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Advancing the Progressive Agenda in November: Don’t Vote Dem!

 


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.

David W. Culver, Evergreene Digest

If most of the apocalyptic prognostications are realized, the GOP/Tea Party coalition is going to win big next month. And, typically, those of a progressive, liberal, anti-war, Democratic persuasion are saying, “We can avoid the tsunami of Tea Party crazies by sticking with the Democrats. The Dems may be bad, but the Tea Partiers are even worse!”

And I ask you, how does voting fearfully, ignorantly, and irresponsibly (sticking with the Democrats, voting for the lesser of two evils, voting against someone) advance the Progressive agenda? And that is what we are concerned about isn’t it? Advancing the Progressive agenda?

Like you, I’ve already heard the arguments, variations on a theme of fear, ignorance, and irresponsibility:

· We would be throwing away our vote and probably enabling the opposing party to win.

· (If we don’t stay with the Dems) there is a huge chance that the right wing will win.

· There is no way I would knowingly put the future of my grandchildren in the hands of those irrational bigots.

My point is: We’ve already been doing it this way for years and look at the mess we’re in. Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. If we continue to vote this way, how will things end up different this November?

My suggestion? 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.

The means for meaningful change is to put pressure on the Democratic Party to make them stand up for our Progressive positions. But how are we going to do that by always giving our elected officials our money and our votes because we fear something worse on the right? How does that give them any incentive to take our peace, justice, love, generosity and environmental sanity messages seriously? As Rabbi Michael Lerner says, “We need to let them know that these positions of ours are not just ‘preferences,’ but rather they are our bottom line and that we won't support those who support war, militarism, injustice, and a worldview of domination and power over others, even if they tell us that deep in their hearts they believe something quite different.”

People worry about “throwing away our vote and probably enabling the opposing party to win.”  What opposing party? There’s no fundamental difference between the two parties anyway! There’s no qualitative difference in a GOP or Democratic win! Both parties:

· sold out health care, the economy, and political campaigns to the corporations;

· support torture and keeping Guantanamo open; warrantless wire-tapping and internet snooping; two wars; screwing veterans, women, workers, consumers; jeopardizing public safety (the totally inadequate responses to hurricanes and oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico), etc!

· have helped gut all of the New Deal except for social security and they’re both working on that. (After all, it was Alan Simpson, Obama’s   appointee to the Deficit Commission, that said Social Security was a cow with 310 million teats!)

As far as I’m concerned, we’re just going through the longest presidential administration in US history: the 8-term Reagan-BushI-Clinton-BushII-Obama one. As Jim Hightower wrote:

“The sad truth is that none of George W’s agenda would be hanging around our necks without the complicity and often the direct support of national Democratic leaders. They’ve ditched the Red Wing boot bunch and thrown in with the wing-tip crowd, going all wobbly on the whole concept of why America needs a Democratic party.”


Or, as Chris Hedges puts it:


The failure of the American left is a failure of nerve. It has been neutralized and rendered ineffectual as a political force because of its refusal to hold fast on core issues, from universal, single-payer, not-for-profit health care for all Americans, to the steadfast protection of workers' rights, to an immediate withdrawal from the failed occupation of Iraq to a fight against a militarized economy that is hollowing the country out from the inside.

“Let the politicians compromise. This is their job. It is not ours. If the left wants to regain influence in the nation's political life, it must be willing to 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.

“Political and social change, as the radical Christian right and the array of corporate-funded neocon think tanks have demonstrated, are created by the building of movements. This is a lesson American progressives have forgotten. The object of a movement is not to achieve political power at any price. It is to create pressure and mobilize citizens around core issues of justice. It is to force politicians and parties to respond to our demands. It is about rewarding, through support and votes, those who champion progressive ideals and punishing those who refuse. And the current Democratic Party…has betrayed us.”


This year, I’m putting my actions where my mouth is. I left the Democratic Party (rather, they left me) after an adult-life-long affiliation and joined the Socialist Party USA this year. For the first time since I’ve been eligible to vote I will not vote a straight Democratic ticket. I will only vote for my US Congressional rep, Keith Ellison. The rest of the candidates aren’t looking for a solution, they are part of the problem, and undeserving of my vote, a right I fought to preserve in Vietnam! And I help publish a Progressive e-zine that reaches 33,200+ readers worldwide.

