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Health Care & Environment
07.21 Greta Thunberg: ‘They see us as a threat because we’re having an impact’ [We love a sane smarty-pants! Trump, you won't understand any of this, so just go off and tweet or chant, or whatever...]
07.20 Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here. [Trump can't be bothered as the world turns into a large cinder. His laser focus is on personal greed.]
07.20 Cargo ships are emitting boatloads of carbon, and nobody wants to take the blame [1:19 video; Governments must commission to fight deadly shipping emissions, previously omitted in climate summit agreements....]
07.20 With Petition to Congress, 100,000+ People Demand Green New Deal 'That Fixes Our Food System' [Realtime proactive response to reality—now and threatening—doesn't get attention in this greed focused administration]
07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]
07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]
07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]
07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]
07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
07.21 A court ruled it was legal for guards to strip search female inmates and force them to remove their tampons in front of male officers for a 'training exercise' [The frequency and degree of immorality and degradation being reported in the media is very disturbing, as if society has been reprogrammed overnight to be more like the worst behavior of Nazi Germany]
07.21 THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS GETTING CRUSHED IN FUNDRAISING: “THEY NEED TO GET THEIR SHIT TOGETHER” [Since so-called moderate Democrats will prostitute themselves in many conceivable ways (offering that special quid pro quo) they have effectively become competitively ANTI-PUBLIC, like Republicans. Whereas progressive Democrats must promise not to take corporate donations at all as an effective litmus-test. The DNC refuses to raise funds for moderate and progressives separately, and thus donations fall short. Which is it to be: 1) Will the DNC change? or 2) Must progressive Democrats become corporate whores too? or 3) Maybe you don't need corporate contributions at all if your policies are fantastic?]
07.21 We're no longer in Brave New World. We're back in 1984. [1:35 video; Our despicable President is at it again]
07.21 BALTIMORE'S FILTHIEST HOODS [7:38 video. Ask your governments, why are our cities so much worse than Europe's? Why is our healthcare worse and so much more expensive? And why are our Billionaires so much richer? Ask if those results of bad government are all related, and why? Are they all caused by a power-elite with greed-obsessed immorality?]
07.20 Fact check: Trump says Puerto Rico got $92 billion. They've seen only a fraction [If he opens his mouth, Trump's lying.]
07.20 Trump Denies Being at North Carolina Rally [Not sure if Trump supporters 'get' satire, but here goes....]
High Crimes vs. Human Rights
07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism
International & Futurism
07.21 Spain set for socialist-led government after Iglesias deal [Some loaded drama going on here...]
07.20 US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia in face of 'credible' regional threats [Working with Osama bin Laden's godfathers, Trump wants to profit like Erik Prince (for-profit education secretary Betsy DeVos' brother) of Blackwater infamy (hurriedly renamed ‘Academi’), the U.S. taxpayer to pay inflated costs while Trump siphons off long-term emolument largesse]
07.20 Iran on 'dangerous path' with seizure of Stena Impero, says UK [Which is this, a tit or a tat?]
07.20 'Dark satanic mills': Tony Abbott continues his crusade against wind turbines [Too much CO2 air pollution makes you stupid, and turns your country into an “Idiocracy” (1:36 video clip)]
07.20 Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies' [Lazy and willfully stupid whenever it serves his purpose, just like Trump. “And the rest of you can all go to hell.” Again, just like Trump. Has your country turned into an “Idiocracy”? (1:36 video clip)]
07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]
07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]
President Obama: Small ‘Change’ and the Mendacity of ‘Hope’
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Failure to fully support the Employee Free Choice bill is only one sign of this betrayal, of course, but it is a significant one.We are witnessing one of the fastest betrayals of the Democratic Party base in modern memory, as President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party leadership in the Senate slither away from a crucial constituency, the labor movement, and from support of labor’s key legislative agenda item: passage of a bill, “The Employee Free Choice Act,” which would restore a measure of fairness to labor relations.
Obama, who once supported the measure, and who campaigned saying he would sign the bill, has stood shamelessly silent as a massive corporate campaign mounted by such lobbying powerhouses as the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Retail Federation, hiding behind a fake “citizen action” organization called the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (sic), has descended on Congress, and especially the Senate, has worked to peel away support for the bill among both Democrats and swing Republicans who had formally backed the measure.
The business lobbying campaign is having considerable success. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), who is facing a Republican primary threat next year from a conservative challenger, has already announced that he will not support allowing the Employee Free Choice Act to go to the floor for debate and a vote in the Senate. As well, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), a former co-sponsor of the bill when it was last introduced in the Senate in 2007, now says she will not support it.
