under capitalism and its current variant, neoliberalism. That economic system is grounded on the idea that society must have winners and losers. It has convinced people that those categories are based on race: that people of color are, in the natural course of things, losers; and that white people, regardless of class, are supposed to win.

When hard times hit, as they have recently, people who are losing their grip on their middle-class status—or those who were already poor and are getting poorer—look for someone to blame. They fall back on the official story: White people’s troubles are caused by people of color; the troubles of people of color who were born in this country are caused by immigrants. It’s a divide-and-conquer strategy that keeps people who are natural allies on a class basis from looking at who’s really causing their trouble: the people who run the capitalist system.

This moment presents both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to get people with shared economic interests working together—to get them past learned racial divides. As long as poor and working-class white people remain convinced that they win by keeping people of color on the margins, all workers will continue to lose economic ground. The opportunity is to use this economic crash as a way to find common ground among those who are the real losers—regardless of race—in the existing system…

The rest is here.

Moving Forward, Together

Despite the constant use of race as a wedge, and perhaps as a result of it, young people today are turning away from old racial divides and leading the way in creating a multicultural America. Data from a 2003 Gallup Poll showed that 82 percent of white 18- to 25-year-olds disagreed with the idea that they “don’t have much in common with people of other races.”

Spaces like the US Social Forum (USSF) in Detroit serve as opportunities to advance the discussion of building alliances based on class rather than race. The USSF expects more than 25,000 progressive activists and organizers to come together to share their work in areas as diverse as education, stopping the criminalization and incarceration of youth, bringing an end to unjust wars, bargaining collectively for better wages and benefits, attaining reproductive justice, and protecting the environment and Earth’s well-being.

But the overarching theme of the USSF is how we can build a larger movement that addresses not just racism, but the many structures that are impeding people from pursuing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Working people of all races are looking for movements or vehicles through which they can express their self-interest. We cannot allow the right wing and corporate elite to co-opt the anger that is out there, as they have with the “Tea Party” movement and the growing resentment against immigrant workers. Progressives can change the direction of our country for the better by helping working people join together, regardless of race, to be their own champions.

Moving Forward, Together

Despite the constant use of race as a wedge, and perhaps as a result of it, young people today are turning away from old racial divides and leading the way in creating a multicultural America. Data from a 2003 Gallup Poll showed that 82 percent of white 18- to 25-year-olds disagreed with the idea that they “don’t have much in common with people of other races.”

Spaces like the US Social Forum (USSF) in Detroit serve as opportunities to advance the discussion of building alliances based on class rather than race. The USSF expects more than 25,000 progressive activists and organizers to come together to share their work in areas as diverse as education, stopping the criminalization and incarceration of youth, bringing an end to unjust wars, bargaining collectively for better wages and benefits, attaining reproductive justice, and protecting the environment and Earth’s well-being.

But the overarching theme of the USSF is how we can build a larger movement that addresses not just racism, but the many structures that are impeding people from pursuing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Working people of all races are looking for movements or vehicles through which they can express their self-interest. We cannot allow the right wing and corporate elite to co-opt the anger that is out there, as they have with the “Tea Party” movement and the growing resentment against immigrant workers. Progressives can change the direction of our country for the better by helping working people join together, regardless of race, to be their own champions.

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