Am I uncomfortable with what I’ve done and planning to do? Damn right! Am I scared of what we’re going to be looking at the morning of November 3? Damn right! Can it be anything fundamentally worse than what we have right now? Hell no! As far as I’m concerned, we’ve got nothing further to lose and everything to gain: a possible reversal of this country’s self-inflicted path to destruction and a way out.


 

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US troops are still dying in two Mission Impossibles

  • In Iraq, Obama says it's over but it's not
  • In Afghanistan, who wants to die for Karzai?

Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown

At long last, it's over. In the pre-dawn hours of August 18--seven years, two months, and 18 days after George W strapped on a flight suit to peacock around at a photo-op that declared "Mission Accomplished"--the Army's 4th Stryker Brigade crossed the border into Kuwait. Stryker was the last US combat unit in Iraq, and its border cross-ing marked the official end of Bush's god-awful war.

The American combat mission in Iraq has ended," President Obama solemnly announced to the nation a few days later. "We have met our responsibility. Now, it is time to turn the page."

No doubt Sgt. Brandon E. Maggart would love to do just that, but he can't. He's dead. The 24-year-old Sgt. Maggart, from Kirksville, Missouri, was killed in action in southern Iraq on August 22--giving him the unfortunate distinction of being the first US soldier to die in Iraq after the war "ended." Sadly, he won't be the last.

More...

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Anti-tax fervor undermines the common good

  • Facing yawning deficits, many years of tough sacrifice and reckoning lie ahead of us. But to use that as an excuse to eviscerate government functions left and right, or push down taxes just when government needs them to remain solvent, represents a strange kind of patriotism.
  • The Myths of Austerity
  • Hey Tea Party-Republicans: The Founders Are Not Your Guys

    Neal Peirce, Syndicated columnist, Seattle Times | WA

    Parker & Hart

    Where will anti-government sentiment — call it "libertarian," "tax revolt" or "tea party" — take America's cities and towns?

    For a top example, Governing magazine's current edition features the draconian measures under way in Colorado Springs, Colo. Responding to anti-tax sentiment that was thriving well before the current recession, the city laid off more than 550 city workers, let street medians go to weeds, closed all its swimming pools and turned off a third of its streetlights.

    Beyond all that, Colorado Springs has cut bus service by 100,000 hours, with zero evening or weekend trips — a move that literally strands transit-dependent residents.

    More...

    Related:

    The Myths of Austerity, Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

    • The next time you hear serious-sounding people explaining the need for fiscal austerity, try to parse their argument. Almost surely, you’ll discover that what sounds like hardheaded realism actually rests on a foundation of fantasy, on the belief that invisible vigilantes will punish us if we’re bad and the confidence fairy will reward us if we’re good. And real-world policy — policy that will blight the lives of millions of working families — is being built on that foundation.
    • This isn’t a recovery, in any sense that matters.

    Hey Tea Party-Republicans: The Founders Are Not Your Guys, Harvey Wasserman, Common Dreams
    Next time those Tea/GOP phonies gaze off in the distance to claim kinship with the Founders, remind (them) who really did win that Revolution and write that Bill of Rights: Those hemp-growing, tree-hugging, corporate-hating deistic free loving and free thinking present-at-the-creation Americans (who) believed above all that the Truth would keep us free.

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

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    Companies stash cash, but won't hire

    • The development presents something of a chicken-and-egg situation — corporations keep saving, waiting for the economy to perk up, but the economy is unlikely to perk up if corporations keep saving.
    • Pushing working people down
    • The jobs emergency

    Graham Bowley, New York Times | NY

    While many households and small businesses are being turned away by bank loan officers, large corporations are borrowing vast sums of money for virtually nothing — simply because they can.

    Companies such as Microsoft are raising billions of dollars by issuing bonds at ultra-low interest rates, but few are spending the money on new factories, equipment or jobs. Instead, they are stockpiling the cash.

    The development presents something of a chicken-and-egg situation — corporations keep saving, waiting for the economy to perk up, but the economy is unlikely to perk up if corporations keep saving.

    More...

    Related:

    Pushing working people down, James Clay Fuller, Things We're Not Supposed to Say

    • Those who are benefiting from the rotten economy are the wealthiest 20 percent of the American people, who hold upward of 85 percent of the country's wealth.
    • Tell Mott's: get the scabs out of your applesauce!

    The jobs emergency, Robert Reich

    • Twelve thousand new jobs in July -- when 125,000 are needed monthly just to keep up with population growth, when more than 15 million Americans are out of work, and when more than a half-million more state and local jobs are on the chopping block.
    • Predictably, Washington's latest rescue effort falls woefully short
    • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
    • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program.

