Tag Archives: Obama

SOS: Obama signs Monsanto Protection Act – It’s time to Label GMOs! – We will not be stopped!

by-michael-hogue-dallas-news--30-32995-20090519-6Courtesy, FoodDemocracyNow…

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we regret to inform you that late last night President Barack Obama signed H.R. 993, which contained the Monsanto Protection Act into law. This is an outrage that will not go unanswered.
While we are still waiting to hear from the administration all the final details, we understand at this time that Section 735, the Monsanto biotech rider is intact.
President Obama knowingly signed the Monsanto Protection Act over the insistence of more than 250,000 Americans who signed an urgent letter asking that he use his executive authority to veto H.R. 933 and send it back to Congress to remove the Monsanto Protection Act from the bill. Regretfully, President Obama failed to live up to his oath to protect the American people and our constitution.
Today we’re calling on President Obama to issue an executive order to call for the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.
Tell President Obama that you’re outraged that he signed the Monsanto Protection Act and it’s time to label GMOs!
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/806?t=7&akid=807.705163.5LjRDo
Now that Congress has passed and President Obama has signed into law, the Monsanto Protection Act, Food Democracy Now! urgently requests that the President issue an executive order to support the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.
We want to thank everyone who made tens of thousands of calls to Congress and the White House and we understand that people are upset, but now is not the time to be quiet!
Click here to make a call to the White House and let President Obama and your members of Congress know how upset you are and that it’s time for GMO labeling! We will not be stopped! Every voice counts!
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/807?t=10&akid=807.705163.5LjRDo
If leadership in Washington DC can betray the public behind closed doors, it’s time that the American public gain the right to transparency about what they are eating and the food they’re feeding their families every day.
Not only is GMO labeling a reasonable and common sense solution to the continued controversy that corporations like Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical have created by subverting our basic democratic rights, but it is a basic right that citizens in 62 other countries around the world already enjoy, including Europe, Russia, China, India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.
In addition, mandatory labeling of GMO foods is something that President Obama promised while on the campaign trail in 2007 to Iowa farmers when he said on November 10, 2007 in Des Moines: “Here’s what I’ll do as president… we’ll let folks know whether their food has been genetically modified because Americans should know what they’re buying”.
It’s time that President Obama hold true to his campaign promise to Iowa farmers and the American people by issuing an executive order to label GMOs in our food products immediately. The American people need real leadership in Washington DC, not more backroom deals by corporate lobbyists that subvert our democracy.
Tell President Obama that you’re outraged and demand that he must immediately issue an Executive Order to label GMOs.
We recognize that this is a time of great sadness for millions of Americans, but now is not the time to sit back and do nothing. We must act collectively to demand openness and transparency, not only in our government, but also in our food supply. It’s time that President Obama stand up for the American people and immediately issue a signing statement calling for the mandatory labeling of GMOs.
The passage of the Monsanto Protection Act is another sign of how out of touch Congress and the White House are with the sentiment of the America public. The insertion of the biotech rider in a backroom deal with corporate lobbyists and Senate leaders is a new low. Since losing a court case in 2010 to Center for Food Safety for the unlawful planting of GMO sugar beets, Monsanto and other biotech companies have been desperate to find a way around court mandated environmental impact statements required as a result of a U.S. district court’s ruling.
There is a fierce urgency in the fight over the Monsanto Protection Act for family farmers and food activists across the country as 13 new genetically engineered crops await approval at the USDA and AquaBounty’s GMO salmon could be approved in the FDA next month. The passage of this rider in an unrelated budget spending bill could open the floodgates for these new approvals, even if the budget agreement only last for the next six months.
Any new approvals could threaten the livelihoods of America’s farmers, as the approval of even a single one of these untested crops can lead to widespread contamination of farmers’ crops, bringing economic harm to farmers and contamination to our seed supply.
Join Food Demcoracy Now! in calling for mandatory GMO labeling today! It’s time to take back our government. Every voice counts!
For the past year, family farm advocates and legal experts have fought to stop the Monsanto Protection Act, another special interest corporate giveaway that fundamentally undermines the federal courts’ ability to protect family farmers and the environment from potentially hazardous genetically engineered (GMO) crops that have not been proven safe.
We recognize that there are narrow-minded people out there who do not think that a 6-month provision that subverts our Constitution and judicial authority for another corporate handout to Monsanto is worth shutting down the federal government, but here at Food Democracy Now! we disagree.
We are greatly encouraged by the quarter million American people who have signed this letter and the tens of thousands of phone calls to Congress and the White House to demand that our basic rights are upheld by our elected officials, particularly our President. This is a sign of how urgent citizen participation is to maintaining a democracy.
Washington has failed us. It is clearer now than ever that “we are the ones that we’ve been waiting for”!
Thanks for participating in food democracy,
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! team
Background:
1. “Obama Signs Monsanto Protection Act Into Law: Statement by the Press Secretary on the H.R. 933 On Tuesday, March 26, 2013, the President signed into law”
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/805?t=14&akid=807.705163.5LjRDo
2. “H.R. 933: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013”, passed Congress March 22, 2013 containing Section 735, Monsanto Protection Act.
Monsanto Protection Act language, Now Officially U.S. Law!
Sec. 735. In the event that a determination of non-regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated, the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon request by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with section 411(a) or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which interim conditions shall authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, commercialization and other specifically enumerated activities and requirements, including measures designed to mitigate or minimize potential adverse environmental effects, if any, relevant to the Secretary’s evaluation of the petition for non-regulated status, while ensuring that growers or other users are able to move, plant, cultivate, introduce into commerce and carry out other authorized activities in a timely manner: Provided, That all such conditions shall be applicable only for the interim period necessary for the Secretary to complete any required analyses or consultations related to the petition for non-regulated status: Provided further, That nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the Secretary’s authority under section 411, 412 and 414 of the Plant Protection Act.
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/803?t=16&akid=807.705163.5LjRDo
3. “H.R. 933: Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year … (Concurring in the Senate Amendment)”, which contains Section 735, the Monsanto Protection Act passes Congress 318-109.
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/802?t=18&akid=807.705163.5LjRDo

