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Archive for the ‘rightwing’ Category

Republicans Out of Touch with Reality—And What We Can Do

October 14th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, GOP, racism, rightwing, Tea Party

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Progressive America Rising via Precinct Reporter Group

I saw this astounding figure that approximately 70 percent of Republicans believe that the poll numbers on the presidential race are biased towards President Obama.  In other words, they are asserting that because President Obama has been—at least at the time of this column—ahead in most polls, this cannot be correct and the media must be mucking around.

It is important to put this sentiment in context.  This is the same Republican Party where more than 60 percent of its members believe that President Obama was not born in the U.S. Despite the incontrovertible evidence, most Republican voters wish to believe otherwise.  I would love to think that this was a comedy routine but it is reality.

To understand how 70 percent of Republicans would believe that the polls are biased, you have to appreciate their inability to recognize the nature of the changes underway in the country.  To the extent to which they believe that this is a ‘White republic,’ where the rest of us are barely-tolerated visitors, the polls don’t make any sense.  After all, from their perspective, there is no way that the U.S.A. should have a Black president, and, more importantly, there is no way that the demographics of the U.S.A. should be changing in the manner in which they are – towards a society where there is no White majority.

There is no way of knowing how the elections will turn out. The fact that President Obama has been ahead in most polls is striking, particularly given the depth of the economic crisis.  Such ratings have to indicate that large numbers of people have little confidence in the vision articulated by Romney/Ryan, but also that there is a sense when looking at the pictures of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, that this gathering (and this Party) bore no resemblance to the reality of the nation.  It looked like something very alien and for that matter, something very scary.

While President Obama may be slightly ahead in the polls, the only poll that really matters is to be held on November 6 when we actually vote.  Despite all of the efforts by the Republicans to reduce voter turnout by the elderly, the youth, by people of color, by union members and by gays/lesbians, the bottom line will be the determination of those same constituencies that were not in evidence at the Tampa Republican Convention to mobilize in the interest of justice.  This will take us further down the road, away from the racist and archaic notion of a ‘White republic’ (for the rich), and instead in the direction of a more consistent democracy.

Forget the opinion polls and just make sure to vote on November 6.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum, and the author of “They’re Bankrupting Us” – And Twenty Other Myths about unions.  He can be reached at papaq54@hotmail.com. Submit to Facebook Submit to Google Bookmarks Submit to Twitter Submit to LinkedIn Written by: Precinct Reporter Group

Can We Defeat the Racist Southern Strategy in 2012?

October 11th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, GOP, pushing obama, racism, rightwing, Tea Party, Voting Rights, women, youth and students

By Bob Wing*

Progressive America Rising

*Bob Wing has been an organizer since 1968 and was the founding editor of ColorLines magazine and War Times/Tiempo de Guerras newspaper. He lives in Durham, N.C. and can be contacted on Facebook. Thanks to Max Elbaum for his always insightful suggestions. This article was posted on Oct. 11, 2012.

The 2012 election is a pitched battle with race at the center.

It may not be “polite” to say this, but far from an era of “post racialism”, the United States is in a period of aggravated racial conflict. Though often denied and certainly more complex than the frontal racial confrontations of the past, race is the pivot of the tit-for-tat political struggle that has gripped the country for the past twelve years and, indeed, for decades prior.

The modern era of this conflict jumped off with the white conservative backlash against the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and has been deepened by their decades-long fearful reaction to the dramatic change in the color of the U.S. that resulted from the civil rights-motivated immigration reform act of 1965.

The conflict heated to a boil when white conservatives flatly rejected the legitimacy of the “premature” victory of our first Black president in 2008. Nearly 40 percent of Republicans are so enraged they cannot even admit that Obama is a U.S. citizen. Isn’t this really another way of saying they refuse to recognize a Black man as the president? Or perhaps it is the white conservatives’ modern day Dred Scott decision declaring Obama a Black man that has no rights that they are bound to respect?

