March 1, 2013

The Legacy of Sandy Hook: An Unprecedented Opening for Change

The wholesale slaughter of children sparked an unprecedented opening for change in this country. Killing children broke something fundamental in our culture. On that sad day, it felt as if there was a giant ripping in our society -- yielding a gaping hole in all that was sacred and right. It was like watching the Twin Towers collapse all over again, but now it was our children. Many have asked if we have waited too long for action, the answer is simply no. Babies and guns do not belong in the same sentence. Assault weapons must never again be used to kill children.

It’s that opening – the gaping wound -- that is inspiring our President Obama and Vice President Biden. This unlikely duo appear to be fueled by the fire of what is possible, and are driving a Mack truck through this opening right now -- whether it is to push through the broadest gun safety legislation; or enact comprehensive immigration reform; or to raise the minimum wage; or end violence toward women; or to support gay marriage.

Watching our President Obama the evening of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School – it was clear that he would leap tall buildings to save the children and people of this country. It had become a Holy Crusade and compromise is off the table. Witness the fervor with which this team is working to move their Cabinet nominations forward even for beleaguered Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel. Republican shenanigans are not being tolerated even on their home turf, the House of Representatives. These folks can rant and rave for the cameras (and they do), but are falling flat with no run way. The President’s approval ratings are soaring even in the shadow of the latest, manufactured financial machination of the ‘sequester.’ And it is this fundamental lack of empathy and understanding that may be the down fall of the Republican Party as we know it today.

Frankly, the President is done turning himself into a human pretzel and for this we must rejoice. You just can’t compromise with folks that hate you and all that you stand for. It’s a travesty that it took this horrific loss of lives in Sandy Hook to galvanize the American people – but it did. Unbelievably, today one child still “dies every three hours from gun violence in the United States.” Everyone knows that gun safety legislation is not about the Second Amendment, but rather about sustaining a modern civilization.

The winds of change are upon us. Just witness the President’s news conference today on the impasse over what is called sequestration. He’s not backing down.

Posted by Michelle at 10:37 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

January 10, 2013

Why DC Ignores Real Problems And What You Can Do About It

How many real and serious national problems can you list? And how many obvious solutions can you come up with literally off the top of your head? Now an experiment: list how many of them are being worked on by our DC elites or even discussed my our elite media? The answer is none. Why is this? And what can you do about it?

Real And Serious Problems

Start with climate change, clearly the most serious problem facing the world. If you think this is something that won't do serious damage until way off in the future, consider what could happen this year if our country's terrible drought continues, and then other climate-related disasters hit other agricultural regions around the world. Oh, right, mass starvation. Never mind the storms and storm surges, huge wildfires, heat waves, etc. that we are already experiencing.

Jobs. We have an absolute and continuing jobs emergency and people are suffering. And it is the reason we have a big budget deficit. Is there an economic problem that is more serious than jobs? Imagine if we had full employment, and companies had to actually pay well to get the employees they need, and provide training, etc. Imagine how LOW the budget deficit would be. The high budget deficit is a flip side of all the benefits businesses are getting from the low wages, long hours, etc. that come from high unemployment. The budget deficit is literally the government subsidizing WalMart's low wages.

Our huge, huge trade deficit - the actual deficit that is actually draining our economy and killing jobs and factories and industries and our ability to make a living in the future. The budget deficit is money spent on each other, things that make our lives better. The trade deficit is money that just bleeds out, making us all poorer and less able to take care of each other.

Infrastructure - our country's infrastructure is seriously in disrepair. Never mind that we don't have modern things that could be seriously boosting our economy, like high-speed rail and fiber-internet to every business and home -- things are falling apart.

Education, the cost of universities and resulting student-loan debt, the need for more community colleges, etc. They are pretending to talk about this but all the solutions being discussed take money away from our schools and universities and only benefit the Wall Street types...

You can name dozens of other serious, major national problems that are not even on the DC-elite agenda!

OK, they appear to be talking about guns. That's good. But not if they are talking about even more guns.

Many Problems Have Obvious Solutions

We can start attacking the climate problem with a big carbon tax. People will start using alternatives, which will cost less than using carbon-based energy sources. (PS the revenue also helps fix the budget problem.) Refund some of the money collected to those who are hit hardest by the tax, like low-income people who have to drive to work.

Infrastructure and jobs are two of our most serious problems. But obviously if we start fixing the infrastructure problem we are also fixing a lot of the jobs problem. (Especially if we have strict "Buy American" requirements for the materials, steel,etc.) (PS this also helps fix the budget problem because people with jobs are paying taxes, not using the safety net, and the economy becomes more competitive in the long run.)

Etc, with the obvious solutions. I don't have to put them here, they're obvious.

So why do they ignore the real problems and the obvious solutions that help We, the People?

Why Do They Ignore The Real Problems?

So WHY do our DC-elite geniuses ignore our real problems? We all know the answer: the influence of big money. Big money dominates. Big money steers the discussion. Big money buys the politicians. Big money lobbies the rule-makers. Big money uses the "revolving door" to reward the officeholders and staffers and regulators with high-paying jobs after they leave government -- if they play ball while in government.

And big money rigs the game so only the really big money -- those who already have it -- can win.

But the problem extends so far past the direct bribery, especially in the way it dominates the country's information channels. This means the major media (all of it dominated by only 6 companies), and all of the ways that our national discussion gets shaped.

Using the climate problem as an example, we all understand that big money from the fossil-fuel industry is being used to keep us from attacking this problem. But how?

Looking at how the information channels are influenced illustrates how far big money reaches. They don't just bribe politicians, and hire them and staffers later, etc. They also use their big money to influence how we talk and even think about this. Aside from the huge money spent on lobbyists, there are the dozens and dozens of so-called "think tanks" and "institutes" and other organizations that get money from these companies to pay people to go on TV and radio and write articles and op-eds, etc, to influence the nation's discussion of this. They also have their "studies" and "reports" etc. that get in the news. If you want a major-media career you had best not get on the wrong side of these companies. They totally dominate and intimidate and do what it takes to get their way.

(A few - just a few - resources on this: Frontline: Climate of Doubt, Meet The Climate Denial Machine, Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine, Climate Skeptic's Debunked Report Exposes How the Denial Industry Works, How climate change denial lets the fuel industry run politics, in one handy chart)

The information sources of our democracy are controlled by the big money. Another example (of so many) of how the corporate money machine influences what we as a country talk and even what we think about: How often do you see a labor leader on your TV talking about the benefits of unions?

Then there are the other information channels. Did you hear about FreedomWorks paying Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh huge money to promote the Tea Party? Or the other stories about how they get and use their money? (FreedomWorks is one of the organizations that bused in thugs to disrupt Congressional town hall meetings a few years back.) This is just one of the dozens and dozens of well-funded outfits that is getting huge money to influence our national political climate.

How about that huge fight over taxes on billionaires? Do you know about the huge influence of Grover Norquist and his organization? Look at this: Grover Norquist's Budget Is Largely Financed by Just Two Billionaire-Backed Nonprofits.

This flood of corporate and billionaire money goes well beyond just paying politicians. And it is the reason it seems like we are helpless to do anything about the real and serious problems our country faces.

What You Can And MUST Do

We have to counter this money, and that takes money. We have to get money to use to fight back. We can't just all be doing what we can in our spare times, and signing online petitions, or quitting our jobs and living in poverty so we can work on these problems.

There are millions of us and if we all give even a small amount of money to help out, we can get things done!

The most important and effective thing you can do, even before you get active online and then on the streets is to contribute money to progressive organizations, and make it a habit. Seriously, they have corporate funding and all We, the People have is We, the People. There are a lot of us and if everyone who agrees with progressive values started to actually put some money where our values are, we could make up for that corporate money.

If you have to start small, that is fine. 20 million people starting small can make a huge difference.

Try it, click here and give $3 to the organization I work for, Campaign for America's Future.

Click these links and give $3 to Progressive Congress, or Media Matters.

How about giving $3 to help Netroots Nation or Crooks and Liars or Daily Kos, or Blue America or Firedoglake, or AMERICAblog.

You can also give a donation to Center for American Progress here, or to the National Council of La Raza here, or to Demos here, or to the Economic Policy Institute here, to the Center for Community Change here, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights here, to People For the American Way here, and there are so many other organizations that are working in their own way to help. (I'll add them as they read this and write to yell at me for leaving them out.)

Go through the ActBlue directory, and give $3 here and $3 there.

We really need for progressives to understand this need, and the difference between this and election campaign contributions. Think about it, and help spread the word. Help fund it, and help others understand this need. We can beat back the conservative machine by building a machine of our own that is strong enough to do the job. This takes money.

And to keep that machine answerable to US, we have to fund it democratically, with each of us stepping up and contributing what we can. It has to be lots of people giving small and medium amounts, not depending on a few large donors. ANY organization or candidate is going to dance with the ones that brung ‘em, so WE have to bring them to the dance together. Go give $3 or $10 or $100 to any of those organizations now, and keep doing it, and get others to do it.

If you want to help be part of the SOLUTION this is a great way to start. This is the most important thing you can do. AND you should be online and on the streets. But the most important thing is to give some money to help counter the huge flood of corporate money.

PS See also Republicans Again Use Race, And It’s OUR Fault That It Still Works

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

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Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:21 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

December 5, 2012

Call Your Member Of Congress And Say "Discharge Petition"


House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi wants members of Congress to sign what is known as a "discharge petition" to force a vote on keeping taxes at current levels for people making under $250,000. Call your member of Congress to let them know you support this. The more noise and publicity this gets, the more it puts pressure on hostage-takers to stop taking hostages.

Here is what is going on. At the end of the month the "Bush tax cuts" expire. While most of the cuts go to people at the high end of the income ladder, there are some cuts for people making less than $250K that will also expire. The President and Democrats as asking Republicans to go ahead and approve this, since they say they agree. But Republicans are trying to keep the Bush tax cuts for their wealthy backers and and willing to prevent extending these tax cuts for middle in order to do it. In other words, they are holding the middle class hostage. A "discharge petition" can force this bill to come up for a public vote.

The Hill sums it up succinctly, in House Dems try to force vote on extending middle-class tax rates,

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday announced Democrats would circulate a discharge petition to force a House vote to extend current tax rates only on annual household income below $250,000.
The Senate has already approved the extension, but Republicans are objecting because they want all of the Bush-era rates to be extended, including on income above $250,000.

Sabrina Siddiqui at the Huffington Post reports, Nancy Pelosi Threatens Discharge Petition To Break Fiscal Cliff Stalemate,

Pelosi called on House Republican leadership to bring that legislation to the floor next week and threatened that if they do not schedule a vote on the Senate bill, Democrats will file what's known as a discharge petition on Tuesday to force a vote on the measure in her chamber. If Democrats successfully obtain 218 signatures on the discharge petition, it would automatically force the middle income tax cut bill to the floor for a vote.
"We believe that not [bringing the Senate bill to the floor] would be holding middle income tax cuts hostage to tax cuts for the rich," Pelosi said. "Tax cuts for the rich which do not create jobs, just increase the deficit, heaping mountains of debt onto future generations."

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

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Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:36 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

November 17, 2012

Help Change The Economy -- Join Walmart Workers Striking On Black Friday

You can help change the economy! Big companies use their size and the fear of losing our jobs to force us to accept no raises or even lower pay and benefits. They can use their size to force communities, states and even the federal government to lower their taxes. You can help change the economy by standing with Walmart workers next week. They have the money but we have the people.

A month ago there were strikes at 12 Walmart stores and protests at more than 200 stores. Walmart illegally tried to silence organizers. Now there are strikes planned for "Black Friday." But Walmart workers aren't waiting, there are actions going on between now and next Friday, and you can join in.

Walmart is BIG. They are so big they can dictate to their supply chain, the communities where they are located, state governments, and even the federal government. And, of course, their workers. And when Walmart's workers are paid less, that puts pressure on workers everywhere else.

This is like so many other companies right now, using their size and the fact that so many people are looking for work to force wages down. And this forces pay down for the rest of us. All of this while these companies are reaping record profits for themselves.

You can stand with Walmart's workers, and demand changes in the way our economy works.

Video from OURWalmart: "Why are we standing up to live better?"

Yesterday: The News Tribune (Tacoma), Hundreds gather in Federal Way to support striking Walmart workers,


Today: Josh Eidelson at The Nation, Walmart Strike Wave Rolls Back Through Texas as Organizers Promise a Thousand Points of Protest,

Protests by Walmart workers that are spreading across the country came to Federal Way on Thursday, with between 20 and 30 employees leading a rally demanding better working conditions and pay.

The employees, from six Western Washington Walmart stores, gathered outside the store on South 314th Street, cheered on by at least 200 supporters. Many were from other unions and organizations including SPEEA, the National Organization for Women and One America, an immigrants’ rights group. The large group marched between a staging area at the end of the parking lot and the front of the store, chanting and talking to customers.

This morning, at 10 AM local time, Dallas Walmart store workers are headed back to the picket line. Theirs is the latest in a string of strikes that hit a California warehouse Wednesday and Seattle stores on Thursday. There’s more where that came from: On a Thursday call with reporters, union-backed Walmart worker groups said to expect a thousand strikes or demonstrations spread over nine days, culminating in an unprecedented array of “Black Friday” disruptions. That news follows a major legal settlement by a Walmart contractor that organizers credited to a 2011 sit-in at Hershey’s Chocolate.

Dallas striker Colby Harris emphasized that despite issues with low pay and repeated retaliation, he’s committed to remaining a Walmart worker. “If you leave this job, you’re going to face retaliation in some form somewhere else…” he said last night. “If you change Walmart, and you change corporate America, it can really better a lot of people’s lives.”

Also from Josh, Walmart Ex-Employee Was Handcuffed in Front of Workers

A former Walmart employee was handcuffed Wednesday when he visited his old store to talk to workers about next week’s “Black Friday” strike. Alex Rivera, who was fired in September, told The Nation that Walmart management intentionally misled Orlando police, leading them to detain him for twenty minutes in the store. The incident was denounced by the union-backed workers’ group OUR Walmart, which alleges that Walmart has been breaking the law to keep its workers in line.

Resources:

ForRespect.org – OUR Walmart’s official page

Corporate Action Network - Black Friday campaign - A Comunity Call To Action
Go here to find local events
Go here for: Materials you can use
Go here to send a Letter to the Editor to your local newspaper.

ColorOfChange: Hold Walmart accountable to Black workers,

For the first time in the company's 50-year history, Walmart workers are striking to protest their notoriously exploitative working conditions — and management's retaliation against workers who have spoken out. Stand with workers at Walmart: tell the Walmart Board and Chair Rob Walton to meet with workers and take immediate steps to improve working conditions.

CREDO Action: Tell Walmart to stop exploiting workers,

Walmart Stores Inc. - notorious for years for trampling the basic rights of American workers1 - has become the focus of a historic strike by its store workers.

... Tell Walmart Chairman of the Board Rob Walton: Meet with Walmart workers about their demands for better pay and working conditions.

Corporate Action Network Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/CorporateActionNetwork

ChangeWalmart.org – Making Change at Walmart official page
Facebook.com/MakingChangeWMT
Facebook.com/OURWMT

Download the app (link http://www.shareforrespect.com) to send a message to Walmart Associates you know through Facebook.

Share the infographics on Walmart from the Corporate Action Network Facebook Page -- https://www.facebook.com/CorporateActionNetwork

Twitter: Follow @CorpAction and the #WalmartStrikers tag to get the latest on the lead up to Black Friday.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:28 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 12, 2012

New Video - CEOs or Kids?

From Americans for Tax Fairness

A new web video unveiled today by the National Education Association and Americans for Tax Fairness vividly shows how extending the Bush tax cuts for CEOs and the richest 2 percent of Americans would be paid for by cutting education funding for kids.
Click through to take action.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:30 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 16, 2012

Watch This Video And Send It To Others

This Video MIGHT Stop Romney From Becoming President | MoveOn.Org

Remember, send this to others!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:43 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 3, 2012

Weekend Reading

If you have a chance, please book mark this for weekend reading: Prosperity For America, and their Prosperity Economics report.

"Prosperity Economics: Building an Economy for All

Prosperity economics concludes that there is no trade-off between creating a strong, dynamic economy and fostering a society marked by greater health, broader security, increased equality of opportunity, and more broadly distributed growth."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:13 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

April 19, 2012

99% Spring Shareholder Meeting Protests Begin

The 99% Spring movement is starting to make itself heard at corporate shareholder meetings around the country. And next week it really gets started and will be big. (I'll be reporting from the GE shareholder meeting next week in Detroit.)

Did you know that shareholder protests shut down the annual shareholders meeting of energy-company EQT Corp. yesterday?

How about at the recent Carnival Cruise Lines annual meeting? HuffPo: Carnival Reportedly Shuts Down Shareholders Meeting Webcast After Protestors Ask About Taxes

How about at the BNY Mellon shareholder meeting?

This was a taste, but next week it really gets started.

Visit 99% Power and The 99 Uniting

What Is The 99% Spring?

From The 99% Spring website:

Our country is at a crossroads. We have a choice to make. Greater wealth for a few or opportunity for many. Tax breaks for the richest or a fair shot for the rest of us. A government that can be bought by the highest bidder, or a democracy that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people.

The choice is in our hands. This spring we will act on that choice.

In the tradition of our forefathers and foremothers and inspired by today’s brave heroes in Occupy Wall Street and Madison, Wisconsin, we will prepare ourselves for sustained non-violent direct action.

From April 9-15 we will gather across America, 100,000 strong, in homes, places of worship, campuses and the streets to join together in the work of reclaiming our country. We will organize trainings to:

  • Tell the story of our economy: how we got here, who’s responsible, what a different future could look like, and what we can do about it
  • Learn the history of non-violent direct action, and
  • Get into action on our own campaigns to win change.
This spring we rise! We will reshape our country with our own hands and feet, bodies and hearts. We will take non-violent action in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi to forge a new destiny one block, one neighborhood, one city, one state at a time.

From The 99 Power:

Starting this spring with corporate shareholder season, the 99% Power coalition—workers and retirees, families fighting foreclosure and the unemployed, students, immigrants and environmentalists—have united together to build an economy and a democracy that works for all us, not just for the 1%.

Thousands of people will be inside and outside more than three-dozen corporate shareholder meetings across the country, including Wells Fargo, GE, Verizon, Sallie Mae, Wal-Mart, Bank of America, Verizon and more. We will directly face and challenge the 1% board members and executives that have only served to expand inequality, threaten democracy, destroy our environment and have put their desire for profit in direct conflict with the survival of families and communities.

99% Power will mobilize well over 10,000 people, from all walks of life and representing the diversity of the 99%, to engage in nonviolent direct action. All told, there will be more demonstrations connected to corporate shareholder meetings than at any point in American history. Together we fight to build a political and economic system that offers equal opportunity for all.

Shareholder Meeting And Other Actions Coming

Here's a list (click through, in case it gets updated):

Gala of the 99%
Thursday April 19, 2012

Occupy Walmart
Thursday April 19, 2012

People's Moratorium - Singing Foreclosure Auction Blockade
Friday April 20, 2012

BP is Creepy Charivari
Friday April 20, 2012

BP Oil Spill Anniversary March
Friday April 20, 2012

Support Newport Post Office
Friday April 20, 2012

TELL SCOTT WALKER HE IS NOT WELCOME IN LAKE COUNTY
Friday April 20, 2012

Roll out the Red Carpet for Philly's 1%
Friday April 20, 2012

Informational Meeting
Friday April 20, 2012

We are here 99% rally
Saturday April 21, 2012

stop walmart petition
Saturday April 21, 2012

Dump ALEC: Legistlative Public Forum
Saturday April 21, 2012

The 99% Declaration Petition to Redress Grievances
Saturday April 21, 2012

Occupy the Trees
Saturday April 21, 2012

Earth Day Exposing ALEC
Saturday April 21, 2012

OCCUPY WALL STREET WEEKLY ORIENTATION
Saturday April 21, 2012

Occupy Earth Day (part 1) Melt-In at Grand Central
Saturday April 21, 2012

Community Audit
Saturday April 21, 2012

iMatter March - Mobilize the Earth!
Sunday April 22, 2012

Occupy Earth Day
Sunday April 22, 2012

Koch Brothers Exposed Movie Matinee
Sunday April 22, 2012

Rally to Save Stadium Woods
Sunday April 22, 2012

99% Spring Direct Action Training
Sunday April 22, 2012

99% Spring Direct Action Training Sunday
Sunday April 22, 2012

Cultural Healing Walk and Earth Day Rally
Sunday April 22, 2012

test action
Monday April 23, 2012

Occupy Wells Fargo
Monday April 23, 2012

Stop the Cuts!
Tuesday April 24, 2012

The 99% Take Over the Wells Fargo Shareholder Meeting
Tuesday April 24, 2012

Occupy CEHKC (Committee to End Homelessness in King County)
Tuesday April 24, 2012

Wells Fargo People Over Profits Protest
Tuesday April 24, 2012

Grand Circus Park Staging Location for GE Shareholder Meeting
Wednesday April 25, 2012

GE Shareholder Meeting
Wednesday April 25, 2012

PROTEST GE TAX DODGING
Wednesday April 25, 2012

Debtopia - a carnival of student debt
Wednesday April 25, 2012

Healthcare not Corporate Welfare
Wednesday April 25, 2012

1T Day
Wednesday April 25, 2012

1T Day
Wednesday April 25, 2012

Direct Action Training
Wednesday April 25, 2012

End Walmart's Takeover of the DC Government
Thursday April 26, 2012

What
Thursday April 26, 2012

Get On The Bus for Amnesty International!
Friday April 27, 2012

Get On the Bus - DC
Friday April 27, 2012

Get On the Bus - DC
Friday April 27, 2012

Support Your Local Post Office
Friday April 27, 2012

Unite Against The War On Women March and Rally
Saturday April 28, 2012

AZ Unite Against the War on Women Rally
Saturday April 28, 2012

Unite Women CT Rally
Saturday April 28, 2012

UNITEwomen.org
Saturday April 28, 2012

Unite Against the War on Woman
Saturday April 28, 2012

Santa Fe Riverdance
Saturday April 28, 2012

Unite Against the War on Women rally
Saturday April 28, 2012

99% Spring 3 Hour Training
Saturday April 28, 2012

Eviction Protection Organizers Training
Saturday April 28, 2012

Move Your Money
Saturday April 28, 2012

Unite Women's Rally
Saturday April 28, 2012

Unite Against the War on Women March
Saturday April 28, 2012

Rally For Women's Rights. Make Them Fear Our Numbers!
Saturday April 28, 2012

Unite Against the War on Women Rally
Saturday April 28, 2012

Unite Against the War on Women
Saturday April 28, 2012

Unite Against the War on Women March and Rally
Saturday April 28, 2012

Unite Against the War on Women Rally
Saturday April 28, 2012

Community Rally for SeaTac Airport Workers
Saturday April 28, 2012

Unite Women - MS Rally at the Capitol
Saturday April 28, 2012

Detroit/Windsor Workers Memorial Day
Saturday April 28, 2012

Unite Against the War on Women - AL Rally
Saturday April 28, 2012

UNITEwomen.org
Saturday April 28, 2012

TEXANS UNITE AGAINST THE WAR ON WOMEN RALLY‏
Saturday April 28, 2012

Sharing Day Family Picnic and Potluck
Sunday April 29, 2012

May Day General Strike and Block Party
Tuesday May 01, 2012

May Day General Strike
Tuesday May 01, 2012

Occupy Vallejo May Day
Tuesday May 01, 2012

OCCUPY LAGRANGE
Tuesday May 01, 2012

May Day
Tuesday May 01, 2012

May Day Long Beach March & Rally
Tuesday May 01, 2012

Put People and the Planet First: March and Rally
Tuesday May 01, 2012

Mayday! M'aidez! May Day!
Tuesday May 01, 2012

May Day Rally; Join the Nationwide Call to Strike
Tuesday May 01, 2012

May Day // Primero de Mayo
Tuesday May 01, 2012

May 1st Workers Solidarity Festival and March
Tuesday May 01, 2012

Let's Keep Massachusetts Public Schools On the Right Track!
Tuesday May 01, 2012

May Day at Chase Bank
Tuesday May 01, 2012

Tesoro Sharholder Meeting--Drawing the Line for a Fair Deal @TSO
Thursday May 03, 2012

VeriGreedy (Verizon) Shareholders Meeting
Thursday May 03, 2012

Reynolds American Shareholders
Thursday May 03, 2012

Joining Hands in Hope
Thursday May 03, 2012

Fair Elections: Town Hall Meeting
Thursday May 03, 2012

Fair Elections Public meeting
Thursday May 03, 2012

Clean up a lot with trees where there was an arson and give love
Friday May 04, 2012

Clean up a lot with trees where there was an arson and give love
Friday May 04, 2012

Genetic altered food labeling
Saturday May 05, 2012

Connect the Dots to Renewable Energy and Transition
Saturday May 05, 2012

Join the Human Wave - 350.org day of action on climate change
Saturday May 05, 2012

CONNECTING THE DOTS - DOWNTOWN MIAMI AND SEA LEVEL RISE
Saturday May 05, 2012


This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:37 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

March 21, 2012

March 22 Verizon Day Of Action!

Tomorrow!


On March 22, workers from the Communication Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers will be joined by thousands of supporters to rally around the country to stand up to corporate greed, and in support of good jobs for the 99%. The rally will also support the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act that I have been writing about. This is a chance to stand up against Verizon's fight to destroy unions and middle class America.

Click here to sign up to help out, and for more information.

Go to this site and scroll down a bit for event locations.

From the site:

MARCH 22: VERIZON DAY OF ACTION

Verizon has made tens of billions in profits and its top executives walked away with $283 million in the last four years. But when it comes to the 45,000 workers who made Verizon's success possible, suddenly the company cries broke.

Verizon has sent thousands of American jobs overseas and wants to outsource even more jobs, gut pensions, charge current and retired employees thousands of dollars more for health benefits, and cut disability benefits for workers injured during their jobs.

On March 22, CWA and IBEW workers and thousands of others will be rallying around the country to support good jobs and the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act. Join us.

About The Call-Center Bill

The U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act is a bipartisan bill to help fight the offshoring of call-center jobs and protect consumers. This proposed legislation would let the public know which companies are engaging in sending jobs out of the country, let customers ask to use an American call center instead, and ban federal grants or guaranteed loans to American companies that move call center jobs out of the US.

Today many call-center jobs are being moved out of the country, mostly to India and the Philippines. This costs American jobs, and can be very frustrating to consumers who have to speak to people who they cannot understand because of language problems or cultural differences. The U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act gives consumers the right to ask where the person they are speaking with is based, and ask for an American-based representative instead. Among the things this bill would accomplish:


  • Require the Department of Labor to publicly list firms that move call center jobs overseas.
  • Make these firms ineligible for any direct or indirect federal loans or loan guarantees for five years.
  • Require 120 day advance notification of a proposed move off-shore.
  • Require call center employees to tell U.S. consumers where they are located, if asked.
  • Require that call centers transfer calls to a U.S. call center if asked.

Previously:

March 7: It's Time To Pass The Call-Center Bill

Dec 13: Call-Center Bill Would Let Customers Ask To Talk To Americans

Dec 16: Who Protects Info You Give To Offshored Call Centers?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:20 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

February 24, 2012

You Should Know About The "99% Spring"

Action Coming -- Spread The Word!

This is a Big Deal, just look at end of this post for the list of organizations that are signed on to this so far - and more coming.

April 9-15, 2012, the 99% Spring: 100,000 Americans will train for non-violent direct action. Sign up. And spread it around.

This spring, the 99% Spring.

The following is in case you haven't looked around lately: millions of jobs destroyed, wages cut, working people told "shut up and take or we'll send your job to China, too," homes foreclosed, crushing student loan debt, unions denied collective bargaining rights, budget cuts, crumbling schools with skyrocketing class sizes and teacher layoffs, and a huge rise in the number of children in poverty.

These things are a result of rampant greed—the deliberate manipulation of our democracy and our economy by a tiny minority in the 1%, by those who amass ever more wealth and power at our expense.

From the Christian Science Monitor, here is what happened to the workers in one company when the Romney/Bain machine "came to town":

The new owner, American Pad & Paper, owned in turn by [Mitt Romney's] Bain Capital, told all 258 union workers they were fired, in a cost-cutting move. Security guards hustled them out of the building. They would be able to reapply for their jobs, at lesser wages and benefits, but not all would be rehired.

Watch the first teach-in on the economy, National Teach-In To Take Back The American Dream for background on how we got here, and ideas about what next. And spread it around.

99% Spring

Campaign for America’s Future and more than 30 major grassroots organizations in the “99% Spring” are coming together to help train 100,000 people across the country to participate in sustained non-violent, direct action to stand with the 99%, and reshape our country.

"From April 9-15 we will gather across America, 100,000 strong, in homes, places of worship, campuses and the streets to join together in the work of reclaiming our country. We will organize trainings to:


  • Tell the story of our economy: how we got here, who’s responsible, what a different future could look like, and what we can do about it
  • Learn the history of non-violent direct action, and
  • Get into action on our own campaigns to win change."

The coalition is calling for a national convergence of training, education, and action between April 9 and 15 to: shape a collective vision of an economy that works for all Americans – not just the wealthiest 1%; learn about the history and application of non-violent direct action; and put what we learn into direct action to expose the injustices of the moment and demand change from those responsible.

You can read more about “99% Spring Movement” here: http://the99spring.com/

Read the letter from key movement leaders & organizations calling for a 99% Spring.

350.org, Alliance for a Just Society, American Federation of Teachers, The Campaign for America’s Future, Change to Win, Citizen Action of New York, Citizen Engagement Lab, Color of Change, Communications Workers of America, Engage, Fuse Washington, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Greenpeace, Institute for Policy Studies, Jobs With Justice, Leadership Center for the Common Good, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, MoveOn.org, Movement Strategy Center, National Day Laborers Organizing Network, National Education Association, National Guestworker Alliance, National People's Action, New Bottom Line, National Domestic Workers Alliance, New Organizing Institute, The Other 98%, The Partnership for Working Families, PICO National Network, Progressive Democrats of America, Pushback Network, Rainforest Action Network, Rebuild the Dream, The Ruckus Society, Right to the City Alliance, Service Employees International Union, smartMeme Strategy & Training Project, UNITE-HERE, United Auto Workers, United Electrical Workers Union, United States Student Association, United Steel Workers, United Students Against Sweatshops, UNITY, Working Families Party.


This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:47 AM | Comments (4) | Link Cosmos

February 13, 2012

The National Teach-In to Take Back the American Dream

From CAF, National Teach-In To Take Back The American Dream:

On February 21, the nation will have an opportunity to hear the true story of who broke the economy for the 99%, and what we need to do to fix it. And you can help us make sure that story is heard.

The Campaign for America's Future, along with Free Speech TV, Rebuild the Dream and Thom Hartmann's "The Big Picture," invite you to participate in the National Teach-In to Take Back the American Dream.

The National Teach-In to Take Back the American Dream

Who Caused the Mess? How Can We Rebuild the American Dream?
Tuesday, Feb. 21, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT

Tune in to "The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann" on Free Speech TV (DirecTV channel 348 and DishTV channel 9415), RT TV and online at FreeSpeech.org. Click here for details.

Featuring


    Thom Hartmann, host
    Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor
    Heather McGhee, Demos
    Leo Hindrey, businessman and “Patriotic Millionaire”
    Natalie Foster, Co-Founder, Rebuild the Dream
    Robert Borosage, Campaign for America’s Future

We want to encourage you to invite friends to your home and have a house party teach-in when this program airs in your area. Even better, invite LOTS of people to your union hall, student activities center, or city municipal building and lead a community teach-in.

Click here to find out how to organize and publicize your own teach-in event on OurFuture.org.

If enough people do this, we can turn the "teach-in" into a massive movement-building event!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:00 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

February 2, 2012

FAA Bill Still Anti-Labor! Call Your Senators!

Not long ago, in A Win For Labor - FAA Bill Drops Anti-Union Language, I wrote that, "negotiators have dropped the anti-union language for votes to start a union. Republicans were insisting that no-shows be counted as "No" votes. Delta's check must have been mailed late."