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town with Mike Sanders, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Our Town is sponsored by HORA USA, at http://www.HORAusa.com. HORA is an evolutionary meditative practice for the whole body and mind. Take the next step in your personal evolution at http://www.HORAusa.com.

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com


Call to Action! Last Chance to Stop the Monsanto Protection Act before Wednesday Noon!

by-michael-hogue-dallas-news--30-32995-20090519-6
Food Democracy Now! is literally on the front lines of protecting our country from unchecked corporate power.

Your voice has been heard at the highest levels in Washington DC. Yesterday Food Democracy Now! delivered more than 200,000 comments electronically to the White House and the phones at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue were literally ringing off the hook. We have just 24 hours to keep this pressure on the White House.
Click here to make a call to tell President Obama to tell him to veto the Monsanto Protection Act. The White House needs to hear from you today!

We heard back from hundreds of you that you couldn’t get through to the White House switchboard. This is an testament to how many people care about protecting our food supply, family farmers and future generations, and stopping the Monsanto Protection Act.

Now that we’ve reached over 200,000 comments, Dave and Lisa will deliver them in person to the White House. If you’re in Washington DC, meet us in front of the White House tomorrow – Wednesday, March 27th at noon!

Today we need you to make this your mission to get as many people as possible to leand their voice!
Those of you here care deeply and know what’s at stake. Please help us increase our voices 10-fold tomorrow so that we have the strength of a nation behind us when we deliver your signatures to the White House tomorrow, telling our President that we value our democracy, our seeds and the health and vibrancy of our future generations.Monsantos-Genetically-Modified-Foods

Can you please get 5 friends and family members or more to sign this petition today? Let them know that their future depends on it.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
~ Edmund Burke

Let’s make sure our voice is heard loud and clear today!Right now, the short-term spending budget bill with Monsanto’s poison pill is sitting on the President’s desk, waiting for him to sign. President Obama has until tomorrow – Wednesday March 27th to sign this into law, unless you stop him.

We need you to do three things:

1. Make a phone call to the White House asking that President Obama veto H.R. 933, and send it back to Congress with the express instructions of removing Section 735: The Monsanto Protection Act.
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/801?t=8&akid=802.705163.dly2h4

We realize that the phone lines will be very busy today, but please keep calling until you get through. Every voice counts!

2. If you haven’t already done so, please sign this letter calling for President Obama to veto the Monsanto Protection Act.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/791?t=11&akid=802.705163.dly2h4

If you’ve already signed, please get 5 friends to sign this petition today!

Help us reach 250,000 signatures today, so Food Democracy Now! can have a larger voice than Monsanto when we deliver your comments to the White House.

3. Please consider chipping in $3 to help send us to the White House to deliver your comments and then help spread the word to your friends.

http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/804?t=14&akid=802.705163.dly2h4

We understand the odds that we’re up against, that many will say that President Obama can’t afford not to sign this budget bill, which if not signed will temporarily shut down the federal government.
But the truth is, there is no legitimacy in elected officials that stand idly by when violations of our basic rights like this happen. Section 735 sets a dangerous precedent that allows corporations to work back room deals to undermine the rule of law.