     

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

    Section(s): 

    Household incomes down, and poverty up, survey finds

    • Household incomes shrank for a second year in 2009, while the ranks of people who are poor or just barely making it swelled. Income estimates out Tuesday from the American Community Survey, a wide array of census statistics reported annually, show the recession's effect on millions of families.
    • Inequality: A threat to nation?
    • Wage stagnation imperils consumer spending
    • Special Report | Poverty in the U.S.

    Washington Post | DC and Seattle Times | WA

    Job applicants move through a rope line at a March 2009 job fair in New York. Economists generally agree competition from low-wage nations and other factors hurt U.S. workers.

    Household incomes shrank for a second year in 2009, as the recession eroded the share of American families earning more than $100,000 and swelled the ranks of people who are poor or just barely making it.

    Income estimates out Tuesday (Sep 28) from the American Community Survey, a wide array of census statistics reported annually, show the recession's effect on millions of families.

    More...

    Related:

    Inequality: A threat to nation? Tom Abate, San Francisco Chronicle | CA
    Soaring unemployment has poured salt into a long-festering economic wound — the widening gap between rich and poor Americans, a trend that has been accompanied by a hollowing out of the middle class.

    Wage stagnation imperils consumer spending, Tom Abate,
    San Francisco Chronicle | CA/Seattle Times | WA
    Americans did not invent consumerism, although they hold the dubious distinction of being the world heavyweight champions of shopping.

    Special Report | Poverty in the U.S., David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

    • Poverty Rate In U.S. Saw Record Increase In 2009: 1 In 7 Americans Are Poor
    • US Poverty Data Tells Only Half the Story...


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

    Section(s): 

    Banner: Mr. Obama, End These Fucking Wars! War Is The Obscenity!

    "Blowing people's arms and legs off, burning, paralyzing them, causing sewage to run through their streets, polluting the water that kills and sickens children, terrorizing and bombing people and their livestock with flying robots-- that defines obscenity." Mike Ferner, Veterans For Peace (VFP)

    davidswanson, War Is A Crime.org

    Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Bob Heberle

    Veterans for Peace 25' x 17' banner tells it straight to Obama at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. Photo by Ellen Davidson

    Today (Oct 1) at 1:00pm eastern time, U.S. military veterans hung an enormous banner on the front of the Newseum, wrapping their message around the First Amendment chiseled in five stories of limestone.

    Opposed to the wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Palestine, the vets' message said loud and clear: "Mr. Obama, End These Fucking Wars! War Is The Obscenity!."

    More...

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    Special Report | Torture, Rendition, and Guantánamo

    • The Obama administration, rather than investigate the abuses of the last eight years, has increasingly become an obstacle to accountability.
    • The Obama national security team has also authorized the C.I.A. to try to kill a United States citizen suspected of terrorism ties, blocked efforts by detainees in Afghanistan to bring habeas corpus lawsuits challenging the basis for their imprisonment without trial, and continued the C.I.A.’s so-called extraordinary rendition program of prisoner transfers — though the administration has forbidden torture and says it seeks assurances from other countries that detainees will not be mistreated.

    David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

    Paresh Nath

    Anti-Torture Group to Protest Appearance of John Yoo and Robert Delahunty on October 7, Women Against Military Madness (WAMM)
    Don’t allow the practice of torture to be legitimized via crazy notions of “Presidential War Powers”!
    Register (free) to attend "Presidential Powers: Prudence or Perversion?"
    Contact Person: Reverend Sonja Johnson, 612-721-1416 or WAMM, 612-827-5364.

    Torture: The Prisoner's Reality and International Law, Betsy Reznicek, Veterans for Peace
    Will be live streamed on Saturday October 9 (12pm Central Time) at http://www.veteransforpeace.org

    The U.S. wins the right to abduct innocent people with impunity, Glenn Greenwald, Salon
    Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Bob Heberle
    The Supreme Court today (Jun 14) denied a petition of review from Maher Arar, the Canadian and Syrian citizen who was abducted by the U.S. Government at a stopover at JFK Airport when returning to Canada in 2002, held incommunicado for two weeks, and then rendered to Syria, where he spent the next 10 months being tortured, even though -- as everyone acknowledges -- he was guilty of absolutely nothing.  Arar sued the U.S. Government for what was done to him, and last November, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of his lawsuit on the ground that courts have no right to interfere in these decisions of the Executive Branch.  That was the decision which the U.S. Supreme Court let stand today, ending Arar's attempt to be compensated for what was done to him.