Well, not so fast. While dropping a blatant anti-labor requirement that any non-voters be counted as 'no' voters, it turns out that the bill remains solidly and sneakily anti-labor. This is supposed to be a bill about airline safety and security, but the fight is over anti-labor provisions... what's up with that? Laura Clawson at Daily Kos writes in, Unions call on Democrats to reject poison pills buried in Republican 'compromise' on FAA,

When Republicans suggested that they would agree to a compromise on Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization, dropping their demand to count workers who did not vote in union representation elections as having voted against the union in exchange for raising the threshold of workers asking to get a union representation election from 35 percent to 50 percent, there were two possibilities: Either Republicans were dropping a huge demand in exchange for something relatively minor and it was a bit of a win, or there was something sneaky buried in what Republicans now wanted.

Why This Fight?

The reason there is a fight over labor rules in an FAA bill at all is that Delta Airlines is trying to keep unions out, so the 1% can keep from paying good wages and benefits to the 99%. And, as usually happens, they are offering the Republican Party a share of the take if they can just make it happen for them. Such is our present-day political system. It seems to come down to who is giving the most money to the Republican Party gets priority in legislation. ("Drill, baby, drill!")

Compromise?

If you start with a bill that says, "kill all the unions, kill all the unions, kill all the unions, kill all the unions" and take out one "kill all the unions" is that a compromise? The unions are still killed three times over.

The FAA bill contains a number of provisions that make it nearly impossible to establish a union, including but not limited to:


  • the percentage of workers that say they wan a vote on unionization increases from 35 to 50 percent
  • tricky election run-off rules open up elections to even more company interference
  • a procedure allowing for the wholesale decertification of a whole host of unions through mergers

So Will Dems Cave?

So the question is, will Democrats cave on this? Some are saying that they have "made compromises" but what has happened is they took out one part that makes it almost impossible to form a union while leaving in other parts that make it nearly impossible to form a union. The only "compromise" appears to be from almost impossible to nearly impossible and labor is screwed either way. Or, from above, the unions are killed three times over instead of four times over.

As David Dayen reports at Firedoglake, a number of labor organizations have signed a letter rejecting this "compromise." The unions signing the letter are the United Auto Workers union; Teamsters; Communications Workers of America; Association of Flight Attendants-CWA; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees-IBT; American Federation of Government Employees; International Association of Machinists; National Education Association; Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen-IBT; Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; Service Employees Local 32BJ-National Conference of Fireman and Oilers; Sheet Metal Workers; United Steelworkers; American Train Dispatchers Association; Transportation Communications Union-IAM; Amalgamated Transit Union; United Transportation Union; and UniteHere.

Fight Back Against Attacks By The 1%

Stand with these unions to help protect the middle class from attacks by the 1%. CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY and tell them you want the FAA bill to be about airline safety and security, not busting unions.

Then, click here to sign a letter, Stop This Radical Threat to Workers' Rights:

Radical anti-union members of Congress are attempting to rewrite the Railway Labor Act and change the role of the National Mediation Board without debate or discussion. They have included drastic changes to the law in the FAA Reauthorization bill.

The changes these radicals are seeking would:

Make it much harder for airline and railroad workers to hold union representation elections.
Threaten airline and railroad workers’ right to a secret ballot during union representation campaigns, allowing for management intimidation and retaliation.
Allow airline and railroad management to decertify unions without an election in a merger.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:17 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

January 10, 2012

Freeway Blogger

Tales of the Freewayblogger: Portland OR

Go see!

Go DO!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:03 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

December 6, 2011

Unemployed Confront Congress At Take Back The Capitol

Today thousands of unemployed people and others came to D.C. to tell Congress and "K Street" that they need jobs not cuts; that we should tax the rich, and that unemployment benefits must be extended before they run out at the end of the year.

I am in Washington to join them at the Take Back the Capitol "99 In DC" event. This is not the OccupyDC group, but it is supportive and very much like the Occupy group, with "Mic Check" and "We are the 99%" and "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out" chants going on everywhere. (Special note: There are no drum circles!)

The center for the activities is a series of large tents on the Mall in front of the old Smithsonian building. There is a stage for entertainment in the evening, a food tent with GREAT food, a New Media tent, a Peacekeepers tent, and other facilities. The event is organized by a number of groups, including the Service Employees International Union, along with local groups around the country. I talked to several people who came out from Idaho last night who organize food distribution and other services for poor and unemployed people, and they had stories about the terrible way unemployment is affecting people there.

Today people gathered in the morning in groups to prepare to visit members of Congress. There were three tents where groups gathered. There was the A-G tent, the H-O tent and the P-Z tent. I was joining the group that was heading over to Rep. Darrell Issa's office, and thought it was appropriate that we would meet in the H-O tent because he is such a big corporate ... well, you know.

Anyone Can Visit

A lot of people don't realize it, but anyone can visit the office of any member of Congress. You can come to D.C. and locate your member of Congress's office and go in and say you live in that district and want to say, "Hi." Or say other things. They work for you. Everyone in our delegation was from California, which is why Rep. Issa was chosen for a visit.

The group walked in the rain down the mall to the Capitol and turned right to the Rayburn building where some of the members of Congress and various committees are located. We had to pass through security which involved putting any bags and computers through an X-ray machine, and walking through a metal detector. We didn't have to take off our shoes.

Rep. Issa's Office

The group collected and went to Issa's office, walked right in, and asked to see the Congressman. He was over at the Capitol, an aide said she would speak with the people there, but the people wanted to see Rep. Issa himself. She asked if the group could please move to the hall, and they said they would wait right there, thank you. After some back and forth, please clear a path for visitors, please move to the hall, I'll meet with you instead, etc., she called the Capitol Police who said that the office had requested them to please leave. So they left the office and waited in the hall.

After a while the group decided to leave a few people at Issa's office and head over the another California Congressman's office, Rep. Dan Lungren. They arrived at Lungren's office, same story, we want to meet with the Representative, the aid said she would talk with them, no thanks we want to talk to the Congressman himself, etc. But this office did not call the Capitol Police, and they were especially nice, even bringing water and coffee. (Pretty good coffee.)

Meanwhile Rep. Issa showed up at his office, demanded that the people there show ID to prove they are from his district. One of them was, but she pointed out that Issa gets campaign money from donors and corporate PACS from all over the country, and that his committees represent the entire country, so why wouldn't he talk to citizens. He said no, booted them from his office, and took off.

This is going on in offices of dozens of members of Congress today, demanding that the 99% and the unemployed be heard, just as much as the corporate donors and billionaires be heard. They are asking for unemployment benefits to be extended, and for infrastructure projects that will employ millions and improve the economy, providing jobs for the long term. They are asking Congress for legislation to allow judges to "cram down" mortgage amounts so people do not lose their homes. They are asking for tax increases on the rich and new taxes on Wall Street speculation to pay for essential services so those services do not have to be cut.

Tomorrow they are going after K Street.

This is a slide show of pictures so far:

I also have videos with stories told by people about their situations, and will be posting those in their own posts later. Stay tuned.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:09 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

November 16, 2011

Tomorrow's Day Of Action - A Big Deal

Thursday's National Day Of Action looks like it will be really big. People will be out doing things all over the country. There will be all kinds of events that say, "We are the 99%!" My favorite is people will be gathering in front of various decaying bridges, to demonstrate that our #1 need is jobs and our #1 place to put people to work is rebuilding our decaying infrastructure.

To find events near you see American Dream Day Of Action at http://november17.org/ and We Are One at http://we-r-1.org/

Isaiah Poole writes about the Day of Action in his post today, The Evictions Won't Stand: Make Nov. 17 A Day Of National Occupation,

"You can't evict an idea whose time has come." That was the message posted on OccupyWallSt.org as early this morning, police began to storm the Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan.

To prove it, supporters of the Occupy movement have vowed to pull out all the stops to make November 17 a day of national occupation. That day is the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protests that sparked a national and international movement. There were already 303 "We Are the 99%" protests scheduled for that day around the country, organized with the help of MoveOn.org. Now those gatherings have added urgency as a rebuke to the efforts to squelch the occupations and silence their voices. As the OccupyWallSt.org statement says, "This burgeoning movement is more than a protest, more than an occupation, and more than any tactic...This moment is nothing short of America rediscovering the strength we hold when we come together as citizens to take action to address crises that impact us all. Such a movement cannot be evicted."

Bridges

Here are just some of the bridge events this Thursday, Nov. 17:

These demonstrations are part of a National Day of Action against policies that have enriched the 1% and impoverished the 99%. People nationwide will march and rally at structurally unsound bridges and other sites in need of repair to demand that America be put back to work now and that the economy work for the 99% once again.
  • New York, NY – 6 p.m. March on Brooklyn Bridge
  • Chicago, IL – 3:30pm, LaSalle Street Bridge
  • Washington, DC – 4:30 p.m. protest at Key Bridge
  • Los Angeles, CA – 7:00am, 3rd St. and Hope St. in downtown LA (to march and demonstrate at the structurally deficient 4th Street bridge)
  • Philadelphia, PA – 4 p.m., Market Street Bridge, near historic 30th Street Amtrak Station
  • Pittsburgh, PA – 3 p.m., Greenfield Bridge
  • Seattle, WA – 4:00pm, Montlake Bridge
  • Miami, FL – 40p.m., Brickell Drawbridge
  • Baltimore, MD – 4:30 p.m., Howard Street Bridge
  • Boston, MA – 4:30 p.m., Charlestown Bridge
  • Portland, OR – 8:00am, Steel Bridge (east side of bridge)
  • Houston, TX – 3:30pm, Travis Street Bridge
  • Detroit, MI – 3:00pm, 2nd Avenue/94 Bridge
  • Milwaukee, WI – 3:30pm, North Ave pass over I-43
  • Minneapolis, MN – 4:00pm, 10th Avenue Bridge

CWA / Verizon Worker March

The biggest labor action right now is Verizon's workers who are trying to preserve middle-class jobs from a predatory giant corporation that is trying to send all the money to the 1%. Verizon workers have been marching from Albany to New York City and will arrive at Verizon HQ on Thursday.

I received this statement from the Communication Workers of America:

"The Communications Workers of America strongly condemns the decision by Mayor Bloomberg to forcibly remove protesters from Zuccotti park. In two short months, Occupy Wall Street has focused the world's attention on the deep frustration felt by working people about an economy that no longer works for the middle class. The 99% have seen good jobs disappear while the rich get richer and the big banks make billions with impunity. Mayor Bloomberg may have cleared the park for now, but Occupy Wall Street's message cannot be silenced. No one can evict an idea whose time has come.

"Now more than ever, CWA members will join the massive day of action on Thursday, November 17. Verizon workers who have been walking for over a week from Albany, NY -- over 150 miles in total -- will arrive at Verizon Headquarters at 140 West St in New York City on Thursday at 4 pm to join hundreds of their coworkers in a March to Foley Square. Their message is the same message we are hearing from Occupy Wall Street and beyond: The 99% are standing up against corporate greed and against a government that more and more puts the interests of the 1% ahead of the middle class."

See also from The Nation, Occupy Verizon, Occupy the Labor Movement,

Forty-five thousand union members at Verizon, no longer a majority at their company, are negotiating with a company set on imposing conditions more like those of their non-union co-workers: higher healthcare costs, job insecurity and raises left to management discretion. Workers (most from the Communications Workers of America) struck for two weeks when their contracts expired in August, then returned to work with an agreement to “restructure bargaining.” Since then, Verizon has relented on some insulting but comparatively low-cost concessions, like eliminating the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. But overall it maintains “pretty much the same position they had when we went on strike,” according to Bob Master, who coordinates CWA actions against Verizon in New York and seven other states.


Social Security

If you are in DC, there is a Wake Up Washington rally to stop the "supercommittee" from cutting Social Security, which would harm seniors and the economy. Here is info:

What: Rally with Sen. Bernie Sanders, other Champions in Congress, and hundreds of activists

Where: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 608 (Corner of Constitution and First St., NE)

When: Thursday, November 17, 10am-11am


Repeat:

To find events near you see American Dream Day Of Action at http://november17.org/ and We Are One at http://we-r-1.org/

Also, if you follow Twitter, follow the #N17 hashtag for ongoing information, by clicking here.


This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:04 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 31, 2011

Why You Should Attend An Occupy Meeting

Please forward this to friends, relatives, "centrists" and conservatives you know. You may have heard about the "Occupy" protests that are occurring in cities around the country. They aren't what you are hearing. Please come to one and see for yourself. If you are young, old, white, black, brown, poor, rich, left, right, centrist, even Tea Party you will find people just like you. You might agree, you might disagree, you might love it, you might hate it, but you owe it to yourself to come and see for yourself.

A lot of people feel frustration with the huge and increasing gap between the rich and the poor and the effect this is having on our country, culture, politics and the way we relate to each other as Americans. It seems like everything in the country is now geared toward the top 1%, and the rest of us are divided and supposed to keep quiet and accept this. Somehow the Occupy movement started at just the right time, when just the right number of people were fed up with the way things are going and the lack of solutions coming from our political leaders. It grew quickly, because people were tired of keeping quiet while our government seems to operate only for the benefit of the top few and expects the rest of us to sacrifice to pay for that.

This all brings us a chance to restore democracy not just in our communities, but within ourselves. By attending and participating, we are exercising the "muscles" of democracy, of speaking up and being part of something. The thing is, you won’t just see it, you’ll feel it. You'll feel what it is like to have so many people around you who agree with you. You'll feel what it is like to be part of something important.

How To Find One Near You

The "Occupy" movement has now been going on for just over six weeks, and has spread to hundreds of towns across the country. You can probably find one near you. Start at Occupy Together which is at http://www.occupytogether.org/. Take a look at the page where they show you what is happening in your area, using a map. Also, try typing 'Occupy' and the name of your town into Google just to see what pops up.

Also see them on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/occupyeverywhere, and http://www.facebook.com/Gilded.Age . Also visit the Rebuild the Dream movement, and, of course, MoveOn.org.

So now that you know where one is, come on down, and see for yourself. If you need a ride ask your niece or your aunt. If your aunt needs a ride, give her a ride.

What To Expect

Warning, there might be some people with beards, and God forbid, drum circles.

People are out there speaking for themselves, and learning how to be citizens again, instead of just consumers. This will have a lot of interesting outcomes, most of them good, some of them won't work out. But it will be people who want to be involved again.

Depending on your community, there will likely be a turnout of some people with signs and leaflets, maybe some people set up with tables to do things like register people to vote, organizations with literature, groups that know each other, people who don't know each other standing around, etc. There will be a diversity people people.

These events are self-organizing, no one is "running" these events, but volunteers will be helping to organize them. The character of the event completely depends on who shows up, who volunteers to help run it, and how much the people speak up. So it's up to you to do your part.

See the website How To Occupy and the Field Manual wiki.

Occupy events have a "General Assembly" meeting once or twice every day. In New York the meeting is at 7pm. At the recent Redwood City, CA Occupy event it was at about 6pm. As I said above, volunteers run things, which means that after you get to know the ropes you might want to volunteer.

From the Occupy Wall Street website:

The occupations around the world are being organized using a non-binding consensus based collective decision making tool known as a "people's assembly". To learn more about how to use this process to organize your local community to fight back against social injustice, please read this quick guide on group dynamics in people's assemblies.

These meetings are the heart of the movement. Please come attend one, even if it is just to watch. You'll feel what it is like to be say what is on your mind. (And you'll feel what it is like to sit there while so many other people say what is on their minds. ;-) Don't worry, it works, and people keep comments short.) This is what democracy looks like.

Occupy Redwood City

Friday I attended Occupy Redwood City (California), and took some pictures. It was the first Redwood City event, maybe 50 people showed up, and the General Assembly lasted a couple of hours. They'll meet again next Friday, and probably should expect a lot more people now that it is up and in operation and people are telling each other about it. If 50 people doesn't seem like a lot, this is not a huge city, and there are more than a hundred events like it going on, some with thousands of people turning out.

Scary, no? Especially the guy (me) with the little white dog. Was that a beard? Of, that first one is a short video, click here in case it doesn't work in this post.

Don't Let Them Scare You Away

Speaking of being scary: There will not be violence. This is a non-violent movement. The media outlets, talk show hosts, columnists, etc. that tell you there is violence are trying to keep you from showing up. They are trying to scare you. When they send large numbers of police to shoot tear gas into these events, it is an attempt to intimidate people, not just there but people who are thinking of showing up.

Another way they are trying to keep people from showing up is with humiliation. This is a remarkably effective technique. Make people ashamed to show up, tell them they will be laughed at, or shunned, and people will stay away. They tell you the "protesters" are "dirty," even "urine-soaked." They tell you they are "hippies" and thinkthis will make you ashamed to show up and speak your mind.

This is about what speech is "permissible" and what is not. The corporate-conservatives on the Supreme Court say that corporations are people who “speak” and can use all of their money to swamp our elections. But when people show up to complain about the 1% running everything, they are met with force. The big banks can crash the economy and commit crimes and are offered modest “settlements,” but when people show up to complain they are beaten, maced, tear-gassed and arrested.

Don’t let them make you feel scared or ashamed to stand up for your rights.

Show Up & See For Yourself

If you want democracy you have to fight for democracy. You have to stand up for your rights or they will go away. Please visit at least on Occupy event in your area, and see for yourself.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:54 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

September 26, 2011

New: Occupy Together

People are starting to go into the streets. You don't have to go to New York to join the Occupy Movement. See Occupy Together:

Welcome to OCCUPY TOGETHER, a hub for all of the events springing up across the country in solidarity with Occupy Wall St. As we have followed the news on facebook, twitter, and the various live feeds across the internet, we felt compelled to build a site that would help spread the word as more protests organize across the country. We hope to provide people with information about events that are organizing, ongoing, and building across the U.S. as we, the 99%, take action against the greed and corruption of the 1%.

We will try our best to provide you with the most accurate information possible. However, we are just a few volunteers and errors are bound to occur. Please be patient as we get this site off the ground and populated and please contact us if you have any info on new events, corrections, or suggestions for this site. You can contact us at info[at]occupytogether[dot]org.

We will only grow stronger in our solidarity and we will be heard, not just in New York, but in echoes across this nation.

Seriously,go look. I think this is catching on.

And while you are getting active, don't forget to joint the Rebuild The American Dream Movement.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:27 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Occupy Wall Street

THIS is what democracy looks like! Occupy Wall Street | NYC Protest for American Revolution

A post I wrote a while back about getting active: Get Active To Recover The Economy And Middle Class

A video I have in that post, from Wisconsin, THIS is what democracy looks like!"


Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:19 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

September 6, 2011

American Dream Movement And Contract Alive And Well And ACTIVE

Have you heard any news in the major corporate media about the Contract For The American Dream, from The American Dream Movement? Probably not. And this means you probably didn't know there were over 400 protests in 32 different states against 85 members of Congress during the August Congressional recess. Or that the Contract has already been signed by more than 295,000 people. (The Campaign for America's Future is teaming up with Van Jones' "Rebuild The Dream" organization to put on the Take Back the American Dream Conference October 3-5 in Washington, DC.)

Equal Time

When President Obama gave his State of the Union address, CNN aired a "Tea Party Response" from Michelle Bachmann's. Click here to ask CNN to air the American Dream Movement's progressive response to the president's major jobs speech on Thursday. The response should come from more than just one side of the political spectrum.

The Contract

The Contract for the American Dream consists of 10 critical steps to get our economy back on track: (Please click through for details, to learn how the Contract was put together, and for ways to sign up and help.)


    I. Invest in America's Infrastructure
    II. Create 21st Century Energy Jobs
    III. Invest in Public Education
    IV. Offer Medicare for All
    V. Make Work Pay
    VI. Secure Social Security
    VII. Return to Fairer Tax Rates
    VIII. End the Wars and Invest at Home
    IX. Tax Wall Street Speculation
    X. Strengthen Democracy

The Conference

The Take Back The American Dream conference will be held in Washington DC, October 3-4.

Actions Around The Country

Watch this video:

Local Coverage

While virtually ignored by the national, corporate-owned media, these actions have received plenty of local coverage. Here is a sampling:

**Nearly 100 protest McCotter's office over proposal to cut jobs - Rep. Thad McCotter (MI-11)

**Critz: Bipartisan effort needed to create jobs - Rep. Mark Critz (PA-12)

**Bass comes under fire at his Nashua town meeting – Rep. Charlie Bass (NH-02)

**Video: Protest outside Rep. King's office – Rep. Steve King (IA-05)

**In Irondequoit, motorcyclists say to Buerkle: 'Jobs, not cuts' - Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25)

**Protesters ask U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent to help in job creation - Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15)

**Jobs protesters stage rally at Altmire's office - Rep. Jason Altmire (PA-04)

**Unemployed Workers Deliver Message To Kinzinger: We Want Jobs! - Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-11)

**Protesters target Corker's office – Sen. Bob Corker

Unemployed in Joliet march at Kinzinger’s office - Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-11)

Dozens gather in Irondequoit to call for job creation - Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25)

Protesters march outside Marino’s office - Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10)

Protestors rally for Iowa job creation (IA-03)

Protestors, pink pig outside Capito's office – Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (WV-02)

Dent hears constituents' fears first hand - Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15)

Puebloans: Where Are the Jobs?

Dozens Protest Outside Senator Bob Corker's Office – Sen. Bob Corker

Johnson Skips Shouting Match with Pickets – Rep Bill Johnson (OH-06)

Wisconsin Group Asks Congressman Paul Ryan, "Where's the jobs?" – Rep. Paul Ryan (WI-01)

“Where’s the American Dream” asks Protesters – Rep. Frank Wolf (VA-10)

Protesters take fight over Medicare, budget to Canseco - Rep. Francisco Canseco (TX-23)

Groups protest McMorris-Rodgers with soup line – Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (WA-05)

Crowd of 200 chants 'jobs for all' – Rep. Dave Reichert (WA-08)

Rep. Steve Chabot Quiets Questioners – Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-01)

Citizens group to challenge Black on lack of 'good jobs' – Rep. Diane Black (TN-06)

Johnson: Asking about jobs just like protestors - Rep. Bill Johnson (OH-06)

At Town Hall, GOP Rep. Hultgren Can’t Explain How Bush Tax Cuts Created Jobs – Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14)

Lungren Faces Hecklers at Town Hall – Rep. Dan Lungren (CA-03)

Runyan fields questions in Berkeley on jobs, economy and entitlements – Rep. Jon Runyan (NJ-03)

Protesters argue for restoring the 'American Dream' - Rep. Elton Gallegly (CA-24)

Protesters: We Want Jobs, Not Cuts – Rep. Brian Bilbray (CA-50)

Jobs protest held outside Rep. Hayworth's office in WC – Rep. Nan Hayworth (NY-19)

Protesters Push Boehner On Jobs – House Speaker John Boehner (OH-08)

Protesters meet Congressman Paul Ryan at Kenosha luncheon – Rep. Paul Ryan (WI-01)

Liberal activists protest Congressman Allen West – Rep. Allen West (FL-22)

Hundred Protest Outside Denham’s Office “We Need Jobs” – Rep. Jeff Denham (CA-19)

Small Group Protests ‘Lack of Jobs’ at Barletta Appearance – Rep. Lou Barletta (PA-11)

Demonstrators urge Cravaack to back their ‘contract’ – Rep. Chip Cravaack (MN-08)

Organizing for budget battle – Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25)

Voters voice anger at Cory Gardner town hall meeting – Rep. Cory Gardner (CO-04)

Rally for job: Local progressive leaders tout “Contract for the American Dream” – Rep. Heath Shuler (NC-11)

Protest Over Jobs, Economy at Chabot's Office – Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-01)

MoveOn Gwinnett Rallies Outside Woodall’s Office – Rep. Rob Woodall (GA-07)

Protesters rally at Harris office - Rep. Andy Harris (MD-01)

Jobs protest outside Amash's office - Rep. Justin Amash (MI-03)

Demonstrators rally outside Rep. Michael Grimm's New Dorp office – Rep. Michael Grimm (NY-13)

Group protests budget cuts – Rep. Mike Conway (TX-11)

Local MoveOn Members Rally for Jobs at Honda's Office – Rep. Mike Honda (CA-15)

Police called after 150-plus crowd protests at Bill Huizenga's Muskegon office – Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-02)

Employment Protest – Rep. Bill Shuster (PA-09)

Group holds afternoon protest outside U.S. Rep Frank LoBiondo's Mays Landing office – Rep. Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02)

Protests held at Wolf's city office – Rep. Frank Wolf (VA-10)

Congressman Fred Upton faces disruptive crowd during senior issues forum – Rep. Fred Upton (MI-06)

Rally at congressman's office focuses on need to create jobs - Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA-05)

Group protests outside congresswoman's office – Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18)

Protest asks Lewis about jobs, education – Rep. Jerry Lewis (CA-42)

MoveOn group rallies for job creation in Stamford – Rep. Jim Hines (CT-04)

Upset over unemployment, protesters picket Wilson's Beaufort office – Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02)

Protests outside office – Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-21)

Protesters rally outside Blackburn's Franklin office – Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN-07)

Unemployed protest outside Fitzpatrick's office – Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08)

Capitol protest on debt-limit cuts from the left – Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02)

Activists cite 'jobs crisis' outside Goodlatte's Lynchburg office – Rep. Robert Goodlatte (VA-06)

Pearce talk draws fire in Silver – Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02)

Protesters at Herger's office in Redding decry lost jobs, cuts to budget – Rep. Wally Herger (CA-02)

Protesters demand answers from Ohio Representative Jim Renacci – Rep. Jim Renacci (OH-16)

Death March On Memorial Drive Mourning The Loss Of Jobs – Rep. John Culberson (TX-07)

Protesters rally for jobs outside Congressman Kelly's Erie office – Rep. Mike Kelly (PA-03)

Union members protest at Johnson’s Ironton office – Rep. Bill Johnson (OH-06)

Congressman Steve Stivers’ Job Fair Draws Big Crowd, Protests Too – Rep. Steve Stivers (OH)

Unemployed workers protest at Pat Toomey’s Allentown office, call for job-creating legislation – Sen. Pat Toomey (PA)

Almost 200 Gather to Protest Lack of Jobs – Sen. John Cornyn (Texas)

Protesters demand jobs, not budget cuts from Sen. McConnell – Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY)

Coalition campaign will press Brown to hike taxes on wealthy – Sen. Scott Brown (MA)

Protesters Criticize Heller – Sen. Dean Heller (NV)

Senator McCain visit brings cheers and jeers – Sen. John McCain (AZ)

Udall pressed on jobs, recovery - Sen. Mark Udall (CO)


This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:01 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 25, 2011

Your Chance To Take A Stand Against Corporate Greed

Do you think that corporate greed has gotten out of control? Here is your chance to take a stand against corporate greed in a way that can make a difference. There is a greedy corporation that right now is trying to take away its workers' benefits and job security. Let's all back up the workers and stop this, and show people how it's done.

Verizon is a $100 billion-plus company, paying billions in dividends, paying some top executives as much as $50,000 a day, and now in the kind of corporate greed-grab we are so familiar with is asking its workers to take a big hit. Just because they can. Sound familiar? Want to do something about it?

Last week Verizon's workers scored a big victory for the economy and the middle class. 45,000 Verizon workers went on strike against the company's corporate greed and forced the giant company to back off. Now they are at the bargaining table not just for themselves but to set an example for all of us, for our wages and benefits. We can help them by showing our support, and showing up to back them up. This is about us as much as it is about them and you can help support them.

If this sounds familiar it is because this is what all of us are facing now. This is a chance for all of us to take a stand against this destructive and unsustainable corporate greed that Verizon and other giant corporations -- and corporate funded politicians like Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin -- think is the way of the future.

How You Can Help

Join with Verizon's workers and with Jobs With Justice to help fight back:

Read this too: We Need To Get Active To Recover The Economy And Middle Class

Tell them what democracy looks like:



This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:01 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 23, 2011

A Summer Of People's Action Is Barely Reported But Building!

People are fed up and showing up, making their voices heard, taking action. You might not be seeing very much coverage in the "mainstream" (corporate) news outlets but his has been a summer of increasing action, all following up on the Wisconsin actions. Just a few examples: the American Dream Movement was launched with thousands of house meetings across the country resulting in the Contract for the American Dream. There was the Speakout for Good Jobs Tour of town hall meeting events around the country. Two Republicans were recalled in Wisconsin! Last week the Verizon strike of 45,000 workers -- assisted on the picket lines by non-employee volunteers -- forced the company to the bargaining table. Continuing this week there are thousands of people protesting the tar sands pipeline, with arrests taking place daily outside the White House.

October 3-5 Campaign for America's Future and the "Rebuild The Dream" organization bring the fight to Washington at the "Take Back the American Dream" conference.

Maybe it isn't reported in the "major media," but so what? It is happening. Jobless people don’t buy stuff. The major media today is about selling stuff, not serving democracy by keeping the public informed. So they focus on things that interest people with money. The result is that major media is too busy telling us that "we" have to sacrifice (to pay for tax cuts for the rich), cut Social Security (to pay for tax cuts for big corporations) and those of us that still have jobs accept longer hours and pay cuts and bigger health insurance payments and ore outsourcing (to pay for bigger bonuses for top executives.)

See For Yourself

But it is happening and building -- see for yourself. Here is a newsreel of LOCAL news coverage of jobs protests against members of Congress by the American Dream Movement:

Here are clips from the Speakout for Good Jobs Tour:


This is footage from the opening day of the Tar Sands Pipeline Protests:


This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:09 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 9, 2011

Contract For The American Dream And The Emergency Jobs Bill

Rebuild The Dream

As I wrote earlier in Ten Years Ago We Were Paying Off The Nation's Debt. But Then We Elected Obama., the The American Dream Movement is rolling out their Contract for the American Dream. The Tea-Party-fascinated press is largely ignoring this, but this movement represents the majority of the public, and can't be ignored for long.

Today on a call with bloggers and the press to announce the The American Dream Movement Van Jones described the movement's origins. He has been traveling around the country giving talks and talking to people, and found that it seemed that the American people had smarter solutions to our problems than our politicians seemed to. So he helped set up an "open source" process to gather ideas from regular people. 131,203 participated, held 3,600 house meeting, and came up with 29,000 ideas. These ideas have been distilled down to the ten most popular ideas, which are now the Contract for the American Dream.

No Help From FOX News

Unlike the Tea Party, they had "no help from FOX TV or the billionaire Koch brothers." And unlike the Tea Party, which began with much smaller numbers, the American Dream movement is getting almost no press attention.

The Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act

Rep. Jan Schakowsky was on the call to talk about her upcoming Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act. She said this legislation reflects the spirit of the Contract for the American Dream. She said we have a jobs crisis, a disappearing-middle-class crisis, a disparity-in-income crisis. America is not broke, the top 100 make $27 million per household. This disparity means we have a shrinking and disappearing middle class.

She said that Washington is about cuts that will make jobs situation worse, and the economy worse. We have to grow our way out, there really is no other choice, and that means put people back to work so they become taxpayers.

The Emergency Jobs To Restore The American Dream Act creates 2.2 million jobs for 2 years to put the economy back on track. These are jobs for teachers, firefighters, cops, health care providers, maintenance, construction, and jobs for youth in parks improvement and other things.

This is paid for by her Fairness in Taxation Act, with new tax brackets 45% income over 1 million, 49% over a billion. This will generate about $800 billion over 10 years. This is not punishment or revenge, it is fairness. To have a robust economy Have to have a robust middle class, and care about our elders.. We have to make sure youth can go to college.

The Same People Who Led Us Off A Cliff

Economist Dean Baker was next on the call. He said it is amazing as an economist to follow what’s going on here. He couldn’t envision that after the collapse we would have the same people determining the policy agenda who just led us off a cliff.

Our huge deficits are the result of the economy collapse, now that is turned on its head that it is government spending, by people who don’t know the facts or just are not being honest. We have a big deficit because the economy collapsed, to fix it we get the economy going again. It is simple to show and in fact that is the history. To get the deficits down, get people working. We have 25 million un- or under-employed, if we don’t get them employed they fall out of the labor force, may never work again, politicians should be taking that very seriously. This has to be front and center and all polls show it is what is on people’s minds.

Will Serious People Take The People Seriously?

Justin Ruben of MoveOn.org was next on the call. He said that serious people in DC won’t take this plan seriously.
It represents 5 million MoveOn members and majority of the American people, and a majority of economists say this plan makes sense. None of this is seriously being talked about in Washington right now and that needs to change.

We already have a Tea Party downgrade and Tea Party recession and the government is about to enact even more economy-slowing cuts on the middle class. So people are wondering what DC is thinking. This is what is fueling the rise of the American Dream movement.

