Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Emergency Demo to support Gaza Freedom March - Dec. 31

Emergency Demonstration:
Thursday Dec 31, 1 pm

Protest Egypt's refusal to allow Gaza Freedom March to enter Gaza

304 East 44th St. (btwn 1st & 2nd Ave)

The government of Egypt continues to deny international activists from the Gaza Freedom March and also from Viva Palestina's humanitarian aid convoy access to the Gaza Strip. This clearly demonstrates the Egyptian Government's complicity with Israel in maintaining the illegal and devastating blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Marking the one-year anniversary of the December 2008 Israeli invasion that left more than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead, the Gaza Freedom March is a grassroots global response to the inaction on the part of world leaders and institutions. 12 Brooklynites, including 2 BFP members, are in Cairo with the Gaza Freedom March.
Tell Egypt to open its border with the Gaza Strip, let people and goods in and out!

Thursday December 31st, 1 PM

304 East 44th St. (btwn 1st & 2nd Ave)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009



Please join the War Resisters League in supporting its members and allies who are part of this historic international delegation against the Israeli siege on Gaza. Put pressure on the Egyptian government to open up the Gaza-Egypt border and let the Gaza Freedom March proceed!

From The Gaza Freedom March Steering Committee:

December 21, 2009

We are determined to break the siege
We all will continue to do whatever we can to make it happen

Using the pretext of escalating tensions on the Gaza-Egypt border, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry informed us yesterday that the Rafah border will be closed over the coming weeks, into January. We responded that there is always tension at the border because of the siege, that we do not feel threatened, and that if there are any risks, they are risks we are willing to take. We also said that it was too late for over 1,300 delegates coming from over 42 countries to change their plans now. We both agreed to continue our exchanges.

Although we consider this as a setback, it is something we've encountered-and overcome--before. No delegation, large or small, that entered Gaza over the past 12 months has ever received a final OK before arriving at the Rafah border. Most delegations were discouraged from even heading out of Cairo to Rafah. Some had their buses stopped on the way. Some have been told outright that they could not go into Gaza. But after public and political pressure, the Egyptian government changed its position and let them pass.

Our efforts and plans will not be altered at this point. We have set out to break the siege of Gaza and march on December 31 against the Israeli blockade. We are continuing in the same direction.

Call the Egyptian embassy and ask your elected official to call on your behalf. Contact your local media/press to tell them you are going to Gaza. Egyptian embassies and missions all over the world must hear from us and our supporters (by phone, fax and email) over the coming crucial days, with a clear message: Let the international delegation enter Gaza and let the Gaza Freedom March proceed.

Contact your local consulate here:

Contact the Palestine Division in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cairo
Ahmed Azzam, Email:

In the U.S., email Omar Youssef at the Egyptian Embassy,

War Resisters League
339 Lafayette Street | New York, NY 10012
212.228.0450 |

Monday, December 21, 2009

Up in the Air: a review

So Saturday eve we went (with our friends Barbara & Eli) to see Up in the Air. It's like no other movie you've ever seen, but I'm not sure that's a good thing. George Clooney - who I think is the last real movie star - is brilliant. But the character he plays is an empty vessel. He works for a company that sends people out to fire people. That's it, just to fire people. Although it's only mentioned once or twice, their main purpose is to prevent the people being fired from suing. Their job is to convince those being fired that this is a new beginning - at whatever age or qualifications. In order to be able to do this day-after-day, year-after-year, one has to be an emotional void. Of course, Clooney is his usual charming self. He travels many miles up in the air. One day he meets a beautiful woman (Vera Farmiga) in an airport bar, she accompanies him back to his room and they have sex. They meet from time to time, when it's mutually convenient to indulge themselves. Finally he invites her to his sister's wedding and he begins to believe there is something more happening than just convenient sex. She has a secret that will ultimately turn him back into an empty firing automaton. At the same time a young woman (Anna Kendrick) shows up at his company with an internet strategy for firing people. In other words, let's make the process less human, more abstract. She becomes his protege. He wants to keep the firing process what its always been, she wants to make it less personal. He wins this battle, but they lose the war - he in his relationship with his occasional lover, she with the job.

The movie appears to be in touch with a contemporarily high unemployment rate. But it's effectively empty. None of the three main characters is worth rooting for. Sure there are some laughs, really fine performances but at its heart (which it doesn't have) Up in the Air is an almost empty two hours.

Up in the Air will almost surely be nominatec for an Oscar - it was chosen the best film of 2009 by the National Board of Review, it captured six Golden Globe nominations But it was left out of the list of movies receiving nominations for their ensemble casts, Screen Actors Guild's equivalent of a best picture award. Instead, the SAG nominating committee opted for "Inglorious Basterds" and "Precious" along with Sony Pictures Classics' British period drama "An Education," Summit's Iraq War film "The Hurt Locker" and the Weinstein Co.'s Roman disaster of a musical "Nine."

If you want to see how totally cannibalistic capitalism can be, Up in the Air will show you.

Dec. 22, Hearing in ACORN v. U.S.A.

Hearing in ACORN v. U.S.A.

Tuesday, December 22, 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM
(Arrive early for security and seating)

United States District Court Eastern District of New York,
225 Cadman Plaza East, (Room 6D)
Brooklyn, New York

Last week the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) celebrated a major victory in our case on behalf of ACORN over congressional de-funding, but we have to go back to court tomorrow and we hope you will come show your support if you can.

The case charged Congress with violating the Bill of Attainder provision in the U.S. Constitution by singling out an organization for punishment without a fair investigation and trial, violating the Fifth Amendment right to due process, and infringing on the First Amendment right to freedom of association by targeting affiliated and allied organizations as well. And the judge agreed. Two days later, Congress passed a new budget that included three specific references targeting ACORN for de-funding, and we are asking the judge to amend her decision to include these new violations of the law. Join CCR tomorrow, Tuesday, December 22, 2009 to pack the court to make it loud and clear that Congress cannot act as judge, jury and executioner.

The U.S. Constitution forbids lawmakers from singling out a person or group for punishment in order to protect against political retribution without due process. We asked the judge to amend her decision granting an injunction against Congress' unconstitutional de-funding of ACORN to apply it to the new federal budget provisions that President Obama signed into law last week. The United States has also filed papers asking the judge to reconsider her December 11 ruling and set it aside.

