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FDR's Economic Bill of Rights

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Excerpt from President Roosevelt’s January 11, 1944 message to the Congress of the United States on the State of the Union:

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:
  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  • The right of every family to a decent home;
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
  • And finally, the right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being. America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all our citizens. For unless there is security here at home, there cannot be lasting peace in the world.

(Source: Wikipedia & Jan 11,1944 FDR Fireside Chat)


Glenn Beck Rises Again

Getting clean, getting Mormon, getting talk radio -- and going to Yale, with the help of Joe Lieberman.

By Alexander Zaitchik
Photo: Salon Composite

It was 1990, the midpoint of Beck's career in FM morning radio. The morning zoo craze had peaked and the economy had stalled. Eight years after leaving Washington state with a suitcase full of skinny ties and dreams of working in Rockefeller Center, Beck was now a morning-drive journeyman with a family to feed and a reputation to save. Despite breaking quickly out of the gate at age 18, Beck did not enter the new decade within sight of the industry's front ranks. New York's Z100, the leading station in his world, was not calling him. Neither were program directors in L.A. or Chicago. There were no syndication offers to compete with national zookeepers like John Lander and Scott Shannon.

After his personal and professional meltdown in Houston, Beck found a new job in Baltimore at the city's leading Top 40 station, WBSB, AKA B104. This time, however, he wanted a partner.

On the recommendation of a friend, he settled on a 27-year-old morning jock named Pat Gray. Although Gray and Beck had worked in Houston at the same time, they had never met. But the new team clicked. As Beck likes to tell it, it was DJ love at first sight, with the two bonding within minutes of meeting at the airport. Beck and Gray were unlikely bosom buddies. Gray was a Mormon who home-schooled his kids; Beck was a bong-ripping nihilist who could barely remember his kids' names. But they shared a sense of humor and a love of morning-radio mischief. They also shared similar if inchoate politics. After their partnership ended in 1994, both men would go on to pursue careers in conservative talk radio. They now work together on Beck's nationally broadcast radio show, The Glenn Beck Program....(Remainder.)


What the Fuck Does Glenn Believe, Why He's Dangerous, and 14 Ways for Him to Flame Out

By Rude One
The Rude Pundit

The Rude Pundit has to admit to being mildly obsessed with the destruction of Glenn Beck. It's not that Beck's some kind of right-wing demagogue. No, that's run-of-the-mill shit. It's not that he's so fully, incoherently wrong about everything he says. Anyone who would, as Beck did, put Che Guevara, Saul Alinsky and Woodrow Wilson together as roots of the end of America has no understanding of anything. Not even how to fucking breathe. No, what pisses the Rude Pundit off is a simple question: "What the fuck does he believe?" (It's the same question that plagues Glenn Greenwald.) The corollary questions are "What's his fucking goal?" and "What's the fucking goal of the tea bag movement?" Anyone got an answer?

Read the shit that's all over his 9-12 Project site, like the "9 Principles, 12 Values." It's like having a dwarf tap dance on your forehead without the momentary charm of the act. There's nothing in it except some vaguely nihilistic version of a kind of populism that he thinks springs from the elitist landowners who started this nation. The only conclusion is that he doesn't actually believe in anything except his own rightness. And that means he's either insane, a con man, or both. The Rude Pundit knows greedy frauds. And, crazy or not, Beck's one of 'em.

The reason Beck is, as Greenwald says, "a histrionic intellectual mess" is that there is a fundamental flaw at the center of the whole movement, the whole faux ideology that Beck has concocted around this conspiratorial mythos about Barack Obama and the government that is equal parts Dan Brown, Brigham Young, and Lyndon LaRouche: the natural end point of Beck's anti-(some)corporations, anti-Wall Street, anti-tax, sort-of-libertarian, sort-of-anarchist weepy ranting is real and genuine progressive populism. Yes, Beck is tapping into some sweeping discontent in this country, what the Rude Pundit has previously described as pent-up, misdirected rage at the Bush administration, and what he's harnessed and ridden like Slim Pickens on the bomb is the energy that comes with anger. And the fact that Democrats have ceded this fury, often expressed by the least articulate and stupidest among the mob, has led us to where we are with health care and taxation and myriad other issues....(Remainder.)


Global Warming is Speeding Up, Scientists Reveal

By Associated Press
Via The Raw Story

Earth’s temperature is likely to jump nearly 6 degrees between now and the end of the century even if every country cuts greenhouse gas emissions as proposed, according to a United Nations update.

Scientists looked at emission plans from 192 nations and calculated what would happen to global warming. The projections take into account 80 percent pollution cuts from the U.S. and Europe by 2050, which are not sure things.

The U.S. figure is based on a bill that passed the House of Representatives but is running into resistance in the Senate, where debate has been delayed by health care reform efforts.

