Follow by Email

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Swing States Swinging Against Meat Axe Budget Cuts and Anti-Labor Laws

Polls are showing wide swings of voters away from recently elected Republicans who are charing ahead with budget cuts and dismemberment of collective bargaining for public employee unions.   These polls are holding also for many of the recently elected Republican Congress people and in many states where the politics has been less volatile than the Upper Mid-West States.

In Wisconsin, polls suggest that if there was a do over of the gubernatorial race in which Scott Walker decisively beat Tom Barret, Barrett would easily win by 52%.  Walker's support in union households has dropped from 40% to 33% and Tom Barrett's union household support has jumped from 54% to 64%.  Barrett's support among Republicans has risen to 10%.  In Michigan the new Governor created what people are calling financial martical law, where he can declare a financial emergency in a local government, take it over, and void union contracts.  50% of votes there definitely oppose this and only 33% approve of it.

Voter's are clearly rejecting choices in Ohio and Michigan as well, with hypothetical do over's of the Governors race showing handy Democratic wins. In both Ohio and Michigan voters are expressing disapproval of the collective bargaining measures and massive budget cuts.  

In the House races the situation looks the same. Polls show that of the 50 seats Democrats are targeting Republicans are likely to lose at least 35 of them.   Massive the shift of voters in swing Congressional districts is actually stronger than the swing to Republicans at this stage last time around.

Republicans in Ohio are decisively in trouble with religious voters . Both Catholics and born again Evangelicals are rejecting the new collective bargaining law and the budget cuts by wide margins.

Pete Seeger & Woody Guthrie: American Folk Music Documentary - To Hear Y...

Pete Seeger here introduces Woody Guthrie singing songs of the American worker people, including John Henry with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.  Singing gets us through the hard times. 

Pete Seeger introduces Woody Guthrie on British TV in 1964


In 1964 Pete Seeger introduced Woody Guthrie to British TV audiences with Hard Travelin' and a clip of Woody Sining Rangers Command.  Hard Travelin' is a dust bowl song from the Great Depression ear--another hard time in America. Woody was dying of Huntington's Corea in a hospital but his friends were sining his songs. 

New Poll: Ohioans of Faith Reject Gov. Kasich's Unfair Budget Proposal, Attacks on Workers - ProgressOhio

Gov. Kaisch, God will get you for what you are doing to Ohio's working people. It's defintely against the social teachings of the church. And we have the poll numbers to prove that people of faith know that. See: New Poll: Ohioans of Faith Reject Gov. Kasich's Unfair Budget Proposal, Attacks on Workers - ProgressOhio

'No Dough Blues' BLIND BLAKE (1928) Ragtime Blues Guitar Legend


In keeping with this blogs tradition, I keep adding "hard times" music, labor songs, and other songs of the people for your listening pleasure.  Blink Blake was one of the great Blues players of his time. 

Justice for Immigrants

Tonight, Thursday March 31st, at 8PET,  Kevin Appleby, Migration Policy Director for USCCB, will appear on “The World Over”, a show on the Catholic network EWTN.   USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) has worked very hard for a fair and just immigration policy. Justice for Immigrants is asking supporters of Catholic teaching on immigration to call in with questions.  Catholic teaching on immigration, while taking into account the right of a nation to protect it's borders, is primarily motivated by the churches teaching on social justice. 

Curb the Special Interests

Public Citizen has sent me more email that may be of interest to you my readers. Special interests have politicians in their pockets because they have millions to spend and free rein on spending it.


Joseph,

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that corporate political spending is the same thing as free speech by living, breathing people.

Hundreds of thousands of people like you have signed petitions calling for a constitutional amendment to reverse this absurd ruling. 

Now, let’s tell our members of Congress where we stand.

Tell your members of Congress to support a constitutional amendment and legislation to undo the damage of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

Thanks to people like you, the movement to amend the Constitution to combat corporate control of our elections is growing stronger every day.

In addition to a constitutional amendment, there are several steps Congress can take to help stop the corporate takeover of our government:

Support the Fair Elections Now Act, which would let candidates for Congress run viable campaigns based on small-dollar donations from real people, matched by public funds, so they could avoid taking corporate cash. We expect it to be re-introduced soon.

Support shareholder protection to stop activist CEOs from using shareholder money to further their own political agendas. Corporate political expenditures should require majority approval of all shareholders. After all, corporations aren’t people, but shareholders are.