For more information on ACORN v. USA, please visit CCR's website. Join us to show solidarity with ACORN and to make sure the right does not continue its unconstitutional targeting of progressive organizations.

We hope to see you in court.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Two Deaths to note: Liam Clancy & Bess Lomax Hawes

I was sad to hear of the death of Liam Clancy, the last remaining member of the extraordinary Irish band - The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. There were many nights in the Village of the 1960s and 1970s that would not have been the same without Liam, Tom, Paddy and Tommy Makem at the Lion's Head and the old Limelight. No matter how popular they became the Clancys were never too big to join us late at night. The alcohol didn't hurt either. As we all know the music was an integral part of the politics of those years and the Clancy Brothers were a very important part of that music. Culture and politics are never really separable. They taught us a whole new way to hear Irish music and to think about Irish politics.

Although I wasn't as familiar with Bess Lomax Hawes as with Liam Clancy, anyone who sang with Woody and Pete deserves to be remembered. She was part of the Almanac Singers in the 1940s with Woody, Milard Lampell, Pete, Arthur Stern and Sis Cunningham. For those of you who are knowledgeable about ethnomusicology, Bess Lomax Hawes was the daughter of folk song collector John A. Lomax and the sister of Alan Lomax.

Both Liam Clancy (and the Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem) and Bess Lomax Hawes should be remembered as key parts of our movement.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dec. 14, New York City Labor Chorus mini-concert

Monday, Dec. 14, 6-8 PM

New York City Labor Chorus mini concert

CWA local 1180
6 Harrison St. (at Hudson)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

12/8: Book party for The Tyranny of Oil

Tuesday, December 8, 7 pm
Book Talk & Party

7 pm - Book Talk with Author Antonia Juhasz
8pm on... - partying until you want to leave

Eight Mile Creek
240 Mulberry Street (bt Prince and Spring)
(212) 431-4615

Author, Antonia Juhasz, will speak about her book, The Tyranny of Oil: The World's Most Powerful Industry--And What We Must Do To Stop It,
just released in paperback: updated with a new preface: "Big Oil and the Obama Presidency."

with a special appearance by The Yes Men!

Film award season begins: The National Board of Review

The film award season begins with the National Board of Review:
Best Film: UP IN THE AIR
Best Director: CLINT EASTWOOD, Invictus

Best Actor(s) (a tie): GEORGE CLOONEY, Up In The Air; MORGAN FREEMAN, Invictus
Best Actress: CAREY MULLIGAN, An Education
Best Supporting Actor: WOODY HARRELSON, The Messenger
Best Supporting Actress: ANNA KENDRICK, Up In The Air
Breakthrough Performance by an Actor: JEREMY RENNER, The Hurt Locker
Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: GABOUREY SIDIBE, Precious

Best Foreign Language Film: A PROPHET
Best Documentary: THE COVE
Best Animated Feature: UP

Best Ensemble Cast: IT’S COMPLICATED

Spotlight Award for Best Directorial Debut: DUNCAN JONES, Moon; OREN MOVERMAN, The Messenger; MARC WEBB, (500) Days of Summer
Best Original Screenplay: JOEL AND ETHAN COEN, A Serious Man
Best Adapted Screenplay: JASON REITMAN and SHELDON TURNER, Up In The Air
Special Filmmaking Achievement Award: WES ANDERSON, The Fantastic Mr. Fox
William K. Everson Film History Award: JEAN PICKER FIRSTENBERG

Ten Best Films
(in alphabetical order)


Read more at Film School Rejects: Nat’l Board of Review Takes Up in the Air as Best Picture - Film School Rejects

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Waist Deep in the Big Muddy: Obama & Afghanistan

There are many things I could say about our escalation of the "war"in Afghanistan, but I'm going to let Pete Seeger say it for me:

Well, I'm not going to point any moral;
I'll leave that for yourself
Maybe you're still walking, you're still talking
You'd like to keep your health.
But every time I read the papers
That old feeling comes on;
We're -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.

As always Pete nails it.

But although I don't agree with Obama's decision to escalate the "war" in Afghanistan, he has always been clear: Iraq bad, Afghanistan good. He just happens to be wrong.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nov. 30 & Dec. 2: World March for Peace Arrives in New York City!

World March for Peace Arrives in New York City!
Monday, November 30 & Wednesday December 2

The World March for Peace kicked off on October 2, 2009 (Gandhi's birthday), and is currently under way in 100 countries and 300 cities.
Final destination is Argentina, (Punta de Vacas) on January 2, 2010.

Monday November 30: the international team of marchers will arrive from Senegal at JFK Airport.
1 pm: Join us at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 1 pm, to greet them. We're invited to walk with them across the Brooklyn Bridge
3 pm: Press conference (3 pm) at City Hall
7 pm: Celebration at Riverside Church in Manhattan.

Five goals of the World March:
• Worldwide nuclear disarmament
• Withdrawal of troops in invaded territories
• Progressive and proportional reduction of conventional armament.
• Signature of non-aggression treaties
• Government renunciation of war as a means to resolve conflicts

Wednesday December 2, 6:30 pm:
Join the celebration at Unitarian Church of All Souls,
(Reidy Friendship Hall),
1157 Lexington Ave @80th St, Manhattan

Come to enjoy:
Russell Branca jazz trio with Heather Bennett, piano; Sylvia Cuenca, drums; and Russell Branca, bass
Poetry readings by Phoebe Hoss, Howard Pflanzer and Eliot Katz
Speakers who will share their actions for local and global peace and non-violence, including a representative from the
World March organization; Bruce Knotts, Director of the UU/United Nations Office, Guy Quinlan of the Nuclear Disarmament
Task Force
Sing-along of peace songs
Food and beverages

(Train: 6 to 77th St.)
Free Admission; Donations appreciated!

Questions? Call 718-624-5921 or email

World March for Peace is endorsed by Brooklyn For Peace and many others, including Noam Chomsky, Cornell West, Howard Zinn, Cindy Sheehan, and more

Friday, November 06, 2009

Mad Hatter's Tea Party invades the Capitol

I have been giving some thought to the Republican Tea Parties since they invaded the Capitol yesterday (Thurs) to protest extending health-care coverage to all Americans who need it (without unduly advantaging the insurance companies). I know they like to see themselves akin to the protesters at the Boston Tea Party, but I think they are much more like the Mad Hatter's Tea Party in Alice in Wonderland and they make just about as much sense.