Since 60 votes are needed to move a bill past a Senate filibuster vowed by Republicans, Specter’s defection is particularly damaging. It is also a betrayal of the many unions that have consistently backed this sometimes unpredictable Republican. But Feinstein’s volte face is a particularly odious betraytal of her union backers in heavily unionized California. With senators like Feinstein caving in to corporate anti-union pressure, it makes it less likely that Senate Democrats would or could move to push the bill through past a filibuster by more confrontational means, such as attaching it to a budget bill that would not be subject to a filibuster—something Republicans did a number of times when they had control of the Senate between 2002 and 2006.
Clearly, the key turncoat in this sorry tale is Obama, whose presidential campaign would have sunk into oblivion early had it not been for powerful support from key elements of organized labor. It was also undeniably organized labor’s army of grass roots backers that handed him victory, a majority of the popular vote, and a mandate for “change” in November over Republican John McCain.
If Obama were to strongly advocate for Employee Free Choice, he could clearly line up the backing needed to win its approval in both houses. Moderate Republicans like Specter need Obama’s support for their own pet bills, and would have no hope of accomplishing anything, much less bringing home the bacon that they need in order to win re-election, without the president’s willingness to support them. This gives Obama enormous clout if he wants to use it. Wavering members of his own party, like Feinstein, would also certainly respond favorably to his calls for backing on a key issue for his base. But he has chosen instead to duck this issue.
Anyone who thought, as I once did out of an excess of optimism, that this president was positioned to act in this economic crisis as did the once equally reticent Franklin Roosevelt before him, should see clearly now that this president is not that same kind of bold risk-taker as FDR. Obama, rather, is following in the well-worn path of gutless political hacks before him like President Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, kowtowing to the wishes of the corporate elite and taking the Democratic grassroots for granted.
Employee Free Choice, which would have reversed 50 years of steady erosion of workers’ organizing rights by ending employers’ ability to stall off union elections for years, fire union organizers with impunity, and intimidate pro-union employees, by mandating that unions be recognized once they had obtained signature cards of support from over 50% of a work unit, is only one sign of this betrayal, of course, but it is a significant one.
Meanwhile, even as the Employee Free Choice bill is swirling around the drain, a new study is giving the lie to the main argument the corporate lobbyists have been using to win over one-time backers like Specter and Feinstein: the fear-mongering claim that facilitating unionization in a recessionary time could lead to business failures.
Not so, says labor economist John DiNardo of the University of Michigan, who just released a study titled “Still Open for Business: Unionization Has No Causal Effect on Firm Closures,” published by the Economic Policy Institute
DiNardo’s study cites two surveys of similar enterprises at which workers either narrowly won union votes by 51% or narrowly lost by 49%. These surveys, covering the period 1961-2004, found “zero correlation” between a company’s being unionized and the likelihood of its failing.
“I don’t think business leaders or people like Sen. Specter are crazy,” DiNardo says. “Many of them probably honestly do believe that having a union increases the likelihood of business failure, but the evidence is just not there. In fact, wages don’t always even go up when a company is unionized.”
DiNardo speculates that what really may cause many corporate managers and business owners to bitterly oppose unionization is not the fear of business failure or even perhaps of higher labor costs, but rather the fear of losing control over workers.
“Business managers in non-union firms are more like monarchs,” he says. “With a union, a company becomes slightly more democratic, and the manager becomes more like a president.”
That puts the name of the anti-Employee Free Choice Act business lobbying coalition in an interesting light. Obviously no corporate lobbying organization is actually in favor of democracy in the workplace, as their name deceptively implies.
This betrayal of workers is not the first betrayal of the Democratic base by Obama and Congressional Democrats. Scarcely two-thirds of the way through his first 100 days, Obama has also already betrayed a vow to end the Iraq War, having announced his intention to leave upwards of 50,000 trooops in that benighted and blood-stained nation for years to come.
Instead of closing Guantanamo, he has made a vague promise to close that horror show a year from now, but then left open the possibility of continuing to hold people indefinitely without charge, and even left himself a loophole to torture them.
Instead of restoring the Constitution, Obama has already begun adopting the Bush practice of using signing statements to assert an unconstitutional presidential authority to ignore laws passed by the Congress.
Instead of assuring that the laws of the land be faithfully enforced, as he swore in his oath of office, and promised in his campaign, Obama has refused to order a Justice Department investigation into whether members of the prior administration should be charged with crimes such as torture or lying to Congress.
This litany of betrayals shows that rather than audacity, this president has chosen mendacity. Instead of change, he is giving us at best small change, and when it comes to abuse of the Democratic base, no change. (And I haven’t even mentioned his wholesale betrayal of ordinary citizens in his pro-Wall Street bail-out of the big banks and financial institutions.)
At least President Clinton waited two years before he began a wholesale sell-out of Democratic voters.
Obama isn’t even waiting for the honeymoon to end to start his betrayal.
About the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is a 34-year veteran, an award-winning journalist, a former New York Times contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of a well-regarded book on impeachment, The Case for Impeachment. His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on April 1, 2009.