This movement began with people standing up to the attacks in Wisconsin. It is about people fighting back. We will take this contract into the streets in August, to Congressional town halls, and if they won’t do town halls we’ll find them wherever they are. We are going to make sure our elected officials in Washington hear that the American people want jobs not cuts, want everyone to pay their fair share, and want to get the economy moving again.

The American people are not giving up on the American dream.

America Can Be Great Again

Jeff Parcher of the Center for Community Change said they are joining this movement to raise the voices of low income people into the policy debates that affect them. They are going to address joblessness, poverty and material deprivation and change the conversation in Washington.

We have a revenue problem, by rectifying that America can be great again.

In Every Laundromat, Barbershop, Etc, People Will Agree

Van Jones then summed up: They have organized in every congressional district. This has been growing since Madison. The network, movement, has organized in every district in record time. They can take any one of those 10 points in the Contract for the American Dream, and because of such broad participation, we can take this into every laundromat, barbershop, etc, and people will agree.

The Contract for the American Dream

The Preamble to the Contract for the American Dream

We, the American people, promise to defend and advance a simple ideal: liberty and justice . . . for all. Americans who are willing to work hard and play by the rules should be able to find a decent job, get a good home in a strong community, retire with dignity, and give their kids a better life. Every one of us – rich, poor, or in-between, regardless of skin color or birthplace, no matter their sexual orientation or gender – has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is our covenant, our compact, our contract with one another. It is a promise we can fulfill – but only by working together.

Today, the American Dream is under threat. Our veterans are coming home to few jobs and little hope on the home front. Our young people are graduating off a cliff, burdened by heavy debt, into the worst job market in half a century. The big banks that American taxpayers bailed out won’t cut homeowners a break. Our firefighters, nurses, cops, and teachers – America’s everyday heroes – are being thrown out onto the street. We believe:

AMERICA IS NOT BROKE
America is rich – still the wealthiest nation ever. But too many at the top are grabbing the gains. No person or corporation should be allowed to take from America while giving little or nothing back. The super-rich who got tax breaks and bailouts should now pay full taxes – and help create jobs here, not overseas. Those who do well in America should do well by America.

AMERICANS NEED JOBS, NOT CUTS
Many of our best workers are sitting idle while the work of rebuilding America goes undone. Together, we must rebuild our country, reinvest in our people and jump-start the industries of the future. Millions of jobless Americans would love the opportunity to become working, tax-paying members of their communities again. We have a jobs crisis, not a deficit crisis.

To produce this Contract for the American Dream, 131,203 Americans came together online and in their communities. We wrote and rated 25,904 ideas. Together, we identified the 10 most critical steps to get our economy back on track and restore the American Dream:

The Contract for the American Dream consists of 10 critical steps to get our economy back on track: (click through for details and ways to sign up and help)

I. Invest in America's Infrastructure
II. Create 21st Century Energy Jobs
III. Invest in Public Education
IV. Offer Medicare for All
V. Make Work Pay
VI. Secure Social Security
VII. Return to Fairer Tax Rates
VIII. End the Wars and Invest at Home
IX. Tax Wall Street Speculation
X. Strengthen Democracy

The Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act

Rep. Schakowsky is introducing the The Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act. This bill:


  • Creates over 2 million jobs to address the real crisis facing America: the jobs crisis.
  • Emergency jobs are created for two years, to provide time to get the economy back up and running.
  • Emergency jobs will meet critical needs to make American communities stronger.
  • Costs $221 Billion ($110.5 billion for each of fiscal years 2012 and 2013).
  • Can be fully paid for through separate legislation such as Rep. Schakowsky’s Fairness in Taxation Act, which creates higher tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires, eliminating subsidies for Big Oil, and through eliminating tax loopholes for corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Here is a summary of what's in the Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act:


  • School Improvement Corps – Creates 400,000 construction and 250,000 maintenance jobs through new funding to public school districts for needed school rehabilitation improvements ($100 billion)
  • Park Improvement Corps – Creates 100,000 jobs for youth between the ages of 16 and 25 through new funding to the Department of the Interior and the USDA Forest Service’s Public Lands Corps Act. Conservation projects on public lands include restoration and rehabilitation of natural, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational and scenic resources. ($400 million)
  • Student Jobs Corps – Creates 250,000 more part-time, work study jobs for eligible college students through new funding for the Federal Work Study Program. ($850 million)
  • Neighborhood Heroes Corps
    a. Teachers: Direct funding to states to hire, re-hire, and prevent lay-offs of 300,000 teachers. ($40 billion)
    b. Cops: New funding to hire 40,000 police officers. ($10 billion)
    c. Firefighters: New funding to hire 12,000 firefighters. ($2.4 billion)

  • Health Corps - Grants to hire at least 40,000 health care providers, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, and health care workers to expand access in underserved rural and urban areas. ($8 billion)

  • Community Corps – Creation of a new Community Corps that will create 750,000 jobs to do needed work in our communities, including energy audits and conservation upgrades, recycling and reclamation of reusable materials, urban land reclamation and addressing blight, including foreclosure and disaster-affected areas, rural conservation work, public property maintenance and beautification, housing rehabilitation, and new housing construction modeled after Habitat for Humanity. ($60 billion)

Standards for new programs:


  • Priority for jobs given to the unemployed, particularly those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits (the “99ers”).
  • Formulas will allocate fair distribution of funding and jobs among states, with targeting based on high unemployment and need.
  • Ensures that jobs don’t undercut the rights of other workers or lower wages.
  • Ensures work is additive and doesn’t displace current workers or take business from small/local businesses.
  • Includes trigger for phase-out if unemployment drops below 5%.

Fully Paid For

The steps in the Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act are paid for by Rep. Schakowsky's Fairness in Taxation Act, introduced in March.

The Fairness in Taxation Act asks enacts new tax brackets for income starting at $1 million and ends with a $1 billion bracket. The new brackets would be:

  • $1-10 million: 45%
  • $10-20 million: 46%
  • $20-100 million: 47%
  • $100 million to $1 billion: 48%
  • $1 billion and over: 49%
  • The bill would also tax capital gains and dividend income as ordinary income for those taxpayers with income over $1 million.

What To Do

Go to the Contract for the American Dream page and sign up.

Download the Contract as a PDF.

Print the Contract.

Distribute the Contract by leaving stacks of them everywhere, laundromats, barbershops, coffeeshops, etc.

Tell people to go to http://contract.rebuildthedream.com/


This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:56 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

June 14, 2011

The Speakout For Good Jobs Now Tour

This summer: Speak Out Tour

From the site:

The Speakout for Good Jobs Now tour will feature stops in numerous cities across America giving Americans the chance to speak out about how the economy is affecting them. Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus will listen to what everyday Americans have to say and take that back to Washington with them as they continue to fight to reinvigorate the American Dream — the ability to put in a day’s hard work for good wages and benefits so we can provide our children with a better future.

Schedule details are here

You can upload a video or write a story talking about your own situation with jobs..

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:35 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

May 31, 2011

The Politics of 2012 and Maybe 2016

Will Sarah Palin, Congressman Paul Ryan or Newt go under the bus? This is quite a polemic for our Republican brethren that have always made hay on their brilliant use of language while we Dems contemplated our sleepy intellectualism. Perhaps finally in the aftermath of the failed assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the President's irrefutable victories, and the Arab spring -- maybe the forces have finally aligned for the Democrats together with social media to counter balance the megaphone of the Right wing propaganda.

Given that language and propaganda are not working, who will be the first to be thrown under the bus for the greater good of the Republican Party? Will it be Sarah our old pal from the McCain campaign that has built a $25M industry around her 2008 candidacy to the chagrin of the Party elders? Or will it be the "real" Palin appropriately coined as such by the supporters of Michelle Bachman on national television? Or have the women folk run their course in Republican Land? And if so has the time come to "man-up" with a few good, old white conservative male Governors from Conservativeville - like Tim Pawlenty or Jon Huntsman? Or better yet will it be Newt who inappropriately danced on the head of Congressman Paul Ryan and his budget plan -- only to refute it later? Sadly, for the Republicans all of this is off putting for guys like Mitt, or even Governor Chris Christie that appeal to the moderates of both parties.

Admittedly, any candidate, male or female, needs the proverbial brass cajoles, or other such accoutrements to challenge this sitting President after the take down of Osama bin Laden. This factoid together with Obama's recent tough stance on the Middle East clearly levels the playing field. The scare tactics of the past cannot work at this rodeo particularly when bundled with the wholesale lunacy of the Republican leadership on the debt ceiling, Medicare and the budget. Vice President Biden in an LA Times piece summarizes well when referring to the Osama take-down as a "defining moment" for the Obama presidency. Certainly, this together with the broken Republican message machine is having an impact. Terms like "Mediscare" are not getting the same kind of traction as "ObamaCare" did just last year, or the coinage of the term "entitlement" used to pollute a whole generations' thinking on Medicare and Social Security. Of course, Newt and his merry gang of language shapers keep trying to spin, but it is not sticking. Maybe in Newt's case, folks have had enough of those that behave badly, pander family values, but live on the edge of exorbitant wealth. For him it appears that there is just no way to explain away things like the Tiffany's account to the Middle Class. Further is there now cause to wonder if the day has come for Sarah, sweet Sarah, who walks the walk on reality television, but lives shall we say in Palin vernacular, high off the hog.

Indeed, the President and the Party are on the right side of the budget, Medicare, Social Security, national security, jobs and climate change. But can he and the Dems maintain this momentum when the banks, remember those pesky money men, continue to behave poorly. The reality is that folks are as fed up with these fat cats as they are with the empty threats of Right wing rhetoric and the bad behavior of men of a certain age and power whether they represent Hollywood, government or international politics.

Note to the Democratic Party: clean up the banks, the bankers and all of the bad behavior of their ilk and 2012 is a shoe-in, and maybe even 2016. Let's think like Republicans and chart the waters for the next eight years.

Posted by Michelle at 11:01 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

May 22, 2011

Appoint Elizabeth Warren Now!

We Need Change: Give Elizabeth Warren a Recess Appointment

We Need Change: Give Elizabeth Warren a Recess Appointment

The Senate Republican minority has publicly announced it will filibuster any nominee to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, unless the President strips the new bureau of much of his ability to protect consumers and hold banks accountable. If Senate Republicans are going to unreasonably withhold their votes, the President has no obligation to cater to their demands. He can use his constitutional powers to make appointments while Congress is in recess after May 27, and nominate the best person for the job.

Sign the petition below to urge the President to appoint the best: Elizabeth Warren.

Click through to sign the petition.

Petition Text:

Mr. President, Appoint Elizabeth Warren To Lead The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

We the undersigned urge you, President Barack Obama, to use your recess appointment powers, after the Senate adjourns on May 27, to name Elizabeth Warren to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Since the Senate Republicans have refused to consider any appointment without dismantling the bureau itself, there is no reason to subject any nominee to a confirmation process guaranteed to go nowhere.

Elizabeth Warren is American's greatest middle-class champion. She has done outstanding work in setting up the bureau. We cannot let Wall Street opposition and Republican obstruction block dynamic leadership for the new bureau.

We in the middle-class need the best, and the best is Elizabeth Warren. It is time to act.


Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:19 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

May 14, 2011

Please Read

The Tenfold Path to Guts, Solidarity and the Defeat of the Corporate Elite

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:36 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

May 13, 2011

The People's Budget Petition

Mr. President, Put the People's Budget on the Table

There's only one deficit reduction proposal clearly backed by the American majority: the "People's Budget" from the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Yet none of the authors of the "People's Budget" are currently part of the White House-led bipartisan budget negotiations. The Progressive Caucus has just written a letter to President Obama asking to be part of the budget talks. Now the President needs to hear from the rest of us in the American majority. Use the form below to send a letter to the President, saying "Put the People's Budget on the Table."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:46 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

May 11, 2011

NY's 'On May 12' Actions

The On May 12 Coalition is holding actions in New York City tomorrow to hold big banks and corporations accountable for crashing our economy and asking them to pay their fair share to help get the country back on track. Mayor Bloomberg is asking for terrible budget cuts, while the big Wall Street firms and the big banks pay big bonuses. On May 12 has a report on the impact Bloomberg’s cuts will have, and ways the big banks can help out.

On May 12 is described as,

a giant coalition of community, faith, environmental, student, labor, peace, immigration, and other groups are working together to pressure elected officials and the giant corporations and financial institutions who are responsible for the economic crash and the subsequent drop in tax revenues due to straight-up tax evasion.

The On May 12 Site explains,

The Big Banks crashed our economy, destroying jobs, foreclosing on millions of homes and wrecking city and state budgets across the country. After trillions in taxpayer funded bailouts, Wall Street is making billions in profits and giving away record bonuses to CEOs. But our communities are still hurting. Here in New York City, tens of thousands have lost their homes and their jobs. Now, Billionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg is proposing devastating budget cuts as the only solution to the economic crisis that Wall Street caused. Enough is Enough. On Thursday May 12, 2011 we’ll be bringing some of that spirit of Wisconsin to Wall Street when thousands of people, from all walks of life, converge in a unique and inspiring action in the heart of the financial world – Wall Street. Join us — because it's time to make the Big Banks and Millionaires pay!

Information is available at the On May 12 Coalition website at http://www.onmay12.org/.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:41 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

May 7, 2011

Require Corp Political Disclosure

Go sign this petition: President Obama, Stand Up to the U.S. Chamber and Fight for Disclosure

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:50 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

April 27, 2011

Nicole Sandler Arrested At Town Hall, Needs Legal Fee Help

Update: Nicole is out and blogging, with Her video, at: About That Town Hall Meeting, Mr. West…

It figures, my blog is the last place you’ll read about my arrest and subsequent incarceration after attending Allen West’s so-called Town Hall Meeting last night.

Since I spent last night in jail and, thanks to the sickeningly awful people at the Broward County Jail was subjected to three hours in solitary confinement in a 7×10 room, and then maced. Nice, huh?

Anyway, I’ll have more on how it all unfolded on the show tomorrow, and then in a lengthier written piece after I get some rest, food and a shower.

But I do want to clear something up. The video that’s floating around portraying me as a heckler doesn’t show the Medicare question that Mr. West was asked, the way he answered it, and my FOLLOW-UP question.

The other day I was on the Randi Rhodes show for an hour with guest host Nicole Sandler, talking about people showing up at Republican Town Hall meetings to try to pin them down about what they are doing to phase out Medicare.

Well, Nicole went to her meeting and they arrested her for trespassing for trying to ask a question. So she needs some help with legal fees.

Go here to help: Support Radio or Not | Nicole Sandler - Radio Or Not

It starts at about 3:25 in this video, but watch this guy Allen, he is a serious wingnut!

Update: This Dirty Hippies post: Radio Host Nicole Sandler Arrested at FL Townhall

Also Crooks and Liars: Nicole Sandler Arrested At Allen West's Town Hall,

Funny. I don't recall the 2009 town hall meetings as having the heavy police presence at every single one, or people being arrested for asking questions. And I certainly don't view Nicole Sandler as someone who is threatening in the least, but evidently those policemen did.

Nicole Sandler lives in Allen West's district. She is entitled to receive answers to her questions even if he doesn't like her politics. She is entitled to attend town hall meetings and ask those questions. She's even entitled to record those meetings.

Having her arrested for insisting on answers to her questions is just another indication of the totalitarian state people like Allen West, wingnut loony man, think of when they think of "liberty."

Go recommend this diary at Daily Kos so it gets in front of people: Nicole Sandler ARRESTED at Alan West Townhall Last Night!

Here at Brad Blog: Radio Host Nicole Sandler Arrested at Bizarre Rep. Allen West Town Hall in FL Last Night [VIDEO].

Political Carnival: Radio host Nicole Sandler Arrested at Rep. Allen West’s Town Hall Meeting; “I was maced!”

I asked, “How is privatizing Medicare SAVING Medicare? How is making something less efficient, more expensive save it?” I wanted to ask “Give me the name of an insurance company that would cover a 75 -year-old” with several ailments?” Audience members yelled, “Get her out!”

Florida Progressive Coalition Blog: Nicole Sandler Arrested for Exercising Her Free Speech Rights at Allen West Town Hall

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:09 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

April 21, 2011

Congressional Town Halls

The Republicans in the House just voted to privatize Medicare. They voted to cut taxes on the rich. And Social Security is threatened. Here is a list of upcoming Congressional Town Hall meetings. You should show up and let them know how you feel about getting rid of Medicare to pay for tax cuts for the rich:

Elected Official Date City
Sen. Ron Wyden (DEM - OR) 4/23/2011 Brookings
Sen. Ron Wyden (DEM - OR) 4/23/2011 Coos Bay
Rep. Tom Reed (REP - NY) 4/23/2011 Caton
Rep. Tom Reed (REP - NY) 4/23/2011 St. Bonaventure
Rep. Tom Reed (REP - NY) 4/23/2011 Wellsville
Rep. Diane Black (REP - TN) 4/25/2011 Lebanon
Sen. Orrin Hatch (REP - UT) 4/25/2011 Roosevelt
Rep. Bruce Braley (DEM - IA) 4/25/2011 Davenport
Rep. Tom Marino (REP - PA) 4/25/2011 Williamsport
Sen. Ron Wyden (DEM - OR) 4/25/2011 Hood River
Rep. Francisco Canseco (REP - TX) 4/25/2011 Fair Oaks Ranch
Rep. Mo Brooks (REP - AL) 4/25/2011 Florence
Rep. Joe Wilson (REP - SC) 4/25/2011 Lexington
Rep. Tom Cole (REP - OK) 4/26/2011 Norman
Rep. Diane Black (REP - TN) 4/26/2011 Carthage
Rep. Dan Boren (DEM - OK) 4/26/2011 Vinita
Rep. Alan Nunnelee (REP - MS) 4/26/2011 Tupelo
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (REP - KS) 4/26/2011 Clay Center
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (REP - KS) 4/26/2011 Minneapolis
Rep. Steve Pearce (REP - NM) 4/26/2011 Ruidoso
Sen. Charles Grassley (REP - IA) 4/26/2011 State Center
Rep. Rick Berg (REP - ND) 4/26/2011 Bismarck
Rep. Bruce Braley (DEM - IA) 4/26/2011 Cedar Falls
Sen. Orrin Hatch (REP - UT) 4/26/2011 Vernal
Rep. Randy Hultgren (REP - IL) 4/26/2011 Sycamore
Rep. Daniel Webster (REP - FL) 4/26/2011 Orlando
Rep. Francisco Canseco (REP - TX) 4/26/2011 San Antonio
Sen. Ron Wyden (DEM - OR) 4/26/2011 The Dalles
Rep. Kurt Schrader (DEM - OR) 4/26/2011 Milwaukie
Rep. Lou Barletta (REP - PA) 4/26/2011 East Stroudsburg
Rep. Dan Boren (DEM - OK) 4/26/2011 Pryor
Rep. Tom Cole (REP - OK) 4/27/2011 Ada
Rep. Xavier Becerra (DEM - CA) 4/27/2011 Los Angeles
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (REP - SC) 4/27/2011 Rock Hill
Rep. Rick Berg (REP - ND) 4/27/2011 Fargo
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (DEM - HI) 4/27/2011 Honolulu
Sen. Jerry Moran (REP - KS) 4/27/2011 Horton
Rep. Bruce Braley (DEM - IA) 4/27/2011 Dubuque
Sen. Jerry Moran (REP - KS) 4/27/2011 Centralia
Rep. David Wu (DEM - OR) 4/27/2011 Portland
Sen. Jerry Moran (REP - KS) 4/27/2011 Alma
Rep. Bruce Braley (DEM - IA) 4/27/2011 Fayette
Rep. Charles Bass (REP - NH) 4/27/2011 Colebrook
Rep. Steve Southerland (REP - FL) 4/27/2011 Eastpoint
Rep. Francisco Canseco (REP - TX) 4/27/2011 Castroville
Rep. Francisco Canseco (REP - TX) 4/27/2011 San Antonio
Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (REP - NY) 4/27/2011 Cato
Sen. Jerry Moran (REP - KS) 4/27/2011 Topeka
Rep. Tom Cole (REP - OK) 4/28/2011 Duncan
Rep. Tom Cole (REP - OK) 4/28/2011 Lawton
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (REP - SC) 4/28/2011 Camden
Rep. Diane Black (REP - TN) 4/28/2011 Cookeville
Rep. Alan Nunnelee (REP - MS) 4/28/2011 Columbus
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (REP - KS) 4/28/2011 Goodland
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (REP - KS) 4/28/2011 Sharon Springs
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (REP - KS) 4/28/2011 Colby
Rep. Steve Pearce (REP - NM) 4/28/2011 Roswell
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (DEM - HI) 4/28/2011 Honolulu
Rep. David Wu (DEM - OR) 4/28/2011 Newberg
Rep. Joe Wilson (REP - SC) 4/28/2011 Hardeeville
Rep. Randy Hultgren (REP - IL) 4/28/2011 Geneseo
Rep. Steve Southerland (REP - FL) 4/28/2011 Blountstown
Rep. Francisco Canseco (REP - TX) 4/28/2011 San Antonio
Rep. Frank Guinta (REP - NH) 4/28/2011 Exeter
Rep. Russ Carnahan (DEM - MO) 4/28/2011 St. Louis
Rep. Francisco Canseco (REP - TX) 4/29/2011 Hondo
Rep. Rick Berg (REP - ND) 4/29/2011 Grand Forks
Rep. David Wu (DEM - OR) 4/29/2011 Hillsboro
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (REP - KS) 4/29/2011 Cottonwood Falls
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (REP - KS) 4/29/2011 Marion
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (REP - KS) 4/29/2011 Emporia
Rep. Francisco Canseco (REP - TX) 4/30/2011 Uvdale
Rep. Francisco Canseco (REP - TX) 4/30/2011 Del Rio
Rep. David Wu (DEM - OR) 4/30/2011 Astoria
Rep. David Wu (DEM - OR) 4/30/2011 Rainier
Rep. Dan Lungren (REP - CA) 4/30/2011 Angels Camp

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:16 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

April 5, 2011

Social Justice: AT&T Plows Over Tenants’ Rights to save their iPhone Business in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley’s crown jewel, Palo Alto just got mowed down last evening by AT&T. To be specific AT&T effectively tied the hands of many of the City policymakers, and then plowed through the City Council and over 35 residents leaving their bodies scattered on the sidewalks in their wake. Using the big stick approach, they bullied and threatened action in the Federal court system if their addendum to their existing site permit was not approved; and the Council caved to the mighty sword sacrificing many of their downtown rental residents. Most troubling is that with these actions of passing this addendum for the mounting of two AT&T antennas on this residential building, this City Council may have set a precedent to severely limit tenants’ rights going forward in this particular city and longer term in the state. Commercial building owners may now have enlarged rights that grant them the ability to railroad their tenants with whatever side businesses they choose. If this decision by Palo Alto holds, California may be able to rewrite the Civil Codes that govern the rights granted to landlords by allowiing them to enter the premises far beyond the scope of maintenance and/or emergency. You see the only way to get to this balcony is by gaining access through the bedrooms of the residents.

Effectively this City Council has opened a hornet’s nest that may continue to sting them as this decision raises questions of social justice for over 40% of the City’s residents, of which over 70% are management or other professionals in the tech industry. We all know that we live in a society that is fraught with corporate collusion, fraud and bad behavior. Yet it is troubling to see this kind of reprehensible behavior in our own backyard without tacit consideration for the privacy, health and/or safety of the rental residents. Palo Alto is a city that is full of bright entrepreneurs willing to risk it all to create technologies that can change the world. Sadly, none of them signed up to give away their rights. Who would have thought that liberal Palo Alto, the place of big dreams, would sink to this level! Most importantly, what is to prevent other such activities that suggest some degree of collusion between the private and public sectors? Not much with this precedent setting action, huh? Will Palo Alto become a city that only protects their landed gentry? With this decision, they are certainly well on their way to solely protecting property owners over the serfs that rent.

Taking this further, can building owners throughout the City now run either brothels or daycare centers while residents are working during the day or evening? After all given this recently enacted City precedent – building owners now have the right to discount the objections of their tenants to cut whatever side deal that want. This means that building owners can engage in mixed use and side deals regardless of the vocal protests of their tenants. As outrageous as this may seem, this is the box that has been pried open with last evening’s decision and it may prove to a gift that keeps on giving. The young, the bright and the able may now choose to take their start-ups elsewhere and be treated far better in the short and longer term. Maybe there were bigger reasons that Facebook, the symbol of all that is good in Palo Alto, has chosen to jump ship and move to a neighboring city.

Note: This post will appear in other blogs.

Posted by Michelle at 1:50 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

April 4, 2011

National Day Of Protest

Today, We Are One.

Join us in solidarity with working people in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and dozens of other states where well-funded, right-wing corporate politicians are trying to take away the rights Dr. King gave his life for: the freedom to bargain, to vote, to afford a college education and justice for all workers, immigrant and native-born. It’s a day to show movement. Teach-ins. Vigils. Faith events. A day to be creative, but clear: We are one.

There are more than 1000 rallies nationwide. Find your local action.

Tell the media to cover this: Click here,

The media has given massive coverage to the rightwing Tea Party movement, but no coverage to the progressive response - an explosion of nationwide rallies in support of unions and workers in Wisconsin and nationwide, which we like to call the "Job Party."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:09 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

April 1, 2011

Social Security "Cannot Exist" Says Rep. Cantor, House Majority Leader

From Campaign for America's Future:

Help Fight Cantor's Quest to Eliminate Social Security

Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said out loud what he really thinks: He believes Social Security "cannot exist." At all. For anyone.

This week NPR played Cantor’s remarks to the conservative Hoover Institution: He declared: "So we've got to protect today's seniors. But for the rest of us? For - you know, listen. We're going to have to come to grips with the fact that these programs cannot exist if we want America to be what we want America to be."

These guys say things like this at right-wing think tanks, expecting that the folks back home won’t hear them. We want to make sure every person in Rep. Cantor's congressional district hears those words straight from his mouth.

The Campaign for America's Future isn't letting Rep. Cantor get away with it. We have a TV ad that will let his constituents know about his extreme opposition to Social Security. But we need your help to get it on the air. The more you can donate, the more we can get his constituents to see the ad and the more we can spread the truth, and put him on the hot seat.

Click here to help us keep this ad on the air »

Here is what CAF sent out in an email:

Help us expose Rep. Eric Cantor's plan to make sure Social Security "cannot exist." Contribute $10, $25 or $50 to our ad campaign.

This week NPR played Cantor’s remarks to the conservative Hoover Institution: He declared: "So we've got to protect today's seniors. But for the rest of us? For - you know, listen. We're going to have to come to grips with the fact that these programs cannot exist if we want America to be what we want America to be."

These guys say things like this at right-wing think tanks, expecting that the folks back home won’t hear them. We want to make sure every person in Rep. Cantor's congressional district hears those words straight from his mouth.

Check out our hard-hitting ad. Then help us get it on the air.

Help us expose Rep. Eric Cantor's plan to make sure Social Security "cannot exist." Contribute $10, $25 or $50 to our ad campaign.

A significant ad buy in Rep. Cantor's central Virginia district would only require 100 supporters to donate $50 each.

But the more you can donate, the more we can get his constituents to see the ad and the more we can spread the truth, and put him on the hot seat.

Help us expose Rep. Eric Cantor's plan to make sure Social Security "cannot exist." Contribute $10, $25 or $50 to our ad campaign.

All year, the Campaign for America's Future has been leading the fight to protect Social Security. And our polling shows that big majorities across the country want to strengthen Social Security – including in Cantor’s district.

We helped stop the President from embracing disastrous Social Security cuts in his State of the Union address. Now, let's make sure the Republicans know what they’re in for if they try to abolish one of American's most successful, and most popular programs.

Thank you for all of your support.

Sincerely,

Roger Hickey, Co-director
Campaign for America's Future

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:21 AM | Comments (2) | Link Cosmos

March 17, 2011

Shopping For Change

Gearing up, go sign up now: ShoppingforChange.com: Online mall for the progressive community

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:15 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

March 13, 2011

Rallies Tuesday March 15

Tuesday please attend a rally to Defend the Dream Action.

Click through to get on the list and locate a rally near you. Many are taking place after working hours.

From the website:

Republicans in Congress are holding the middle class hostage—proposing a federal budget that would would cut 700,000 to 1 million jobs from our communities and slash funding to support preschool and college students, pregnant women, unemployed workers, and much more. This isn't a budget, it's a slap in the face to the public workers, services, and institutions making the American Dream possible. We have until the March 18 budget deadline to push Congress in another direction.

So after work on Tuesday, March 15, we're mobilizing Defend the Dream events in all 50 states at our schools, libraries, fire stations, hospitals, and parks to stand up against Republican attacks. If we can mobilize thousands of people again for a national day of action before the March 18 deadline, we'll give progressive fighters in Congress a better chance to stave off cuts and pass a budget that invests in the Dream. We'll show our support for the public workers, services, and institutions making a difference in our lives—but we'll also make sure that Congress knows we'll hold them accountable for their vote.

Host your own Defend the Dream Action or sign up for an event near you.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:19 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

March 3, 2011

The Decline of the American Media

There must be something in the spring air. The lunatics, the delusional and the kooks seem to be descending upon us from far and wide: Gaddafi, Charlie Sheen, Julian Assange, and Glenn Beck to name a few. They come at us in all shapes, sizes and ethnicity over the media and political airwaves. Just tune into the television, cable, radio, social networks and even in the halls of Congress. As many have lamented this past week, it's almost impossible to decipher the recent ramblings of Moammar Gaddafi from Charlie Sheen because it all sounds the same. Scary stuff huh when folks like Sheen take to primetime and Twitter for a public meltdown, and a profitable windfall that may have sacrificed his children. You know listening to him was like listening to ranting of the crazy uncle who spent a bit too much time alone in the attic drinking lighter fluid, and diddling himself. Yet, the real embarrassment is that the American media's executive producers have not shut down this crass profiteering. We've always known that: Gaddafi was stark raving mad; Sheen was spiraling out of control with drugs and drink to the embarrassment of his father; Assange had fantasies of grandeur; Beck was another foul mouthed profiteer picking at the underbelly of America's prejudices; and the new members of Congress were grandstanding while smiling for the television cameras. Alas, we may have finally reached a dangerous level of toxicity from the blitzkrieg of ratings driven dribble passing as American news coverage.

Posted by Michelle at 1:20 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

February 19, 2011

Feb 26 Nat. Day Of Action

Go see US Uncut at http://www.usuncut.org Spread the word.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:11 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

February 16, 2011

It's A Really Bad Time to Be Middle Class

It’s a really bad time to even be middle class in this country, and forget about being poor. The only way to be protected is to be very wealthy: then you are guaranteed that your house is safe, your medical care is covered, and your children will have a future. It’s that bad, and not one bit of this is subtle.

There is a class war underway in this country. The rich, or those that represent their interests, and corporations want control. Dave Johnson, blogger for the Campaign for America’s Future, nailed it when he wrote that: “This budget fight is about a stark choice: jobs and growth for We, the People, or going down the road of plutocracy -- rule by the super-rich and big corporations -- with little or nothing left over for the rest of us.”

This is the power grab of our generation playing out in Obama’s budget. It reflects true entitlement for the super wealthy. The government revitalization of the “too big to fail” banks was only the tipping point. Of course, the bankers deserved their bonuses. Remember that you heard it here. The battleground is not about the so-called entitlement programs espoused by the Democrats. Social Security, and other such programs are not the culprits; they are the scapegoat for the real agenda.

Obama is being forced to rip open the social fabric of this country to reduce the Bush generated debts. In the President’s proposed budget, most social programs will be ravaged left and right (no pun intended). Yes admittedly, this budget is a massive jobs creation machine. But watch out – don’t get sick folks or have an on-the-job accident because there will little if any safety net. Certainly, we all know about health care reform, yet if Speaker Boehner and his boys have their way -- that too will be reduced to a hill of beans and severely compromised. The fight for survival of the middle class and the poor has been ratcheted up a notch. Strap in folks, this is class warfare.

Note, this will also appear in the Huffington Post.