Obama has a clear choice: veto the Monsanto Protection Act or allow Congress and corporate special interests to continue to lead America down this slippery slope.

Tell President Obama to veto the Monsanto Protection Act! America deserves better. Every voice counts.
The choice is clear, President Obama can veto H.R. 933 or he can side with Monsanto.
Already people are telling us that this is a fight we cannot win. That’s because Section 735, the Monsanto Protection Act, is a small provision snuck into a 841 page “appropriations bill for the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs and other departments and agencies for the fiscal year 2013” so the President “has to sign it”.

We disagree. As a Constitutional law scholar, President Obama understands better than anyone the threat the Monsanto Protection Act poses to our Constitution and our democracy. Unfortunately, President Obama does not have the option of a line item veto, and the only recourse is for him to veto the entire bill.
Don’t worry, we understand the odds. More importantly we know the odds if we don’t stand up. This is a corporate coup d’etat and Monsanto and everyone else in Washington DC wants you to be quiet.

But we can’t afford to. There’s too much at stake to sit silent. Some say it will only last 6 months and expire in September. And we think that’s much too long. Here at Food Democracy Now! we’re not willing to surrender our democratic rights for even one second. As long as these bastards work to undermine our rights we will fight them. And with your help, we’re just getting started.

Please join us in telling President Obama to veto the Monsanto Protection Act! If we can reach 200,000 comments by Monday afternoon, we’ll fly to Washington DC and hand deliver your comments to the White House. Every voice counts!

What’s at stake:

By sneaking Section 735 into a federal appropriations bills, Monsanto has successfully planted a dangerous provision in U.S. law that strips judges of their constitutional mandate to protect American’s health and the environment while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new, untested genetically engineered crops.

Even if their new GMO crops are ultimately proven to be harmful to human health or the environment, Section 735 allows them to be planted the minute the USDA approves them!
Even more alarming, currently 13 new crops are awaiting approval at the USDA and AquaBounty’s GMO salmon is on the verge of being approved by the FDA. This new provision opens the door wide open for these approvals.

The floodgates would literally be open for Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical’s new GMO crops that are resistant to more toxic chemicals like 2,4-D, Agent Orange and dicamba that will replace failing Roundup Ready GMO crops.

According to legal experts, this provision would create a precedent-setting limitation on judicial review and is a dangerous assault on fundamental federal and judicial safeguards needed to protect America’s farmers, citizens and the environment from the wanton approval of Monsanto’s new GMO crops.
Tell President Obama to Veto H.R. 933 and the Monsanto Protection Act – Every voice counts!
Thanks for participating in food democracy,
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! team
Background:
1. “H.R. 933: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013”, passed Congress March 22, 2013 containing Section 735, Monsanto Protection Act.

Monsanto Protection Act language:

Sec. 735. In the event that a determination of non-regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated, the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon request by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with section 411(a) or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which interim conditions shall authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, commercialization and other specifically enumerated activities and requirements, including measures designed to mitigate or minimize potential adverse environmental effects, if any, relevant to the Secretary’s evaluation of the petition for non-regulated status, while ensuring that growers or other users are able to move, plant, cultivate, introduce into commerce and carry out other authorized activities in a timely manner: Provided, That all such conditions shall be applicable only for the interim period necessary for the Secretary to complete any required analyses or consultations related to the petition for non-regulated status: Provided further, That nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the Secretary’s authority under section 411, 412 and 414 of the Plant Protection Act.
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/803?t=20&akid=802.705163.dly2h4
2. “H.R. 933: Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year … (Concurring in the Senate Amendment)”, which contains Section 735, the Monsanto Protection Act passes Congress 318-109.
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/802?t=22&akid=802.705163.dly2h4
3. “H.R. 933: Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year (On Passage of the Bill)” March 20, 2013
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/797?t=24&akid=802.705163.dly2h4
4. “House Votes to Prevent Government Shutdown, Support Troops and Veterans”, March 6, 2013
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/798?t=26&akid=802.705163.dly2h4
5. “Monsanto Protection Act, Section 735 Language from Senate Continuing Resolution, HR 933,” Passed Senate vote 73-26, March 20, 2013 Page 80
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/799?t=28&akid=802.705163.dly2h4
6. “Sen. Tester: Who Put These Agribiz-Friendly Riders into This Unrelated Bill?” Mother Jones, March 15, 2013
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/800?t=30&akid=802.705163.dly2h4
7. “‘Monsanto Protection Act’ would keep GMO crops in the ground during legal battles “, Grist, June 29, 2012
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/734?t=32&akid=802.705163.dly2h4

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town with Mike Sanders, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Our Town is sponsored by HORA USA, at http://www.HORAusa.com. HORA is an evolutionary meditative practice for the whole body and mind. Take the next step in your personal evolution at http://www.HORAusa.com.

