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Summary | Barack Obama, Change We Can Believe In: Week of October 31

5 New Items including:

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  • How Obama Lost the Narrative
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  • Obama Has Done 'Diddly Squat' For Gay Rights
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

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Ted Rall

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Analysis of war docs shows some Iraqi detainees were handed back despite signs of torture, Raphael G. Satter and Paisley Dodds, Associated Press/Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

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  • Field reports from the Iraq war published by WikiLeaks show that, despite Obama's public commitment to eschew torture, U.S. forces turned detainees over to Iraqi forces even after signs of abuse.
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  • Iraq war logs: These crimes were not secret, they were tolerated
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How Obama Lost the Narrative, David Corn, Mother Jones

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  • So he's not Superman after all--but how has he managed to lose the legion of doom?
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  • Here's one account.
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  • 2010 Elections: Why Have the Democrats Lost Popular Support?
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Obama Has Done 'Diddly Squat' For Gay Rights, Alan Cummings, Huffington Post

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  • "In a time when America is full of hatred of all kinds, but especially hatred towards young gay people, what message is the president sending when he repeatedly goes out of his way to spread the message that the gay population is not worthy of the respect that everyone else is?!"
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  • If Democratic candidates are counting on long-standing support from gay voters to help stave off big losses on Nov. 2, they could be in for a surprise.
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Officials Push to Bolster Law on Wiretapping, Charlie Savage, New York Times | NY

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  • Valerie E. Caproni, the F.B.I.’s general counsel, has said the government is trying to prevent its existing surveillance power from eroding.
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  • "Has the nation already gone past the tipping point to being a surveillance state? Probably not quite yet, but it won't be that much longer."
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  • Joseph Taylor, Suburban Maryland
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  • Obama's DOJ vs. the First Amendment
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Obama Signals Shift On Gay Marriage Support, Nick Wing, Huffington Post

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  • Obama (called) himself a "strong supporter of civil unions" who was uncomfortable getting behind legislation to broaden marriage rights for gay couples because of his "understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage."
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  • The president and his administration have taken their lumps from the gay rights community over the Justice Department's recently successful appeal of a federal court decision that had forced the military to halt its "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
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  • Full Transcript of Obama's Interview With Progressive Bloggers
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Attack on the Middle Class

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The Long Con
Attention tea partiers: The head you're putting on the chopping block may be your own.
By Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery

Attack on the Middle Class!!
First they came after your paycheck. Then your house. What's next?
By James K. Galbraith

Will Obama Put Up a Fight?
How Obama lost control of the economic message.
By David Corn

Invasion of the Brain-Devouring Platitudes
Five election-year memes I never want to hear again. Ever.
By Kevin Drum

Adventures of Unemployed Man
Quick, free marketeers! Deploy the social safety net!
By Erich Origen and Gan Golan

Attack of the 50-Foot Palin<>
The B movie classic behind this issue's Mother Jones cover.
By Clara Jeffery and Monika Bauerlein

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How Obama Lost the Narrative

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  • So he's not Superman after all--but how has he managed to lose the legion of doom?
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  • Here's one account.
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  • 2010 Elections: Why Have the Democrats Lost Popular Support?
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David Corn, Mother Jones

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

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Reprinted from The Adventures of Unemployed Man by Erich Origen and Gan Golan.

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On his first day back from summer vacation, President Obama appeared in a sweltering Rose Garden to talk about the economy. The latest numbers were disheartening—growth slow, consumer spending weak, housing sales down, unemployment near 10 percent. Obama reported that he'd just met with his economic team. He pointed out that his administration had already taken "a series of measures" to boost the economy, and that his aides were "hard at work" looking for more. He offered no specific proposals, and after five minutes he went back inside, taking no questions from the sweating reporters.

With the Democrats' poll numbers falling in tandem with the economic indicators, the best Obama could offer were a few modest proposals. At a moment when his party was facing a possibly catastrophic drubbing, the president appeared on the defensive, his economic leadership anemic. How had Obama lost his groove?

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2010 Elections: Why Have the Democrats Lost Popular Support?, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun.org

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  • What the Democrats Could Have Done
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  • Scaring Us To The Polls
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2010 Elections: Why Have the Democrats Lost Popular Support?

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  • What the Democrats Could Have Done
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  • Scaring Us To The Polls
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Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun.org

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

Perhaps the November elections will not be as harsh on the Democrats as the polls predict, but the Dems' behavior in power has decreased their popularity dramatically.

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We know, of course, that the Democrats did not have a solid majority in Congress, given Rahm Emanuel's 2006 decision to back the most conservative candidates in the Democratic primaries in order to win in swing districts and take Democratic control of the House of Representatives (a decision he made while serving as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee). Democrats in the Senate followed a similar path. As a result, they won formal control and hence could be blamed for what ensued, but they did not have the votes to fulfill their promise to the electorate to cut off funding for the war in Iraq.

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Scaring Us To The Polls, Lydia Howell, Evergreene Digest

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  • What’s so pathetic about the Democrats is that they could have addressed voters real fears in the last two years and be in a much better position in the mid-term election.
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  • Advancing the Progressive Agenda in November: Don’t Vote Dem!
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Scaring Us To The Polls

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  • What’s so pathetic about the Democrats is that they could have addressed voters real fears in the last two years and be in a much better position in the mid-term election.
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  • Advancing the Progressive Agenda in November: Don’t Vote Dem!
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Lydia Howell, Evergreene Digest

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

Electoral trick-or-treaters this year span a scary spectrum.

They include U.S. Senate candidates like Christine O’Donnell (Delaware) as bi-polar former witch/contemporary Puritan and Rich Iott (Ohio) in
full SS Nazi uniform and New York governor-wannabe Carl Paladino as a homophobic Mafia hit-man.

Frightening rhetoric about President Obama has helped recession-proof the publishing industry, with right-wing screeds from FreedomWorks’ Dick
Armey and his “Tea Party Manifesto” to Dinesh D’Souza’s latest, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” which resorts to a weird mix of DNA and
reincarnation to concoct racist smear of the president.

To foment fear of Democrats' allegedly “socialist” policies, Republicans “No taxes! No spending!” (except for war and prisons) cry has been
amplified to an absurd degree. Of course, there also is the  now standard howl: “The Muslims will get you unless we keep ‘The War On
Terror' going at home and abroad.” (And, of course, Democrats are “soft on terrorism.”

Are you scared enough to keep Minnesota’s nutty Rep. Michelle Bachman in office or to put Colorado former DA/rapist protector Ken Buck in the US
Senate? There’s a long list of undeniably scary “conservative”-Tea Party-Republicans on the ballot.

That’s a good thing for Democrats, who rely more and more on the fear card, too, to save their quivering behinds: “Vote for me or you’ll get
The Terrifying Rightwinger---and that means women’s reproductive rights will be killed and the Supreme Court will go Frankenstein!”

(What goes unmentioned is how Democrats have allowed women’s reproductive rights to be whittled away by state laws, and how they
dropped abortion coverage from their healthcare “reform” bill. And let us never forget that some Democrats voted for the rightwing SCOTUS
justices, including John Roberts).

That’s not to say that much of voters’ fears aren’t very real; unemployment isn’t budging much and home foreclosures keep rising. Increasingly, people ask if the American Dream is dead, merely a grieving ghost that haunts the long-term jobless, those fighting eviction by fraudster bankers and recent college graduates with big student loans to pay off on a Starbucks’ minimum-wage.

What’s so pathetic about the Democrats is that they could have addressed voters real fears in the last two years and be in a much better position
in the mid-term election.

Throughout the truly terrifying Bush-Cheney years, Democrats'  mantra was “We can’t challenge anything the Republicans do because they have
Congress and the White House.”

What too many liberal apologists for those weak-kneed Dems ignore is how often Democrats colluded with the Republicans’ agenda ---by voting for
the PATRIOT Act that‘s destroying civil liberties, for example, and voting for pouring more hundreds of billions of dollars into occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, and working to further de-regulate Wall Street – a little game that got rolling during President Bill Clinton‘s time in office, thus ensuring an economic meltdown at some point.

In 2006, once Democrats had a Congressional majority, George W. Bush’s veto pen became the unbeatable Darth Vader light sword.  All he had to
do was threaten and a majority of Democrats hid under their desks.

Two years ago, for the first time in 30 years, Democrats had the unmistakable opportunity to reverse decades of Freddy Krueger policies that have preyed on every aspect of the public interest . If the Democrats were still the political party of FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society, they would have shoveled furiously to fill in the economic ditch left to us by Bush.   Hardly any of them thought to reach for a spade.

What should the Democrats have done?

Massive job-creation should have been the top priority.  They should have frozen home foreclosures and instituted real financial reforms that
stopped Wall Street from functioning like a taxpayer-backed casino.