Posted by Michelle at 12:07 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

December 15, 2010

The New Revolutionaries Take to the Internet: The Tale of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange

WikiLeaks raises some of the most poignant questions of our time about the power of cyber warfare, the role of hackers, and the future of the Internet. It is not a coincidence that Madame Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has created a whole new effort to explore and fight cyber terrorism. In fact, WikiLeaks and Assange may represent the first of the wholesale anarchists using today's information highway to do battle. Consider that instead of taking to the streets in protest, this generation may take to the Internet to wage their battles and carry their message. We are living a time represented by the power of Facebook that links over 500 million people together. And if this is true, we may have unleashed a whole new generation of cyber warlords on the world's information centers.

Many of our brethren are writing about democracy, liberty and the freedom of information pivoting off what they believe WikiLeaks stands for. Julian Assange has been elevated to the "Man of the People" as filmmaker Michael Moore contributes to his bail fund, and the Huffington Post sets up a whole section devoted to whistleblower Fantasy Land. You know, we all need something valiant to believe in during the difficult days of Obama. The obnoxious wealthy are dancing on the heads of US lawmakers. The banks are still doing the Texas two-step, and the Middle Class continues to suffer in silence with simmering rage. There are two deeply divisive wars. China is rising and scaring the heck out of us. The liberals of the Democratic Party continue to act like toddlers, and Sarah Palin is making hay laughing all the way to her off-shore accounts. So Julian Assange, or whoever is backing him, could not have picked a better moment of discontent. They are evoking new archetypes of good and bad in a world that is increasing grey.

Assange is the anti-hero. He has been personified as a man with no country who is a metrosexual kind of guy willing to risk it all to uncover the truth. Yet, we don't really know much about this man, or what makes him tick. Is he really the wizard behind or the curtain, or there really someone or something else pulling the strings. Is he a hacker extraordinaire, or just a man that is a brilliant online community organizer? In fact and most importantly, what does it mean to be a hacker? Are hackers by definition anarchists, or is it just Julian that wants to topple the establishment at any cost. Or are there droves of these cyber-sleuths trolling the black lands of the Internet looking for back doors into silos of information? Remember Assange was a cryptologist of sorts which is the super duper folks that develop the ways to tunnel into software code. And it may be fair to assume that these same hackers were probably responsible for the DOS (Denial of Service) attacks on Visa, Master Card and others. And if this is true then who is really pulling the strings since these were very, targeted attacks on specific corporations that shut out the money flow for WikiLeaks? The bottom line is that we still don't know how the WikiLeaks information is gathered and/or obtained. Does it come from this new breed of whistleblowers, such as Private Manning that had a rare blend of tech talents and access? If so; does this new breed even resemble our beloved archetypical whistleblowers circa Daniel Ellsberg, or even Erin Brockovich? And I ask again, have we grappled with the ramifications of an Internet that is locked down in response to WikiLeaks? Are we ready to usher in a new age of restrictions? This sadly will make the debate around net neutrality seem like child's play if cyber war erupts.

Please note that this post appeared earlier in the day in the Huffington Post.

Please note that a selection of the reference material used for this article and others in the past on WikiLeaks is included in the complex pearltree below.

Wiki Leaks

Posted by Michelle at 11:43 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

November 17, 2010

Tea Party Delivers Their Messaging on Reality TV. Is this How Propaganda Starts?

The Bristol Palin story is like that of a modern day Cinderella as she debuts before millions of viewers on prime time television. Her mother, former Governor Sarah Palin and her advisors are completely brilliant. Thank you very much Frank and Company. This is a media doctor's wet dream. Using Bristol as Cinderella, they have successfully reached into the hearts and minds of everyday folks across the country. Think about it. Is there a better way to seep into the mainstream than reality television? This move is one of the most brilliant tactics of twentieth century political messaging. Sarah Palin becomes the archetype of everyone's mom, and paradoxically her daughter is the modern day rags to riches and success story. Here was a chubby, single mom lifted out of the obscurity of her receptionist job in a strip mall in godforsaken Alaska. It does not get better!

Consider that after the debacle of former Republican leader Tom Delay on the same show, these spin masters were smart. They knew it probably would not have worked out to use Sarah herself. But who could resist her kid? She's likeable, and works very hard for herself and her adorable child. Bristol is the single mom personified. They even show the footage of the storefront from which she was plucked. Oh my, this is every girl's cherished dream sans the out-of-wedlock pregnancy. And momma Palin can just stand back, and watch it unfold. Who could accuse her of manipulation? She was just the proud momma. What better image could there be? Not much and it is working. No wonder her daughter has been voted back each and every week by viewer support - not the judges until one of the final evenings when she showed real talent.

There is something going on here, and we didn't even see it coming. Oh woe is me; I think we have been duped yet again. Somehow, the American public perceives that the Democrats are unfeeling, out of touch with Middle America, and arrogant. How did this happen? We are Middle America! Yet somehow, Sister Palin has her thumb on the pulse. We need to look carefully at the subliminal messaging that is going on, and wonder how and why we could have missed it. Call it what you may, but Sarah Palin and her movement - the Tea Party and their advisors are running circles around us. We are losing the game of public opinion. So it is not proposed that we put the Vice President's son, Beau Biden on Survivor; but rather that we look hard and long at the messaging and how it is being delivered. Further, we need to embrace what it will take for us to reach back out and connect. This is the teachable moment. May we reach out and own it.

Note, this article appeared earlier in the Huffington Post, "Bristol Goes Dancing and Has a Tea Party."

Posted by Michelle at 1:11 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

November 10, 2010

What's Next, Impeachment from the Republicans?

So much for making nice Mr. President, the gloves are off as the Republican leadership comes out swinging. These folks don’t want to work with you, or your minions or any of us. Just tune into FOX News at any random moment, and the disdain is visceral. And to be blunt, what’s to keep them from starting impeachment proceedings as a tactic to erode your precious time and focus? Not much, if you listen closely to the Senate Republican leadership, the soon to be Speaker of the House, and all the other hooligans over the last few days, and even on the Sunday morning talk shows. Senator Mitch McConnell’s words sure don’t sound like a lullaby to me. Do not be fooled, it may be more than making sure that Obama is a one-term President. These are fighting words: “The only way to do all these things is to put someone in the White House who won't veto...”

And if that’s not bad enough, there’s dissent and discontent (as usual) among our fellow Democrats. The so-called Blue Dog Democrats are acting out by attempting to distance themselves from the prevailing incumbent-rage by attacking now Speaker Pelosi. Have they no shame? This is self-serving hypocrisy at its worst. Not now kids. Go back to your corner and sing “Kumbaya” to keep from shooting off your big mouths at this fragile time. Enough of your ranks have been lost in this recent election. Stop with the posturing, and the “Anti-Pelosi Caucus.” These types of shenanigans only fuel the fires, and distract us from our goals. Please realize that we are under an unprecedented assault from the rabid Republican leadership. They will attempt to sink the Obama ship at any cost.

Democrats (Blue Dogs, Moderates, and Progressives) hunker down. Put a stop to the malarkey from the newly anointed Republicans. This “lame duck” session is vital. We have barely two months to protect Social Security for the elders, unwind Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and fund many, many programs. Consider that the Congress may be deadlocked for two years with very little emerging from gridlock, and Pelosi's steam rolling machine has taken heavy artillery hits. If you feel compelled to beat up on someone or something, go after the bad guys. And pray that all attempts to bring impeachment proceedings against Obama are quashed. This would be a travesty filled with hate and racism from which this country might never recover. Don't let them take our President away.

Note: A version of this article was published earlier today in the Huffington Post.

Posted by Michelle at 8:46 AM | Comments (3) | Link Cosmos

October 10, 2010

The Great American Credit Catastrophe

The 911 of the Middle Class is the consumer credit debacle. It is the gift that keeps on giving. The reality is that the housing crisis is just one piece of this really big, ugly mess. It seems to me that our President MUST call for immediate reform and take action through executive order. Call me politically naïve, but we need action. Unemployment continues to hover close to 10%, and higher in badly hit areas. Interest paid by the banks on savings ranges from less than 1% to maybe 2.5% on a good day. The consumer credit card companies, though regulated now sort of, ran naked through the streets jacking up everyone's interest rates to over 15 to 30%. Yes they have to notify the poor, irresponsible slobs now before they do things, but the banks still get to burn kerosene in the town square with no permits. And we haven't even gotten to the health insurance yahoos that have four more years for their trickery. Oh Nelly, bar the door! It's the Wild West again as the cattle are corralled - only this time it's the American people being herded to ruin by the giddy-up bankers and health insurance companies, not just the mortgage guys.

People are getting sick from worry. Their backs hurt, their necks are out, and they are grinding their pearly whites. Few sleep well at night. Pharmaceutical sales are up. The banks we saved are savaging us. They are bulldozing the Middle Class under mountains of debt. People are losing their homes, divorces are up, businesses are closing, and unemployment is rampant. The consumer credit world and their FICO scores are broken. They are based on a world that no longer exists. In two short years, many consumers have watched their scores collapse under an avalanche of debt. The FICO scores were calibrated for a different time when consumer credit cards were not the only source of money available, mortgages were not under water, and unemployment was not soaring. If we are ever to unwind this situation, these algorithms must be reset. Otherwise the banks will never lend again. The Middle Class needs a do-over, just like the banks got.

Yes sir, Obama stood up against the broad sweeping foreclosure legislation, and Bank of America seized the moment halting foreclosures nationwide. But we're all holding our breath waiting for the other shoe to fall as even Progressive strategist Mike Lux gens up the netroots to re-engage with the President and Congress. It is inconceivable that people have not taken to streets in protest over their lost pensions, and the absence of any kind of interest bearing bank account -- except on consumer credit cards. In fact, this week Robert Sheer wrote brilliantly about Obama's "No Banker Left Behind" -- while every normal person has been thrown under the bank bus. How did we allow the bail-out of every financial institution, while abandoning the common folk? Why are Democrats -- whether conservative, moderate or netroots - not able to channel this collective anger, rage and disappointment other than to take aim at one another? Given the data, there is no way out for the once resilient Middle Class without a do-over. Instead of "No Banker Left Behind" let us heal the Middle Class by fixing the credit industry; restricting the health care industry now, not in four years; and making those banks lend the money we gave them and not hide behind FICO scores. All of the Democrats are writing, but no one is demanding change now. The Tea Party has successfully harnessed the anger and rage, but has no plan. Frankly, they are just another distraction taking our attention away from the gravity of the problems.

Mr. President, come back to us as Mike Lux laments. We need you. We, in the Middle Class, are living this nightmare everyday of our lives. Figure it out, and get the Middle Class out from under. The numbers do not lie. This is our emergency, our call to action, our 911. Friends and neighbors are collapsing from the stress when they can ill afford it. Unemployment is not going away. Consumer debt is skyrocketing. Mr. Obama, Americans are not being frivolous and irresponsible as Dr. Summers would like you to believe. They are boxed in with no escape hatch. Consider enacting a nationwide job core like the WPA, putting the banks on real notice, corralling those nasty health insurance folks, redoing the credit industry, and loosening up cash. No one is sleeping at night. People are nervous and cannot see a future.

Please, inspire us again, show emotion, get messy, and let the wrinkles show. Mr. President raise your voice in outrage. Give us voice. Come back to us. The time is now.


This was originally published on the Huffington Post earlier today.

See the pearltree below for the references for this article.

US Economy

Posted by Michelle at 2:22 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 1, 2010

Tomorrow's One Nation March In DC And Around The Country

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Does the corporate-sponsored Tea Party speak for you? Or are we One Nation, Working Together?

One Nation Working Together For Jobs, Justice and Education for All. How can you not agree with that? How can you not demand that Washington hear this, and get going on delivering the change that we voted for? There is a march tomorrow along with events around the country, with that message. You should attend.

Tomorrow, October 2, the One Nation Working Together march takes place. More than 400 organizations (go see) are working together to help make this happen and to add their voices demanding a country that works for US.

If you are not able to come to DC, there are local events all around the country. Click here to learn how you can participate and add your voice.

Please read the Who We Are, Why We March statement. We are ... US. "We march for a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. We march for jobs, justice, and education. We march for an economy that works for all. We march for a nation in which each person who wants to work can find a job that pays enough to support a family."

The other day Bill Scher wrote, in Why March Saturday? Take Back The Discourse (That The Tea Party Stole),

... a larger turnout Saturday in support of "jobs, justice and education" than Glenn Beck's recent rally in support of "Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck" will be very hard for the media to ignore.

Simply achieving parity in media attention blunts the Tea Party's corrosive influence on the discourse, opening up the possibility for a serious, responsible dialogue on the next steps America must take to recover from the conservative-created recession.

Isaiah Poole wrote, in Who Will March For Patricia Reid?,

A coalition of labor, civil rights and community organizations is seeking to bring hundreds of thousands of people to Washington on October 2 for the "One Nation Working Together" march. A principal goal of that march is "to build a more united America – with jobs, justice and education for all."

The march's supporters include "people who got thrown out – thrown out of our jobs, schools, houses, farms and small businesses – while Wall Street's wrongdoers got bailed out. We are families who pray every day – for peace and prosperity; for deliverance from foreclosures; for good jobs to come back to urban and rural America. We are unemployed workers – forced to watch hopes for bold action dashed – because some Senators threaten filibusters, and other would-be champions fold in fear."

According to The New York Times,

The rally’s platform looks like a liberal wish list: extend unemployment benefits, raise the minimum wage, end the foreclosure epidemic, enact legislation making it easier to join unions, increase infrastructure spending to create jobs, “fix our broke immigration system” and end immigration round-ups that “encourage racial profiling.” The march’s sponsors hope it will help turn some of these wishes into legislative reality, in part by giving the Democrats some highly visible and clamorous backing to push through stalled legislation.

“Our rally is standing up for the change we voted for two years ago,” Mr. Gresham said.

Here is your chance to show up and be counted. Do people just hand the reigns back over to the right and let us fall into another decade of conservative dominance, or do we get out there and do something?

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Follow Dave Johnson on TwitterFollow CAF on Twitter

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:28 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

September 28, 2010

Rebuilding America. Is Bill Clinton Up for the Fight?

The US and the economy were for the first time a big focus at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting last week in New York City. Hallelujah! The former President hinted at an effort to get the unemployed back to work and retrained for the new and emerging jobs. Of course, Tom Friedman from the New York Times showed up with a lofty panel of experts, and there were sessions on new market-based solutions, worldwide manufacturing and clean tech. Admittedly, there was a discussion on "Robust Job Creation in the United States." The former President did address the issues of small business, manufacturing and clean energy. There was a panel where players such as Wal-Mart, Timberlake and others discussed the in overhauling their operations to reduce carbon emissions and create jobs. And there was the tireless work of Laurene Powell Jobs together with her co-founder Carlos Watson at College Track that has been working for over a decade to change the lives of under privileged youth by keeping them in school and preparing them for college.

So why not have Bill Clinton turn his full attention to rebuilding America? Obama's not doing it so what the heck? Call it whatever you want to, but just do it. Bring together all of the Laurene Powell Jobs with those like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Mark put his money where it mattered - the City of Newark, New Jersey's inner city public schools, a place close to my heart. Consider the results, if the Clinton Global Initiative took a year or two to turn their full force to rebuild this country, not some third world country. We need the likes of Clinton to mobilize, incentivize and give us comfort as the Tea Party rains empty sound and fury rhetoric down on our heads. Who better? To heck with those who do not believe it is politically expedient!.

Bill Clinton gets it because if the US is broken, it will derail all of his global initiatives and we would not want that. If we can't get it done in Congress (and we cannot), then we must forge new public/private partnerships. The former President hinted at an effort, like the WPA (Works Progress Administration), in which people went back to work to rebuild the infrastructure of this country. In fact, the WPA was the largest agency of the New Deal employing and feeding millions. Who knows why the White House isn't using an Executive Order to start such a public works program instead of fighting about extending unemployment benefits.

I like my fellow blogger Yotta Point believe that there is work to be done on the domestic front that could leverage the infrastructure of a CGI-like effort. It will take a village to start the hard work of rebuilding this country, and it must be done brick by brick. Indeed we are falling behind the world in terms of education, math and science, and qualified job applicants for the next generation of jobs. The call to action is to make this happen. Instead of being one of the many threads at the annual convening of CGI - this could become the sole focus, or at least an independent focus, to repair America for the next few years. We might make it happen if Clinton and his mighty Foundation marshal their forces to rebuild this country's economy, and heal the social fabric. Instead of rage rallies and tea, the best and brightest could come together for public discourse, and problem solving in CGI-like forums. CNN and the other broadcasters cannot do, and there are few other outlets capable of something of this magnitude.

Mr. Clinton, we need your global initiative to become local. After all, we've got Madame Secretary watching over the world from the State Department for the next few years. The people of this country are in big trouble. Help us think globally and act locally.

Note: originally posted on the Huffington Post, "Clinton's Global Initiative Gets Local."


Posted by Michelle at 9:07 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 3, 2010

If 60+ Organizations Representing 30+ Million People Gave a Press Conference In A Forest …

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

If more than 60 organizations representing more than 30 million people gave a press conference in a forest and no media covers it ... will these 30-plus million people still vote against politicians who vote to cut Social Security benefits? You can bet your seat in Congress they will!

Last week leaders of more than 60 national organizations that represent more than 30 million Americans held a press conference to announce a campaign to protect Social Security. Also this weekend the Tea Party held a national rally in Philadelphia and approximately 300 people showed up. (A local Apple Store opening drew more people.)

So which do you hear more about in the media, the Tea Party, or the 30-million-strong campaign to protect Social Security? Do I need to answer that?

At Columbia Journalism Review, Trudy Lieberman writes in, Who Will Tell the People?,

. . . when it comes to Social Security, the MSM, where most Americans still get their news, have been MIA. You could almost say that Social Security has become the MSM’s third rail. For the most part, nobody wants to touch it. [. . .] It has been this way all year, ever since Obama established his deficit commission in January, thus raising the stakes for Social Security. The MSM’s treatment of the program is all the more puzzling since any changes the commission brings forth will be far more important to most Americans than health reform ever was or will be. A vigorous public discussion has yet to take place, and the commentary so far has been framed mostly by one side of the issue—the deficit hawks, privatizers, and Peter G. Peterson acolytes who believe Social Security (and other entitlements) are causing the deficits.

Politicians, do not be fooled by one-sided coverage of the Social Security issue. 60+ organizations representing 30+ million members will carry more weight on election day than corporate-funded astroturf "Tea Party" organizations that can't get more than 300 people to a national rally.

Citizens, demand that your representatives take the pledge to protect Social Security. Click here: Hands off Social Security: No increase in the retirement age, no privatization, no Social Security cuts. Sign the petition to your member of Congress.

Campaign for America's Future is tracking which representatives are and are not signing the pledge. Click here to watch the list grow.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:07 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

July 14, 2010

Against All Odds: Save the Middle Class and the American Dream

The American Dream is what is at stake for the Obama Administration, and they know it. This is the dirty, little secret that can longer be contained -- it is escalating, cannot remain hidden, and may have significant political ramifications for the 2010 elections. The atrocity of the past years is this broken promise with the people, and it is deeply affecting the way they think, behave, vote and live. Moreover, it could begin to explain the groundswell response to candidate Barack Obama in 2008. The power of his words helped them believe that the dream was recoverable. He exemplified what was possible through education and hard work in his meteoric rise through American politics to the Oval Office. Further and more importantly, it also explains why we are now suffering such profound political despair reflected in the dropping poll numbers.

The middle class, for its survival, needs life to return to a semblance of "normalcy" - a time when they didn't know how to spell the word "deficit" and didn't have to care. They want their retirement savings back so they don't have to work until they drop. They want a bank account that makes more then one percent interest. They want to know what their health insurance premiums will be this year and in ten. They want to know if their kids study, and if they save and sacrifice, that their lives will be better. They want their kids to get good jobs, and they want to hold onto our own jobs. And with despair and anger they realize that despite the heroic work of the Congress with this President in passing landmark legislation in all of these areas -- they still are not safe. Economic ruin may still be right around the corner, and makes it hard to sleep at night.

You know we've all been hoodwinked and sold a bill of goods about the sanctity of the middle class in this country. It is a basic tenet of our lives, and made us different from other countries. The ranks swelled over the last decades after FDR to the present. But now for the first time since the Great Depression, the middle class is at risk of tipping over once and for all. They are not coming out of the financial, housing and environmental crises intact. Interest rates have ratcheted up on the family home, maybe there's a balloon payment on the mortgage and its impossible to refinance under the "new" programs; savings have virtually no interest and are drying up; pensions have evaporated; health insurance premiums are basically unaffordable until 2014 if then; schools are overcrowded and on the decline; there are no jobs except in China and they don't speak Mandarin; and unemployment is still at 9.5% -- higher in key areas throughout the country. The new legislation is riddled with loopholes, as all legislation can be after laborious compromises and extensive details. What is different is that each of these loopholes is flagrantly being exploited by the banks, the credit card companies and the health insurance companies. For example, many of the unemployed cannot qualify for COBRA because their companies failed which is code for closed their doors. COBRA is not available when a company terminates their health insurance plan, and 2014 is a long way off when you need health insurance coverage now.

Frankly, this is not what the middle class signed up for. It was not part of the implicit promise made to them. As a result, they are angry (enter stage right the Tea Party to exploit this vulnerability), and depressed (evidenced in the lackluster June election voter turnout). This is a deadly combination that could seal the deal on the November elections for the big, bad guys. Yet somehow the middle class and its Democrats must rally again and rise above the collective depression (no pun intended). We cannot let the brilliant and effective message machine of the Republican Party lull them into universal amnesia -- forgetting all the wrongs of the past. Remember these are the same guys (Bush and Cheney) that put the nails in the coffin cementing the potential extermination of the middle class. These same guys two weeks ago even blocked the extension of unemployment benefits while they frolicked on vacation. How could they do that to working families in this country? The extension passed the House before the break, but was filibustered in the Senate. And given all that, imagine life when we essentially give away the House because we are too depressed to vote or disorganized to keep these seats.

I will take liberal Speaker Nancy Pelosi any day over anti-choice, sanctimonious Republican Representative John Boehner as Speaker of the House. That would be a bad dream that just keeps on giving. This threat should be enough for the White House to saddle up and come out with a plan, a message (remember "hope and change"), and leadership to deliver - not the White House Press Secretary Gibbs message yesterday. David Gregory of Meet the Press has gotten so very good and Gibbs just walked into a fiasco announcing the potential lose of seats in the House. It was as bad as giving away candy instead of feeding the homeless, and maybe that's why White House Special Advisor, David Axelrod, was so snarky with CNN's Candy Crowley during the next hour on the Sunday morning political shows because it sure didn't make any sense.

Snarky or not, we all know Obama and his team are awful busy with the economy, the oil spill and a few dozen Russian spies, but we need them to reach out to that disenfranchised middle class again, aka big voting block. After all, Obama is the master communicator and we know that he can do it because he has done it before to win in 2008. And now the stakes may even be higher. If we allow 40 seats in the House to go asunder and a few more in the US Senate -- we can start waving bye-bye to the American Dream, the middle class, economic recovery, and maybe the Supreme Court for the next couple of decades.

Please see my Pearltree for some of the reference materials with more to come. This is a new tool to organize and share materials on the web. In full disclosure, I advise them as they build out the new features of this platform.

Middlle Class

Note, an earlier version of this article appeared this week on the Huffington Post.

Posted by Michelle at 1:32 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

April 9, 2010

URGENT: Stop CNN From Airing Deficit Propaganda

Please read URGENT: Stop CNN From Airing Deficit Propaganda | OurFuture.org

This weekend, CNN is giving four hours of free airtime to the leading propagandist fanning the flames of deficit hysteria, Pete Peterson, along with his lackeys.  Bloggers and online activists are joining today to promote this action:

Click here to demand CNN stop giving free airtime to deficit crazies this weekend – And if they do go ahead with this programming, tell them to provide balance to Pete Peterson's deficit hysteria. Give equal time to defenders of Social Security, Medicare and public investment.

VIDEO




Roger Hickey discusses the CNN/Peterson Foundation deficit program with Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.


CNN plans to air Peterson's thoroughly debunked propaganda movie "I.O.U.S.A," – and then his acolytes will have free reign to spread their usual lies about Social Security, Medicare and government in general without any fiscal expert to challenge them and give a different point of view.


How do we know? Because CNN did the exact same thing with "I.O.U.S.A" last year. No debate. Just Peterson's propaganda.


Is this how "the most trusted name in news" should cover the debates on retirement security, job creation and fighting poverty?


We have just one day to get CNN to balance it's programming.


Click here to demand CNN stop these programs – or give equal time to defenders of Social Security, Medicare and public investment.


Whose voices will be shut out this weekend?


The nation's leading economists who are urging our government to use deficits today to invest in long-term prosperity – such as Paul Krugman, James Galbraith and Dean Baker.


The fiscal experts who have repeatedly said Social Security is sound and broader health care reform will protect Medicare.


All of you who voted for an active government to invest in our future.


While you are kept silent, who does CNN give the microphone to?


A multimillionaire Wall Street mogul who wants our government to slash investments while millions are losing their jobs.  This guy had no problem taking tax cuts for the wealthy that caused our deficit problems – and his Wall St buddies crashed the economy.


NOTE:  Peterson is holding an April 28 “Fiscal Summit” to once repeat his “way forward” out of the deficits caused by tax cuts for the wealthy and the financial crisis caused by Wall Street and the bankers.   On the program:  President Bill Clinton and former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin, who deregulated the financial system, profiting Rubin’s Citibank – until the system melted down.  Also on the program, Alan Greenspan, the former Fed Chief who presided over the deregulated banking system.  These are the people Peterson chooses to lecture the rest of us about why we need painful austerity.  This weekend’s CNN programs are just a setup for April 28. 


Click here to demand CNN give equal time to defenders of Social Security, Medicare and public investment.


We are in the midst of a great debate over the direction America should take.


"The most trusted name in news" should be the place where we have the debate, not where one opinion is deemed to be absolute truth.


We already have a cable news network that does that. We don't need another unfair, unbalanced channel



Speak out today. Don't let Pete Peterson take over the debate about our future.  

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:02 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

February 17, 2010

Easy Way To Comment To FDIC On Bank Pay

If you think excessive bank pay creates excessive risk-taking, here is something you can do. http://bit.ly/djiYod Leave a comment to this thread at Open Left and it will be submitted to the FDIC.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:22 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

June 20, 2009

Corp Media Wont Report On Health Insurers

Do read this by dday and then watch the video below. Health insurers refuse to stop denying coverage to people after they get sick. Testifying to Congress they said, "No" they will not stop this. Watch the video.

If you know about this at all it is because you read blogs. The corporate media outlets refuse to let the public know about this. You can come up with a number of reasons, but the fact is that they are not reporting on this story.

So go read Daily Kos: Paul Begala calls out the media: expose the insurance industry!

Since the media will not report on this, you have to. Send the video to people and explain to them what it means. Health insurance companies refuse to stop "rescission" which is denying insured people the coverage they have paid for -- after they get sick. This is why we need at the very least a "public option" in health care coverage. Demand this.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:28 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

June 18, 2009

ACTION: Put an End to Backroom Health Care Deals

If you want the health care reform to have a "public option" instead of just orgering you to hand your money over to private insurance companies, you need to go read and DO this: Open Left:: ACTION: Put an End to Backroom Health Care Deals


Today, along with Health Care for America Now, Democracy for America and numerous blogs, a campaign is being launched to put an end to the backroom deals on health care. We made and delivered on a commitment to bring about wide Democratic majorities in Congress. Now, instead of negotiating in secret, this Congress needs to make a public commitment to us on where it stands on health care.

. . . Email--don't call, but email--these four questions to your Senators now. Make it clear that you want a written response to all four questions. There needs to be as little room for interpretation as possible. The Senate is going to be the biggest hurdle on health care, as it has proven to the biggest hurdle on all legislation in 2009. That is where we must focus our pressure.

OK, so the big corporations have the power to keep us from getting a national health care plan, but we can at least fight for an option to buy into a Medicare-like plan.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:51 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

June 16, 2009

Donate For The Health Care Fight

"Hi,

I just made a donation to help ensure that real health care reform becomes a reality this year.

Today, spiraling health care costs are pushing our families and businesses to the brink of ruin, while millions of Americans go without the care they desperately need. Fixing this broken system will be enormously difficult.

To prevail, we must once more build a coast-to-coast operation ready to knock on doors, deploy volunteers, get out the facts and defy expectations with what ordinary people can do.

Will you make a donation to keep this grassroots movement going strong?

https://donate.barackobama.com/ObamaHealthCare

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:05 PM | Comments (2) | Link Cosmos

June 11, 2009

Naming Dems Who Are In It For The Money

Common Cause released a study of the recent vote on the legislation to allow bankruptcy judges to change the terms of mortgages (known as :cram-down") so people don't have to lose their houses. As you already guessed the Democrats who kept this from passing received money - a lot of money, an average of $58,894 in the 2008 election cycle - from the banking and finance special interests, while the rest of the Democrats did not. This vote was a strictly pay-for-play bribe and we need to do something about Democrats who take money from big corporations and then vote against the public interest. (All the Republicans voted with the big corporations, by the way.)

An article about the study t r u t h o u t | Study Follows the Money on Cram-Down Vote names the names:

[the] 39 Republicans needed Democratic help to kill the bill. And they got it.

The 12 Democratic senators who crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans were Max Baucus (Montana), Michael Bennet (Colorado), Robert Byrd (West Virginia), Thomas Carper (Delaware), Byron Dorgan (North Dakota), Tim Johnson (South Dakota), Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas), Ben Nelson (Nebraska), Mark Pryor (Arkansas), Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania) and Jon Tester (Montana).

If you live in a state with one of these Senators, call their office and let them know how you feel about them taking money to vote for big corporate interests. This money-taking is nothing less than bribery, corruption and is an affront to democracy.

Also, more votes backing financial industry rip-offfs of the public:

Many of the Democrats who sided with the financial industry in the "cram-down" vote were instrumental in blocking a proposed 15 percent cap on interest rates that credit card companies can charge. Senators Baucus, Byrd, Carper, Johnson, Landrieu, Lincoln, Ben Nelson, Specter and Tester joined with Senators Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Evan Bayh (D- Indiana), Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico), Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), Kay Hagan (D-North Carolina), Ted Kaufman (D-Delaware), Patty Murray (D-Washington), Bill Nelson (D-Florida), Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and Mark Warner (D-Virginia), in opposition to the anti-usury bill sponsored by Vermont's Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:42 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

June 6, 2009

Break Up The Big Banks!

A New Way Forward


The bailouts are widening the gap between the rich and poor. Our government has spent trillions of our dollars to prop up a banking system that has failed the country. Wall St. needs to be stopped. We demand that our government break up the insolvent banks and never again let them get so big that they distort our politics and corrupt the economy.

During the week of June 8th, Americans will host national video screenings and town hall forums to learn about the crisis and begin working on restoring our economy and democracy.
Obama's election proved that the American people are "too big to fail". Now, we need to work for the structural change that we can truly believe in - DOWNLOAD THE ANWF-EXCLUSIVE EDUCATIONAL VIDEO on the economic crisis and get your event started.

RIGHT CLICK TO DOWNLOAD VIDEO or watch below.
HOST YOUR EVENT

To get us on the right track, we advocate for structural change to the financial sector so that it serves the public and enhances our democracy. Sign up to a New Way Forward to get updates and share your ideas.

GO THERE to see links, sign up, and see WHERE people are gathering.


Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:30 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

May 29, 2009

A Call To Action For Health Care

Go read Daily Kos: A Call To Arms: Howard Dean NEEDS Your Help Today! and please help by doing some or all of what is asked.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:35 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

April 25, 2009

MUST Prosecute

There is a great diary over at Daily Kos: They Are Telling Us They Will Torture Again. Go read.

This is the deal: We HAVE TO investigate and prosecute, or they will just keep doing it. Senators can write strongly-worded statements and lock them in a safe, as Sen. Rockefeller did to protest illegal wiretapping, and it won't stop anything. Investigate and prosecute. Lay down the law. Make the statement that we do not tolerate this, and will punish those who do it.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:48 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

February 12, 2009

Urgent - Call Congress For Stimulus

I received this from Bill Scher:

We are receiving word that right-wingers are flooding Congress with phone calls against the final deal. For this to pass on a wave of momentum that strengthens political will for further bold action, please get the word out to your networks and readers to call Congress TODAY in support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Americans United toll-free number 1-866-544-7573 that takes you to the congressional switchboard is still up, but people are having a hard time getting through to the switchboard because of the volume of calls. So I suggest giving people options.