(tea party photo by Smialowski/Getty)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oct. 28 (Tonight): Protest Dow Chemical

From Merle Ratner:

Today (Wednesday) October 28, 6:30-8:00 pm

Milk Studios
450 West 15th St
(bt 9th and 10th Aves)

Dow Chemical has the unmitigated gall to be sponsoring an event about impact of and solutions to the global water crisis (see below)! There is indeed a global water crisis that needs to be addressed, but Dow is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Join Agent Orange & Bhopal activists to protest Dow’s lies and complicity!

Demand compensation for Vietnamese Agent Orange victims and cleanup of the toxic hot spots

Demand cleanup and compensation for the victims in Bhopal

Dow’s attempt to portray itself as responsible corporation is a lie since Dow refuses to compensate the victims of Agent Orange and clean up the toxic, dioxin-laden water and land in Vietnam resulting from its manufacture of Agent Orange used against the Vietnamese people during the U.S. war, and refuses to clean up and provide safe water to the people of Bhopal to whom it is responsible for the aftermath of a terrible chemical spill.
For the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign,

Oct. 28 (Tonight): Mobilization Against the War in Afghanistan

October 28, 7 pm

An Evening of Mobilization Against the War in Afghanistan

15th St Friends Meeting House (15 Rutherford Place)

Malalai Joya, the outspoken female politician and member of the Afghan parliament,
and American combat veterans from the conflict in Afghanistan,
will discuss the reality of the war, its consequences for the Afghan people and the effects on our troops.

Sponsored by The Nation Institute, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Mark Kurlansky (author of Non-Violence: The History of a Dangerous Idea) and Veteran war correspondent and Institute Fellow Chris Hedges, (author of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning)
At a time when our military commanders concede that we are rapidly losing ground to the Taliban insurgents, it is vital that we recognize the consequences of the war and the dangerous direction it could take if we permit further military escalation.

The event is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Oct 24:International Day of climate action

Saturday, October 24, 11 am - 12 noon

The Cathedral of St. John

the Divine invites the community to take a stand ethically, aesthetically, and spiritually. Come hear, see, and reflect upon the important issue of climate change — in the midst of our daily lives.

350 rings. Between 11 am and 12 noon, the Cathedral’s iconic bells will be rung in a sequence signifying 350. (see below for significance of 350)

Across the world on Saturday, October 24, people will engage in local “climate actions” in a massive coordinated global campaign to draw world leaders’ attention to the gravity of climate change. The burning of fossil fuels—literally, the burning of the earth—is the major cause of this problem.

Information will be available through a booth staffed by the Congregation of St. Savior.

At 11:30 am, as the bells are tolling, those who are gathered on the steps of the Cathedral will be photographed and the photo will be uploaded as one of the international climate actions.

The Cathedral supports the 350 campaign, an international effort led by environmentalist Bill McKibben and a dedicated team of volunteers ( On Oct. 24 there will be actions at iconic places around the world—from the Great Barrier Reef to the Rockies to our community—in a united effort to send a clear message to world leaders: the solutions to climate change must be equitable, they must be grounded in science, and they must meet the scale of the crisis.

The number 350 derives from scientific observation that 350 parts per million of atmospheric carbon is the level at which life as we know it on this planet can continue without disastrous effects (including, e.g., flooding and changes in weather patterns, which tend to affect the poor most drastically, and which are increasingly expected right here in New York City).

Monday, October 19, 2009

Contact your state Senator to move the Marriage Equality Act.

The Human Rights Campaign is asking that we contact our State Senator, even if you are certain that your Senator will vote for marriage equality (as are we) it's always good to give them support for doing the right thing.

The New York state senate will soon have an opportunity to vote on marriage equality. I just contacted my New York state senator and Senator John Sampson through the Human Rights Campaign.

They've made it quick and easy to send a personalized message to legislators. Now, more than ever, our senators need to hear from you and other New Yorkers who support marriage equality.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

10/15: Vigil: Say NO to War in Afghanistan!

Thurs. Oct. 15, 4:30-6:00 pm

Vigil: Say NO to War in Afghanistan!

Brooklyn Boro Hall
Joralemon Street (bt Court & Boerum Place)

Bring the Troops Home Now--From Iraq & Afghanistan!

This October marks the 8th anniversary of the launch of the U.S.-led "War on Terror" in Afghanistan, already expanded into Pakistan. As a result, we are LESS safe, and TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS poorer. Defending it as a "war of necessity". the Obama administration is considering a major escalation of the violence. Last week Congress voted in for the 2010 Defense Appropriation including $128.2 billion to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq through September 2010 (total military budget is $625.8 billion.) ALL Brooklyn reps and Senators Gillibrand and Schumer voted in favor .
Although many have raised "concerns" about US policy in Afghanistan, our elected represenatives have now authorized funding for another year of war. SPEAK OUT NOW to change our country's direction!

Sponsor: Brooklyn For Peace
Co-sponsors: Fort Greene Peace, Bay Ridge Interfaith Coalition, CODEPINK, South Asia Solidarity Initiative, Raging Grannies, United for Peace & Justice

10/15: Rally to support single payer health care

Tomorrow (Thurs. 10/15), activists in 9 cities across the country will participate in civil disobedience at health insurance companies. In New York City,

10am - Legal support rally for Patients, Not Profits
UnitedHealth Group (UHG),
ONE PENN PLAZA (facing 34th St)

UHG is the largest insurance company in America. Last year it collected $75 billion in premiums, and spent $11 million on lobbying and campaign contributions. Scores of testimonials have been shared about UHG's abusive practices against patients resulting in denials and deaths. Join us to shame UHG, and support those who are putting their bodies on the line to demand Medicare for All.

Join in a legal rally to stand up for our right to health care.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

30 GOP Senators Vote to Defend Gang Rape

Our niece Kate Williams posted the following on FaceBook and I think this info should be spread as widely as possible, whenever we think that the Republicans have reached the lowest possible point in the political sewer they manage to surprise us once again. Here's what they have done now:
it is stunning that 30 Republican members of the United States Senate would vote to protect a corporation, in this case Halliburton/KBR, over a woman who was gang raped.
The story is very simple. In 2005 a woman was gang raped by her Halliburton/KBR co-workers. Sen Al Franken introduced an amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill simply asserting that a corporation that covers up sexual assault (or refuses to allow its employees to take a case of sexual assault to court) cannot receive federal funds. (see video below, if you are seeing this on FaceBook go to)

The 30 Republicans (all men) argued that this was to great an intrusion into the private sector. Here are the names of the 30 culprits: Here are those who vote to protect a corporation over a victim of rape:

Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Gregg (R-NH)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kyl (R-AZ)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)

Health Insurers may have shot themselves in the foot

Although their actions shouldn't have come as a shock to anyone at this point in the game the health insurance industry may have (if you'll pardon the expression) shot itself in the foot on Monday. By releasing an obviously biased report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers that the typical family premium in 2019 could cost $4,000 more than projected, if the current House and Senate bills pass, they may have inadvertently provided the best reason for reinvigorating the almost dormant public option.
While dismissing the report's findings as typical of an industry that seeks to protect its profits [above all else], the New York Democrat [Anthony Weiner] also made a fairly salient point. The analysis basically assumes that insurers will raise their rates because the finance committee won't make the pool of consumers more desirable for them. All of which lays out the logical case for providing consumers with a cheap and available alternative, set up and administered by the federal government. (Read more at:
There are obviously two reasons for this stupidity, either they're desperate and know that this time something will pass or their rapaciousness knows no bounds or both. Now we'll see if the Democrats have (to quote a Hillary Clinton supporter in the last campaign) the testicular fortitude to actually pass even an emasculated bill.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oct. 14: Book party:Slavoj Žižek: First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

Wednesday, October 14, 7:00 pm


Slavoj Žižek - First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

Cooper Union, Great Hall
7 East 7th Street, NYC

Co-sponsor: Verso Books

The Left Forum: Debating Capitalist Power in the Age of Obama: Strategies for a U.S. Left

The Left Forum debate is only four days away.

Left Forum presents

Thursday, October 15, 7:30 p.m.

Debating Capitalists' Power in the Age of Obama: Strategies for a U.S. Left.

Debaters: Cindy Milstein, Stanley Aronowitz and Tom Hayden.

Moderator: Esther Armah (host, WBAI's "Wake Up Call")

Questions posed by a panel including David Harvey (author of Limits to Capital);
Maria Svart (union organizer and chair of the NYC local of Democratic Socialists of America, DSA); and
Josh MacPhee (artist, curator, activist, and part of the political art cooperative
Audience questions will be taken.

It's a spacious venue, hosted by the Community Church of New York
40 East 35th Street - New York - NY - 10016
Tel: 212.683.4988 -

[Directions: take the 6 to 33rd St. (at Park Ave.); B/D/F/R/Q/N/W to 34th St. (Herald Square)]


Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama Peace Prize: October surprise?

When I heard the news this morning that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize, I thought that I must still be asleep and having a very strange dream. But when I soon realized that I was awake I thought it couldn't be April 1st yet and I knew I hadn't heard anything about The Onion taking over the news copywriting for a day. Finally I realized that this was real. Fairly soon I heard the right wing nutty response (much like the same people's response to Chicago losing the Olympics). This is what the RNC's Mike Steele had to say:
The real question Americans are asking is, 'What has President Obama actually accomplished?' It is unfortunate that the president's star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain - President Obama won't be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.
Actually the American people are really asking: "Why have the Republicans stood in the way of President Obama doing anything?" Hardly surprisingly an extreme version of this came from the massively off-kilter Rush Limbaugh:
This fully exposes the illusion that is Barack Obama. And with this 'award' the elites of the world are urging Obama, THE MAN OF PEACE, to not do the surge in Afghanistan, not take action against Iran and its nuclear program and to basically continue his intentions to emasculate the United States. They love a weakened, neutered U.S, and this is their way of promoting that concept. I think God has a great sense of humor, too.
I'm not sure how god got into this, but Limbaugh's fascination with "emasculation" and being "neutered" makes one wonder about his private life. As the day progressed the right-wing lie machine created its latest. They claimed that the award was decided on about a week after Obama took office. Actually he ws nominated last November, with about 350 other people. The award was decided on quite recently. But that didn't keep the right from spreading their latest version of "death panels."

At first, my reaction mirrored some of this criticism, particularly: What has he done? And how can he be awarded a Peace Prize while he commands an occupation of Iraq, contemplates escalating the devastation of Afghanistan and can't even bring himself to criticize the Israeli murder of innocents in Gaza. But as I thought more about it I began to think the award might be a good thing. I'm almost certain it won't move Obama from his determination to save capitalism from itself. But in the eyes of most sane people (unlike those quoted above) it might press forward the struggle against a nuclear world, attempts to prevent us from destroying our environment and ourselves and abandon the idea that war (no matter how profitable it is) is the only answer to world problems. The Nobel Peace Prize has often been awarded to encourage good behavior rather than as a reward for success. I don't usually predict the future but it will be interesting to see what effect it has. In the short term it's fun to laugh at the right-wing obsessive anti-Obama response

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Today is the 8th anniversary of our invasion & occupation of Afghanistan

Today is the 8th anniversary of our invasion of Afghanistan -

U.S. participation in previous wars:

Revolutionary War 6 yrs., 9 Mos.
Civil War 4 yrs.
Korean War 3 yrs., 1 Mo.
WWI 1 yr., 7 Mos.
WWII 3 yrs., 8 Mos.
Iraq 6 Yrs., 7 Mos. (obviously it's still continuing)

Only Vietnam lasted longer (8 Yrs., 5 Mos.) and you know who won that one.

Right wing: A reversal of evolution?

According to the NYT today (10/7), a University of Oregon research team answered No to the question of whether or not evolution can be reversed. There is, however, a possible counter example which might indicate that reverse evolution is possible: The modern Conservative movement and its Republican Party.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

How to achieve bi-partisanship: buy some Democrats, put a hit out on some Republicans

Watching the travesty that passed for the Senate Finance Committee meeting last week (9/29) was like watching a bunch of thieves at the public trough. The behavior of the five Democrats who voted against the public option is totally understandable once you realize how well they're getting paid by the healthcare industries. Here's what they've gotten:
Max Baucus got $7,734,102, Blanche Lincoln received $4,190,592, Ken Conrad took in $3,287,891, Bill Nelson was given $2,414,895 and Tom Carper accepted $1,592,380 from health industry interests.

If money is the reason these five Democrats rejected the public option, then it only took a little over 19 million dollars over 20 years to buy the five votes the health insurance industry needed to kill any meaningful reform to their industry.

