Tag Archives: Obama

Cornel West and Carl Dix on Race and Politics in the Age of Obama

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Cornel West and Carl Dix on Race and Politics in the Age of Obama

One week after the NAACP’s 100th anniversary celebrations, we speak to Princeton University professor Cornel West and Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party about the current state of Black America. West is a professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University and the author of numerous books on race. Dix is a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and was one of six GIs in 1970 who refused orders to go to Vietnam and served two years in prison for his stance.

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Filed under American Politics, Black Politics, Obama Administration, Uncategorized

Tariq Ali | Obama, Pakistan and the US empire

http://www.counterfire.org

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Filed under Middle East, Obama Administration, Peace, The Obama Administration

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH | MARCH 2009 | PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

With passion and courage, women have taught us that when we band together to advocate for our highest ideals, we can advance our common well-being and strengthen the fabric of our Nation. Each year during Women’s History Month, we remember and celebrate women from all walks of life who have shaped this great Nation. This year, in accordance with the theme, “Women Taking the Lead to Save our Planet,” we pay particular tribute to the efforts of women in preserving and protecting the environment for present and future generations.

 

Ellen Swallow Richards

Ellen Swallow Richards

Ellen Swallow Richards is known to have been the first woman in the United States to be accepted at a scientific school. She graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1873 and went on to become a prominent chemist. In 1887, she conducted a survey of water quality in Massachusetts. This study, the first of its kind in America, led to the Nation’s first state water-quality standards.

Women have also taken the lead throughout our history in preserving our natural environment. In 1900, Maria Sanford led the Minnesota Federation of Women’s Groups in their efforts to protect forestland near the Mississippi River, which eventually became the Chippewa National Forest, the first Congressionally mandated national forest. Marjory Stoneman Douglas dedicated her life to protecting and restoring the Florida Everglades. Her book, The Everglades: Rivers of Grass, published in 1947, led to the preservation of the Everglades as a National Park. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Marjory Stoneman Douglas

  

Rachel Carson brought even greater attention to the environment by exposing the dangers of certain pesticides to the environment and to human health. Her landmark 1962 book, Silent Spring, was fiercely criticized for its unconventional perspective. As early as 1963, however, President Kennedy acknowledged its importance and appointed a panel to investigate the book’s findings. Silent Spring has emerged as a seminal work in environmental studies. Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1980.

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson

 

Grace Thorpe, another leading environmental advocate, also connected environmental protection with human well-being by emphasizing the vulnerability of certain populations to environmental hazards. In 1992, she launched a successful campaign to organize Native Americans to oppose the storage of nuclear waste on their reservations, which she said contradicted Native American principles of stewardship of the earth. She also proposed that America invest in alternative energy sources such as hydroelectricity, solar power, and wind power.

 

Grace Thorpe

Grace Thorpe

These women helped protect our environment and our people while challenging the status quo and breaking social barriers. Their achievements inspired generations of American women and men not only to save our planet, but also to overcome obstacles and pursue their interests and talents. They join a long and proud history of American women leaders, and this month we honor the contributions of all women to our Nation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2009 as Women’s History Month. I call upon all our citizens to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that honor the history, accomplishments, and contributions of American women.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

BARACK OBAMA

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Filed under Actions | Events, American Politics

Molly Secours’ open letter to Barack Obama

 

Molly Secours

Molly Secours is a writer/filmmaker living in Nashville, TN.  Although her personal story is used, it is universal.  She’s been told she doesn’t fit into the guidelines of Obama’s new foreclosure “bailout” plan (but it was the lender who said that) so she may be losing her home in less than a few weeks. Until now she’s always paid her mortgage–even through chemo and radiation so this is not due to her negligence but to the massive medical bills and debt incurred during treatment. Local Channel 2 covered her story – http://www.wkrn.com/global/story.asp?s=9869547.

 

When Congress holds it hearing with Bank Of America in a few weeks, these questions must be asked.  It’s probably too late for Molly, but this eventually may help millions of others.

She made a public appeal to Rep. Jim Cooper last week (http://blogs.nashvillescene.com/pitw/2009/02/this_just_in_the_economy.php) and he has been very responsive.

She may not live in your state but she may remind you of someone you know.  Certainly her situation is like many thousands who may have voted for Obama and needs his help.

The last couple years for her have been harrowing but dealing with the practices of First Franklin (owned by Bank Of America) has been almost as devastating.

Here is her open letter to Barack Obama:

Dear President Obama:

I wish this letter were simply a congratulatory note thanking you for the sacrifices and struggles your family has made in order for you to become our 44th President.  Your victory has been a personal highlight for me. And like millions of others I, perhaps for the first time, feel hope and optimism.

Although I write you today about my personal struggle, I am only one of countless others facing the same fate: foreclosure.  As you read the following paragraphs, imagine the millions of others in a similar predicament.

I’m a freelance writer/filmmaker living in Nashville TN. A year and a half ago I was diagnosed with uterine cancer and spent much of last year in chemotherapy and radiation. In spite of never missing a single mortgage payment during the entire time of treatment–thanks to all my friends in Nashville and across the world–I have for the past 8 months been unable to convince First Franklin Loan Services (owned by Bank Of America) to refinance my 9.8% loan.  With the accumulated medical bills and debt incurred during chemo, it was my only hope of keeping my house.  I was later told that until I was 2 months behind in payments, negotiations were unlikely.

Well now I am nearly three months behind and only because of your moratorium on foreclosures, will my March 2nd deadline be pushed back to March 12th. But according to First Franklin, I do not qualify for refinancing under your program.

After weeks of persistent inquiry, it turns out that of course First Franklin can’t refinance my loan.  First Franklin doesn’t even possess my loan. When I asked for the name and number of the person who possessed my loan and who might help me refinance, I was told that my mortgage was actually packaged in a trust under the name ‘Merrill Lynch First Franklin Loan Trust 2007-2′. Not surprising, he couldn’t give me a good contact number for these Merrill Lynch First Franklin folks.  Out on a Caribbean cruise, I imagine.

I was further told that First Franklin Loan Services priority and commitment is to be fair to the owner of the loan underwritten under their guidelines and that the terms to my loan could not be altered.

Are you still with me, Mr. President?

As part of my cancer recovery I have been advised to keep a low stress level in order to assure continued remission.  Mr. President I must be honest. While going through chemotherapy and radiation was excruciating at times, dealing with the devious and rather underhanded practices of First Franklin Loan Services (Bank Of America) over this past 8 months has been almost as brutal–and in some ways even worse.

Last summer, In spite of the massive debt and medical bills, I still had good enough credit to refinance my 9.8% loan with another bank. But because First Franklin refused to forgive the exorbitant pre-payment penalty, my house was upside down in value and refinancing with a reputable bank became impossible. Eight months later because of the economy, my house is valued at $18,500 less than I owe and now, selling and or renting are no longer options

The details of obstruction and uncooperative dealings with First Franklin are endless and I know you have you heard the same stories from people across the country so I’ll spare you the specifics.

What can you do? When Bank Of America appears before Congress next month, please demand that they answer the following questions. While it may be too late for me by then, maybe it will help millions of others.

1) What exactly are the ‘guidelines’ that loan service providers like First Franklin Loan Services are held to in their agreements with folks like Merrill Lynch First Franklin Loan Trust 2007-02?

2) Can these guidelines be made public for ALL Americans?  Since First Franklin claims that for people like me that ‘there is no way to alter the guidelines governing’ my loan. Perhaps transparency might help.

3) We already know that First Franklin Loan Services is owned by Bank Of America.  Mr. President, I am wondering why First Franklin Loan Services was unable to benefit from the bail out package received by Merrill Lynch and Bank Of America this past year? That way they could work with folks like me to stay in their homes.

4) Given that the trustees of my loan are “Merrill Lynch” I am thinking maybe there is a way to locate some of the funds allocated to help people in my situation? How many billions of dollars was it that Merrill Lynch and Bank Of America received? Perhaps Congress would help First Franklin Loan Services garner some of that or the new stimulus money from their parent company Bank Of America?

5) I am interested in knowing if I go into foreclosure would the tax benefit go to “Merrill Lynch First Franklin Loan Trust” or would it go to First Franklin Loan Services or would Bank Of America receive the tax write off?  This might help me understand more why it has been so difficult to make an agreement before now.  There must be some great foreclosure benefits for so many people to be on the verge of losing their homes.

You see Mr. President, I’m not looking for a bailout or a hand out.  I’m just looking for a good faith deal and fair shake without the smoke and mirrors.

Like millions of Americans, my house is not just the place where I sleep and eat. It is a source of comfort and healing. And although it is true, home is where your heart is, these days, my heart is my home.

On behalf of millions who are facing fiscal, emotional and physical devastation, thank you for your leadership, compassion and humanitarian spirit.

Ever faithful,

Molly Secours, writer/filmmaker/speaker

One Woman Show Productions | www.mollysecours.com | 615.429.6817

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Take Action: President Obama to Sanction Israel?

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

President Obama is expected to address a joint session of Congress and deliver a “blueprint” for his FY2010 budget.

 

According to the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the United States and Israel in 2007 and made public by the US Campaign, the President is expected to request $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel in FY2010.

However, there are growing indications that the Obama Administration is considering sanctioning Israel. According to a senior Israeli security official in a Feb. 17 article in Ma’ariv, Israel fears that Special Envoy George Mitchell will convince the White House to cut military aid as a response to Israel’s ongoing settlement activities in the occupied West Bank. A Feb. 15 Ha’aretz article speculated that amounts available for U.S. loan guarantees to Israel would be cut for the same reason.

Meanwhile, last Thursday, Sen. John Kerry and Reps. Keith Ellison and Brian Baird visited the occupied Gaza Strip to assess the damage from Israel’s recent war and ongoing siege. This was the first time any U.S. government official visited Gaza in more than three years. After their visit, Ellison and Baird released a strong press release, stating:

 

“If this had happened in our own country, there would be national outrage and an appeal for urgent assistance.  We are glad that the Obama administration acted quickly to send much needed funding for this effort but the arbitrary and unreasonable Israeli limitations on food and repair essentials is unacceptable and indefensible.  People, innocent children, women and non-combatants, are going without water, food and sanitation, while the things they so desperately need are sitting in trucks at the border, being denied permission to go in.” Continue reading

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Filed under Free Palestine