Anyone can find out how to contact their House and Senate members directly, in Washington or at home, at these links.

http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.shtml
http://senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

And Campaign for America's Future has an email tool you can point folks to at
http://ga3.org/campaign/econ_recovery_now


Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:13 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

February 4, 2009

Obama - Deafening Silence

Chris Bowers, Open Left:: What Does Obama Want Us To Do?,

What, exactly, does President Obama want his supporters to be doing? Even though millions are still willing to take action on his behalf, the calls to action have gone completely silent.

There is a major leadership vacuum right now. For the past two years, there was a consistent implication that Obama's grassroots network would play some sort of role in helping President Obama govern. So far, however, they have played no role whatsoever, and been asked to play none.

. . . What does President Obama want his supporters to do? For that matter, what does President Obama want the American people to do? We are in the midst of a major crisis right now, and shown time and time again that we are willing to take action to help remedy the problem. Millions, tens of millions, of people feel incredibly frustrated, trapped even, and are unsure what to do next. While they are ready to act, someone needs to make the ask. Right now, the person to make the ask is President Obama, but he isn't doing it. What does President Obama want us to do? The silence is deafening.

It's like Obama has gone completely insider, as if he was back in the Senate. He's starting to lose this out in the rest of the country and doesn't seem to see it. It is time to call on the PUBLIC to get involved. Is he afraid this will upset the "bipartisanship"?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:18 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

February 2, 2009

CALL Your Senators

If you want that stimulus bill to pass the Senate you need to CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY and tell them.

Alternatively, you may phone the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:26 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

October 23, 2008

Ron Howard's Call To Action

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:16 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Don't Let Anyone Say You Can't Vote

If they say you can't vote:

1) Don't take no for an answer.
2) Demand a provisional ballot.
3) Follow up to be sure it is counted.
4) Call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (they are on the web at http://www.866ourvote.org/ same as the phone number.)
5) Be ready, go to the No More Stolen Elections website now.



Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:06 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 21, 2008

Election Protection Wiki News Roundup

Volunteers at the Center for Media and Democracy’s Election Protection Wiki continue to collect reports of ongoing voter suppression.

Among the reports on the Election Protection Wiki from the last few days:

Michigan: GOP admits foreclosure voter suppression scheme.

California voters say they were duped into registering as Republicans

West Virginia: voters say electronic voting machines changed their votes from Democrats to Republicans.

US Supreme Court sides with Ohio election officials against striking 200,000 from the voting roles.

And the Obama campaign has asked the Justice Department to expand the special prosecutor’s DOJ politicization probe to see if the ACORN accusations are related

The volunteers are collecting information on polling place shortages, voting machine malfunctions, ballot misprints, voter roll purges, voter intimidation and other election threats. At the same time they are contributing to issue articles on exit polls, student disenfranchisement, the ACORN controversy and other important topics. All of this is being collected into a central location for use by media, activists, advocates and policy-makers on and after election day.

We need every hand we can get to help us get this information ready in time. Come to the Election Protection Wiki and help keep this election honest.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:28 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 16, 2008

Call Out For Election Protection Wiki Help

The Election Protection Wiki needs more tipsters and volunteers to help build our library of reports of voter suppression, questionable voting machines and the like before Election Day!

Volunteers at the Center for Media and Democracy’s Election Protection Wiki have collected unbelievable reports of voter suppression nationwide in the nine days since it went online.

Among the reports on the EPWiki:

  • In Colorado and New Mexico there are not enough voting booths or machines for Election Day.

  • Students in Virginia are receiving probing questionnaires from voting officials falsely implying they don’t have the right to vote there.
  • In Ohio alone, more than 600,000 newly-registered voters are threatened with purging.
  • There are reports of sometimes-illegal mass voter roll purges in Michigan, New Mexico, Florida, Georgia, Colorado
    and other states. Several states are even purging voter rolls of people who are “Bob” on driver’s licenses and “Robert” on voter registration forms.
  • Officials in Indiana are avoiding setting up polling places in areas of the state heavily populated by minorities.
  • The Republican Party in Michigan planned to challenge the registrations of every voter whose home had been foreclosed on recently.
  • ACORN, which has been held out as a bogeyman for voter fraud (though only 26 TOTAL cases of voter fraud were prosecuted nationwide from 2002 – 2005), has bad registration rates below the California Republican Party’s and a lawsuit alleging fraud in 2004 was dismissed by a judge for lack of merit?
  • And, of course, there are ongoing worries across the country about electronic voting machines.
The Election Protection Wiki (at EPWiki.org) is the only website trying to document and centralize these reports, which were found scattered across the Web by volunteers. We are trying to get everything ready so activists, advocates and the media have a central place to go on Election Day for immediate information about these issues.

We need your help to collect more reports. No experience is necessary and CMD staffers are here to help with ready-to-go simple tasks and any support you need. Please join us in protecting the right to vote – go to EPWiki.org and click on “things you can do” to begin.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:11 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 13, 2008

Take The No More Stolen Elections Pledge

This came in my email:

SIGN THE PLEDGE OF ACTION: CLICK HERE

Many say the 2008 election is being stolen right now. If two stolen elections are two too many, are you prepared to accept a third?

Please read the following important call to action from Liberty Tree, together with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Fletcher, Daniel Ellsberg, David Cobb, Frances Moore Lappé, Frances Piven, Holly Near, Jerome Scott, Jim Hightower, John Cavanagh, John Nichols, Manning Marable, Marcus Raskin, Maude Hurd, Medea Benjamin, Mimi Kennedy, Norman Solomon, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Robert McChesney, Starhawk, Tom Hayden, Van Jones, and many more.

Then, if you haven't already, please go to http://www.NoMoreStolenElections.org and join us -- take the pledge of action.

Finally, please forward this message far and wide. Let's make certain that ~this~ time, the will of the people decides Election Day.

CALL TO ACTION: No More Stolen Elections!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:21 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 4, 2008

Bold Progressives

Bold Progressives,

Please email the below message to your progressive friends and family.
This week, Democrats helped George W. Bush and Republicans loot the federal treasury and hand billions over to Wall Street.

For some reason, we can never find money for kids' health care, clean energy, or other progressive priorities. But when it comes to right-wing priorities like war and giveaways to failed Wall Street executives, Republicans always find the money and Democrats go along.

There were progressive solutions to the financial crisis that would have truly held Wall Street accountable and helped the middle class. But instead of fighting for a bold progressive alternative, Democrats caved to the least popular president in history.

ENOUGH. Anyone with common sense will vote for Barack Obama and Democratic congressional candidates this November. But it's time for citizens to fight back and take this pledge -- will you join in signing it?

"In 2009 and beyond, I will be part of the movement that pushes Democrats to be bold progressives -- and that helps pass a bold progressive agenda into law."
Go read the rest and sign the pledge! And tell others!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:02 PM | Comments (2) | Link Cosmos

October 2, 2008

Vote

Forward this to five people:

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:33 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

September 29, 2008

We Must Stop This Bailout Sold With Fear

This bailout bill hands over the rest of our money to a few Wall Street firms. It does not address the causes of the financial problems. In fact it likely makes them worse yet leaves us nothing to fix the actual problems.

It is being rammed through before the people get a chance to weigh in. It is being rammed through using fear and confusion. We, the People are not being allowed to understand and debate this massive, massive transfer of our money. That by itself should be sufficient warning that a scam is underway.

Stirling Newberry: The Fate of the Union,

We must say no. And we must tell the people who work for us. This bill is not nothing else than the meaning of America itself. We have a choice of two Americas, one where enabling acts are rammed through under the cover of darkness and obscurity, with and in the shadow of fear, the other where there is, yet, some slim hope for our Democracy. The waves of the people's revolution must overwhelm the dike and dams of privilege on this day, or there will be no tomorrow.

[. . .] Paulson's plan was not conceived in a few hours, but planned and prepared for months, and only launched upon the public at a moment of perceived panic. The executive hid it in its dark recesses, waiting for a moment to launch it upon us. This alone should be enough for a legislature with any scrap of republican spirit, or democratic pride, or American honor, to reject it out of hand and demand that it be worked a new, from wholly different principles.

[. . .] Who has spoken for the people? With all the cameras and conferences, we have not had a voice. Locked out from a Byzantine process, we have been told to wait while others decide our fate. A curtain of night and fog surrounded the negotiations, with repeated declarations that deal was reached, taking for granted in the absolute the people's assent.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:15 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

September 28, 2008

Exec Pay IS NOT In This Bailout Bill

OK, so the bailout bill is out. We have been talk all along that executive pay limits would be in a bailout bill. But it is NOT in the bill.

One of the ways this bailout was made somewhat palatable was that executives of firms bailed out would have their massive paychecks reduced. To me this meant:
1) They wouldn't be going for bailout money unless they really meant it
2) Bailout money wold be used to help pay their massive paychecks.

Instead there is a provision that limits tax deductions on executive pay for the top five executives. As if this means anything.

So with executive pay limits NOT in the bill, when we were told it would be, we need to find out why it this not in the bill, where it went, and why we are being told lies intended to sell us on the bill.

This is the kind of thing that sets us alarm bells for me.

Update - Here is what has happened to the bill, from a right-wing perspective. Interesting. Everything good appears to be out now.

Call your representative and DEMAND that they vote against the bill! It is JUST a handout of all the rest of our money, to rich Wall Street firms.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:06 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 8, 2008

Today Is Accountability Money-Bomb Day

I have had the "StrangeBedfellows" August 8 Money Bomb ad up in the left column for a while. Well today is the day. Go donate!

August 8, 2008—this is the date for our Strangebedfellows MONEYBOMB on behalf of constitutional rights and civil liberties in America. Let's remove from power the key enablers of the tyrannical and lawless FISA 'compromise;' we can end the Patriot Act—and so much more. Join with us by pledging now—right here at AccountabilityNowPAC.com. Become a part of our transpartisan alliance of freedom lovers! Be a Strangebedfellow!
Richard Blair at All Spin Zone has a great writeup on this project:

A few weeks back, the Democratic Party leadership, in both the House and the Senate, capitulated to the petulant demands of George W. Bush, and passed the revised FISA bill. The bill not only codified warrentless wiretapping, but retroactively provided telecommunications companies with immunity from civil lawsuits on the behalf of U.S. citizens who have had their privacy violated at the behest of the Bush administration.

Accountability Now was formed by online activists from across the political spectrum in order to create public education campaigns (TV, print, and internet advertising), and to hold politicians accountable for their actions that run counter to constitutional principles. More information on the organization is available here.

Progressives, conservatives, and libertarians are being asked to contribute today to the effort. Whether it’s $5, $10, $20, $5000, or simply a show of support by whatever means available, today’s “money bomb” (similar to the fundraising efforts that drove Ron Paul’s presidential campaign earlier this year) is key to the success in holding our political leaders accountable to we, the people.

Please go read Richard's whole post and PLEASE go throw a few bucks to this great project.

Become a StrangeBedfellow!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

(RED)

James Boyce has a piece over at Huffington Post that I'm sending readers over to see: Creative Capitalism, (RED) And A Time To Try, And Believe In, A New Way.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 29, 2008

Media Matters Ad

Go help Media Matters put a great ad on the air:Take the Pledge: Hold the Media Accountable

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 19, 2008

Post A Sign

"If you just had one person in every city doing what I do you wouldn't be able to drive anywhere without seeing a protest against the war."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 6, 2008

Impeach!

Every American should read Why I Believe Bush Must Go byGeorge McGovern in today's Washington Post.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 21, 2007

Toys With Lead - Where Is Government?

There is lead in the toys our kids play with. What is the Republican government doing about it?

Accepting expensive trips, etc. from the toy industry, refusing to inspect toys. What else did you expect?

And who's gonna do anything about it, punk. Democrats in Congress? Not on your life. (Or your kids' lives.)

Campaign for america's Future has a petition. Go sign it, and send others to see the video.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 8, 2007

Is Fox News A Soft-Porn Network?

I've long noticed that Fox's MySpace is a soft-porn enterprise. Now Brave New Films is taking on Fox News for the same.

Watch the video:

Go here for a petition :FOX Attacks Decency with Bill O'Reilly Leading the Way

Demand "a la carte" cable television.

Under current law, you cannot opt-out of FOX. You are forced to put money in FOX's pockets every time you pay your cable bill.

The best way to keep FOX out of your home is to force cable companies to offer "a la carte" cable, where you only pay for the channels you want. A la carte will lower your cable bill, prevent inappropriate programming from entering your home, and will keep your money out of FOX's pockets.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 21, 2007

War Profiteering and Corruption -- Here Is Something You Can Do

Frank Rich's column today, Suicide Is Not Painless, talks about the systematic corruption of defense contracting, especially where Iraq is involved.

Here's the thing. You and I read the blogs, so we already know at least something about what is going on. You and I know about, for example, the truckloads of cash that were shipped to Iraq to be handed out in bricks. We know about the $9 billion that just disappeared. But most people in the country are not exposed to the information that blog readers take for granted, haven't heard about it, and would have a hard time believing that anything like this is going on. I'm serious. But remember, a huge chunk of the population still thinks that Iraq attacked us on 9/11 - or was at least involved - and there's a big chunk that believes that weapons of mass destruction were found.

There is something we can all do to help. Today's column about the corruption should be sent around by e-mail to people who don't usually read blogs.

Please help with this by e-mailing it to people. People need to know about the corruption and fraud that our huge "defense" budget is generating. If more people understood what is going on, there would be less vulnerability to Republican propaganda that says cutting military budgets - or even having hearings looking into the corruption - is unpatriotic. That kind of talk is nothing but a game to keep the corruption going, but it will keep working unless more people learn about what is going on and where their money is going.

The Abramoff corruption machine was modeled after the defense-contractor scheme, but was tiny and amateurish in comparison. (For example, the Abramoff operation didn't actually buy entire media companies as a way to help keep people from learning about the racket, as defense contractors have done.)

Please read Frank Rich's column today, and please, please send it to friends and relatives who might not otherwise see what is going on. And ask them to send it on to others!

Please read it, and e-mail it to others. Then, after you have done that, read Billions over Baghdad, another story about the massive corruption.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 23, 2007

Go Visit MoveOn.org

Have you visited MoveOn's website lately? MoveOn.org: Democracy in Action

MoveOn is run by its members - you and me. Completely. They only have 17 employees. MoveOn is about what YOU want the organization to do.

From their About page:

With over 3.3 million members across America – from carpenters to stay-at-home moms to business leaders – we work together to realize the progressive promise of our country. MoveOn is a service – a way for busy but concerned citizens to find their political voice in a system dominated by big money and big media.

... Every member has a voice in choosing the direction for both MoveOn.org Political Action and MoveOn.org Civic Action. Using our ActionForum software, you can propose priorities and strategies. Both organizations also take the initiative to organize quick action on other timely issues that our members care about.

If you are not a MoveOn member this is a good time to sign up.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 30, 2007

Don't Be Fooled

A Republican front-group called Freedoms Watch is saturating the TV with ads saying Iraq attacked the United States on 9/11.

Please watch the following response, and send it to friends and others. Take action - start your own"viral e-mail."

The Republican ads repeat the phrase "we're seeing results" and :things are getting better" and ask people to hold out for "victory." This is obvious focus-group-tested wording. The phrases have no meaning, but they sound good. It sounds reasonable to "hold out" when "things are getting better."

But it's just a lie.

What does "victory" mean? Who are we supposed to be fighting? How do we "win"?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 1, 2007

Senate Republicans Are Obstructing EVERYthing

This is a call to action. The Republicans in the Senate have blocked pretty much every single piece of legislation since the Democrats took over. How long can this go on? As long as the public lets them.

You can help bring this to the public's attention. There is a petition asking Senator Reid to force a real filibuster. This is a dramatic gesture that the public will love, and will bring attention to the fact that the Republicans are blocking everything. See Expose The Obstructionists | Campaign for America's Future,

Americans elected a new Congress to get things done. But the conservative minority has chosen a strategy of obstruction in the Senate. They have used the threat of a filibuster to delay or block virtually every major initiative.

... In its first 40 hours, the new majority of the House of Representatives kept their promise to voters and passed legislation—increasing the minimum wage for the first time in a decade, empowering Medicare to negotiate lower prices on drugs, cutting interest rates on student loans in half, revoking big oil subsidies and using the money to invest in renewable energy—that provided a down payment for a new direction for this country.

These bills are overwhelmingly popular, and are simply common sense reforms. Yet every one of them—and many more—got held up in the U.S. Senate.

Conservatives boast about the “success” of their strategy in discrediting the new majority. As Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott, R-Miss., put it, “the strategy of being obstructionist can work or fail. So far it’s working for us.”

... It’s time to take the gloves off.

The first step is to expose the obstruction to the American people. Let’s urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to force a real filibuster. Keep the bills on the floor and force vote after vote, exposing the obstructionists. We’ll organize in states across the country to insure that their constituents know exactly who is standing in the way of progress.

Campaign for America’s Future is creating a petition to Reid, urging him to expose the obstructionists. Please join the petition. Let’s insure that Americans are clear on who is pushing for change and who is standing in the way.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 29, 2007

Urgent Action On Elections - FEC Nomination

One of the main people behind the Republican scams to keep people from voting has now been nominated by Bush to be ON THE FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION!!!! This is as bad as it gets.

See Keep Yer Vote Thievin' Hans Off the Federal Election Commission: Action Alert!,

... Hans von Spakovsky is up for confirmation June 13 as a member of the Federal Election Commission.

[. . .]
Hans Von Spakovsky will appear before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration on June 13, 2007, at 10:00 a.m. for his confirmation hearing. He must be stopped. Confirmation by the Senate would keep this scourge on the American electoral process on the Federal Election Commission until 2011. Please help keep Hans von Spakovsky off the FEC. Here's the membership of the Committee. I have included telephone numbers and hyperlinked to each Senator's contact page, where you can leave comments electronically.

See the extended entry to learn who to call:

Democrats Dianne Feinstein (CA) - (202) 224-3841 Robert Byrd (WV) - (202) 224-3954 Daniel Inouye (HI) - (202) 224-3934 Christopher Dodd (CT) - (202) 224-2823 Charles Schumer (NY) - (202) 224-6542 Richard Durbin (IL) - (202) 224-2152 Ben Nelson (NE) - (202) 224-6551 Harry Reid (NV) - (202) 224-3542 Patty Murray (WA) - (202) 224-2621 Mark Pryor (AR) - (202) 224-2353

Republicans
Robert Bennett (UT) - (202) 224-5444
Mitch McConnell (KY) - (202) 224-2541
Thad Cochran (MS) - (202) 224-5054
Trent Lott (MS) - (202) 224-6253
Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) - (202) 224-5922
Saxby Chambliss (GA) - (202) 224-3521
Chuck Hagel (NE) - (202) 224-4224
Lamar Alexander (TN) - (202) 224-4944

If you are a constituent of one of these Senators, please call or write. If you are not a constituent of any of these Senators, please call or write anyway and also call your own Senator. If von Spakovsky makes it through committee, we will need the help of all Senators on the floor.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 23, 2007

Gore on Fire

I saw Al Gore talk at a book signing for his book, The Assault On Reason, in Marin County (north of San Francisco) this evening. He was supposed to talk for a short time, take questions and sign books, but he just got going an gave one of the most inspired, intelligent and I think historically important articulations of the current threat to the American experiment and our democracy that I have heard. He was just on fire.

Gore says our country’s problems go beyond the manipulations and corruptions of Bush and Cheney. He talks about what has happened to this country that we could have ever allow a Bush and Cheney and their lies and evasions and incuriosity to take the reigns of our government – and allowed them to stay there after it became clear what they are about. And he has some very insightful things to say about the historical forces that brought us where we are, and how they might guide us through this.

At times he sounded like a guru, talking about “truthforce,” about how honesty enables us to see clearly without the distortions and distractions that come from constant TV exposure to trivia like gossip about Paris Hilton and Britney and work to push deadly situations like the Iraq war and global warming from our discourse. This is a man who has thought about what is happening to us, and who has the vision and experience to come up with some answers.

He asked how could not just the President, but the Congress, the media and the rest of our system of checks and balances and watchdogs have let Iraq – which he called the worst strategic blunder in our history – happen? How could he public have been fooled into thinking that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11? It’s not just Bush who did that – it’s all of us. Bush is just a symptom. We are ALL responsible for the decisions our country makes. So we all have to get involved and start fixing this broken system. Democracy is not a spectator sport.

I have only had time to read excerpts from Gore’s book, The Assault On Reason, but I predict that the conversation it fuels will be fundamentally and historically important. Buy this book! And listen for news of Gore coming to your area, or appearing on TV, to talk about this subject. The guy is just on fire and I think that fire could catch and spread and help bring about the changes we need.

It’s late or I would write more. I am inspired. (does it show?) I hope that a video of this evening’s talk surfaces soon. I'll post about it if I learn of one.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 19, 2007

Put Your Mouth Where Your Heart Is

AlterNet: EnviroHealth: You Call Yourself a Progressive -- But You Still Eat Meat?,

Eating a plant-based diet is an easy, cheap way to end animal cruelty and clean up the environment. Why, then, are so many progressives still clinging to their chicken nuggets?
It's also so much healthier.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 19, 2007

More Bad Global Warming News Coming

Take this seriously.

Climate change: scientists warn it may be too late to save the ice caps | Climate change,

A critical meltdown of ice sheets and severe sea level rise could be inevitable because of global warming, the world's scientists are preparing to warn their governments. New studies of Greenland and Antarctica have forced a UN expert panel to conclude there is a 50% chance that widespread ice sheet loss "may no longer be avoided" because of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Such melting would raise sea levels by four to six metres, the scientists say. It would cause "major changes in coastline and inundation of low-lying areas" and require "costly and challenging" efforts to move millions of people and infrastructure from vulnerable areas. The previous official line, issued in 2001, was that the chance of such an event was "not well known, but probably very low".

Translating for Americans: four to six "metres" is about 13 to 20 feet. This report says the oceans WILL rise. EVERY coastal city in the world WILL be another New Orleans. Take this seriously.

Two weeks ago I was at a meeting of a committee of the City of Menlo Park, where they were discussing whether to join the Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement. This is an attempt to bypass the Republican-controlled federal government and start working to reduce carbon emissions. I suggested that if they want to move this idea along, they should distribute maps showing which parts of Menlo Park will be underwater and when. (Menlo Park is on the San Francisco Bay.)

YOU, yes, YOU can help by checking whether YOUR city is part of the Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement. If they are, ask how you can help. If they are not, start working to get them to join up.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 17, 2007

End Bush's Aggressive-War Doctrine Of Preemption

In a post titled Resolve This, Digby discusses a Congressional Resolution "Disavowing the doctrine of preemption."

Please go read the "Whereas" list, which includes,

Whereas the doctrine of preemption threatens to set a dangerous precedent that might then be cited by other countries, including other nuclear powers, to justify preemptive military action against perceived threats;
And finally it resolves that,
Resolved, That--

(1) it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States possesses the inherent right to defend itself against imminent or actual attack, as codified in the Charter of the United Nations and embodied in the traditions of international law, but that right does not extend to undertaking military action in the absence of such an imminent or actual attack; and

(2) the House of Representatives disavows the doctrine of preemption because it poses a threat to international law and to the national security interests of the United States.

Now, contact YOUR member of Congress and ask him or her to co-sponsor this resolution.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 11, 2007

If You Want Gore

If you want Al Gore to run for President, go read this Daily Kos diary recommend it, leave a comment, AND, most important, go sign the petition.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 26, 2007

To The Streets

There is a big March On Washington tomorrow. (And other cities.)

Atrios explains one reason why it's time to take to the streets. The guests on Sunday's news shows this week:

So, let's take these one by one.

Joe Biden - supported the war
Richard Lugar - supported the war
Duncan Hunter - supported the war
Kevin Bacon - unsure of his opinion on war.

Jim Webb - opposed war, though not in Senate at time.
Mitch McConnell - supported the war
Arlen Specter - supported the war

Mike Huckabee - supported the war
Chuck Schumer - supported the war
David Vitter - supported the war
Gerson - former Bush speechwriter, supported the war
Kenneth Pollack - supported the war

Chris Dodd - supported the war
Jon Kyl - suppported the war
Michael Steele - supported the war
Donna Brazile - unsure if she took stand on Iraq war, but is on board of wingnutty Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Sam Brownback - supported the war
Joe Lieberman - loves the war
Ellen Miller - N/A

That typical example might make you angry enough to TAKE TO THE STREETS.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 3, 2007

Challenge Local TV Stations

Did you know that TV and radio stations are using YOUR common airwaves and are therefore required to serve the public interest?

ARM Challenges TV-Station License Renewals in Portland

The Oregon Alliance to Reform Media, or ARM, has filed a petition at the FCC to deny its renewal of all the commercial TV station licenses in Portland, Ore., saying its coverage of elections does not meet the FCC's standard of public-interest service, which is to meet the needs of the community.

The group uses as supporting material a study from the Campaign Media Legal Center that found that, in the four weeks prior to the election in 2004, less than 1% of newscasts were devoted to coverage of state elections, about 9% to ballot issues and less than 1% to local elections.

The group claims the study covered "substantially all of the regularly scheduled locally produced news available in Portland."

The group argues that the FCC must at least designate the license challenge for hearing--something it rarely does--saying that its petition raises "substantial and material questions of fact" that make that designation mandatory.

Of course, the FCC can also conclude that the evidence does not meet that burden of proof, as it did recently in denying a license challenge to Chicago commercial stations over minority issues.

Of course, this is the BUSH FCC, so they'll just refuse to do anything. But maybe if we alert the public and make enough noise... now that there is oversight, maybe the Congress will work to force the Bush FCC to enforce the law.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:42 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 15, 2006

Are Progressives Good? Then TELL PEOPLE!

Every time you turn on the radio or a cable news show you hear one form or another of the same old message, “conservatives and their ideas are good and liberals and their ideas are bad.” Think about how often you hear one or another variation of that theme.

But how often do you hear that liberals and progressives are good? How often do you hear that liberal/progressive ideas are better for people than a conservative approach? And if you are reading this you're looking for progressive ideas. So how often do you think the general public is hearing that progressives and their values and ideas are good?

The public does not hear our side of the story very often – if ever.

Why is that? Maybe it’s because we aren’t telling people our side of the story!

There are literally hundreds of conservative organizations that primarily exist to persuade the public to support conservative ideas (and, therefore, conservative candidates.) The people you see on TV or hear on the radio or who write op-eds in newspapers are paid by, or at the very least draw upon resources provided by these organizations. You might or might not have heard of the Heritage Foundation or the Cato Institute or Americans for Tax Reform or the This Institute or the That Foundation or the Government-and-Taxes-Are-Bad Association – but there really is a network of well-funded conservative organizations marketing the conservatives-are-good-and-liberals-and-government-and-democracy-are-bad propaganda every hour of every day and they have been doing so for decades.

Click this link to visit a collection of links to articles, studies, reports and other resources for learning about the right-wing movement, its history, how it is funded and how it operates.

Now, can you think of any organizations that exist to tell the public that progressive values and ideas and policies and candidates are good? Do you know about any organized effort to persuade people to support progressive values and ideas?

People respond to marketing, and conservatives have been marketing their cause while progressives have not. This has been going on for decades, and as a result of this the public’s understanding and acceptance of progressive values - like democracy and community - has eroded. We can see the results of the conservative marketing campaign all around us: War. Debt. Crumbling infrastructure. Falling wages. Loss of pensions. Loss of health insurance. Declining union membership. Massive trade deficits. Distrust of government, courts, schools and other institutions of community. The list just goes on and on.

But really, after decades of conservatives pounding out their message and progressives keeping their message to themselves, what should we expect?

So it is time to change the game. It is time to start funding organizations that talk to the public about the benefits that progressive values and ideas and policies and candidates bring to them. $1000 given today toward building public appreciation of progressive values could have greater impact than $100,000 spent in support of a candidate in the days before an election.

Helping the public understand and accept progressive values will help the efforts of "issue organizations" like environmental groups, pro-choice groups, and others. As the public comes to understand and accept the underlying progressive values they will naturally support organizations that promote particular issues that are based on those values. And as the public begins to demand progressive solutions to problems the candidates they support will also naturally support the efforts of these organizations.

Marketing creates demand. Let’s create a demand for progressive values and ideas and policies and candidates.

The Commonweal Institute wants to tell people that progressive values and ideas and policies and candidates are good for them. (Commonweal means "the public good" or "the common good.")

As I wrote the other day, I am an unpaid Commonweal Institute Fellow. Let's change that. Click here to help.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:07 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 8, 2006

Don't Like The Democratic Party? Then BECOME The Democratic Party!

This is California-specific, but the same applies where YOU live. The Party really IS democratic. The party is only the people who show up at meetings and vote. Go look up how to BECOME the Party in your state!

And read MyDD :: Silent Revolution: Become The California Democratic Party. (Note - Chris BECAME the Democratic Party where HE lives, in Pennsylvania.)

About one in every seven or eight members of the netroots is from California. Given this, the upcoming elections for the Democratic State Central Committee of California should be of great importance to the netroots. If my little reformer ward in Philadelphia can sneak two members onto the Pennsylvania State Democratic committee through a local write-in campaign, we the netroots should be able to put several new reform Democrats in the California Democratic Party with more than a month to campaign. Here are the details:
The California Democratic Party is governed by the Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC) of California, membership of which is a two-year position going from odd-year Convention to odd-year Convention. Starting with the November 2006 election, the state party starts its reorganization, determining the new DSCC, which meets for the first time at the April 27-29, 2007 Convention in San Diego. As the DSCC members meet annually at the State Party Conventions, they are also referred to as delegates to the State Party.
Go read, and get involved. BECOME the party. BECOME the government!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:40 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 15, 2006

Today's Voting Machines Story - Time To Act!

Daily Kos: Black Box activsts -- now's your time to put up,

Down in Florida, an epic battle is brewing over the electronic Diebold voting machines that ate 18,000 votes for Democrat Christine Jennings in FL-13 and cost her the election.

Not only is an expensive recount in the cards, but campaign and DCCC lawyers are flocking down, demanding the state freeze the machines for inspection.

These are the opening salvos in what will be the battle to end Diebold.

But only 36 people have given via our Blue Majority Act Blue page for the legal battles ahead.

To put it bluntly, to anyone who has ever complained about Diebold, this is your chance to put your money where your mouth is. No more talk needed. No more advocacy needed. This is a real-world, legal frontal assault on those electronic voting machines.

If we win this battle, you'll be able to kiss Diebold goodby.

Go help.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 14, 2006

It's Time For Us All To Grow Up - A Rant

It’s time to grow up. We’ve got big problems -- really big problems. Experts tell us that we have only a few years to do something about global warming before it becomes irreversible. The housing bubble is popping, the debt bomb is ready to go off, the dollar is falling and Iraq is deteriorating into civil war. And those are just a few of the problems we face.

But we're worried about whether we'll look like hippies, or not fit in, or be laughed at, or called names or not be part of the group if we "protest" and make demands.

It’s time for us ALL to grow up and stop playing games, posturing, pretending we’re on some TV show, and start working together to solve our problems and fix our system. I mean the right for playing their games, and the rest of us for falling for them. For several years the right - with money from, for example, tobacco companies and Exxon - has been using psychological manipulation tactics, going after our deepest emotions and fears, using humiliation and derision to split us apart and make us afraid or ashamed, and make us feel like we’re not “in the group” or going to be laughed at if we don’t give them what we want. It has been remarkably effective. And the real-world problems just get worse.

But worrying about how something is going to look or what people will think about us is like getting ready for the high school prom. Look, we have less than ten years to SAVE THE PLANET from global warming and I don’t think we should worry about whether it’s going to look like we are “San Francisco Democrats” or “1960s hippies” if, for example, we propose actually paying our bills or implementing solar and wind energy programs. Reach inside yourselves and find a way to get past that stuff. We are talking about SAVING THE PLANET here, not who is going to laugh at us in homeroom. This is a post-traumatic reaction to the psychological tactic of using mockery and humiliation to manipulate people into supporting oil company positions. We need to grow up and get past that. There is work to do.

