Losing Hope: Press Release

Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK 415-235-6517
Tamara Abrams, IPS,  703-531-0090

Losing Hope: Time to Take Action

Progressives Assess One Year of Obama's Presidency

What: Press Conference/Rally
When: 10 am, Wednesday, January 20
Where: In front of the White House
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

We will review 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.

We will have 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. There will also be a group of “prisoners” in orange Guantanamo jumpsuit.

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



Between Hope and Despair: Martin Luther King, Barack Obama and War
by Medea Benjamin

'Hope' Has Been a Bust, It's Time for Hope 2.0
by Arianna Huffington

It's Time To Break Up with Your Bank
by Bill Maher

Barely Making the Grade: Obama's First Year
Institute for Policy Studies Report

Defund War
by David Swanson