Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kitchen Proclamation #4: Unblind Justice

Great decision by the Supremes to allow corporations to spend unlimited sums of money to influence American elections. I can't wait until Bin Laden Construction starts buying campaign ads.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Goldman Sachs Reaps, America Weeps - PROTEST

Dear Friend,

Goldman Sachs does not get it. Nor does the rest of the financial elite.

America is facing its harshest economic crisis in 50 years. And, yet, the people who caused that crisis are continuing to celebrate and reward themselves with mind-boggling bonuses—and a tone-deafness that is astonishing.

On January 21st, I’m asking you to join me in giving voice to the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs and their life-savings because of the culture of greed on Wall Street. At noon on Thursday, we will gather in front of the Manhattan, NY headquarters of Goldman Sachs—the day Goldman Sachs and other large financial institutions announce the bonuses they will dole out. We must make it clear that Goldman Sachs’ greed is un-American. We need new rules to make sure that the great wealth of our country is shared equitably.

The rally is co-sponsored by Progressive Democrats of America, Democracy for America, and Spread the word. Here is our Facebook page for the event (please comment and engage the discussion!) and here is a downloadable PDF of the flier – please circulate! Goldman Sachs is located at 85 Broad St. Bring your energy, signs and banners.

And thanks for all you do for your country.

Jonathan Tasini

Kitchen Proclamation #3: The Boston Massacre--you ain't seen NOTHIN' yet!

President Obama needs to go back and look at the pictures of his inauguration, and see, once again, the faces of the people who elected him: women, men, young people, working people, people of every color, liberals, union members, ordinary Americans. These are the people who campaigned for him, knocked on doors, phone banked, and gave till it hurt to elect the Change We Can Believe In. He probably wouldn't see anyone in those throngs who looked like corporate CEOs.

With large Democratic margins in the House and Senate, he could have pushed through the change he promised. He could have ended "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on his first day in office. He could have rammed through universal Medicare--not a public "option," but REAL healthcare reform. He could have stimulated the economy with a jobs program, and ended the wars. (No he didn't need 60 votes--the Republicans have had no problem pushing through policies without having 60 votes since 1923! It's called "reconciliation.")

Instead, he chose to continue corporatist Republican policies. To escalate the wars. To give massive bailouts to rich Wall Street banksters--who continued to pocket billions in bonuses--while tacitly accepting double digit unemployment. To encourage a health care policy that enriches the for-profit insurance companies at the expense of ordinary Americans while taxing (TAXING!!!) health care benefits--and then trying to convince us it's a great plan! He chose to kiss the butts of pseudo-Democrats like Nelson and Landrieu, and capitulate to Lieberman.

Is anyone surprised that ordinary Americans are furious? Is anyone really surprised that a Republican won a Senate seat in Massachusetts, a state that hasn't had a Republican Senator in more than 30 years? Hey, Rahm, do you still think you can forget about your "base"? As President Harry Truman said, "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time." And the people of Massachusetts did.

Maybe now that the fantasy of the "60 vote coalition" has been trashed, you can forget about kowtowing to the pseudo-Dems, and get to work with 51 votes, like the Constitution says. Nelson, Landrieu, and Lieberman can go spend some time with their families.

Hey, Obama, are you listening? Because if you don't wake up and start acting like a Democrat, if you don't start making good on the promises you campaigned on, the Coakley debacle is going to pale in comparison to the blood bath facing the Democrats in November. Deservedly.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dear Mr. President...

Mr. President,

I know you’ll never read, or even see this letter, but I have to get everything off my chest. I am one of your pissed-off base. I am a middle-class, progressive/liberal activist. I, like many of my friends, am tired of being ignored, abused and pissed-on. We worked hard to put you where you are. When your chief-of-staff says “don’t worry about the base”, he’s way off base. Martha Coakley losing in Massachusetts tonight is only the latest symptom. You know, in a relationship, when you try to appease everyone in the neighborhood and abuse the one who loves you, you look like an idiot to the neighborhood and your loved one will turn on you, too.