19 million dollars is nothing compared to the profits the insurance industry will make if a public option is defeated. They got a great deal for that 19 million. The American people? Not so much (from
This clearly explains the continuation of the ineptitude of the Democrats regarding healthcare reform. From the President on down to the Senate drones like Baucus they have constantly taken every bargaining chip they possessed off the table. First the president dropped any attempt to go for single payer, because he believed he couldn't get it through - never mind trying before giving up.

In March, the president explained at a town meeting why he abandoned single payer:
The problem is, is that we have what's called a legacy, a set of institutions that aren't that easily transformed. Let me just see a show of hands: How many people here have health insurance through your employer? Okay, so the majority of Americans, sort of -- partly for historical accident. I won't go into -- FDR had imposed wage controls during war time in World War II. People were -- companies were trying to figure out how to attract workers. And they said, well, maybe we'll provide health care as a benefit.

And so what evolved in America was an employer-based system. It may not be the best system if we were designing it from scratch. But that's what everybody is accustomed to. That's what everybody is used to. It works for a lot of Americans. And so I don't think the best way to fix our health care system is to suddenly completely scrap what everybody is accustomed to and the vast majority of people already have. Rather, what I think we should do is to build on the system that we have and fill some of these gaps. (from: The L.A. Times)
Yesterday the well paid Max Baucus explained why he was taking the public option off the table:
My job is to put together a bill that will become law. In a sentence, that means my job is to put together a bill that gets 60 votes. I can count. No one has been able to show me how we can count up to 60 votes with a public option in the bill.
It's easy to see the basic fallacy in this argument. Obama could have befgun with single payer and bargained it away to get something else (public option?). But if you give it away before you start, you can't use it to bargain. The same is obviously true of Baucus' argument. He can try to get 60 votes with a public option in the bill, but he might endanger his healthcare insurance company money if by accident he succeeds. If he can't get 60 votes with the public option in the bill, he can always bargain it away. With his strategy, he's a loser but he satisfies his healthcare insurance patrons.

So the connection between the Democrats who oppose a public option and their patrons is clear. But the other side of the story is how the Republicans enforce such absolute discipline over its party votes. Yesterday ALL Republicans on the committee voted against the public option. I don't think it's ever been possible in any organization (not the church, not the military) to enforce that kind of discipline, except for one: The mob. I don't really think that the Republicans have any of Olympia Snow's family in a garage ready to enforce discipline. But in politics defeat is like death. So all the GOP powers-that-be have to do is to threaten any possible rebels with a healthcare insurance company backed more right-wing opponent in their primary. The opponent doesn't even have to unseat them, but the money spent on the primary, won't be there for the general election.

Ergo! no change. Buy the necessary Democrats and scare the hell out of any wavering Republicans.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oct. 2: Rally to Keep Stella D'oro in the Bronx!

Rally with Workers and Supporters at the Stella D'oro Plant

Friday, October 2, 2009, 3:00-7:00pm

Stella D'oro
237th Street & Broadway, Bronx, NY


It is crunch time at Stella D'oro! Brynwood Partners, the company's private equity owners, intend to shut down the Bronx facility as early as the first days of October. They have a deal in principle with North Carolina-based manufacturing and marketing firm Lance, Inc. to buy the brand and relocate production to a non-union plant in Ashland, Ohio. But the deal still hasn't closed -- and we can stop it!

Please join the courageous women and men of Stella D'oro -- who have stood up for themselves and for the entire labor movement in New York -- as they rally to keep their plant open -- and their jobs -- this Friday, October 2nd, outside the plant gates at 237th Street and Broadway. Take the 1 train to 238th Street and walk one block south.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds dies

Lucy Vodden died at 46 after a long fight with lupus. Who was Lucy Vodden?

Well, when she and Julian Lennon were grade school class mates, one day 4-year-old Julian brought home a drawing of Lucy and told his father it was "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." The rest is pop music history.

Bi-partisan rejection of public option in Senate cmte.

Well Pres. Obama finally got the bi-partisan vote he's been looking for. The Senate Finance Cmte. voted down the Public Health Insurance Option amendment by a 15-8 vote, which included 5 Democratic NO votes. These Democrats never fail to go with which ever side their bread is buttered on, rather than the needs of the rest of us. The 5-turncoat Dems., who voted against the people for whom they are supposed to be working are

Chm. Max Baucus
Kent Conrad (N.D.)
Blanche Lincoln (ARK)
Bill Nelson (FLA)
Thomas Carper (DEL)

I wonder if they can say Primary Challenge?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Pawlenty yanks ACORN funding," Oh! Minnesota doesn't fund ACORN

In case you were wondering, here's the latest notice from NewsMax, an extreme-right wing web site:
Eyeing a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has moved to the right to better appeal to the conservatives who will likely select the GOP candidate.

Pawlenty has been viewed during his two terms as fairly close to the center. But in recent weeks he has made several moves to burnish his right-wing credentials.

Among them: He yanked state funding for the ACORN community organizing group, termed fears over so-called death panels "legitimate," called President Barack Obama's address to schoolchildren "uninvited," suggested he could assert states' rights to block federal healthcare reform, and called Obama's reform plans "a joke."
Well there are a number of problems with Pawlenty's actions. A good right-wing extremist does what's expected of him, but while
Gov. Tim Pawlenty today joined the chorus of disapproval aimed at the ACORN community organizing group, ordering that state agencies "stop all state funding" of the group.

... a local spokesman for the group said there's no state funding to stop.
But one thing that never gets in the way of a good right-wing action is reality. This is just one example.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rachel Maddow on ACORN, Part II

Here is Part II of Rachel Maddow's multi-show comment on the Republican "Defunding and demonizing" of ACORN. But as angry as she is about it, and I fully agree with her response, she still doesn't get to the reason for the Republican action. The GOP may be racist and dishonest, but they are not stupid. Why attack a 40-year-old community organization? The reason, as I suggested in the previous post, is that if more and more poor Black people are registered to vote (ACORN's main work) the Republican Party will go the way of the pre-Civil Rights South. Remember that only 43% of the white electorate voted for Obama. The votes that elected him had to come from somewhere. Get it? Registering Black people = Republican defeats. The real question is: why did so many Democrats cast self-defeating votes to defund ACORN? And, of course, as always the other question is: Why does the mainstream media just buy into the Republican lies about ACORN?