    The CIA and Secrecy, Boston Globe | MA

    • Torture gets a free pass
    • The Bleaker Truth of Anti-Americanism: Torture, Rendition, and Guantánamo
    • ACLU Report: Obama Continuing Bush-Era Torture Policies

    Other Countries Probing Bush-era Torture — Why Aren't We? Shashank Bengali, the McClatchy Newspapers/Common Dreams
    "That's part of why we're so concerned. The Obama administration, rather than investigate the abuses of the last eight years, has increasingly become an obstacle to accountability."

    The Bleaker Truth of Anti-Americanism: Torture, Rendition, and Guantánamo, Andy Worthington, Common Dreams
    On the 9th Anniversary of 9/11, A Call to Close Guantánamo and to Hold Accountable Those Who Authorized Torture

    Center for Torture Accountability lists St. Thomas Professor Delahunty as deserving probe, The Center for Torture Accountability
    Delahunty helps John Yoo write memos making legal case for suspending constitutional rights and protections

    The Appalling Cowardice of the NY Times and the Rest of America's Big Newspapers -- Too Scared to Say 'Torture' Will Bunch, Media Matters for America
    Before 2004, the newspapers called waterboarding torture. After the revelations of Gitmo and black sites of the Bush years, they've gone silent.

    Court Dismisses a Case Asserting Torture by C.I.A., Charlie Savage, New York Times | NY
    The Obama national security team has also authorized the C.I.A. to try to kill a United States citizen suspected of terrorism ties, blocked efforts by detainees in Afghanistan to bring habeas corpus lawsuits challenging the basis for their imprisonment without trial, and continued the C.I.A.’s so-called extraordinary rendition program of prisoner transfers — though the administration has forbidden torture and says it seeks assurances from other countries that detainees will not be mistreated.

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    Give us a cuppa jove and we'll keep telling you the truth.

    Four times a year we launch brief fundraising drives which have provided us with most of our annual budget. Can you help now with a small contribution? For the cost of a cuppa jove a month, we'll keep telling you the truth. Is it a deal?

    Dear readers of Evergreene Digest,

    When we launched Evergreene Digest 5 years ago our goal was ambitious for 2005:  to be the preferred one-stop on-line source for women, communities of color, working people, people with disabilities, veterans, youth, pacifists, GLBT, activists, spiritual seekers, progressives, environmentalists, youth, veterans, and other groups ignored by the mainstream media as legitimate audiences, sources, and subjects for the news.

    We knew we wanted it to be free for our readers. And, we knew it would take a small staff of professionals to continually provide high-quality information 365-days a year.

    Our bottom line dilemma: How would we fund it?

    We could sell advertising. We could rely on big foundation grants. We could have corporate "co-sponsors". We could find a rich "sugar-mama or daddy." We could build a big email list and rent it to the highest bidders.

    That would have been the easy, and inappropriate,  way.

    But we decided to fund Evergreene Digest differently. Believing small is beautiful,  we seek thousands of small contributors, provide them with a high-quality product, and trust that the progressive community has our back as we move forward.

    No catering to advertisers because we don't have any. No need to avoid controversial issues that could upset a few wealthy donors because we don't have any. No steering of our agenda to fit a foundation's funding priority because we don't have any.

    And it's working! We've managed to build a small but very dedicated group of readers and supporters who have pitched in over the years in many ways to keep us afloat and support our work. Relying on small contributions from our readers not only guarantees us the independence to speak truth to power - but it helps keep us in touch - and on our toes - with our growing community of supporters.

    Four times a year we launch brief fundraising drives which have provided us with most of our annual budget. Can you help now with a small contribution? For the cost of a cuppa jove a month, we'll keep telling you the truth. Is it a deal?

    To make a secure, online donation with your PayPal account, click on the 'Donation' button in the upper right-hand corner of any page, and follow the instructions.  Or, send a check through the mail, payable to “Evergreene Digest,” c/o  David Culver, 460 5th Avenue North, #428, Hopkins, MN, 55343-7260.

    Carl Sandburg once said: "Nothing happens unless first a dream." We know you share our dream of a more open, peaceful, just, and progressive society. Of course it won't be easy but we believe we can make it happen - because we must!  And because 'necessity is the mother of invention', we believe that if we continue to work together, we will make our dreams a reality.

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    Sincerely,

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