With Friends Like These

Low points in Democratic Party history

1985

As if competing with the violent legacy of former mayor Frank Rizzo, Democratic Mayor Wilson Goode authorizes the police to drop a bomb on a West Philadelphia house where the activist MOVE family lives. Police commissioner Gregore Sambor tells firefighters to “Let the fire burn.” 61 houses are destroyed. 6 adults and 5 children lose their lives.

[Sources: http://www.phillymag.com/citified/2016/01/31/donald-trump-frank-rizzo/

http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/05/13/406243272/im-from-philly-30-years-later-im-still-trying-to-make-sense-of-the-move-bombing]

 

1992

The year AIDS becomes the #1 cause of death in men aged 25-44, Bill Clinton runs for president. He promises a “Manhattan Project” to research an AIDS cure. He promises to lift the Republicans’ ban on funding for needle exchange to prevent HIV among drug users. He promises to allow people with HIV to enter the country. He does none of these things. Instead, he fires Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders in 1994 for saying young people should be taught that masturbation is safe sex.

[Sources: https://www.poz.com/article/Clinton-AIDS-A-Report-Card-1831-5654

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00022174.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/us/surge-in-cases-of-hiv-tests-us-policy-on-needle-exchanges.html?_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/31/us/politics/31travel.html

http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/worklife/07/30/what.matters.joycelyn.elders/  ]

 

1994

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) takes effect, eliminating almost 700,000 American jobs. Farmers’ incomes drop. In Mexico, millions lose their farms and must migrate to cities or to the U.S. for work. Many indigenous people in Mexico lose the land their ancestors farmed long before Europeans arrived.

[Sources: http://www.aflcio.org/Issues/Trade/NAFTA

http://www.epi.org/publication/heading_south_u-s-mexico_trade_and_job_displacement_after_nafta1/

http://www.citizen.org/publications/publicationredirect.cfm?ID=6788

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/11/24/what-weve-learned-from-nafta/under-nafta-mexico-suffered-and-the-united-states-felt-its-pain

http://www.politicalresearch.org/2014/10/11/globalization-and-nafta-caused-migration-from-mexico/#sthash.Y8a3L5nZ.dpbs ]

 

1996

Hillary Clinton celebrates the passage of her husband’s law gutting welfare. Bill Clinton’s Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act requires mothers of small children to work outside the home, even if they can’t find a paying job, while making it harder for poor mothers to earn a college degree. The law does not offer transportation support, subsidize quality child care, raise wages, or make decent jobs available. Millions of children are dropped from cash assistance. By 2011, extreme poverty among women-headed households more than doubles.

[Sources: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36020717

http://www.npc.umich.edu/publications/policy_briefs/brief28/policybrief28.pdf

http://harpers.org/archive/2015/10/getting-jobbed/

https://www.thenation.com/article/why-it-matters-that-hillary-clinton-championed-welfare-reform/ ]

 

2001

Democratic Mayor John Street agrees to give up local control of Philadelphia’s 264 public schools to the state, which gives that power to the School Reform Commission (SRC). The SRC begins hiring private companies to manage charter schools using a for-profit business model that is exempt from the city’s union contract rules. In 2013, the SRC closes 24 regular public schools. Only the SRC, not Philadelphia residents or educators, is allowed to decide when the state takeover will end.

[Sources: http://articles.philly.com/2001-12-22/news/25306140_1_edison-schools-street-and-schweiker-school-reform-commission  http://articles.philly.com/2001-12-22/news/25306140_1_edison-schools-street-and-schweiker-school-reform-commission

http://articles.philly.com/1998-04-22/news/25766367_1_education-eugene-hickok-school-funding-crisis-superintendent-david-hornbeck
http://articles.philly.com/2001-11-21/news/25322229_1_edison-schools-schweiker-plan-school-reform-commission
http://articles.philly.com/2002-11-10/news/25353722_1_edison-schools-public-schools-low-student-achievement   http://articles.philly.com/2002-11-10/news/25353722_1_edison-schools-public-schools-low-student-achievement

http://thenotebook.org/articles/2003/05/28/understanding-the-state-takeover-of-philadelphia-s-schools

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2013/12/28/2013-in-review-district-closes-24-philadelphia-public-schools/ ]

 

2002

Along with a majority of Democratic senators, Hillary votes to support the use of force in Iraq. This begins more than a decade of U.S. military operations there, leading to an estimated 160,000 civilian deaths and an increase in insurgency. Republican President George W. Bush’s claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction are based on inaccurate intelligence.

[It was clear at the time that the intelligence was inaccurate. Democracy Now reported on this before the war authorization. It’s clear that they knew and were lying – Suzy http://www.democracynow.org/2002/9/10/bush_administration_escalates_propaganda_for_an

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/12/leadup-iraq-war-timeline ]

 

[Sources:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpsrv/onpolitics/transcripts/senaterollcall_iraq101002.htm

https://www.iraqbodycount.org/

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2016/02/hillary_clinton_told_the_truth_about_her_iraq_war_vote.html article links to Congressional Record transcript to substantiate its claims]

 

2005

The Cira Centre opens at 30th and JFK. It’s in a Keystone Opportunity Zone, an area of the city where businesses pay almost no taxes in the hope that they will end blight and create jobs. These zones, created by the state in 1999, are enthusiastically supported by Democratic Mayor John Street. Financial firms, elite lawyers and venture capitalists fill the Cira Centre. At this building alone, $200 million in business tax breaks are granted. Very few jobs are created.  