Tonight's Rachel Maddow comment on the "defunding and demonizing" of ACORN co-stars Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater
(If you are viewing this on FaceBook click here to see the video)

Right attack on ACORN reminiscent of pre-Civil Rights South

I think it would be a serious mistake for us to underestimate the Republican attack on ACORN. We really have to take it very seriously. It's very much a part of the right-wing racist attack on Obama and democratic voting rights. The attack on ACORN is reminiscent of the pre-Voting Rights Act (1965) Southern determination to prevent the voting registration of Black people. Once upon a time before the civil rights movement (SNCC, etc.) went below the Mason-Dixon Line to register African-American voters, the powers-that-be in the South did everything they could to prevent people 0f color from voting. The powers that were feared that if Black people voted they would lose control of the political process in their states. And that, of course, is what happened.

The Republicans, with the help of the mainstream media and Democrats, have promulgated outright lies about ACORN. Their purpose has been to defund the one organization doing more to register people of color to vote. And that, of course, is exactly what the Republican Party wants to accomplish. Just like their ancestors in the South, they know that if poor people, particularly poor Black people, register to vote their percentage of the vote will continue to shrink. Remember in the 2008 election Obama was elected by 53 percent of the broad electorate but only 43 percent of the white electorate voted for him and that's what scares the hell out of the Republicans.

Here's Rachel Maddow last night discussing the Republican attempt to "defund and demonize" ACORN and particularly the mainstream media's failure to report the story accurately, thereby enabling the Republican Party's attempt to increase the white percentage of the voting population. (If you are viewing this post on FaceBook, please click here to see the Rachel Maddow video).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Questions I have about contemporary politics

There are many things I don't understand about contemporary U. S. politics. Perhaps someone can explain this one to me. No matter how much damage the Democratic loose cannons in the Baucus "we work for the health insurance companies" caucus do to President Obama's struggle to reform health insurance coverage, he never calls them out. But at the same time he throws the embattled New York State Gov. Patterson to the wolves . In addition to the fact that Patterson is one of only two Black governors currently serving (Massachusetts's Deval Patrick is the other) and he will almost surely be replaced by a white man - Democrat or Republican - it would seem that a Democratic president would support a Democratic governor.

So why are the extreme right-wing obstructionist Blue Dog Senate Democrats untouchable, while Patterson (in current media parlance) gets thrown under the bus? Any answers?

Monday, September 21, 2009

October 15: The Left Forum: Capitalist Power in the Age of Obama

Thursday, October 15, 2009, 7:30 p.m.

the Community Church of New York City
40 East 35thSt. near Park Ave, NYC

The Left Forum has organized a Dialogue/debate between
Tom Hayden, founder of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and activist in Progressives for Obama,
Stanley Aronowitz, public intellectual and author of over 24 books and
Cindy Milstein, anarchist organizer, writer and popular educator.
The moderator will be Esther Armah of WBAI's "Wake Up Call".

This is a free event, hosted by the Community Church of New York City.

Thursday, October 15, 2009, 7:30 p.m.

40 East 35thSt. near Park Ave, NYC

They will address the roles of capitalists’ power in and beyond the Obama campaign and administration while considering the impact of, and opposition to such power in relation to strategies for building Left alternatives.

This event comes at a time of the exclusion from mainstream media and Washington politics of any discourse that suggests that the systematic dimensions of capitalism are related to the current crises or that the phrase “capitalists’ power” is relevant to public political consciousness.

Debate questions will be prepared and posed by a panel consisting of David Harvey (The Limits to Capital), Maria Svart (union organizer and chair of the NYC local of the Democratic Socialists of America) and Josh MacPhee (Justseeds radical artists' collective founder) and audience questions will be included.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Dec 27-Jan 2: International demonstration to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza

Join Alice Walker, Gore Vidal, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Naomi Klein, Mustafa Barghouti, Diana Buttu in endorsing the historic Gaza Freedom March on Jan. 1, 2010 — a massive nonviolent demonstration that will breach the illegal Israeli blockade.
Read the call here and give your endorsement.

اقرأ البيان كاملاً و امنحنا التأييد

Dec. 27-Jan. 2

Join the largest ever international delegation to breach the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza

Read the call here and give your endorsement.

poster by Michael Thompson

Friday, September 04, 2009

Petition to End War and Occupation of Afghanistan

From National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance:

Sign the Petition (I just signed it)

Call on President Obama to End the War and Occupation of Afghanistan, Restore our Reputation in the Global Community!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

GOP ventures off the deep end of rationality

I have recently said that there is no way to understand the contemporary Republican Party unless you accept the simple fact they have gone off the deep end, that their ideology (the way they understand the world) is totally out-of-touch with reality. I'm not talking about a Republican fringe, I'm talking about the mainstream of the party.

Here are some comments made recently by Oklahoma Senator James Inhoff. Decide for yourselves.
I never dreamed I would see an administration try to disavow all the things that have made this country different from all others.
I have never seen so many things happening at one time so disheartening to America.
Every institution that has made this country the greatest nation in the world is under attack
There has never been a case of torture there [Guantanamo Bay]. The people there are treated better than in the federal prisons.
I don’t know why President Obama is obsessed with turning terrorists loose in America.
He also said as quoted in the Tulsa World he continues to be proven correct in his claim that global climate change is a hoax. 'More and more, with each month that goes by, more scientists agree with me,' he said. 'We are winning.'" He is referring to a speech he made on the Senate floor on July 28, 2003,in which he said 'much of the debate over global warming is predicated on fear, rather than science. Where he called the threat of catastrophic global warming the 'greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,' a statement that,' he said, 'to put it mildly, was not viewed kindly by environmental extremists and their elitist organizations.' These are clearly not the words of anyone who wants to have a reasoned political discussion. They are intended to scare the hell out of people who are already afraid of this new world they have been told is on their doorstep. At its base it isn't overly concerned about truth.

(Thanks to Carl Davidson for the link to the Tulsa World.)

October 5th Actions Against Continued War & Torture

October 5th Actions
"Direct Action at the White House Against Continued War and Torture"

Monday, October 5, 2009, 8:30am - 6:00pm

Washington D.C.

8:30 – 9:30 am Vigil @ the Supreme Court with Witness Against Torture, focused on Guantánamo, Bagram, and Accountability for Torture

10:00 am Gather @ McPherson Square (15th & I Sts. NW) for Poetry, Music, and Reflections from Elizabeth McAlister

11:30 am Silent, Solemn procession to the White House

EIGHT YEARS AGO ON OCTOBER 7, 2001, THE U.S. AND BRITAIN INVADED AFGHANISTAN— and the war on Afghanistan continues today, with President Obama increasing the number of troops.

