By John Johnson
Hope you all missed us.
For those who don’t know, your editor had major heart surgery in January. It took me this long to be able to concentrate enough to get an issue out.
Despite our hiatus, ChangeLinks remains one of the most consistent progressive/left publications in LA.
While I was recuperating, donations fell to almost zero.
There was a benefit party (for which we are grateful) but we still need a boat full of donations to start up again.
Code Pink founder and human rights activist Medea Benjamin stood and loudly challenged the President’s sincerity as he gave his national security speech focused on drone use and closing down the Guantanamo detention center.
That was kinda cool.
One thing about Obama is that you can believe you track what he’s saying (however deluded that belief may be). Unlike those crazy whoring Republicans who make no pretense of any sanity or coherence.In truth, Obama has never been better than a moderate Democrat, usually far more conservative, and most of his policies favor corporate and Wall Street greed over any concern for human rights.
From Robert Reich (<robertreich.org/post/50660147280>):
< The IRS has interpreted our tax laws to allow big corporations and wealthy individuals to make unlimited secret campaign donations through sham political fronts called “social welfare organizations,” like Karl Rove’s “Crossroads,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and “Priorites USA.”
< This campaign money has been used to bribe Congress to keep in place tax loopholes like the “carried interest” rule that allows the managers of hedge funds and private equity funds to treat their income as capital gains, subject only to low capital gains taxes rather than ordinary income taxes, and other loopholes that allow CEOs to get special tax treatment on giant compensation packages that now average $10 million a year.
< Despite a growing number of billionaires and multi-millionaires using every tax dodge imaginable – laundering their money through phantom corporations and tax havens — the IRS’s budget has been cut by 17 percent since 2002, adjusted for inflation. To manage the $594.5 million in additional cuts required by the sequester, the agency will furlough each of its more than 89,000 employees for at least five days this year.
< Finally, all of this, coming at a time when the Supreme Court has deemed corporations “people” under the First Amendment and when income and wealth are more concentrated at the top than they’ve been in over a hundred years, has enabled America’s financial elite to further entrench their wealth and power and thereby take over much of American democracy. >>.
And also, in recent weeks both houses of Congress passed a $26 billion state fiscal aid bill. Its stated aim is to save 318,000 state and local education and health care jobs and to help fund Medicaid programs. But the bill comes with strings attached.
The Senate’s Republican right wing filibustered to stop passage of this bill. Democrats responded by proposing a cut of $6.7 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (a.k.a. Food Stamps) and other measures to offset part of the bill’s costs. When the Congressional Budget Office claimed the bill would still increase the federal deficit, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat) broke the filibuster by increasing the cuts (now taking $11.9 billion from food stamps). The bill passed.
So we have financial institutions and governments moving trillions from nutritional and educational programs to offshore institutions and banks. And, in the end, doing this makes no more sense than the illusory coherence in Obama’s public addresses.
We are sorry that this issue is a bit ragged, we are still a little shaky.