 

[Sources: http://www.philadelphiacontroller.org/publications/KOZ-Report_March2014.pdf

http://articles.philly.com/2004-02-13/news/25374847_1_keystone-opportunity-zone-opportunity-zone-law-firms

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1955&dat=19991008&id=N-ciAAAAIBAJ&sjid=faYFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3929,4695197&hl=en

http://articles.philly.com/1999-10-08/news/25509123_1_debate-broadcast-housing-idea-party

http://articles.philly.com/2014-03-21/business/48406994_1_koz-butkovitz-wage

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pa-gov-ridge-unveils-new-keystone-opportunity-zones-innovative-program-eliminates-state-and-local-taxes-to-stimulate-job-creation-and-community-renewal-in-most-challenged-communities-gov-ridges-tax-breaking-ceremony-in-che-75071562.html ]

 

2008

Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter announces 11 branch libraries will be permanently closed to save the city $8 million. Many are in poor neighborhoods where the schools don’t have libraries so classes use the public library. Nutter’s plan is defeated by loud public outrage, the Coalition to Save the Libraries, and a lawsuit. The money is still taken from the library budget, and most branches reduce their hours.

[Sources: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2008/12/managing-libraries/philadelphia-judge-stops-mayors-plan-to-close-11-libraries/

http://firemtn.blogspot.com/2008/12/strawws-in-wind.html

http://articles.philly.com/2010-05-31/news/24965469_1_library-advocacy-group-libraries-open-five-days-library-matter

http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2012/03/managing-libraries/pew-philadelphia-free-library-should-get-back-to-basics/ ]

 

2009

As Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell allots $1.8 billion to the Department of Corrections. This is a 10% increase from the year before. Most of the new money is earmarked for the construction of new prisons. Rendell’s budget goes against even the DOC’s view that the prison population needs to be decreased.

[Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/state/2009/03/08/Rendell-s-prison-plan-could-lock-him-up-in-costly-quandary/stories/200903080117 ]

 

2009

A military coup in Honduras ousts democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton supports the newly installed right-wing government, making sure that Zelaya will not return to office. Hundreds of people who oppose the new government are assassinated, mostly indigenous peasants, environmentalists and lesbian, gay and transgender activists. Drug-related violence, killings by police, and murders of women increase dramatically. The U.S. continues sending money to the Honduran police and military.

[Sources: http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/9/hillary-clinton-honduraslatinamericaforeignpolicy.html

http://www.democracynow.org/2016/4/13/shes_baldly_lying_dana_frank_responds

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/04/berta-caceres-murder-protests-honduras-environmental-indigenous-activism

http://www.democracynow.org/2016/3/11/before_her_assassination_berta_caceres_singled ]

 

2011

On his first day in office in 2009, President Obama pledges to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp within a year. The camp is notorious for holding prisoners who have not been charged with a crime and brutally torturing them. Republicans fight him to keep the camp open. The Democrats give in, even though they hold a majority in Congress for Obama’s first 2 years. Obama signs the National Defense Authorization Act in 2011, strengthening the policy of indefinite detention without trial. Guantanamo remains open today.

[http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-obamas-plan-for-closing-guantanamo-is-unjust-20160226?page=2

https://www.aclu.org/news/president-obama-signs-indefinite-detention-bill-law]

 

2015

Under Mayor Nutter, the city spends $17 million on Pope Francis’ visit to Philly. $8 million of that bill is from taxpayer dollars. Meanwhile, Philly has endured years of Fire Department rolling brownouts, public school closures, and cuts to food stamps due to budget problems.

[Sources:http://www.phillyvoice.com/controller-says-philly-fire-departments-response-time-poor-thanks-brownouts/

http://www.phillytrib.com/news/kenney-officially-ends-fire-department-brownout-policy/article_a42f39d5-fd53-511c-b9c7-2115d698ec7c.html

http://articles.philly.com/2013-11-02/news/43595383_1_snap-benefits-food-stamps-hunger-coalition

http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/philadelphia/89640-food-stamp-changes-in-2016-affect-100000-pennsylvanians – 2016 change doesn’t affect Philly, supposedly.]

 

2016

President Obama is moving forward with a plan for the U.S. to spend about $1 trillion over 30 years to build nuclear weapons. This includes 5 new warhead types, improved bombers and missiles, and a new fleet of nuclear-armed submarines.

[Sources: http://cns.miis.edu/opapers/pdfs/140107_trillion_dollar_nuclear_triad.pdf

http://fpif.org/obamas-nuclear-paradox/

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/27/science/nuclear-weapons-obama-united-states.html

https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2016/01/24/beware-obama-nuclear-weapons-plan/IJP9E48w3cjLPlTqMhZdFL/story.html

https://theintercept.com/2016/02/23/obamas-new-rationale-for-1-trillion-nuclear-program-augurs-a-new-arms-race-with-russia/ ]