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Is It Time to Send Out an SOS Call?

I am thinking about suggesting that the progressives, radicals, and rabble (that’s me) consider sending out an SOS. Yes, an emergency call.  I think we are there.

In this instance I think the SOS will be an emergency call for a Summer of Solidarity (think Summer of Love).

Those of us who voted in 2008 elected Obama as President and put him in charge of a Democratic Congress and at the end of a two year session with that group we had an escalated war in Afghanistan, huge bailouts of Wall Street banks and traders, and a corporatist health care reform bill crafted on a table where single payer or even a public option had no place.

2010 elections gave us a tea party sweep of new corporatists idealogues in Congress who defy description or classification, but any way you look at this group, they are not good news.

In 2012, there will be 33 Senate seats up for election.  21 of those seats are now held by democrats and 2 by independents who lean left and 10 Senate seats now held by republicans will be for voter and Citizen United selection.  Bad as things may currently seem, they could get worse after November 2012.  That’s my take on the federal situation.

Budget woes from the Wall Street robbery of Main Street and the 2008 crash have created a state by state funding crisis that has become a golden opportunity for cuts to social welfare programs, for privatization and capitalist takeovers or dismantling of important public functions.  Tim Eyman has continued to pound on the state budget in Washington to create a funding snarl that creates a new excuse for hammering on the middle class, the working poor, the disabled, the lowest 50% of the socio-economic scale (that’s me and most of my good friends).courtesy Wiki Commons, photo by judy seidman, poster by Anita Willcox

That’s my take on the State level.

Folks can argue (and they do) that Obama and centrist democrats are so much better than the other real alternative, but I think it is difficult to argue that Obama is taking us in a progressive direction.  He has continued the imperial presidency, violates national and international law with the drone attacks on civilian populations in countries that we are not at war with.  He has arguably committed war and high crimes, most recently with the murder of the people (whoever they were) in the compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan.  So, even if you think this is better than the alternative, I will challenge you to persuade me that Obama is taking the country in the right direction.

Back to the Summer of Solidarity.

We wrapped up our Friday the 13th zombie crawl to the Olympia Capitol yesterday.  It was a good time, good food, good music, good cause, good company.  And there is reason to believe that the pressure that we have brought to bear on the Washington legislature is producing results.  A tax loophole ending bill made it out of committee yesterday on a straight party line vote and is heading to the floor for consideration. Would this have happened without the demonstrations, without the occupation of the Rotunda last month, without incessant pressure from the groups and individuals who have spent time in Olympia over the past couple of months?  I think not.

But, it’s small victories that we are achieving in a sea of big battles.  Environmental degradation, corruption of the political process by court decisions that find that money is speech and corporations are people, deregulation of markets and industries, wholesale class war on unions, teachers, the poor, the disabled?  It’s hard to see how a small legislative victory or two is going to turn the tide.  Still I think we are right to claim those small victories.  They are ours.

I will tell you this much: a lot of the discussion is evolving toward creation of the alternative community.  The battle for good public policy is important and should continue for those who have the time and energy for it, but we also need to let the good times roll.  We need to step in and fill the vacuum that is created by the failure of public policy.  And we need to do it in the company of good friends, enjoying music, sharing food and really FREE (that’s you, Lee) market thinking and that is what I am thinking about when I start organizing myself around the idea of a Summer of Solidarity.

More tomorrow.  Love and peace to all of you who put energy into the activities in Olympia over the past two months.  I am optimistic because of your ideas, your ideals, and your energy.



5 Replies to “Is It Time to Send Out an SOS Call?

  1. A couple of areas of disagreement: First of all, the the Wall Street Bailout was the “Troubled Asset Relief Program” (TARP) money, appropriated during the Bush Administration. Obama distributed the funds as directed by an act of Congress signed by George Bush. It was necessary by most accounts, worked, and returned the taxpayers a $25 billion, or an 8.2% return on the investment during the first two years. Pinning the bailout on Obama has been a successful Republican marketing campaign via conflation of the facts.

    When Obama ran for President, he promised to wind down in Iraq (doing that), escalate in Afghanistan (doing that), and concentrate the fight on the Pak-Afghan border where the terrorists actual were (doing that). I believe a majority of even Democrats think that surgical strikes rather than full scale war are the necessary and proper way to fight terrorism. We can’t rely on some countries to do the job for us, and we can’t just be passive.

    87% of Americans agree with the mission to kill bin Laden, even though it probably was a violation of international law and maybe our own Constitution.

    Railing against Obama is going to serve no purpose but depress Democratic vote in 2012. We elected him, and are stuck with him for eight years, like it or not. The alternative, a Republican president, especially given the ridiculous field of candidates, is unthinkable.

    We need to unite, yes, but not against Obama. He is a pragmatic, half a loaf kind of guy. No amount of arm twisting or stamping of feet would have overcome filibusters from the Senate minority. He took what he could get. A public option wasn’t going to happen, and he couldn’t afford to draw a line in the sand on that point. Overall, Obama has, in his first term, been responsible for more substantive legislation than any president in the past 4 decades.

  2. 1. I don’t care if 99% of americans agree with the murder, not killing, of Bin Laden. It was a criminal act, one more war crime in a group that Obama has put together. Rule of law is not about public opinion.

    2. Obama will be re-elected whether I rail against him or not. He is a crafty politician, not unlike Clinton, who is doing what he needs to do assure that he is a two term president. We are still going down the wrong road with him, maybe not as fast as we would with the alternative, but it is still the wrong road.

    3. There is bully pulpit in the basement of the WH gathering dust. Bush the dumber used the pulpit very effectively in his 8 years to pass legislation that he or his handlers cared about.


    There is no question that Obama expended more political capital pushing bank bailouts than single payer or public option.

    1. Bush passed legislation with simple majorities. Obama has faced a Republican minority in the Senate that are united and abuse rules to block everything. There isn’t a bully bullpit that can overcome filibusters and secret holds. He needs 10 more votes out of 100 than Bush did on most pieces of legislation, which is why the energy, healthcare, and wall street reform bills were so watered down. More importantly, the powerful lobby interests don’t stand in the way of deregulation,tax cuts, war and patriot acts. They do stand in the way of substantive reform that would do anything to hurt profits. Bush picked easier fights. Had he taken on wall street, or big oil, or the insurance industry, it would have been a very different story.

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