Carbon dioxide, mostly from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, is the main cause of global warming, trapping the sun’s energy in the atmosphere. The world’s average temperature has already risen 1.4 degrees (0.8 degrees Celsius) since the 19th century.

Much of projected rise in temperature is because of developing nations, which aren’t talking much about cutting their emissions, scientists said at a United Nations press conference Thursday. China alone adds nearly 2 degrees (1 degree Celsius) to the projections....(Remainder.)


Chavez Slams Fox News as Filled with ‘Poisons’

By David Edwards and Stephen Webster
The Raw Story

Following his speech to the United Nations on Thursday, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez was confronted with questions by a Fox News reporter. Speaking through a translator, his comments were almost predictably derisive as he called the network filled with "poisons," suggesting the reporter's mind "has many confusions."

Prior to airing the clip of Chavez's remarks, Fox and Friends host Gretchen Carlson noted his comments about the UN chamber smelling different now that George W. Bush is no longer president of the United States.

"He says the room has a different aroma this time around," Carlson began. "It has a little bit more hope."

In the clip, when Chavez's interpreter identified the Fox News reporter, it was as though the Venezuelan president's eyes lit up.

"Fox News? Oh …" Chavez said, lips slowly rising into a smile as two fingers stroked his chin. He began speaking in Spanish.

"I love when I see people from Fox News," his translator said. "You know how [inaudible] call you? 'The stupid people from Fox News.' That's the way they call you. Not you, of course, not you. Of course not. [Inaudible] is, uh, deficious. Your mind has many confusions, perhaps poisons."...(Remainder.)


Obama Right That Roosevelt Was Called a Socialist and a Communist

By Angie Drobnic Holan

Sound familiar?

The president was accused of being "a socialist, not a Democrat." His plan was described as "undisguised state socialism." One critic, who controlled some powerful media outlets, suggested that communists had infiltrated the president's administration.

Those are some of the attacks that Franklin Delano Roosevelt faced in the 1930s -- attacks cited recently by President Barack Obama to emphasize that he's not unique.

Obama has mentioned the Roosevelt comparison several times recently, including during an interview on Late Night with David Letterman on Sept. 21, 2009:

"What's happened is that whenever a president tries to bring about significant changes, particularly during times of economic unease, then there is a certain segment of the population that gets very riled up," Obama said. "FDR was called a socialist and a communist."

Indeed, Roosevelt was called a socialist or a communist many times. Most of that criticism came in the 1930s, when he was enacting programs intended to pull the country out of the Great Depression.

• "Roosevelt is a socialist, not a Democrat," declared Republican Rep. Robert Rich of Pennsylvania during a debate on the House floor on July 23, 1935. That remark came after Republicans hinted they were considering a move to impeach Roosevelt, according to The New York Times.

• "The New Deal is now undisguised state socialism, declared Senator Simeon D. Fess (R-Ohio) today as he pictured President Roosevelt as the New Deal's leading socialist," reported The Chicago Daily Tribune on Aug. 7, 1934. "The president's recent statements," Fess said, "remove any doubt of his policy of state socialism, which necessitates increased activities of the government in either ownership or operation of industry, or both."...(Remainder.)


Pawlenty Changes Course on Cap-and-Trade

By Catharine Richert

He hasn't made it official yet, but it seems everything Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty does these days points to a White House run in 2012.

Case in point: his stance on a cap-and-trade plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Back in 2007, Pawlenty was positioning himself as an environmental leader, pushing for aggressive reductions in greenhouse gases and a regional cap-and-trade plan.
Fast-forward to 2009, and he's writing letters to Washington calling a Democratic plan to curb climate change, "overly bureaucratic, misguided" and "very burdensome on our economy."
"His position has evolved very dramatically from someone our group, quite frankly, viewed as a champion" for the climate, said Steven Morse, executive director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, which is a coalition of more than 80 Minnesota environmental organizations.
To track Pawlenty's evolution from treehugger to cap-and-trade skeptic, we need to turn the clock back to 2007. At the time, the Minnesota Legislature was debating the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007, which outlined the state's goals for greenhouse gas reductions. The bill required the state to reduce its emissions 15 percent by 2015 and 80 percent in 2050. It also endorsed the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group, a panel charged with drafting a comprehensive greenhouse gas emission reduction plan to meet those goals.

On May 25, 2007, the day Pawlenty signed the bill, he said the state should have taken action 30 years ago.
"The nation has been asleep at the switch, but here in Minnesota we are kick-starting the future by increasing our nation-leading per capita renewable fuel use, boosting cost-saving measures and tackling greenhouse gas emissions," he said....(Remainder.)


Hannity Says Obama is "Cutting Back on Defense"

By Louis Jacobson

During an interview with Sen. John McCain, Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity closed by asking the former Republican presidential candidate whether President Obama was getting soft on defense.

