Thursday, July 29, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
A lively group of SOAR members attend a special school at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois. The school focuses on how to organize and build active, fighting SOAR chapters. This special SOAR school is a first time pilot project and takes place during the regular District 7 Summer Institute. The Institute is sponsored by District 7 and the U of I Labor Education Program. This year is the 64th annual Institute.
Posted by Scott Marshall, Dist 7 SOAR
Saturday, July 24, 2010
The Teabagger Pledge
I, ________________________, do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of a socialism-free society and heretofore pledge my word that I shall strictly adhere to the following:
I will complain about the destruction of 1st Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights.
I will complain about the destruction of my 2nd Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights by legally but brazenly brandishing unconcealed firearms in public.
I will foreswear the time-honored principles of fairness, decency, and respect by screaming unintelligible platitudes regarding tyranny, Nazi-ism, and socialism at public town halls.
Also, I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life. I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:
• Social Security
• State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)
• Police, Fire, and Emergency Services
• US Postal Service
• Roads and Highways
• Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)
• The US Railway System
• Public Subways and Metro Systems
• Public Bus and Light Rail Systems
• Rest Areas on Highways
• All Government-Funded Local/State Projects (e.g., see Iowa 2009 federal senate appropriations)
• Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink, garden sprinkler)
• Public and State Universities and Colleges
• Public Primary and Secondary Schools
• Sesame Street
• Publicly Funded Anti-Drug Use Education for Children
• Public Museums
• Public Parks and Beaches
• State and National Parks
• Public Zoos
• Unemployment Insurance
• Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services
• Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, State or Federal Government (pretty much all of them)
• Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them)
• Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions)
• Use of the Internet, email, and networked computers, as the DoD's ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking
• Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies
• Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies
• If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, I will forego my VA benefits and insist on paying for my own medical care
• I will not tour socialist government buildings like the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
• I pledge to never take myself, my family, or my children on a tour of the following types of socialist locations, including but not limited to:
* Smithsonian Museums, eg. the Air and Space Museum or Museum of American History
* The socialist Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Monuments
* The government-operated Statue of Liberty
* The Grand Canyon
* The socialist World War II and Vietnam Veterans Memorials
* The government-run socialist-propaganda location known as Arlington National Cemetery
* All other public-funded socialist sites, whether it be in my state or in DC
• I will urge my Member of Congress and Senators to forego their government salary and government-provided healthcare.
• I will oppose and condemn the government-funded and therefore socialist military of the United States of America.
• I will boycott the products of socialist defense contractors such as GE, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Humana, FedEx, General Motors, Honeywell, and hundreds of others that are paid by our socialist government to produce goods for our socialist army.
• I will protest socialist security departments such as the Pentagon, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Department of Justice and their socialist employees.
• Upon reaching eligible retirement age, I will tear up my socialist Social Security checks.
• Upon reaching age 65, I will forego Medicare and pay for my own private health insurance until I die.
SWORN ON A BIBLE AND SIGNED THIS _____ DAY OF __________ IN THE YEAR _______.
Sign and Print Full Name-Address-City-St-Zip-H
Friday, July 23, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Posted on the Huffington Post, July 13, 2010
Dirty Little Secrets the Republicans Don't Want You to Know
The Republicans have a set of dirty little (actually not so little) secrets they don't what you to know -- and certainly don't want you to think about when you go to the polls in November.
And the fact is that some of those secrets could provide Democrats with silver bullets this fall. But first let's recall the context.
Over the course of eight short years -- between 2000 and 2008 -- the Republicans methodically executed their plan to transform American society. They systematically transferred wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest two percent of Americans -- slashing taxes for the wealthy. They eviscerated the rules that held Wall Street, Big Oil and private insurance companies accountable to the public. They allowed and encouraged the recklessness of the big Wall Street banks that ultimately collapsed the economy and cost eight million Americans their jobs. They ignored exploding health care costs, tried to privatize Social Security, gave the drug companies open season to gouge American consumers and presided over a decline in real incomes averaging $2,000 per family. They entangled America in an enormously costly, unnecessary war in Iraq, pursued a directionless policy that left Afghanistan to fester, and sullied America's good name throughout the world.
Their economic policy of cutting taxes for the wealthy and deregulating big Corporations failed to create jobs. In fact, over his eight year term, George Bush's administration created exactly zero net private sector jobs. They inherited a Federal budget with surpluses as far as the eye could see and rolled up more debt than all of the previous Presidents in the over 200 years of American history. And in the end they left the economy in collapse.
This was not a disaster that could be remedied overnight. By taking bold action at the beginning of his administration, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress prevented the financial crisis from morphing into a Great Depression -- but the Republicans, some Democrats, and the powerful special interests have done everything they can to throw sand into the gears of change. Most importantly, they have stood in the way of providing enough economic stimulus to launch a robust, widespread economic recovery.
But notwithstanding Republican opposition, Obama, the Democrats and their progressive allies have -- after a century of trying -- finally passed health care reform allowing America to end its status as the only industrialized nation that did not provide health care as a right. They are on the brink of reining in the recklessness of the big Wall Street banks. And they have set the stage for massive long-term investments in economic growth and clean energy.
But it has been hard to pull the car out of the deep economic ditch and Americans are angry at the slow pace of economic recovery -- and also at the special interests that profited from their economic pain.