Support disclosure of election spending. The American people should know who is trying to influence their votes. New laws are also needed to prevent foreign money from flowing into U.S. elections and to stop political spending by corporations that receive government money.

Tell your members of Congress to support these critical fixes to our broken system.

Go to www.citizen.org/congress-v-corporate-influence

Thanks for all you do,

Rick Claypool
Public Citizen’s Online Action Team
amendment@citizen.org

P.S. Support our work against runaway corporate power with a contribution of $40 or more and we’ll send you “The Story of Citizens United” on DVD.
Visit our Government Reform page to learn more about Public Citizen's work to rein in the influence of money in politics. To get regular e-alerts about opportunities for activism and other ways to help with Public Citizen's work, sign up for the Public Citizen Action Network. If you do not want to receive future emails from Public Citizen, go tohttp://action.citizen.org/unsubscribe.jsp.

Mickey Mouse - Squatters Rights HQ


This is a humorous look at squatting, but I've posted a couple of items on the serious side, caused by the "Great Recession" elsewhere on my blog.  Enjoy!

Squatters continue foreclosure fight

No One Goes Home

Payday Loans Scrutinized

the debt collector blues 2

Equal Voice Newspaper | Census Undercounts Costs Communities Millions

Many low income people get under counted in the census. I myself was missed in the census of 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 for various reasons. I was counted in 1960 and in the last census, although in the rooming house I live in, some people were missed. Homeless people are regularly missed and I personally believe that the annual count on homeless people is always an undercount, because they are so hard to find. Equal Voice concerns itself with issues of equality and this article about the Census adresses the issue well.  Please click on article below.

Se Sal Puede!

Happy Cesar Chavez Birthday.  I have received a letter from the United Farmworkers Union I want to share with you.


March 31, 2011
Dear Joseph,

Cesar Chavez speaking at the UFW's 1991 Constitutional Convention in Delano
Happy Cesar Chavez Day! Throughout his life, César inspired millions of people – from the fields and in the cities-- to commit themselves to the fight for social, economic, and civil rights. When he was once asked by a union member how he wanted to be remembered, Chávez replied, “If you want to remember me, organize!”
César knew as you and I do--there is still much to be done. The struggle for a contract with Giumarra (one of the largest producers of table grapes ), injustice in the wrongful death of farm worker Maria Isavel Vasquez Jimenez, and the continuing legislative attacks on immigrants, unions and the poor remind us of the challenges we face this very moment.
So today, we’re remembering César the way he wished us to--organizing everyone we know. Will you join us by donating your Facebook status in honor of César today?
Today, ten states will officially observe César Chávez’ birthday but by the end of the day, our goal is to spread César’s message to millions of people around the world through Facebook. Sound impossible? “Sí Se Puede!” Just imagine if all of us donated our Facebook status, and we each had 10 friends (though, I suspect you all have many more than that!) and just one of our friends chose to join in…
Together we can make sure millions continue to be inspired by César’s fight for the rights and dignity of all people. But it starts with you – can we count you in?
If you don’t have a Facebook account but know friends who do, please forward this message on honoring Cesar’s legacy. Let them know by donating their status through our application they can educate others on Cesar's legacy.,
Sí Se Puede! Viva Cesar Chavez!
sig
Jocelyn Sherman, UFW
Internet Communications Director
PS: If you haven't yet visited our Facebook page please go to http://www.facebook.com/unitedfarmworkersand do so today and click on the like button to join our Facebook family.

High Noon With the Bankers

Here is another email I received from one of the groups addressing the economic crisis in America today.



Yesterday, thousands of you called your Attorney General and demanded that they choose a side: the homeowners they've sworn to protect or the big banks that broke the law and bankrupted the economy. Calls were made in 47 states!

This is no small feat. And it's all because of you.

Because of your call, the Attorneys General will have YOUR WORDS in mind as they sit down today with the big banks to hammer out the terms of the settlement to their fraudulent practices. They know that we will accept nothing less than a settlement that saves homes and forces the banks to pay for their crimes.

Here's what some of you reported after the call:
I tried 3 different numbers to leave a message and they were all FULL! I had to keep calling back. I'm glad so many people called, I've been so looking forward to today!!
I told her (the receptionist) the middle class taxpayers are not going to stand for this any longer. We are going to demand that politicians all take heed that we want change now. We are tired of the rich and corporations stealing OUR money.
I told them to make the banks pay - that it's OUR MONEY. We bailed them out and they're still taking people's homes? It was clear that MANY people are calling.