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com


DECLARATION ON THE NEED FOR A MORATORIUM FOR THE 11.1 MILLION UNDOCUMENTED-today at 12:30

PRESS RELEASE

WHEN: January 3, 2013, 12:30 P.M.

WHERE: OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE ANGLICAN CATHOLIC MISSION ; 3442 W 26 Street chicago, Illinos.

Father, Jose Landaverde from Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Catholic Mission wants to know why the U.S. President, Mr. Barak Obama can have a new law for “Hardship Waivers” to by pass congress and reduce the stay of immigrants who are forced to return to their countries of origin for U.S Citizens who have immigrant family members who have been deported to reduce the time for immigrant visa reapplication to as little as a week in some instances for individuals who over stay their visa and are given 3 years before they can apply for a 6 month overstay and 10 years for a one year overstay on their visa application, yet our President does nothing on the deportation of the 11.1 million undocumented which face the same problems and risk of being murdered to save their lives and grant them access via a Moratorium on the deportation.

Are the lives of human beings in the world equal in value or are immigrants worth more to the U.S. government when they are with families of U.S. citizens? What are you doing to be compassionate to human beings throughout the world Mr. President? Are you trying to get foreign born people murdered?
In God’s name we ask that you immediately have a Moratorium on the Deportations to save lives, and reunite families!

Contact: Fr. Jose S. Landaverde 773-512-8015

This post courtesy of the Occpy Chi Press Team


Sold Out: The Fiscal Cliff fraud and the next big Social Movement- Revised and updated

There’s good news-sort of, and bad news. First, let’s get the bad news out of the way. 

Only a fool believes that the Dems and Republicans are really in some sort of great ideological battle to save your current tax rate, no matter where you are on the income pile. That fate is already decided. It was, well away from the public eye. The indications were there some time ago for all to see, if only they were interested in looking.

Dick Durbin was the first, following the election, to reveal that the Dems were more than willing to cave in. He grudgingly met with protesters who built a Herbert Hoover-style shanty town in the plaza below his downtown Chicago office last month. The activists dubbed the shanty town “Durbinville.” A report Sunday on MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes said that the agreement had all but been signed, and that politicians now only had to figure out how to position their own images. Another report just before Christmas described the advantage of taxes going up for everyone  after the first of the year because both parties could then be the champion of lowering taxes back towards their current rate. This time they can target more precisely their individual constituents as a means of  strengthening their base. Anything they do now towards the current rate, without actually returning to that rate,  they can tout as a tax decrease.

Further, Obama offered, and continues to offer cuts in “entitlement” spending, like medical assistance for the poor, 2 billion in cuts for school lunch programs in poor neighborhoods and an assault on middle-class tax exemptions, like the critically needed homes tax deduction. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are all on the chopping block. as for promised military cuts, the defense budget is so perversely bloated that the token cuts-and they are very token-will barely be noticed. Did you know that Military contractors, paid with your tax dollars make hundreds of thousands of Dollars a year virtually tax free. That is welfare, but they won’t feel cuts, only poor folks on welfare will face cuts to benefits needed for their survival.  

And they played this game during the Christmas and New Years holiday when most people were thoroughly distracted in their narco-shopping consumerist stupor, and paying little attention to politics. The fix was always in. The two sides are just jockeying for the optimal position to take their share of the spoils and cash. The American people were pawns and dupes all along.

But the good news, sort of, is that the American will  quickly feel the pinch. Most will remain wedged in their easy chair slobbering down a bucket of fast food while scouring the cable channels for the latest on Kim Kardashian’s vagina. They will be outraged, but complacent, flipping over to CNN, FOX of MSNBC where pundits will give them tips on how to cut corners, be happy doing without or to live on their newly strangled family budget. If they complain, the pundits and politicians will wave the flag, accuse them of being anti-capitalist and raise the national song of just how great America is. The rich will parade their filth and wealth on television, by dangling low paying jobs or through the modern-day vaudeville show of politics.

But a hand full, likely students, some unemployed folks, the poor, minorities especially and others will decry this perversion of greed and betrayal by the government and the governments money masters. From the embers of movements before, like Occupy, or groups still waging the war for justice and equity in this society, those disenfranchised masses will discover the seeds of a new movement only months away from this night.