So the Republicans now have the audacity to argue that President Obama and the Democrats are somehow responsible for the hardships that they themselves created. In effect they want the election to be a referendum on whether the Democrats have mopped and swept fast enough cleaning up the mess that they created.
They will do everything they can to prevent America from focusing on the real choice before them in the fall elections -- a choice between going backward to the failed policies of the past that caused this catastrophe and a new direction that will create sustainable, long-term, bottom-up, widely shared economic growth. The real question before the country is whether it is willing to hand over the keys to the economy once again to the same gang that just caused the most serious economic pile up in 60 years.
That's where the dirty little secrets come in. It turns out that the leaders of the Republican Party have learned nothing from the reckless escapade that caused so much economic pain, and came perilously close to inflicting mortal wounds on the American economy.
They still actually believe -- despite what we have all just experienced -- that by "freeing" big oil, the insurance companies and Wall Street banks of the "burdens" of government accountability, that the plutocrats and the "invisible hand" of the market will lead American into the promised land of economic prosperity.
Some of the things they believe are not only dangerous to the economy, luckily they are also politically radioactive. And quite remarkably, many key Republicans are actually willing to say them out loud. Here are a few:
- Meet Congressman Paul Ryan. Ryan is the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee. If the Republicans once again take control of the House, he will be the Chair of the Budget Committee. Ryan believes -- and says out loud -- that Medicare, one of the most popular Federal programs in history, should be abolished and replaced with vouchers for private insurance. Let's recall that one of the ways Republicans stirred up opposition to health insurance reform was by falsely accusing Democrats of wanting to cut Medicare. They convinced some unwitting seniors that "Government" should keep its hands off Medicare -- which is, of course, a "Government" program. Democrats need to make it crystal clear in this campaign that Republicans -- who opposed Medicare from its inception -- actually want to abolish the program and hand over control of health care for America's seniors to the same private insurance companies responsible for driving up rates three times faster than wages while their profits have exploded.
- Congressman John Boehner, the House Minority Leader, has endorsed another Ryan proposal to raise the retirement age of Social Security to 70 years old -- a proposal that might go over fine with a guy like Boehner who makes speeches for a living. But it won't be very popular at all with someone who has laid bricks, or run an earth mover, or waited tables for forty-five years.
- The whole Republican crew wants to resurrect the failed Bush proposal to "privatize" Social Security. The defeat of Bush's privatization plan was the turning point in the Bush Presidency. It was all downhill from there. Yet -- whether it's to pad the investment accounts of their friends on Wall Street or because they are "private markets uber alles true believers" -- the Republicans want to try it again. Only this time retirees won't have to work very hard to imagine what it would have been like if their Social Security checks had plummeted in value the way their 401K's did when the market collapsed just two years ago.
- The Republicans want to weaken and repeal the new law to rein in the recklessness of the big Wall Street banks. Most Republicans and Democrats voted to bail out the big banks to prevent a 1930's style market collapse. The difference is that Democrats supported legislation to rein in their recklessness -- that had cost 8 million Americans their jobs -- and assure that a bailout was never allowed to happen again. But with very few exceptions, the Republicans voted to a person against holding Wall Street accountable. Given a chance, they plan to team up with their pals on Wall Street to free them to return to their reckless ways at will. In fact, they told the titans of Wall Street as much in fundraising meetings, where those "masters of the Universe" were asked to ante up. Republicans claim to oppose more Wall Street bailouts, but they refuse to support legislation that would prevent one in the future and hold Wall Street accountable. That -- coupled with those big contributions from Wall Street -- is a position that is very difficult for average voters to swallow. In fact, the polling says it's down right toxic.
- Republicans have consistently voted against extending unemployment benefits to workers who have been laid off because of Bush-era policies and the recklessness of Wall Street. Remember, people who get unemployment benefits -- by definition -- are looking for jobs that the economy doesn't provide. In addition, many Republicans actually believe that the best way to spur employment is to lower the minimum wage.
- Finally, meet Congressman Joe Barton. If the Republicans win back control of Congress, he would once again most likely serve as the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee -- the Committee that oversees the oil industry. Congressman Barton has never met an oil company he doesn't like. In fact, he's the guy who actually apologized to BP when they were forced by the Obama Administration to take economic responsibility for the disastrous Gulf oil spill. As a political matter, that's like apologizing to Jack the Ripper.
These are politically radioactive positions that do, in fact, define the core of Republican policy if they were once again to control the gavel in either House of Congress.
We hear a lot about how Democrats have to "localize" the elections to have a chance of victory in November. And it is true that people vote for people in elections -- and the quality of Democratic candidates will give them a major edge in many races. So while it is a good idea to "personalize" the races for Congress, the last thing Democrats should do is to "localize" them, because the party that nationalizes a midterm -- and dominates the national dialogue -- almost always comes out ahead.
Instead, Democrats need to take the offensive and dominate the national conversation by talking about what the Republicans actually believe and what they would do if they win in November. Voters must be offered a stark choice between Democratic and Republican policies in the fall. If they are, "Conventional Wisdom" that keeps predicting a Democratic disaster will be proven wrong, the same way it was when it predicted that America would never elect a tall, skinny African American guy named Barack Obama.
Robert Creamer is a long-time political organizer and strategist, and author of the recent book: Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win, available on Amazon.com.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Sunday, July 04, 2010
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Some would consider them pests, but I really enjoy having them around. They nest in the trees in my yard.
One evening I counted 22 turkeys. Between turkeys, deer and raccons, gardening is sure a challenge.