Keep the pressure on!

Here's how you can continue to build our voice:
  1. Keep the calls coming all week. We've received several emails asking if people can call their Attorney Generals throughout the week. The answer is: "ABSOLUTELY!" Please continue to spread the word and call in multiple times if possible. 
     
  2. Like our Crime Shouldn't Pay Facebook page – Help us reach 1,000 fans!Since launching the page a week ago, there's been an outpouring of support. We're at JUST OVER 900 as of today - tell your friends to Like the "Crime Shouldn't Pay" Facebook page and to call their Attorney General.
We will keep you updated on the settlement negotiations and keep the fight going!

Thanks for all that you do. 

Showdown in America


Connect with us

Showdown in America is a national bank accountability campaign coordinated by National People's Action - a Network of community power organizations from across the country that work to advance a national economic and racial justice agenda.

National People's Action

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Microfinance Under Fire in India

Is micro-finance the way to  go? Or does it just enslave the poor to the lenders?  How much new economic activity does it allow and how much does it increase poverty for some?  Is it really different than pay day lenders in the United States?   View this video and read other articles on my blog to ponder this. 

Twenty Days Does Not Begin to Express the Contempt I Feel for the Court!

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi made it clear  that her judicial order  for officials not to implement the new  Wisconsin collective bargaining law meant what it said, Tuesday, and said defiance risks sanctions. But today Wisconsin's Governor was back at implementing the controversial law past under dubious circumstances.  Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller said of the Governor and the Republicans, "They seem incapable of hearing people who say they are wrong," 


"I cannot understand the legal rationale of attorneys who are apparently advising this administration to ignore this order for whatever reason," Democratic Sheboygan County D.A. Joe DeCecco 's. He added that, "The very fabric of a just society is based on the rule of law. We don't have the option of which law we will obey and we don't have the option of which court order we'll ignore."


" They're in contempt of court already," University of Wisconsin law professor Howard Schweber declared.  He referred to the Wisconsin's administrations moving ahead with plans to stop deducting union dues from  paychecks, and start deducting an approximately 8% pay cut for health and pension benefits. 


The Governor's administration claimed that posting the law on the legislatures website constituted publication, although the law requires the Secretary of State to publish before a law can be implemented. Tuesday the judge made it clear the law had not been legally published and that the restraining order prohibited that, although the Governor's legal staff claims she hadn't.  They still declare that the bill is law in effect, a matter to be deiced in court on Friday. 


The Governor's approach to the court reminds me of a friend, who was hauled before a San Francisco Judge. Judge asked him a question to which he gave a argumentative reply. That got him a twenty day contempt citation.  He told the judge that this does not begin to express the contempt I feel for this court.  That got him another twenty days.


Perhaps the Governor had his fingers crossed when he took an other to uphold the U.S. and State Constitutions, but this would not exempt him from the oath any more than internet posting constitutes publication.  I believe that the judge is being forced to start issuing contempt citations to enforce her rulings. But I doubt she will be able to express the contempt that the Governor has held the law in. 







A Modest Essay on Extraordinary Paychecks

A Modest Essay on Extraordinary Paychecks

Here is a an essay on the vast disparity of incomes.  Compare the incomes of hedge fund managers to ordinary workers (or for an even greater contrast, a worker in a third world country) or even to the well paid, like the President or TV personalities, you will see what a vast amount of money Wall Street is raking in. This essay was sent to me by Public Citizen.  (http://www.citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=183)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"We Are One" April 4th Actions

April 4th is the 43rd Anniversary of the Assassination of Martin Luther King and it's coming in the middle of a re-ignition of the labor and civil rights movements in the wake of Wisconsin.  The spirit of the Cheddar Revolution is spreading and hundreds of rallies, protest actions, leafleting, picketing, faith events, teach ins, work site discussions, and marches are scheduled.  A broad spectrum of labor and progressive organizations are taking action for Martin Luther King Jr.'s call for economic justice for all.

