Wednesday, October 23, 2013

GOP Senate Candidate Addressed Conference Hosted by Neo-Confederate Group That Promotes Secessionism

GOP Senate Candidate Addressed Conference Hosted by Neo-Confederate Group That Promotes Secessionism | Mother Jones

Mississippi Republican Chris McDaniel, who is challenging Sen. Thad Cochran and backed by the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Club for Growth, took the stage with a historian who says Lincoln was a Marxist.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Government Shutdown Ended, Austerity Drive Lives On

Now that the government shutdown has been avoided, progressives and the democratic left must prepare for an even bigger battle: fighting more austerity budget cuts.  The Republican Party, and much of the Democratic Party establishment, including President Obama, have already signaled they will accept a budget deal, a "Grand Bargain"  that will drastically cut "entitlements" (i.e., Social Security and Medicare).  We must prepare to fight back!

Instead of cutting Social Security, we must expand it, to cover more people. Instead of raising the retirement age to get SS benefits, we should lower it.   There is no Social Security "crisis," the trust fund has nearly $3 Trillion, the problem is Congress has stolen part of the surplus to cover other spending.  What should be cut is military spending.

The long term national debt can be addressed by cutting military spending, corporate welfare programs, and by RAISING taxes on the corporate rich, like the "Robin Hood Tax" on Wall Street transactions, and returning to the pre-Reagan top tax rates.

Austerity  budget cuts have already cost millions of jobs.  The federal government must spend MORE to create jobs,  we need a national policy to guarantee Full Employment (John Conyers has re-introduced the Humphreys-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act  HR 870 to address the jobs crisis)

Government Shutdown Ended, Austerity Drive Lives On

The Government is Open. Now Fight for Just Government Policies

The Coming Debt Ceiling Settlement

It's the Austerity, Stupid: How We Were Sold an Economy-Killing Lie

Deal or No Deal on Shutdown and Debt Ceiling, Biggest Fiscal Policy Crisis Remains

Robin Hood Tax Petition

Monday, August 19, 2013

March anniversary is an opportunity to look at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy

March anniversary is an opportunity to look at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy » The Commercial Appeal

Good article in the Memphis Commercial Appeal on the 50th Anniversary March on Washington, and the legacy of MLK and the 1963 March, which was about economic justice, not just racial equality and civil rights...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Justice for Trayvon Martin?

Justice for Trayvon? Repeal ALEC's 'Stand Your Ground' 

Some, mostly conservatives, are arguing that the Florida "Stand Your Ground' law played no role in the Zimmerman trial or verdict they are wrong.

The Instructions read to the Jury used the new Florida "Stand Your Ground" law's guidelines (that the defendant only had to show they feared they would be killed, not the older self-defense guidelines, that the defendant had to show that they did everything they could to avoid the confrontation or events that lead to killing someone to defend themselves.

The ‪#‎NRA‬'s "Stand Your Ground" law allowed George Zimmerman to walk free after stalking and killing an unarmed teenager. And it will also give him complete immunity from civil lawsuits.  ‪#‎NoMoreNRA‬ ‪#‎Justice4Trayvon‬

Why Stand Your Ground Is Central to George Zimmerman's Case

Zimmerman Juror Says Panel Considered Stand Your Ground in Deliberations

Stand Your Ground and The Zimmerman Defense (Media Matters)

White People Who Kill Black People in "Stand Your Ground" States 354% More Likely to Be Cleared of Murder

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Monday, April 1, 2013

Activists Gather in Memphis to Commemorate MLK's Life
AFSCME Local 1733 and activists from across the nation will gather in Memphis this week to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Memphis Commemorative Events April 3-4, 2013

Please join members of AFSCME Local 1733, Martin Luther King III, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, MSNBC “PoliticsNation” Host and National Action Network President Al Sharpton

as we commemorate the 
45th Anniversary of 
Dr. Martin Luther King’s work
on behalf of AFSCME Local 1733’s 1968 Sanitation Workers’ Strike:

This year marks the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s final act of solidarity. In commemoration of his life and his solidarity, union members, civil rights leaders and community activists are again gathering in Memphis for a series of historic events.
On April 3, the community will gather from 7-10 p.m. in the historic Mason Temple at 930 Mason St., Memphis, Tenn. Highlights a panel discussion on economic and racial justice including Karen Finney of MSNBC, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Benjamin Todd Jealous of the NAACP, Van Jones of Rebuild the Dream and Terry O'Neill of the National Organization for Women. Civil rights leaders the Rev. Al Sharpton, AFL-CIO Exec. Vice Pres. Arlene Holt Baker, AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders and Martin Luther King III will also give special remarks.
On April 4 at 8:30 a.m., we will rename a local street 1968 Strikers Lane, then march from AFSCME Local 1733 (485 Beale St.) to the National Civil Rights Museum (450 Mulberry St.) and end with a rally.
The invitation from Martin Luther King III, AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders and Rev. Al Sharpton reads, “We look back this year and remember, because we know that the foundation laid in the most triumphant and tragic days of the civil rights movement – of our economic justice – must inspire and guide us in the struggles we now face.”
For more information and to RSVP, please visit

Saturday, March 30, 2013

KKK Rally Fizzles

KKK Rally Non-Event in Memphis - Memphis Flyer

KKK Rally: Two removed during demonstration » The Commercial Appeal

The much anticipated KKK Rally in Memphis fizzled in the cold rain.  Only a few dozen Klansmen showed up, the police kept them quarantined, and protesters at a distance, and no one could hear them.

On the other hand, a progressive coalition called Memphis United, held a "People's Conference on Race and Equality," with over 1500 participants at the fairgrounds.

Monday, March 25, 2013

People's Conference on Race and Equality

Memphis DSA supports the People's Conference on Race & Equality, JOIN US at the conference on Sat. March 30th

Memphis United presents the People’s Conference on Race and Equality with workshops, community conversations, arts, music, & dance ongoing throughout the day. Also featuring an action area with information from dozens of groups on opportunities for action, art exhibits, and interactive kids art project and much more. Drop-in at any time throughout the day for a few minutes or a few hours and learn to confront hate by building community. 

Central Stage :: Creative Arts Building
10-11am: Opening Ceremony with Danza Azteca Quetzalcoatl 

11am-12:15pm :: Community Conversation: Race, Faith and Movements 
Panelists: Andy Andrews, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church; Andre Johnson, Pastor and Author of Race, Rhetoric & Religion; Gail Tyree, activist and local AFSCME Asst. Director; Dr. Coby Smith, founding member of the Invaders
Moderator: Anthony Siracusa, Rhodes College

12:30-1pm: Performance: Latino Cultural Center (theatre, dance, art and music)

1-1:50pm: Community Conversation: Racial Structures and Racial Realities in Memphis
Dr. Zandria Robinson, Professor of Sociology, University of Memphis; Dr. Wanda Rushing, author of Memphis & the Paradox of Place, Luvell Anderson, Professor of Philosophy, University of Memphis
Moderator: Edie Love, activist and student

2-2:30pm: Performance: Artistik Approach (a capella hip-hop and spoken word)

2:30-3:20pm: Community Conversation: Environmental Racism: Poverty, Pollution and Solutions
Rita Harris, Environmental Justice Director, Sierra Club; Bastet Ank Re, Vegan Chef, Natural House of Wellness; Khomorai Galloway, Grow Memphis Community Gardening Organizer
Moderator: Chris Peterson, Grow Memphis

3:30-4pm:  Performance: Juju Bushman (singer and songwriter)

4-5pm: Community Conversation: Discrimination and Equality: The GLBT Struggle Continues
Panelists: Will Batts, Executive Director, Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center, Floridia Jackson, Pastor and activist, Yeshua Holiday, Pastor and activist
Moderator: TBD

Workshops :: East Wing, Creative Arts BuildingWorskhops are 50 minutes in length 
10:30am: Story to Story - Elaine Blanchard 

11:30am: Community Conversation on Race - Common Ground

1pm: The Reality of our Immigration System - TN Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition & Communidades Unidas en Una Voz