The President of the United States insulting half of America by using the phrase “Democrat” Party when the party’s name is “Democratic” Party is just a small example of what I am talking about. That is so childish it shouldn’t be part of serious discourse. But it is what we have been reduced to, and it has been done to us on purpose, as a tactic to distract us from tackling the real, serious issues. Because in almost every case, tackling those issues means confronting entrenched economic interests.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:04 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 5, 2006

If You Are Receiving Calls

If you are receiving "robocalls" or push poll calls:

1 888 DEM VOTE is the DNC's voter protection hotline, and the testimonials received will be the foundation for any legal action, as well as a reliable central repository for follow-up contact information.

This number operates 24/7 in English and Spanish and provides callers with information about their poll locations, enables them to report complaints they have before or on Election Day, connects them to a designated DNC or State Democratic Party Election Protection operation if needed, and provides general information regarding voting rights issues.

People can also download flyers to print and distribute:
http://www.democrats.org/a/2006/09/every_voter_cou.php

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 25, 2006

Authoritarianism and Theocracy -- Bloggers Are Sounding A Warning

Arianna Huffington, in Bill Clinton's Bipartisan Love-In Blows Up in His Face writes,

Hooray! Good for Bill Clinton. He finally called Fox News and the right-wing on their BS, right? Well, sort of.

... I'm glad the Chris Wallace interview is flying all over the internet, but I really hope that one person who will watch it over and over again is Bill Clinton. And that on the fifth or sixth viewing it might occur to him that the more cover he gives Bush and his cronies, the more they're able to increase and entrench their power. Power they use to destroy everything that Clinton purports to stand for.

There is a fundamental point here. I, and many others, think that the Democratic leadership has profoundly misjudged the nature and intentions of the conservative movement. John Dean, in his book Conservatives Without Conscience, warns that we are witnessing the rise of an authoritarian government, and Kevin Phillips, in American Theocracy, warns that the current Republican leadership is intent on bringing about a theocracy. This is not politics-as-usual. THIS is what the bloggers are so shrill about.

In March I wrote,

Maybe, just maybe, they mean the things they are saying. And I think this warning about the extreme things the Right is saying is a big part of what political blogging is about.

... So political bloggers are more likely than others to be visiting websites and forums where right-wingers more openly discuss their ideas, or are more likely to be listening to Limbaugh and others on the radio. And what we are reading and hearing is frightening. The things they are saying to each other are DIFFERENT from what they are saying to the public. The things they are writing and saying are extreme and violent and subversive. It is not like what we as Americans are used to reading and hearing.

The things the Republicans are saying and doing are so extreme that regular people refuse to believe it when you try to warn them about what is happening.

... Bloggers are trying to warn the public that what is going on in America is DIFFERENT from politics-as-usual. The bloggers have been trying to get the Democratic leadership and the media to understand this. We are seeing something new to America forming, something dangerous to democracy. The "pendulum" is not swinging back.

... When will the Democratic leadership begin to realize that the extreme things the Republicans are saying might be what they mean to do?

The signs are all around us -- take it seriously.

Watch your backs.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:50 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 6, 2006

Tune for Today -- Have You Had Enough

Throw the rascals out.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:35 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 5, 2006

Action Alert - Coming ABC 9/11 Show Contains RW Lies

An upcoming ABC 9/11 "docudrama" contains right-wing-planted propaganda, including a lie that the Clinton administration refused to kill bin Laden. We need people to act on this. Click this link.

In fact, Clinton had authorized killing bin Laden. In fact the Republicans BLOCKED Clinton's anti-terrorism efforts. In fact, Bush received a memo titled Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside the US and went on vacation instead of doing something about it.

Think Progress has the story.

Meanwhile, ABC distributed info on the show to right-wing outlets only. Digby has more,

When this was revealed, the lefty bloggers who asked ABC for copies so that they might see it too, were told that they would have to wait until this week. Obviously, none of us will be able to screen it until Wednesday at the earliest and probably not even then.

... Smells of agenda, indeed. Obviously,since only some people have had a chance to watch the movie and guage its accuracy, it's difficult to know.

Firedoglake has more,

When challenged to explain why the right-wing blogosphere is abuzz with praise for the film, director David Cunningham responded that "we are also being accused of being a left wing movie that bashes Bush" — a claim for which there is absolutely no evidence. I searched Technorati for mentions of the film and found 260 references, mostly from conservative websites, every single one of which had nothing but praise for the film. And although I found numerous examples of conservative pundits and bloggers who reported seeing pre-broadcast screenings, no leftist pundits or bloggers had been given a chance to see it...
Also - ABC not allowing progressive bloggers on a press conference call about the show.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 23, 2006

Great Video At The People Choose 2006

The other day I wrote about a new website, The People Choose 2006,

Think of it as a political YouTube for "citizen journalists" -- inviting regular people around the country to submit videos you make about your local Congressional races. Anyone can go to the site and view the videos, and use them on blogs, etc. Some of these will end up broadcast nationally on Dish and DirecTV.
I mentioned one great video they had already recieved, and today I finally figured out how to post a video from The People Choose. You have to click on the "JumpCut" in the lower right corner, and if you are logged in at JumpCut you see a "Post to Website" button... They will be added this directly to The People Choose website soon. (Still working out the kinks...)

Make a video and go upload it.

And here is "Married To the Man":

If YOU want to post this on YOUR blog, click on JumpCut on the video, log in, and click the "Post to Website" button to get the embed code. But PLEASE send people to The People Choose Site itself at http://thepeoplechoose2006.org/, not just to JumpCut.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Charlie Brown for Congress

I met Charlie Brown, who is running for Congress against super-corrupt John Doolittle, at YearlyKos. He's a great guy. Go to his website and send him some bucks. He has a diary up at DailyKos: Daily Kos: My son flew John T. Doolittle out of Baghdad ... and other reasons I'm running for Congress,

You see, John Doolittle has the unique distinction of being the only member of Congress that's actually entangled in BOTH the Abramoff and Randy "Duke" Cunningham corruption scandals -- both of the big Congressional corruption scandals of our time.
Go read, and recommend.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 18, 2006

Something New Coming Tonite -- UPDATED

Tonite The People Choose 2006 is launching has launched. Go see it! Think of it as a political YouTube for "citizen journalists" -- inviting regular people around the country to submit videos you make about your local Congressional races. Anyone can go to the site and view the videos, and use them on blogs, etc. Some of these will end up broadcast nationally on Dish and DirecTV.

It won't be publicized for a while because there won't be a lot of content yet. You are getting advance notice. It launches tonite but yYou can go upload now. So if you're into making videos, or if you want to see what other people - regular people - have to say about this election, go visit.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Doolittle -- Corrupt or Ineffective?

Is Rep. John Doolittle Corrupt or Ineffective?

Charlie Brown is the Democratic candidate running against Doolittle. Go visit.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 14, 2006

Patriot Project

As always, be sure to check in with The Patriot Project to see what's up.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Democratic Senators - Will You Support the DEMOCRATIC Nominee?

Bob Geiger asks why there are still 22 Democratic Senators who haven't said whether they will support the Democratic Party's nominee for the Senate in Connecticut, and is offering them a free press release they can send out:

So, to you weary Senate Democrats who haven't yet taken a stand, I've written your press release for you. Here it is:
Press Release of [Insert Senator name here]

"Senator ____________ Calls for Party Unity in Connecticut Senatorial Race"

Monday, August 14, 2006

Washington, DC -- U.S. Senator ____________ of [State] watched with great interest as Connecticut Democrats went to the polls in large numbers last week to choose the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by [his/her] colleague, Joe Lieberman.

... Senator ____________ is pleased to announce his support for the candidacy of Ned Lamont for the U.S. Senate and wishes Senator Lieberman the best in all future endeavors.

Go read the rest.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 13, 2006

John Laesch for Congress

This guy is running for Congress against Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. Seriously, send him some bucks to help him win - I just did. I met him at YearlyKos and this is a guy who should be in the Congress, not corrupt Dennis Hastert.

John Laesch wrote this diary at DailyKos today. Go read it and you'll agree that this guy should be elected. (Except the pig roast thing. I'm a vegetarian.)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 12, 2006

Kilroy for Congress

I'm doing some research for a project that I'll be telling you about next week, and I came across this campaign website: Kilroy For Congress. The things talked about on this website make me want to vote for her. Except I live in California, not Columbus, Ohio. (Actually, growing up in Ann Arbor I'm supposed to hate Columbus. Some of you know what I'm talking about.)

Go visit Kilroy for Congress, and throw a few bucks to help the campaign.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 31, 2006

Brown vs Doolittle

Go visit Charlie Brown for Congress

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

War Is Always Wrong And It's Up To US To Stop It

Update - and just for the record: What I meant to say, and what I should have said, was that CHOOSING war is always wrong.


Atrios posted a YouTube video of Elvis Costello singing "Peace Love and Understanding." A simple message, but I'd like readers to reflect on this a minute.

I was born not long after the end of WWII. The world was sick of war and looking for ways to avoid it -- line the UN. For example, the UN's processes helped us back away from nuclear destruction during the Cuban Missile Crisis and has helped dampen many other conflicts. But somehow it seems that lessons have been unlearned since then, the most important of which is WAR IS WRONG. WAR IS THE WORST THING!

Today I turn on the AM radio and almost every station is blasting a message that war is a good thing. Seriously, listen to Limbaugh for a while. Or just listen to Bush the other day explaining why a cease fire is out of the question. And there are well-funded organizations working long-term to undermine the UN and other peacemaking efforts. Then there are the more subtle pushes toward war, the kind that ride under the radar of the media, doing things like encouraging India and Pakistan to develop ever MORE nuclear weapons. Or refusing to talk to North Korea or Syria or Iran... It is all cloaked in modern, soothing PR-speak, but it's war and aggression and it could bring the same consequences to humanity that it has always brought in the past.

Now we live in the Propaganda Age. Marketers have figured out how to use words and images to trigger deep emotions, distract our focus, fog our thinking and get us to do things we would never do otherwise. This isn't right or wrong - it's just science. It's just knowledge. But all of us need to catch up to the science here, and find ways to regulate it, counter it, protect against it. Europe learned the hard way what happens when unrestrained racist propaganda is put in front of people -- so now in much of Europe it is banned. Look at what unrestricted marketing has brought us -- a lung cancer epidemic, widespread obesity, massive debt, global warming and other forms of what I call "marketing diseases." And now they are marketing war. We are going to have to learn, probably the hard way, that we need collective agreement about restrictions on marketing.

We live a good life in America. But that doesn't mean it can't go all wrong. We talk about "withdrawal" from the Iraq war, as if that would end anything we have started. Tell me, do you think Japan could have called for a time out and "withdrawal" after Pearl Harbor? No, that is not how war works. Japan thought it could do a quick, surgical strike and knock out our capability - and will - to respond. They guessed wrong. And now, like Japan, we have leadership that is bringing war to others. So it is our responsibility - each and every one of us individually and together - to do what we can stop this madness NOW. This could escalate and place us all in direct danger - here, in our shopping malls, in our own homes, not sanitized on a TV screen. That could be our children being dragged from bombed buildings. We all have to start taking real action to stop the madness, beyond just watching it on a TV screen and clicking our tongues. This is our country's leadership doing this -- in our names. We cannot accept this. We must stop it.

Update:

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Take Action

100Actions.com, a Project of the Democratic Party

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 27, 2006

Republican Says We Need A Dem Congress

The following is a letter from former Republican Congressman and Presidential candidate Pete McCloskey.

THE NEED FOR A DEMOCRAT MAJORITY IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN 2007

I have found it difficult in the past several weeks to reach a conclusion as to what a citizen should do with respect to this fall’s forthcoming congressional elections. I am a Republican, intend to remain a Republican, and am descended from three generations of California Republicans, active in Merced and San Bernardino Counties as well as in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have just engaged in an unsuccessful effort to defeat the Republican Chairman of the House Resources Committee, Richard Pombo, in the 11th Congressional District Republican primary, obtaining just over 32% of the Republican vote against Pombo's 62%.

The observation of Mr. Pombo’s political consultant, Wayne Johnson, that I have been mired in the obsolete values of the 1970s, honesty, good ethics and balanced budgets, all rejected by today’s modern Republicans, is only too accurate.

It has been difficult, nevertheless, to conclude as I have, that the Republican House leadership has been so unalterably corrupted by power and money that reasonable Republicans should support Democrats against DeLay-type Republican incumbents in 2006. Let me try to explain why.

I have decided to endorse Jerry McNerney and every other honorable Democrat now challenging those Republican incumbents who have acted to protect former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who have flatly reneged on their Contract With America promise in 1994 to restore high standards of ethical behavior in the House and who have combined to prevent investigation of the Cunningham and Abramoff/Pombo/DeLay scandals. These Republican incumbents have brought shame on the House, and have created a wide-spread view in the public at large that Republicans are more interested in obtaining campaign contributions from corporate lobbyists than they are in legislating in the public interest.

At the outset, let me say that in four months of campaigning I have learned that Jerry McNerney is an honorable man and that Richard Pombo is not. Mr. Pombo has used his position and power to shamelessly enrich his wife and family from campaign funds, has interfered with the federal investigation of men like Michael Hurwitz, he of the Savings & Loan frauds and ruthless clear-cutting of old growth California redwoods. Mr. Pombo has taken more money from Indian gaming lobbyist Jack Abramoff, his associates and Indian tribes interested in gaming than any other Member of Congress, in excess of $500,000. With his stated intent to gut the Endangered Species and Environmental Protection Acts, to privatize for development millions of acres of public land, including a number of National Parks, to give veto power to the Congress over constitutional decisions of the Supreme Court, his substantial contributions to DeLay’s legal defense fund, and most particularly his refusal to investigate the Abramoff involvement in Indian gaming and the exploitation of women labor in the Marianas, both matters within the jurisdiction of his committee, Mr. Pombo in my view represents all that is wrong with the national government in Washington today.

It is clear that the forthcoming campaign will be a vicious one, with Mr. Pombo willing to stretch the truth as he has in the past with respect to the elderberry beetle, levee breaks, his steadfast opposition to veterans’ health care, including prosthetics research for amputees from Iraq and other wars, the impact on Marine lives of endangered species protection at Camp Pendleton and other issues. That Mr. Pombo lied in testimony to the Senate in 1994 is an accepted fact. He testified that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service had designated his farm near Tracy as habitat for the endangered California kit fox. This was untrue, and Pombo admitted to the untruthfulness a few months later when questioned over public television, an agency for which he recently voted to cut federal funds.
Such a man should not be allowed to be in charge of the nation’s public lands and waterways, a position to which he was elevated by the now-departed Tom DeLay.

Some 18 months ago, my former law partner, Lewis Butler, an Assistant Secretary of HEW in the Nixon Administration and subsequently the distinguished Chair of California Tomorrow and the Plowshares Foundation, and I initiated an effort we called The Revolt of the Elders. All of us were retired and in the latter years of Social Security entitlement. Most of us were Republicans who had served in the Congress or in former Republican administrations with men like Gerry Ford, John Rhodes, Bob Michel, Elliot Richardson, Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and the president’s father, George H. W. Bush, all men of impeccable integrity and ethics.

We had become appalled at the House Republican leadership’s decision in early 2005 to effectively emasculate the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct by changing the rules to protect Majority Leader Tom DeLay. DeLay had been admonished three times by the Committee for abuse of power and unethical conduct. It was our hope to persuade Speaker Hastert and the Republican leadership, of which Northern California Congressman Richard Pombo and John Doolittle were prominent members, to rescind the rules changes and to act in accord with the promise of high ethical standards contained in Speaker Gingrich’s Contract With America which brought the Republicans majority control in 1994. We failed. Letters to the Speaker from an increasing number of former Republican Members were ignored and remained unanswered. Then, only a few weeks ago, the House leadership refused to allow even a vote on what could have become an effective independent ethics monitor. Instead of repudiating the infamous “Pay to Play” program put in place by DeLay to extract maximum corporate campaign contributions to “Retain Our Majority Party” (ROMP), DeLay’s successor as Majority Leader called for a continuance of the free luxury airline trips, mammoth campaign contributions to the so-called “Leadership PACs” and the continuing stalemate on the Ethics Committee. Strangely, even after the guilty pleas of Abramoff, Duke Cunningham and a number of former House staffers who had been sent to work for Abramoff and other lobbyists. The Republican House leaders don’t see this as corruption worthy of investigation or change. That their former staff members and Abramoff were granted preference in access to the legislative process is not seen as a problem if it helps Republicans retain control of the House. It reminds one of the contentions of Haldeman and Ehrlichman long ago that the national security justified wire-tapping and burglary of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office and the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate. Republicans are happy with this new corporate lobby/House complex, which is far more dangerous that the Industry/Defense complex we were long ago warned about by President Eisenhower.

I have therefore reluctantly concluded that party loyalty should be set aside, and that it is in the best interests of the nation, and indeed the future of the Republican Party itself, to return control of the House to temporary Democrat control, if only to return the House for a time to the kind of ethics standards practiced by Republicans in former years. I say reluctantly, having no great illusion that Democrats or any other kind of politician will long resist the allure of campaign funds and benefits offered by the richest and most profitable of the Halliburtons, oil companies, tobacco companies, developers and Indian gaming tribes whose contributions so heavily dominate the contributions to Congressmen Pombo and Doolittle.

As an aside, it seems to me that the Abramoff and Cunningham scandals make it timely for the Congress to consider public matching funds for small contributions to congressional candidates, the same type of system we adopted some time ago for presidential elections. It may be cheaper for the taxpayer to fund congressional elections than to bear the cost of lobbyist-controlled legislation like the recent Medicaid/Medicare drug bill.

There is another strong reason, I believe, for Republicans to work this fall for Democrat challengers against the DeLay-type Republicans like Pombo and Doolittle. That is the clear abdication by the House over the past five years of the Congress’ constitutional power and duty to exercise oversight over abuses of power, cronyism, incompetence and excessive secrecy on the part of the Executive Branch. When does anyone remember House Committee hearings to examine into the patent failures of the Bush Administration to adhere to laws like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, or to the arrogant refusal of the President to accept the congressionally-enacted limits on torture of prisoners? When can anyone remember the House’s use of the subpoena power to compel answers from Administration officials? Why have there been no oversight hearings into the Cunningham bribery affair or Abramoff’s Indian gaming and exploitation of women labor in the Marianas?

When three former congressional staff aides join Abramoff in pleading guilty to attempting to bribe Congressmen, and a fourth takes the 5th Amendment rather than answer Senator McCain’s questions about his relationship with Abramoff and Indian gaming, with all five having given substantial campaign contributions to Mr. Pombo, with Indian tribes alone having given more than $500,000 to Pombo, would it not seem reasonable to ask him to conduct an appropriate oversight committee
Hearing into these matters, as long demanded by members of both parties, notably including his neighbor, George Miller?

For all of these reasons, I believe and hope that the Republicans who voted for me on June 6 will vote for Mr. McNerney and against Mr. Pombo in November.

The checks and balances of our Constitution are an essential part of our system of government, as is the public faith that can be obtained only by good ethical conduct on the part of our elected leaders.

If the Republicans in the House won’t honor these principles, then the Democrats should be challenged to do so. And if they decline to exercise that privilege, we can turn them out too. I appreciate that I had serious deficiencies as a candidate, and that four months of campaigning and the expenditure of $500,000 of the funds contributed by old friends and supporters were unsuccessful in convincing Republicans of the 11th District to end the continuing corruption in Washington. I hope, however, to partially redeem my electoral failure by working, as a simple private citizen, to rekindle a Republican sense of civic duty to participate in the electoral process this fall. The goal of The Revolt of the Elders was and is to educate voters to the need for a return of ethics and honesty in Washington. That goal was right 18 months ago, and seems even more worthwhile today.

Pete McCloskey, Dublin, California. July 26, 2006

[emphasis and link added]

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Save the Baby Or the Freezer?

I don't know if you have heard this pro-choice and pro-stem-cell-research riddle: Suppose there is a fire at a fertility clinic. In one room is a freezer with 100 embryos. In another room is a baby. Now, suppose you have only enough time to enter ONE room. Do you save the baby, or the freezer?

The Republican case is that you must save the freezer, not the baby, because there are 100 "babies" in the freezer and only one in the other room. Burn, baby, burn.

With Republican government in mind, I want to put this a different way. If someone goes in and saves the baby instead of the freezer, do you prosecute? Republicans would prosecute you for saving the baby.

Here's what I want you to do. There is an election coming. In your local Congressional districts, please show up at a "meet the candidate" event and ASK the Republican candidate if they would save the baby or the freezer. Demand a clear answer. Write letters to you local newspaper's "letters to the editor" asking the Republican candidate to put their answer on the record - baby or freezer?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 13, 2006

South Central Farm Eviction In Process - Call Mayor Villagairosa Now!

[Call Mayor Villagairosa at 213-978-0600 and let him know that the whole world is watching, and that you want him to put people first, and step up his efforts to facilitate a resolution that preserves the farm as a space where poor urban residents, many of them immigrants and people of color, have an opportunity to grow healthy food and maintain a connection with the natural world. All the farmers need is time, the system is beginning to respond, not only as evidenced by the widespread support from celebrities, but by the fact that the Annenburg Foundation had stepped in and volunteered to help raise the last 8 or 9 million needed to purchase the farm - an activist friend of mine tells me that, in fact, they guaranteed that they'd be able to raise the money. The developer doesn't stand to lose money, he got the land in a sweetheart deal for less than market value, and will still make quite a bit of profit at a $15 million sale price. -Thomas]

To learn more about the South Central Farmers, visit: www.southcentralfarmers.com

L.A. COUNTY SHERIFFS EVICT THE SOUTH CENTRAL FARMERS IN EARLY MORNING RAID

Circle of Life Family,

This press release was just sent to us from the South Central Farm where Julia had been fasting and tree sitting for over 3 weeks. Daryl Hannah and John Quigley are still there and at last report were still in the walnut tree but about to get removed by sheriffs at any moment.

NEWS FLASH - 8:59am, 8 people have been carried out on stretchers and they have started to bull doze the land!

WHAT: Hundreds of officers with the Los Angeles Sheriff department swarmed onto the peaceful, non-violent South-Central Farmers garden at 5:15am today accompanied by six helicopters buzzing over the sleeping supporters.

Supporters of this 14 acre organic farming community remain outside the locked-down area on the street chanting their protest of this forceful action while 20 are still inside the farm.

Dozens of supporters have been living on the land, sleeping in tents, and taking turns living in the Walnut tree on the premise while fasting to show solidarity with the Farmers. Julia-Butterfly Hill just came down last week after fasting for 23 days. Several celebrities have shown up in the last few weeks - Willie Nelson, Martin Sheen, Danny Glover, Ed Begley, Jr, Joan Baez to name a few.

As of this time, Daryl Hannah and aerial artist John Quigley are up in the Walnut tree refusing to come down. 20 campers on the land have locked themselves to benches, fences and the base around the tree while L.A. County Sheriffs are attempting to saw their locks off.

Yesterday, a peace offering of organic flowers and fresh produce from the Farm was presented to the developer, Ralph Horowitz at his offices in Brentwood, California and to Mayor Antonio Villagairosa at City Hall. Their response to this
appears to be this early morning raid.

Citizens are frustrated with the Mayor because of his apparent lack of political leadership in this, even though he has publicly stated supported of the Farm in the last few weeks.

The Farm supporters are asking people to:

1. Call City Hall to ask that Mayor Villaraigosa step up and exhibit political leadership
and interfere with the eviction. PH: 213-978-0600

2. Come down to City Hall to express their support.
Address: 200 N. Spring Street - Los Angeles, CA 90029

3. Come to the Farm to Protest this oppressive and destructive action against the Farmers and their supporters

WHERE: 41st & Long Beach Ave.
Los Angeles, CA
(Alameda exit off Interstate 10)

WHEN: All Day
June 13, 2006

****A SPECIAL 7:00PM candlelight vigil will be held on-site
The public is encouraged to attend

To learn more about the South Central Farmers, visit:
www.southcentralfarmers.com
Contact: Fernando Flores: Co-Chair of South Central Farmers Support Coalition
PH: 909-605-3136
southcentralfarmers@yahoo.com


HISTORY:

The South Central Farm, a 14-acre green oasis in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, is in danger of being lost to warehouse development. This community garden has been operated mainly by Latino immigrants for more than a decade and has become an important part of the culture and open space in Los Angeles.

In 1992, the Farm was created in response to the Rodney King uprising to help develop and align the local South-Central
community. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank signed a lease with the city of Los Angeles to set aside the South Central Farm as a community garden. Since then more than 350 impoverished families have banded together as the South Central Farmers to transform an industrial dump into an urban paradise. These families have been successfully augmenting their household food supply with the resultant harvest.

But in 2003 the city sold the land to a private developer to build warehouses. The community was outraged, and the farmers refused to leave the land while they tried to raise the money to buy the property themselves. For the last several weeks -- in the face of a deadline to come up with the money or be evicted -- the farmers, with the help of appeals by activists and celebrities, worked around the clock and successfully raised the money to purchase the property. At last report, the Annenburg Foundation had offered to help raise the 15 million to purchase the land but it seems responding to pressure, the developer has changed his mind and decided not to sell the land to the farmers after all.

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at 11:41 AM | Comments (22) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Benefits Of Unions

Nathan Newman writes Daily Kos: Why Unions? Labor 101. It gets into subjects like

  • How Unions Increase Pay
  • Unions increase wages for non-union workers
  • Who is in Unions
  • Unions Strengthen the Economy
  • Labor's Support for Civil Rights
  • Why Unions Have Trouble Organizing Workers

This is not just a "must-read" it is a MUST-FORWARD. Go get this post, send it to everyone you know and ask them to forward it. Print it out and leave copies in coffee shops, etc. Let's start getting this information out to people.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 5, 2006

Grow The Base!!!

Today's MUST-READ is: How to Grow a Democratic Majority,

By developing an organizational structure now, Mr. Dean hopes that the Democrats will have something sturdy to rely on if, and when, they win back the White House.

It's uncertain whether Mr. Dean will succeed. After all, Mr. Emanuel makes a persuasive argument for his approach. Why should the Democrats trade a chance to win the House now for an uncertain future?

The answer? Because a victory now will most likely be short-term. As the Republicans have shown, creating a durable electoral majority requires a firm organizational foundation, something the Democrats don't have. But if Mr. Dean can hold fast to his plan, they just might be on the way to getting one.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:13 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 2, 2006

The $5 Draft Gore Primary

The $5 "Qualifying Contribution" Primary for Al Gore. | Draft Gore 2008

If you want Gore to run, go contribute $5.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 25, 2006

They're Going To Ban BuzzFlash

Update -- WE WON! Go read.


The Republicans are trying to "deregulate" the Internet. They're about to allow the big telecommunications companies to decide which websites their customers (YOU) can and can't see. This is what "Net Neutrality" is about. If you are against letting big companies decide what websites you can see, that means you are in favor of Net Neutrality.

MAKE NO MISTAKE about what this will mean. In the 1980s the Republicans "deregulated" radio and television by getting rid of the Fairness Doctrine and allowing a few big companies to buy up all the stations, and now you can't turn on the radio without hearing that conservatives are good and liberals are bad. And you will not ever see a representative of organized labor on your television telling you about the benefits of joining a union. In the South the ONLY viewpoint you ever hear is the Republican Party viewpoint. MAKE NO MISTAKE about what "deregulating" the Internet will mean. It means they will ban BuzzFlash, and DailyKos, and Digby and any other voice that speaks out against the corporate takeover of your country.

Here is what you can do today. Matt Stoller has a post up at MyDD with a list of members of Congress to call TODAY. Matt says

Urge them to support the bipartisan Sensenbrenner-Conyers Net Neutrality bill (HR 5417) in the Judiciary Committee on Thursday -- and to support it without amendment. Saying without amendment is key.
Here is the list:

Howard Berman (D-Calif. 28th)
Phone: 202-225-4695
Fax: 202-225-3196

William Delahunt (D-Mass. 10th)
Phone: (202) 225-3111
Fax: (202) 225-5658

Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas 18th)
(202) 225-3816 phone
(202) 225-3317 Fax

Marty Meehan (D-Mass. 5th)
Phone: (202) 225-3411
Fax: (202) 226-0771

Bobby Scott (D-Va. 3rd)
Phone: (202) 225-8351
Fax: (202) 225-8354

Chris Van Hollen (D-Md. 8th)
Phone: (202) 225-5341
Fax: (202) 225-0375

Maxine Waters (D-Calif. 35th)
Phone: (202) 225-2201
Fax: (202) 225-7854

Mel Watt (D-N.C. 12th)
Tel. (202) 225-1510
Fax (202) 225-1512

Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y. 9th)
Phone: (202) 225-6616
Fax: (202) 226-7253

Robert Wexler (D-Fla. 19th)
phone: (202) 225-3001
fax: (202) 225-5974

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:51 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 20, 2006

People Want Transformational Change

One thing Republican rule has done is help a lot of people sort out their thinking. People have had enough. People are fed up with business-as-usual, and dysfunctional systems that allow wingnuts to gain power. People are ready for transformational change. Half-assed namby-pamby measures aren't going to satisfy anymore.

For example, people don't want to fix the energy problem by raising the fuel economy standards a bit in 2009, they want to invest $1 trillion in developing new, sustainable energy sources and moving away from using fossil fuels entirely - now. That's transformational change.

People don't want to tweak health insurance rules, they want to implement Medicare For All, where every single person in the United States receives health coverage and prescription coverage as a right.

People don't want to fix the political system by lowering the limits on PAC donations, they want public financing of elections.

People want to ban all use of corporate money for any politician or so-called charity or anything else.

People want to stop this idea of corporate personhood and similar nonsense that depowers the public. People want corporations to serve the public good.

Let's discuss this. Please leave comments with other examples of the kind of truly transformational change we need.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:22 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 18, 2006

Kick The Oil Habit

Go watch the video at Kick The Oil Habit

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 12, 2006

MoveOn Save The Internet Campaign

Congress is about to let large telecommunications corporations decide which web pages you can and cannot see. Don't think they won't use this to keep non-corporate and non-right-wing sites from being seen! You can see what has happened since the Republicans let a few large corporations take over all of the major news sources.

MoveOn is organizing people to fight this. Please visit MoveOn.org Civic Action: Save the Internet

Save the Internet

Congress is now pushing a law that would end the free and open Internet as we know it. Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality, the Internet's First Amendment and the key to Internet freedom. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. So Amazon doesn't have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to work more properly on your computer.

Many members of Congress take campaign contributions from these companies, and they don't think the public are paying attention to this issue. Let's show them we care - please sign this petition today.

Please visit MoveOn's petition page.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 3, 2006

Swimming Pools, Movie Stars, YearlyKos

Have you signed up for yearly kos? TIME IS RUNNING OUT.

YearlyKos is a convention/gathering of blog readers, bloggers, "netroots" and other informed, involved people. Senator Harry Reid is the keynote speaker. Several other Senators, Members of Congress and Presidential candidates like Mark Warner will be there as well. Here are some details of the schedule and the guest list. Swimming pools, movie stars.

I'm doing two panels. One is a panel with Markos and Jerome, authors of Crashing the Gate, and David Sirota, on the subject of Building Progressive Infrastructure, Saturday June 10 at 8:30 am. The other is on Ethics/Corruption/Movement Politics, Friday June 9 at 10am. That's a reason TO sign up, by the way.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 26, 2006

Action Alert

The Republicans are trying to give phone companies the right to decide which web sites they will allow to be seen on the internet lines they bring to your house. This is the "Net Neutrality" issue that you might have heard about.

This is up for a vote in a Congressional comittee today. Here are four reps that are moveable on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Please contact them and ask them to please protect internet freedom from corporate interests by voting for Ed Markey's amendment on network neutrality.

Bart Stupak (D- Michigan, 1st)
http://www.house.gov/stupak/IMA/issue2.htm
(202) 225 4735
(202) 225 4744 - Fax

Tom Allen, (D - Maine, 1st)
http://tomallen.house.gov/article.asp?id=75
(207) 774-5019 (phone)
(207) 871-0720 (fax)

Mike Ross (D - Arkansas, 4th)
http://www.house.gov/writerep/
1-800-223-2220
(202) 225-1314 (fax)

Jim Davis -- (D - Florida, 11th)
http://www.house.gov/jimdavis/message.html
tel: (202) 225-3376
FAX: (202) 225-5652

For a full list of all reps on the Energy and Commerce Committee, go here: http://savetheinternet.com/=map

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 21, 2006

Draft Gore?