The bottom line is that we have now come to a point where voters of color are so numerous and so united behind Obama that, to be victorious, Mitt Romney must carry a higher percentage of the white vote than any modern Republican candidate has ever won. If recent trends among voters of color hold, he must carry about 63 percent of white voters. Not even Reagan won more than 61 percent.

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Why We Must Leash Every Blue Dog and Defeat Every Republican We Can

September 24th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, GOP, pushing obama, rightwing

Can This Election Settle Anything?

By E.J. Dionne Jr.
Progressive America Rising via Washington Post

September 23, 2012 – The most important issue in the 2012 campaign barely gets discussed: How will we govern ourselves after the election is over?

Elections are supposed to decide things. The voters render a verdict on what direction they want the country to take and set the framework within which both parties work.

President Obama’s time in office, however, has given rise to a new approach. Republicans decided to do all they could to make the president unsuccessful. Their not-so-subliminal message has been: We will make the country ungovernable unless you hand us every bit of legislative, executive and judicial power so we can do what we want.

Judging by the current polls, this approach hasn’t worked. Mitt Romney is suffering not only from his own mistakes but also because a fundamentally moderate country has come to realize that today’s GOP is far more extreme than Republicans were in the past. Romney’s makers-not-takers 47 percent remarks made clear that the current GOP worldview is more Ayn Rand than Adam Smith, more Rush Limbaugh than Bill Buckley, more Rick Perry than Abe Lincoln.

Yet can one election turn the country around and make Washington work again?

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Saving Obama, Saving Ourselves

September 5th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, GOP, Long War, pushing obama, rightwing, Tea Party, youth and students

 

By Tom Hayden

Progressive America Rising

The threat of a Romney-Ryan regime should be enough to convince a narrow American majority to vote for Barack Obama, including the disappointed rank-and-file of social movements.

A widening of economic and racial inequality. Cuts in Medicare and Medical. More global heating. Strangling of reproductive rights. Unaffordable tuition. The Neo-cons back in the saddle. Two or three more right-wing Supreme Court appointments to come. Romney as Trojan horse for Ryan the stalking horse and future presidential candidate.

The consolidation of right-wing power would put progressives on the defensive, shrinking any organizing space for pressuring for greater innovations in an Obama second term.

Where, for example, would progressives be without the Voting Rights Act programs such as Planned Parenthood, or officials like Labor Secretary Hilda Solis or EPA administrator Lisa Jackson?

But the positive case for More Obama and Better Obama should be made as well. History will show that the first term was better than most progressives now think. A second-term voter mandate against wasteful wars, Wall Street extravagance, and austerity for the many, led by elected officials including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Barbara Lee, Raul Grijalva, Jim McGovern and Keith Ellison, would be a target-rich field of opportunities as they say in the Pentagon.

Why Obama’s achievements are dismissed or denied by many on the white liberal-left is a question worth serious consideration. It may only be a matter of legitimate disappointment after the utopian expectations of 2008. It could be pure antipathy to electoral politics, or a superficial assessment of how near-impossible it is to change intransigent institutions. It could be a vested organizational interest in asserting there is no difference between the two major parties, a view wildly at odds with the intense partisan conflicts on exhibit every day. Or it could even be a white blindness in perceptions of reality on the left. When African American voters favor Obama 94-0 [that's right] and the attacks are coming from the white liberal-left, something needs repair in the foundations of American radicalism.

I intend to explore these questions further during the election season. The point here is that they cumulatively contribute to the common liberal-left perception that Obama is only a man of the compromised center, a president who has delivered nothing worse celebrating. The anger with Obama on the left, combined with broad liberal disappointment with the last three years, results in a dampened enthusiasm at the margins which could cost him the election.

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Can Romney Win With Just White Votes?

September 4th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, GOP, racism, rightwing, Tea Party

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Progressive America Rising via HuffPost

Sept 4, 2012 – Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, GOP political guru Karl Rove, and the parade of Hispanic and black speakers at the Republican National Convention either said or were testament to one belief and that’s GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney can’t win with just white votes.

