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Emerald1943 On August - 23 - 2011
Van Jones, Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Ent...

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The first American Dream conference will take place October 3 – 5, 2011 in Washington, D.C.  I am posting a number of emails that I have received and will update this thread as more information becomes available.

Please note: I am just no good at using WordPress and apologize for the mess I’m making of these posts. Please bear with me…I’m trying!
——————————————————————————————————

UPDATE: Democracy for America sent an email on August 19, 2011 outlining major agenda
items for the American Dream Movement. In the weeks prior to this, thousands of people got together in meetings all over the country to discuss solutions to the problems we face. I am including this email here:

Last night, Van Jones kicked off our Don’t Kill the Dream campaign with
over 15,000 DFA members listening in across the country.

Democracy for America is joining the American Dream movement and taking
the fight to Republicans across the country — at town halls, at their
district offices, everywhere — and it starts right now with you signing
onto the Contract for the American Dream.

[1]Join the movement — Sign the Contract for the American Dream right
now.

What is the Contract for the American Dream? It’s the promise that we make
to one another that all Americans — rich, poor, or in-between, regardless
of skin color or birthplace, no matter their sexual orientation or gender
— have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The contract was created by over 120,000 grassroots progressives working
together at house parties nationwide last month and it includes ten
featured goals to rebuild America:

* Invest in America‘s Infrastructure
* Create 21st Century Energy Jobs
* Invest in Public Education
* Offer Medicare for All
* Make Work Pay
* Secure Social Security
* Return to Fairer Tax Rates
* End the Wars and Invest at Home
* Tax Wall Street Speculation
* Strengthen Democracy

[2]Read more about the Contract and sign on now.

Together, we can stop Republicans from killing the American Dream and
build a future based on liberty and justice for all.

Thank you for everything you do.

-Levana

Levana Layendecker, Communications Director
Democracy for America

References

Visible links
1. http://act.democracyforamerica.com/go/1038?akid=1218.1110671.mXYGv5&t=1
2. http://act.democracyforamerica.com/go/1038?akid=1218.1110671.mXYGv5&t=2

———————————————————————————-

UPDATE:

http://www.ourfuture.org/conference/speakers. There is information here in their newsletter about the conference, as well as many other issues important to us..

http://www.ourfuture.org/conference

There is an exciting line-up of speakers and issues that will be covered. Some are yet to be confirmed. Van Jones will be speaking on the first day and will inspire everyone, I am sure! Lizz Winstead will no doubt have us rolling in the aisles! Congressman Barney Frank is also scheduled. The link below lists confirmed speakers:

http://www.ourfuture.org/conference/speakers

I will try to get a full list of sponsors for this event. At this point, I am sure about MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, The Campaign for America’s Future, and the SEIU. I am not certain about OFA, but I’m sure I have seen it mentioned. If you happen across the name of a sponsor that I have not included, please let me know.

Stay tuned….more to come!

———————————————————————————

UPDATE:

A little more detail about the Contract for the American Dream, which was included as bullet points in the first part of this piece:

To produce this Contract for the American Dream, 131,203 Americans came together online and in their communities. We wrote and rated 25,904 ideas. Together, we identified the 10 most critical steps to get our economy back on track and restore the American Dream:

10 CRITICAL STEPS TO GET OUR ECONOMY BACK ON TRACK

I. Invest in America’s Infrastructure: Rebuild our crumbling bridges, dams, levees, ports, water and sewer lines, railways, roads, and public transit. We must invest in high-speed Internet and a modern, energy-saving electric grid. These investments will create good jobs and rebuild America. To help finance these projects, we need national and state infrastructure banks.

II. Create 21st Century Energy Jobs: We should invest in American businesses that can power our country with innovative technologies like wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal systems, hybrid and electric cars, and next-generation batteries. And we should put Americans to work making our homes and buildings energy efficient. We can create good, green jobs in America, address the climate crisis, and build the clean energy economy.

III. Invest in Public Education: We should provide universal access to early childhood education, make school funding equitable, invest in high-quality teachers, and build safe, well-equipped school buildings for our students. A high-quality education system, from universal preschool to vocational training and affordable higher education, is critical for our future and can create badly needed jobs now.

IV. Offer Medicare for All: We should expand Medicare so it’s available to all Americans, and reform it to provide even more cost-effective, quality care. The Affordable Care Act is a good start and we must implement it — but it’s not enough. We can save trillions of dollars by joining every other industrialized country — paying much less for health care while getting the same or better results.

V. Make Work Pay: Americans have a right to fair minimum and living wages, to organize and collectively bargain, to enjoy equal opportunity, and to earn equal pay for equal work. Corporate assaults on these rights bring down wages and benefits for all of us. They must be outlawed.

