Being Uncomfortable with Power

I have been thinking about writing this diary for a while now. Since Obama's swearing in I have noticed that the rift between right and left has been growing significantly, but much more disturbingly I have noticed a growing rift within our own ranks. I am not speaking of the same rift that existed during the primary, which was certainly a bitter rift from which the wounds have not completely healed, but something different that has happened in recent months.

I have watched and listened as much of the progressive movement, or the left fringe of the party, or whatever term is applied to it by the person speaking, has become increasingly distrustful of, and angry towards, President Obama. I worked for SEIU during the campaign, working seven days a week for months on end, to see Obama win; and I will be the first to admit that my perception is colored by that.

Lately, I have been increasingly angered myself about the attitudes of some on the left whose bitterness seems extreme to me; also, I have become concerned by those who do not show much bitterness but seem to be increasingly cynical that any of the changes we have hoped for and worked so hard for will come to fruition. I myself have some concerns about the way the administration has handled certain aspects of their agenda but I am even more concerned about the direction we, as a party and a movement, may be heading.

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Our National Values- Reflected In Our Spending Priorities:NOT

A few years ago, somebody handed me a pen at a community event that had a little handle on the side that you could pull out, revealing two charts that unfurled to around 5 x 7, large enough to make their points. (current versions below)

US FEDERAL SPENDING PIE CHART 2009

Total Outlays (Federal Funds): $2,650 billion
MILITARY: 54% and $1,449 billion
NON-MILITARY: 46% and $1,210 billion



Thinking about the current debate over the utility of bank bailouts  vs. universal healthcare I was reminded of them. - I keep wondering, IF 60-70% of Americans want universal healthcare, WHY are our (bad?) political actors saying that its off the table?
What is tying their hands? Perhaps the charts help explain one of the many reasons why. We are spendng more money on our military than the whole rest of the world, combined, is spending on theirs!

US DEFENSE SPENDING COMPARED WITH REST OF WORLDS DEFENSE SPENDING
(US on left, rest of world on right)

Source for 2009 pie chart figures:"The pie chart figures are from an analysis of detailed tables in the "Analytical Perspectives" book of the Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2009. The figures are federal funds, which do not include trust funds -- such as Social Security -- that are raised and spent separately from income taxes. What you pay (or don't pay) by April 15, 2008, goes to the federal funds portion of the budget. The government practice of combining trust and federal funds began during the Vietnam War, thus making the human needs portion of the budget seem larger and the military portion smaller. "
Thats it.  The above quoted text and images come from this site.

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Major Iowa endorsement: Caucus4Priorities chooses Edwards - Courage over Caution

Today, Caucus4Priorities, the political arm of Iowans for Sensible Priorites, a grassroots activist group that has been pushing presidential candidates and Congress to reduce unnecessary military spending and waste, and rearrange spending priorities to meet American's continuing unmet needs, endorsed John Edwards for president in Des Moines.

This is a pretty big deal - they have collected 10,000 signatures of people who are looking for a candidate to change spending priorities, 10% of the estimated 100,000 caucus turn-out in 2004.

Check out the details over the fold.

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The sad truth about your taxes

Tax Day is almost upon us, and with this annual ritual comes the opportunity to take stock of how the feds are spending our money.  The National Priorities Project brings home the sad truth: 40 cents of every income tax dollar went toward past and present military spending (go to http://nationalpriorities.org/taxday2007 to find out about how your state and city's tax dollars were spent).

Meanwhile, spending on preventive security measures such as diplomacy and economic development assistance amounted to only three-quarters of a penny.  Hundredths of a penny went towards investing in renewable energy and conservation. Basic needs such as affordable housing, education and nutrition got only a few pennies each.

All this while the taxpayer cost for the Iraq War climbs to nearly half a trillion dollars.

It's our money.  We should tell them how to spend it.  

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10 Reasons for the Netroots to Reach Out to Environmentalists

(first time poster, cross-posted on Daily Kos)

I am an environmentalist.  I have been since I was very small.  And I'm a netroots activist - I haven't been that quite so long, but I have been reading political blogs since I was too young to drive a car.  

In this post, Matt Stoller of MyDD lists some broad tactics to guide the netroots in building a people-powered movement for the coming years.  #2 on the list was: "Expand our netroots base: Let's get more people involved.  Let's build bridges to different communities, and bring their influentials onto the internet to engage in dialogue." 

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