In the airport in Atlanta yesterday, I happened to be standing next to some American soldiers, wearing camouflage, on their way to Afghanistan. They knew the name of the province that they were going to, but they were arguing over what part of the country that province is in. One said the east. One said the south. One said the west. One of them thought that their destination was near Kandahar, but then they started arguing over where Kandahar is located. I hope that they get it all sorted out before the shooting starts. If they don’t know what part of the country that they’re going to, then what are the chances that they speak the local language? (There are 48 different native languages in Afghanistan.) What are the chances that they know anything about Islam? (Which is practiced by more than 99% of all Afghans, language differences notwithstanding.) To little fanfare, President Obama announced last week that he signed an agreement to extend the U.S. military occupation of Afghanistan for twelve more years. No one noted the irony of this, since under our Constitution, President Obama can be President for no more than another 41/2 years. Also under our Constitution, a treaty requires the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senate. (Article II, Section 2, Clause 2). No one in the Obama Administration even took a stab at explaining why this agreement with a foreign power was not being submitted to the Senate for concurrence. But the reason is obvious: the Senate would not concur. Also under our Constitution, you will search in vain for any provision that authorizes a lengthy military occupation of a foreign country. In fact, the Constitution does not authorize a standing army, much less an army standing in Kabul. In the Bizarro world in which we live, we have 27 Attorneys General challenging the constitutionality of 35 million Americans getting health coverage, but no one challenges the constitutionality of an undeclared war (see Article I, Section 8 on that) that has now entered its second decade. Presidential candidates Obama and Clinton obviously were separated by race and gender, but one of the few things that separated them on policy was Clinton’s vote in favor of the war in Iraq, contrasted with Obama’s 2002 statement that the war in Iraq was "dumb." This is what State Senator Barack Obama said, in October 2002, in the Federal Plaza in Chicago: I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne. What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income, to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. Barack Obama was talking about the war in Iraq. But let’s be honest. At this point, after 11 years of pointless, fruitless, endless war, doesn’t all of that apply equally to the war in Afghanistan?
FORWARD By EYESONCITRUS
The United States is now considered a third world country in terms of labor, that is why the world’s auto maker’s build their plants here, to save their labor costs because their countries offer a livable wage to their workers, while ours continue to suffer. A Nation only prospers when all segments of society prosper, when the elite grab control which they have done in the states, they manipulate and incite, in order to divide and conquer. Americans have forgotten that their greatness is from being united, if we are ever to be great again it is time, once again to unite, arrest those who have lied to us, stole from us, misled us into wars, these are the true terrorists of the world and until the masses realize that, the future is not very bright.
On July 6, 1892, in Homestead, Pennsylvania, 3800 workers went on strike, to win the right to organize. Three hundred hired and armed goons attacked them. Five people died.
On April 20, 1914, in Ludlow, Colorado, 1200 coal miners went on strike, to win the right to organize. The Colorado National Guard attacked their shantytown, and burned it to the ground. Nineteen people died. Two women and 11 children were asphyxiated, and they burned to death.
Here and around the world, many people have fought and died, so that you and I would have the right to organize.
And so that 250,000 public workers in Wisconsin would have that right, too.
This is not exactly a new idea. Six months after the Ludlow Massacre, President Wilson signed the Clayton Act, prohibiting the prosecution of union members under Antitrust Law. That was almost a century ago.
The right to organize also is a fundamental principle of international law. Over 150 countries have ratified the “Right to Organize” Convention, an international treaty. It was adopted in 1949, over 60 years ago.
So why are we even talking about this, 11 years into the 21st Century?
Because the teabaggers want to “take back America.” They want to take it back, all right – take it all the way back to the 19th century. When there was no right to organize. When people worked for a dollar a day. When grown men competed against children for jobs. When women were barred from most jobs entirely. When you worked until you died.
Not to mention slavery.
I want to see an America that is healthy and wealthy.
They want an America that provides cheap labor to our corporate overlords. An America where the middle class is chained by debt.
We didn’t ask for this fight. But we have no choice except to fight back. For the survival of the middle class in America. For us, for our children, and for our grandchildren. And so that the victims in Haymarket, in Homestead and in Ludlow did not die in vain.
As Cardinal Spellman said 45 years ago, “it is a war thrust upon us, and we cannot yield to tyranny.”
I’m ready to fight for what’s right. What about you?
- You: Wisconsin’s Legacy of Labor Battles (nytimes.com)
- Before There Were Unions by V.Lyn (tcmag.wordpress.com)
Today Is the Day …from
Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010
This letter contains (almost) no criticisms of how the Democrats have brought this day of reckoning upon themselves. That — and where to go from here — will be the subject of tomorrow’s letter.
Today, we have one job and one job only: Stop the return of the bigger criminal class, the Party of War, the people who (with a few Democratic enablers) manufactured the very mess we are in.
There is good news this morning: The final ABC/Washington Post poll shows that, among registered voters, people still say they prefer the Democrats over the Republicans by 5 percentage points. It’s only when the pollsters ask “likely voters” who they want that the Republicans come out ahead by a few points.
So it’s clear the majority of voters want the Dems, but the prediction is the Republicans will win because Dem voters are going to stay home.
