Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Class War Update The middle class falls further behind

The middle class falls further behind 

"America's middle class has endured its worst decade in modern history," the Pew Research Center said in its report. "It has shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some -- but by no means all -- of its characteristic faith in the future."

Middle Class Exit "Lost Decade" With Little Hope (Pew Report)

Monday, August 20, 2012

DSA Statement on 2012 Elections

DSA Statement on 2012 Elections

“Democracy Endangered: DSA’s Strategy for the 2012 Elections and Beyond”
By the National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America
I. The Threat of Right-Wing Hegemony
The 2012 election poses an extreme challenge to the future prospects for democracy in the United States. This threat demands the focused attention of the broad Left - the labor movement, communities of color, feminists, the LGBTQ community, environmentalists and peace activists. The task for the U.S. Left is two-fold.  First, we must defeat the far-right threat to democracy.  Second, we need to build a grassroots, organized Left capable of fighting the corporate interests that dominate the leadership of both major political parties.
The Left confronts a Republican Party thoroughly controlled by right-wing forces that are determined to cement long-term control of the federal government and of the majority of states.  Its agenda is to extend the reign of the corporate oligarchy over the whole of American society from top to bottom. The wish list of the 1% includes dismantling not only Social Security and Medicare, but all government programs designed to benefit the large majority of people - the 99%.  This reactionary plan intends to repeal not only the New Deal and the Great Society, but also the reforms of the Progressive Era and the post-Watergate legislation of the 1970s. A Romney victory would likely be accompanied by Republican control of both the Senate and House, as well as the Supreme Court. Such a governing majority would endeavor to pass the reactionary Ryan budget, deny federal funding for women’s reproductive health, wage a sustained and fundamental attack on the rights of workers and unions, and overturn already weakened federal civil rights laws.
 A major weapon of the Radical Right is an unprecedented flood of money from super-wealthy individuals and corporations into the political arena, buying influence and votes on a massive scale. This intervention has been enabled by a long series of decisions by the Supreme Court, culminating in the Citizens United decision (and the recent Montana case) that essentially encourage buying electoral results through massive negative advertising - itself aimed at suppressing voter turnout - under the guise of “free speech.” 
Another right-wing tactic is to suppress voting by African-Americans, Hispanics, students and poor people generally, under the guise of preventing non-existent “voter fraud.” New forms of photo ID requirements and restrictions on early voting and independent voter registration efforts threaten to remove millions of potential Democratic voters from the rolls. This is part of a Republican racial strategy to convince swing white voters that their economic distress is caused not by a predatory corporate elite but by alleged government hand-outs to undeserving poor people of color.
A third assault is to further weaken unions, particularly in the public sector, by eliminating collective bargaining and discouraging membership and imposing onerous new restrictions on the use of union dues and agency fee payments in political campaigns. Since unions, especially public sector unions, are a major source of political opposition to right-wing causes and campaigns, the Right is consciously out to destroy their very existence.
II. The Tepid Democratic Response
How can such a radical restructuring of American politics and policy, one that benefits the plutocracy at the expense of the majority, have a real prospect of success in 2012?
One reason is that the national leadership of the Democratic Party is not a consistent, credible champion for the interests of the majority. The top of the party serves the interests of its corporate funders over the needs of the party’s mass base of trade unionists, people of color, feminists and other progressives. Thus, when the country cried out for a vigorous defense against the ravages created by Wall Street greed, Obama’s economic advisors (largely drawn from Wall Street) extended the Bush administration’s bailout of the banks and financial elite without exacting a return in restored, strict financial regulation.  The administration also failed to take effective measures against foreclosures and job losses associated with the crisis.  Republicans and conservative Democrats blocked any more far-reaching proposals, like those of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Furthermore, in a misguided effort to appear as a “strong” foreign policy leader, the president unnecessarily extended the failed war in Afghanistan and engaged in the indiscriminate use of drone warfare in clear violation of international law.
Rightwing obstructionism and the waffling of the majority of the Democratic Party understandably led to large Republican gains in the Congressional elections of 2010. Thereafter, the Tea Party-influenced House Republican majority curtailed any possibility that the Obama administration would govern in a progressive manner. Newly established Republican political control over several Midwestern states turned into sweeping assaults on public sector unions and on the social safety net.
President Obama’s on-and-off flirtation with the neoliberal view that fiscal “austerity” is the road out of the Great Recession may prove to be his downfall in 2012. As federal support for state and local programs faltered in the contrived “debt crisis,” most Democratic governors and legislators also followed suit in slashing social programs and public employee benefits. In addition, Obama’s openness to “entitlement reform” may deny the Democrats the mantle of being the staunch protectors of Social Security and Medicare. If the Obama administration had fought for and succeeded in continuing beyond 2010 federal aid to preserve state and municipal jobs, today’s unemployment rate would be seven percent or lower. This is the first recession since the early 1900s in which public sector employment has fallen rather than grown.
III. Rebuild the Left by Defeating the Right
In light of the threat that would be posed to basic democratic rights by Republican control of all three branches of the federal government, most trade union, feminist, LGBTQ and African- American and Latino organizations will work vigorously to re-elect the president. And in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and elsewhere, many DSA members may choose to do the same. But DSA recognizes that an Obama victory, unaccompanied by the strengthening of an independent progressive coalition able to challenge the elites of both parties, will be a purely defensive engagement in lesser-evil politics.
The Left proved too weak to force the first Obama administration to respond to popular needs. The Occupy movement of fall 2011 gave voice to popular frustration with the American plutocracy; but it emerged well after the Republicans had gained control of the House. The Left must now build upon the accomplishments of Occupy. Democratic socialists must work to build a multi-racial coalition of working people, the unemployed, indebted students and the foreclosed that is capable of forcing politicians to govern democratically. The first task of a movement to defend democracy is to work for maximum voter turnout in the 2012 election.
Building such a mass social movement for democracy is DSA’s major task; the 2012 elections are only a tactical step on that strategic path. Thus, while working to defeat the far Right, DSA and other progressive forces should work to increase the size of the Congressional Progressive, Black and Latino caucuses and to elect pro-labor candidates to state legislatures. The election this year of Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), along with the re-election of Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), would increase the number of progressive voices in the United States Senate. 
DSA locals should use their work in progressiveelectoral campaigns to build coalitions opposed to further slashing of federally-funded anti-poverty programs. Such disastrous shredding of the social safety net will occur if the cuts mandated by the August 2011 “budget compromise” are not reversed before January 1, 2013. These “automatic cuts” in domestic spending could readily be avoided if Congress reversed the Bush and Reagan income tax cuts for the top two percent, returned effective corporate tax rates to the levels of the 1960s and reduced wasteful defense spending. In our educational efforts in favor of progressive economic alternatives, DSA locals should draw on the resources of the DSA Fund’s Grassroots Economics Training for Understanding and Power (GETUP) and The Other America is Our America projects. GETUP offers a comprehensive critique of neoliberal economic thought and policy. The Other America project draws lessons from the 50th anniversaries of the publication of The Other America (1962); the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Justice; and the 1964 advent of the War on Poverty.
DSA locals should also work against all forms of voter suppression, whether onerous photo ID requirements, harassment of independent voter registration efforts, or phony purges of voter rolls. DSA members should also take part in the voter registration and turnout efforts by groups like the NAACP, unions and progressive community groups.
DSA locals ought to also join efforts to restrict the role of big money in political campaigns, including local efforts in favor of a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, to permit public campaign funding and to restrict the abuse of “free speech” to buy elections.
This is a year to take the “democratic” part of our democratic socialism very seriously. Whatever our analysis of the numerous imperfections of US democracy, we should be absolutely forthright about championing the rights of the people to make their own political decisions.
Paid for by Democratic Socialists of America Inc. PAC, 75 Maiden Lane, Suite 505, NY, NY 10038; not approved by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