Mark these words. from the first true thaw, as winter falls away from the nation, that new movement will arise. It will arise will stunning speed and power. At first the powers will be taken aback, but then their knives will come out. The FBI, DHS and local law enforcement will prove themselves  tools of finance  and power rather than servants of the people. Stand fast friends and let them feel the weight of a nation. Occupy was the proving ground. Let’s have the real struggle for the soul of this nation commence. For now I’ll call it the “Take Back the Spring   movement, but the true footsoldiers and architects of that movement will decide ist’s real name. Just know that it will come.

Stay tuned…

Thanks to Chris Geovanis for updates and corrections.

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook  at Revolution and Beer. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

 

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook  at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., www.glunzbeers.com

  


Austerity in America. Durbin says it is a done deal: Call and tell him he’s all wrong @ Phone: (202)224-2152

Elected representatives. Those words should mean something, but to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin apparently they apply when he decides. And that is the trouble with this government. It has become unresponsive to the people. Durbin has all but closed the doors on his constituents, many of whom have expressed  disappointment and disapproval over his apparent eagerness to negotiate and compromise over Medicaid, medicare and Social Security benefits.

I like Dick Durbin. I voted for Dick Durbin. I thought he had more character. I still hope he does. I am deeply disappointed in the direction he’s taken.

Didn’t the Democrats win the election? They picked up seats in both houses as voters overwhelmingly rejected the austerity posturing of the Republican ticket. That means Durbin, leading the negotiations for the Obama Administration, is willing and ready to sell out the poor, working folks and middle class for concessions over tax-hikes for the richest 2%, perverse subsidies for oil companies, a bloated growth-strangling defense budget and corporate welfare. Projected savings for these would add or save more than $4 Trillion-that’s trillion with a T over the next 10 years.

Tax reformers are asking for: An end to Bush Tax Cuts for Top 2% generating $1 trillion, eestablish a Financial Transaction Tax, or Robin Hood Tax, on Wall Street trading for $1.8 trillion, restore a robust estate tax (above 2009 level): $253 billion, ending fossil fuel tax subsidies $38 billion, an end to preferential tax rates for income from stocks and bonds and other assets (tax capital gains as income): $533 billion, and a reduce incentives for moving jobs and corporate profits offshore $583 billion.

I met today with protesters outside Durbin’s office in downtown Chicago, where they had erected a symbolic soup-line. On Thursday they will erect a shantytown, dubbed “Durbinville,” illustrating the catastrophic effects cuts to the social safety net will have, particularly on the poor and elderly. 

“It’s a done deal,” he told protesters several weeks ago, admonishing them that “they needed someone at the table.”

Well, where is this table, and why is a semi-secretive group of appointees ram-rodding this decision through without consideration from voters and constituents? What is the urgency, especially since the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ is an arbitrary date? What is the real agenda here? It certainly is not about the financial health of the country, but of the wealth of a few, which Durbin seems to be betraying his loyalties over regarding these negotiations.

There were several Christian pastors among the group, one of whom voted for Durbin. Asked if he felt betrayed, he pursed his lips and shook his head.

“The dems are a little bit more responsive.”

“We need to make the democratic party,” said a tax-fairness advocate named Jacob, who also voted for Durbin. “Durbin is inside the beltway and can’t think outside the “common sense” of Washington.”

Their expectations are reasonable and simple. In a letter sent to the Senator a number of community groups from across the city laid out protections for the nation’s most vulnerable:

We’re calling on Senator Durbin to use his power to create a fair solution in budget

negotiations based on these principles:

1. A Fair Solution is based in fair taxation: we must end tax breaks for the richest 2%, and institute a small tax on risky Wall Street trading.

2. A Fair Solution invests in the American people: in our infrastructure, education,transportation, jobs, housing, and health.

3. A Fair Solution protects our investment in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid so we can all be assured economic security and health care in our retirement or for seniors and those with disabilities.

Rev. Tom Gaulke of the South Loop Campus Ministry summed it up this way, “Jesus came to preach good news to the masses, not to feed them b.s., but to genuinely offer good news for the suffering.”

So what compels Durbin’s conscience? He needs to hear from voters and constituents, and this is how:

WASHINGTON, D.C. Office
309 Hart Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Phone: (202)224-2152
Fax: (202)228-0400

CHICAGO Office
230 South Dearborn Street
Suite 3892
Chicago, IL 60604
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Event Notification: Creeping Austerity is coming to America. The voters rejected it from the republican ticket, but the Democrats are now showing they have the same agenda. Occupy was the warning, this is the fight

Fight Back! Senator Durbin, Don’t Destroy Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid!
Public Event · By IIRON
 Thursday 12:00pm
  • As part of the ongoing “fiscal cliff” discussions, Senator Durbin is negotiating behind our backs to gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – cuts that could create depression-era conditions for millions of Americans who’ve paid for and earned support from these vital programs.Join us on December 6th at noon to tell Senator Durbin that we won’t go back! On December 6, we’re building a Durbinville Shantytown encampment at the Federal Building to symbolize the dire consequences these cuts could have, a…

    nd fight to preserve these essential programs. Join us! And bring a tent!Come get free soup and bread every day in Federal Plaza from December 3rd – 6th!
    Monday, December 3, noon: Soup and Bread line in Federal Plaza
    Tuesday, December 4, noon: Soup and Bread line in Federal Plaza
    Wednesday, December 5, noon: Soup and Bread line in Federal Plaza
    Thursday, December 6, noon: Erect the “Durbinville” shantytown to show the world what these cuts really mean!

    Enough is enough! It’s time to stop unnecessary budget cuts and make corporations and the rich pay their fair share!

    Demand that Senator Durbin:
    Block the “debt ceiling sequester” cuts – say no to austerity!

    Reject Simpson-Bowles or any other “Grand Bargain” that attempts to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, working people, the sick or the elderly – protect vital public programs, no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid!

    Block the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for the top 2% – it’s time for the rich to start paying their fair share!

    Support and fight for progressive sources of revenue – impose a Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street financial speculation, tax capital gains as normal income and close corporate tax loopholes!

    Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck, with cohost Brian Murray every Sunday 8-9am only on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT am820 and streaming live for the Revolution and Beer segment, as Brian and I sample the Craft Beer of the week with the Our Town gang, and run down the grassroots calendar for the week. If you’re tired of talk, talk, talk radio, this is do something radio. Get involved.


Dick Durbin’s Austerity Sneak: Help this Senator find his Soul again

Grassroots groups to Durbin: Tax the Rich & Wall Street, Hands Off Vital Safety Net Programs

Soup/Breadline to Oppose Federal Safety Net Cuts: Noon, December 3-6

  • Durbinville Shantytown: Noon, Thursday, December 6

Location: Federal Plaza, Adams & Dearborn,

CHICAGO: Local grassroots organizations will feed the hungry in soup and bread lines at noon on December 3-6, culminating in the erection of a “Durbinville” shantytown/protest at noon on December 6, as part of a widening effort to pressure U.S. Senator Dick Durbin to raise taxes on the wealthy and Wall Street and oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other vital national safety net programs. The actions will be held in the Federal Plaza, adjacent to Durbin’s office in the Kluczynski Federal Building, at Adams and Dearborn.

 IIRON, SOUL, Lakeview Action Coalition, Northside P.O.W.E.R. & Illinois Peoples Action – will take over Federal Plaza during the noon hour each day from Monday, December 3 to Thursday, December 6 to make visible the hunger and suffering that budget cuts will create in their communities.

 Durbin has refused to meet with activists. Durbin is leading budget negotiations for the Obama admin, and though austerity policies by Ryan were soundly rejected by voters, the Obama Administration is poised to do just that. Time to say no. The Right adheres to this hierarchical cult of personality system. On the Left we don’t follow fear and cults of personailty. We hold our elected officials accountable, particularly if they are Democrats.


Freeport, Bain, Romney and the Big Quiet

Romney slipped this one past the pundits and fact checkers. Factcheck.org was absent. Obama barely put up a fight. The networks, well we know who they work for. But there was one group he couldn’t get the truth past, but those folks have been silenced, just as surely as if they’d been censored.

Here’s the deal. I’m a novelist. I write literature; musing and observations and commentaries on the human soul. The last few years I’ve had less and less a chance to pursue pertinent forays into the human psyche because my country is in trouble.  Not socialist/communist the deficit is too high trouble, but 1920’s Germany sort of trouble. There, fervent nationalism was promulgated by this sort of willful ignorance of the general population, as long as there was someone else to blame. It was not the Nazis or Adolf Hitler. An entire population does not get off that easy for all that transpired in the ensuing 2 decades up to and including the Second World War.  Hitler and the Nazis were  opportunists, and conductors to the orchestra of nationalism. The national press in Germany at the time were their willing propagandists.

Before you think I’ve gone too far in bringing in the Nazi’s to this, it’s important to establish precisely what I’m referring to. First, nationalism is a template. It works exactly the same every time, in every place and in every culture. I saw it first hand in Miloshevich’s Serbia during the break-up of Yugoslavia and in Rwanda during the genocide. For better than 20 years I have feverishly dissected nationalist movements the world over, in dozens of different cultures, from Mao’s Cultural Revolution to Hezbollah.