So, our mission is simple: MAKE SURE NO ONE WE KNOW STAYS HOME TODAY. Here’s what I am going to do right now and what I’m asking the millions of you reading this to join me in doing:
1. Email, call and/or text every non-Republican in your personal address book and remind them to vote Democratic today. If they (rightfully) complain that the Dems have been disappointing, tell them they’re right, then ask them to watch this editorial
by last night where she correctly lists the dozen or so things this Democratic congress did right — the types of things we’ll never see from the Republicans if they take over (equal pay for women act, taking student loans out of the greedy hands of the banks, funding for our first bullet trains, boosting veterans benefits after Bush refused to for 8 years, etc.).
2. Post a general reminder to vote (and who to vote for) on your facebook page and tweet it to your Twitter followers.
3. If you have the time, go down to a local candidate’s HQ or the local Democratic Party office and offer to make calls or give people rides to the polls.
4. Think local. No matter where you are in America, there’s someone on the ballot today in your town who deserves your vote. Guaranteed. If you’re in Wisconsin and you’re pissed at Harry Reid for letting derail the public option on health care, don’t let that stop you from getting everyone you know to go vote for . In Florida and furious at the way the Obama administration coddled Wall Street? All the more reason to call every single person you know in the Orlando area to go vote for . In California and mad about the total Democratic failure on global warming? You can still change the world for the better by showing up with all your friends to vote for Prop 19 to legalize personal use of marijuana (and stop the record numbers of people we put in prison who don’t belong there).
5. Explain to anyone who’s given up and doesn’t want to vote today that Obama was handed a terrible mess that he didn’t create. He may now understand he’s moved too slow and compromised too much on the big stuff that needed to get done (after all, Goldman Sachs was his #1 private contributor in the 2008 election). But in the last couple months he’s made some good moves — booting some generals, dumping economic advisor/wrecker Larry Summers, and hiring new people like consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren. Things are very bad right now. But they can get MUCH worse. War with Iran? A genuine worldwide Second Great Depression? A will spend every second trying to make it happen.
6. Finally, we must let the Democratic politicians know that our vote comes with one big condition: If they do not straighten up, get a spine and do what we expect of them, we will find alternate candidates to run against them in 2012. And we mean it. Go vote today
, but also sign this petition that I’ll deliver to every elected Democrat — the “I’m Voting Democratic But I Will Work to Defeat You Next Time if You Don’t Do Your Job” petition, aka “ on Probation” petition. Let’s publicly put them on notice that we’ll give them just two more years to start doing the things we elected them to do. If they move one more inch to the “center” or to the right, they will never get our vote again. And we mean business.
Bill Maher said, “We have a center-right party and a crazy party. Over the last 30 years, the Democrats have moved to the right, and the Republicans have moved into a mental hospital.” That about sums it up. But he also said, “Sure, I’m mad at the Democrats. I’m also mad at my cell phone company. But I don’t throw away my cell phone cause I’m mad and then rub dog shit on my teeth.” We all know this isn’t the best situation to be in. So consider this one last reason to get out and vote:
There are good people the country has never heard of who are running today all across America, most of them for the first time. Somewhere in this great land right now, the woman who will cast the deciding vote in the Senate for single payer in 2016 is running for mayor of your city in her first big race. Somewhere else, the person who will become the first female president of the United States in 2020 is running for the state house for the first time. Their careers will be over and that future will never be if you don’t show up today. Go to theballot.org
, find out who’s great and running where you live, and then show up to vote for them. You may help light the spark that will save our sorry ass somewhere down the road. Don’t just hold your nose today as you go in the booth — go ignite a future revolution. The only thing that makes the corporate honchos happier than paying no taxes is making sure as few people vote as possible. They think they’ve bought this election.
Go prove them wrong.
Dear EYE ON CITRUS
|Stop the banks from
taking our homes!
Sign my letter telling law enforcement officials:
The banks have gone wild.
Over the last three months, I’ve been bombarded with stories of banks committing foreclosure fraud to take people’s homes. Foreclosure fraud happens when a bank decides that it wants to take someone’s house, but it doesn’t have legal title to do so. So it forges paperwork to show the court that it can take a home. Judges often agree to a foreclosure, because most of them can’t believe a bank would simply falsify paperwork. Since the foreclosure fraud story was exposed, however, Bank of America and JP Morgan-Chase have suspended foreclosures in 23 states, including Florida. Judges are getting more skeptical and demanding paperwork.
But this isn’t stopping the problem fast enough. JP Morgan Chase was just caught hiring a contractor to break into a woman’s home and change the locks, while she cowered in a bathroom and called 911. Then the bank claimed it was a simple mistake, as she wasn’t even in foreclosure.
Last month, I called for the Florida Supreme Court to halt these illegal foreclosures. The Florida Supreme Court declined, saying it had no authority to do so. I also asked Fannie Mae to stop working with law firms under investigation for falsifying paperwork. They have not responded. I recently sent a letter to the Treasury Secretary and our national bank regulators asking for a national moratorium on foreclosures while authorities assess the scope of the problem. I have also taped a 7-minute YouTube video explaining the whole situation.
But that’s not enough. We need to stop these “banks gone wild.”
I need your help. I’m sending a letter to the Director of the FBI and to Central Florida’s U.S. Attorney asking them to prosecute banks that foreclose illegally on homeowners.
Will you add your name to this letter? I will send this letter, along with all of the cosigners and your comments, to law enforcement officials.
Congressman Alan Grayson