On Monday, October 5, 2009 a coalition of peace groups will mark the anniversary and speak out against the war with direct
action risking arrest at the White House. Activists will attempt to deliver a petition asking President Obama to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, end illegal bombing in Pakistan with U.S. drones, close Guantanamo and the Bagram prison, and seek accountability for and ending of indefinite detention and torture.

There will be a number of affinity groups acting at the White House on October 5th.
You are welcome to join one, or form an affinity group of your own.

All who plan to participate in this action should come to a meeting on Sunday, October 4th, 2–5pm
@ the Festival Center, 1640 Columbia Road NW.

To participate in the direct action, e-mail, and
for more information, please see

Coordinated and sponsored by: National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR), Witness Against Torture, Peace Action, War Resisters League, Atlantic Life Community, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Voters for Peace, Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, World Can’t Wait, Student Peace Action Network, Activist Response Team, and others.

For those of you looking to coordinate something in your hometown, we have some organizing resources available so please contact us as well.

Print journalists blame the internet for their own failings

This story caught my attention in today's (9/3) NYT. It's about a tenaciously rumored wedding last month between Chelsea Clinton and Marc Medvinsky that didn't happen. But the substance of the story is irrelevant. The writer, Peter Baker, blames the persistence of the rumor, despite continuous denials by the principles and everyone around them, on "the internet-driven media culture, where," he says, "facts sometimes do not get in the way of a good story." However, if one reads further one finds out who really doesn't let facts "get in the way of a good story." He writes "the wedding rumor mill was started by The Boston Globe." Obviously, a mainstay of the "internet-driven media culture." But clearly it must have been carried on by gossip blogs and web sites. Baker writes: "Then New York magazine picked up the ball." (Another internet mainstay). To compound Baker's "inability to let facts get in the way," he says, "In July, The Daily News of New York said that 'Clintonistas are quietly being told to save the date.'" This rumor is once again advanced by another internet mainstay: "The Washington Post reported in August" and then "The Post followed up with a 1,775-word article." And, of course, that paragon of journalistic virtue "The New York Post reported [on Sunday] that the wedding could be that very day...."

So it seems there was no reason for throwing a grenade at the internet, except to cover up the ongoing failure of the corporate-owned media to let "facts...get in the way of a good story." Just imagine, when it really counts, how accurate the print media is likely to be.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Aurora "Rory" Barnes last night at the NuYorican Poets Cafe, Photos by Dan Cohen

Last night at the Nuyorican Poets' Cafe we went to see our friend Aurora "Rory" Barnes. Aurora is an absolutely wonderful performer, who should be on a much larger stage. She is not part of the post-Madonna generation of singers (you know "I dance alot cause I really can't sing"). She can really sing and fill a song with meaning. A mixture of her songs, not always happy, love affairs gone bad and the police murder of 23-year-old Sean Bell from the point of view of his fiancee Nicole Paultre Bell and standards. But don't think it's a sad evening Aurora injects most of it with lots of humor and her warm personality. I guess what I'm saying is if you hear the name Aurora "Rory" Barnes appearing anywhere, Go! You'll love her.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Insanity runs in the GOP family: From Nixon/Reagan to today's Republican Party

Trying to make sense of U.S. politics today is a real mind bender. If the Republicans were sane, the current situation would be very hard to understand. But sanity and the post-Nixon/Reagan Republican Party are not two things that flow easily together. You would think that there would be some selectivity as to which of the President's proposals they want to go up against and which they could support. But that's not the case. The Republicans are behaving like children who have been refused candy at the store. They tend to kick and scream irrationally at almost any suggestion. From the past 30 years it has become clear that - when in power - they cannot govern. When the American people wake up to this situation and elect a Democrat to the presidency and back him/her up with a mandate and large majorities in Congress, the Republicans simply scream, "if we can't govern, we will not let anyone else do so." In other words, the Republicans these days are willing to destroy everything they touch no matter what the cost to the rest of us. Last November 8th they were told no at the store, and now not only are they against every proposal the Obama administration puts forward, but they are even bitching and moaning about the President taking a vacation. (That's right. Even after eight years of a Republican president who was on vacation more than he was on duty). And they claim they're pro-family. Paul Krugman wrote in last Monday's (8/24) New York Times:
Washington, it seems, is still ruled by Reaganism — by an ideology that says government intervention is always bad, and leaving the private sector to its own devices is always good.

Call me naive, but I actually hoped that the failure of Reaganism in practice would kill it. It turns out, however, to be a zombie doctrine: even though it should be dead, it keeps on coming.
I would put it slightly differently. Washington (ie. mostly the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats) are ideologically still hung up on Reaganism, but they are strategically followers of Nixon - the Southern Strategy, enemies lists and lies, lies and more lies. But remember what Marx taught us:
Hegel observes somewhere that all great incidents and individuals of world history occur, as it were, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.
But don't underestimate the danger of the farceurs. In addition to the American people, the true victim of the Republican party is - democracy. The deeply anti-democratic disruptive behavior of Republican sycophants at recent attempts by Democrats to hold town meetings to discuss the health care reform proposals does nothing but undermine democratic discussion. This is a result of the Republican realization that in any rational debate they would lose badly.

To go back to where I began, to understand why the health care reform proposals currently on the Congressional table may be in trouble there is certainly plenty of blame to go around and it doesn't all fall in the Republican lap. (I do think I should say that I don't think it's in as much trouble outside the beltway or among people who elected Obama as the corporate-owned media would have us believe. But unfortunately the final decisions will be made in Washington not by the country-at-large.)