Martin Luther King was in Memphis 43 years ago this April 4th, helping striking sanitation workers demand a living wage and better working conditions when an assassins bullet struck him down.  Across the country a wave of riots struck poor African American neighborhoods, college campuses erupted in protests and progressives took to the streets as grief and anguish motivated a broad spectrum of Americans.   Today we are motivated by the grief an anguish caused by the assassins bullet Gov. Walker has struck Wisconsin unions with.  We will not let this tragedy pass without a change in America.

There are likely to be one or more events next to you and you can find them at: http://local.we-r-1.org/

If there are no events near you at this site you can find resources and ideas for organizing one.


Can you help make April 4 an overwhelming day of solidarity for working people? 
Yes, I'll be there!

Gov. Walker Gives the Courts the Finger

This just in, Wisconsin Judge Rules: “Apparently that language was either misunderstood or ignored, but what I said was the further implementation of (the law) was enjoined,” said ticked off Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi. “That is what I now want to make crystal clear.” 


Meanwhile the Gov's chief aide, Mike Huebsch, rather than agreeing to comply, says they will "evaluate" the courts orders.  


“We will continue to confer with our legal counsel and have more information about how to move forward in the near future,” Huebsch said.

Earlier in the Day:

Gov. Walker of Wisconsin, defying a court order that placed the controversial law stripping collective bargaining on hold pending court review of the extraordinary conditions under which the legislature passed the law, stated that the fact that the State Senate's publishers had printed the law meant it is in effect anyway.  This may be the first time in which a printer has been allowed to overrule a court.  In fact actually it is a mere electronic posting, the actual paper printing of it by the Secretary of State on hold by the courts ruling. Proceeding full speed ahead and injunctions be dammed, the Gov's hatchet men are preparing a computer program that instead of taking out for union dues, takes out a 8% cut for greater share of cost on medical  and other benefits. Presumably, continuing  in the same direction, the Gov will defy any court orders to give the money back.

Meanwhile, sensing that the courts will eventually win out, or that common  sense will eventually prevail over insanity, the 14 Democrats who fled the state to use budget item quorum rules to keep the budget bill that originally contained the union busting provisions from being voted on  are still holed up out of state.  The defiant Gov is refusing to negotiate with them.  Perhaps the Republicans will simply declare that the massively unpopular massive cuts to education aren't really a budget item either, and they will pass it with another surprise "emergency vote", then defy the next court order also

Ed Schultz: Three GOP Governors Down in Polls - 'Turning Point in Americ...


The Republicans should have known that if you kick a sleeping dog you get a snarling dog and a snarling dog owner.  The attacks on labor, the extremism of budget cuts at a state level and by the House Republicans have stirred friends of  labor, friends of the poor, and the middle class.  

Whimsy, Whimsy and more Whimsy!

Got a favorite phrase you would like to translate into gobbledygook in case you ever land in the land of Gook on the Planet Gobbly?  I had "The buck stops here" translated into "Thegge Begguck Steggops Heggeregge!"  Go to: http://www.chienworks.com/elecpark/egglatin.html

Call You AG Today and Then Call Mom and Tell Her Your Fighting for the Old Homestead!

I also received another organization's email urging me to call the AG's office today.  See below:


Americans for Financial Reform
Greetings,
Right now, the 50 State Attorneys General are in critical negotiations with the big banks. They need to hear from YOU that you want them to stand up for accountability for the big banks, real change in the banks abusive and illegal foreclosure practices, and real justice for millions of homeowners.

CALL your state Attorney General today at 866-200-6444 or click here to find your Attorney General

Even with millions of families in danger of losing their homes, and with new evidence of law breaking by the big banks at every stage of the lending and servicing process surfacing daily, the financial industry lobby machine is in overdrive, trying to keep themselves above the law.  Bank of American, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and the other big banks are trying to preserve the status quo, and get away with a slap on the wrist.  They need to hear that we won’t stand for that. The Attorneys General need to stand with us and demand justice.
Loan work outs that help people stay in their homes, and start rebuilding equity are good for families, they are good for neighborhoods, they are good for investors, and they are good for our whole economy.  The Attorneys General have a huge opportunity, and a huge responsibility to make real change happen.
Together with allies at Crime Shouldn’t Pay our goal is to generate more than 10,000 calls today. Will you be one of those calls? Will you forward this message to friends and family to increase our numbers? Or will you post this Facebook link
Sample phone message:
My name is x, I live in (City, Town, etc; State). I am calling to let Attorney General X know that we need him / her to stand up to the big banks, and stand with us. We need him / her to fight for changes that will hold the big banks accountable and provide justice for millions of homeowners. Helping people stay in their homes and start rebuilding equity is good for homeowners, good for neighborhoods, good for investors, and good for our whole economy. Nothing less is acceptable.
Thank you,
X
As always, thanks for all of your hard work!
Americans for Financial Reform
Sent by Americans for Financial Reform
1629 K Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20006 - (202) 466-3311