You ignored us on the health bill. You step on us by making deals with and concessions to Republicans, big Pharma, the insurance industry, Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, the list goes on. Then, you come to us with results that benefit THEM with nothing left for us. You gave away everything that was good and ignored the unions, the poor, the sick, the middle-class, the BASE!
Everyone that you promised “change we can believe in!”

I feel like the nice guy at the prom and my date, who won’t let me even get to first base because our relationship is “special,” had wandered off and just returned with a prom dress soiled from having sex with every other guy there and now wants me to take her home and I STILL won’t even get a kiss goodnight because we have a “special” relationship.

You’re going to see more and more of this. Elections where Democrats should be winning, lost because we’re either not going to go out and vote, or we’re going to support a third party candidate that we KNOW won’t win, but they appreciate us. We’ll lose Congress in 2010 and your bid for re-election in 2012, and it’ll put us right back where we started, with the idiot-fundamentalist-corporatist Republicans running this great country into the ground again! And it won’t be our fault, it’ll be YOURS! All because, lets face it…payback is a bitch! I’m not happy about it, but you don’t give me much to be happy about anyway, do you?


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kitchen Proclamation #2: Enough of this dipshit Ford.

In the past week, I've read two front page articles in the New York Times about right wing, corporatist, Tennessean bankster, Harold Ford Jr, "considering" a primary run against Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. How about coverage of Jonathan Tasini, who actually is running a primary campaign against Gillibrand?

Tasini ran in the 2006 senatorial primary against Hillary Clinton, who hugely outspent him, and refused to debate him. Plus, NY1 barred him from their political forum, despite the fact that he met all the criteria. Still, Tasini got a remarkable 17% of the vote!

Sure, I understand why the New York Times Corporation prefers Ford to the liberal New York union guy, Tasini, but it smacks of yellow journalism.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kitchen Proclamation #1: Tax on Health Benefits

Let me see if I got this right: the Senate is going to make health care more affordable by...TAXING OUR HEALTH INSURANCE! At the rate of 40%! One of the stupidest things I've ever heard. They'll probably use the tax to pay bonuses to the insurance CEOs.

I'll have to talk to my union...I need to know if I have a "Cadillac" health plan, or just a Ford P.O.S.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Nothing About Health Care In The Current Health Insurance Bill

So, here we are – about to pass a health insurance bill. That’s right, not a health “care”, but a health INSURANCE bill. This bill doesn’t ensure quality health care for all the people of this nation, it mandates the people of this nation to pay the insurance companies for “coverage.” The bill is a big fat wet kiss that we’re giving to the bloated, privately owned insurance corporations.

First of all, it forces all citizens buy insurance from the existing corporations (something President Obama promised would not happen when he was campaigning, but don’t get me started…). The insurance companies will now be getting 33 million new customers dropped in their laps. If you can’t afford to pay for it, the government will help out by giving you money to give to the insurance companies, so they don’t have to make ANY changes to what they’re currently doing. There’s no “government plan” for people to opt into, there’s no place for mandated folks to get cheaper coverage, and therefore, nobody is competing with these insurance companies, so again, they don’t have to make ANY changes to what they’re currently doing. Now there’s no “public option”, but we can at least keep these insurance companies in check by instituting a “windfall profits” clause, right? Some type of anti-trust clauses to keep them in line? No, sorry, that was all pulled from the bill. Nothing, NO THING is in place to force these guys to reduce their rates and stop raping the American public.

Next, to pay for the new insurance subsidies, we’re going to TAX all of the insurance policies that are considered “really good policies” – the “Cadillac plans” (something President Obama promised would not happen when he was campaigning, but don’t get me started…). Many of these policies were fought for and won by labor unions for their members, in many cases in lieu of pay raises.

Then they tell us that people with “pre-existing conditions” can no longer be refused coverage by the insurers. While this may be true, it’s also true that there’s nothing prohibiting the insurers from TRIPLING THEIR RATES to do so.

Furthermore, provisions for any women who need to, for whatever reason, terminate a pregnancy, LEGALLY, have been stripped from the bill. So this piece of legislation will essentially turn the clock BACK to the time when pregnant women were needlessly dying from botched coat-hanger abortions in kitchens and back alleys.