Simply, this is the template for ardent nationalism:  a willing Press, and a complacent population create the fertile environment. secure the Press then establish a victim demographic, an external threat, an internal betrayer and establish an ideal. For the Nazis it was true Aryans as the victim demographic, communists as the external threat, the Jews as internal betrayer-the so-called morally corrupt bourgeoisie. Today, in America, traditional American values(white people) are the victim demographic, Islam and European Socialism the enemy and Liberals the betrayers. 

In support of every nationalist movement is a complicit Press. It is either fervent in its capacity to ascend to absolute banality, or eager in its willingness to subvert all but the power elite. The venom and vitriol the media levelled upon the Occupy movement indicates a complicity, if not outright conspiracy to abscure necessary truths from the American people, at the very least. And so we come full circle to the Vaudevillian theater of the Presidential campaign.

“You said you get a deduction for taking a plant overseas. Look, I’ve been in business for 25 years,” said Mitt Romney during the October 3rd presidential debate, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grQTuIYnreg&feature=youtu.be

So where is the Press, when he clearly lied to the American people. Romney knew full well, when he made that statement that his company, Bain capiltal was shuttering a profitable plant in the iconic midwest town of Freeport Illinois. For history buffs, you’ll recall Freeport as the site of the second Lincoln Douglas debate in 1858, and arguably the place where, in a misstatement Douglas split the Democratic party over slavery and paved the way for Lincoln to win. It was dubbed the Freeport Heresy, which perhaps is appropriote to Romney’s, shall we say, misstatement during the debate.

Romney’s company, from which he made $8 million last year, that’s $8 million, $8 million, bought Sensata Technologies, a profitable company( a very profitable company) and is shutting it down, which will all but bankrupt and destroy Freeport Illinois, not to mention the 170 who worked there. They are sending it to China for no other reason in that “more” is a never-ending concept. More is never enough. More is the soul of greed. Indeed, they had the American workers train their Chinese replacements. Just 40 minutes south of Janesville Wisconsin, Freeport is practically in Paul Ryan’s backyard. http://investors.sensata.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=210277&p=irol-homeProfile&t=&id http://www.pbn.com/Sensata-3Q-in-the-black-but-9-mo-a-loss,62007?search_filter=sensata+technologies&sub_type=stories,packages

Romney and Ryan are right, and Obama is wrong. America is failing. Not because of its people, or  through some endemic penchant for socialistic narratives, like welfare, social security, medicare or national healthcare. America is failing as long as it refuses to stand against the abject and perverse abuse by companies like Bain and their champions like Romney and Ryan. It fails as long as Americans passively accept the propaganda and manipulation paraded as information and news. It fails as long as all of us collectively act as if freedom and democracy  are spectator  rather than participation sports. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/13/1144033/-American-flag-taken-down-in-Freeport-company-outsourced-by-Bain


I built that, but not alone: Welcome new readers

“…if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together…”

President Barack Obama, August 2012

I’m a writer, a novelist, an activist, artist and playwright. I’ve been to war, traveled extensively and have a supreme desire to better the world I was born into before I leave it, not commercially, but socially and humanely. A nurtured and near obsessive penchant for communicating that desire for a better world is my greatest tool, but it is nothing without the good people who perform and come to my plays, buy my books, read this blog and also those who argue vehemently with my assertions of sublime wisdom.  

In the Balkans during the break up of Yugoslavia, organizing relief for Rwandan Genocide victims, and struggling to understand bigotry and racial divides in this country, I came to a simple, single theme; that it is all based upon skewed and inflated perceptions of our own egos. There is a tendency in a world in which we are small and overwhelmed all too often to sub-divide the world down to smaller and smaller parcels to understand and pretend our own preeminence. We may define ourselves, for examples, Christians, and then Catholics when the other Christians piss us off, then Americans, midwesterners, from Illinois, then from Chicago, white or black, northside or westside, from a certain neighborhood, attending such and such school, disagreeable to neighbors and so forth until we are left alone in our own misgivings about the world around us. 

It is natural, as we are driven by our egos, needs and desires. But to accede to that solely is a capitulation to our base, anti-social, selfish natures. There must be a balance. We must balance ego with the understanding that we can all exist as nominal allies in this struggle to live and love and face the realities of the world and our own mortality. Rather than subdivide the world down to confirm our own self-importance, a negative, community means erasing a bit of ourself, multiplying ourselves out into the community where we face those inevitable realities in the embrace and nearness of others.

I could write in a cave, those thoughts and perspectives unchallenged as they echo back in some self-validating echo chamber. The illusion or hypocrisy is that the echo is there to assuage my loneliness in that cave. Rather, it is the community and all of you, dear readers, that gives any of this meaning, and for that I am deeply and unalterably in your debt. I did build that, but not alone.