Action to Stop Foreclosures

I got email today reminding me to call my Attorney General today to ask him to join in taking action.  See Below:

 
 
 
Joseph,

TODAY we make our voices heard.  With the Attorneys General starting negotiations with the big banks this week, we need tell the AGs to stand with us and not the banks.    

Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna needs to hear from you today.

I just made sure my Attorney General is holding the big banks accountable for their crimes - Call your AG today!

I just made sure my Attorney General is holding the big banks accountable for their crimes - Call your AG today!

Tell Your Friends to Help Also

I got another email about Washington State Workers' Comp legislation today from the Washington State Association for Justice.  If you haven't yet sent email to your legislators about this there are links to do this on a prior post:

http://roominhouseblues.blogspot.com/2011/03/special-interests-pocketing-politicians.html

And here is the new letter:


WSAJ: Protecting Injured Workers
Joseph,
I have spent five years as a judge and 24 years as an advocate fighting for Washington workers in the courtroom, but my ability to help injured workers in the future will be dramatically impacted by our state legislators' actions in Olympia in the next two weeks.Tell your rep to vote NO
The good news right now is that grassroots supporters like you have shifted the momentum in the debate. Both HB 1487, the "retro claims bill" Carol Johnston emailed you about last week on which we have made great progress, and SB 5566, the so-called Compromise and Release ("C & R") provision, are now being re-evaluated by the House and the Senate -- so contact with your legislators is now more important than ever.
The bad news is that we're still up against some of the strongest, best-funded special interests in Washington.
So we can't let up, not for a minute. In fact, we need to work even harder to seal the deal, and make sure we stop Compromise and Release in its tracks.
You and supporters like you have already sent 3,633 emails to our state legislators asking them to vote "NO" on C & R -- but, to keep this momentum up, we need to get even more people involved before the session ends and we lose the chance.
Forward this email to a friend or family member now, and ask them to email their state representatives, too. As you know the tool is easy to use -- and we need as many people contacting their representatives as possible during these last few weeks of the session.
Defeating SB 5566 is especially important now that we've learned C & R represents a 20 percent benefit cut for many injured workers. And it threatens to force taxpayers to subsidize our workers comp system, giving huge tax breaks to some of the largest corporations in our state.
The special interests trying to push through SB 5566 know how much they stand to gain, and with stakes that high, they'll exploit every opportunity they can find to push the bill through the legislature. That's why we can't let up.
As an advocate for injured workers for over 20 years, I know the harm that C & R would cause workers and their families who depend on those benefits.
We can't let the special interests turn back time, and turn back workers' protections. Help us defeat SB 5566 and C & R now.
Forward this email to someone you know who cares about injured workers -- and urge him or her to email their state representatives now.
Thank you for helping us protect Washington workers.
Sincerely,
Wayne Lieb
Attorney
Olympia, WA
Like us on Facebook

Hate your Credit Card Bills? MAXED OUT - NOW ON DVD

Are you a slave to the credit card companies? The American system is not one of wealth but debt. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Beating Swords into Ploughshares



Local Catholic Workers sent me email with a link to the Sentence of the Disarm Now Plougshares activists.

The Disarm Now Plowshares activists who entered U.S. Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to symbolically disarm the nuclear weapons stored there were sentenced today at the Tacoma Federal Courthouse, receiving sentences of 6 months to 15 months confinement, plus one year supervised release.    More at: http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/


Adopt a Snowflake

For those of us who have no children, and have an empty space in our lives, and do not have the financial ability to adopt children, there now comes help--adopt a snowflake:  http://www.chienworks.com/elecpark/snowflake/

Pete Seeger on Highlander's 75th Anniversary

Pete Seeger comments on the media's blacklist, then and now

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall


Now sing this again for all the guys out of works with these lyrics:


99 Weeks of Checks in the Mail

99 weeks of checks in the mail,
Open one up
And pass it around
Pay the bills down
99 weeks of checks in the mail

98 weeks of checks in the mail...