Please go read Chris Bowers'Daily Kos: Draft Gore, But Only If You Mean It. He says if you want Gore to run you have to actually DO SOMETHING about it.

Draft Gore in 2008, but only do it if you mean it. Back up you words with real action. Don't whine to me about how I or some other leadership element is keeping you down or preventing this from happening. Give over your persecution and get to it.
Have blog readers reverted back to American couch-sitters who wait around for others to do something?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:49 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 8, 2006

Election Tuesday!!! Need Your Help!!!

The Congressional seat vacated by Republican Culture Of Corruption Congressman Duke Cunningham going to jail for taking bribes is up for grabs in a special election this Tuesday. The following is from an e-mail for people LOCAL TO SILICON VALLEY. I will post a referral to ways others can help as soon as I can locate it. (See update below)

Silicon Valley Locals info:

Subject: Dem Take Over of House District 50 Down to the Wire - YOUR HELP NEEDED SUNDAY

The April 11 Special Election in the 50th Congressional District is around the corner and down to the wire.

You can help, right here in Santa Clara County. We need volunteers to join the Voter ID project by calling local voters and identifying our supporters. This is a critical part of the campaign. A couple hours of your time will help, one vote at a time!

====================
To help:

Sign up at http://sccdp.org/calendar2.php?action=pg_volunteer&event_id=270

Or email us at SVForADemCongress@gmail.com
====================

The Republican seat vacated by the convicted graft felon, Rep. Duke Cunningham, is now with in shooting distance of Democratic turnover - the first seat in the march to a November Democratic take over of the House!

To win, we need to identify every supporter of the vigorous and courageous Democrat, Francine Busby - and get them out to the polls on April 11.

You want to win the House back. Here is your chance join other Bay Area activists. Join our Voter ID project. Just bring a cell phone and we'll guide you through the rest and provide voter calling lists. You will help ensure that we get every possible Democratic vote out - critical, as we know from 2004.

Where:

Hillview Community Center
97 Hillview Avenue
Los Altos, CA
(We will send you the room number after you sign up; and signs will be posted on site.)

When:

Sunday, April 9
4:00 - 7:00p

How to RSVP

Sign up at http://sccdp.org/calendar2.php?action=pg_volunteer&event_id=270


Or email us at SVForADemCongress@gmail.com.

Please join us Sunday, and help us win on Tuesday!


Update - Click here for information about how YOU can help regardless of where you are located.

Also, check in at Calitics.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 3, 2006

Great New "Red-Handed" Ads From MoveOn

Four great news ads from MoveOn. Go see, and as always, send an e-mail to people letting THEM know to watch! And remind THEM to forward to others, as well. (Use "e-mail this entry" at the end of the post.)

Chocola Ad

Drake Ad

Johnson Ad

Pryce Ad


Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 29, 2006

Rubber Stamp Campaign Update

Latest Campaign Update:

Yesterday’s response to our call for action against the Rubber Stamp Republican Congress was amazing. We had more than 200 orders in a single day — most of which were for multiple rubber stamps — all of which will be on their way today.

Click and act.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 28, 2006

Rubber Stamp Republicans

Click and act.

Phase Two - send a stamp.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 12, 2006

Yearly Kos

yearly kos is a gathering, convention, meeting, assembly, networking event of liberals, progressives, Democracts, bloggers, blog readers and compulsive gamblers in Las Vegas from June 8-11. Senator Reid will be the Keynote Speaker.

There will be panels, speakers, parties and other events. I don't know if there will be a CSI "plushies and furries" party.

YOU should go to this. YOU should register now.

Also they're trying to raise money to help defray costs. So throw the a few bucks even if you don't sign up to go.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 8, 2006

Call Now - Food Safety

Pacific Views: Call Now For Food Safety,

The House will be voting in a few hours on HR 4167, a bill that proposes to enact "uniform" food labeling laws. Uniform, as in if your state has more stringent labeling laws than the federal government, then your state laws go away. This includes laws that label carcinogens and hazards to children and pregnant women, such as California's insistence on labeling the presence of arsenic, lead and mercury.
Too late, it passed: House votes to override state food safety labels,
Legislation that could void hundreds of food safety warnings in California and other states passed the House on Wednesday after heated debate.

... Despite the far-reaching implications of the bill, it was brought to the House floor without a committee hearing, which would have allowed lawmakers to hear testimony from proponents and opponents of the bill from industry, government and advocacy groups.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 14, 2006

A Daily Act Of Conscience

Constructive social change and progress do not march forward at a steady pace. Rather, they are a series of successive plateaus that are achieved, attacked, defended and then once more moved forward. With the Democratic Party caught up by ineffective political paralysis, many progressives are feeling frustrated and caught up in despair. Nothing cripples the will like isolation.“The antidote to such paralysis is hope: defiant, resilient, persistent hope, no matter what the odds against us may be. As Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourner's magazine writes, “Hope is believing in spite of the evidence, then watching the evidence change.”

We can help the evidence change by engaging in a daily act of conscience.

Hope has been called an orientation of the heart and a way of looking at the world – more than that, it’s a way of life. Reverend Victoria Stafford advises us to “plant ourselves at the gates of hope” so we can see the landscape with fresh eyes. We cannot exist apart from the nonhuman realm, both spiritual, plant and animal. Our actions of conscience confirm the link between our fate and that of everyone and everything else on the planet. Acts of conscience are both a demonstration and a confirmation that hope exists.

In the battle against the politics of bitterness, we are all called to participate. We are called to plant "seeds of the possible" in the twilight of that “all important line between hope and despair: the value of believing we have options; and the ability to savor the abundance of the world.” It is our job to put windows and doors in that suffocating tunnel of spiritual exhaustion.

Possibility is the oxygen upon which hope thrives. Hope and history may not always rhyme, to borrow a phrase from Seamus Heaney, but human generosity is a starting point toward bringing them together. If everybody who reads this commits to one small act of daily conscience, we can help the evidence change.

Little things like printing a short article or newsbyte from the web and delivering copies to ten or twenty of our neighbors. Perhaps stopping by our local registrar's office, picking up fifty voter registration forms and knocking on five or ten doors on our block to register our neighbors. Put a bumper sticker on your car. Speak up at the water cooler. Join your DFA Meet Up. Above all participate in your own future, the future of your children and loved ones and help take back our country.

Editor's Note: Practically all of the phrases and ideas in this essay were taken nearly verbatim from the first five or six chapters of The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear by Paul Rogat Loeb. My attempt to attribute every phrase and quote ruined the flow of the profound messages carried by this collection of fascinating essays. I encourage everyone to purchase a copy of Loeb's book to lift your spirits when apathy and frustration threaten to paralyze your political will.

Posted by Gary Boatwright at 9:36 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 12, 2006

File A Complaint

The other day, in Military Assisting Republican Party? I wrote about a story that the Bush Administration is sending active-duty military personnel around the country to promote The Party's activities.

I am told that if enough people visit the Inspector General's website to file a complaint, it puts pressure on them to investigate.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:24 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 31, 2006

Still Pissed

If you're still upset that Chris Matthews and others compare you to Osama bin Laden, stop by Open Letter To Chris Matthews and say so.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:19 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 30, 2006

Buy Blue

I noticed that Buy Blue has really been getting going. The idea is to support companies that support your values.

Go take a look: BuyBlue.org | Vote With Your Wallet!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

John Kerry: 'The vote of a lifetime'

ohn Kerry: 'The vote of a lifetime',

Many people seem curious or even skeptical why United States Senators believe it's so important to take a stand against the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court -- why we're willing to take on a fight that conventional wisdom suggests we will lose.

The reality is simple. We care about the future of our country. We care about the millions of Americans who expect Congress to stand up and fight for their rights and their freedoms, and we also know that the Supreme Court, again and again, is the battlefield on which those rights and freedoms are decided.

So let's get this straight. The time to fight is now - before we make the irreversible decision of confirming a new Supreme Court Justice. When you're talking about the Supreme Court, you don't live to fight another day. It's a zero sum game. Once Judge Alito becomes Justice Alito, there's no turning back the Senate confirmation vote. We don't get to 'take a mulligan' when choosing a Supreme Court Justice. The direction our country takes for the next thirty years is being set now. Will it matter if we speak up after the Supreme Court has granted the executive the right to use torture, or to eavesdrop without warrants? Will it matter if we speak up only after a woman's right to privacy has been taken away? Will history record what we say after the courthouse door is slammed in the faces of women, minorities, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor? No. History will record what we say and what we do now.

What on earth are we waiting for? We all know why President Bush nominated Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. He is packing the court with conservative ideologues who will extend the legacy of his presidency for years to come. After all, Judge Alito was nominated only after extreme members of the right-wing killed the nomination of Harriet Miers, an accomplished lawyer who ideologues fumed lacked a track record of proven, tested, activist conservatism. Those same individuals heralded Judge Alito's nomination. Ann Coulter, who last week suggested Justice Stevens should be poisoned, who denounced the nomination of John Roberts, celebrated Judge Alito's nomination, stating that Bush gave Democrats 'a right-hook' - high praise from an activist who said that Republicans need to nominate a person who 'wake[s] up every morning . . . chortling about how much his latest opinion will tick off the left.'

After reviewing Judge Alito's writings as a Department of Justice lawyer and a federal judge, I have no doubt why he is so heralded by the most extreme Republicans. There is no doubt about the kind of Justice Samuel Alito will be. He will make it harder for the most disadvantaged members of our society to have their day in court. He will allow the President's power to grow far beyond what the Framers of the Constitution intended. He will roll back women's privacy rights. Empty promises made in the heat of a highly-charged and exceedingly political confirmation battle cannot erase a twenty year record.

No one will be able to say, in five to ten years, that they are surprised by the decisions Judge Alito makes from the bench. They know that in his fifteen years on the Third Circuit, Judge Alito has almost never voted in favor of African-American plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases. They know that he routinely defers to government invasions into personal privacy, often going out of his way to excuse unlawful government actions. And they know that the only statement he has ever made regarding a woman's right to privacy is that she does not have one.

People who believe in privacy rights, who fight for the rights of the most disadvantaged, who believe in balancing the power between the President and Congress have no choice but to stand up against Judge Alito.

I know better than anyone that elections have consequences and that the President has every right to nominate whomever he chooses to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. But I also know that Senators have the right - in fact, they have a constitutional responsibility, to question whether that nominee is the right choice. That is why the Framers required the Senate to provide advice and consent. We are not meant to be a rubber stamp. We need not rush to judgment simply to satisfy the political deadline of a State of the Union address.

I am convinced that Judge Alito is the wrong choice for America. In fact, I am convinced that he is a dangerous choice for America. This is a rare moment in Washington. We are facing the vote of a lifetime - a vote that will shape the law for generations to come. Despite the predictions of the pundits, the story is not over until the last vote is cast. We cannot win unless we try. The time to take a stand is now, to fight for the rights and freedoms of all Americans is when they're endangered not after they've been diminished. It is time to take a stand against Judge Alito, and take a stand for the kind of America we've been for over two hundred years.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:43 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 29, 2006

Call Senators

Here's another good filibuster post with a list of phone numbers to call: MyDD :: Fighting for Our Values

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Call Senators

I'm linking to a post at firedoglake, asking you to go there and get the numbers to call enators and encourage them to support the filibuster of Alito. Go visit Strip Search Sammy Fax Fest Continues to get some numbers to call. Sending FAXes is also good.

This "Get to work" post by Georgia10
has phone numbers, advice on what to say, and updates.

(I was on this call, but only now am starting to have a chance to be on the computer...)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 26, 2006

STRONG Filibuster Statement from John Kerry

Kerry is asking you to call your Senators to ask them to join the filibuster.

Daily Kos: Filibuster Alito,

Do I support a filibuster? The answer is yes.

Yesterday Senator Kennedy and I spoke with our colleagues about it. I don't have a shred of doubt in my opposition to Sam Alto's nomination. I know Senator Kennedy does not either. He has truly been a great leader in the effort to oppose Judge Alito.

I spent a lot of time over the last years thinking about the Supreme Court and who America needs on the highest court in the land. So I don't hesitate a minute in saying that Sam Alito is not that person. His entire legal career shows that, if confirmed, he will take America backwards. People can say all they want that "elections have consequences." Trust me, more than anyone I understand that. But that seems like an awfully convoluted rationale for me to stay silent about Judge Alito's nomination.

I voted against Justice Roberts, I feel even more strongly about Judge Alito. Why? Rather than live up to the promise of "equal justice under the law," he's consistently made it harder for the most disadvantaged Americans to have their day in court. He routinely defers to excessive government power regardless of how extreme or egregious the government's actions are. And, to this date, his only statement on record regarding a woman's right to privacy is that she doesn't have one.

I said yesterday that President Bush had the opportunity to nominate someone who would unite the country in a time of extreme division. He chose not to do this, and that is his right. But we have every right, in fact, we have a responsibility, to fight against a radical ideological shift on the Supreme Court. Just think about how this nomination came to be. Under fire from his conservative base for nominating Harriet Miers--a woman whose judicial philosophy they mercilessly attacked--President Bush broke to extreme right-wing demands.

This was a coup.

Miers was removed and Alito was installed to replace the swing vote on the Court. The President gave no thought to what the American people really wanted--or needed. So it's up to us to think about what America really needs - that's part of the true meaning of "advice and consent."

Here's the bottom line though and I'll just be blunt and direct about it. It takes more than one or two people to filibuster. It's not "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." I'm doing what I can, Senator Kennedy is doing what he can, but if, like me, you want to stop Judge Alito from becoming Justice Alito, we can't just preach to our own choir. We need even more of your advocacy.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 13, 2005

No To Pombo

One of the corrupt right-wing Republicans in Congress is Richard Pombo. His district borders on the Democratic San Francisco Bay Area, and locally people are gearing up to work to get him out of there. (He may be indicted first...)

I have discovered one blog involved in this effort, Say No to Pombo. Go visit. And maybe drop a donation at their ActBlue page to help educate people in the district about Pombo,

Your contribution will allow us educate the citizens of CA-11 about Pombo’s true agenda and about the credible Democratic alternative. A $50 donation will allow us to send mailers to 100 voters about his irresponsible and rapacious environmental policies. A $150 contribution will let us run a week of phone-banking to expose his shameless corruption. Be generous and give as much as you can.
(Note - this is a donation to ActBlue, not the blog,
ActBlue is the universal Democratic bundler. We enable anyone — individuals, grassroots groups, and millions-strong organizations — to use the best practices of EMILY's List and MoveOn to fundraise for the Democratic candidates and causes of their choice. With ActBlue, together these fundraisers can raise otherwise untapped millions for Democratic campaigns and progressive causes.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 7, 2005

Pre-Order Markos and Jerome's Book 'Crashing The Gate'

Daily Kos: Crashing the Gate, pre-sales,

The regular edition of the book will be in book stores in March. But we are printing a Progressive Partners Special Edition for the pre-sale period. We have 10,000 copies of this edition, which will ship three weeks before the book appears in book stores.

So what do you get for pre-ordering three months in advance?

1. You get the book early
2. You help debut the book on Bestseller list
3. You help fund the book's marketing efforts
4. You help support independent progressive media and institutions
5. You get the limited special edition version of the book

Read about it there, then Order here. (Their order site, not mine.)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 6, 2005

Something to Think About

The Right's network of PR "think tank" organizations spends over $400 million a year to influence public opinion and support the Republican Party. This money is outside of the election cycle and outside of what is considered political spending. And look at what they have been able to accomplish. (Maybe the right way to put that is, "look what they have been able to tear apart.")

If ten million Progressives gave just $100 each per year, that would be one billion dollars we could use to fight back with. Or, if one million gave about $80 per month.

In 2004 John Kerry received more than 57 million votes.

I'm just sayin'.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:19 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 3, 2005

Excellent Steve Young Portrait In The O.C. Register

Long Shot In 48th Is In It For The Long Haul: Democrat Steve Young is trailing in his bid for Congress, but he's bent on having his issues heard.

It's hard to imagine what more Democrat Steve Young could do to attract attention for Tuesday's special congressional election.

He's been campaigning full time since July, he has an immigration plan to launch a thousand cocktail conversations, he's shown up at virtually every coffee klatch and forum he could find, and he's joined volunteers in knocking on thousands of voters' doors.

Steve Young has been doing everything he could and so have his volunteers in Orange County and the netroots. Too bad he didn't get just a little financial help from the Democratic Party.

The hard, cold facts:

And come Election Day, he'll probably be breathing the exhaust of front-running Republican John Campbell.

Republicans outnumber Democrats nearly 2-1 in the 48th District, Campbell has been building name recognition since being elected to the Assembly in 2000, and Campbell has nearly 10 times as much campaign money.

And some well deserved praise for the new kid on the block:

"(Young) is a much higher-quality candidate than we usually have here," said Dennis Connolly, a Democratic activist who's lived in Laguna Niguel for 13 years. "He has the energy, he knows the issues and he's getting people involved. The question is whether we can break that hold of people who walk into the voting booth ready to vote for a Republican without looking at the issues.

Steve's motivation for running:

A clear alternative

Young jumped into the race promptly after Christopher Cox, the previous officeholder, was named to head the Securities and Exchange Commission last summer. Spurring the bid was a feeling that his four children's future was being squandered by trade bills that encouraged the export of middle-class jobs and by an education system that didn't better prepare students for high-quality jobs.

He has since developed policies in other areas that set him even further apart from Campbell and Gilchrist. Young favors abortion rights, wants to start pulling troops from Iraq, and says the illegal immigration problem has been blown out of proportion.

"It really bothers me the way politics is right now," he said. "We're blinded by anger, fear and hatred."

This is the good stuff:

After declaring his candidacy, Young won endorsements from the state and county Democratic parties - despite three other Democrats on the October primary ballot, including two who had run before with the local party's encouragement.

But unlike the others with their largely unfunded campaigns, Young promised to spend his own money and vowed a $1 million campaign - a big reason he became the party favorite. He easily won the nomination in October, although his 9 percent of the vote left him in fourth place overall and well behind Campbell's 45.5 percent.

Of course there were 17 primary candidates all told. Steve did not make the decision to get into this race lightly:

He has indeed spent his own money - $110,000 - but has only attracted $40,000 more in donations.

"We didn't get the support I expected," he now says. "(But) we're going to continue regardless of what happens Tuesday. We believe in what we're doing. *There's another election in November.*"

The article closes with an excellent summary of Steve's position on Illegal immigration:

Legalizing immigrants

The biggest issue in the race has become immigration, thanks to anti-illegal-immigration activist Gilchrist and to Campbell's effort to match Gilchrist on the matter.

Young doesn't see immigration as a big problem. But that hasn't stopped him from developing an unlikely immigration plan: Since immigrants typically pay $3,000 to be smuggled over the border, allow them to enter the country by paying that amount instead to immigration officials. Not only would that bolster the national Treasury, but it would create a program to photograph and fingerprint all immigrants, to administer health tests, and to track their whereabouts, Young said.

Because a key part of the problem is employers who hire undocumented immigrants, Young proposes a system where an illegal immigrant would be granted an immediate work visa if he goes to immigration officials with a paycheck from an employer who hired illegally. The employer would then be cited.

"(Gilchrist and Campbell) are demonizing a people who aren't responsible for the ills they're being accused of," he said. "They're a convenient, unprotected target."

Young believes immigrants are a net gain to the country's economy - while many pay taxes and Social Security, they rarely get benefits.

Working up such ideas fills much of the time he isn't actually campaigning. For now, he has set aside not only his law practice but also fantasy book writing - which he vows to return to, despite never having been published.

"There are things you do for the love of it," he said. "Things you do because they matter, regardless of the result."


Three days until the election. Let's keep the netroots hopping! Go to Steve Young For Congress and call the number. They'll hook you up to virtual phonebanking, or, if you're in driving distance, precinct walking. And of course, donations through Act Blue are VERY welcome! Thanks again.

Posted by Gary Boatwright at 10:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 25, 2005

Turn Off Your Mind

Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream
It is not dying
It is not dying

Lay down all thought Surrender to the void
It is shining
It is shining

That you may see The meaning of within
It is being
It is being

That love is all And love is everyone
It is knowing
It is knowing

That ignorance and hate May mourn the dead
It is believing
It is believing

But listen to the color of your dreams
It is not living
It is not living

Or play the game existence to the end
Of the beginning

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 15, 2005

Fascism Watch Update: Stop The Graham/Bingaman Amendment

From Talk Left Seventeen Myths About the Graham Habeas Amendment from the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Update from Obsidian Wings Habeas and Guantanamo: Breaking News

There are two new amendments.

The AP, Reuters, and the Washington Post have all written articles on these provisions. The Post article says the Levin/Kyl/Graham Amendment might be linked to the McCain amendment in an effort to get both of them through conference. I don't know if that's true, and I don't know if it's a good deal or a bad deal if it is true. At this point I don't trust Graham at all, and I don't trust McCain much. The only advice I can give is to name a few of the Congressmen in Washington who I think are the most trustworthy and dedicated on this issue: Levin, Durbin, Bingaman, Leahy, Feingold, Kennedy. Markey and I think also Murtha in the House. If you don't know what's going on, find out what they're doing and ask your own reps. to do the same.

It's time for the Democratic leadership to at least pretend they have the balls God gave a Tufted Titmouse and stop this farce in its tracks. Objection to unanimous consent should do it. If Paul Wellstone could do it so can any Democratic Senator with an ounce of backbone.

Posted by Gary Boatwright at 8:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Fascism Watch: Stop The Graham/Bingaman Amendment

MIchael Froomkin at Discourse.net has a terrific summary of the yeoman's work that hilzoy and Katherine have done at Obsidian Wings: (click through for links)

Was Sen. Graham Intentionally Misleading or Was He Deceived?:


About Them: Setting the scene, outline of Sen. Graham's sensational charges about litigation abuse by detainees.

Medical Malpractice: Initial attempt to refute Graham's claim of litigation abuse; relies on general facts we know about medical abuse in Guantánamo.

Medical Malpractice 2: Specific and detailed refutation of Sen. Graham, reporting the actual known facts regarding one of the two cases he himself cited as most supporting his claims: the prisoner claims "as a result of his detention at the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, he is now confined to a wheelchair with two broken vertebrae. He said military personnel and interrogators stomped on his back, dropped him on the floor and repeatedly forced his neck forward soon after his arrival at the prison." The so-called malpractice claim is that "he has been denied an operation that could save him from permanent paralysis".

Medical Malpractice 3: Contains further allegations about other prisoners at Guantánamo who were refused basic medical treatment in order to coerce their cooperation, all drawn from a legal brief filed to contest medical mis-treatment. As hilzoy and Katherine note, "bear in mind that none of this information would be available if Graham's amendment had already been in force".

Caught On The Battlefield: Sen. Graham argued that one reason to deny judicial review is that detainees are people "caught on the battlefield as the Nazis were caught on the battlefield". This post demonstrates that there is vast and persuasive evidence that a number of the people held in Guantánamo were not caught in even the same country as any battlefield.

Competent Tribunals: Sen. Graham describes the Guantánamo tribunals as "the Geneva Convention Protections on Steroids". As readers of this blog know, it's no such thing.

Family Videos: Sen. Graham lampooned the courts for entertaining claims that Guantánamo detainees should be shown "family videos". Here's the actual, and quite horrible, story: Detainees reported that interrogators had previously impersonated defense counsel as a ruse to get detainees to talk to them; as a result the detainees mistrusted their actual lawyers.


Call and email your Senator. Tell them you expect them to object to unanimous consent unless the Graham/Bingaman Amendment is withdrawn.


The Key to the Courthouse Door, Part I: or. What Habeus Corpus Is And Isn't.:

I don't think Graham is genuinely confused about this point. As a JAG lawyer he must know that habeas is not synonymous with civilian criminal trials. I don't know that he was actively trying to mislead people about it; it may only be that he thought it made good rhetoric. But whatever his intent, I think he has misled several other senators into thinking that the question is whether the Guantanamo detainees will be tried by a military trial of some sort (a court martial, a military commission, or what have you) or as civilians under U.S. criminal law.

The Key to the Courthouse Door, Part II: or, Why the McCain Amendment is No Substitute

Go back to what that Pentagon official said:
A senior Pentagon lawyer who asked not to be named said that the Graham amendment will have another consequence. The same Pentagon bill also contains a clause, sponsored by Graham and the Arizona Republican John McCain, to outlaw torture at US detention camps - a move up to now fiercely resisted by the White House. 'If detainees can't talk to lawyers or file cases, how will anyone ever find out if they have been abused,' the lawyer said.

Most of the evidence of abuse at Guantanamo has emerged from lawyers' discussions with their clients.

The McCain Amendment states clearly that torture is illegal. And that's a good thing, and I'm glad, and I hope very much that it passes. At the same time, not only does it not make habeas unnecessary; I'm almost sure that it will do less good than the Graham Amendment does harm.

Because here's the thing: the cause of the torture scandal is not a lack of clear statements in U.S. law that torture is illegal. We have loads of them. The Geneva Conventions. The War Crimes Act. The federal assault statute. The Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Anti-Torture Statute. The Convention Against Torture.

The causes are an executive unwilling to comply with those laws in good faith, a Congress that is unwilling to do anything about their violation, and courts that are in many ways unable to do anything about their violation.


Closing Statement

Why on earth is this being pushed through on an appropriations bill, with no hearings, no debate, on the strength of arguments that are (deliberately or inadvertantly) quite misleading? When the Senators providing the margin of victory seem unaware of some key facts and of the legal implications of what they're doing? We're talking about habeas corpus here. We're talking about indefinite detention under conditions that have prompted a large number of suicide attempts. We're talking about serious charges of abuse. We're talking about human beings, some of whom are terrorists and some of whom aren't--some of whom even the pathetic CSRT process has determined are innocent. Could we maybe wait a few weeks, hold a hearing or two, have some real negotiations?

Call and email your Senator. Tell them you expect them to object to unanimous consent unless the Graham/Bingaman Amendment is withdrawn.

Posted by Gary Boatwright at 5:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 14, 2005

Vote on habeus corpus amendment tomorrow?

Not a peep from the Democrats and it looks like there could be a vote as early as tomorrow attaching restrictions on habeus corpus to an appropriations bill. Obsidian Wings has done the heavy lifting with 13 posts on the Graham/Bingaman Amendment.

Summary by Kevin Drum:

Eliminating habeas corpus is a disgrace. It's a statement that our courts are not to be trusted, that people should be judged guilty solely on Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush's say so, and that the United States cannot survive unless its most important principles are tossed in the ash heap.

For more, go read Katherine and Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings. There's a lot there, but you might start with this one and this one, just to get an idea of Lindsey Graham's duplicitousness on this whole matter. He should be ashamed.

More analysis by Digby Back Room Benedict Arnolds.

Call and email your Senator

Posted by Gary Boatwright at 8:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Time To Boycott Target

Target Says Its Pharmacists Can Refuse To Fill Morning After Pill Prescriptions... | The Huffington Post,

Target Corp. is defending its policy on filling prescriptions for emergency contraception after the Planned Parenthood Federation of America accused the retailer of disrespecting customers' reproductive rights.

Target allows pharmacists to choose not to fill requests for emergency contraception, also known as Plan B, if it is against their religious beliefs.


AMERICAblog: Target digs itself a deeper hole in emergency contraceptive scandal
,

I already have a priest, and he doesn't work at Target, thank you.

. . . So let's ask Target if they also support the following Target employees:

    - Check out clerks who verify how fat you are before selling you that package of potato chips?
    - Pharmacists who don't want to fill prescriptions for Jewish customers who killed Christ.
    - Pharmacists who don't want to help customers who worship a "Satanic counterfeit" (read: "The Pope," in fundie-speak).
    - Pharmacists who only dispense HIV medicine to "innocent victims" of AIDS.
    - Pharmacists who want proof that women seeking emergency contraception were really raped, and that they didn't "deserve it."
    - Pharmacists (or cashiers) who are Christian Scientists - can they refuse to sell any medicine, even aspirin, to anyone?
    - Pharmacists who won't sell birth control pills to unmarried women, condoms to unmarried men, or any birth control at all because God doesn't want people spilling their seed.
    - Can fundamentalist Christian employees refuse to interact with gay people in any way, shape or form since gays are sinners, abominations, biological errors, and very likely pedophiles?

[. . .] Target can't pick and choose which civil rights it wants to grant its uber-Christian employees.

. . . Is Target now in the business of deciding, Solomon-like, which religious beliefs are valid and which are not? Sure sounds like they just did.

Digby makes some very important points here:
If the culture war is going retail, we libs have some serious clout There isn't some stupid structural impediment involved in this battle --- an electoral college or federalist system that dilutes our influence. This one's all about the numbers.

Target needs to understand that this latest is not a battle over the morning after pill, it is about birth control in general, and that the majority isn't going to stand for it.

It's time to start telling corporations that it is not their job to enforce right-wing Christianity on us. And as Digby says, this is one where we have all the power.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:33 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 22, 2005

Jerry Brown

I've loved Jerry Brown since his 1992 campaign for President. During that campaign he proposed boosting the economy and helping the energy/pollution/Middle East problem with a national program to hire unemployed people to retrofit buildings to be energy efficient. Imagine if we had done that! So now 13 years later we have the Apollo Alliance but Jerry doesn't seem to get much credit for being so far ahead on this.

Go see his blog. He's running for Attorney General of California and could use a few bucks for the campaign. Think west-coast Eliot Spitzer prosecuting polluters. Meanwhile as Mayor of Oakland he has brought the crime rate down.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 12, 2005

Take This Poll

There is an Important Act Blue Poll to determine where to put resources:

Three weeks ago, Ben Rahn from Act Blue posted a diary on MyDD telling people that Act Blue was expanding so that people could donate to candidates at the state level, rather than just the federal level. While Act Blue has already made this possible for candidates in Virginia, and while the eventual goal is to expand to all fifty states before the 2006 elections, Act Blue decided to look to the netroots to determine which four states it should expand into next. From that diary, a lively discussion of nominations ensued, both here and at other blogs. Now, it is the moment of truth. The list of nominations has been narrowed to twenty states, and an Instant Runoff poll has been created to determine which four states Act Blue will move into next. Here can find the poll here:

Act Blue poll

Please take this poll very seriously. Rank all twenty states. Do not just choose your home state. Since Act Blue will eventually move into all fifty states, select those states that you feel are of the most pressing concern to Democrats nationwide. If you have a blog, please a post a link to this poll on that blog. The voting will Friday at midnight.

Again, I urge you to participate in this poll. This is an important project, and you get to decide where it will expand into first.


Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 5, 2005

Sign the Progressive Values Pledge (California)

Speak Out California has drafted a Progressive Values Pledge. They hope to gather thousands of signatures from around the state, and plan to distribute it to our elected "leaders" in Sacramento along with a demand that they commit to the agenda outlined.

Which happens to be solidly progressive and humane. Click on more to read it, and click the URL above (or the one at the end of the posting) to sign on.

We, the people of California, hereby resolve to strengthen our sense of purpose, our commitment to our own communities and to the common good. We believe in the promise of California, the place where anything is possible. By working toward this vision, we reaffirm our responsibility to deliver that promise to our children and grandchildren, and to all future generations.

We envision a California:

Where everyone is guaranteed access to quality health care.

Where we recognize the innate potential of every child and have created a free and open public school system and effective youth programs that reflect the depth and breadth of that belief.

Where all people who work for a living are paid a livable wage so that they may provide for their families: decent shelter, healthful food, quality child care.

Where the economic system rewards environmental stewardship, and where the power of the marketplace is focused on responsible business practices that promote economic and environmental justice.

Where communities are encouraged to create safe pedestrian, bicycle and transit friendly neighborhoods, and and we are all free from dependence on cars and on nonrenewable sources of energy.

Where our greatest natural resources are protected and held as a public trust, so that we may always find in them the peace and serenity there that we enjoy today.

Where we've made a strong commitment to scientific accuracy, and made preventing and curing the diseases that continue to afflict humanity a top research priority.

Where families have more time at home to spend with each other, and to spend actively participating in their communities.

Where we celebrate the racial diversity of our state and enforce equality and fairness in education, delivery of health services and access to employment and business opportunities.

Where women are empowered and in control of the decisions that affect their bodies, where they are represented equally in elected positions in government and treated equally in the workplace.

