I get really tired when people erroneously claim to know my motivation behind what I write, and that no matter what you tell them, they insist they know my agenda better than I do.
The fact is, readers very often project their own ideas onto me and then hand me the blame. Or I’m accused of being on a vendetta against Obama because “your girl” didn’t win the nomination. It’s so fucking tiresome — and sexist. Really sexist. It implies that I couldn’t possibly hold the opinions I do based on any kind of logic or evidence. (I assure you that I can go weeks, even months at a time without even thinking of Hillary Clinton, except as a generic cabinet official.)
I don’t think I could be any clearer about where I’m coming from: My loyalty is not to Obama, or to the Democratic party. It’s to the voters. It’s to civil liberties, economic and social justice. Yes, Obama has accomplished a few things, but he’s also continued a lot of really bad policies from the previous administration.
I really don’t get how those same policies drove us nuts when Bush followed them, but now we’re expected to maintain a polite silence.
When another little girl is shot in Arizona — by right-wing border vigilantes.
No, uncivil liberals are really the problem. Uh huh.
I’m pretty sure Obama won’t say any of these things, but you never know. Here’s what it would be, Robert Reich style:
The president will have to devote a big part of his State of the Union speech to the economy, but which economy? Corporate profits are up but jobs and wages remain in the doldrums. People with lots of financial assets, or who are deemed “talent” by large corporations, are enjoying a solid recovery. But most Americans continue to struggle.
In order for the public to understand what must be done, the president has to be clear about what has happened and why. Corporations are profiting from sales of their foreign operations, especially in China and India. Here at home, they’re catering to rich Americans. But an important key to their profits is their reduced costs, especially payrolls. The result has been fewer jobs and lower pay.
The Great Recession accelerated trends starting three decades ago — outsourcing abroad, automating work, converting full-time jobs to temps and contracts, undermining unions, and getting wage and benefit concessions from remaining workers. The Internet and software have made all this easier.
He should point out that the U.S. economy is now twice as large as it was in 1980 but the real median wage has barely budged. Most of the benefits of economic growth have gone to the top. In the late 1970s, the richest 1 percent of Americans got about 9 percent of total income. By the start of the Great Recession they received more than 23 percent. Wealth is even more concentrated.
This is the heart of our problem. Most Americans no longer have the purchasing power to get the economy moving again. Once the debt bubble burst, they were stranded.
The President should make it clear corporations aren’t to blame. After all, they’re designed to make profits. Nor is it the fault of the rich who have played by the rules. The problem is the rules need fixing. He should stress that a future with no jobs or lousy jobs for most Americans is not sustainable – not even for American corporations, whose long-term profitability depends on the revival of broad-based domestic demand. (Watch out for the upcoming “correction.”)
The solution is to give average Americans a better economic deal.
Continue Reading »
WASHINGTON — Not so long ago, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could count on American journalists to support his campaign to publish secret documents that banks and governments didn’t want the world to see.
But just three years after a major court confrontation that saw many of America’s most important journalism organizations file briefs on WikiLeaks’ behalf, much of the U.S. journalistic community has shunned Assange — even as reporters write scores, if not hundreds, of stories based on WikiLeaks’ trove of leaked State Department cables.
Some call him a traitor, responsible for what’s arguably one of the biggest U.S. national security breaches ever. Others say a man who calls for government transparency has been too opaque about how he obtained the documents.
The freedom of the press committee of the Overseas Press Club of America in New York City declared him “not one of us.” The Associated Press, which once filed legal briefs on Assange’s behalf, refuses to comment about him. And the National Press Club in Washington, the venue less than a year ago for an Assange news conference, has decided not to speak out about the possibility that he’ll be charged with a crime.
With a few notable exceptions, it’s been left to foreign journalism organizations to offer the loudest calls for the U.S. to recognize WikiLeaks’ and Assange’s right to publish under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
Assange supporters see U.S. journalists’ ambivalence as inviting other government efforts that could lead one day to the prosecution of journalists for doing something that happens fairly routinely now — writing news stories based on leaked government documents.