A Plate of Cookies

Three guys get together in a room with a plate of cookies on the table.  A dozen cookies.  The first guy is a billionaire, the other two are a union worker and a tea party activist.  The billionaire garbs 11 cookies and says to each of the others --hey he's trying to grab your cookie. 

99 Weekers

With the high unemployment the total unemployment that one can be eligible for is 99 weeks.  By the time you have reached to 99 week maximum, if you are not at least temping, or getting a couple part time jobs, you will be in serious trouble,

Most 100 'weekers' become "discouraged unemployed" who along with temps, part timers, those who retire early, and those who go on welfare, are not officially considered unemployed, but are part of a larger "underemployed figure that politicians don't like to see publicized if they think they will get blamed for it.  the reality is that real unemployment is nearly twice the "unemployment rate", a rate based on those who have done 3 or more searches a week or go regularly to a union hiring hall.  If you are long term unemployed, or forced into early retirement, or skating by on a part time job, you wait for a job opening you feel confident that you will be seriously considered for before applying.

Right now unemployment rates have marginally improved, dipping just below 9%, but foreclosures are high because of the numbers of 99 weekers who have little or no income for making house payments with.  Moreover, the cuts in government jobs in the upcoming budgets are sure to add at least a half a percent back onto the figures, and rising gas prices may make our retail goods, tourist travel and exports more expensive again, due to transportation, thus slowing the economy up.  So expect the number of 99 weekers and post 99ers to increase in a few months unless either gas prices fall again and private employment substantially outweighs government job losses before people stop spending again.  Either the economy has to go under 8% unemployment in a hurry, or it will just tip back the other way soon.

So for all the officially and unofficially unemployed, especially those getting close to being a 99er, here is   a song I have written.  Sing this to the tune of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall and structure the song in the same manner.


99 Weeks of Checks in the Mail

99 weeks of checks in the mail,
Open one up
And pass it around
Pay the bills down
99 weeks of checks in the mail

98 weeks of checks in the mail...

So now what I'm looking for is someone with a video cam so we can get an unemployed workers chorus together, record it and post it on U-Tube.  then we can link it back here to this blog again. 

Call Them AG's Tommorrow


This Morning the PICO National Network sent me a reminder email that tomorrow is the national call in day to demand AG's hold banks accountable for the foreclosure mess.  Read below:


Tomorrow, on March 29, we have the opportunity of a lifetime to save millions from losing their homes and hold accountable the big banks that caused this crisis.
Right now, the 50 state Attorneys General are in critical negotiations with the big banks. The outcome of these negotiations could mean the difference between millions of struggling homeowners finally getting the help they need from their lenders, or the big banks continuing with business as usual, foreclosing on families needlessly.
Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and other big banks could easily walk away scott-free, if thousands of us don’t call our Attorneys General tomorrow.
The time is now to collectively fight back.  We can work together to demand that the big banks are held accountable for their crimes.
Your Attorney General needs to make a choice - either side with YOU and be a hero to homeowners and communities by going toe-to-toe with the big banks, OR side with the big banks and let them continue to devastate our communities.
It’s time to demand that our Attorneys General deliver nothing less than a strong settlement against the big banks.  Get ready to make the call!
Thanks for all that you do,
PICO National Network
Alliance for a Just Society
National People's Action
IAF Southeast
Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Walking to Good Friday

It is Lent and I have to ask - am I walking with Jesus?  Can I walk with Jesus?  In Pier Palo Pasolini's  masterpiece,  "Gospel According to St. Matthew" Jesus moves, talks and works with relentless intensity and sense of direction, and from that film I have formed a sense of how Jesus moved in the world from his Baptism until his crucification.  In this film he often preaches to those he passes while he continues walking in his single minded direction.  He gives people sometimes just a one line chance to consider the Kingdom of Heaven. While the language of this film is faithfully and exclusively from Matthew, it's relentless motion reflects Marks tersity and drive. but certainly in every Gospel Jesus is always on the move.  He tells us himself that "Foxes and birds have nest and lairs, but the Son of Man has no where to lay his head." 


Last Friday night at Stations of the Cross , language out of the preparatory prayer for our walk with Jesus to his death leapt out at me. "Pardon me, my God, and permit me to accompany Thee on this journey. Thou goest to die for love of me; I wish also, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of Thee."  