Where consensual, adult relationships based in love and respect are honored and recognized - regardless of sexual orientation.

Where we work to ensure that all leaders elected to run our state share with us the belief that government is a critical partner in providing opportunity for all people.

Where elections are assured to be open, free and fair and where undue financial influence no longer taints the electoral process.

Where the politics of fear is replaced by the politics of hope.

Sign the Progressive Values Pledge!

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at 6:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 4, 2005

This Is Still America

There are voices far more eloquent than mine. I'm going to use this spot to highlight some of the best of the web. I will elevate recommendations from the comments. I'm looking for citizen action items and eloquent expressions of protest, belief or call to action.

This Is Still America by Stirling Newberry.

National Day of Emergency Action - This Wednesday.
Support the people of New Orleans. L.A. Rally at Wilshire and Veteran

Answer L.A. Statement of Belief

Posted by Gary Boatwright at 3:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 21, 2005

Pittsburg Police Taser War Protesters

Hat tip to goplies at MyDD, Spread The Word. War protesters and Cindy Sheehan activists need to start bringing cameras and lawyers to their demonstrations.

Today in Oakland in front of the Army Recruiting Center on Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh Police and University of Pittsburgh Police fought with protestors on the sidewalk. At least six people were arrested; police fired tasers and other weapons at the crowd, including restrained arrestees and bystanders.

During the rally at the station, a freelance Fox News cameraman who was aggressively filming demonstrators' faces was told to leave and started a minor confrontation with protestors. He returned with police officers, claiming that either he was punched or that his camera was broken (although he continued to use his camera the rest of the day). Witnesses confirm that neither of these things happened. On this pretense, police began chasing any masked protestors they could find, arresting several and firing weapons at the crowd. Several people have confirmed that they were hit with tasers and chemical weapons. Video cameras captured tasers being fired at people who had already been subdued and restrained by police officers.

Later, police dogs were used to chase away protestors on the sidewalk, and one woman was bitten from behind by a police dog. Some time later, after telling police she wanted to file a complaint, she was told the police would "take her information," but instead she was arrested and placed in the back of a police van.

Photos and a video of police using a taser on a woman lying on her stomach with her hands restrained behind her back.Counter-Recruitment demonstrators shot with Tasers, bitten by dogs

Posted by Gary Boatwright at 2:55 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 17, 2005

The Battle For America

The Battle For America - Large Quicktime

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 12, 2005

Time To Go To Crawford

It's time to think about going to Crawford, Texas, if you can.

From a Daily Kos diary, They WERE Chanting WE DON'T CARE!

There are 50-60 counter-protesters set up on the other side of the road, the police have been joined by Secret Service who have their vehicles parked in between the two groups in the triangular area that was made off limits.

Tracy says they are chanting WE DON'T CARE!!

From Peace In Pink Shoes, which is blogging from Crawford, Counter Protesters have arrived
"We have counter protesters showing up a little at a time, carrying little American flags and attempting to agitate the peaceful protesters. We have 5 law enforcement vehicles including county, city, state & SS. The media is on site. People are still being shuttled back and forth to the CPH. Ward & Andrea are heading back to CPH because they are sick like Annie was yesterday.

At the top of the triangle where the counter protesters are getting out of the car, is the same location where the vets & military families are. It's almost as if they are deliberately picking that location to cause agitation."

Here are some of the comments from the Right about Cindy Sheehan:

BITCH OF THE SUMMER: CINDY SHEEHAN,

Cindy Sheehan is a fool.
The California liberal connection, which includes the network-news divisions of CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, and of course CBS, have found a symbol for their hatred of George Bush--it is the bitch, Sheehan, who lives in California.
LGF:
Cindy Sheehan’s puppet masters include the Crawford Peace House, a virulently antisemitic group that features a photo on their home page of a map of the mythical country of “Palestine” being replaced by the state of Israel.
GOPUSA:
Sadly, Ms. Sheehan appears to be becoming unhinged by her grief and a too close association with anti-American wingnuts.
Cindy Sheehan, I Loathe:
She and the Left are still dhimmis, and knowingly or unknowingly are willing to sacrifice the lives and future of all Americans in order to satisfy their uninformed agenda. And in the process, Cindy Sheehan continues to virtually spit upon her son's sacrifice, his good name, and the nation for which he sacrificed his life.


National talk-show host Neal Boortz:

Yesterday, President Bush came out and acknowledged Cindy Sheehan and said that he wasn't going to pull the troops out of Iraq. Sadly, this will not stop avowed media whore Mrs. Sheehan from maintaining her vigil outside Bush's Crawford ranch. [. . .] Looks like what's really going on here is that Cindy Sheehan has a few screws loose and her family knows it. Perhaps that would explain the complete 180 she did from last year, when she was praising President Bush, to this year, when she was bashing him.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 11, 2005

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq. She is camping out outside of Bush's vacation ranch in Crawford, Texas, asking to talk to him, to explain why we are in Iraq. People from around the country are spontaneously joining her.

MeetWithCindy.org and Gold Star Families for Peace.

Shakespeare's Sister has a roundup of blogs writing about Cindy Sheehan here. Go take a look.

Also visit the Big Brass Alliance, an alliance of bloggers who support After Downing Street, asking that Bush be impeached based on the revelations in the Downing Street Memo.

There was a blogger conference call with Cindy Sheehan yesterday, and you can listen to a recording of it here.

Please visit these websites -- and tell others. If you can join Cindy in Crawford that would be a tremendous statement.

Update - At 10:30 CDT today there was a press conference with seven other mothers of fallen soldiers who have joined Cindy in Crawford "to pressure President Bush to meet with them and explain his justification for the war." From the press release,

Today in Crawford, TX, more military families joined Cindy Sheehan, mother of a soldier who died in Iraq, to demand President Bush meet with them and explain why their sons died. All the families have sons, daughters or husbands who have died in the war or are on scheduled duty. Two principal architects of the war, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condolezza Rice, also arrived in Crawford today to meet with the President.

“All I want is for President Bush to take one hour out of his vacation and meet with me before another mother’s son dies in Iraq,” Cindy Sheehan, mother of the late Private Casey Sheehan who has been holding a vigil outside the President’s ranch in Crawford for five days. “You don’t use our country’s precious sons and daughters unless it’s absolutely necessary to defend America. Mr. President, it is time to level with the American people: why did we go to war, why have so many died, and when are they coming home?”

While Cindy’s vigil began alone, more families are arriving every day to demand answers. The expanding group currently includes thirteen mothers, seven of whom had sons killed in Iraq.

“The President says our loved ones died for a noble cause but that’s not good enough,” said Jean Prewitt of Birmingham, AL, who lost her son, Private Kelly Prewitt, in the first weeks of the war. “America is less safe now than before we attacked Iraq. President Bush has only fueled the hatred of extremists,” she continued.

Celeste Zappala, of Pennsylvania, who lost her son in Iraq also recently arrived in Crawford and said “When we buried my son, I vowed to him I would tell the truth, this war is a betrayal of our military and of the democracy they seek to protect. I am here to uphold the honor and memory of my son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker and insist that we find accountability for this conflict and bring the troops home now.

“We made the ultimate sacrifice. All we want is a meeting with him,” said Sheehan.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 8, 2005

New DSCC Website

Note the new "Sneak Peek" ad on the right.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 5, 2005

Demand Justice for Linda (horrific injustice, blogosphere mising the boat)

[Life is short, you can't respond to everything, but the story below is so utterly horrific (there's a picture of her right after she was rescued that will make you violently ill) and what this woman has had to go through so manifestly unjust (it took a hunger strike to get a trial date set), that I simply had to respond.

If you want an antidote to news coverage of "all pretty white women, all the time", you could hardly pick a better counter-story: and here, they know who the bastard is - they just won't prosecute him! The blogosphere could make a huge difference in this case -- however, a Google search on "Demand Justice For Linda" (and a similar search dropping "Demand" and adding "venezuela") reveal that less than a dozen blogs (mostly those of women/feminists) have picked up on this story. This needs to change!

If you're a blogger, and you care about justice for women, link to their site, and Demand justice for Linda, and for all victims of violence against women. -Thomas]

Four years ago when Venezuelan police rescued 18-year-old Linda from her kidnapper's apartment, she was bruised and cut inside and out and severely malnourished. One nipple had been cut off, her earlobe destroyed, her lip cut off, her skull fractured, and her entire body was covered with cigarette burns.
Despite the fact that Linda's attacker, Luis Carrera Almoina had kept her prisoner for four months while he repeatedly raped and brutally tortured her, Linda's case was passed over by the Venezuelan judicial system 29 times and a total of 59 judges declined to prosecute on her behalf!

When she finally got to coury (after three years of struggle, and a hunger strike on the courthouse steps):

...the judge let the man who'd raped and tortured Linda off scot-free, citing a "lack of evidence." Worse yet, the judge had the gall to order an investigation into Linda on the alleged grounds that she had been part of a prostitution ring.

The appeals court has annulled the verdict (thankfully), but she's still waiting for a new trial date. If you're not moved, and disgusted, and enraged by what has happened to this woman, I gotta wonder if you're human.

Click here to demand justice for Linda, and for all victims of violence against women. It is the absolute least any of us can do.

UPDATE:

It appears that this is getting a lot more play in blogs over the last couple of days -- probably as a result of the IPPA/WHR mailing I saw. So, my guess is that I was premature in thinking the blogosphere had totally missed the boat.

UPDATE1:

I can't post comments, I get "precondition evaluated to false", so something's borked. Therefore, this update, to satisfy folks wondering whether this is a psychops plant:

Here's where the sponsoring org stands: they oppose CAFTA, they oppose the "Gag Rule", they oppose the Bush Administration's interference in HIV/AIDS prevention efforts (this is probably how I got on their email list - the Bush Administration's anti-science ideological idiocy is undermining HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in Brazil and elsewhere by forcing funding recipients to condemn sex workers [thus alienating prostitutes, who are a major target of these outreach programs] - see letter to the editor by them on the subject in USA Today: http://www.mrss.com/clients/USA-Today-June-17-2005-Prostitution-OpEd.pdf).

"The International Planned Parenthood Federation, Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR) and its 46 member associations throughout the Americas are committed to promoting the right of women and men to decide freely the number and spacing of their children and the right to the highest possible level of sexual and reproductive health."

This isn't some lameass faked out pseudo front group organized by the CIA.

Or go look at the "indigenous" reporting: EVERYONE in the country is pissed off (especially the women, who are up in arms about this -- and it is the women bloggers in the U.S. who have picked up on this most emphatically)... this isn't an attempt to smear Chavez, this is the equivalent of that [bleeped] up case in Italy where the judge said the woman couldn't be raped because her jeans were too tight (only far more horrific)... only worse, it appears, because everyone seriously believes that the judge was bribed and pressured into the ruling, by the attacker's wealthy/influential father.

***

http://www.mujeresenaccion.com/mea_supportDocs/mea_pages/mea_publicationsSection/publication10_NOV04/art05us_NOV04.htm

As soon as the incredible decision was known, a chain of reactions occurred in several sectors of the Venezuelan society. Women, through their organizations, demanded from the Supreme Court of Justice, the dismissal of judge Rosa Cadiz, coincident with a similar petition by the Attorney General, the Venezuelan Association of Women Lawyers, political parties and the last one, really unheard of, on October 26, for the first time in almost five years, there was an unanimous vote of government and opposition in the National Assembly, to condemn the sentence and ask for the investigation of the judge. (source: Venezuelan newspaper)

***

The guy who specializes in blogging about Venezuela for Salon, "The Devil's Excrement", has written about this for a while, and specifically references this campaign as linking back to him:

http://blogs.salon.com/0001330/2005/08/03.html

and he's a Chavista sympathizer.

He says, in the comments to his original post on the subject last October:

"I must say the Government has also reacted with outrage, from the People's Ombudsman to Maduro, to the Prosecutors that are asking the judge be fired."

Finally: look through Technorati - all the older posts are in Spanish. Would the Bush Administration push a PR smear that never reaches the American press?!?

Is this enough background checking folks? This is a real case, with a real victim, who is supported by the entire society (Chavista and otherwise) - outside of the corrupt pool of monied elites Chavez is trying to wrest control of the country from.

Suggest that before folks go all paranoid and think something like this is a psyops manuever, that they do background research themselves... the blogosphere is self-correcting, and so far, I haven't seen any "corrections".

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at 6:46 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 4, 2005

MyDD Needs A New Server

MyDD :: Server Drive for MyDD

Go help. Go on, do it.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 3, 2005

DCCC

Some people aren't happy that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) only contributed about $300,000 to help Democrat Paul Hackett in yesterday's Ohio special Congressional election.

In response I say contribute to DCCC now or even monthly (at least get on their e-mail list), so they'll have even more with which to help out Democratic candidates in upcoming elections.

Also, read their blog.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:26 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Money For Progressives

Paul Hackett received $450,000 from 8748 donors contributing an average $51.44. Also, Atrios collected $35,823 from 934 donors contributing an average $42.83.

Atrios' site averages 134,000 unique IPs a day (note that several people can be reading from one IP), so we know that 0.697% of these donated through Atrios' page. The entire liberal blogosphere averages much, much higher readership, (DailyKOS alone averages 544,000 unique IPs per day, peaking to over 750,000 on busy days,) but let's pretend that 9,682 total donors amounts to 1%.

That means that 99% of us supposedly informed, active blog readers sat this one out.

Yes, the campaign did receive plenty of money, but I still have a question: Are the 99% of us who sat on the sidelines that much different from the right-wing "chickenhawks" who advocate war but refuse to sign up themselves? One thing those on the right at least DO is contribute money to their cause. Big money. And their businesses also support their movement. They believe it is a duty, a moral obligation to support their beliefs - at least financially.

Many religious people "tithe" 10% of pre-tax income to their churches. That is seriously putting their money where their beliefs are. (And how much of this is finding its way into the "conservative movement" machine?)

I have some ideas on what to do about the problem of Progressives failing to support Progressive organizations, and hope to be writing about it. In the meantime, think about what this means. Think about how it relates to the problems we all face. 59 million people voted for Kerry in 2004. How many of us are ready to donate 10% of our pre-tax income to Progressive organizations, and what would be the effect on our country and the world if we did that?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:51 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 1, 2005

Appeal For Money To Win Ohio Race

Swing State Project: OH-02: Once More into the Breech

Here's the situation, the Paul Hackett campaign decided to shoot the moon. Ohio's second congressional district favors Republicans by 30 pts. Running a safe campaign would result in failure.

Paul Hackett is a Fighting Democrat and he's gambling, pushing, pull out all of the stops and running like his life depends upon it (if he loses, he'll probably be sent back in Iraq).

To Get Out the Vote, we need to raise $30,000 today. Here's why.

Last week, the netroots stepped up and delivered around $40K a day. The campaign gambled and put all of that on TV (the ads are great and a Democrat is leading the Republicans in gross points in every market in every medium!!!).

It worked, and now Independents are breaking rapidly our way. And Democrats in the district are so fired up that the far more than expected are signing up for GOTV.

This has drastically increased the cost of the GOTV mobilization. The enthusiasm over the weekend was more than expected and more was spend during the huge door-to-door effort. Now the campaign needs money for tomorrow to finish the job.

The cost breaks down to around $50 a precinct with 600 precincts. The netroots best friend, Matt from ActBlue, is flying in right now to coordinate moving the money.

But we need enough to finish the job.

Your investments have made Hackett a contender. Please give one more time so we can win this in the field.

If everyone reading this at liberal blogs gave $1, Hackett would receive ... well over $1 million, actually.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 26, 2005

Help Hackett Win in Ohio

If you've been reading various blogs you know about the special election next week in Ohio's 2nd Congressional district. We've got a right-wing Bush loyalist running against Paul Hackett, a former Marine Corps Major who served in Iraq. If he wins, he would be the first Iraq War veteran serving in the Congress. That, of course, scares the hell out of the Republicans. So, according to Hackett's opponent, there is some question about his service in Iraq. See if this sounds like something straight out of the Right's playbook, as in Swift Boat Vets, and the smears on Max Cleland, when a right-wing chickenhawk faces a military veteran:

"I understand that Hackett did not participate in combat at all. It is still dangerous over there as I can personally attest. Let’s just not act as though we led marines in combat if we did not, okay…

I have asked the question time and again, what role did he actually play?

Given all the opportunities he has had to say “I served in combat” one fair conclusion is that he did not."

And, later, (i especially encourage you to read the whole Salon piece)
"Schmidt commends Hackett for his service, but believes Hackett should "stand with the president" by 'supporting the Iraqi war effort and our troops that are over there,' her campaign manager Joe Braun said.
Hackett replied,
"The only way I know how to support the troops is by going over there." He doesn't hesitate to criticize Schmidt's support of the war: "All the chicken hawks back here who said, 'Oh, Iraq is talking bad about us. They're going to threaten us' -- look, if you really believe that, you leave your wife and three kids and go sign up for the Army or Marines and go over there and fight. Otherwise, shut your mouth."
Read that again, it shows how to fight back against Republican smears.

Here is where to go to donate to Hackett to help him win next week's election.

Special Bonus - If you can actually BE in Ohio to help out, contact info@hackettforcongress.com to volunteer--there is housing available.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:36 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 22, 2005

Support Chris Bowers

Support Chris Bowers

I'm supporting Chris Bowers for Committeeperson, Ward 27, Division 2, Philadelphia, because I think Chris has the right stance on issues affecting our community. That's why I think Chris should receive Democracy for America's endorsement. Democracy for America (DFA) supports fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates all over the country. One of DFA's main criteria is grassroots support. You can help Chris Bowers receive DFA's endorsement by recommending Chris on Democracy for America's website:

http://www.democracyforamerica.com/recommendation

Details from Chris here
. And here.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 21, 2005

Patriot Act Call To Action

Sociatus has it right.

Which brings us to progressive and liberal bloggers at their worst– political junkies engaged in “he said she said” gossip, just like MSM pundits only generally with more thought, facts and intelligence.

I have no objections to political junkies getting their fix. But now would be a good time to take brief break from bingeing. Your country really does need you. Chances are, to be brutally honest, nothing you do over the next few days will make a huge difference either way with Rove or Roberts–not unless you have access to information that even Patrick Fitzgerald or the White House does not. But you can make a huge difference–as a citizen and as blogger–with the Patriot Act

A tad on the rude side, but Sociatus is spot on. This is the real battle and we've been flanked by the wingnuts. It's time to get a move on.


Visit the ACLU's site and e-mail
and-or call Congress. Please spread the word. Protect the 4th Amendment and your other rights. We are in the final hours for the Patriot Act. Take a brief break from the Rove-Roberts controversies, just a few hours, and defend your rights as American citizens.

Thank you.


Posted by Gary Boatwright at 10:12 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 13, 2005

Angry People In The Streets

Tomorrow, Washington, D.C., 2:30 PM on Pennsylvania Avenue outside The White House

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 12, 2005

Colleen Rowley for Congress

Have a visit at Coleen Rowley for U.S. Congress and drop a few bucks.

Colleen Rowley's name is familiar because she is the "FBI Whistleblower," who wrote the famous memo describing how the FBI leadership and others ignored warnings and bungled the chance to catch the 9/11 terrorists -- and then tried to cover that up. Follow the link to learn more about that.

Now she's running for Congress in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District, against one of the Bush/DeLay team's hard core members. If you live in the area be sure to sign up to volunteer. And if you live anywhere, you can, as I said, throw her a few bucks.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Last Best Chance

I just watched the trailer for the "Last Best Chance" video advertised on the right. Wow. Actually, they'll send you the DVD.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 8, 2005

Pick a Judge, Not a Fight!

The best short statement abouut the Supreme Court vacancy(ies) came to me from People For the American Way, "Tell the President: Pick a Judge, Not a Fight!"

That was in an e-mail and I can't find a web page there with that line, but I'll send people to PFAW anytime, anyway. So go visit PFAW.

Repeat after me: "Tell the President: Pick a Judge, Not a Fight!"

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:26 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 5, 2005

Security Clearance?

I'm asking again, why does Karl Rove have continued access to the White House, and a Security Clearance? He is under investigation for treason, accused of leaking information about the CIA's efforts to stop terrorists from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, thereby destroying the CIA's operation.

It is normal procedure to revoke access and clearances during investigations of this type. Why not for Rove? Is this a sign that the investgation is a whitewash?

Call your member of Congress and ask why Rove's security clearance and White House access have not been revoked!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:09 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 24, 2005

Fire Rove

Fire Karl Rove Petition

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:01 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 23, 2005

Nelson Mandela and the Campaign to Make Poverty History

[Every argument about whether the war in Iraq is "worth" it, needs to be turned around to ask: "What else could we do/have done with the same resources?" (or less). If you want numbers, go to the Borgen Project's cost of ending poverty page. Just one example: estimates coming out of the World Food Summit were that hunger worldwide could be cut in half with an investment of just $23 billion a year. That's a radical improvement to at least a billion lives, if not more.

Or go to the ONE campaign's Why One Percent? page, and find out what 1% of the Federal National Budget ($25 billion dollars) could do.

Let's remember Eisenhower: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."]

Sign a Letter to President Bush

Ask for his support today at the upcoming G8 meeting for an unprecedented debt-aid-trade deal for the people in the poorest countries. Together as ONE, we can send President Bush to the G8 Summit carrying the compassion, justice and generosity of millions of Americans.

Watch Nelson Mandela's video (hosted by Sun Microsystems, yaay), wherein he calls on the world's leaders to act now to end AIDS and extreme poverty.

[When someone sends you one of those letters detailing all the "good works" being done in Iraq to improve the lives of the Iraqi people, your respond should be: we could have accomplished as much, or more, elsewhere, without the need to fight a war, and then do everything listed under the threat of insurgent attacks and suicide bombers.

The war and the occupation in Iraq are immoral, and this can be proven on a purely utilitarian basis: the money "invested" there could achieve a vastly greater amount of "good" elsewhere (both for the people being targeted by the spending, and the United States in terms of the good will created).

-Thomas]

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at 4:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 21, 2005

No Political Payback for Big Tobacco

DontPardonBigTobacco.org

The U.S. Department of Justice is trying to let Big Tobacco off the hook to the tune of $120 billion. At the very last minute in its tobacco lawsuit, the Justice Department suddenly slashed how much it wants the industry to pay for programs to help the nation's 45 million smokers quit. Profits and politics came before public health.
Take Action!

(Through BOPNews)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:33 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 20, 2005

Equal Time

Chris at MyDD says to:

Email your local media and ask them to give time to Representative Hostettler's offensive comments about Democrats and Christianity equal to what they gave to Howard Dean's comments about Republicans and white Christians.
At MyDD there are links to help you do just that.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Yellow Elephant

In the right column, down a ways, you'll see a new "Operation Yellow Elephant" icon. Click it. (And take note of all the other things in the right column.)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:18 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 19, 2005

Change Wal-Mart

YOU can Change Wal-Mart!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:02 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 13, 2005

Sign the Petition

IRAQ ACTION ALERT!

Expose Republican corruption.

Iraq Deserves a Truman Commission

... During World War II, Harry Truman established what became known as the Truman Commission. The Commission consisted of a group of dedicated public servants who were committed to examining all financial and military transactions related to the war effort. Their work served to expose and eliminate any waste, mismanagement, or corruption which could have detracted from the effectiveness of Allied troops. The accountability and efficiency which they helped to create and defend was pivotal to winning the war.

[. . .] In 2004, the American public became aware that Halliburton - the company with perhaps more ties to the White House than any other and a recipient of billions of dollars worth of reconstruction contracts - had been overcharging the Army for gasoline, inflating its profits at the expense of our troops. Then, earlier this year, the Special Inspector General for the Iraqi Reconstruction released a study stating that nothing less than $9 billion dollars in reconstruction money - nearly 5 percent of the total amount of money spent on the War - could not be accounted for. And just last week, new reports revealed that approximately $100 million theoretically spent on small yet vital building projects between 2003 and 2004 has simply disappeared, most likely into a black hole of unchecked fraud and incompetence.

Sign the petition for a commission to find out where the money went.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 26, 2005

Change America -- Save Pensions

Joe Trippi is launching a new organization, Change America, with a mission to "put the spotlight on the corporate and political assault on Americans’ retirement security."

The first and best example is United Airlines and the company's treatment of their employee pension plan. In a conference call today Joe said that Change America wants to "spread the word about the raid on United employee pensions, with alarm about how the cascading effect is going to affect all Americans," because the United pension loss is "just an opening salvo" with many other companies now looking at getting rid of their own pension obligations.

"There are a lot of corporate bad actors in America, but [because of the United pension loss] this is at a critical point. We need to get people to engage, get United to feel the heat, and there will be more points of action soon." "The connectivity of the net is a powerful force to go after bad actors."

I recommend a visit to the new site and be sure to sign the petition on the front page. The site the and organization are going to expand and have more to do. In fact, a donation from you would help this process along.

What Joe is talking about is for real. There are even whispers that corporate managers who provide pensions are "incompetent."

And it isn't just corporate pensions targeted. In California, Governor Schwarzenegger recently called for an initiative to get rid of "reform" public-employee pensions because they are "too expensive." In support, the Right is talking about the runaway costs of public pensions.

From the California Republican Party,

public employee pensions are bankrupting local governments and voters don't want to pay more than they're already paying. Enough is enough.
And some of their motivation can be found here:
This year's fight will be between those who want to reform California's runaway public pension system and those who want to protect organized labor unions.

[. . .] Reforming public pensions could severely restrict the ability of labor unions to influence policy decisions at CalPERS that directly benefit them.

The same kind of rhetoric is showing up in New Jersey, Florida, Illinois and many other states.

Visit Change America.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 25, 2005

What Can I Do?

Wake-Up Wal-Mart: Always High Costs,

One 200-person Wal-Mart store may result in a cost to federal taxpayers of $420,750 per year – about $2,103 per employee. Specifically, the low wages result in the following additional public costs being passed along to taxpayers PER STORE:

* $36,000 a year for free and reduced lunches.
* $42,000 a year for Section 8 housing assistance.
* $125,000 a year for federal tax credits and deductions for low-income families.
* $100,000 a year for the additional Title I expenses.
* $108,000 a year for the additional federal health care costs of moving into state children's health insurance programs.
* $9,750 a year for the additional costs for low income energy assistance.

NO WONDER their prices are so low -- WE'RE making up the difference through our taxes!! And THEY'RE pocketing the profits!

Go see the website.

Through American Street.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 19, 2005

Give Money For This Ad

MoveOn has a great new ad and needs money to get it on the air. They're also asking for people to hand out flyers at movie theaters this weekend.

I can't stress how important this fight over the filibuster is, so anything you do helps! Click to see the ad and donate: MoveOn PAC: Save the Republic

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Unbelievable!

Remember when MoveOn had a contest to make an ad, and some guy made one comparing Bush's actions to Hitler's? Remember the firestorm? You couldn't turn on the TV or read a newspaper or listen to the radio without hearing about how TERRIBLE MoveOn is. (Even though it was just some guy...)

Well I'm going to really surprise you. It's OK if you are a Republican (IOKIYAR). Go read GOP senator compares Democrats to Hitler,

...AND THE AUDACITY OF SOME MEMBERS TO STAND UP AND SAY, HOW DARE YOU BREAK THIS RULE. IT'S THE EQUIVALENT OF ADOLF HITLER IN 1942 "I'M IN PARIS. HOW DARE YOU INVADE ME. HOW DARE YOU BOMB MY CITY? IT'S MINE." THIS IS NO MORE THE RULE OF THE SENATE THAN IT WAS THE RULE OF THE SENATE BEFORE NOT TO FILIBUSTER. IT WAS AN UNDERSTANDING AND AGREEMENT, AND IT HAS BEEN ABUSED. IN A SENSE, WHAT WE SEE HERE ON THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES.
Start calling radio stations, newspapers... Jeeze, I don't know what to start doing. Do something.

(Through Atrios.)

Update - Also on this: ArchPundit, Swing State Project, The Agonist, Supreme Irony, Blogenlust, Talking Points Memo, Oliver Willis, Balloon Juice, Tapped, MyDD, Carpetbagger Report, Crooks and Liars, Think Progress, Dave Sirota and here, Spin Dry, Rooftop Report, DC Media Girl (gives Santorum's office number, asks readers to call), Daily Kos, TalkLeft, 2 political junkies, Left in the West (and here, noting the silence from the Righties who condemned MoveOn), Random Ravings, Damn Liberals, Laughing at the Pieces, Political Strategy, Yudel Line, Charging Rino, Stakeholder, Political Dogfight, BOPNews, Steve Gilliard (a must-read).

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 15, 2005

No Allegiance To Democratic Party

Florida Rep. Robert Wexler is going to break the Democratic coalition that has been holding the line against the Republicans' attempt to get rid of Social Security. The story, Democrat to Offer Social Security Plan quotes him saying, "My allegiance to seniors is greater than my allegiance to the Democratic Party."

Minority Leader Pelosi tried to stop him. From the story,

Wexler said he had twice spoken with Pelosi about his plan. While he would not reveal her reaction, he said, "It would be wrong to assume it was a receptive conversation."
Good for her!

Thanks to There Is No Crisis, where they write,

If you care about saving Social Security from privatization, call up the disgraced congressman and tell him to pull his head out of his pompous ass:

Washington, D.C. Office
213 Cannon House Office Building • Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-3001 • (202) 225-5974 FAX

Palm Beach County Office
2500 North Military Trail • Suite 100 • Boca Raton, FL 33431
(561) 988-6302 • (561) 988-6423 FAX

Broward County Office
Margate City Hall • 5790 Margate Blvd • Margate, FL 33063
(954) 972-6454 • (954) 974-3191 FAX

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:03 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 13, 2005

A Call To Action

This is another call to action.

Step 1: Visit this new website: The Downing Steet Memo :: What is it?

Step 2: Click their Take Action button.

Step 3: DO SOMETHING with the options you see there.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Print And Pass Around

Chris at MyDD has a post up, The Goals of the Republican Party. Please read it. Please consider printing copies and going door-ro-door in your neighborhood leaving copies in mailboxes and under doormats. Please consider passing it out at churches. Please consider leaving stacks of printouts at coffee houses. Please consider e-mailing this post to friends and asking them to do also all of these things.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:51 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 12, 2005

Nuclear Option Mass Response

From People For the American Way:

"Nuclear Option" Mass Immediate Response

Please take a moment to fill out the short form below to sign up for our "Nuclear Option" Mass Immediate Response. By giving us your cell phone number, we will text message you as soon as Senate Republicans trigger the "nuclear option." Embedded in that text message will be a link to the Senate switchboard. With the push of a couple buttons, your call – along with thousands of others – goes right through to the corridors of power demanding preservation of the filibuster.

This is a brand new technology, and this is the first time it is being used on a large scale. (Don’t worry: we will NEVER send you spam or disclose your number to anyone else; in fact, we won’t even send you any more text messages without first sending you an e-mail like this one, asking you to opt in.)

Myself, I say OUT INTO THE STREETS!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:56 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

"The Democrats"

The Democrats is not a they, it is a US. No change is going to happen if you think it's something that someone else is going to do for you. Think about what YOU are DOING to make the change.

A few years ago I wrote about how I felt foolish the first time setting up a Register to Vote table at a local supermarket.

It can feel embarrassing, because we are so primed to think of activists as "whacko liberals," or "aging hippies," or so many other negative, ridiculing images. I had this problem when I started registering voters earlier this year. I had a card table and a chair and a sign, and I set up in a public place, and I felt ridiculous. But after I sat down at that table and started talking to people I got over it and I felt GREAT about what I was doing because I knew how important it was and because so many people were telling me they were very glad to see "someone" out there doing this important work! ( It hadn't occurred to them to be out there doing this important work. No one seems to see themselves as someone who can get things done.)

If you are reading this, then you are probably concerned about the things going on with the government. I think they are too important to just sit back and quietly let them continue. I think it is time to speak up, even if you risk feeling foolish. You should be talking to people, e-mailing them, and asking them to get active as well.

So go out an talk to people. Be a pest. Make an effort. Make it a change in your life. It's important.

Also, So What Are You Going to DO About It?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 28, 2005

Call Your NPR Station

Over at The Blogging of the President: 2004 (need to fix that title, people, it's 2005) they're asking you to call your local NPR station - if you are a pledging member - and ask why they give kid-glove interviews avoiding tough, key questions. Go read why.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos