National progressive leaders gathered outside the White House last Wednesday, on the one year anniversary of Obama’s inauguration, with the message of Losing Hope and Taking Action. As they voiced our frustrations to Obama, we renew our commitment to bringing about change—join us in signing the letter below and don’t stop there. Demand that President Obama be the leader you want him to be when you voted for him by taking these personal, concrete actions for CHANGE.
Progressives Assess One Year of Obama’s Presidency
Last Wednesday, January 20, there was a press conference and rally by representatives of several progressive groups to assess the first year of Barack Obama’s Presidency. The group gathered in front of the White House.
They reviewed Obama’s record on health care, the environment, the domestic economy, civil liberties and foreign policy during his first year in office. Many who had high expectations a year ago are losing hope, and recognize that the changes they long for—peace, a clean environment, affordable healthcare, housing and good jobs–will only happen with a more organized, mobilized citizenry that puts pressure on the administration.
They prepared compelling visuals about Losing Hope and copies of the Institute for Policy Studies’ new report, Barely Making the Grade: Obama’s First Year in Office. They also had a group of “prisoners” in orange Guantanamo jumpsuits.
Some quotes from the speakers:
“Obama inherited the Wall Street meltdown of the U.S. economy from the Bush administration. Unfortunately, he continued the Bush policy of bailing out the big banks without asking for major structural reforms. Now we see those banks passing out record bonuses while tens of millions of Americans suffer from unemployment and financial ruin. In 2010, Obama needs to institute a Financial Speculation Tax which would raise hundreds of billions of dollars and discourage speculative activity on Wall Street, and break up banks with over $100 billion in assets so that we no longer have banks that are “too big to fail.”
John Cavanaugh, Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Studies.
“Obama’s message of hope and change, so exciting a year ago, now rings hollow for those of us hoping he would usher in an era of peace. He has escalated the war in Afghanistan, increased the drone attacks in Pakistan, continued the Bush policy of unconditional support for Israel and refusal to talk to Hamas, and we have yet to see whether he will bring the troops home from Iraq. On the foreign policy front, this is not the change we hoped for.”
Medea Benjamin, Cofounder, CODEPINK: Women for Peace
“We are losing thousands of units of subsidized housing in Washington DC and millions nationwide because this administration hasn’t invested the funds we need. If Obama’s administration is truly going be different from the last, then it has to provide the resources we need for low-income housing.” DC housing activist Linda Leaks, Empower DC
“We had hoped January 11, 2009 would be the last time we would be marking the terrible anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo prison, and we were heartened by Obama’s swift and clear Executive order promising to close it. Today I am one of over 150 people around the country on a twelve day liquid-only fast, people who are saddened and frustrated that the prison remains open and the policies of indefinite detention remain in effect. So we fast, and organize, and mobilize in the face of broken promises, broken laws, and broken lives.”
Matt Daloisio, Witness Against Torture
“Obama should have embraced the concept of Medicare for all and started the debate around healthcare reform from there, said ‘The for-profit private health insurance industry’ that will be even more entrenched in this new bill will never work. We will keep educating about the need to extend Medicare to all as the fastest, surest way to give everyone access to quality, lifetime healthcare.” Dr. Robert Zarr, Physicians for a National Health Program
Use these action tools to demand the change you want to see
Dr. Robert Zarr, Physicians for a National Health Program
Phil Radford, Greenpeace USA
Emira Woods, Foreign Policy in Focus
Linda Leaks, Empower DC
John Cavanagh, Institute for Policy Studies
Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK: Women for Peace
Matt Dalosio, Witness Against Torture
Posted By: Robert L. Hanafin, Veterans Today Staff Writer
Readers are more than welcome to use the articles I’ve posted on Veterans Today, I’ve had to take a break from VT as Veterans Issues and Peace Activism Editor and staff writer due to personal medical reasons in our military family that take away too much time needed to properly express future stories or respond to readers in a timely manner.
My association with VT since its founding in 2004 has been a very rewarding experience for me.
Retired from both the Air Force and Civil Service. Went in the regular Army at 17 during Vietnam (1968), stayed in the Army Reserve to complete my eight year commitment in 1976. Served in Air Defense Artillery, and a Mechanized Infantry Division (4MID) at Fort Carson, Co. Used the GI Bill to go to college, worked full time at the VA, and non-scholarship Air Force 2-Year ROTC program for prior service military. Commissioned in the Air Force in 1977. Served as a Military Intelligence Officer from 1977 to 1994. Upon retirement I entered retail drugstore management training with Safeway Drugs Stores in California. Retail Sales Management was not my cup of tea, so I applied my former U.S. Civil Service status with the VA to get my foot in the door at the Justice Department, and later Department of the Navy retiring with disability from the Civil Service in 2000.
I’ve been with Veterans Today since the site originated. I’m now on the Editorial Board. I was also on the Editorial Board of Our Troops News Ladder another progressive leaning Veterans and Military Family news clearing house.
I remain married for over 45 years. I am both a Vietnam Era and Gulf War Veteran. I served on Okinawa and Fort Carson, Colorado during Vietnam and in the Office of the Air Force Inspector General at Norton AFB, CA during Desert Storm. I retired from the Air Force in 1994 having worked on the Air Staff and Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon.