Apr 30 2011
Finally a story of the people fighting back and demanding justice after all else has failed. Have you seen Irked at Democrats, Firefighters Suspend Federal Contributions yet?
The nation’s main firefighters’ union, long a strong supporter of Democratic candidates, announced on Tuesday that it would indefinitely suspend all contributions to federal candidates out of frustration with Congressional Democrats who, union officials say, have not fought harder against budget cuts and antiunion legislation.
The leadership of America’s Bravest telling Democrats “We’re feeling taken for granted” is a much bigger story than it sounds like. For many years many workers in all unions wanted to give up on Democrats because of campaign promises elected officials never intended to keep. Union leadership has always dragged us back into support with promises from the Democrats. Now the leadership of one of the most respected Unions is not only cutting of the Dems in Federal government, they are also sending the message to not just firefighters but all workers that Democrats are not worthy of personal donations or volunteer time.
Harold A. Schaitberger, the president of the 300,000-member union, said in an interview that he was dismayed with Democrats in Congress for not fighting harder against Republican budget cuts and efforts to weaken unions in more than a dozen state legislatures.
“We’re tired that our friends have not been willing to stand up and fight back on our behalf with the same ferocity, the same commitment that our enemies have in trying to destroy our members’ rights,” he said. “Quite frankly, our enemies are trying to kill us as a labor movement and union trying to represent workers and help the middle class.”
Dec 07 2010
The best people America has to offer have been getting sick and dying from their heroic efforts at the World Trad Center. As you can see from this recent Daily News front page, Mike Enzi is not the only Republican to tell the 9/11 first responders and heroes to drop dead.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act that provides $3.2 billion for long-term health care for rescue and construction workers at Ground Zero, plus another $4.2 billion in compensation for others who were exposed to airborne toxins will be out of time once the Republicans control the House.
These heroes who answered the call for help on September 11, 2001 and the horrible weeks that followed have been pushing hard for justice before it is too late. After a barrage of local media coverage, multiple visits to Washington from Ground Zero worker, victim’s family members pleading with the Senate and a huge bipartisan effort from tri-state politicians, one Republican has signed on. The rest have voices disagreement with Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand’s method of financing healthcare for heroes. The cloture count is now at 59 and their big day in the Senate is tomorrow.
Now that there is some hope for a bill named after an NYPD detective who died at age 34 of a respiratory disease attributed to participation in the rescue and recovery operations at the World Trade Center, Mike Enzi is working hard to stop the bill from going forward. His reasoning is that the nation has already given enough.
Nov 30 2010
This has got to be the best political news I’ve read in a long time. A little before 1:00 a.m. last night, by a vote of 94-44, the New York State Assembly passed the moratorium on hydraulic fracture drilling.
Well it may only be state legislature and the governor still need to sign but apparently this moratorium to protect our drinking water is a first. It’s not top down and the Working Families Party humbly takes some of the credit for more than 52,000 New Yorkers signing the petition urging the Assembly to act.
Go ahead: get up from your chair. Do a little dance, pump your fist, or do whatever you do to celebrate a victory of grassroots action over corporate power.
I just received a letter form the WFP and I was doing just that.
Nov 23 2010
Cross-posted at DailyKos.
Doing away with the cap on Social Security tax would allow the Social Security trust fund to continue in the black indefinitely and the nation would never need to confront the fact that this peoples’ trust is the one debt elected officials don’t want to pay. It could also raise benefits and there might even be enough left over to lower instead of raise the retirement age.
But with the direction of the national debate, getting high income Americans to pay on a larger portion or their entire income is a pipe dream. I would like to point out a diary written by fake consultant, Social Security: If The Rich Paid Taxes Like You And Me…Problem Solved.
A diary not about the more sensible but unobtainable goal of getting the rich to pay in support of the rest of the nation. Instead of removing the tax cap to support the middle class, remove the cap and increase the benefit schedule. This does not shore up Social Security as much but it could get another class of people interested, people with influence.
Nov 23 2010
It was so good to see a bit of reality from an elected official. Last week Chris Bowers presented Jan Schakowsky’s deficit reduction plan and last night she spoke up on the TV.
You can find the transcript here. The interview is really worth viewing and really worth passing around. A proposal that says we don’t have to go after the middle and lower classes and should go after the rich coming from an elected official was refreshing.
But will anybody else ever hear Rep. Jan Schakowsky?
Nov 22 2010
I have a few pleasant photography stories to tell from a week ago. Between the autumn color and the desperation of one last warm weather week, it was a good week for a photo buff. Now don’t go busting my bubble by just looking at the photos because you can learn a lot from a photographer. We see things.
Below you will find a Third Rock from the Sun brief encounter during an evening walk in the Village. I have several memories from a lecture I attended on photojournalism. There is a pleasant Veterans Day walk under the George Washington Bridge on the New Jersey side followed by a sunset from the New York side. Then a Friday afternoon walk in Central Park with some music videos I made and all day Saturday there too. There is even a little taste of Florence, Italy.