"Do you think the president is adopting a pre-9/11 mentality?" Hannity asked McCain. "I know those are pretty strong words, but I believe he is. I believe he is weakening our national reaction. I think if you look at Gitmo, Mirandizing enemy combatants, cutting back on defense, you know, slowing down our nuclear. It seems to me it's beyond the pre-9/11 mentality."

For this item we'll focus on just one of Hannity's assertions: that Obama is "cutting back on defense." After speaking to several defense budget experts, we've found a clear consensus on that question: maybe.

Hannity did not include a time frame or provide qualifiers, so we need to look at his claim by examining some different ways to measure defense spending:

-- The base budget vs. the war budget. Anyone looking at the defense budget must consider two main numbers. One is the base budget, which includes most everything outside of direct war spending. The second is war spending....(Remainder.)


Obama at the Precipice

By Frank Rich
The New York Times

THE most intriguing, and possibly most fateful, news of last week could not be found in the health care horse-trading in Congress, or in the international zoo at the United Nations, or in the Iran slapdown in Pittsburgh. It was an item tucked into a blog at George Stephanopoulos reported that the new “must-read book” for President Obama’s war team is “Lessons in Disaster” by Gordon M. Goldstein, a foreign-policy scholar who had collaborated with McGeorge Bundy, the Kennedy-Johnson national security adviser, on writing a Robert McNamara-style mea culpa about his role as an architect of the Vietnam War.

Bundy left his memoir unfinished at his death in 1996. Goldstein’s book, drawn from Bundy’s ruminations and deep new research, is full of fresh information on how the best and the brightest led America into the fiasco. “Lessons in Disaster” caused only a modest stir when published in November, but The Times Book Review cheered it as “an extraordinary cautionary tale for all Americans.” The reviewer was, of all people, the diplomat Richard Holbrooke, whose career began in Vietnam and who would later be charged with the Afghanistan-Pakistan crisis by the new Obama administration.

Holbrooke’s verdict on “Lessons in Disaster” was not only correct but more prescient than even he could have imagined. This book’s intimate account of White House decision-making is almost literally being replayed in Washington (with Holbrooke himself as a principal actor) as the new president sets a course for the war in Afghanistan. The time for all Americans to catch up with this extraordinary cautionary tale is now....(Remainder.)


Unemployment in Belgium Continues to Climb

At the end of August, Belgium counted 467,718 unemployed people, 39,501 more than in July and 47,827 more than in August 2008, according to new figures from Onem.

By Le Soir

The rise in the number of job seekers has been apparent in all regions: over 21,390 in a month in Flanders, over 11,468 in Wallonia, and over 6,643 in Brussels.
At the end of the month, Wallonia counted a total unemployment rate of 212,891, Flanders counted 176,660 and Brussels had 78,230 people out of a job.

73,602 unemployed people in the country are under-25, with the majority in Wallonia, with 38,525, followed by Flanders with 26,209, then Brussels with 8,868.

Wallonia still counts the highest number of people who have been unemployed for a long period of time, with 104,997 people in this category, which makes up nearly half the number of the total unemployed people in the region....(Original.)


Us 131%, and Still Going

By Abby Zimet
Common Dreams

Tell Us Something We Don't Know, Now What Are You Going To Do About It Dept.: The Kaiser Family Foundation's 11th annual survey found that the average family premium for health insurance rose to $13,375 last year, a jump of 5% even as inflation fell .7%. That makes for an obscene rise of 131% over the past ten years, during which time wages increased only 38%. One more time: public option, anyone? The report is here....(Original.)


As Seen on TV! Birthermercial Asks, Where Was Obama Really Born?

By Justin Elliott

A new birther infomercial running on a CBS affiliate in Texas and elsewhere around the country tells viewers a "got a birth certificate?" bumper sticker can be theirs for the low price of $30.

The 28-minute program -- quite possibly the first ever birthermercial -- features community access production values, heavy use of foreboding strings soundtrack, and standard-issue Birther ideology.

For a $30 contribution, viewers also get a fax sent in their name to the 50 state attorneys general and Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that President Obama produce his real birth certificate.

Here's the TPMtv highlight reel of the infomercial:



Anti-Veil Protest in Brussels

By Euronews

Hundreds of women and their children demonstrated in Brussels on Saturday to calling for the veil and all other religious clothes or symbols to be banned from schools.

At the moment the veil is worn at the discretion of an individual school’s headmaster, or not. Now Belgium’s 40 percent French-speakers want the same law as passed in Belgium’s Flemish half, which bans the veil.

“I had long, braided hair, so they would take the lower part of my veil, and wound it into my braids.”
says one women’s rights worker.

But the women’s groups are split; some prefer to stress free choice, others the risk of indoctrination of the young;

“The Flemish are spot on, because their law preserves the ideas of diversity and equality among pupils, pupils who are the adults of tomorrow. So we are demanding that the French speaking community takes the same decision,” says another women’s representative....(Remainder.)



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