Do we have the love and courage to accept his challenge to "pick up our Cross and carry it"? Can we walk, through accepting his grace, even for the short period of time of Lent, a walk of repentance and change? Can we walk to Good Friday?

One Side Charcoal Grilled Cheese

Note to my readers.  If you like me are a blogger, do not try grilling the cheese sandwiches while to write a blog post, unless you love the charcoal side.  And remember the "image of the Virgin Mary grilled cheese sandwich?  This was the image of the dark side of hell grilled cheese sandwich.  anyone want to bid on it? 

Prayer Request

Prayer Request   Prayer request for a little girl in the hospital on my friend Mark's blog.  Please reac

Pro-Life Democrats

Excerpt from an article from Life News.  While Is sometimes disagree with Life News conservative slant, it's publisher, Steven Etelt is a very nice man whom I have been privileged to correspond with numerous times.  He has never held my being a progressive side pro-lifer against me.


Bishop Robert Hennessy presided at a special Mass at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, and Marek Lesniewski-Laas, honorary consul of the Republic of Poland, delivered greetings from the Polish government. But Flynn, who was born in the neighborhood, spoke personally of the Holy Father he got to know so well while serving at the Vatican:
I spoke with the pope on numerous occasions and traveled to several countries with him, but his personal kindness to my family will be what I will always be most grateful for. I was with him in Boston long before he became Pope, and was in Rome when he died.
....
Ray Flynn is a Democrat who embodies precisely what he admired so much about John Paul II — a man who speaks the truth to a society that doesn’t want to hear it.
LifeNews.com Note: Deal W. Hudson is the president of Catholic Advocate, a pro-life group that promotes faithful Catholic participation in politics and is the former director of InsideCatholic.com. He is the author of Onward, Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States.


Full article and a chance to subscribe to Life News at:  http://www.lifenews.com/2011/03/21/ray-flynn-one-of-the-few-remaining-real-pro-life-democrats/

Giving Up Capital Punishment for Lent

Democrats for Life, on their Facebook page, called attention to something of merit:


”Early on the morning of Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent’s season of penitence, Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois went through some final, solitary rumination. For much of his political career, he had supported capital punishment, albeit with reservations, even debating it at the dinner table with his mother. Now a legislative bill abolishing it was waiting for his signature, or his veto…And when he signed the bill striking down the death penalty, he cited one influence by name: Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago.”  From the NYT
Another email newsletter I get is Life News.  I often disagree with some of the partisan perspective in it --that is pro-life Democrats, independents and 3rd party progressives are given little favorable coverage, dismissed or ignored, while the Republican Party is seen as the savior of the pro-life cause.  However, as I am a pro-life progressive I ignore some of the news and issues they raise at my own peril.  I keep getting it and if there is news  that I wish to share I will not make the error in logic of considering  the source beyond the question of credibility.

Here is an article that I think should prick the conscience of even pro-choice die hards.

Firebomb Thrown at Elderly Woman at Pro-Life Prayer EventA homemade incendiary device was thrown at one of the participants of the 40 Days for Life pro-life prayer vigil at an abortion business in Kalispell, Montana on Thursday night.
The woman walked on the public sidewalk near the abortion business when an unidentified person threw the device — akin to a “Molotov cocktail” — in her direction. The woman did not see either the firebomb nor the assailant it exploded on the sidewalk behind her, making a loud popping noise like a big firecracker as it burst into flame. Fortunately, the woman was not hurt in the incident.
After she regained her composure, the victim called Karen Trierweiler, coordinator of the 40 Days prayer vigils in Kalispell at the All Family Health Care abortion center, over to her.
After a lengthy delay, a Kalispell police officer arrived. However, according to officials with the Thomas More Society, a pro-life legal group that is helping the participants, instead of inspecting the bomb debris or calling evidence technicians to the scene, the officer remarked that police could never get prints or other evidence from the bomb’s remains and said he would call the city’s garbage service to dispose of all the debris.
The officer then said that the 40 Days prayer vigil participants should expect this kind of reaction if they’re protesting at the abortion business. Questioning Officer Hoover’s assessment of the attack, Trierweiler called the Kalispell desk sergeant to complain, where she was unable to get further assistance.
Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society says his group has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Field Office in Helena, Montana. The organization is for an immediate, intensive investigation of what it calls a “vicious” attack.
“We are appalled by this terrible act of violence, while we’re immensely grateful that God’s grace spared this valiant pro-lifer any serious injury,” he told LifeNews.com this afternoon. “But the reaction of Kalispell police officers after Ms. Trierweiler called them to the scene was equally appalling, indeed outrageous.” Full story at LifeNews.com 

Move Over Tea Party!