So let me get this straight – we could take this watered-down, anti-health, anti-care, anti-women, anti-people, INSURANCE COMPANY LOVING bill that the Senate and the President are trying to squeeze through by appealing to the lowest common denominator and appeasing the few crybaby, right wing, WACK-JOBS in the Democratic Party who would rather hold this bill for ransom and get whatever they can for themselves than hold to the Democratic Party Platform and do what is right for the nation, in order to pull out 60 votes.


We could expand and improve the Medicare system and let everyone either enroll in it or keep the coverage they currently have. And we could do this using the reconciliation process (since we’re making changes to existing legislation, not enacting new legislation) which would only require 51 votes to pass.

Let me just conclude my rant by saying this: if this bill passes in its current form, the Democratic Party should a) remove the donkey as its mascot and replace it with a jellyfish, b) alert all Democratic registered voters that there is no longer a “Democratic Platform” (by the way, who is the chairman of the DNC since Howard Dean resigned? Do you know? Neither do I, but whoever he is, he’s not doing SHIT for any of us) and c) get ready for a big loss in 2012 because, I don’t know about you, but I will be voting for an independent party candidate. A candidate represents the values of the PEOPLE of this nation, not the corporations and their fat wallets.

Where's the hope for a new tomorrow? Where's the change we can believe in? (something President Obama promised when he was campaigning, but don’t get me started…).


Friday, January 8, 2010

High Tech Mechanisms or High Quality Employees?

I love all this talk going around about “airport security” and full-body scanning systems. The issue isn’t the technology being used, it’s the effectiveness and diligence of the employees.

Instead of spending a ton of money buying full-body scanners, boost the personnel, enhance their training, make sure they’re well paid with benefits so they care about the job they’re doing. If you give a guy off the street a uniform and a badge, minimum wage with no bennies, how important do you think he’s going to feel his job is? How safe do you feel getting on your plane knowing this is the guy responsible for your wellbeing? Ok, so lets presume the x-ray machines and new body-scanners are in place. If Joe Security is more concerned with being late for his coffee break or chatting with his buddy about the big game this weekend or texting his date from last night what a great time he had, how much attention do you think he’s giving to the techno-displays? How effective will he be scanning the crowd and observing behavior? Making mental notes of the fidgety guy on line? Scrutinizing the airline ticket or visa, checking the no-fly list, matching the photo to the person in front of him? And if the people doing security aren’t asking you the same questions they asked the guy in front of you, how secure do you feel putting your family on that flight?

You could have the best scanners and sniffers and devices in the world in place, but if the people using it don’t give a rat’s ass, the technology is ineffective.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

We're baaaaack!

Ok, MandateTHIS has returned...sort of. In our previous incarnation, we did several things. We posted links to news items of the day (from reliable sources) that either needed public scrutiny or to bring to light important information that was being buried by the mainstream media. We established an outlet for people to post their rants and keep their heads from exploding. We provided links to other progressive sites, made up an essential reading list of "must-read" books for progressives and posted info about new events that activists need to know about and participate in. Basically, it was a "go-to" spot for fellow liberals so that they'd know they're not alone in the nation. Due to growing time constraints on our part (not having the time to update and maintain the site regularly) and what we felt was a lack of outside interest (poor planning when establishing the site didn't allow for a hit-counter), we retired to the website burial ground.

Lately, we've been relegated to writing letters to newspapers and media outlets hoping for the letters to be printed and read.

Well, here we are again, starting MandateTHIS2. This time, we're establishing a blog so WE can rant and rave and keep OUR heads from exploding and not have to depend on others to print or read and circulate. If you like what you read, circulate it to like-minded folks. Also, let us know in your comments. If you don't agree, let us know and we'd be happy to discuss and/or update our opinions. Being true liberals, we're openminded and welcome intelligent conversation. Ultimately, we're hoping to connect with and establish a network of progressive activists that can help promote a progressive agenda where, as of now, most of us feel like we're alone amidst a sea of fundamentalist nitwits. Thanks for checking up on us.