“Bob Woodward has probably become one of the richest journalists in history by publishing classified documents in book after book. And yet no one would suggest that Bob Woodward be prosecuted because Woodward is accepted in the halls of Washington,” said Glenn Greenwald, a lawyer and media critic who writes for the online journal Salon.com. “There is no way of prosecuting Julian Assange without harming investigative journalism.”
Woodward, who rose to fame by exposing the Watergate conspiracy that forced President Richard Nixon from office, told a Yale University law school audience in November that WikiLeaks’ “willy-nilly” release of documents was “madness” and would be “fuel for those who oppose disclosure.” But that appearance came before U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder launched a criminal probe against Assange. Woodward didn’t respond to e-mails seeking comment.
Woodward’s newspaper, The Washington Post, however, is one of the few that’s editorialized against prosecuting Assange. “The government has no business indicting someone who is not a spy and who is not legally bound to keep its secrets,” the Post said.
VIRTUALLY SPEAKING Monday Jan 24 – Sunday Jan 30
On Mondays, journalist and class warrior Susie Madrak explores the serious concerns and light-hearted fancies of a host of guests, always with an eye and ear for the lives of working class people. On Thursdays, Jay Ackroyd chats with well informed opinion makers in media, politics, science, academia, etc. On Saturdays, Jay, Stuart Zechman and a variety of guests discuss the nature of modern liberalism. On Sundays, two writers from our media panel discuss developments of the week, highlighting issues neglected or misrepresented on the Sunday morning broadcasts. Questions and comments courtesy of our lively, outspoken and well informed SL studio audience.
All programs archived at BlogTalkRadio and available free from iTunes. More posted at http://blog.virtually-speaking.com/
MONDAY Jan 24 – 8pm pacific | 11pm eastern
Virtually Speaking Susie w/ Susie Madrak
APRIL ELLIOTT KENT, a San Diego astrologer, author and web designer writes at Big Sky Astrology. She authored Star Guide to Weddings: Your Horoscope for Living Happily Ever After. The Essential Guide to Practical Astrology will be released in June. April and Susie talk about some of the more interesting astrology for 2011.
Just one colorful example of how this grand idea of rating all the teachers may not be good for the schools:
A Bronx principal told her assistant principals to give specific teachers unsatisfactory ratings – before even conducting observations of their work, investigators found.
City officials released records yesterday showing they had substantiated the disturbing charges against Iris Blige of Fordham High School for the Arts.
She was fined $7,500 as part of settling the disciplinary actions, but she was allowed to keep her job.
Blige directed her assistant principals to get rid of certain teachers before any observations of their work were completed, the investigators found.
She also targeted about a dozen teachers for “unsatisfactory” ratings, investigators alleged.
“[Blige] is extremely unscrupulous in the way she does her job,” said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew.
Blige did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment late yesterday.
Four assistant principals interviewed by investigators said they had ignored Blige’s instructions. One said he was given his own unsatisfactory rating as a result.
The principal of Fordham HS for the Arts (Iris Blige, pictured at right) had a “hit list” of teachers – especially UFT chapter leaders – that she wanted removed from the school even if it meant using trumped-up charges, three Department of Education officials told the New York Teacher.
The Department of Education’s Office of Special Investigations is probing Principal Iris Blige’s allegedly false allegations against teachers.
According to staffers and students at the school, Blige belittles teachers and is prone to screaming attacks and general all-around bullying of staff and students. Her reign of terror has resulted in an astounding 70.5 percent turnover rate for teachers between September 2007 and September 2008.
[...] Another former AP, Osvaldo Mancebo, told the New York Teacher that Blige had a list of teachers who she wanted to rate Unsatisfactory even before any observations took place.
Another DOE official, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals from Blige, said charges against one chapter leader were invented by Blige because she wanted to show teachers in the school what could happen to them if they “crossed” her.
“She treated chapter leaders like garbage,” the official said. “She was paranoid. I heard her say many times that she would destroy the union.”