Green Shadow Cabinet Responds To State Of The Union

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The Green Shadow Cabinet has responded to the 2014 State of the Union address with a critique of the policies, priorities and omissions made by President Barack Obama on Tuesday night.

The following articles represent an alternative set of principles and policies that acknowledge and address critical issues facing the United States and the world.

The Shriveling State of the Union ~ Ben Manski, Senior Advisor to the President

The Republicans are right when they they point to America’s 25+ million jobless and ask whether the President is serious in proposing job training as his primary remedy. The Democrats are right when they respond that the Republicans have proposed no real jobs alternatives of their own.

Five years after Obama’s historic mandate, the conditions of the great mass of Americans remains intolerable. And yet to hear his fifth State of Union address, an uninformed listener might think America’s problems are limited and manageable.

The reason for this dissonance is that this State of the Union was not delivered by the man elected in the mandate of 2008. This State of the Union might as well have been given by a robot, or an actor, or a media spokesperson.

One third of a nation ill-housed ~ Sandy Perry, Secretary of Housing

“I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.” – FDR

These famous words from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1937 State of the Union address were missing from this year’s speech, but they should have been there.

In spite of the so-called “recovery”, millions of Americans still own homes with negative equity, millions were impacted by cruel Federal housing sequester cuts, and millions more remain literally homeless. One housing official in Silicon Valley, where five homeless people froze to death in December, reported that homelessness there is “the worst I have ever seen.” The 1300-resident CCNV shelter in Washington DC, created in a 1986 accord between Mitch Snyder and Ronald Reagan, is slated to close its doors in 2016. And hundreds of the homeless took to the streets in twelve cities on January 17 to protest for a “Homeless Bill of Rights”, since Democrats and Republicans have refused to even talk about ending America’s affordable housing crisis.

War, Deception and the Obama Administration in Syria ~ Ajamu Baraka, Public Intervenor for Human Rights

The U.S. is playing a deadly and cynical game at the Geneva II conference on Syria, sabotaging the talks in order to set the stage for more warfare and terror. In this sick equation, diplomatic failure is victory: “the U.S. moves closer to their real strategic objective – regime change or the dismemberment of the Syrian state.”

There is a perverse irony that last week on the day that the U.S. government designated as the official holiday in honor of the birthday of Dr. King, a militant anti-war and anti-imperialist, the administration of the nations’ first black president would be involved in frantic efforts to ensure that the Syrian peace conference would be unable to deliver peace.

The crisis created by the administration on the eve of the Geneva II conference to exclude Iranian participation only confirmed the duplicitous nature of the conference. While Iranian participation would not have guaranteed that a peaceful, durable resolution to the war in Syrian was achievable, the Obama administration demonstrated that it is not serious about seeking a diplomatic solution by excluding the only other force beside the Syrian government that actually has real influence on the ground in Syria.

Obama Lays Groundwork to Destroy another Social Insurance ~ Margaret Flowers, Secretary of Health

President Obama’s comments about the health law in his State of the Union speech lacked substance and were primarily focused on selling his law, and more insurance, to the public. He avoided discussing the root causes of our ongoing healthcare crisis and set the ball in motion to destroy another pillar of our social infrastructure, Social Security.

The bottom line of President Obama’s comments on the health law was that more people have health insurance and insurance companies can’t deny people based on pre-existing conditions. He urged everyone to make their friends and family buy insurance.

What he didn’t say is that people with health insurance in the United States still can’t afford the care they need and face bankruptcy if they have a serious health problem.

Nuclear Weapons – Errors and Omissions ~ Jackie Cabasso, Secretary of Nuclear Affairs

President Obama didn’t even give a nod to his rhetorical commitment to the global elimination of nuclear weapons (“perhaps not in my lifetime”) – the rhetorical commitment that won him the Nobel Peace Prize. Instead, he focused exclusively on the danger of a prospective Iranian bomb. To his credit, Obama made clear that he would veto any legislation that would derail the current negotiations with Iran, stating: “For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.” Entirely missing, however, was any mention of the dangers posed by U.S. nuclear weapons, the trillion dollar U.S. commitment to maintaining and modernizing its nuclear arsenal over the next three decades, and the recent record of U.S. non-cooperation with multiple efforts being made in international forums to stimulate progress on achieving and sustaining a world free of nuclear weapons.

False Reality Produces Mistaken Directions ~ Kevin Zeese, Attorney General

President Obama’s State of the Union last night showed that our task has now become parsing his statements to show Americans reality rather than the myths that falsify reality.

President Obama began painting a rosy picture of the economy on the rebound, unemployment dropping and healthcare on the mend, based on narrow, selective examples. By failing to paint the full picture, he paints a false one.

The president pointed to 8 million jobs created over the last four years and unemployment at its lowest in five years. A total of 8.8 million jobs were lost in the recession, and every month 250,000 jobs are needed just to keep up with the expanding workforce. During the Obama administration there have only been two months that exceeded 250,000 jobs. So, while jobs are being created, the reality is the country is losing jobs almost every month compared to the growth of its labor force. Rather than the unemployment rate the more important figure is the percentage of Americans participating in the workforce. That number continues to shrink. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics only 62.8% of Americans are in the workforce, this is down from over 66% before the crash.

Time to Escalate Our Nonviolent Efforts ~ Stephanie Van Hook, Director, Conflict Resolution Service

“Truth-telling is powerful. People don’t try it often enough.” – Guy Saperstein

The power of nonviolence as the key to strengthen our democracy was noticeable by its absence in Obama’s State of the Union address. Gandhi, we may remember, felt that democracy would never be complete without nonviolence, because, among other things, there would be no protection for those who are weak, or who dissent.

Perhaps, by resigning the movement to silence, the President signaled to us that it’s time to escalate our efforts.

One of the most fundamental questions in nonviolence is whether our means are aligned with our ends. Obama has often noted (rather paternalistically) that while we can agree on the ends, we will disagree on the means, in other words that he can use whatever means suit him – reminiscent of the Bush quip, “I’m the decider.”

He misses the point; The means for anything are more important than the ends.

  • easywriter

    If only most people could see that the Emperor has no clothes…

  • Jon

    Imagine a cartoon of that plastered everywhere, not just depicting the president, but everyone implicated in the reign of oppression, or at least the major figures. Calling all artists . . . .

  • easywriter

    sort of a Banksy thing….?

  • elsten

    It’s time citizens of The U.S. realize, that Money is not, the defining measure of Political debate. That fact has been shouted out many times by great thinkers, but is lost in the shuffle of Lobbyists and other political hangers on looking for cushy appointments. If we want good government, we must, get Money out of politics.

  • Pingback: Popular Resistance Newsletter – They Can’t Tell The Truth()

  • DHFabian

    We’re well past the point where job training programs can do much of anything. We shipped out the bulk of our working class jobs, the tore the last crumbs out of the hands of the poor, telling them to go die. What is marketed as “progressive” media has made it glaringly clear that only those with jobs retain human status in America today. I (naively) thought lib media would powerfully respond to the fact that the year we were celebrating the anniversary of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, liberals applauded the president who directly stripped those human rights from the poor.

  • DHFabian

    The tragedy is, money is everything. Even libs of this generation embraced the belief that human worth itself is determined by income/employability. In a country where (last I saw) there are 7 jobs for every 10 people in desperate need of jobs (today, our lives depend on it), poverty is ignored. All that matters today is the middle class, those with incomes roughly in the $50k range, those to whom liberals relentless pander. Getting big money out of politics is not possible under today’s conditions. It’s too late. Because this generation chose to pursue a war against the poor, there can be no united push-back against big money. We already know where the country is going from here. Clinton threw the poorest off the cliff and began dismantling Social Security, giving us 8 Years of Bush. The poor didn’t vote for Bush. They just withheld their votes, and the middle class elected and re-elected Bush. Obama was elected with the votes the overwhelming majority of the poor. Obama (and 89 Democrats) just attacked the elderly, disabled and poor again. The next president will be a Republican. By now, we have such a gravely weakened economy AND social structure that this should be the end of the US as we knew it.

  • DHFabian

    What would it matter? The two parties have a stranglehold on the election system, and both parties have the same agenda. What we’ve seen since the 1990s is that it’s just easier for Democrats to pass the most destructive right-wing policies. Liberal media will continue to support them. Think of how far to the right most of our “liberal” media has been pulled. Right now, we have a surrealistic situation where lib media, while howling against the TPP, is also working to get us to vote for Hillary Clinton (note: Joe Biden is actually the VP, so is he is the actual candidate in the next presidential election). The TPP is rightly known as “NAFTA on steroids.” Hillary Clinton was a powerful lobbyist for NAFTA. So — we should be against “free trade,” yet vote for someone who is a powerful supporter of “free trade”? Yep.

  • DHFabian

    The problem is We the People, not whomever is elected president. We the People don’t have media, don’t have a voice. All we’ve heard from lib media since Clinton was a numbing love song to (whatever remains of) the middle class. This has deeply divided (and presumably conquered) the proverbial masses so that we can’t push back.

  • But the TPP is being pushed, hard, by Obama who wishes to exclude Congress from their meddling in his corporate coup!