VI. Secure Social Security: Keep Social Security sound, and strengthen the retirement, disability, and survivors’ protections Americans earn through their hard work. Pay for it by removing the cap on the Social Security tax, so that upper-income people pay into Social Security on all they make, just like the rest of us.

VII. Return to Fairer Tax Rates: End, once and for all, the Bush-era tax giveaways for the rich, which the rest of us — or our kids — must pay eventually. Also, we must outlaw corporate tax havens and tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas. Lastly, with millionaires and billionaires taking a growing share of our country’s wealth, we should add new tax brackets for those making more than $1 million each year.

VIII. End the Wars and Invest at Home: Our troops have done everything that’s been asked of them, and it’s time to bring them home to good jobs here. We’re sending $3 billion each week overseas that we should be investing to rebuild America.

IX. Tax Wall Street Speculation: A tiny fee of a twentieth of 1% on each Wall Street trade could raise tens of billions of dollars annually with little impact on actual investment. This would reduce speculation, “flash trading,” and outrageous bankers’ bonuses — and we’d have a lot more money to spend on Main Street job creation.

X. Strengthen Democracy: We need clean, fair elections — where no one’s right to vote can be taken away, and where money doesn’t buy you your own member of Congress. We must ban anonymous political influence, slam shut the lobbyists’ revolving door in D.C., and publicly finance elections. Immigrants who want to join in our democracy deserve a clear path to citizenship. We must stop giving corporations the rights of people when it comes to our elections. And we must ensure our judiciary’s respect for the Constitution. Together, we will reclaim our democracy to get our country back on track.
============

Be sure to check back here often! I’ll provide more information as it is received. Thanks for your interest!

Written by Emerald1943

Born and bred a Southern lady. Degree in nursing and 20 years of classical piano. Two grown children and two gorgeous grandkids. Also two Shih Tzu doggies, the light of my life! Buddhist. A life-long card-carrying, flaming, hard-core, opinionated, liberal/progressive Democrat...and proud of it! Favorite quotation: "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." Sinclair Lewis

31 Responses so far.

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  1. Emerald1943 says:

    UPDATE: 8/27/2011

    http://civic.moveon.org/contract_action_ideas/?id=30250-6773210-0aKwJPx&t=4

    This page gives us the opportunity to submit our own ideas to put the American Dream agenda to work, as well as a chance to rate ideas from others.

    If you will scroll down to the bottom, you will see a very extensive list of the sponsors of the conference, a rather impressive group!

  2. Emerald1943 says:

    UPDATE:

    I received another email today from Van Jones and the American Dream Movement, asking us to come up with ideas and rate them as to how to work on the issues in our agenda. I include the email here:
    ================================

    Over the past month more than a quarter million people have endorsed the Contract for the American Dream. That’s a big deal. Progressives are uniting behind a set of real solutions for fixing our broken economy.

    We’re coming together because the Contract was built by our movement from the ground up. More than 70 outstanding organizations got involved and helped to make it happen. Hundreds of thousands of people took part in crafting the ten-point plan. It’s our plan.

    But the Contract isn’t just an inspiring document. It’s a plan to transform our country and it’s up to all of us to make it happen. So today we want to open up the door once again and ask for your best ideas for putting the Contract to work.

    What are your best ideas for actions people can take to help turn this Contract into a reality?

    Submit your best ideas here, and rate ideas from others.

    We know that this isn’t the way organizations usually run campaigns. But we believe in the brilliance of the American Dream movement more than in any one organization.

    It could be that one plank speaks to you and you have a great idea for how to work on it locally. You might want to engage with elected or community leaders to get more people excited about the Contract as a whole. You might have a creative idea about how to use art, music, or video to spread the word.

    Over the coming weeks we’ll make sure we share the best ideas across our movement and provide the resources and tools so that people just like you can go from inspiration to action as quickly and easily as possible.

    Our goal is to see Contract for the American Dream campaigns popping up nationwide in a matter of weeks. From efforts to raise awareness about the Contract itself, to local campaigns on individual Contract planks, to endorsements from community leaders and organizations.

    The sky’s the limit right now. The more ideas we come up with, the more people who jump in and start spreading the word, the better.

    Click here to submit and rate ideas.

    Thank you for being a part of, and believing in, this movement.

    –Van Jones and the rest of the Rebuild the Dream team

    P.S. For a refresher, the Contract for the American Dream consists of a simple but powerful ten-point plan:

    I. Invest in America’s Infrastructure
    II. Create 21st Century Energy Jobs
    III. Invest in Public Education
    IV. Offer Medicare for All
    V. Make Work Pay
    VI. Secure Social Security
    VII. Return to Fairer Tax Rates
    VIII. End the Wars and Invest at Home
    IX. Tax Wall Street Speculation
    X. Strengthen Democracy
    ===========================

    I personally will have to give this some thought. There are so many issues that face us. I would value any input PPOV members could offer! :-)

  3. Emerald1943 says:

    CL, this is a quote from Van Jones’ interview that I thought you might like.