Nov 17 2010
It was looking grim for H.R. 847: James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 that had already passed in the House. Now there is some hope for a bill named after James Zadroga, an NYPD detective who died at age 34, the first police officer to die of a respiratory disease attributed to participation in rescue and recovery operations at the World Trade Center.
The legislation that provides $3.2 billion for long-term health care for rescue and construction workers at Ground Zero, plus another $4.2 billion in compensation for others who were exposed to the toxic dust that resulted from the collapse of the World Trade Center towers in 2001 will probably have no chance in the new Congress.
So there is a big push with Ground Zero Workers lobbying in D.C. Sen, Harry Reid working to get the bill out of a committee and bring it directly to the floor. New York Senators are drumming up support. Mayor Bloomberg met with three Republican Senators today. Even Republican House members from the area are working to pass this bill.
Nov 08 2010
What a tough week this has been, the Yankees were out of it and the Jets had a buy week. To make matters even worse the right wing corporate home team got the great shellacking by the visitors from beyond the right field wall. But I was walking around with the old camera and taking photos. Plenty of photos, plenty of back lighting.
I spent the week with a familiar song locked in my head, the lyric “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” After the past two years I could never again come up with a reason to support a Dem but without the tradition of photography I would be a shaky as a fiddler on a roof. So during that fabulous Jets win, I slapped together a few photos from the week.
Oct 26 2010
Cross-posted at Progressive Blue and several other places.
Actually the list of ways to kill off competition from Parties that represent the people is endless. When it comes to getting things done, taking out Third Parties has been one place where the two power parties has always preformed to the utmost of their ability and this is just one New York story.
Some states have evolved Fusion Parties in an attempt to get out from under the scrutiny of these power happy keepers of the plutocracy. One of these upstanding parties is The Working Families Party that has some presence in New York State. They stand for progressive values and labor union rights but this party has endorsed Andrew Cuomo. Reading Cuomo Vows Offensive Against Labor Unions it seems mysterious that the Working Families Party would place Cuomo on the ticket.
Andrew M. Cuomo will mount a presidential-style permanent political campaign to counter the well-financed labor unions he believes have bullied previous governors and lawmakers into making bad decisions. He will seek to transform the state’s weak business lobby into a more formidable ally, believing that corporate leaders in New York have virtually surrendered the field to big labor.
By following the explanation of Celeste Katz who writes The Daily Politic at the New York Daily News the mystery is solved. Did you know that the Working Families Party has to receive 50,000 votes in the governors race this year to be on the ticket in 2010? Not getting those 50,000 (and it was because of Andrew Cuomo) was how the Liberal Party lost a column in New York State and later withered and died.
The short version is that Andrew Cuomo used that 50,000 hurdle to blackmail the Working Families Party but below the fold I’ll follow the full explanation by Celeste Katz to understand how a union hating gubernatorial candidate got the endorsement of a party that is suppose to represent labor.
Oct 25 2010
Good evening and happy Sunday to you. Working too much I’ve missed most of the news this week. I do have a logical rant over something I did hear. I would guess that most NPR listeners vote Democrat and well that’s good for the Party. I would also guess that defending NPR against right wingers would be like shooting fish in a barrel. If I was in the Democratic leadership I would have had some fun comparing the transcripts of NPR with the crap Americans hear on talk radio. Comparing the support for public broadcasting with other industrialized nations I would love to have heard some Democrat say “Hey wait, didn’t the Republicans already defund NPR in the name of Rush Limbaugh?”
But then this diary is not about politics. This is a little celestial seasonings and some pleasant views to start your week. I wasn’t home for too many sunsets this week but I still have some good views to share.
Before the views I have a question. Is there any fun left in politics?
Oct 20 2010
Cross-posted at Progressive Blue.
I watched Paul Solman’s Making Sense on the PBS NewsHour and while putting a human face on foreclosure the story of a support group devoted to making foreclosure litigation too expensive for the banks is told. If you need to feel good about something going on in this nation, this was must see TV!
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This support group called City Life/Vida Urbana has the motto “Organizing For Racial And Economic Justice” and this mission statement;
“City Life/Vida Urbana is a grassroots community organization in Boston committed to fighting for racial, social, and economic justice and gender equality by building working class power through direct action, coalition building, education and advocacy. Through organizing poor and working class people of diverse races and nationalities;we promote individual empowerment, develop community leaders, and build collective power to effect systemic change and transform society.”
These community activist devoted to forcing banks to give up on eviction and offer homeowners a new mortgage have even more power now with all the fraudulent documents. But the story of power is people power, real people power.
Watch how those American walk into City Life/Vida Urbana just broken and feeling hopeless with no place to turn. Then they walk out not necessarily keeping their home but feeling like they have a voice and becoming community activist themselves.