Unspoken Truths: Bain, Romney and the latest Obama Campaign Ad

Don’t bitch. If you backed away from the Occupy movement and threw money  at Democrats ahead of the presidential election out of some pragmatic retreat to make  sure Obama got re-elected, or because it was time to “face reality,” believing that if one side has super PACs then we have to fight fire with fire, or if you threw in the towel about campaign finance reform and the repeal of Citizen’s United, you’ve got nothing to bitch about. If you are a Republican, you can shut up as well. The hyperbolic vitriol that has become and that is the campaign on both sides is exactly what you get when you concede perverse nonsense such as money equals free speech.

This week a super PAC supporting the Obama campaign, Priorities USA Action released an ad placing blame against Romney for the cancer death of a woman who lost her health insurance after Bain, Romney’s company, closed the company where her husband worked. The Kansas City based GST Steel declared bankruptcy and closed in 2001. Romney claims he was not in control of the company at the time, but FCC filings offer a different perspective, clearly showing that he was in control of the company.

In the ad, Joe Soptic, who worked at GST when Bain took control says, “When Mitt Romney and Bain closed the plant, I lost my health care and my family lost their health care. And a short time after that, my wife became ill. “I don’t know how long she was sick, and I think maybe she didn’t say anything because she knew that we couldn’t afford the insurance. And then one day she became ill and I took her up to the Jackson County Hospital and admitted her for pneumonia, and that’s when they found the cancer, and by then it was stage four. It was – there was nothing they could do for her. And she passed away in 22 days.”

The Right reacted with predictable outrage, calling the ad despicable. Rush Limbaugh mocked Soptic on his radio show today. No doubt in the coming days they will attack every aspect of the story, the man and his family. But the argument is a thin one, particularly in light of the veiled re-hashing of the birther issue in the anti-Obama film heavily promoted on  Right-wing radio called “Obama’s America 2016” is little more than a pro-Romney ad parading as journalism by former Reagan Whitehouse functionary and zealot Dinesh D’Souza.

But the ad speaks to a deeper truth, one that the Occupy movement championed and working-class and the poor have known only too painfully. While politics and big business  are a game to the rich and powerful, the true effects of that game, hidden by a complicit or gleefully dumb media are too often written in the lives lost to those policies.

So a factory is closed. Too often it barely merits a mention on the nightly news. If it does, the cold facts report ten, thousand laid off, or twenty thousand jobs outsourced overseas. Missing are the lives of men and women who may not have the capacity, who may be too old, to whom resources  aren’t easily accessible, or  are unable to tear up lifetimes invested in a home. all too often it is the elderly, those of limited means, perhaps invested and over=extended to provide an education for children, or at the age of retirement when their insurance and the pension they worked for their whole lives is suddenly and legally taken from them.

These  are the people, many tens od millions of Americans for whom the loss of a job or insurance is a devastating event that may take years to recover from, may lead to bankruptcy, foreclosure, and choosing a meal over a needed medical checkup, the electric bill over a meal as despair becomes a cruel indignity to honest hardworking people who lost their jobs and livelihoods not to normal or unforseen economic cycles and calamities, but by strategic takeovers, manipulations of the law, greed and uncaring financial gamesmanship.  

When I visited Sarajevo at the height of the Serbian siege, thousands had died of sniper and artillery attacks. Unreported and uncounted were the elderly who froze to death, starved to death in their homes. Untold children died of malnutrition. Hundreds, perhaps thousands died during those 4 long years of disease.  They were not shot or killed by an overt act of war, but were dead just as surely. 

Is there any difference when a company like Bain takes over a factory with the express purpose of carving it up purely for the financial gain of a few. And when a town is decimated by that closing, when someone like Joe Soptic’s wife dies for what amounts fully to greed, who is responsible for that death? If a couple must choose between heat and food because their retirement has been stolen and they succumb to pneumonia or the effects of cold or malnutrition, who is responsible for that, when the act of ending their retirement was a fully unnecessary and wholly self-serving act? If a mother and  child cannot properly afford pre or post-natal care because her healthcare was discontinued so that a few  stockholders could afford a bigger house, a fancier car or another European vacation, and the child dies, or suffers, who is responsible for that?

Interestingly, and sadly, there will be American’s who are unsympathetic to the pain of men like Joe Soptic, and maybe America needs to confront that darker side of itself to understand the stakes, and those who would lead us down a wholly inhumane and unrighteous path. Perhaps that’s the tactic; to draw out the extremist Right and push Romney into the corner with them, clinging to nakedly cruel, short-sighted and unAmerican positions from which they cannot escape to hide behind the lies, confusion and innuendo they have cloaked themselves in up to now.


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