    What are the specific goals of your new campaign?

    “The first goal is to consolidate all of the causalities of the present economic crisis and turn them into champions for economic solutions, all under a common banner. That consolidation is key. Lots of economic fight-backs are happening across America. Workers are fighting against union-busting, veterans are fighting for better treatment coming home, young people are trying to keep their tuition down and get their job opportunities up. But the fights are scattered. If we keep fighting alone, we are going to keep losing alone.”

    He said it much better than I could.

    • choicelady says:

      Hi Em -- yes, solidarity is critical, and that has been MIA!

      What concerns me a lot is that this is really just another Campaign for Progress conference -- same voices for the most part, same talking heads and NO action. The inclusion of DailyKos, MoveOn and other firebaggers is deeply worrying. I see very little time given to voices from key sectors -- labor itself, faith, communities of color. ACCE and its successors not there. Applied Research Center not there. Progressive faith groups not there (Faithful America is a sell out, IMHO). No REAL critics of MSM or the RW media.

      I also see no reflection of the key problem -- the slogan is “we will support Dems when Dems support us” which is a HUGE perpetuation of ignorance about how Congress works, how democracy works, how critical it is to vote wisely and well because there is NO SITTING IT OUT when the Dominionist Baggers have a powerful and dangerous agenda. The Dems HAVE supported working people over and over and over -- and that has to be acknowledged.

      There may be a powerful action at the same time as this by WISC -- the Washington Inter-religious Staff Council -- the faith lobbyists on Capitol Hill. Their in-gathering around protecting essential programs is right on the money with this campaign -- will there be coordination? I might come for both -- but not if this does not do a whole lot better on faith presence in embattled communities. The work done on health care reform had everything to do with us, not the disaffected “demand single payer that has too few votes” crowd that was too snobby to understand how important the accomplishment is.

      I dispute these ideas are from the ground up. They were all vetted by “experts”, and the lowest common denominator was reached -- EXACTLY what has been the drum beat for the past 3-5 years. The emphasis on 21st century jobs throws blue collar people once again on the trash heap. I KNOW unions are supporting this, but I see very little evidence they were heard.

      Again -- I’m NOT saying don’t participate or that it’s no good. I signed on and will sign on my organization. I’m just exhausted with high profile “conferences” that lead to nothing. Absolutely NOTHING. If this one can lift up labor and faith and communities of color and the non-college people including white people from the South on an equal plane with educated people of privilege, then OK. I’m not sure it will because the platform does NOT reflect a single reference to what ordinary people want and need.

      Add in ‘bring back manufacturing and good blue collar jobs’, or ‘support balanced education with vocational and college track programs for ALL our children and assure good civic education for all’ and ‘protect health care reform and expand it to single payer’ then we might be onto something.

      This? It’s exactly what I heard in 2009 at the overpriced Progressive conference at the Shoreham (that was $9 cheaper than this godawful room price again with NO alternatives suggested). And nothing came of that or the 2010 conference at all except snotty whining and smug superiority. Should have held this in, oh, Newark -- that’d separate the sheep from the goats on who is REALLY progressive!

      It MIGHT, just might, stop the carping against what has already been accomplished. It MIGHT focus white snotty liberals on blue collar issues. It MIGHT get people to see they have to advocate and not whine.

      But I don’t think so. My expectations of this are very, very low, and my fear is that it will INCREASE alienation from the center of America, ratify “sitting it out” in disdain for incremental change, and cause Perry and Dominionist Baggers to gain MORE power.

      We shall see.

      • Emerald1943 says:

        CL, I understand your viewpoint, especially in light of your experiences working for these same issues. I know it must be frustrating to work so hard and see so little progress.

        But at this point, with Perry surging in the polls, and no other sane candidate out there to challenge him, what other options do we have than to try to consolidate our power and resources? You know full well that we are going to be grossly out-spent in this election. What else can be done to utilize the resources of these groups to make the biggest difference and perhaps level the playing field a bit?

        You pointed out that SOLIDARITY was something that we Dems lack. Anything that can help that issue is a positive one IMO. How else can we achieve this? Certainly, doing battle online with the baggers is not going to bring us together or have our issues addressed. The hour is late in terms of the 2012 election.

        I am open for suggestions.

        ADDENDUM: I am not familiar with some of the organizations that you mention in your comment like ACCE and the others not included. Can you enlighten me? Thanks! :-)

        • choicelady says:

          Em --

          The solidarity here is fragile. When the slogan is “we will support Dems when Dems support us” it reflects that absolute ignorance of what has been accomplished. It also reflect total dismissal of reality.

          Medicare for all. Yup. I support that. But the focus in October MUST BE saving health reform in its entirety because if that is killed off, MILLIONS will lose their insurance and we will be back to worse condition than before since employers are already cancelling theirs. We tried Medicare for All in HR 676. It had 85 sponsors and, with arm twisting, MIGHT have gotten 15 more (one of them my Rep.) for 100 votes. You NEED 267. When Obama did not press that -- when he created a platform that was massively good and achievable -- progressives ignored it, said it was the same as Romney’s which it is NOT, and wrote it and Obama off.

          Well -- as a GOAL it’s great. As policy it sucks. Are we then going into pouts and sit out the election?

          Perry is NOT surging in the polls enough to make anyone care -- he surges with the true believers and not with GOP voters in general once they heard him declare Social Security was unconstitutional.

          But that said we DO need solidarity -- and I see ONLY 10 points that will give snotty and ignorant progressives reason to sit it out. “Boo hoo -- I don’t like health reform if it’s not single payer so I’m showing the Dems and not voting. Again.”

          If I had not sat through this two years ago starting in GREAT hope at the Campaign for America’s Future, I’d not be so worried. All it was was Obama bashing less than six months into his administration.

          ACCE is the successor to ACORN and IS there -- I had missed it. That is a huge relief. Applied Research Center is a national organization working for racial equity -- amazing group. Center for Responsible Lending -- advocating nationwide for reform of all kinds of predatory lending. Faithful Reform in Health Care -- interfaith people in action around ALL progress in health care. Where are the LGBT groups? Immigrant advocacy groups?

          WISC -- all the faith lobby groups that will be pounding away to prevent cuts to ALL programs -- you will note Medicaid and TANF are not even blips on this agenda. The Safety Net for the deeply harmed poor is NOT ON THIS PLATFORM. Nothing about racial equity, immigration, or any other key issue is present here.

          So if the white, educated, absolutists don’t get what they want -- demand that Dems sign a Norquist style pledge they already said they will NOT do -- then is the “solidarity” sitting it out and letting Perry or Bachmann or even Huntsman win?

          I am dead serious about this. If any of those Dominionists types get in -- I will be investigated and likely arrested for my work upholding LGBT rights. I will be hounded for my work against the Dominionist dominance. I will perhaps be shot for work as a pro-choice person since I’m already ON that hit list.

          Where is the discussion about the hideous danger of having religious zealots who are ALSO corporate shills be the only real voices of the GOP and how demanding absolute fidelity to this platform as the core value by which you vote for the only other game in town -- the Dems?

          Here is the bottom line -- vote for the worst Dem in America. It’s the same as in Louisiana where the corrupt governor was opposing David Duke. Bumper sticker: “Vote for the Crook -- It’s Important.”

          There are some things bigger than policy conformity, and 2012 is the watershed moment -- if we get theocrats in office, we will lose every single thing we cherish on this list and more. Upholding this class-biased and highly incomplete platform AND the demand for signing a pledge to it as the ONLY reasons to vote for Dems is a DISASTER.

          If our “solidarity” is irresponsible electoral action, then WE will be responsible for electing the most dangerous people we’ve ever seen. We will NOT recover in our lifetime.

          • Emerald1943 says:

            CL, I don’t know what to say to you. I am sorry that you’ve had such bad experiences in the past.

            Perhaps I am just naive, but I don’t know what else that I can personally do to make some meaningful contribution to the cause.

            I live in a rural, mountainous and very conservative area. Sometimes, I feel very alone and isolated, maybe the reason that I value my friendships with others on PPOV so much, including yours. As a relative newcomer to activism, it would be easy for me to get discouraged, but I refuse in spite of all the negative points you have made.

            Perhaps I look for different things from this conference than you. I look to learn more about the issues and for guidance in organizing in an area such as mine. I’m sure that some of the issues in your metropolitan area are quite different from those where I live.

            We can all sit around and bitch until the cows come home…and that will not get ONE democrat elected. Or we can get off our asses, work together, and organize for this campaign. That is exactly what I can contribute and what I intend to do.

            Neither this conference nor any other can cover every problem…we have way too many to address them all in such a short period of time. But we have to start somewhere.

            If you choose not to attend, I will be sorry that I didn’t have the opportunity to meet you.

  4. Emerald1943 says:

    UPDATE:

    I just picked up this article about Van Jones, the force behind the American Dream movement. A very interesting interview with a very interesting man!

    ============================================

    Working on a Dream
    Activist Van Jones explains how progressives can best the Tea Party.
    By Aaron Krager

    “We have to give the American people a coherent alternative,” Van Jones says. “The America we thought we were voting for in 2008.” (Photo by: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
    SHARE THIS ARTICLE |

    Born the same year Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated, Van Jones is a champion of the poor, the environment and—since launching a new national campaign in June—the American Dream. Jones, author of The Green Collar Economy, served in the Obama administration as “green jobs advisor” in 2009, until Glenn Beck falsely accused and vehemently attacked him for being a 9/11 truther. He resigned his post and began studying the Tea Party movement.

    Now, two years later, Jones has partnered with progressive organizations like MoveOn, labor unions, advocacy groups and blogs to develop the Rebuild the American Dream campaign—basically, a liberal version of the Tea Party—which tries to shift political leaders’ focus from budget austerities to struggling Americans. I spoke with Jones at a Clinton Global Initiative meeting in late June, and followed up with him a month later to discuss his latest progressive project.

    You were demonized by the right and forced out of your job. Do you think progressives should use similar tactics (with the truth, rather than lies) against conservatives?

    I think that we should be willing to tell the truth with the same audacity that they are willing to tell their lies. That said, I don’t think we are ever going to out-ugly our opponents. I think that what we need is a tough-minded idealist—a Bobby Kennedy. Somebody who won’t back down from a fight but who is clearly motivated by higher ideals than just being in the fight.

    What is the American Dream and how should it be rebuilt?

    Dr. Martin Luther King says in his speech, “I have a dream.” Then he says, “It is a dream deeply rooted in the American Dream.” He was talking about the idea that an ordinary person, without a fancy name, could work hard and get somewhere in our country and give their kids a better life.

    That’s the American Dream—but there are people in this country who are trying to kill it. These dream-killers have wrapped themselves in a mantel of cheap patriotism, but their agenda is a wrecking ball to every institution that has made America great. A wrecking ball for the unions, a wrecking ball for the safety net, a wrecking ball for public education, a wrecking ball for everything that has made America exceptional. My view is that the Tea Party used the tools of democracy very well to hijack the conversation and make the solution to every problem more cutbacks. I think we should use the tools of democracy to take the conversation back.

    Is that going to take policy changes?

    It will take ideas and solutions that resonate with the American people. For example, tax those lightning-fast trades run by computer algorithms on Wall Street. If you tax them at one tenth of a penny you could take tens of billions off of Wall Street and use that to invest in America. There’s not a single person in America who doesn’t work on Wall Street who’s going to say that’s a bad idea. We could go back to the Clinton era tax rates on wealthy people and get $80 billion in two years. That’s not socialism, that’s the ’90s.

    What about moving back to pre-Reagan-era tax rates?

    Well, sure, just as long as we don’t stay stuck on stupid. I mean, where you draw the line is a function of both policy and politics. You can increase revenues. You can also reduce expenses. But no American family would say, ‘We got a budget problem, let’s starve Grandma. … Let’s starve the dog and the kids.’

    Imagine if you had $3.3 billion—one week of expenses in Iraq and Afghanistan. We could take that $3.3 billion and do some nation-building right here in America. Unbelievable amounts of greed and malfeasance from Wall Street and neglect from D.C. … have left ordinary Americans lost, confused and angry. People in red states and blue states agree that we are a better country than this. If you make it concrete—how can we make America better?—people get excited.

    Why try to revive a concept—the American Dream—that may never have been a reality for most Americans?

    We are not trying to champion the American fantasy that everyone is going to be rich and buying things is going to make you happy. Most Americans see the best of the American Dream as part of our identity. In a crisis we don’t turn on each other, we turn to each other. For ordinary Americans, that is the cornerstone of their expectations about what it means to be an American. For that to be thrown under the bus, mainly so rich people and corporations don’t have to pay taxes, is heartbreaking for tens of millions of people.

    What are the specific goals of your new campaign?

    The first goal is to consolidate all of the causalities of the present economic crisis and turn them into champions for economic solutions, all under a common banner. That consolidation is key. Lots of economic fight-backs are happening across America. Workers are fighting against union-busting, veterans are fighting for better treatment coming home, young people are trying to keep their tuition down and get their job opportunities up. But the fights are scattered. If we keep fighting alone, we are going to keep losing alone.

    The second goal is to use this crowd-sourced policy agenda we are on the verge of releasing, the Contract for the American Dream, to get elected officials and other influential people to sign on for an agenda of prosperity rather than austerity. We had 127,000 people crowd-source a jobs agenda with 10 main points of action. This came from 70 organizations across the country, 1,600 house meetings—twice as many meetings as the Tea Party when it launched in 2009. This contract will have tremendous moral authority because of the level of participation, and tremendous political impact because it will give people a sane economic agenda to rally around.