2:30pm: Nonviolent Communication - Elaine Krueger

4pm: Organizing Against Racism -  Bradley Watkins, Mid-South Peace and Justice Center

Exhibition and Activity Area :: West Wing, Creative Arts Building
  • Ongoing tabling by 30+ community groups that you can get involved with
  • Art exhibition area with works exhibited by local artists
  • Kids interactive art area
  • Plus much more…. 
For more information, visit the Memphis United Facebook Page

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address

Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address: Tragedy Has Many Faces « Talking Union

Jack Rasmus
Jack Rasmus
On February 12, 2013, President Obama delivered his State of the Union address. He concluded with an emotional appeal for gun control, repeating a call for Congress to at least put the matter of gun control to a vote after referencing the Newtown, Ct., tragic massacre of 26 children and other recent acts of gun violence in the US. It was an emotional high point of his address, and a very moving moment.
But there was another reference in his speech that also addressed life and death matters, potentially impacting not 26 but hundreds of thousands of those other of America’s most vulnerable—our senior population.
Earlier in his address, Obama declared “the biggest cause of the nation’s long term debt” was “medical for the aged”, in other words, Medicare. Saying this, Obama repeated his remarks of January 1, 2013, when he publicly declared on TV, while supporting the agreement in Congress to raise token taxes on the wealthiest 1%, that Medicare was the biggest contributing source to the deficit and debt.
Reference to Medicare as the main cause of deficit and debt is of course blatantly false. As this writer has documented elsewhere in detail in several articles, the main causes of the $10 trillion additional run-up in deficits and debt since 2001 have been the Bush tax cuts ($3.4 trillion of the total), excess inflationary war spending ($2.1 trillion), tax cuts for the rich and corporations and other stimulus spending since 2008 ($3 trillion), and loss of tax revenue due to 5 years of more than 20 million still unemployed.
Obama’s fixation on Medicare as the prime target for deficit cutting is therefore disturbing. All the more so since he’s been calling for massive Medicare cuts for the past two years. To recall, last November he proposed $340 billion in Medicare cuts. And in July 2011 proposed $700 billion as part of a ‘grand bargain’. Massive cuts to Medicare have been on his mind for some time. But even more disturbing in his February 12 address was his statement that he agreed with and supported the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Commission’s 2010 proposals for cutting Medicare.
If you don’t know what Simpson-Bowles proposed back in November 2010 for reducing Medicare, allow me to enlighten you. Simpson-Bowles proposed a new $550 annual deductible for Part A (hospital) and Part B (physician) Medicare coverage. In addition to that $550, they also proposed that seniors now pay a 20% copay for Part A coverage as well as the present 20% copay for Part B coverage. Those seniors who can afford it, currently purchase additional supplemental private insurance to cover the 20% Part B copay. That typically costs from $150 to $300 a month. Presumably, the additional 20% copay for Part A would cost about the same additional $150 to $300 a month. So to keep their current part A hospital coverage they now have, seniors would have to pay out of pocket another $150 to $300 a month—in addition to the new $550 deductible for Part A & B.
The Simpson-Bowles proposal for Medicare means seniors will pay an additional $195 to $345 a month out of pocket for the same level of Part A and Part B coverage they now have.
The new $550 deductible means another $45 a month taken out of their monthly social security retirement checks, in addition to the current roughly $105 a month taken out for Part B coverage. That’s a major hit to monthly retirement checks from social security, which today averages only a mere $1100 a month. Plus the $150-$300 directly out of pocket for supplemental Part A insurance.
In short, that’s Simpson-Bowles. That’s what Obama called for. And that’s a financial disaster for tens of millions on Social Security-Medicare.
The other tragedy in Obama’s SOTU address was jobs. The proposals raised were rehashed old programs, like his September 2011 ‘jobs’ bill; more subsidies and tax breaks for multinational corporations and manufacturers; a token infrastructure spending proposal with no details; and a pre-school education proposal that was strangely offered as the first step toward a ‘job retraining’ bill.
The President also called for an Immigration bill, much needed no doubt. But that bill is currently being drafted in part by business interests, multinational tech companies in particular. As part of the immigration deal, multinational tech companies will be allowed to double the quota of jobs given to foreign skilled engineers from their offshore subsidiaries, raising the annual total of jobs under the H1-B visa program from current 65,000 to 130,000. So jobs will be created by the immigration bill, but not for American college youth, who are now being crushed under a mountain of student debt with little guarantee of a high paying job upon graduation. (And instead of expunging that debt in whole or part, as has been done for the banks these past five years, the President merely exhorted colleges and universities to stop raising annual tuition by double digit rates).
But the real jobs tragedy was President Obama’s proposal to conclude the nearly completed ‘Transpacific Partnership Program’—a euphemism for a pacific wide Free Trade on Steroids treaty that will dwarf the job loss impact of NAFTA since 1994 and preferred trade rights given to China since 2000. Those two major trade deals cost, at minimum, 5 million lost jobs. TPP will cost magnitudes more in terms of job loss. And that’s not all. Obama further called for replicating TPP Free Trade with a similar treaty with the European Union, a ‘TransAtlantic Partnership Program’, or TAP.
In summary, the State of the Union address last night, February 12, was proof, once again, that everything changes but nothing changes with the two parties in Washington. There is still no serious job creation program, only more free trade job destruction proposals and still more subsidies to multinationals and manufacturers. Meanwhile, if you’re long term unemployed and older than five years old, forget about job retraining. And if you’re a senior, expect to foot much of the deficit cutting bill through higher out of pocket payments for Medicare and thus fewer dollars in your social security retirement checks. And if you’re a student, expect to have to continue to pile on more debt in exchange for low paying service jobs when they graduate.
Dr. Jack Rasmus  is the author of the 2012 book, “Obama’s Economy: Recovery for the Few”, published by Palgrave-Macmillan and Pluto press. His website; his blog is:; and he can be reached on twitter at @drjackrasmus.

