Welcome to the New Normal America

obama golden valley

Joseph Palermo: Wall Street banks should be pouring money into Obama’s reelection since he’s been so good to them, and the neocons should be rejoicing in his establishing precedent for more unchecked executive power.

SEIU-UNITE HERE Settlement Reached

John Wilhelm & Mary Kay Henry

Randy Shaw: After an 18-month battle that began with SEIU believing it could affect a hostile takeover of its once close union ally, the two unions reached a settlement yesterday almost entirely on UNITE HERE’s terms.

Are Obama, Democrats Really “Remaking Washington”?

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Randy Shaw: while Obama and the Democratic Congress have achieved major gains, there is a entire other range of critical issues — the record military budget, increased troops in Afghanistan, inaction on both comprehensive immigration reform and EFCA, the absence of a major job creation program — where change is missing. This leaves Obama’s “remaking” far less sweeping than Ronald Reagan’s achievement in 1981.

Democrats Return to Slumber after Massachusetts Wake Up Call

Harry-and-Nancy

Randy Shaw: Consider the Democrats top concerns. Health care? “We’ll get to it sometime.” Comprehensive immigration reform? “It’s still a priority.” EFCA? Off the political radar screen. Climate Change? “We don’t have the votes.” The Budget? Freeze all domestic spending but education and research but protect defense.

Friday Feedback: They Take Our Money and P__s on Our Boots

Friday Feedback: Two nights ago some right wing acquaintances accosted me at a meeting and were chortling because they were pulling for Smith and thought he would win. I fought back saying that we need national healthcare, (medicare for all), the EFCA, and other really progressive policies to be enacted and implemented and that the rich should be taxed to pay for the changes.

Despite Obama, “Yes We Can” Spirit Survives

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Randy Shaw: In the Beltway, the Obama Administration frustrated key constituency groups and organizations by failing to push for transformative change. In the world where most people live and work, activists were not deterred by Obama’s inaction and instead seized upon the “Si Se Puede” spirit to build successful campaigns for justice.

Holding Obama Accountable

Obama-Magician

Randy Shaw: pecifically, activists must employ what I describe in The Activist’s Handbook as the “fear and loathing” approach that has long proved necessary to get most politicians to do the right thing. Activists must make Obama fear the political repercussions of not backing progressive positions, even to the extent that the President comes to “loathe” those creating such pressures.

2009: Labor’s Missed Opportunity

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With the Democratic Party needing union money and volunteers for the November 2010 elections, it will have to start delivering for labor soon. This means that Congress will enact some changes in union election rules, though expedited elections rather than card check appears to be where the debate is headed.

Obama: Labor’s Agenda Is My Agenda

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Organized labor has historically been the core of Barack Obama’s political base, and now that the President finds himself in a tough fight with corporate America, he is increasingly aligning himself with the labor movement

Obama, Progressives Face Moment of Truth

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President Obama and his progressive supporters are at a turning point. The heart of Obama’s progressive policy agenda — universal health care — is confronting increasing opposition, and the grassroots activists that put Barack Obama in the White House must pressure wavering Senators to back the Change We Need. But mobilizing is proving difficult, as [...]

Community Organizer Obama Asks Activists: “Where’s Your Base”?

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Some activists excited about Barack Obama’s community organizing background forget what this fully means – namely, that he expects groups seeking progressive measures to mobilize their base. Community organizers do not expect politicians to challenge entrenched interests absent grassroots pressure, and President Obama is not about to spend political capital on issues like Afghanistan, the [...]

The Obama Progressive Agenda: A Progress Report

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Although progressives have already won two major victories – the stimulus package and the budget – and a reversal of a number of Bush anti-environment policies, most activists are focused on the troika of universal health care, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), and comprehensive immigration reform. Having asked activists across the nation over the [...]

Rite Aid and the Failure of Labor Law

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After months of a media war supporting and condemning it, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) was finally introduced into Congress again last week. The bill has been debated before, but with a larger Democratic majority, its chances of passage are much greater today, and President Obama has said he’ll sign it. Employers, therefore, are [...]

Blue Dog Democrats and Republican Triangulation

pet-republicans

Senator John McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, has served up a devastating critique of the direction the Republican Party has taken recently. “If figureheads like Ann Coulter are turning me off,” Ms. McCain writes, “then they are definitely turning off other members of my generation as well.” She understands that when the GOP’s dominant personalities are [...]

Blue Dogs and Citigroup Fight the Employee Free Choice Act

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Even the “Blue Dog” Democrats should be alarmed about bailed out banks taking billions in taxpayer funds only to lobby against this era’s Wagner Act. I don’t think so. Labor gaining ground was essential to putting the economy back together after the Great Depression and it is essential today. The activists working in favor of [...]

Walmart Against EFCA

same-direction

Walmart Against Employee Free Choice Act t’s estimated 86,000 workers got fired trying to exercise their legal right to organize a union during the Bush years and signs are Corporate America will fight to keep things that way. “We like driving the car,” Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott says, “and we’re not going to give the [...]