    How do you create a progressive version of the Tea Party when there’s no progressive version of Fox News to deem your group newsworthy?

    Our movements are more dynamic than that. What you are going to see is real innovation in communication where we once again match the conservative disinformation machine. It is a huge mistake to underestimate the creative capacity of progressives.

    Why do we need an answer to the Tea Party? Why would we want that?

    Just two years ago, most of us were feeling at least somewhat optimistic and encouraged about America’s future. Now we are mostly sad and morose. The main reason for that is the success of the Tea Party at hijacking Washington D.C.

    We have to do everything we can to give the American people a coherent alternative—the America we thought we were voting for in 2008. Most people don’t understand that the Tea Party program … is really a ratification of the status quo of corporate rule.

    I don’t think we should be discouraged at all. The right wing has this lopsided propaganda war against the achievements of the New Deal, … and they are losing in the polls. We should be quite hopeful that in an economy like this, when we haven’t put up a coherent alternative in the face of the most determined onslaught that we’ve seen in our lifetimes, that we are still at 60 to 70 percent in the polls.

    What kind of leaders does this campaign need?

    The good thing about the leadership of the American Dream movement is that it looks like America. We’ve got everybody from Planned Parenthood to Faithful America to the Sierra Club inside one network fighting for a better economy. Once we release the Contract for the American Dream, more voices will rally around it. More will lift it up and say this would be good for my community—I’m Latino, I’m lesbian, I’m a student, I’m Asian, I’m a farmer, but this contract would help me.

    So the contract will lay out the goals. Is that how you expect groups to have their own specific leaders under one banner?

    That is exactly the strategy. Part of what Rebuild the Dream is trying to be is a support center to help this massive movement consolidate. Part of what we have to learn is a new way of consolidating and realigning our best ideas.

    How will this movement put people into positions of power so they can enact needed changes?

    The Tea Party is a great example: It got people together based upon values and principles first, and then some people ran for office, some primaried Republicans, some people just focused on communications. The thing is, you have to be clear on your principles and values.

  5. choicelady says:

    Hey -- be a bit careful here. Some of these (Reich, Borosage) are part of the PL. While I know Reich is on Common Cause, a most sensible organization, I’m pretty fed up with people like this being invited over and over and over. Where are the NEW voices? I see only a couple.

    I remain deeply cynical about this -- I went to Borosage’s conference two years ago, and it was ALL hair on fire lefties with not a new idea to their name.

    Beware, too WHERE they hold it -- Borosages’ progressive conference is at the Shoreham at $250 per night. Limousine liberals don’t cut it with me.

    I’m not saying NO -- I AM saying, keep an eye out for the same old same old.

    Their “Medicare for all” is back to the unwinnable. We have yet to convince Americans that will work -- and I’m a big single payer supporter. If we also do not utter one single word about changes in CONTROL then this is neo-liberalism which is as shopworn a concept as every other damn thing we’ve done. We also need to renew manufacturing of basics, and not a word about 21st-century investments talks about the critical link between steel, iron, auto, and other capital and durable consumer goods and the workers they employ.

    Where are the people talking about transforming corporate ownership and management? Where are there discussions even about sharing in the fruit of one’s labors?

    This is EXACTLY what the Center for American Progress has proposed over the years prior to 2008 -- the platform for Hillary (save for the Medicare for all which she did not support).

    Fine. Let’s keep pounding the drum for what is better -- but let’s not believe there is anything new here. There are no new people, no new ideas, no OLD ideas revived. It’s neo-liberalism which is far better than the last 40 years, but it’s not the answer because it never gets to the root of corporate power. It’s PART of the answer.

    It is part of Obama’s answer. And that may not be enough if these people do NOT give him credit for it. (And yes -- he supports Medicare for all -- IF there are votes for it. He embraced Vermont’s single payer plan as their state option with a waiver to begin in 2014.)

    But by leaving out blue collar economies, this troubles me. There is nothing about agriculture, industry, mining, any of the places where non-college people may flourish.

    Same old same old. I went to this in June 2009. Why should I go there again?

    • Emerald1943 says:

      CL, you have much more experience than I do with your work and connections. I bow to your expertise and greatly appreciate your opinion. You do have some good points. I noted Reich as one of the PL, but am willing to listen to what he has to say.

      My enthusiasm about this project comes first from the fact that actual PEOPLE came up with the priorities, rather than having those issues chosen for us just because somebody wanted to talk about them. The second reason is that so many different organizations are joining under the one banner. Many of us have been members of MoveOn, DFA, and others, all with differing agendas. I believe we have much more power if we join forces to address our concerns rather than running off in many different directions, backing this candidate or that.