U.S. Economic Recovery Is Weakest Since World War II

U.S. Economic Recovery Is Weakest Since World War II

And here is part of the problem:

"Usually, workers' pay rises as the economy picks up momentum after a recession. Not this time. Employers don't have to be generous in a weak job market because most workers don't have anywhere to go.
As a result, pay raises haven't kept up with even modest levels of inflation. Earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers – a category that covers about 80 percent of the private, nonfarm workforce – have risen just over 6.2 percent since June 2009. Consumer prices have risen nearly 7.2 percent. Adjusted for inflation, wages have fallen 0.8 percent. In the previous five recoveries _the records go back only to 1964 – real wages had gone up an average 1.5 percent at this point.
Falling wages haven't hurt everyone. Lower labor costs helped push corporate profits to a record 10.6 percent of U.S. GDP in the first three months of 2012, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. And those surging profits helped lift the Dow Jones industrials 54 percent from the end of June 2009 to the end of last month."
Wages have not kept pace with productivity, and as a result, wealth has accumulated at the top, and not stimulated consumer demand...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ryan Budget Facts

Bernie Sanders lays out the facts...
Ryan Budget Facts - Newsroom: Bernie Sanders - U.S. Senator for Vermont

The House budget drawn up by Rep. Paul Ryan would end Medicare as we know it, according to Sen. Bernie Sanders. It also would cut spending on virtually everything but the Pentagon while still spending more than the Treasury takes in by providing $1 trillion in tax breaks for the wealthy and profitable corporations, according to Sanders, a member of the Senate Budget Committee who has monitored and analyzed the Ryan plan.


The Ryan plan will end Medicare as we know it within 10 years by providing an $8,000 voucher for seniors to purchase a private health insurance plan.
The Ryan plan will increase out-of-pocket health care costs for a typical 65 year-old senior by more than $6,000 in 2022 - more than double the cost under current law.
And the problem gets worse and worse over time, so that by 2030, the out-of-pocket health care costs paid by seniors will climb to about $11,000.
Under the Ryan budget, Medicare's eligibility age would rise from 65-67 from 2022 to 2033.

