I know I should be typing up my notes about last night’s 10th anniversary party, but I’m watching Bill Moyers interview Bernie Sanders, and I’m finding it difficult to work up the motivation to do anything more than just sob and gnash my teeth. You can find the whole transcript by following this link, but here’s my favorite quote from Senator Sanders.
“What you are looking at is a nation with a grotesquely unequal distribution of wealth and income, tremendous economic power on Wall Street, and, now, added to all of that, is big money interests, the billionaires and corporations, buying elections. I fear very much that, if we don’t turn this around, we’re heading toward an oligarchic form of society.”
I’ll share the video later in the post, for those of you who are interested in joining me in my despair, but, first, here’s a letter that Sanders distributed a few days ago, before President Obama was to address the Democratic National Convention.
Given Mitt Romney’s business record as an outsourcer and tax avoider, and his desire to continue the failed economic policies of George W. Bush, President Obama should be 20 points ahead in the polls right now, not struggling to stay even. At a time when the wealthiest people are doing phenomenally well, Romney’s plan to provide more tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires is dead wrong.
At a time when we have lost more than 56,000 factories and 5.3 million decent-paying manufacturing jobs since 2000, Romney is wrong in pushing for more unfettered free trade, which will make it easier for large corporations to throw American workers out on the street and ship American jobs to China and other low-wage countries.
At a time when millions of Americans continue to struggle through the horrendous recession caused by the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, Romney is wrong to believe we need more deregulation of too-big-to fail financial institutions.
In order to win support from the American middle class, it is absolutely imperative that the president provide a strong agenda that speaks to their needs, and that makes clear he will fight to win those proposals against the right-wing extremists who now control the Republican Party. Here is some of what the president should advocate:
1) The president must make it clear to the American people that he will not cut Social Security. Social Security has not added one penny to the deficit because it is funded by the payroll tax. Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus and can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 21 years.
2) Obama must tell the American people that he is not going to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. The deficit was largely caused by Bush’s two unpaid-for wars, tax breaks for the rich and the Wall Street-caused recession. The president must reduce the deficit by asking the wealthiest people in this country to start paying their fair share of taxes, by ending enormous corporate tax loopholes and by taking a hard look at wasteful military spending.
3) Given that real unemployment is 15%, the president must propose a major jobs program to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure (roads, bridges, water systems, waste water plants, airports and railroads) and, in the process, create millions of good paying jobs.
4) The president must accelerate his efforts to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and such sustainable energy sources as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. This would not only address the planetary crisis of global warming but also create jobs.
5) The president must call for real Wall Street reform that ends the largest unregulated gambling casino in the history of the world, and that demands Wall Street invest in the productive economy.
6) The president must support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, the disastrous Supreme Court decision that allows corporations and billionaires to buy politicians.
I’ll have to go back and watch the President’s speech again, but, from what I recall, he didn’t say any of that… Maybe he didn’t get Bernie’s note.
Now, here’s the video of Moyers and Sanders.
Oh, speaking of Obama’s speech before the DNC, my favorite coverage came from The Onion… Here’s a clip:
…“My fellow Americans and godless infidels, I command you to join me as we cast an endless pall of far-left evil across the hills and valleys of our nation!” Obama bellowed from the stage, as thousands in attendance moaned in compliance and gyrated their hips and groins in a lascivious dance. “Together, as a barbarian people forged by the wicked flames of irreligiosity and united by visions of a liberal dystopia, we will rise up as one to scorch the earth with boundless amorality.”
“The streets shall run red with the blood of forced sodomy, performed daily upon every American man, woman, and child!” the commander-in-chief shouted, froth forming around his mouth as the crowd threw hundreds of aborted fetuses onto the stage. “Die, Christians, die!”
Slamming his fists on the lectern until his hands began to bleed, Obama proceeded to lay out a “three-point plan of sin and lechery” for his second term. If reelected, the president said, he would begin by banning organized religion entirely—starting with Christianity—and burning all churches to the ground, preferably “with their wretched, Jesus-loving congregants still huddled inside like rats.”…
And one last thing… I mentioned it a wile ago, but, as we’re now entering into the final leg of the presidential race, I wanted to bring your attention back to something that I’d written after hearing Van Jones address to the 2012 Netroots Nation conference, in Providence. I think it’s particularly poignant in light of something Moyers said to Sanders in the above interview. Moyers asked, “Do you think Obama will cave again as he did the last time?” Well, here’s what Van Jones had to say about that.
…We have to be smart, (Jones) says. We have to support Obama, but we also have to hold his feet to the fire. “We have to be as sophisticated at the machine we’re fighting.” It’s going to be hard, but we have to be twice as passionate as we were in 2008. We have to do two difficult things. We have to reelect the President, and we have to hold him accountable. You need two things to get real change, he says. You have to have a President willing to move, and you have to have a movement that’s willing to move him. We haven’t had both at the same time. Under Bush we had a movement, but he was unwilling to move. And, under Obama, until the Occupy movement came along, we weren’t pushing him. It was the Tea Party that was in the streets. We let them have almost three years. Thankfully, Occupy Wall Street came along and started changing that dynamic.
We have to win two main battles. We have to stop the Tea Party in November, and we have to win the budget battle in December. That, he reminds us, is when the Bush tax cuts expire. That’s also when the Pell grant money runs out for poor kids seeking to go to college. All of the cans that we’ve been kicking down the road need to be addressed in December, and that’s when we’ll have our opportunity for change, assuming we’ve been able to keep Obama in the White House. Regular Americans, he says, have paid our share. It’s time for the rich to pay their share. No more “ham and egg” justice. Asking a chicken for an egg and a pig for his leg, he says, is not equivalent, and we need to keep pretending that it is…
I think we need to start planning now for an Inauguration Day protest, regardless of who wins. Who wants to start planning a January 19 road trip to DC?