While the stimulus package preserved some civil service jobs and created some temporary new ones, it was at best a nervous half measure. President Barack Obama has refused to push a moratorium on home foreclosures, even with the exposure of massive fraud by banks, which
even have tried to foreclose on people who’ve paid off their mortgages.

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The financial “reform” bill did not do anything to end the Wall Street abuses that tanked the economy. Hedge fund managers and CEOs are still
making out like vampires at the blood bank , even as profitable corporations continue to lay-off tens of thousands of workers.

Healthcare “reform” deserves an essay, or a book or several books, all its own. Suffice it say that, even with some positive steps such as ending denials based on pre-existing conditions or allowing children to be on their parents’ insurance to age 26, the 2,000-plus-page bill shape-shifted so constantly no one knew what was actually in it.

Hysteria about “death panels” was easy for the political right to pull off because werewolf insurance companies wrote the bill, including the hex that requires everyone to buy their high-priced, fraudulent policies, with no real oversight or cost controls. Most of the bill doesn’t even go into effect until somewhere between 2014 and 2017, but, insurance companies are raising their rates and dropping children-only policies right now.

President Obama---with Goldman Sachs economic advisors--- and most of the Democrats whistled past the right-wing graveyard with timid
middle-of-the road policies that failed to address the real problems we are facing, making them vulnerable to the Tea Party Horror Show’s attacks. The problem isn’t  “a failure to communicate,” but a refusal to take strong stands in the public interest. Democrats who’ve tried to make progressive critics into the Boogie Man are only contributing to the ‘enthusiasm gap” they fear.

Republicans have become like Dr. Frankenstein gone mad in his laboratory, cutting taxes for capitalist crony oligarchs, pushing for a permanent state of war that boosts ‘private contractors” from Halliburton to Blackwater/Xe and protecting Wall Street as it plunders our country.  On what should be the other side, most Democrats have become long on liberal talk, short on progressive action, morphed into a servile Igor doing the exact things Republicans do at a slightly slower pace.

The bi-partisan consensus to push a corporate agenda is the scariest real thing voters face at the poll. When will we organize progressive pitchforks and torches to storm the castle?

Related:

Advancing the Progressive Agenda in November: Don’t Vote Dem! David W. Culver, Evergreene Digest
Walk away from the Democratic Party and back progressive, third party candidates until the Democrats feel enough heat to adopt our agenda. We must be willing to say no. If not, we become slaves.

TruthToTell : Redistricting 2011: First, Consider Your Cities

The battle over who is represented by whom for the next ten years is under way with discussions about the upshot of population growth or shrinkage in some districts as well as shifts from one district to the next - or several miles away.

Andy Driscoll and Lynnell Mickelsen, KFAI-FM | MN

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

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And now it begins - at least at the local level. The battle over who is represented by whom for the next ten years is under way with discussions about the upshot of population growth or shrinkage in some districts as well as shifts from one district to the next - or several miles away. As the 2010 Census figures are compiled for presentation early next year, coalitions are forming to ensure that statewide redistricting is seriously reformed after decades of Legislative redistricting wound up in the courts - and still safe districts for incumbents were the outcome. When once we thought it possible Minnesota's eight Congressional districts might be whittled to seven by the Census outcome, it now appears we'll hold the eight by a very slim margin - as little as 1,500 souls.

Minneapolis has a question on the November 2nd ballot asking whether the city's Charter Commission should be the body to redraw City Ward and Park District lines, unlike the political-party-appointed Redistricting Commission, which ten years ago found itself under a cloud for its DFL-heavy redistricting out of Green Party incumbents and other anomalies which landed the entire process in court. This time out, the struggle is over whether the Charter Commission, itself questionably representative of the city as a whole, is likely to properly redraw the city's lines of representation. (Under state statute, all Charter Commissions are appointed from pools of self-selected applicants by the chief judge of the appropriate district court of jurisdiction, in this case the Chief Judgeof the Hennepin County District Court.)

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Some candidates are avoiding voters

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'Pressing the flesh' falls from favor as an election tactic - except as photo op

Sandhy Somashekhar, Washington Post | DC/Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

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With less than two weeks before the midterm elections, candidates all across America are doing ... not much of anything?

Congressional hopefuls from California to Delaware are shunning the traditional trappings of American campaigns, avoiding public events, debates and other venues where they can't control the action. Many are keeping their schedules secret and limiting their in-person appearances and have canceled interviews on national television in favor of smaller, friendlier venues.

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Incumbent John Kline's lips are sealed, Nick Coleman, Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN
With so little attention on his race, he clearly feels safe ignoring his challenger.

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