Under the title Springing Forward I recently got this email about Washington State political developments:
Dear Friend,

It’s been an exciting few months. Fuse members have turned out in force for two major rallies in Olympia, sent thousands of emails and attended dozens of town halls asking legislators to close unfair tax loopholes. We stood up to A.G. Rob McKenna’s conservative, anti-health care agenda, and we helped efforts to stop predatory lending and transition away from dirty coal power plants in Washington.

During this flurry of organizing and activism, it’s important to step back for a moment and look at the big picture, as well as the impact we’ve made so far. 

Fuse has four basic goals. We work to: 
1) Engage more people in the political process,
2) Help progressive campaigns communicate more effectively with the public and the news media,
3) Increase collaboration between progressive groups, and 
4) Increase leadership and accountability with elected officials. 

When we put all of these together, we can do big things here in Washington. And that’s exactly what has happened over the last few months. Here’s what we have accomplished recently: 

Organizing
  • Seeking to support the progressive energy generated in Wisconsin, we coordinated a solidarity rally in Olympia on February 26 that drew 2,500 people. Hundreds of Fuse members and MoveOn activists joined a strong labor turnout at the rally, which attracted ten times as many people as the Tea Party gathering on the same day. The rally generated outstanding news coverage, including this story on KING 5: http://fusewa.me/fa8ksZ

  • We continue to coordinate the progressive community’s response to our state’s fiscal crisis. We are helping organize the Our Economic Future coalition, which includes a comprehensive media, lobbying, and field program.
"We don't believe that cutting nurses and teachers and firefighters is going to help rebuild our economy, and that's really what we need to be focused on right now." 

- Collin Jergens, Fuse Communications Manager, KING 5, 2/26/11
  • Fuse members played a major role in the Rally to Protect Our Future that drew 1,500 people in Olympia on March 17, just three weeks after the February 26 event. Organized through the Our Economic Future coalition, our rally urged legislators to take a balanced approach to the budget shortfall, including closing tax loopholes and raising new revenue. The rally generated outstanding news coverage, including this story on KOMO 4: http://fusewa.me/eRJCw1

Legislation and Policy
  • Working with our partners in the environmental community, we are close to achieving a major victory in an early shutdown of the dirty TransAlta coal plant. This landmark deal would accelerate the transition away from coal at TransAlta and dramatically reduce toxic pollution in our communities.

  • Working with economic justice groups, we helped defeat conservatives’ attempts to repeal critical protections against loan sharks and predatory lending. These consumer protections will prevent sleazy payday lenders from creating a debt trap for desperate borrowers.

  • We’re disappointed to report that a bill that would finally bring oversight and accountability to fake pregnancy centers in Washington did not come up for a vote this year. We will continue to work with our partners at Planned Parenthood to ensure women have access to safe and accurate medical care in Washington.

  • We were also unable to pass common-sense ballot measure reforms, including requirements that signature gatherers sign the back of their petitions. Improving the integrity of our ballot initiative process will remain a priority in our legislative work next year.

Communications
  • We launched LivingGreedy.com in February, a well-received parody of LivingSocial, Groupon, and other daily discount sites. Instead of coupons, we offer weekly “deals” to trade in unjust tax loopholes to fund education, health care, and other services. You can check out the site and trade in the tax giveaway for Wall Street Banks in order to fund Basic Health for 50,000 working families here: http://fusewa.me/eQNmDk

  • We have helped generate more than 165 news stories since the beginning of the year, including:


Elections
  • We showed up in force for the King Conservation District election again, helping give the progressive candidate Eric Nelson more than 50 percent of the vote in a four-way race. This victory tested a remarkably cumbersome online voting system, and Fuse members once again blocked the efforts of anti-environmental activists to gain control over the conservation district board.

While there is much left to do, all of these remarkable accomplishments would not have been possible without your continued activism. 

We truly appreciate all that you do,

Aaron and the entire team at Fuse

Follow FuseWashington on Facebook Follow FuseWA on Twitter

Fuse is the state’s largest progressive organization - people creating change online, on the ground, and on issues that matter. 
Together for Progress
Join us at
fusewashington.org