State of the Union: Obama Slams Republicans; Calls for Minimum Wage Raise, Action on Climate Change, Immigration Reform and Gun Control

State of the Union: Obama Slams Republicans; Calls for Minimum Wage Raise, Action on Climate Change, Immigration Reform and Gun Control | Alternet

Friday, January 11, 2013

Gun Nuts Go CRAZY

Unhinged "Load Your Damn Mags and Get Ready to Fight" Guy May Have Gone Just A Wee Bit Too Far | Common Dreams

Citing a "material likelihood of risk of harm to the public," Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security officials have suspended the handgun carry permit of James Yeager, who went online this week to rant somewhat scarily that he'd "start killing people" if Obama and his commie cronies move ahead with gun control measures. Yeager is the CEO of Tactical Response, which offers training in weapons but has reportedly iffy credentials. Given that Mr. Yaeger is likely some unhappy with the state's move, we can't help but wonder what comes next. Other than the usual gun-related tragedies, that is; in thelatest, a 12-year-old in Alabama accidentially shot and killed his cousin with the shotgun he got for Christmas.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

"Fiscal Cliff" Deal Passes House

The House passed the Senate "fiscal cliff" deal, not sure to cheer or not.  The tax cuts for incomes below $400,000, not $250,000 are all made permanent, which means less tax revenue.  The temporary payroll tax cut is gone, so all working class taxes go up some (some prog. opposed it to begin with because it came out of Social Security), on the other hand, unemployment benefits are extended and the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits are extended, a victory for progressives.  And the GOP were not able to add any cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits, they are saving that fight for the Debt Ceiling cliff, so hand on for the next ride... it ain't gonna be pretty.  Now the Republican, and some corporate Democrats, will be pushing AUSTERITY (cuts to social programs)

Fiscal Cliff Deal Passed by Congress After Republicans Cave

Reich: Lousy Deal on the Edge of the Cliff

On the Left, Seeing Obama Giving Away Too Much, Again

Everything You Need to Know About the Emerging "Fiscal Cliff" Tax Compromise

Forget the "Fiscal Cliff"

Krugman:  Uninformed Politicians Pushing Us Toward Austerity