The rationale is simple. He doesn’t have enough of them. The supposed standard break point for GOP presidential candidates to bag the White House is they must get 60 percent or more of the 104 million white voters, who make up close to 75 percent of the nation’s voters. In eleven major polls, Romney averages slightly more than 53 percent of white voters. The CNN poll is the most generous and gives him only 55 percent of the white vote.

Getting the supposed magic number of white votes in the GOP column is even more crucial given the crushing majority overall of Democrats to Republicans. There are 55 million registered Republicans and 72 million registered Democrats.

The surface bad news for Romney then is that if the percent of white votes that he now has doesn’t change drastically before Nov. 6 he will be just another GOP presidential also-ran.

There are three problems with this. It focuses solely on raw numbers and raw percentages. It’s not the number of white voters, but where they are that matter more than the overall numbers. The election will boil down to which candidate tops out in the must win swing states.

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Romney as Finance Capital—and the Need for a Popular Front Against It

September 2nd, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, GOP, rightwing, Wall Street

How Romney Made His Fortune — It Ain’t Pretty, and He Shouldn’t Be Proud of It

Democracy Now Interviews Matt Taibbi

August 31, 2012 – Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of a Democracy Now! interview with Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi, whose recent article in the magazine gets to the bottom of Mitt Romney’s enormous wealth.

A new article [4] by reporter Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone sheds light on the origin of his fortune, revealing how Romney’s former firm, Bain Capital, used private equity to raise money to conduct corporate raids. Matt Taibbi writes, quote, "what most voters don’t know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America’s top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time," Taibbi writes. He goes on to say, "In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on [planet] Earth."

Well, Matt Taibbi joins us now, contributing editor for Rolling Stone magazine. His most recent in-depth piece called "Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital," author of the book also, Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History.

AMY GOODMAN: Lay it out for us. Excellent piece, investigative piece, on Mitt Romney’s wealth. Where did it start?

MATT TAIBBI: Well, you know, for me, it started when I had to cover this campaign earlier this year, and I was listening to Romney’s stump speech about debt. You know, he came up with this whole image of a prairie fire of debt raging across America that was literally going to burn children alive in the future. And I kept thinking to myself, does nobody know what this guy did for a living and how he made his money? You know, Mitt Romney is unabashedly a leverage buyout artist. And a leverage buyout artist is a guy who borrows lots of money that other companies have to pay back. And that’s the simple formula.

He started out—his most famous deals, of course, are essentially venture capital deals like the Staples situation, where he built a company from the ground up. But after Staples, he switched to a different model, that he preferred for the rest of his professional career, in which he took over existing companies by putting down small amounts of his own cash, borrowing the rest from—typically from a giant investment bank, taking over controlling stakes in companies, and then forcing those companies to pay him either through management fees or through dividends. And that’s his business formula.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain what private equity is.

MATT TAIBBI: Well, that is what a private equity fund does. They’re essentially—it’s a synonym for what in the ’80s we called the leverage buyout business. It’s a small group that raises capital and then goes and leverages takeovers of companies using borrowed money. In the ’80s, these—this sort of business was glamorized through a couple of things, in particular, in pop culture. One was the movie Wall Street, where Gordon Gekko, the famous Michael Douglas character from the Oliver Stone movie, was essentially a private equity guy. He was a leverage buyout takeover artist. And the other one was a book called Barbarians at the Gate, which was a true story of the takeover of RJR Nabisco by a company called KKR, which was another Bain Capital-like takeover company. And that’s what they are. They’re essentially guys who borrow money to take over companies and extract wealth from those companies to pay off their investors.

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Battleground: Democracy vs. The Right

August 31st, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Environment, GOP, racism, rightwing, Tea Party, youth and students

 

By Tom Hayden
Progressive America Rising

Only you and I can save democracy this time and for times to come. If we all play our part now, Obama and his popular majority will win. If not, we need to be clear and fortified for big confrontations ahead. Let’s look at where democracy movements must intervene to stop the hemorrhaging before a final collapse. Democracy movements must try to stop the stolen elections now, and delegitimize any mandates claimed from them in the future.

