Sunday, September 30, 2012
Greetings, freedom fighters! I have been celebrating the High Holy Days, Rosh haShona and Yom Kippur; I bid everyone within the sound of my newsletter a happy, sweet, and prosperous new year, with all abundance in good things coming to you and your loved ones. The beauty of the High Holy Days is that we can reflect on the past, without being enslaved or trapped in what when on then. We’ve made mistakes, sure, but we can move beyond them. Good news to you I'll tell-I have been accepted for Masters' work in labor studies at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst-YAY! It will be a two-week-per-semester program aimed at union activists and officials. Labor education in very important; we have to know what our predecessors went through for future generations of workers to have decent wages, medical benefits, occupational safety and health, etc. It’s at the work site, the shop floor, where social justice issues become concrete, they go from the abstract to the practical. How can I not say anything about the presidential election? I have no other choice but to endorse for President of the United States-Barack Obama. I also worried whether he gave in to easily to the Republicans, such as the departure on his officials Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod, over lies concocted through the rightist media machine; also with his trying to reason with the Tea Party affiliated congress-idiots, hell bent on bringing him down, no matter what damage it does to the nation’s reputation and credit rating. But he has stood up, with his repeal of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” rule concerning LGBT service members, his support of same-sex marriage, and of reproductive rights for women. Hopefully, he can overcome the idea, within the wall Street faction of the Democratic party (exemplified by Clinton-era Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin), on concentrating on making the banks happy and ignore everyone else. The fight to retain voting rights goes on. People have braved police assaults, fire hoses, and lynching for the right to peaceably change their government and affect policy. Republican state legislators have rammed through bills, signed by Republican governors-how convenient!-to have only certain forms of identification acceptable to show at voting stations. Certain demographic groups, such as students, the elderly, and minorities may not have the appropriate ID to show on election day-and, quite conveniently for SOME, these groups tend towards Democrats. Fortunately, there have been fights in the courts to legally invalidate these laws, along with efforts to see that the affected people do have appropriate ID; the labor movement, I’m proud to say, has taken a lead in this work. But beware! There is a group out, called True The Vote, affiliated with the Tea Party “Astroturf” thing-I won’t all it a movement-that would go to voting stations and, like some sort of self-appointed police, demand to see voters’ IDs, to intimidate them. Let’s be aware of this, and be ready to stand up to these types. I urge us to meet and set up a plan to fight this. The idea of a Mitt Romney presidency should chill everybody’s back. Here is a man who has spoken with scorn about the same people whose votes he would need, mocking them as moochers for government handouts (thank you, Mother Jones); whose whole career has been finding troubled companies, loading them with debts they could never pay off, bankrupting them, and laying off workers; and whose entire life has been one of ignorance of the lives of people not as well off as he has been, and who has caused suffering to people less powerful, like the supposedly Gay kid in his prep school. His running mate Paul Ryan, (still running for his Wisconsin House seat while running for Vice-President-huh?), proclaimed his adherence to the writing of Ayn Rand, even ordering his staff to read Atlas Shrugged, a terribly written fantasy of rich people going into hiding because the lower orders don’t like them-that is how Ryan gets his economic doctrine. Passivity and apathy, brothers and sisters, are not in order. We must get our minds together, get our IDs ready, and take the time out to VOTE. We CAN and WILL win this thing! Bye!
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Greetings, freedom fighters! I will celebrate Labor Day, the day to honor American workers. I am also active in the campaign, led ably in Philadelphia by Jim Moran, to restore May Day as a workers' holiday in the United States, as it is in the rest of the world; we ARE part of the wider world. The Republican convention has come and gone; the Democratic convention, at this writing, is next. During the primary season, and all through the Obama administration, the Republicans and the organized right-wing movement have used race-baiting and threats as part of their collective message. Recently there was a plot, by Army soldiers, to assassinate the President; they killed a man who they thought would expose the plot. There have been pictures on placards of Obama as a witch doctor, with his head on a spike, and a sick parody of the famous "Hope" poster with his head in a noose. I could go on, but suffice it to say THIS is what our politics has gotten to. Racism in very real in this election. A Romney TV ad accused Obama of waiving work requirements for welfare; that wasn't true, but they'll continue with it anyway, bragging they won't be dictated to by "fact-checkers." Plus, Newt Gingrich referred to Obama as a "food stamp President" and a "fried chicken President"; how much more racially coded can you get? You don't need the CIA to break that code! Meanness and stupidity are utilized by the Republicans in this election, playing to racial bigotry and misinformation. Do the Republican leaders, from Romney on down, think this is how you appeal to the American people, how THEY envision America? Perhaps they get that vision from the Tea Parties and the people they attract. Many of them are afraid the government would take over their Social Security and Medicare- which ARE government programs! (Is THIS why republican governors want to make cuts in education- an educated electorate, thinking for itself rather than Fox "News" doing it for them, is such a threat to corporate-state power?) It's a puzzling conglomeration running the Republican party-corporate state advocates (calling themselves "libertarians"), who want the government out of their business except to support their businesses, in the same party with religious extremists who want to control what people learn in school, what they read and watch, what kinds of sex practices are acceptable-things that the corporate capitalist class could give two shits about. But just as a general staff in an army needs foot soldiers to get killed for their glory, the plutocrats running our politics and our politicians need foot soldiers to do the essential political grunt work- phone banking, handing out leaflets, stuffing envelopes, and going to the polls and pulling the leavers. For the religious fundamentalists, their vision is limited by their hatred toward the world and the changes that go on in it, such as the liberation of women and LGBT people, the honest discussion of sexuality, and scientific research. Social change has always been a long-haul affair, while the news media focuses too much on immediate horse-race displays of electoral campaigns. After the 1977 campaign led by Anita Bryant against gays and lesbians working as school teachers succeeded, right-wing pundits acted like that would be the final word on the matter-gays and lesbians should and would go back into the closet and shut up. Also with the failure of the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, it was expected that the Feminist movement would come to an end. Crusades against abortion became militant, with threats of terror or real terror, such as the assassination of Dr. George Tiller. BUT-several states AND our sitting President have come out for same-sex marriage; rules against LGBT military personnel serving openly have been repealed; birth control remains a strong issue among women. It's all about dedicated people, who have a vision of a just, fair nation, like we're are supposed to be about, doing the work needed to bring that about. Yet-it's been implied that, since the plutocrats and their political hacks-I'm thinking about the Koch brothers, among others-have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in TV ads to broadcast their lies, to try to make us forget the previous eight years of George W. Bush and the policies his crew pursued-tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, no regulation of ANY industry (including the stock market), cuts in every federal program that wasn't military or didn't go to a supporting religious group, and two unwinnable wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to prop up corrupt regimes. (This is a pattern that has gone on since the start of the “Cold War,” the assumption that every foreign government that tried to use its power to benefit its people-such as Mohammad Moseddeq of Iran, and Jacobo Arbenz Guzman of Guatemala- were ipso facto communist and had to be brought down. The pattern continued through the war in Viet Nam, and on through the Contra war in Nicaragua and the support of Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran. The Romney foreign policy team has the same geniuses who organized and promoted the Iraq invasion in the Bush II administration; I see SOME people don’t learn from history.) This has lead to trillions of dollars of a federal deficit, a roaring crash in the aforesaid stock market, businesses closing while their CEOs get millions of dollars of bonuses, and the loss of respect for this country in the world. Do we want that again? Do we want to listen to the media say to us again, “You guy’s gonna lose, so don’t bother to vote”? Let us exercise our independence minds, as we look at the election-and beyond. Bye!