      As you are well aware, the RW has systematically been attacking collective bargaining rights in a number of states, as well as the recent attack in Congress against unions in the FAA. One reason for taking down the unions is to limit the amount of donations to the Democratic candidates, unions having been some of the largest contributors to the Dems. By combining these organizations, I can foresee another fund raising opportunity for the Dems who will, no doubt, be outspent in this next election. BTW, I believe that SEIU is a sponsor, so I would expect to hear something about collective bargaining.

      With those in the party who would trash the President at every turn for whatever their reasons, I believe it is a good thing to have all of us on the “same page” and working together to promote the Dems and the President. At any rate, participants can take valuable information back to their districts with an organized plan for the election.

      As far as the price is concerned, I believe it to be reasonable given the price of hotel rooms in Washington in general. That is one expensive place to stay! I took my granddaughter up for a visit last fall and stayed at a rather “no frills” hotel..$350 per night! At least at the conference, some food is included and that will help.

      As to your point about “Medicare for all”, this was an issue decided on by the participants in all those meetings across the country. I was to have attended one but had to cancel at the last minute..or I would have certainly put my two cents in there too. Just because we see the issue as “unwinnable” now does not mean that it will remain that way. This is apparently what the people want.

      I have not addressed all the good points you made. I am hopeful that some of the scheduled break-out sessions will address some of these. I would also like to hear about industry, agriculture and immigration reform. But first things first! Just a reminder that all the sessions and speakers have not been fleshed out. I’m sure there will be more information to come.

      Thanks for your comments…I truly welcome them! Much food for thought! :-)

      • choicelady says:

        Emerald -- I defer gladly to your point about solidarity. That IS one thing we on the left do lack which is why I’m not dissing this and stomping out. I just wish I could hear some new voices (though there are some young folks I don’t know featured on the program.)

        If we take it as a solidarity issue on behalf of the election of 2012, I will be quiet. The Progressive whatever conference that Borosage runs was simply horrid -- 2009 and already much Obama bashing. He’d been in office under 6 months! I was freaked out by how nasty it was.

        So yeah -- if this is kept as a positive thing, and if it gives Obama credit for a lot that has BEEN accomplished already, then that’s good. If it teaches the hair on fire lefties to consider how democracy works and how critical it is to re-take the House (and KEEP the Senate) then even better.

        It’s just not new ideas of the kinds I think are critical revised tax issues, revised concern with corporate ownership and community power. Those are my hobby horses. But these issues ARE important to regain ground for people, that is true.

        I don’t know if I can go since I’m staging a conference here in San Francisco Oct. 21, but if I can I probably will. It may also coincide with Ecumenical Advocacy Days where faith organizations will be acting for justice in the budget agreements, so I may have a ‘twofer’ there.

        If I can get there, I hope to meet you if nothing else!

        • Emerald1943 says:

          CL, THAT WOULD BE UTTERLY FANTASTIC! I would love to meet you…as well as any other Planet members! It would be so cool to spend a little time together and then report back to PPOV! I know they would all be so jealous of us! :-) I would value your experience there! I know that I would learn so much from you as I am a relative newbie at all this activism stuff!

          Another point…I do think a lot of Van Jones and trust that he will keep this conference focused on the agenda. I see him as an advocate of the President and I’ve never heard/read any comment from him that would lead me to think otherwise. I participated in his telephone “town hall” last week and I really liked what he had to say.

          BTW, Kes indicated that she might be able to attend if her schedule will allow.

          Please keep me updated about your schedule and if you can make the trip.

          And thanks again for your most constructive comments! If you find yourself unable to go, I will definitely be on the lookout for baggers and will call them out when I find them! That’s a promise! :-)

    • KQuark says:

      One of the myths on the left is states can’t make single payer work alone. C’mon look at the populations of Scandinavia countries who progressives love to point to when they talk about single payer. Many states have greater populations than the 5,000,000 that live in Finland for example. Like you said even a state with a smaller population like VT can make it work. I mean there’s no real competition between states now for providers, save for Big Pharma.

      BTW has anyone noticed how much Rx costs have dropped in the last 5 years?

      I went from paying over $400/month out of pocket to about $200/month even without insurance. Out of the 7 scripts I take 5 are only $10 with my Walgreen’s plan that costs me $20/year. It’s the Dr’s visits and testing that gets me now.

      • choicelady says:

        KQ -- I hate Wal-Mart, but one thing they did superbly is offer people low-cost -- VERY low-cost -- pharmaceuticals, and Walgreens and several other chains took that up as well. When they do something well, they should be honored for that.

        There are a couple of other reasons prices are falling -- patents are running out and true competition is setting in driving prices down. So far monopoly and negotiated pricing have not overwhelmed the new, widespread availability of once-restricted drugs. ACA, should it survive the budget axe, will do even more to lower drug prices. We shall all hope that remains true.

        At any rate -- this is good to hear from someone who is using these things. I take one med, so I’m NOT a good template for what is happening “out in the real world”.

        I do agree that we can build single payer state by state. However, given the disarray of forces here, CA is not going to be one of them anytime soon. Another indication of the lack of solidarity on the left Emerald notes well in her comment to me above.

        Ah, well. Those who can, do. Those who can’t? Too many live in CA. I wish they’d go away.

        • KQuark says:

          It’s really just because Walgreens is closest and in my area we only chain drug stores which are about the same anyway. We could actually get a little bit lower prices at Wal-Mart (I know same people) but they have terrible service and hours.

          • bito says:

            KQ/C’L,
            for some reason Walgreens always used the Union Building Trades to build their stores and now defunct restaurants. Wal-Mart never has and is fanatically anti-Union.
            Almost as fanatical as I am about livable wages and Jobs with Justice! 😉

            • choicelady says:

              Another reason to use Walgreens over Wal-Mart. But Wal-Mart has a larger list of drugs, so if people NEED them, then they should do what they must -- hold your nose, go to Wal-Mart. Your life is precious, and sometimes we have to just bite the bullet. It is one thing WM did well. One.

  6. KQuark says:

    Cheers Emerald! This is the positive type of action all Dems and progressives should be taking.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Thanks, KQ! I am hoping to work out details so that I can attend. I think the conference will be invaluable to get the troops “fired up and ready to go”!

      Wish we could have a couple of people from PlanetPOV there! I understand family and work issues, but this is going to be good! Besides, I would LOVE to meet some of my fellow Planeteers in person!

  7. bito says:

    Em, thanks for posting this and I hope many take time to read it and become active. All of use have to soon start picking out a good pair of gloves for door knocking and GOTV for the Dems and defeat the Baggers in Congress and reelect PBO! We will be outspent (thank you SCOTUS) so we have to outwork! Too many people sat out the 2010 midterms and what did we get? People need to study the issues, be prepared and mobilize! It can be done and we have examples from Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan!

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Thanks bito!

      You are so right! If we don’t quit this silly bickering among ourselves and get off our arses, we will see a loss of the Senate, and a loss of the White House too. God help us all!

      Your point about the spending is a good one! This is going to be the first presidential election since the Citizens United decision, and it should be very, very telling! It’s kinda’ hard to know what to expect…a huge flood of money from undisclosed sources and some really dirty anti-Obama ads for sure, but I believe it just may be overwhelming. I rather dread it…those nasty ads always get my gut in a knot!

      I know of no better way than involvement in the American Dream movement to learn about the issues. This surely beats coming at our problems from so many disparate directions. And the fact that the PEOPLE actually decided on these priorities is the best part.

      Thanks so much for your support! :-)

  8. ADONAI says:

    I clicked on the links under the heading “Visible links” and it redirected me to my post about GOD.

    Now, I’m not gonna turn down the free traffic to my wonderful post but I feel that wasn’t your intention.

    I did go to the Democracy for America website and signed up. I like Van Jones. A good guy. hope he can get some traction for 2016.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Adonai, sorry about the link problem. No, that was not my intent and I freely admit that I have NO clue as to how to do this thing! Yes, your article was most excellent…but not all that pertinent to this issue! Sorry! :-)

      I gotta’ get some help!

      Thanks for signing up! Van Jones is quite a guy, and I think he has the charisma and enough clout to help pull all these groups together to work for the common cause.

  9. Emerald1943 says:

    I apologize to anyone who tries to click on the links…I know I have not posted them correctly. Please copy and paste into your browser. Sorry!

  10. Emerald1943 says:

    Adlib, you are the best! I didn’t know if this would post correctly or not. You have seen to it and I appreciate your help…also the very nice picture of Van Jones!

    I hope everyone will give this some consideration. While I can understand job and family responsibilities as well as the cost of travel, I believe the conference is so important at this point in time. It is not too early to begin working to get the President re-elected and Congress back under the control of the Democrats.

    Thanks again for all your help! :-)

    • Kalima says:

      Emerald good morning. I just edited and published this post for you, I hope the images are ok?

      In future when you want to find it again or add a comment, just click on to the “Take Action” Category above and a menu will drop down, click on “Grow info” and you will find it there.

      I’m off to sleep now, have a good day and maybe see you later. Good night from Tokyo. :)

      • Emerald1943 says:

        Kalima, it was you who helped me! Thanks so much!

        Yes, I loved the picture of Van Jones…very nice! I did this post about 3am with bleary eyes and only one cuppa. Not my best!

        Thank you again…you made it all good! :-)


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