A DO-NOTHING CONGRESS. Congressional partisan theatrics were again on display this week, when Senate Republicans blocked another key piece of President Obama’s jobs bill. The $60 billion package invests in infrastructure and would create 150,000 jobs, paid for by 0.7 percent tax on all income over $1 million and would affect only .2 percent of the US population. Taken together with last month’s vote to block another key piece of the legislation—$35 billion in aid to states to hire teachers and first responders—Congress has again demonstrated its inability and unwillingness to deal with the jobs crisis and the economy.
Meanwhile, the supercommittee remains at an impasse over deficit reduction. As I explained in the Washington Post this week, wrangling over how to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal budget has Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block and Democrats on the supercommittee all too willing to cut government at a time of mass unemployment. With a 9 percent approval rating, Congress has achieved the remarkable feat of making itself less popular than Wall Street.
President Obama was right to criticize the “do-nothing” Congress for wasting taxpayers’ time and money when they reaffirmed “in God we trust” as the national motto earlier this week. The president has bypassed Congress and taken his jobs message directly to the American people with executive orders aimed at mortgage relief and student loan reform. More action must follow. I joined The Ed Show on MSNBC on Wednesday to talk about the impact of the president’s shift to focusing on job creation and how the Republican Congress is obstructing progress on the economy. I commend the president’s strong focus on job creation, but as I told Ed, he must stay on it with action.
THE CHANGE I BELIEVE IN. Three years after progressives celebrated the election of Barack Obama, partisan gridlock and influence continue to affect our political landscape and the change we worked for and hoped for remains elusive. In those years, as editor of The Nation and a writer, a woman, mother and citizen, I navigated this new era in politics like many Americans—from the exhilaration engendered by Obama’s election and the first months of his presidency, through the disappointments. My new book, The Change I Believe In: Fighting for Progress in the Age of Obama (Nation Books), explores that journey in a collection of my columns and commentaries written over these past years. As I argue in the book, the change I believe in is not one that happens in one or two or even three election cycles. It takes a politics of conviction—one that demands commitment and a steadfast belief that the forces of decency and humanity will prevail over those of reaction and division. I joined C-SPAN’s Washington Journal earlier this week to discuss the book and our current political moment. That’s available here. I’ll also be joining MSNBC’s Hardball for more on my book Friday afternoon.
THE AUDACITY OF OCCUPY WALL STREET. This week, Nation editor Richard Kim offers a front seat to the inner workings of Occupy Wall Street as it exists today in Zuccotti Park. In “The Audacity of Occupy Wall Street,” Richard captures the protesters and their stories; where they come from and why they are really there; the day-to-day operations of “a beehive in which the drones have overthrown the queen but are still buzzing about furiously;” as well as the internal political dynamics and larger philosophical tensions. It’s the product of two weeks of extensive, on-the-ground reporting and gives a comprehensive look at what Occupy Wall Street is really all about. Read that here.
NATION CONVERSATIONS: WOMEN AT OCCUPY WALL STREET. Though Occupy Wall Street is not about traditional and hierarchical leadership and structure doesn’t mean it isn’t preoccupied with representation. On the contrary, it’s at the heart of the movement. Nation contributing reporter Sarah Seltzer spent five days observing working group meetings, sitting in on General Assemblies and interviewing women on their role in the movement, sexism they’ve experienced and how the movement has dealt with it and the issue of diversity and inclusion. In this week’s installment of Nation Conversations, web editor Emily Douglas and Seltzer discuss the role of women in Zuccotti Park, and the complex issues of minority participation that female activists have encountered. You can read Seltzer’s recent article about the women of Occupy Wall Street here. And be sure to subscribe to Nation Conversations on iTunes for exclusive audio of Nation forums, events, seminars and salons. Check back each Thursday for a new episode each week.
OCCUPY EVERYWHERE: NEW POLITICS AND POSSIBILITIES OF MOVEMENT AGAINST CORPORATE POWER. Join us for a special event next Thursday, November 10, for an engaging discussion featuring award-winning filmmaker and author Michael Moore (Here Comes Trouble), best-selling author and Nation columnist Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine), Nation national affairs correspondent William Greider (Come Home, America), Colorlines publisher Rinku Sen (The Accidental American), and an organizer from Occupy Wall Street, moderated by Nation executive editor Richard Kim. The event will take place at the Tishman Auditorium at The New School from 8–10 pm.
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