Prescription Drugs

Under the House Ryan plan, nearly four million seniors would pay over $2 billion more for prescription drugs in 2012 alone by re-opening the Medicare Part D prescription drug donut hole.

Children's Health Insurance

If the Ryan plan becomes law, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 1.7 million children would lose health insurance by 2016. 


The Ryan budget would cut Medicaid by over $770 billion by turning it into a block grant program, and threatening the life-saving nursing home care of millions of senior citizens.
Slashing Medicaid as the Republicans want to do could cost America more than two million private-sector jobs over the next five years.

Affordable Health Care Act

The Ryan budget would completely repeal the Affordable Health Care Act preventing an estimated 34 million uninsured Americans to get the health insurance they need. 

Cancer Screenings

The Ryan budget will force over 7 million seniors to pay more for cancer screenings and prevention programs, while requiring senior cancer patients to pay millions more for lifesaving cancer drugs immediately.


The Ryan plan could force at least one million seniors to pay over $110 million more for annual wellness visits in 2012.

Pell Grants

At a time when the cost of a college education is becoming out of reach for millions of Americans, the Ryan budget would slash college Pell grants by about 60% next year alone reducing the maximum award amount from $5,550 to about $2,100. 


At a time when over 40 million Americans don't have enough money to feed themselves or their families, the Ryan budget would kick up to 10 million Americans off of Food Stamps, by slashing this program by more than $125 billion over the next decade.


At a time when our nation's infrastructure is crumbling, the House Ryan budget would slash funding for our roads, bridges, rail lines, transit systems, and airports by nearly 40 percent next year alone.

Defense Spending

Despite the fact that military spending has nearly tripled since 1997, the House Ryan budget does nothing to reduce unnecessary defense spending.  In fact, defense spending would go up by $26 billion next year alone under the Ryan plan.

$1 Trillion in Tax Breaks for Corporations and Wealthy  

The Ryan budget provides over $1 trillion in tax cuts to the wealthiest 2 percent and large corporations by permanently extending all of the Bush income tax cuts; reducing the estate tax for multi-millionaires; and lowering the top individual and corporate income tax rate from 35 to 25 percent.

Protects Big Oil

The Ryan budget protects $44 billion in unnecessary and expensive tax breaks and subsidies for oil and gas companies, even as oil companies are reporting record profits.

Costs Jobs

Mark Zandi, the former economic advisor to John McCain when he was running for president, has said that the Ryan budget plan will cost America 1.7 million jobs by the year 2014, with 900,000 jobs lost next year.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Romney/Ryan Declare War on U.S. Working Class

So Romney has picked his running mate, Paul Ryan, and embraced an Ayn Rand social darwinist who wants to CUT Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Education, etc. (all the things we need to re-build our economy and working class) to give MORE TAX CUTS to the corporate rich.  It presents a startling choice in the class war:  Tax Cuts for the Rich vs. Social Programs for everyone else.  That is the choice.

The question is will Obama and the Democrats DEFEND the legacy of FDR and LBJ or cave in to the corporatist demand that the budget be balanced on the backs of seniors and the working class?

Paul Ryan, Seriously?

The Romney-Ryan Plan to End Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

Five Things You Need to Know About Paul Ryan

Meet Paul Ryan: Climate Denier, Conspiracy Theorist, Koch Acolyte

How the GOP Plan to Kill Medicare and Medicaid Would Work

Everything You Need to Know About Ryan's Budget

CBO: Ryan Budget Would Set Nation on Path to End Most Government Programs other than Social Security, Healthcare and Defense by 2050

Ryan Gets 62 Percent of His Budget Cuts from Programs for Lower-Income Americans

Monday, August 6, 2012

Jim Maynard, Memphis DSA Activist, for U.S. Senate

Since the TN Democratic Party has basically forfeited the 2012 U.S. Senate to Republican Bob Corker, I'm offering my name as a write-in candidate to those who want their write in vote counted. (Paperwork is being filed with the TN Election Commission to make the write-in votes count.)

 I'm a 49 year old gay, humanist, democratic socialist activist in Memphis, Tennessee. I've been fighting for economic and social justice, LGBT equality, separation of church and state my whole adult life. In 2004 and 2006, I ran a write-in campaign against Harold Ford Jr., who betrayed the Tennessee LGBT community and progressives, and ran for Congress as a right-wing Democrat, opposing LGBT civil rights and siding with Republicans on many issues.

 I have no illusion of winning this election. Neither does the Tennessee Democratic Party, which could not find and support a viable candidate to oppose Republican Bob Corker, and allowed an unknown anti-gay right-wing nut to "win" the primary. The TNDP has urged everyone to write-in a "candidate of your choice," I offer my name if you want to stand up to the right-wing Tea Party Agenda of Bob Corker and the Republican Party, and if you want your write-in vote to be counted.

TN Dems Nominate Anti-Gay Conspiracy Nut for U.S. Senate
TN Democratic Party Disavows  Senate Nominee

Jim Maynard Write-In Candidate for U.S. Senate 2012

Here's My Progressive Platform