It's clear that the Republicans are the primary culprits in trashing the health-care reform proposals. But they have plenty of help from the Blue Dog Democrats. These Democratic followers of Reaganism don't consider supporting their president as important as securing their campaign finances from the health insurance industry. According to Krugman (NYT, 8/31),
a once minor player has become a political behemoth, one that is currently spending $1.4 million a day lobbying Congress.
That they are able to spend that kind of money is outrageous; but think, what must they have at stake to be willing to spend it. The administration also comes in for its share of the blame because not only did they not expect the blow back from the right wing (how they didn't anticipate it may be the political wonder of our time), but they still talk about bi-partisanship with the Republicans. How delusional can you be? One other note: abandoning single payer before the struggle even began, gave them almost nothing to bargain with.But don't think the blame game stops there. We are the other component in this struggle - the progressive forces, we've done almost nothing to light a fire under the wavering Democrats. There have been no pro-health care reform demonstrations or other kinds of organizing. It's been very quiet on the Left. No significant change has ever occurred in this country without massive pressure from outside the political process - and it hasn't been there. And let's not forget perhaps the most serious culprits in all this (besides the Republicans) - the corporate-owned media. Any possible educational responsibility has long been abandoned in lieu of entertainment. With people like Sarah Palin running around dropping nuggets of mis-information. One thing the Republicans have become expert at is scaring the hell out of the most vulnerable of us. In this case that's older people and now veterans have been thrown into the Palin stew. But the news media have done very little to help people better understand what's really at stake. In fact, many corporate media outlets, particularly TV, have done all they can to enable Republican lies to be taken seriously.

But I think it would be a mistake to follow the corporate media lead and think that the anti-health care reform contingent amounts to more than the people who voted for McCain/Palin last November. That is the anti-health care reform contingent outside of Congress. And that's what we have to make clear.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Republican search for the "great white hope"

It's startling how racist or utterly stupid the Republicans can be. Who are these people?

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) said:
Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope.
Not surprisingly, later she denied that she meant to make a racist comment. Sure, we all believe it's only accidentally she called for "a great white hope" with a president of color in the White House. "I was unaware of any negative connotation," She said. "and if I offended anybody, obviously I apologize." One clearly doesn't have to know anything about the search for "A great white hope" when in 1908 Jack Johnson became the first Black boxer to win the heavyweight championship (much like Barack Obama won the heavyweight championship of politics last Nov. 8th) to find Jenkins comment offensive. The level of Republican stupidity never seems to hit bottom.

Sat.Aug. 29: Health care rally

I'm a MoveOn member like you, and I'm working with the local MoveOn Council to organize an event tomorrow in New York City to make our voices heard for real health care reform.

Aug. 29, 12:45 PM

Meet at Roosevelt Hospital.
(59th St and 9th Ave)

March to the health care rally in Times Square.

We demand a public option as a way to control health care costs -- health care reform without a public option isn't good enough.
we will hear from doctors, patients and community leaders about the necessity of health care reform and the need for a public option.

From Georgia Wever:

Meet me tomorrow at the Health Care for All rally at the Central Labor Council at 41st and 7th Ave at 1:30 inside the police pen.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sept. 10: Discussion on Ending Poverty

This is from Oxfam America:

Oxfam is pleased to invite you to a public event in New York City on addressing social justice and global poverty.

September 10, 5:00-6:30 p.m.

"The Moral Obligation to End Poverty"

A Presentation by Peter Singer and
Dialogue with Raymond Offenheiser and Serene Jones

James Chapel at Union Theological Seminary
(Broadway and 121st)

This event is free and open to the public.
Please feel free to bring friends and share this invitation with others who may be interested in global poverty issues.

RSVP to Yan Ho at or 617-728-2498

Renowned ethicist, Princeton professor, and author, Peter Singer, will present his ideas for personal, local, and global engagement on issues of poverty and justice.
Professor Singer will be joined by Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary, and
Raymond Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America.
Together they will offer unique perspectives on why and how we should work to address the issues of the world’s poorest communities.

This event is co-sponsored by Union Theological Seminary, Oxfam America, and Poverty Initiative.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Aug 12: Real Voices for Health-Care Change

Real Voices for Healthcare Change

Friday, August 21th, 12:00 PM

Ryan-Chelsea Com'ty Hlth Ctr.
645 10 Ave
(10th Ave between 45th & 46 Sts,)


We're taking action at events like these because this is a make-or-break moment—right-wing extremists are crashing political events around the country and trying to dominate the public debate over President Obama's agenda.

We can't let that happen in New York. Local MoveOn members are making sure Sen. Charles Schumer knows that we're counting on him to support health care reform with a real public health insurance option that will help expand coverage and bring down costs for all of us.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

No public option: A trial balloon on health-care reform?

Yesterday I posted a brief e-mail that I sent to Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand and House member Nadler. In that letter I suggested that the administration's TV talk about "abandonment" of the public option may be simply a trial balloon to see what blowback they will get from the liberal members of Congress and their progressive allies. This possibility seems even stronger today as key Democratic Party figures speak up. According to The Huffington Post (which John Nally posted on Facebook):
Richard Trumka, the secretary-treasurer and likely next president of the AFL-CIO, said his federation is drawing a line in the sand when it comes to a public option in the health care bill. Lawmakers who don't support the provision, he said, shouldn't take anything for granted.

'We'll look at every one of their votes,' Trumka said after his speech at the Netroots Nation convention. 'If they're against the Employee Free Choice Act, if they're against health care for that reason, I think it'll be tough for them to get support from working people.'
This os also echoed by 60 members of Congress who sent a message to the White House that they wouldn't support a bill without a public option.

It is important that we keep the heat on wavering congress members and the administration. Write, call or e-mail your representatives, senators and the President telling them that the public option is not an option, if they want our votes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Obama health-care reform a joke - on us

Remember "Si, Si, Puede"/ "Yes we can." Well it seems to not relate to healthcare reform. The Obama administration obviously can't.

Without a public option health-care reform will be a joke - on us

I have just sent the following message to Sens. Gillibrand and Schumer and Rep. Nadler. Hopefully you can communicate something along these lines to your senators and representative. It is truly essential for us to put pressure on Congress to put pressure on the administration to preserve, at least, the public option. Without it health-care reform would simply be a joke - on us. For more information on this contact Campaign for America's Future

The Obama administration has indicated that it might be willing to accept a health-care reform package without a public option. It might be just a trial balloon to assess the blowback from the President's constituency - people like me. But whatever their purpose in sending out messages about a public option, we need to make it very clear that the public option (already a fallback position from single payer) is non-negotiable. And we need your support, by communicating to the administration that it is non-negotiable to you also. If the administration wants your support (vote) for the bill, it has to include a public option or no deal. The public option is essential to the two fundamental purposes of health-care coverage reform: (1) Covering everybody, including the 48 million people who are currently not covered and (2) Bringing down the cost of health-care insurance and ultimately the delivery of healthcare.

I appreciate your time and attention to my concerns. Good luck in your next election.