 

The theme song should be Leonard Cohen’s ‘Democracy Is Coming to the USA’

1. LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE – STOP VOTER SUPPRESSION. Among "registered but unlikely" voters, Obama leads Romney 43%-20%, and in favorability by 55%-25% [New York Times, Aug. 18]. Examples: a Pennsylvania Republican leader bragged in June about a voter ID law "which is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania – done!" The Republican governor blocks plans in that state allowing voters to apply for absentee ballots or to register online.

The naked Republican strategy is to make it as hard as possible for people of color, students and the elderly to vote. Thanks to the civil rights movement, the 1965 Voting Rights Act provides tools to fight to maximize voter turnout. Local activists should be attacking their Governors, legislators and registrars for erecting unconstitutional barriers to voting, and for their refusal to permit early voting or provide enough accessible ballot boxes and election observers. Civil rights lawyers should mobilize to monitor and protest wherever the machines break down and the lines become too long in freezing weather. Ballot boxes should be installed on campuses.

2. STOP SECRET CORPORATE MONEY. Buckley v. Valeo [1976] and Citizens United [2010] have opened the sewage gates to secret money’s power to pollute the democratic process. In the next two months, all people can do is make righteous noise against these pernicious threats and force their disclosure in the media on an everyday basis. Besides attacking Sheldon Adelson [war against Iran] and the Koch brothers [ big oil], the movement must make the case that this flow of private funds is creating a legitimacy crisis for democracy. This same worry apparently led Chief Justice John Roberts to narrowly approve Obamacare [but not Medicaid] while delegating its ultimate fate to the voters this November. President Obama has endorsed a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United, a good basis for a long-term organizing strategy. But what is really needed is a new generation of law students who aspire to be the Thurgood Marshalls of campaign finance reform, attacking the Buckley v. Valeo as a perverted violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments [money is not an unfettered instrumentality of speech]. Currently the weakest link in the Supreme Court’s case is the secrecy afforded big donors until after the election. A militant demand for disclosure before the election will put the Court and the Republicans on the defensive.

There are other battlefronts in the fight for democracy, from greater transparency in the derivatives market, to disclosure of thousands of unregistered corporate lobbyists, to the need for a rewrite of the War Powers Act to rein in drones and secret wars. But the sharp point of the spear in the next two months are [1] the Republican plan to keep people from voting, and [2] the Republican plan to keep millions in campaign contributions secret until after the election. These lines of attack are complements to the growing hubbub about unprecedented levels of deceit by the Romney-Ryan ticket. They and Karl Rove believe that enough secret money and voter suppression can prevail.

Willie Horton 2.0: Deconstructing the GOP ‘White Dog Whistle’ Ads

August 28th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, GOP, racism, rightwing

Making the Election About Race

By THOMAS B. EDSALL
Progressive America Rising via New York Times

August 27, 2012 – The Republican ticket is flooding the airwaves with commercials that develop two themes designed to turn the presidential contest into a racially freighted resource competition pitting middle class white voters against the minority poor.

Ads that accuse President Obama of gutting the work requirements enacted in the 1996 welfare reform legislation present the first theme. Ads alleging that Obama has taken $716 billion from Medicare – a program serving an overwhelmingly white constituency – in order to provide health coverage to the heavily black and Hispanic poor deliver the second. The ads are meant to work together, to mutually reinforce each other’s claims.

The announcer in one of the Romney campaign’s TV ads focusing on welfare tells viewers:

In 1996, President Clinton and a bipartisan Congress helped end welfare as we know it by requiring work for welfare. But on July 12, President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping the work requirement. Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you a welfare check. And welfare-to-work goes back to being plain old welfare. Mitt Romney will restore the work requirement because it works.

Web sites devoted to examining the veracity of political commercials have sharply criticized the ad.

The Washington Post’s fact checker, Glenn Kessler, gave the welfare ads his lowest rating, four Pinocchios. The Tampa Bay Times’s Politifact was equally harsh, describing the ads as "a drastic distortion" warranting a "pants on fire" rating. The welfare commercial, according to Politifact, "inflames old resentments about able-bodied adults sitting around collecting public assistance."

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Have We Seen This Rightist Movie Before?

August 27th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, rightwing, Unemployment, Wall Street

Weimar America: Four Major Ways We’re Following In Germany’s Fascist Footsteps

By Robert Cruickshank
Progressive America Rising via Alternet.org

July 5, 2012 – What happens when a nation that was once an economic powerhouse turns its back on democracy and on its middle class, as wealthy right-wingers wage austerity campaigns and enable extremist politics?

It may sound like America in 2012. But it was also Germany in 1932.

Most Americans have never heard of the Weimar Republic, Germany’s democratic interlude between World War I and World War II. Those who have usually see it as a prologue to the horrors of Nazi Germany, an unstable transition between imperialism and fascism. In this view, Hitler’s rise to power is treated as an inevitable outcome of the Great Depression, rather than the result of a decision by right-wing politicians to make him chancellor in early 1933.

Historians reject teleological approaches to studying the past. No outcome is inevitable, even if some are more likely than others. Rather than looking for predictable outcomes, we ought to be looking to the past to understand how systems operate, especially liberal capitalist democracies. In that sense, Weimar Germany holds many useful lessons for contemporary Americans. In particular, there are four major points of similarity between Weimar Germany and Weimar America worth examining.

1. Austerity. Today’s German leaders preach the virtues of austerity. They justify their opposition to the inflationary, growth-creating policies that Europe desperately needs by pointing to the hyperinflation that occurred in 1923, and became one of the most enduring memories of the Weimar Republic. Yet the austerity policies enacted after the onset of the Depression produced the worst of Germany’s economic crisis, while also destabilizing the country’s politics. Cuts to wages, benefits and public programs dramatically worsened unemployment, hunger and suffering.

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What to Do in November, and Beyond

August 14th, 2012 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2012 Election, GOP, pushing obama, racism, rightwing, Tea Party

The 2012 Elections Have Little To Do With Obama’s Record … Which Is Why We Are Voting For Him

The 2012 election will be one of the most polarized and critical elections in recent history.

By Bill Fletcher, Jr. and Carl Davidson
Progressive America Rising via Alternet.org

August 9, 2012 – Let’s cut to the chase. The November 2012 elections will be unlike anything that any of us can remember.  It is not just that this will be a close election.  It is also not just that the direction of Congress hangs in the balance.  Rather, this will be one of the most polarized and critical elections in recent history.

Unfortunately what too few leftists and progressives have been prepared to accept is that the polarization is to a great extent centered on a revenge-seeking white supremacy; on race and the racial implications of the moves to the right in the US political system. It is also focused on a re-subjugation of women, harsh burdens on youth and the elderly, increased war dangers, and reaction all along the line for labor and the working class. No one on the left with any good sense should remain indifferent or stand idly by in the critical need to defeat Republicans this year.

U.S. Presidential elections are not what progressives want them to be.

A large segment of what we will call the ‘progressive forces’ in US politics approach US elections generally, and Presidential elections in particular, as if: (1) we have more power on the ground than we actually possess, and (2) the elections are about expressing our political outrage at the system. Both get us off on the wrong foot.

The US electoral system is among the most undemocratic on the planet.  Constructed in a manner so as to guarantee an ongoing dominance of a two party duopoly, the US electoral universe largely aims at reducing so-called legitimate discussion to certain restricted parameters acceptable to the ruling circles of the country. Almost all progressive measures, such as Medicare for All or Full Employment, are simply declared ‘off the table.’ In that sense there is no surprise that the Democratic and Republican parties are both parties of the ruling circles, even though they are quite distinct within that sphere.

The nature of the US electoral system–and specifically the ballot restrictions and ‘winner-take-all’ rules within it–encourages or pressures various class fractions and demographic constituency groups to establish elite-dominated electoral coalitions.  The Democratic and Republican parties are, in effect, electoral coalitions or party-blocs of this sort, unrecognizable in most of the known universe as political parties united around a program and a degree of discipline to be accountable to it. We may want and fight for another kind of system, but it would be foolish to develop strategy and tactics not based on the one we actually have.

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